Introspection and Beyond

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  • September 2013
    S M T W T F S
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    • Update
      This will be a quick post just to give an update. I have been away for a while due to my computer crashing but now have gotten a new one. Well, it is a much smaller one called a netbook as opposed to a notebook. Anyway, it scrunches everything up quite a bit but it […]
    • Waiting Patiently…
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    • When You Feel Like Giving Up…
      As some of you are aware… my family has been going through very deep and dark valleys lately as many others are. This time in our lives are a testament to God’s faithfulness, even when we feel as though He is nowhere to be seen or even felt at times. He is still there. There […]
    • A Heart’s Cry
      Dueteronomy 6:5: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
    • The only TRUE motivation
    • Saying Good-bye is never easy
      As I write this, my thoughts wonder to our beloved friend who we will greatly miss named Keani. Keani was our family kitty whom I have had for over 9 years. She passed away early on Sunday, July 5, 2009. She was gone before we woke. It has taken all this time for me to […]
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      Now, as I write this… my long time friend’s mother is being taken off of life support. My emotions are running the gammot during this time, so I thought I would write about it. My friend, lets call her “H”, and I have known each other for about 13 years. I spent so much time […]
    • A Broken Toe
      Yesterday, while I was cleaning our formal dinning table… I had to walk between the table and our china hutch. Well, the space between the two is a little tight and I ended up ramming my right pinky toe into the corner of the china hutch. This then caused my toe to move outward and […]
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      During the last week or so, I have been struggling a bit regarding my time here… not here on this site, I mean here on this planet. See, recently my husband and I have been given an opportunity to work together in a new business. This couldn’t come at a better time, however, it has […]
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      I have had a hard time today and lately at different times. As many of you know from reading my “About Me” page, I have lost 5 babies. Well, it is difficult during the holidays. Also, I watched a movie tonight that had a young couple loose their baby right after it was born. It […]
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      So, I’ve been a busy little bee lately. I have been working with my husband and a good friend of ours to launch a new company… and boy does it take a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong… I am loving every minute of it! Everything is so new and exciting, I just love […]
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      Well, long time no type! LOL… I have been very busy lately and haven’t had much time to type out a blog post. I always feel like it has to be “just so long” to make it a post, so I guess that has discouraged me a bit from taking the time to post. Anyway, […]
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      Click Here for the Video I just wanted to share this video that I found through Stumbleupon that is really great and inspiring. The dept of love this man has for his son is beyond words. The caption for the video on the site is, “Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son…. […]
    • The Death of my Dad – Part II
      If you have the ability to listen to this video, please do as you read because it will enhance your reading experience. This was the song that I listened to throughout my grieving period and it was comforting. Part I As I stated in my previous post, this ended up being one of the most […]
    • The Death of my Dad – Part I
      If you have the ability to listen to this video, please do as you read because it will enhance your reading experience. This was the song that I listened to throughout my grieving period and it was comforting. Today I am going to write about the death of my dad. I have previously shared some […]
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Archive for September, 2013

40 Days of Challenge – Day 6 Positive Practices and the Danger Zone

Posted by truthoughts on September 29, 2013

40 Days of Challenge

Day 6

Positive Practices and the Danger Zone






Positive Practices


Philippians 2:14 (KJV) “Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings”


Have you ever found yourself making an effort to go out of your way for someone only to find that they respond without the spirit of gratitude?  How did this make you feel?  Did you feel put out or resentful? 


When we come across this type of scenario, and find that it makes us feel upset because of the response or lack thereof, it is time to question our motives.  Are you serving others to be noticed or feel appreciated… or are you serving them as a result of serving Christ? 


If you are serving them as a result of serving Christ, then their reaction to your efforts will not so easily affect your perspective or mood.  If you are in fact serving others to receive something yourself, it may be time to check your love in action meter. 


When we truly submerge ourselves in Christ and the things of Christ, we become filled and do not experience the type of lack that the world does.  This changes our motivations, as we no longer need to do things to get things, because Christ becomes our everything.  We begin to give from the overflow, rather than as a desperate attempt to fill needs not met.  For more on this, please read the challenge from day 4 “Self Control andThoughtfulness“. 


If our expectations are self focused, we more than likely will become disappointed, which in turn discourages us from continuing the positive practices we have committed to through this process.  We must keep in the forefront of our minds, the sacrificial love that Christ Jesus gave to us, and follow His example through the love that He empowers us with by His Spirit.  We cannot accomplish this through our will power and human effort, as He reminds us when He states in Zechariah 4:6 that it is not by might, nor power, but by His Spirit.  These selfless, sacrificial acts of love is how the Lord impacted the world during His time here, and as our example, we must follow His lead. 


There is a saying that “practice makes perfect”, yet this is not the case.  Practice does not make perfect, it just makes permanent.  Only perfect practice, makes permanent perfection.  If we want to live as Christ, as we are called to do, we must make a practice of His works, because only His works are perfect. We are told many times through His Word that He requires good fruit (works) from those who follow Him.  The Lord also shares throughout His Word that His works are what He saw the Father do, and He repeated in the world.  The same example is for us, we do what we saw Him do, through His Word. 


Again, this must come from the overflow of Him in us, His love, His Word, His work.  The Lord made it very clear that our attitude and motivation is very important. He speaks often of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who focused on being recognized rather than serving in love for the purpose of serving.  The Lord makes it quite clear that they have their reward, acknowledgment of the people. However, for those who serve without seeking recognition, it is those whom He will recognize in the end.  Their reward will be great and eternal, given by Him and of Him.  This far outweighs public pronouncements and accolades.  So, when you go forth to serve in love, remember who it is your are actually serving, “as ye did unto the least of these My brethren, ye did unto Me”, and keep a positive attitude with gratitude for all He has done for you (Matthew 25:40). 


One challenge for today is to seek out whom you may serve, without expectations or acknowledgements, merely being satisfied by serving Him through serving them. 


Pray that the Lord will help you to have His servant heart, able to bear witness to those around you through your overflowing acts of love from His blessings.  Pray that these positive practices will both deepen your relationship with Him through understanding and discernment of His Spirit, as well as open doors to share His Word with those you serve.  Pray that He will fill your every need so you can freely give without needing in return, all for His glory and the good of those being served. 


Danger Zone


Proverbs 16:32 (KJV) “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” 


This life can be difficult and tends to build resentment that overflows to those around us at any given opportunity.  Have you ever noticed someone who is faced with a situation that seems small, yet they blow their cool as though someone had threatened their life?  Their rage meter seems to be jammed on the danger zone, and at times these end up on the evening news for going one or more steps too far, according to the rules of society.  This is something we can expect from those in the world, without the hope of Christ, yet what happens when those who claim Him are in this Danger Zone? 


We are told in Scripture that this life is a race, and we are to run it in order to obtain a crown. We are also told that we are surrounded by witnesses, which mean those around us who are paying very close attention to us and our actions, being we claim the name of Chirst.  What witness are you bearing?



1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (KJV) “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth (competes) for the mastery (prize) is temperate in all things (has self control).  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible (perishable) crown; but we an incorruptible (imperishable).” 


Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV) “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 


With this in mind, changing our focus from that of the world who says “Live it up now because tomorrow we may die”, to that of the Scriptures which reveals that we are living for eternity and we must be conscious today for tomorrow is our reward.  This mind-shift changes our race from a sprint to a marathon, and we must adjust accordingly, while remaining conscious of the witness we bear to those watching. 


The way we begin this adjustment is by slowing things down a bit and redirecting our focus to the more important and long lasting aspects of life.  Instead of pushing ourselves to gain finances, obtain earthly rewards and acknowledgements from accomplishments valued by those around us, we take time to equip ourselves with the tools that will gain us endurance for the task ahead. We enhance our discernment by filling our arsenal with the Words of God, as they are like a double-edged sword in the spiritual battles we face.  We begin to run with the purpose of carrying those around us when necessary, instead of just leaving those around us behind in our dust.  We do not focus our time and efforts on climbing a corporate ladder, but rather focus on the ladder that Jacob saw that reached to the heavenly realm. 


Our battle is not with those around us, as they step on many around them to gain momentary monopolies, but rather on the spiritual realm that influences them in their destruction.  With this understanding, we do not react to circumstances, but take the initiative to control the spiritual atmosphere that reflects in the physical.  This mindset allows us to remain in control, minding what matters most, and being effectual in the influences of the witnesses around us to His glory.  Through Christ and His Word, we escape the danger zone which captures so many in the world through its false expectations of success. 


Through the positive practices of our growth in the Scriptures, we gain permanent, positive results that are eternal. 


Your second challenge for today is to take some time and examine your motivations and focus.  Are you living your life for a sprint or a marathon?  Are you concerned with carrying those around you or leaving them in the dust to gain what your heart of flesh desires?  What changes can you make to run in the eternal race effectually and obtain the incorruptible crown of righteousness? 


Also, take the list of questions that you answered in day 3’s challenge, and create a positive practice mission statement. Claim who you are in Christ, using present tense words such as “Iam” rather than “I want to be” or “I will be”.  Place this mission statement where you can read it daily and ponder it throughout the day. 


Acts 24:16 (KJV) “And herein do I exercise myself (this being so I myself strive), to have always a conscience void of (without) offense toward God, and toward men.”








*Day 5: Dare to be Different*


*Day 7: Coming Soon*


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40 Days of Challenge – Day 5 Dare to be Different

Posted by truthoughts on September 28, 2013

40 Days of Challenge

Day 5

Dare to be Different


The Post-It Challenge

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope).”

Isaiah 55:11-12 (KJV) “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void (empty, without fruit), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

Psalm 139:15-17 (KJV) “My substance (frame, bones) was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret, and curiously (skillfully) wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (unformed); and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned (the days fashioned for me), when as yet there was none of them.”

The Word of the Lord is where His will is found. His entire plan is contained within the pages of His book, the Bible.  Though He directs our individual steps in various ways, they all come together for the purpose of fulfilling His ultimate plan.  Therefore, the only way to faithfully walk in His plan, is to know His plan, and the only way to know His plan, is to know His Word.  In the same concept, the only way to know Him (Jesus), is to know His Word, because we are told in John 1:14, that Jesus is the Word in the flesh.  This being the case, if we do not know His Word, how can we know Him?

In the following, I will describe the steps that I took many years ago, when I first began my conscious walk with the Lord.  I say conscious because I always believed who He was, but never made the committed action of seeking Him for the purpose of knowing Him and being pleasing to Him.  Just as with a new romantic relationship, we are drawn to our partner with an intense desire to fully and completely KNOW them.  We seek to find ways to be pleasing to them, and not to offend them in any way.  Well, our relationship with the Lord should be no different.

When I was 18 years old, I made the commitment to search God’s Word in order to find out who He is and how to please Him.  I decided to read His Word from beginning to end, all the way through.  No matter how long it would take, I was committed to this task.  I began with a prayer every day before ever opening His Word. I would ask for Him to reveal Himself to me through His Word and help me to understand His Word and His Will.  I asked Him to show me what was pleasing to Him and also to reveal to me what displeased Him, and to help me become pleasing to Him.  This was my daily prayer.

As I began to read through His Word, I would come across promises He gave to those who were His.  I made a choice to write these promises on post-it notes and placed them on my wall in my bedroom.  Each day, in the morning and again at night, I would pray these very words of His promises. Soon I began to realize that each of these promises included requirements and / or restrictions (loop holes).  For example, we discussed in an earlier challenge that though Scripture says that we can have whatever we ask for in His name, if we do not receive what we ask, it is because we have asked according to our lusts and not according to His Will.  This is the requirement for the blessing /promise.  In most churches, you will merely hear about the promises, as with most books, and never hear about the required steps to obtain these promises.

With this in mind, I began to add the requirement, coupled with the promise, into a notebook.  I would read these daily, and daily add to them.  Over time I began to remember His Words and could pray accordingly.  I knew that regardless of my past, who I was, etc… He could not deny Himself (His Word), and that He accomplishes His Word – even if just for His name’s sake.

Psalm 79:9 (KJV) “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy name’s sake.”

Isaiah 48:11 (KJV) “For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.”

Daniel 9:19 (KJV) “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.”

Your challenge for this day is to begin seeking the Lord, and learning how to be pleasing to Him.  Commit to reading through His Word from beginning to end, one day at a time.  Do not set a time limit upon this task because it will hinder your purpose.  Read with the purpose of knowing Him.  Some days you may read more than others, some days less… Let Him guide you through this process.  Remain open to His Word and His Spirit.  Be willing to let go of all preconceived notions of who you were taught that He is, and just get to know who He is, as revealed in His Word. Be sure to read at least some, every day.

In addition to reading His Word, and praying, choose to write His promises down in either a journal or something similar to the post-its that I once did.  Read over these at least once a day and commit them to prayer.  This is a powerful tool against all attacks from the enemy, including your own doubts and insecurities.  No matter what you face, keep on – faithfully, and you will grow in Him far more than you can currently imagine.

Allow His Word to conform you, mold you, teach you, correct you, and guide you – in every step.  Remind yourself of what you have read, throughout the day, as you are faced with life.  Remember that true love, as with His Word, lifts you to a higher standard, and is willing to achieve the utmost – beyond any obstacles.  True achievement and growth only comes when you dare to be different.

Psalm 4:3 (KJV) “But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.”





**Day 4: Self Control and Thoughtfulness**

** Day 6: Positive Practices and the Danger Zone**

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40 Days of Challenge – Day 4 Self Control and Thoughtfulness

Posted by truthoughts on September 25, 2013

40 Days of Challenge

Day 4

Self Control and Thoughtfulness


Self Control

James 1:19-20 (KJV)  “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not (does not produce) the righteousness of God.”

Many times in our human relationships, we find it difficult to hold our tongue from interjecting so others can “see what we see” and avoid unnecessary pit falls and disasters.  When someone does this repeatedly, often we consider this nagging.  Women are dominantly categorized with this negative characteristic.  However, it is not the motive that is bad, but rather the implementation which is rejected.

In addition to this “jumping the gun”, we find it difficult to hold back the “I told you so”, when the “inevitable” occurs.

Proverbs 18:19,21 (KJV)  “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

James 3:8-10 (KJV) “But the tongue can not man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude (likeness) of God.  Out of the same mouth proceeded blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be.”

You may now be asking yourself, how are you suppose to tame your tongue when Scripture just said, “But the tongue can no man tame”.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (self control).”

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV) “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self control): against such there is no law.”

The answer is that through the patience and self control empowered to you through the Holy Spirit of God, as His gift to you, that you can accomplish this.  It can never be accomplished through mere strength of your own will.  Like an overflowing fountain, whatever is in you (your spirit), good – bad – beautiful – ugly, is going to come out of your mouth eventually.

Those who attempt to use human will power to suppress what is inside are merely creating a pressure cooker that will one day explode.  This is how terms of reference, such as “going postal” came to be part of our generation’s understanding of an emotional blow up in a physical manifestation.

As we have now touched on this subject from the lighter aspect of nagging and bragging, to the extreme of “going postal”, lets examine one step that can be done to change this direction in a positive and Biblical path.  Using an example of someone I know, who’s action in this regard has greatly impacted me in this area.  My husband, Bradley, and I assisted Roger Oakland in his Understand The Times ministry in the early 2000’s.  If you have ever listened to one of his radio broadcasts or read one of his books, you may have noticed what I am about to share with you.

Roger’s initial approach when addressing a controversial topic is just to ask a logical, thought provoking question.  In addition to this, after he lays some foundational groundwork on the topic, he ends in reiteration of the initial question. This concept can be applied in every area of controversy.

Taking a step back to our original focus of nagging and bragging, how do you see ways that Roger’s concept can apply?  Here is an example :

A husband desires to take a life changing direction by accepting a job he was offered, across the country.   This job opportunity would pay more money and allow him a change in focus to a new field, not previously explored; however the husband focuses on the more money and change opportunity rather than concerns regarding his lack of experience, a lack of a support system (family, friends) in the area, and the intense requirements to maintain his new position (longer hours, travel, pressured deadlines, etc).

The wife, deciding she needs to approach this delicately, as to not hinder his ego or dreams, yet desiring him to view this in a more grounded perspective, asks a nonthreatening question.  “Honey, how do you see this playing out?”, she asks.

Her husband responds with all of his excited hopes of what can be done with the extra money, as well as being able to learn something new.  So, she asks him how they will coordinate their time together with his new schedule? This stumps him a bit at first, but he quickly responds with, “We’ll figure it out”.  She then asks about who they will have watch the kids, as their parents took turns babysitting.  His initial though is that they will find someone.   The wife decides to leave it at this for now and pray about it.

A few days go by, and these questions continue to come up in the husband’s mind.  He becomes bothered by not having a plan, which then causes him to ponder other aspects he had not looked at.  With this, he begins to see the positives in their current situation.  He took his concerns to the Lord, and only felt peace in remaining where he was, understanding that the Lord would provide for their needs. He then made the decision that was best for his family, rather than what appeared attractive to him on the surface.

The enemy knows that our flesh likes shiny, pretty things, and he appeals to this weakness when tempting us to ultimate destruction.

I once heard a reference that as the man is the head of the house, the woman is like the neck, with the ability to sway the head in a certain direction.  This is why Satan approached Eve in the garden, because he knew she could sway Adam’s direction.  A wife has a great role in her marriage, and because of this, the husband has a great responsibility to cover her spiritually.  If the husband chooses not to cover and lead his wife and family, he only sets himself on a path toward destruction.  (In regard to how to lead by serving, please read the previous challenges)

As with the analogy above, children can be seen as legs and feet, or arms and hands, to which they become extensions in action of how they are led – in the Lord or in the world.

One challenge for today is to approach any conflicts through thought provoking questions, rather than nagging and bragging.

Pray that the Lord will give you peace and clarity of thought, as well as inspiring you with the best wording for your questions. Pray that He reveal to you the complete truth of the matter, and guide you in His desired direction. *Be willing to be led, as it may be you the Lord desires to change*


Psalm 139:17-18 (KJV) “How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!  how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake; I am still with Thee.”

Genesis 4:9 (KJV) “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In the self centered world today, the common thought is that you are not responsible for anyone but yourself.  When one might be accountable for another, we may ask as did Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In John 21:15-17, we see the Lord’s command to Peter, first to feed (instruct, lead) His lambs, and twice to feed His sheep.

It is the self centered who refuse accountability. Once we commit to following Christ, we commit to conforming (growing) into His image (ways), and to leading others in that same path.

Too many neglect to weigh the cost (requirements) of salvation.  Many pastors have resorted to paving a wide and easy path for the self centered to make it through to Heaven, yet we are told that the only way is through Jesus as the door, and the path is narrow where only a few make it; even the disciples were concerned that anyone could make it through (Matthew 19:25).  We are warned that we must walk through fires of purification to weigh our works, at times suffering loss, which is painful. We are told that only those who overcome and remain faithful in their continued walk will make it.

Are we our brother’s keeper? Yes. (I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 8 forcontextual clarification and understanding)

Matthew 18:5-7 (KJV) “And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offenses!  for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”

In regard to these last days, we are told:

Matthew 24:10 (KJV) “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”

To many the Lord will respond with:

Matthew 20:40,45 (KJV) “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me… Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”

Today’s second challenge is to be conscious of how you impart through words, thoughts, and actions to those around you…especially those of your household.

Pray that the Lord will open the eyes of your understanding and quicken your discernment in the midst of circumstances. Pray for guidance and His love and patience to walk faithfully in the path He has chosen for you – to make a good witness of your profession of faith.  Also that those within your influence will be inspired by you to faithfully follow, in Truth, the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 55:7 (KJV) “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”






*Day 3: Introspection and Unselfish Love*

*Day 5: Dare to be Different*

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40 Days of Challenge – Day 3 Introspection and Unselfish Love

Posted by truthoughts on September 24, 2013

40 Day Challenge

Day 3

Introspection and Unselfish Love



Biblical Wife

Jeremiah 17:10 (KJV) “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Though this first section is specifically subtitled “Biblical Wife”, we all who follow the Lord Jesus, are called the Bride of Christ.  So, if you are a woman, see this as an aspect of your physical position in this life and as part of the Church.  If you are a man, see how you may fit into this subsection in regard to being a part of the Bride in your relationship to the Lord and as a witness to those around you. 

This subsection of today’s challenge will begin with a myriad of questions to promote some self introspection and clarity of your personal perspective along these lines. We will then explore the aspects of unselfish love. 

(1)  Are you frequent and consistent in your prayer time and Bible readings?

(2)  Are your daily decisions guided by what God’s will is in regard to His Word?

(3)  Do you maintain a heart of gratitude for God and what He has done for you?

(4)  Is your priority to please God or to please people?

(5)  Is your priority to be holy or happy in life?   

The questions above are focused on your preparatory foundation for discipleship and maturity in both your human and faith-based relationships.  If you find that you are not able to honestly answer positively to these questions, what is there you feel you could do to grow in these areas? Create a plan of action and step up to follow through with that plan. 

The following questions are geared more toward your home life, but can also be seen as examples of your person-hood / temple of the Holy Spirit and your life in general. 

(1)  Is your home under control, or chaotic? (housework, environment feel, disciplined -obedient children, etc.)

(2)  Are you able and comfortable at a moment’s notice, to entertain company, without feeling embarrassed by the appearance or the behavior of your family members? 

(3)  How do you manage your time throughout the day? Are you able to accomplish all you have set before you to do, or do you struggle regularly with everyday tasks? 

Just as with the first set of questions, if you are unable to respond in a positive way to the above, create a plan of action to tackle these areas and strengthen the pillars of your surroundings.  This will help you to be more effective in every area of your life, which is exactly where God wants you to be.  You will be of much more use to Him if you can manage your home and person-hood. 

1 Timothy 3:5 (KJV) “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”

In the next set of questions, you will evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in regard to how you relate with others. This is very important in every relationship and gives necessary strength to every witness. 

(1)  Do you communicate with others in a concise way, or are you typically a rambler, easily distracted and going off on tangents? 

(2)  Are you a good listener?  Do you really hear what is being said to you and ponder it before speaking, or do you hear bits and pieces, being more concerned about what you may say next?

(3)  When you speak to others, especially your spouse and the Lord, do you speak in a respectful manner, or are you critical, sarcastic, and rude in your tone?

(4)  Are you able to express yourself to get your point across without others feeling that you are attacking them? 

(5)  Does your spouse, or others, able to freely share their thoughts and feelings with you – in confidence and fearless trust?  This will reveal if even the Lord can trust you with deeper insights. 

(6)  Do you publicly recognize when others do well, or do you speak judgmentally or critically to and over them? 

(7)  Is the perception you give to others one of being positive or negative? 

The above questions you just answered reveal a great deal about your strengths and weaknesses.  Many of these are critical to a healthy relationship, especially in marriage.  They also allow you to see if or why you may or may not be used more by the Lord. 

Luke16:10-11 (KJV) “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.  If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”

These following questions will reveal your character.   Be honest, because the first step in making changes in the right direction, is acknowledging the truth, then seeing steps to strengthen those areas of weakness. The entire purpose of our lives on this earth is to grow into the image of Christ, and to be used by Him to the fullest extent, for His glory and your good.  This means that there must always be growth, every day that He grants you. 

(1)  Do others consider you to be confident, arrogant, or aggressive?  If so, why?

(2)  Do you usually express the Spirit of power, love, and self control (discipline), or one of fear and timidity? 

(3)  If the Lord asks you to do something, do you boldly obey, or hesitate from fear or doubt?

(4)  Do you believe that you must understand God’s purpose for your life before moving forward, or do you move forward, trusting He will direct your steps in the way of His will? 

(5)  Are you comfortable and confident to initiate intimacy in your relationship with your spouse, as well as with the Lord (by revealing the real you)?

(6)  How do you handle stress in life?  Are you positive and graceful about it, or do you react according to the degree of stress you are facing with tension?

After answering the above questions, how did this exercise make you feel?  Why do you believe that you felt the way that you did while responding?  Do you feel you can trust those feelings?  Why or why not?  What are the two points above (out of all of the questions) are you the most drawn to with a desire to improve in?  Why did you choose those two?

Do you believe that you can accomplish growth in those two aspects, or additional aspects covered above?  What would it look like to you for you to see yourself overcoming in those areas?  How do you believe these changes can affect your relationships, both human and with the Lord? Now, with all that being said, are you committed to growing toward the Lord in His image, and expressing this to those around you? 

Take a moment to pray to the Lord to help equip you for this journey.  Ask Him to reveal His Word and His Will to you in an easy and clear way.  Request His assistance through His Spirit, and to surround you with those trusted in Him to help disciple you through this changing process.  Pray that He will guard you through this and strengthen every area of weakness so that through your weakness, He is shown strong. 

Unselfish Love

Romans12:10 (KJV) “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”

First, let’s clarify something.  As we know that the world’s various societies, especially in the west (United States), we are exposed to cultures of “self” focus. The range of self focus ranges from the typical self-centeredness (vanity), to secular self improvements using new age philosophies.  All of these go against love and the example set forth by Christ for those who follow Him. This being the case, we must focus to a certain extent upon ourselves in regard to making changes which conform to Christ according to His Word.  This is where these challenges come in. 

You may have noticed that I have included some reference links at the bottom of each of these challenge posts.  These links are to books which I am reading, that assist in the ideas from which I am sharing.  My issue with these books is that they are mostly self focused singularly, and I am trying to spread that out to show how some aspects cover our relationship with the Lord as well.  As shared in the previous two posts, all of our human relationships are examples and training grounds for our relationship with the Lord.  If we can better understand how to properly relate to each other in a Biblical way, then we can better understand how we relate to the Lord and vice verse. 

We know from the words of our Lord, that we are to deny ourselves (our desires, will,wants, dreams, etc.) for the sake of Christ and His will.  This is love, to lay your own life down for another.  Jesus said this is the greatest love, whether by death or even by living for another, for their good and not your own (john 15:13). 

When someone is in a relationship that is dominantly a self-centered relationship,as most secular relationships are, an environment of neediness, increasingly demanding,and overly sensitive which becomes an unhealthy cycle of abuse.  This abuse is that of misusing another to fulfill holes within yourself.  When we are complete in Christ, reliant upon Him alone to fill and complete us, we can then have an abundance of overflow to be as His image to those around us.  The Lord is able to fill our cups to overflowing so that those around us will be blessed by what floods beyond ourselves.  When we are lacking, we become like a sponge, leaching everything out of those around us.  In this, we are of no use to the Lord because He has to send others to help us.  Though we may find ourselves in this situation from time to time, some live in this type of circumstance.  You can tell the difference between one who finds themselves in many battles, yet still manages to continually give of themselves, and others who find themselves in constant battles, yet can only take from others and never giving anything of worth to others. 

This being the case, it is through marital relationships that these tendencies are enhanced.  There is no other relationship that better exemplifies our relationship with the Lord, than the husband and wife.  When a couple come together, begin dating, all seems great.  True, they may have issues (disagreements) from time to time, but normally nothing major (at least in the moment).  However, once this couple marries, those minor disagreements become major battle grounds, if not addressed quickly and correctly.  We are never promised to get along with everyone always, and being in the flesh, we may not always understand the reasons behind why the Lord does some of the things that He does.  This can be very frustrating.  Outwardly, we may appear graceful and content, but inwardly we may be screaming and stomping around in selfish reactions.  In a marriage, these inward reactions become outward reactions and reveal weaknesses that are in need of attention.  If we can gain control over these areas in the physical, we will be more mature in the image of Christ in our relationship of faith. 

Some masks that selfishness displays are moodiness, complaining, laziness, irresponsibility, boasting, bragging, overly talking and not listening, among many others.  Even doing what may appear as selfless, can in fact be selfish, when it is done for the sake of bragging, manipulating for control, or receiving an award for it.  This is something the Lord spoke in great deal about against the Pharisees. 

As you are reading through these points, does your mind wonder to areas you may be weak in, or your spouse’s weaknesses? This can reveal your true heart in this matter.  As Kendrick states in The Love Dare, “you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself” (p. 12). True love, as shared in 1 Corinthians 13:5 does not seek its own.  The true key in showing true love for others is found in humility.  Even salvation is found only once we humble ourselves, recognize we have sinned against the Lord, and repent (turn from those sins), and follow Him faithfully. 

The expression of selfless love can be seen from smaller examples of serving your spouse before yourself, or in the larger picture of jumping in front of a bullet to protect them.  Both expressions are from the same type of love.  When a couple begins to date, the female takes note in the back of her mind of the things her prospective husband does or does not do. Does he open her door?  Does he guide her into a room?  Does he give more attention and care to his vehicle than her? How much time does he spend asking her questions verses talking about himself?  These small things reveal a great deal.  As we discussed previously, those small things we see in the dating relationship are only heightened in the marriage.  These little expressions can also show a great deal of the man’s relationship with the Lord.  Many times there are some men who go to church to be near a woman.  They spend a lot of time doing what they believe she desires of them, but not truly being a converted man of God.  A true woman of God can spot this falsity quickly, even if just through their conversation and focus outside of the church.  If more would properly inspect their potential partner, as well as themselves, more marriages would last and be faithful witnesses to the unfaithful world around them. 

Regardless of how you may view yourself in this moment, ask yourself if your spouse believes that you have their best interest at heart. If you cannot honestly respond with “yes”, then ask yourself or your spouse, “What can you do to create an environment that would make them believe that you do?”.  In the same manner, can you honestly say that the Lord believes that you seek His will over your own?  If not, what can you do to make this a reality?

Philippians2:3-5 (KJV) “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not everyman on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

As with the example above pertaining to a man focusing on his vehicle more than his partner, and as a person may focus more on their job than their obedience to the Lord… Realize that where your time and money are, is where your heart will be. 

Matthew6:21 (KJV) “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

For today’s challenge, spend some time and money on a special gift for your love done.  Put thought into what they would like or appreciate rather than what you would like or appreciate.  Also, spend some extra time in prayer and in reading God’s Word, as well as give something of value (energy, money, etc.) to doing something the Lord is placing upon your heart to do for Him.  Regardless of the outcome, (appreciation or lack thereof) continue on in this direction, while keeping up with the previous challenges and know that soon you will see things change for the better. 

James 3:16-18 (KJV) “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”





**Day 2: Introspection and Kindness**

**Day 4: Self Control and Thoughtfulness**

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