Seeking Kingdom Community

By Brooke

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What makes an authentic community? To me it is things like: transparency, honesty, grace and acceptance. The word authentic appears only twice in Scripture, one of which is found in Philippians 4:8 on lieu of the word pure. So authentic community is one that has it’s anchor in purity? That’s dangerous. Few things are more controversial than individual choices and definitions of purity, and if we are honest, our purity only goes as far as what we are willing to let others see.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”-Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

Do you see that? The very first thing the Lord tells us is to get alone with Him, where we can be authentic and seen for exactly who and where we are.

I wonder if what we really need is not “authentic” community but “Kingdom” community–where everyone takes their place on their knees before the throne of God. Where everyone filters their lives through the colander of His Word. Where everyone is finding out who they are and what they are living for in light of who Christ says they are. Where obedience is not optional because the cost of disobedience is far too high.

A Kingdom community is one where grace is not the exception, but the rule. A Kingdom people are ones who know the space where grace begins, and are not afraid of it.

Examine your heart today. Will you run fast into His presence, examining your purity and devotion to His ways, believing Him to be mighty enough to surround you with others who do the same? Ask Him to bring you into Kingdom community, where grace abounds and purity in Christ is a joy and the aim.

brooke

 

 

 

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Wanderers

By Laura Ferguson

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We are all wanderers, with heads turned at the slightest distraction. Even the most driven of us still has their distractions. This is probably why God uses the example of sheep to describe His beloved children. The thing I can’t wrap my mind around is His love and commitment to me despite my tendency to wander.

“And when he finds it he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep.'”- Luke 15:5-6 (NIV)

The Lord is not disappointed or condemning when we’ve wandered away from Him or “fallen off the wagon”. He joyfully picks us up and does not speak of us in condemning terms or with a spirit of disappointment, as if He wishes we were “better” or “different”.

We do that. Not Him.

He celebrates us, on His own and with others, while knowing full well that we are prone to wander again. That is the very nature of the sheep–easily distracted and directionless without the leadership of another, they will continue to make mistakes or wander from perfect provision unless directed under the gentle hand of an all-knowing Shepard.

Whether your Shepard finds you elbow deep in a pint of ice cream, eyes glued to inappropriate images on the computer screen, or coveting something that will never be yours, it is His JOY to pick you up and bring you back home and it is His nature to think of you in nothing but merciful love.

In doing some research about sheep I found this sentence to be so wonderfully descriptive of our grace-filled life with Christ.

Their flocking behavior and quickness to flee and panic can make shepherding a difficult endeavor for the uninitiated.” 

Papa God is not only initiated in the “how-to’s” of herding His precious sheep, He is the Master and developer of the greatest and most provision-filled ways of doing so.

So whether you’ve wandered many times or only a few, let this reminder settle deep into those wounds that the enemy tries to slather in shame. Let this truth be a healing balm that covers and heals the deepest parts of your past.

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Accepting His Offer

By Brooke

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“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” –C.S. Lewis

What would happen if we were to go before the Lord, and offer Him our fullest selves, not holding back what we asked of Him, but believing Him for the deepest desires of our hearts. Believing Him to show us who we really are in Christ, and to reveal the lies that we have believed as truth? What if we got real and dropped the mask that doubles as a veil, keeping us from the fullness of redemption and invited the Holy Spirit to come and have His way with our hearts?

The veil that kept us from the Lord Almighty has already been torn. Let us now remove the veil that we so often hold up in an effort to keep Him from seeing what has already been entrusted into His hands at the moment of our salvation.

We have access to the throne room. Let’s go there, with no rope around our ankles or waists. With no exit strategy or planned escape. Just enter in as simply as we can manage, allowing the focus to shift from us to God so we can fully experience His grace. Let’s accept the long-standing offer for a day at the sea instead of continuing to meander in the muck.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Thing About Anger

By Brooke

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Anger. We all experience it. Out of us and towards us. Sometimes I really want anger to be ok… and here’s the thing: sometimes it is. It’s just not when the anger is self-seeking–when the anger makes me right in the end.

Anger is a tactic of the enemy when our minds and hearts are far from Christ, the Holy Spirit and His Word. There is such a thing as righteous anger—Jesus Himself got angry like this.

It’s important to note that we think in terms of good and bad but Jesus doesn’t. He talks about things in terms of light and dark. That means there are various shades of gray. Multiple things factor into anger, so it is not black and white—it’s very much a shade of gray.

So the matter at hand is not whether or not we get angry… it’s a matter of if we can do anger well.

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”-Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)

Anger is defined as a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. To make angry; enrage or provoke. As we dive into this topic of anger today I want you to take a step back and examine your heart and mind. Can you sit in that strong feeling of displeasure and not sin? Is it possible for the enemy to use others around you to provoke you into sin and for you to rise up against it? Because here’s the thing: the longer we let the enemy convince us that our anger is untouchable and “we are just this way,” the longer we are giving him a foothold in our lives. And the longer we do that, the farther we stay from knowing the fullness of the Savior on this side of Glory.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

He Will Be Found

By Laura Ferguson

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Spring has sprung here in the North and I am happy beyond words about it, for many reasons of course, but the biggest being the parrallel exit from the spiritual winter I’ve been in for months on end. When we get into the difficult and dark seasons of our faith, it is often hard to continue to seek Him in the silence. When our circumstances are less than ideal, let alone how we actually want them to be, is often when we begin to let our devotion slip. Fewer times in the Word, maybe a skipped Sunday morning service or Bible Study. The trouble with this is that our God’s way of thinking is quite opposite of ours, and it’s in these seasons of stillness that He’s doing some of His biggest work. It’s also often after these seasons that we find Him in a greater capacity than we ever could have before.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”- Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

What does it look like to seek Him with all of your heart? This is a very personal question, and one that I encourage you to take some time and meditate on. I think the first way to find the “how” can be found in looking at what your heart already seeks.

When you get a free minute what’s the first thing you are drawn to?

When you wake up what thoughts greet you in the morning?

While sitting at church where do you often find your mind wandering to?

And is there a theme between all of these things?

I would venture to say there is, because there is for me too. We are all cut from the same cloth of sin, so ours are not going to vary in many ways when we get down to the root. So how do we begin to seek Him with all of our hearts with these things in mind? We give them to Him in each and every moment.

I guarantee you this is not a fruitless endeavor.

“‘I will be found by you’, declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back from captivity.'”-Jeremiah 29:14 (NIV)

In this verse He is promising that He can and will be found. And that the blessing from seeking Him in the quiet of the darkness is that He will bring us back into the light of His sovereign plan over our lives. The degree of fullness and freedom that I feel walking out of the darkness and into the light is indescribable. What’s more, I have no shame, only joy. Because I know that over all, I stuck with Him. There have been many seasons where I haven’t. But this time I did. And He was found.

Where are you today and where do you want Him to bring you back to? How can you begin to seek Him with your whole heart?

laura pink

 

 

 

 

 

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Dynamic Tension

By Brooke

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There is a dynamic tension to God’s love. This is seen when we look at creation in light of the Creator; sufficiency and insufficiency. Both are given in order that we might cleave to one another in community. Dynamic tension can be defined as continuous change or progress in the balanced relation between strongly opposing elements.

Step back and look at Jesus; the perfect spotless lamb.

“You know that a price was paid to redeem you from following the empty ways handed on to you by your ancestors; it was not paid with things that perish (like silver and gold),but with the precious blood of the Anointed, who was like a perfect and unblemished sacrificial lamb.-1 Peter 1:18-19 (the Voice)

Understanding this will help us to see how we experience tension with God and with others. Since God is love, His tension is that of love. Scriptures two most basic commands are to love God and love others as ourselves. God is the initiator of love. It’s the tension He allows for in receiving His love that produces in us the ability to love. We love because He first loves us.

Tension is unavoidable in an intimate relationship with Christ. In fact, I think the closer we get, the more tension there is. If God is always conforming us to the likeness of His Son, and His Son is fully God, then His work in us will never be complete this side of glory.

Do you experience that tension in the living-out of your faith? Where do you see tension from the “rubbing off” of your sin-nature as you draw closer to Christ?

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

Every Gift Is Good

By Brooke

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There is no question that our Creator knew what He was doing when He created us. While it may not make much sense to our simple minds, He chose to create us with both sufficiency and insufficiency. Every good gift comes from above. Gifts of the Spirit are not only the gifts that look good, they are the gifts that are designed to draw out good.  They conform us to His likeness.

Since we are human, and He is God, we can assume His definition of “good gifts” may not always equate to our definition. We know that His ways are higher than our ways. Sometimes, the gift He gives, perhaps by way of rebuke or discipline, is not at all what we had in mind as “good”.

“Those who walk the fields to sow, casting their seed in tears, will one day tread those same long rows, amazed by what’s appeared.  Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest.”-Psalm 126:5-6 (the Voice)

We all have something in our lives that is rubbing against us—that feels unfair or unwanted. But could it be that this “thing” which causes tears and sighs now might actually be the source of joy and praise in the days to come?

Every good gift comes from above.

I encourage you to proclaim that today. Make this truth your banner cry as you walk the field with tears streaming down. The harvest is coming.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Spacious Place

By Laura Ferguson

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It’s so easy to get caught up in the “today” of life—whatever current struggle, celebration or lesson we are in. Lately I’ve been reflecting a great deal on my life as a whole, and specifically on the person I am today as opposed to 10 years ago.

“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.”-Psalm 31:7-8 (NIV)

I think this is something we all need to do. And often. We dream and aspire and hope for all things in the future, but how full can our hearts be when we sit in His presence with the heart of Psalm 31? To reflect on where we’ve been, and rejoice for His goodness to carry us through all things.The word spacious means, “broad in scope, range, inclusiveness; of a great extent or area, broad, great.” When we reflect on our lives through the lens of this verse, painted there is such a beautiful and accurate picture of the spacious, vast field of possibility and freedom we are living in because of Christ. All possibilities are yours in Him.

What if we look at what this verse says we are not doing? If we have been planted in a spacious place, then we must not be living in a place of nonspaciousness. The antonyms of “spacious” are small and cramped.

Like a prison cell.

Like how it feels when we’re covered in shame or guilt.

That is not where we are. We are free to roam in the goodness of His love and mercy. He didn’t hand us over to a prison cell, but has set us free. Glory!

What does this mean for you today? May I encourage you to spend some time in the presence of your Savior, and joyful receive the spacious life? Ask Him to show you where you are unnecessarily “staying put” and not freely exploring all that He has given you. This free life is a spacious one and we are so blessed to get to live it this way.

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Humble Leadership

By Brooke

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Leadership is not for everyone, but the reality is that we are all a leader in some capacity. Leading means exposure, and real exposure is the mark of a good leader. Leadership can be seen in many different facets of life: parenting, marriage, ministry, work-place, community… we are all a leader somewhere. The exposure that results in good leadership is not the kind that heaps responsibility on others but the kind that displays dependency on a God who is ready and willing to intersect our pride at every turn. He will strike down the prideful and lift up the humble. Pride is not always outwardly expressed ego—but it is always self-obsession.

 You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says, God opposes the proud, but He pours out grace on the humble.”-James 4:6

When we experience humility in our leadership, it is likely we will then feel hopeless. But the truth is that because of the goodness of our God we are showered in grace.

I invite you to examine your leadership today before the Lord. Do you lead with grace and humility? Where is pride rearing its head and causing you to fight against exposure? There is strength and beauty in a humble leader, and He has extended you an invitation to be that today.

 

The Lord Of More

By Brooke

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Our Lord is the Lord of more. We read this in Isaiah 43 on the backdrop of how faithful God is. How strong He is. How He alone can exalt or destroy… and then He says forget everything you know because I am doing something new.

 “Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness.”-Isaiah 43:18-19

Forget how good I’ve been because I want to show you more of my goodness. Forget how faithful I’ve been because I want to shower you with more of my strength.

He’s doing a new thing and wondering if we can perceive it. Wondering if we can we take the leap, step out in this feat of faith, and believe He could be even more than what we’ve come to know.

Today, are we open to daring to believe Him for something new? Something even better than we’ve ever imagined before? He is the Lord of more. He’s proven Himself faithful and good, time and time again.