Abundant Life Through The Gate

By Brooke

this-is-the-life

There is this paradox in the Christian life that all should be well and good on the outside (and inside) while we are simultaneously drawing nearer to Christ and becoming more and more like Him. If you’ve stayed committed to the Lord through even one trial or season of refinement you know this to be far from the truth. And yet we are still wrecked when He shows us something unpleasant in our hearts. The Christian life is not a comfortable life—it’s a committed one. It’s believing this passage to be true:

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”-John 10:9-10 (NIV)

When everything is good we say, “Oh Lord come! Be God in my life!” Then He does, and we realize that He’s come to show us what’s lying beneath our eager cries for more. He shows us that we can’t crutch around on our lies anymore. We believe that there is so much comfort there in that space, that it has really served us well, but it has done so at the cost of our marriage or friendship or integrity.

I think in that very moment He might actually whisper, “Really? That’s life abundant?” Because if it were then maybe what we are really saying is that He didn’t need to come.

But that is what He came for.

That the thief would no longer steal your life, destroy your future, or kill your joy. He came that through Jesus we would find green pastures—life to the max, to the full, all in, sold out, abundantly greater. This is the life we were created for. This is the life we desire.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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A Heart That Seeks Others

By Brooke

love-does-not-seek-its-own

When the Holy Spirit enters into us, Love enters into us. The thing about this kind of love is that it is not interested solely in “self”, but in making Jesus known to all it encounters.

 “… it is not self-seeking,” -1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

 The NASB says, “it does not seek its own”. I want to camp out on that for a moment.

The word “seek” is a verb, defined as: to seek (in order to find) by thinking, meditating, reasoning and inquiring into. To seek after, seek for, aim at, and strive after. To seek, require, demand. To crave or demand something from someone.

The next part of that verse says, “its own.” This is defined as: Themselves, herself, itself, himself… in other words, there is no “I”  in love. The kind of love that comes when the Spirit enters our souls is the kind that seeks out, inquires of, thinks about and strives after others—their needs, their desires, and the living out of Christ in them. This love is the kind of love that not only recognizes the value of others through the eyes of Jesus, but acts on that truth, by being the hands and feet of Jesus to all those around it.

Do you know that the ability to live out that love is not on you? That is 100% the equipping of the Holy Spirit, which comes from intimacy with the Father. So take a step back and examine where He might be asking you to take the “I” out of love. Then go and spend intimate time with Him, believing Him to equip you to live out the work He has placed before you.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rescuing King

By Laura Ferguson

God-fights-for-us

Wednesday began the celebration of Purim—the time the Lord rescued the Jews from what seemed like certain death. The voice and courage of a young woman, and the wisdom and faith of a wise man proved once again that our God is the defender of the innocent and protector of the weak.

Often in this life-with-Jesus we will encounter those who are against us, no matter how much love, kindness and forgiveness we may show them. They are just out to get us. Through the example of Esther and her uncle Mordecai we see the power and courage found in truly believing your God.

Haman was confident in his schemes. He was in a place of power and influence and from his point of view, the Jews were as good as gone. The King was completely unaware of what was happening behind the scenes. Being in a place of influence affords you the ability to “trust” those who serve you. But sadly, they can’t always be trusted.

Has this happened to you? In the church, in your family, in your workplace? But here’s the thing: no matter what, your High King always wins. He always brings your victory.

“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”-Esther 6:10 (NIV)

This was the moment of Mordecai and Esther’s victory—and the moment of Haman’s defeat. And the same moment is coming for you. Your High King will use whatever and whomever He wishes to ensure that your truth is revealed and your security in the family of God is sure. So as we remember this event that happened so long ago, celebrate that He is still the same God, who fights for those He has called, and He is fighting for you!

laura pink

 

 

 

 

 

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

When We Doubt Like Thomas

By Brooke

he-has-come

In John 20 we see the disciples attempting to proclaim the miraculous appearance of their beloved Savior. Thomas doubted.

 “We have seen the Lord!

Thomas: Until I see His hands, feel the wounds of the nails, and put my hand to His side, I won’t believe what you are saying.

 Eight days later, they gathered again behind locked doors; and Jesus reappeared. This time Thomas was with them.

Jesus: May each one of you be at peace.

He drew close to Thomas.

Jesus: Reach out and touch Me. See the punctures in My hands; reach out your hand, and put it to My side; leave behind your faithlessness, and believe.”-John 20:25-27 (the Voice)

 Did you notice how long Thomas sat in his doubt? Eight days. Sometimes the Lord leaves us in it, feeling out the reality of our faith. And the truth is, even the “ones most faithful” will have seasons of doubt where they must examine their faith too. The ones closest to Christ, who saw Him with their own human eyes, resurrected from the dead, doubted. In His great mercy and compassion He didn’t rebuke them, and He doesn’t rebuke us. He does now as He did then—He extends His power and invites us into the fullness of co-mission with Him. He reaches out to take our hand in His and places it to His side as a reminder that He does win. That He has come. That He will never abandon.

That He alone is Savior, forever and always.

Has the Savior allowed you to sit in some doubt in this season? How can you “reach your hands to his sides” and truly see that He is who He says He is? He will bring you out of battle, dear one, and into His freeing Truth.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Ragged Arrow Of Doubt

By Brooke

doubt-doesn't-disqualify

Salvation is a concrete thing. But once it’s done so begins the war for your affection and worship; the scurrying of an enemy who is enraged at another soul secure in Heavenly eternity. Some days [or seasons] this can leave us with the feeling that the enemy is winning… that maybe the Savior doesn’t hear us… that maybe He has pulled back. It’s quite possible that one of the most worn and ragged arrows of the enemy bears the name “doubt” on the side. In his hands, doubt is incredibly powerful and used often against his enemy—us. When Jesus appeared before His disciples, Matthew 28:17 in the NIV tells us,

 “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.”

 That arrow of doubt can get us to desert the One we know is faithful. It can get us to separate ourselves from Him and others in a hostile spirit. Under its influence we can find ourselves opposing His promises and striving in dispute of His goodness. It can, by definition, cause us to be at war with ourselves and to hesitate in our faith. This measly worn arrow of doubt can bring us to such a place that we are at war with our original design—our son-ship in Christ that says, “we belong to the One True King!

Do you want to know the breath-relieving, soul-reviving, mountain top-shouting good news? Doubt doesn’t disqualify the Chosen.

Do you believe that today? Has the arrow of doubt penetrated deep in this season of life? Do you believe that Jesus loves you just as he loved his disciples who struggled with doubt too?

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Seasons Of Stillness

By Laura Ferguson

faith-is-as-valuable

I strongly believe that we will experience seasons of activity (from exciting to gut-wrenching) as well as seasons of stillness. Stillness in our hearts, in our bodies and in the Lord. These seasons are crucial. They are vital to the longevity of our life with Jesus. If all we did was go go go we would wind up spent, hurt, desperate or lonely. We must stop. We must obey His voice that tells us, “enough”. And in that we must find contentment.

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
-Psalm 131:1-2 (ESV)

Close your eyes with me, and envision that small babe. After fussing and fighting and kicking, knowing something was needed but unsure of what, finding complete fullness and quiet safety in it’s mother’s arms. Friends, sometimes He simply asks us to stop fighting and fussing, accept the nourishment that He has offered, and find complete contentment in the calm and quiet of His embrace. That space is more than enough. It is far better than any place of activity we could ever be, because without the stillness and nourishment offered there we would have no means to go and make His Name great.

Can I ask you something? Does the idea of finding complete contentment simply by being with Him cause anxiety in your heart? Do you struggle to feel that your faith is only as valuable as the work you are doing with it? Know that your faith is really only as valuable as the time you spend with your Father. So don’t fight the day, month or season of stillness. Let Him nourish and quiet you.

laura pink

 

 

 

 

 

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

Overwhelmed

By Brooke

Overwhelmed. We all feel it. On any given day we are wearing anywhere from 2 to 5 different hats so it’s no wonder we feel buried. We often hear that the remedies for overwhelm are “Make a list. Prioritize. Delegate. Pray. Read your Bible. Spend time with God. Get on your mat.”

Blah Blah Blah.

All of those things are short-term modifications that rarely give lasting relief. In fact, often we commit to doing those things and consequently they become the source of our overwhelm.

So let’s redefine Overwhelm. Maybe, like most words, it has another meaning; one that would illicit a different response than the familiar one of defeat.

In Matthew 28:19, when Jesus gives the great commission and says,

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

The word baptize here mean (get this) to overwhelm. It also means to cleanse by submerging.

The word God uses for overwhelm in our co-mission with Christ spins our understanding, doesn’t it? To baptize is to overwhelm. The power of the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit overwhelms. It saturates and consumes but when it does, it brings life. It breaks no backs or buries its beloved. It defends and defeats.

Can I challenge you to something today? Ask the Spirit to tug on your heart, that the next time you feel the weight of overwhelm, you can be strengthened to choose to take Him at His Word and remember that He is able to do immeasurably more than anything you could ever hope for or imagine. Receive the joyful reality that, because of Christ, overwhelm has a new meaning, and this is very good news, friends.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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

Suffering and A Soft Heart

By Brooke

hope-is-the-glimmer

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”-1 Peter 5:6-10 (the Message)

The idea of faith is that we suffer well—that we don’t forget that God is who He says He is. That He is for us and not against us. Transforming into the likeness of His Son is a gift, but it doesn’t always feel like one.

Suffering produces character, but almost always takes longer than we would like. Suffering is heavy, burdensome and leaves us desperate for relief and help. But here is the glimmer of hope we get to hold onto in the midst of suffering—the glimmer that keeps ours hearts soft and our eyes fixed—

He always gets the last word.

He will have us put together and on our feet for good. Glory! So in whatever you are suffering today, hold fast to this Truth, with a soft and grateful heart. This suffering won’t last forever. He is near.

brooke

 

 

 

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

Community As Intended

By Laura Ferguson

community

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this social networking age we live in.  I remember years ago, before marriage and kids, endless conversations at bustling coffee shops with sisters with whom I was actually living life with. It used to be tears shed together, hands held in times of prayer, and laughter as we wiped tears away and received the saving grace of Jesus once again. This was a way of community somewhat reflective of the early days in Acts.

 “All the believers were together and had everything in common… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”. -Acts 2:44, 46-47 (NIV-emphasis mine).

For some of us, myself included, community in Christ doesn’t look like this anymore. It looks like sincere Facebook comments, virtual “(((hugs)))” and a multitude of emoticons.

But this isn’t the community we were designed for.

We were designed to break bread together–physically and emotionally. To share a meal and to share our lives. To bend and break surrounded by hands willing to cover and uphold and put back when we can’t.

So the question today is this: what will it take? What sacrifice must be made in our lives today to live in the fullness of community we were designed for? God is good and the Holy Spirit has opened doors to allow incredible God-glorifying virtual communities across the miles, but could we possibly be shutting out those He has placed in our physical circle simply because it’s “easier” to just connect with our fingertips instead of our whole beings? Can we believe Him to provide for us the kind of community where we are able to hold hands in prayer, wipe tears away, and hear the sweet sound of joy-filled laughter face-to-face?

Believe today that God has something immeasurably bigger awaiting all of us if we would be willing to fight complacency and strive for the community we were given in Christ Jesus. It has to be better than the loneliness of an empty room and a lit-up screen. There are beautiful sisters and brothers in need of our fellowship, and we are in such need of theirs too.

laura pink

 

 

 

 

 

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

Chosen and Elect

By Brooke

fingertips

The word chosen appears 123 times in the NIV bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Hebrew word for chosen is yada which means, “to know or make one known to”.  When He chose you, He did so knowing you. It also means “to perceive, see, find, discern, know by experience, recognize, admit, confess, consider and to be wise in.” Painted here is an intricate picture of the state of the Father’s heart and mind when He decided to make you His.

The greek word for chosen is hireo which means “to take for oneself”. He wanted you for Himself. This choice, though, happened long before you were ever given a chance to choose Him first. As a matter of fact, we can never choose Him first. God chooses us. God’s choosing of us is an initiating election to reveal Himself to us. He longs for us to know His heart; to know our King who so desires us.

 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”- Ephesians 1:11 (the Message)

If He knows you “by experience”, then His heart should be seen by taking a true examination of yourself. Where are His fingerprints on your design? Can you see His goodness in you? Can you see why He has chosen you? If you cannot, bring that before Him. Ask Him to penetrate your heart and open your eyes to His reality. His Truth is Truth.

brooke

 

 

 

 

 

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