The Hard Work of Cultivating Community

By Brooke

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On Monday we talked about the model we have been given in the Israelite’s of what community in Christ can and should look like. The cultivating of it can be the hard part…

Sometimes just showing up is the hard part.

When breaking hard and dry ground with heavy blows of equipment, or sometimes our bare hands, and watering is found only in blood, sweat and tears, we can get discouraged. God’s remedy is community.

Communion with Him first that inspires community with others.

“If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.”-1 John 1:6-7 (the Message)

Christ first–then the blessing of one another.

By definition, community is a social group of any size whose members agree to joint possession, enjoyment and liability of their value.  To cultivate is to devote oneself to others to promote, develop, and improve growth by labor and attention.

I love that. Joint possession, enjoyment and liability. Cultivating may be less than ideal at times, but doing it for the sake of community guarantees us JOINT possession, enjoyment and liability with Christ in the Kingdom and others here on earth.

So go get your hands dirty. Dig your hands deep into some hard dirt and maybe water it with some long needed tears, Once they’ve been washed by the King, go hold someone else’s hands while they do the same, or better yet, let someone else hold yours.

Its worth it.

brooke

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The Model of Community

By Brooke

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Community matters to God. His Word speaks of it 86 times in the NIV.

In Exodus, God commands Israel to sacrifice, to abstain, to travel, to celebrate, to fast, to grumble, to pray, to eat, to build, to worship, to hear, to seek, to drink, to remember and to believe. All in community.

And that’s just in Exodus.

“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.”-Exodus 15:22 (NIV)

The Israelites do virtually nothing apart from one another–all 600,000 (plus women, children and livestock). They are sowing into one another while they do the hard and seemingly mundane together. They are experiencing miraculous deliverance as well as well-known doubt. That’s the kind of community that God is interested in. They experienced community in this way so that when their Red Sea moment arose and the true freedom bell rang, they could trust The One, as well as one another, enough to ring it together.

It’s not a race to see who is best. It’s journeying forward, through every experience, ready to rejoice (or grumble) alongside one another.

Do you know community like this? Or are you on the fast track to single-successes for God, in turn finding yourself without others to celebrate with? If you think you don’t have that sort of community available to you, are you willing to open yourself up to the God who is the generator of all good things, and who is deeply interested in giving you others to travel alongside?

This is what He wants for all of us. Lean in and let Him show you how to begin to cultivate it right where you are.

brooke

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

Holy Living

By Laura Ferguson

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If you were to close your eyes and envision what your holy life looks like, what do you see? You see, it’s different, to a degree, for everyone, and I believe God designed it that way. Please hear me, I am not saying that some people should read the Bible, while others should pray. No, that is not at all what I mean. I want you to look at the very heart and mind that the Father delicately created in you, and see how He made them tick. Are you a “up at 5am” person, or maybe one who likes to read in the quiet of the late night. Are you in a season where time is limited and little hands are ever-grabbing for you, or one where time is structured and there is a lot that can be spent alone? Look at those things, and look at how your heart and mind love to be fed. Seek out what your holy life looks like.

It’s easy to look at what other’s do and think that it must be done that way by you too. But we aren’t instructed to set a specific time and day for when we pray, when we read, and when we worship. Those things are to encompass all of what we do.

Our lives are to be lived out holy. To live is “to continue in existence, operation, memory, etc”.

“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.””-1 Peter 1:13-16 (MSG)

Seek out what your holy life looks like when it’s energetic and blazing with holiness. And live it!

laura pink

Jesus and Righteous Anger

By Brooke

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Jesus did anger the right way—the righteous way. But what does that mean?

“And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…”-Mark 3:5 (ESV)

Did you catch that? Jesus’ anger was attended by grief. Grief for their lack of faith—for the very thing He walked with them for. His anger stemmed from love for them and concern for their spiritual welfare. It had nothing to do with hatred or ill-will.

Now stop what you’re doing, because I know you are doing it, just as I have. Before you beat yourself up over all of the times you have had unrighteous anger instead of righteous, please note that you cannot exercise this in the Name of Jesus if you cannot execute the rest of the characteristics of Holy Spirit Love. This kind of response to others is completely fueled by the Holy Spirit inside of you. Absolutely nothing in you aside from Him is capable of this sort of response.

So as we meditate on this characteristic of our Savior today let’s remember a few things and give a big, loud “Hallelujah!” at the end of each one.

  • We are not God. We fall short of His glory every. single. day.
  • We need a Savior. Jesus didn’t come that we could ever measure up… He came to save. And He keeps saving every day.

Be encouraged. Praise His Holy Name for His mercy and grace for each and every moment of the day. The good and the bad. And know that as you draw near to Him, your heart will grow tender, and He will show you what it is to grieve for the hearts of others as He does.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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God Our Protector

By Brooke

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The thing about this life with Jesus is that it completely hinges on faith. We need to know who God says He is, and believe in faith that what He says is true. This gets hard in life this side of Heaven. There is opposition. There is heartache. There is trial and tribulation. Faith is what keeps us clinging to His truth regardless of our feelings.

In the midst of these seasons where faith gets hard, we need protection. We need to know we are chosen and elect to receive God’s love by Someone capable of caring for us.

“Whoever goes to the Lord for safety,
whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty,
 can say to him,
‘You are my defender and protector.
You are my God; in you I trust.’”-Psalm 91:1-2 (GNT)

When we face the temptation of our old sin and humanity we need to know that there is something and Someone better than ourselves and that we are not left to define our goodness or defend our redemption. When we are facing opposition and have others coming up against us, we need to know that we will never be left behind… forgotten… or abandoned.

In all of these times, when our faith is being pressed on all sides, may we proclaim over our lives, our families and our salvation, “You are my God! In You I trust!”

Wherever your faith is being tested today, I charge you to stop in your tracks, bend down on your knees and proclaim His might and your trust. He is protecting you. Choose to live in that safety today, no matter what circumstances may tell you otherwise.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

Compassed About With Mercy

By Laura Ferguson

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I have a two year old, and it won’t surprise you that it is painstakingly difficult to tell him where to go and when to do it. He has his own ideas and his own timeline and if you get in the way of that he’ll drop to the ground faster than you can say, “wet noodle”. The strong-willed are hard to lead.

And isn’t that true of us?

“Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving-kindness.” -Psalm 32:9-10 (AMP)

I just love the word-picture here. I see that stubborn mule in my son, and I see it in myself too. But how beautiful to be compassed about with mercy and loving-kindness!

“[The magnetic compass] functions as a pointer to “magnetic north“, the local magnetic meridian, because the magnetized needle at its heart aligns itself with the horizontal component of the Earth’s magnetic field” (Wikipedia). We have a magnetic North and He is the One true God. Our hearts are meant to point towards Him always, leading us into His presence and keeping us aligned with His will. There are forces always working to keep us from Him, and we will at times need a bit and bridle to get back on track, but this is what we were designed for. Wikipedia goes on to say, “The needle is mounted on a low-friction pivot point… so it can turn easily.” With Christ, forgiveness is always low-friction. It’s actually non-friction because He paid it all. And it’s because of this that we have the ability to turn easily and be led with mercy and loving-kindness.

So if you feel a little bit more like a mule than a compass today, spend some time with your God, and let Him remind you that the pivot point is Christ and that the transition is a smooth one. He will bring you back into His mercy and love.

laura pink

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

The Truth Of The Motive

By Brooke

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“All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
-Proverbs 16:2 (NIV)

Our motives. What a sticky topic to think on. We always think our motives are pure, but there is a depth to them that reaches far beyond our own understanding or comprehension.

Webster’s defines motive as “something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.” The Hebrew word used in this verse is ruwach which encompasses a multitude of things, namely: wind, breath, mind and spirit. Our motive, as seen in this verse, is essentially God in us. The degree of which we are being transformed into the likeness of the Savior is weighed by the Lord. He knows the degree of Himself reflected when He gazes into that heart of yours.

We come to God with a mix of head and heart, trying to make sense of the heart, which is deceitful above all things. But the heart is also the place that Jesus came to recover and that the Creator is in pursuit of uncovering. He places His desires in your heart and says it is good.

As we look deeper into our motives and the truth of the state of our hearts, I wonder if it’s possible to trust God when He says what He sees there is good. We know we hope it’s good, we know the truth is it probably isn’t so good, and we know, by the saving grace of Jesus, our God sees goodness there still. Can you put all other skepticism on hold for a beat and cling fast to the truth that He calls you good?

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

His Love Meets Us In Our Pit

By Brooke

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If you are anything like me, and I would venture to say that all of you are, you find yourself some days wondering what hope do you really have if your heart is wicked. Because that’s the true state of our hearts, right? We labor and toil under the heat of the sun when we’ve been offered the shadow of His wings. In these moments we tend towards two paths: fall back into sin while still trying to follow Jesus in faith, or sit on our hands in a state a paralysis due to fear of the sin we so desperately don’t want to fall back into. But here’s the thing—until we can accept that falling is a part of the process of finding true redemption and restoration, we will continue to sit at the bottom of our own pit of sin, no nearer to the freedom found at the top.

So how do we begin to climb out, regardless of fear, and in full obedience to what He has called us to? We cling fast to the truth of our God.

“The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”-1 John 4:8 (the Message)

If you love yourself, you will dig deep into the soil of your pit and begin to climb your way out. If you believe in the love of your God, you will fall countless times and keep getting back up, full of faith that His love is worth the struggle.

The last thing we want to do is be so paralyzed by the fear of doing wrong that we do nothing at all. That right there is the very intention of our enemy. When we give into the fear of doing wrong and in turn do nothing at all we are completely taken out of the Kingdom-building work He has for us. But the truth is, He would rather meet us in our deepest places of sin, with hearts desiring to do good for His Name and lift us out yet again, than find us sitting stagnant, afraid to move because of our own propensity towards sin.

Faith is the thing that makes us get up again. Faith in His love is what allows us to live out what we know to be true of Him by getting up when we fall, and trusting that His love covers over all. So what is paralyzing you today? What’s the deep sin of your past that you are so prone to fall back into? Do you know that He knows the odds of your fall? And do you believe that He is Love and sees you in love regardless of those odds? Go forward, Beloved. Don’t let fear take you out of all that His majesty has for you.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

Looking and Waiting

By Laura Ferguson

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“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning. More than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with Him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” -Psalm 130 (NIV)

Because of the love of the Father, our sins are not held against us. But we will all need to cry out for His mercy to meet us in our time of need. We are forgiven but we are not without need. We always need Him. How many conversations have you had with the Lord that look a lot like Psalm 130?

“Lord, please listen to me! Please see me in this place where I feel so unseen. Father, in your mercy my sins are not held against me, and because of that goodness I fear and love you deeply. I’m waiting for you, because I know you are here. I know you will come. I’m waiting for you, because I know you are here. Because I know you will come.” 

When despair seems to nearly swallow us whole, sometimes all we can do is repeat the words we’ve already said until they bring our lips above water and we can take another breath. And the goodness of God is that He is coming. He hears you and He is coming for you.

The Amplified version of verse 6 says, “I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.”

We are looking knowing He can be found.

We are waiting knowing He will come.

Believe this for your heart today. Believe this for your circumstances today. Believe this of your God today.

laura pink

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.

Questions

By Brooke

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Have you ever noticed that when Jesus walked and talked with others He rarely seemed to give a straight answer? One of His communication “tactics” of choice seemed to be the use of questions. Asking questions of others draws more out, but it also stirs the heart and mind to look beyond the initial question or state of mind.

The Holy Spirit is no different. He is always drawing out in us His truth that is uniquely ours by drawing us deeper into ourselves through question. When we reach a point where we welcome the opportunity for deeper exploration, we enter into a space of being our true, unique selves.

“Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am.
Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.”
-Psalm 139:23 (the Voice)

This is what could be considered a “dangerous prayer” because we know He will answer and in doing so there will be tension—there will be strain. When we see Jesus ask questions in the Bible we see the perspectives in their entirety, but our vantage point is different than those who were being asked. Just as our vantage point, when we ask the Lord to question us—to test us—is limited. And here is where we must trust. We must get in the habit of forming a trusting relationship with Christ as His love (and tension) draws us into the fullness of our role as child of the King.

So today I ask, how comfortable are you with asking Him to dig deep and ask questions? Would you trade the “you” you are today for the true self He will show you deep inside?

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in becoming a Holy Yoga Instructor? Click here to begin your Holy Yoga story.