Journey of Faith: Day 30

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Day 30: Dare to Be the First One to Change

We have finally reached the end of the 30-Day Faith Dare challenge. This book has been an amazing journey and I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts on each chapter with you all. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to grow their faith.

Wrapping up this challenge the book discusses not waiting to make any changes, but acting right now. Do not wait on someone else to make the first move, don’t wait until the situation seems just right, act now and act fast. We must take the opportunity of every given moment we have. We’re not guaranteed another one. It doesn’t have to be a huge leap, just a step in the right direction. Every little step adds up to something greater in the end. Our norm as we go about our day-to-day may look rushed, hurried, and impatient. Next time, say “hello” to the new couple at church, strike up a conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, really take the time to listen to someone; you never know the influence or life that may be changed just by making small changes to your typical routine. God works in mysterious ways and we usually don’t have to look hard or too far to see the evidence.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Psalm 139:23-24)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters,

(Colossians 3:23)

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

(Colossians 3:2-3)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5:14-16)

 

*photo: http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Journey of Faith: Day 29

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Day 29: Dare to Choose Contentment in Your Relationships

Disappointments are inevitable. That is just a part of life. Terrible circumstances occur, friends and family let us down, life doesn’t go the way you planned. We cannot escape disappointments and setbacks, but we can control how we react to them. The way we respond is determined by our attitude. We can choose to let it beat us down or we can choose to look for the bright side and see the best in that person or situation.

“No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.”

(unknown)

We can choose to hold a grudge over the person that wronged us, we can choose to not forgive, and always hold it over their heads. But we can also choose to see the wrong for what it is…a mistake. I make mistakes all the time, it is wrong of me to think that those closest to me can’t also make them. Always choose forgiveness. See them for the person they are, the person they are becoming, not who they used to be, not for the mistake they made. We can’t expect our relationships to grow and develop if we can’t move forward together in love and peace. Many lessons can be learned and even bigger mistakes avoided by how we deal with life’s upsets.

Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

(Philippians 4:4-8)

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

(Philippians 4:11-13)

 

Journey of Faith: Day 28

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Day 28: Dare to Seek Another’s Best

We say we want the best for someone else, but do we really? Deep down do we want them to have the very best? Because for them to have the very best, that may mean more than what we have. Are we humble enough to make such a bold statement and genuinely mean it? To think of others more than ourselves goes above and beyond what this world teaches. Daily we are taught me, me, me; ways to improve self, how to get ahead, etc. Life is all a game, one big competition.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

(Hebrews 3:13)

What if each day, instead of finding ways to get ahead of everyone else, we looked for ways to build up each other’s strengths? How would it look if we encouraged one another, built up their successes, and genuinely prayed for them to have the best in life? It’s easier to ask this of the ones we love and care for, but what about the ones who have it out for us?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

(Matthew 7:12)

We also need to have the right attitude. We can’t just make a deal with someone that if they pray for us to have the best, then we’ll do the same for them. That is not what this verse is saying. If we seek to be like Christ each day, then our attitude towards others must also reflect His. We are called to be set apart, different from this world. Today, think of the most selfless person you know, channel their attitude out towards others.

Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good. Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

(Psalm 25:6-10)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

(Luke 6:27-31)

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

(Romans 12:10)

*photo from: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

Journey of Faith: Day 27

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Day 27: Dare to Be Generous in Love and Practical Kindness

Every day we are surrounded by people in need. It may not be money, it could be an encouraging word, a hug, a hot meal, a helping hand around the house. Sometimes it’s obvious to spot the needs of others, but I believe often you’ll have to dig a little deeper. We are all experts at hiding behind our feelings and emotions, stuffing them way down inside to hide it from others. Some may never consider asking for help and try their best to ignore their current situation.

As Christians, we are called to have servant hearts. What does that mean exactly? “Having a servant’s heart means you will do whatever you need to do to help others regardless of the pay, the job description, or where the job needs to be performed.”1 Having a servant heart also means that we put other’s needs before our own. It means going the extra mile, extending a hand when you may not feel like it, going above and beyond to show your love and concern for all of God’s people. And you do not have to look very far to find someone to love and show kindness toward. They are within your church family, your coworkers you see every day, your own family you share a house with. Start there and extend the love out to the community.

Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker is one of my favorite blogs to follow right now. He wrote a great post awhile back that goes right along with this one. He offers up a challenge to offer a compliment with every conversation you have. The link is here: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/good-word/. I hope you will accept this challenge with me and that it becomes a regular part of your routine.

 

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

(Luke 6:38)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

(Galatians 6:9-10)

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

(Hebrews 13:1-2)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

(Mark 10:45)

 

1 http://worldprayrblog.org/a-servants-heart/

*Photo: revelationsofprofoundlove.com

 

Journey of Faith: Day 26

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Day 26: Dare to Walk in Humility and Grace Toward Others

We live in a very selfish, me first society. Everything revolves around self and putting our own needs before others. Fame, fortune, and power are all about building up our own lives and getting ahead of everyone else, no matter the risk, no matter how many people we hurt along the way. This is not how we should be going about our lives. As a matter of fact, we are called to do the exact opposite.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)

Jesus was the epitome of a selfless person. He humbled himself, being made human, suffering through temptations, humiliation, death of friends, being crucified himself to save us all, knowing that we would not all come to know Him. If our lives are supposed to mirror His, why are we so inwardly focused?

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

I can guarantee that you will become a happier, more pleasant person when you begin putting others’ needs before your own. You don’t have to make a grand gesture, just doing something small and meaningful to someone can turn their whole day around and affect them in ways you couldn’t imagine. In turn, it will make you feel good knowing you brightened someone’s day and seeing a smile on their face.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

(Romans 8:5)

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

(1 Peter 5:5-8)

As a prisoner for the LORD, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

(Ephesians 4:1-2)

 

*photo from: quotesvalley.com

 

Journey of Faith: Day 25

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Day 25: Dare to Use Your Tongue to Bless and Build Up Others

I am sure we have all heard the saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.” This powerfully true statement is much easier said than done. How often do we carry this out? Many times, our words are out before we’ve given anything a second thought and we quickly regret what was said. I can’t tell you how many times I have said something and wished so badly I could take it back. Unfortunately, we can never put back the words we’ve already spoken.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

(James 1:19)

When we listen to songs on the radio and hear a certain one multiple times we can find ourselves singing along to it later, after we’re out of the car and it’s long off the radio. Same thing applies to the words we constantly hear, whether they’re positive or negative. If we are surrounded by people who frequently use bad language or gossip, how easy it is for those same words to eventually find their way out of our own mouths. We know we shouldn’t say it and maybe we try to stop the habit, but the more we hear it the more we say it, and the more we say it the harder it’s going to be to stop. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with good influences, people that use kind, loving language. Their language should be used for encouragement and building others up, not degrading or tearing them down.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

(Ephesians 4:29)

The next time a negative thought or word begins to form on your lips really try to stop and process those words. Are they words of encouragement, kindness, love? If not, then why are you speaking them?

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

(Matthew 12:33-35)

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our LORD and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

(James 3:7-10)

 

*photo from: ryancairnsmyp.wordpress.com

 

Journey of Faith: Day 24

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Day 24: Dare to Allow Your Heart to Connect and Your Mind to Engage with Others

Making yourself available to others is scary. And I am not just talking about romantically, I am speaking about relationships in general. It is very uncomfortable to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to open yourself up to someone else. Sometimes a certain level of trust needs to be established before you feel safe to do so. And sometimes the easy way out is to not allow anyone in at all. It is so much easier to not let others in, to close yourself off. I believe the common thought is that any potential for future hurt or pain from that person can be avoided if we close ourselves off. And while we may avoid being hurt by others we are hurting ourselves by not allowing those relationships to form.

I speak for myself in writing this. I prefer to keep a lot of things quiet or at least keep it in for a long time, much longer than necessary. This blog has helped me get some things out in the open somewhat. Still, it is easier hiding behind words on a computer screen. And to be honest, starting this blog was a scary experience. It is not as hard as it used to be the more I write and the more I share with you guys. Each post is one step further away from my comfort zone, but I can feel it helping in so many ways.

God’s plan for each of us was not to be alone. And again, I am not talking about marriage here, although that is very good as well. When God created Adam, he knew he should not be alone. He had given him everything in the Garden of Eden, yet God saw the need for another person to join him. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man (Genesis 2:18-22).

God saw the importance of relationships that day in the garden. He saw how much we need each other to share life’s burdens, to encourage and support one another. Maybe you do not have a problem sharing with your family or even sharing with the public through writing, but when it comes to your church family and even your friends in person, it’s easier to close off. Those of us that are blessed with having a church family and good friends in our lives, do not shut them out. They are there with open arms and open hearts waiting for you to take the first step. Share with them your story, pray with them, study with them, it will get easier the more you do it. Think of the weight that will be lifted when you begin sharing with others. Maybe you’ve been hurt in the past by someone close to you and your level of trust for others takes longer to build. Just take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

 

Behold, how good and pleasant it is     when brothers dwell in unity!

(Psalm 133:1)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

(Romans 12:9-10)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

(Romans 12:15-16)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

(Hebrews 10:24-25)

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

(Ephesians 4:2-3)

A friend loves at all times,     and a brother is born for adversity.

(Proverbs 17:17)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

 *photo from kurtbubna.com