Flow

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Every January I choose a word on which to focus throughout the year. I actually take time to ponder, pray, listen and consider the direction the Lord is leading me. This year I kept coming back to the word flow. Now that may seem peculiar at first glance, but let me explain. Often when I am writing or speaking, I ask God to allow His love to flow through me and touch the lives of others in a powerful and personal way. I want to be a vessel used by Him, inviting the flow of His Spirit to work through me. That’s why flow makes sense.

Funny thing, but every year as I choose my word, I instantly start noticing the word everywhere. As I’m in conversations with friends or reading a book or listening to a podcast, my mind is more attentive to the word, and I tend to perk up and pay attention when I run across it. Just in the first few weeks of January, I’ve discovered stories, quotes and Bible verses all referring to flow in various ways.

One important aspect of flow, is that it implies movement. It’s not stagnant, but dynamic. It reminds me to never grow stagnant in my faith or my relationships. Flow stimulates me to be thankful for the blessings I have received and to look for ways to be a blessing to others. Certainly there is a time to rest. To be clear, flowing doesn’t necessarily mean we are busy all the time. It simply means we are a conduit of God’s love and grace no matter where He places us. As we lay down our lives we invite God to flow through us. This week, let’s be intentional about allowing God’s Spirit to flow through us bringing rivers of blessings to others.

John 7:37-39 New International Version (NIV)

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

If you haven’t already done so, take some time to consider and choose a word to ponder this year.

Over the next few days, I’ll share on my facebook author page, some of the ways the word “Flow” has been showing up in my daily conversations and study.

Facing the Mountains in Your Life

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When I was in high school, my mother took me to a lecture presented by Sir Edmund Hillary. I must admit, at the time I was not overly excited about hearing some old guy talk about how he climbed a mountain. It wasn’t until he started speaking that I realized this man had accomplished a feat that was considered unconquerable. This was a man who faced the seemingly impossible, pushed past the limitations and climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Before his successful expedition in 1953, numerous groups had tried and failed to reach the summit. Even within his own expedition group, all but two of the climbers turned back because of exhaustion at the high altitude.

Despite the obstacles, discouragement and even abandonment of his group, Sir Edmund Hillary persevered. His accomplishment was celebrated worldwide and his influence inspired many others to reach toward their own personal goals. Oddly, Sir Edmund originally earned his living as a beekeeper in New Zealand. He started climbing mountains in his own country as a bit of a hobby. Little by little he progressed to climbing the Alps and eventually the Himalayas. The small mountains led to bigger mountains, preparing him to conquer the highest mountain – Mount Everest.

What are the mountains in your life? Mountains come in all shapes and sizes. They may be in the form of a difficult work relationship or a rebellious child or an overwhelming project that keeps you up at night. Some mountains may develop in our lives in the form of financial issues or a troubled marriage or even trying to lose weight. Actually, there are also mountains in our lives that aren’t expressly negative, some of our greatest mountains may include starting a new business or learning a new skill set or language.

Each mountain that we scale in life, strengthens us and prepares us to face grander mountains ahead. Whether we choose the mountain or the mountain chooses us, we still have a choice as to how we will deal with it. We can either look at the mountains in our lives and grumble and complain about them, or we can choose to begin to climb them and conquer them. The secret to rising to the top of any mountain rests in our attitude and ability to persevere. Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” From beekeeper to record breaker, Hillary conquered fears, discouragements and failures. It didn’t all happen at once, but he grew from each experience. We too can look at each mountain in our lives as an opportunity to grow and become stronger as a person.

 

I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way,

I can choose to respond in one of two ways:

 I can whine or I can worship!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 

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Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

Pick a Few and Get Started!

 

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When I was a young girl, my parents took us to Barnhill’s Restaurant in Akron, Ohio. It was our favorite place to eat dinner because the entrance of the store was filled with barrels and bins of every kind of candy you can imagine. After dinner, our parents would give us a little money to spend on candy, and we had a blast figuring out how we wanted to spend our money. It was overwhelming! How do you choose when there are so many options? Well, that’s the way you may feel about choosing Bible verses and passages you want to memorize. There’s so many good rich passages that it’s hard to know where to start. Yet if we want our minds to be filled with the beautiful truths of God’s Word, we need to choose a few passages and begin the process of committing them to memory.

Last week, as we examined healthy self-talk, I mentioned I would share with you some of my favorite verses. These are verses that I recite by memory every morning. I encourage you to begin keeping your own personal list of passages that will help you replace negative thoughts with positive truths from God’s Word. You will see that I use different translations for different passages. Generally, I like to memorize in New International Version, but sometimes I will memorize in New Living Translation or English Standard Version. Here’s the list of my daily seven:

 

 Psalm 37:23-24 (nlt)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.

He delights in every detail of their lives.

 Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.

 

Psalm 62:5-8

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,

for my hope is in him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress where I will not be shaken.

My victory and honor come from God alone.

He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in him at all times.

Pour out your heart to him,

for God is our refuge.

 

John 15:5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Psalm 23 (nlt)

The Lord is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.

 

Hebrews 10:23-25

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 (nlt)

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

 

 

Perhaps you liked some of these verses. I know they make a difference in my thinking –  changing defeat into hope and fear into strength. I encourage you to find verses that will encourage you and commit them to memory. For practical tips on memorizing Bible verses, check out Becoming a Woman of the Word.

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What Makes a Great Leader?

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Over the years, I’ve become fairly perceptive at recognizing qualities that make a poor leader. It’s probably because I’ve placed one too many people in leadership positions, and realized they were doing more harm than good. Thankfully we can learn and grow from our mistakes. Here’s my short list of characteristics of a not-so-great leader.
Generally speaking it’s not a good idea to choose a person for leadership who:
• Tends to gossip or look down on others.
• Complains rather than finds solutions.
• Has no initiative and can’t make decisions.
• Doesn’t work well with people.
• Is a discourager rather than an encourager.
• Is self-centered – in it for themselves.
• Is constantly wondering what people think about them.
• Has an aversion to hard work and serving others.
• Lacks determination and drive.

What would you add to the list? It’s easy to think up a list of negative qualities born out of our own experiences, but it takes a little more thought and insight to come up with a list of positive leadership qualities. One characteristic that seems to surface in great leaders is their ability to motivate others. For some, this intangible ability to inspire and influence seems to come naturally, while other leaders discover their ability to impassion people through the School of Hard Knocks. How can we unleash our inner influence and ability to inspire?

In his book, Visioneering, Andy Stanley described a great leader in the Bible, Nehemiah: “He was just a regular guy who caught a divine glimpse of what could and should be. And then went after it with all his heart.” In reading the story of Nehemiah, there are several themes that continue to surface again and again. These seem to be the key to Nehemiah’s inspiring leadership abilities. I would encourage you as a leader to read the story of Nehemiah yourself and discover the powerful lessons of his life. Here’s the principles I glean from his example:
• He possessed a personal and heart-felt passion for the project.
• He was committed to the mission and determined to see it through.
• He was persistent despite the challenges.
• He sincerely cared about the protection and well-being of the people.
• He appealed to people’s hearts and core motivation, not just the external.
• He put the right people in the right positions, utilizing their gifts and talents.
• He wasn’t swayed by the opposition or people’s opinions.
• He empowered the people to do their jobs well.
• He prayed for God’s direction throughout every twist and turn.

We can all use an example to inspire and teach us when it comes to leadership. Nehemiah is one of my heroes. Who inspires and teaches you?

Positive Leadership Principles for Women: 8 Secrets to Inspire and Impact Everyone Around You

By Karol Ladd / Harvest House Publishers

As a woman you have the chance to make a positive difference in your family, community, and society. In Positive Leadership for Women Karol Ladd uses examples from the lives of people in the Bible to highlight eight godly leadership principles and attitudes that will inspire you to grow in your role as a godly influencer.