fortydaysojourn

Just another WordPress.com site

The Circle of Life

In my work as a volunteer engagement professional, I run into many great quotes, and I’m on a number of listservs and e-mailers pertaining to volunteerism and service-learning.

Every Friday I receive a mailer from Youth Service America, and in recent weeks the staff has selected songs that speak to the spirit of service.  Today’s song is Elton John’s Circle of Life from the movie The Lion King, and thought it appropriate for how I feel this morning.  I pray you’re blessed by the lyrics, too.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place…

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Just Wanna Give A Shout Out To…..

Everyone who’s stopped by fortydaysojourn to follow my journey.  Your feedback fuels me more than you’ll ever know.

To all the folks whose clip art I’ve used – thank you very much!

To YouTube – I’m so glad when God inspires me with a song to add to my blog, you’ve got it ready for me.

To my fellow bloggers here on WordPress and other hosts – keep doing what you do.  You inspire me to keep at this thing!

3 Comments »

Temptation Helps Us To Do Good (Day 26)

We tend to think of temptation as something bad or immoral, when in all actuality temptation is anything that deters us from doing what’s right, no matter how small or big it is.  And the funny thing is we think temptation is around us, when in fact, it’s in us.  Desire, followed by doubt, deception and disobedience, are the four components that take our thoughts and desires to full blown temptation.

However, I recently learned that it’s not a sin to be tempted.  You’re probably looking at this like “What’s this chick talking about?!”  Here’s the thing: the sin lies when we’ve made the choice to act on what’s tempting us, which ends up throwing us into personal seas of guilt, self-blame and degradation.  This chapter encourages us with the fact that every temptation we face gives us the opportunity to do good and to become stronger in our faith journey.

Each temptation we face is a stepping-stone for us to choose to do the right thing versus the wrong thing.  For example, a person gets fired from a job and everyone believes they know the reason(s) why.  These reasons become rumors, which have an energy all their own.  You can A) come up with your speculation to add to the rumor mill, or B) make the choice to avoid it all together and let the truth come forth.  Most people usually roll with option A to feel important, which tends to add fuel to the proverbial fire in the office.  Yet, God desires for us to choose option B in order for us to develop more like Christ.

In order to develop like Christ, we must understand the fruits of His character, which are described in Galatians 5:22-23: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  This fruit develops slowly, just as we do. 

With each temptation we face, God develops these fruits by allowing us to experience temptations that enable us to express the opposite of what we would normally do.  Let’s take the fruits of peace and patience and dissect them for a minute. The Lord teaches us how to be patient by placing people in our lives that drive us batty, or lead us to a situation where everything is jagged.  With each instance, any of us would complain, quit or even go off on God.  The Adversary loves it when we’re in this position because we wind up playing the blame game, or go around in circles losing focus on the One who can help us. 

When it’s all said and done, the true purpose for these experiences is to get us to a position where we MUST depend on Him to teach us, help us and ground us successfully.  The way we learn this is to refuse to be intimidated by the temptation, recognize what thing(s) tempt us, and most importantly, ask for God’s help.  He delights when we call upon Him to help us in times of trouble.  The epistle of James reads, “God blesses the people who patiently endure testing.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NLT)  Let’s go for that crown, shall we?

Leave a comment »

You Are Here To Lift Me Up!

The Afters’ Lift Me Up is a beautiful testimony to how the Lord catches us when we’re falling, when we’re lost or feel utterly alone.  I came to admire this song last year when I took the 30-Day Challenge on K-LOVE last February.  I’m still rockin’ K-LOVE in my car 14 months later, and whenever I hear this song I sing it to my top of my lungs!

This song also speaks to my next blog about growing through our temptations, and how God is right there to lift us up and help us do the right things. 

I know I’m not perfect
I know I make mistakes
I know that I have let you down
But you love me the same

And when I’m surrounded
When I lose my way
When I’m crying out and falling down
You are here to

Lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I’m letting go
You lift me up when I can’t see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I’m letting go

Leave a comment »

What caught my eye on Twitter…..

@TheCubicleChick You can’t be looking at other bloggers and getting jealous. Get your perspective and keep it. Worry about you. Not the Jonses.

_____________________________________

Since I started fortydaysojourn a couple of months ago, I’ve been truly blessed.  This has been a beautiful journey.  For a while I could tell my writing skills were waning, and fortydaysojourn has been a wonderful avenue for me to rebuild my confidence.  I truly enjoy expressing myself through the cyber-pen.  I feel more alive spiritually, too.  What a great and unexpected bonus!

Yet, hateration kicks in when I look at other blogs, especially from people I know and admire.  She is a green-eyed monster!  Their blogs have bold colors, great content, and LOTS OF TRAFFIC!   Then I come back to my little blog and give it a proverbial boo hiss.  

That’s the moment when God has to put me in check to remind me that it’s not about trying to be somebody else; but rather, it’s about His purpose for me through fortydaysojourn.  Quality, not quantity.  I’ve shared my entries with a number of family members, friends and colleagues, and received great feedback.  That’s what matters most.

Plus, when it’s all said and done, fortydaysojourn is the place where I retreat, kick back and do my thing.  Everybody needs a place to do that.   I always keep the door open for anyone to stop by, check me out and hopefully stay a while.  And if they decide to lurk, that’s cool, too.

Leave a comment »

Trouble In My Way, I Have To Cry Sometimes….. (Day 25)

This old-school spiritual reminds me of the subject of this chapter.  Have you ever noticed that we tend to draw closer to the Lord when we’re going something rough?  A tumultuous child, an unexpected medical diagnosis or cutbacks at work can easily set us off course, and we find ourselves asking the ‘why’ questions. 

Every circumstance that happens in our lives is intended to build our character and strengthen our faith in the Lord.  Our troubles have a purpose, and God uses them transform us in our faith journey.  We learn about God in our suffering and in our question-asking that we can’t learn any other way.  Each experience helps us become more like Christ. 

And here’s the interesting part: God orchestrates problems or gives permission to the Adversary for us to experience trouble.   Because He is sovereignly in control, our circumstances are part of His plan for us.  Joseph experienced this when God used him to save his brothers and their families at the end of the book of Genesis, “Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it for good…” (Gen. 50:20a).  And in Romans 8:28-29, the Apostle Paul speaks of this: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.”

In these experiences the way is hazy, and as strange as this is going to sound, we must offer up praises of thanksgiving.  “You don’t know what I’m going through!” I can hear someone say as they read this blog. “Why should I?”  The Word says we’re to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:18, NIV)  We praise our Heavenly Father in the midst of the storm, and if we praise Him in the valley low places, we’ll be praising Him even more in the mountain high moments.  Blessing and thanksgiving help us get through the rough patches.  

Everything that to happens to us is important for the health of our relationship with the Lord.  God’s plan is always the best plan, and we must remember this fact in the midst of life’s storms.

Leave a comment »

Ouch, That Hurts! (Day 24)

The truth hurts.  It cuts, it stings, and it’s relentless.  Being transformed by the truth is a heavy-duty process, and yet, it’s ever so needed for us to grow and progress.  I’m cringing as I write this blog because since finishing the chapter yesterday, I’ve been on a mini-emotional rollercoaster.bandages ...

You see, there are things I’ve been through, some beyond my control and some not.  I believe God used this chapter and a prayer I whispered late last week to help me begin unpacking experiences, unearthing suppressed feelings and purging unhealthy mindsets.  Part of the sanctification process is the revelation of who we really are, which also includes reaffirming the security of knowing whose we are.  When God speaks to us through His Spirit, things must change in order to fulfill His purpose, no matter how uncomfortable it is or how it makes us say “Really, Lord?!”

Despite me wanting to wiggle out of these moments, the truth is.  I know that sounds a tad bit weird, but hear me out.  The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to aid us with our transformation.  After all, if we’re to develop the mind of Christ, we need His Word to be filled, right?  It’s our bread, our sustenance, the source of our maturity. 

Though I may be slender as a rail, I still enjoy a good meal.  It must be filling and satisfying to my pallet.  That’s how the Lord wants us to feel about the Bible.  The Apostle Peter said of this: “Crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (I Peter 2:2, NIV)  It’s not enough to simply read the Word; we MUST become doers of the Word also.  The Word is the truth God wants us to live by.  We must abide in it, accept it, be receptive to it and apply its principles.

Right now God is blessing me with the courage to unpack my baggage, review each piece and talk about it.  Certain scriptures come to me in relation to some of the items, and the revelations are nothing but short of amazing!  What is God telling you to do or showing you in a vision?  Have you taken the first step?  Take the time to pray, allow the Holy Spirit to lead the way and be absolutely blown away.

Leave a comment »

All I Can Say Is Whew!

The next blog topic (Day 24) is gonna be so meaty that I need to let the chapter marinate in my soul and psyche for a minute.  Powerful words about transitioning by means of acknowledging and facing the truth, and applying God’s Word in the transition process.  The truth is a tough pill to swallow, and all I can say is whew!

Leave a comment »

Reminders and Confirmations…..

While watching Oprah’s Lifeclass today w/Bishop T.D. Jakes, God blessed me with confirmations of things that He placed on my mind and soul some weeks and months ago…..

  • Stop trying to be something I’m not.  It takes TOO much effort and it’s not worth it. 
  • Stop allowing others to place me in a box.  Like the singer Kelly Price says, this is who I am.  Let. me. be. me.
  • Stop tripping about what hasn’t or didn’t happen.  People fall short; no one’s perfect.  Instead, I must focus on what’s happening now and get excited about what’s to come.
  • I can’t depend on other people to fill the holes in my soul.  One of the seasoned women at my former church taught me that, yet it’s always good to be reminded.  My Heavenly Father fills those holes.
  • I’m attractive because God is pouring into me daily, gracing me with His anointing.  I’m the salt of the Earth, the light of the world. (Matt. 5:13-14, NIV)
  • Know when my space is too small.  That’s a sign that I need more room to soar, even if it means removing people and situations from my life.  I need the space to fulfill my divinely-appointed purpose. 
  • “Greatness is contagious!” ~~ Bishop T.D. Jakes
Leave a comment »

Grow Up Already! (Day 23)

Spiritual growth is what we go through as God’s children.  The Word tells us that “God wants us to grow up…like Christ in everything,” (Ephesians 4:15a, Msg) and “We are not meant to remain as children.” (Ephesians 4:14a, Ph).  Sounds like a harsh command, doesn’t it?  Let’s reflect on it for a moment…..

Our Father’s goal is for us to mature and develop like Christ.  There are many people who stay stuck in proverbial diapers, sucking on bottles and eating baby food.  Sure, they grow older, but never mature to solid food – the Word.  They don’t take the time to develop a relationship with God and know not what their divinely appointed purpose is.  They have no intention of growing, and frankly don’t want to.  They’re content with being spiritual babes.  However, just like in life babies grow up to become toddlers and so on, we do the same thing in our faith journeys.  It takes us making the commitment to become disciples to begin our growth process.

Discipleship is a two-way street, though.  We must be ready to shed old thoughts and routines in order to develop new habits and ways of living.  We work out our faith as God works in us.  Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between us and the Holy Spirit.  We must be open in mind, heart and soul to engage in this metamorphosis, gradually growing in grace and character. 

Again, let’s not get tripped up about who we are as Christians.  Being a Christian is about relationship and lifestyle, not religion and rigidity.  It’s not about how much scripture you have in you, but rather, what and how you apply scripture to your life and actions.  It’s far more than following the rules, rather, how we conduct ourselves in all arenas of life.  Let’s keep moving toward spiritual maturity daily: “let God tranform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.  Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.” (Romans 12:2b, TEV)

Leave a comment »