I Have A Secret To Share…..

i have a secret
Let me tell you a secret…..

Do you have a worried, restless and troubled mind that lacks peace?
Are you filled with anxiety and discontent about your circumstances?

We all struggle and go through hard times. Paul, like us had to learn that no matter the circumstance, good or bad, rich or poor, hungry or full, how to be content.

He tells us in Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

What is this secret? It is found in verse 13- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”

What does it mean when he says “I can do all things”? Does it mean I can accomplish this task, jump over a building or do the impossible because God will enable me to do it?

This verse is one of the most quoted, but many times out of context. We must always look at scripture in context- the verses before and after, and what the whole book is about to determine what it says. In the verses before Paul is telling us he learned the secret to living in all circumstances- good and bad which is “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. Literally, “I have the strength to withstand all things because God put His power in me”

The secret is a learned mindset to rely on and be totally dependent on God’s power in us. As we depend and rest in the Lord daily we can be content, free from fear, anxiety and restlessness; to live the life He has called us to.

Paul tells us the same thing in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

And Ephesians 3:16-21 “ that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”

This is a secret meant to be told…. encourage each other when fearful, anxious, discouraged and discontent or feel like you can’t take one more thing or life is going great, we still need the power of Christ living and working in us.

We can be confident along with Paul that the good work God began in us He will accomplish and perfect for His will and good pleasure. (Philippians 1:6, 2:13)

Living inside out is living in and walking in the power of Christ!
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Worthy Conduct

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Continuing my study through Philippians 1:27-2:13, I am reminded that Paul said to “conduct yourselves in a manner” (NASB) or “let your manner of life be” (ESV) worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27)

In other words he is saying that as believers we should live with integrity. Our lives are to be consistent with what we believe, teach and preach because we have been changed by the gospel. God brought us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and our daily lives are to reflect that change.

How should this look in our lives? In verses 1:27-2:11 Paul give us a pretty good description.
As believers we are to stand firm in our faith, living in unity and striving together to spread the gospel. We are stronger together and with this unity we are not to be alarmed or fearful by those who are against us.

Paul tells us that not only has God granted us the ability to believe, but to also suffer for him. He stresses the importance of unity and living out the purpose God called us to-sharing the gospel.

We are to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, to bring honor and glory to ourselves. We are to be humble in our thinking and actions. This will result in having more regard for others than ourselves, looking after them, putting ourselves last.

As always, Jesus is our example and we are to have his attitude- humility, selflessness and serving others.

Can we live this way by our own strength and will? I know in and of myself I can’t. Oh I may try for a while but I always will fail. I can only live a worthy life because I have been changed by Christ and the Holy Spirit lives inside of me guiding and directing but I still have the flesh and the selfish desires it creates.

In my own strength, in my flesh I get alarmed when someone is against me and those old insecurities creep in. My one purpose is not to share the gospel or allow fear to get in the way. Suffer for Christ-No Thank You! I want everything to go smooth. I don’t always put others needs ahead of mine. I can feel hurt or excluded from people or situations when I think others don’t care to be with me or everyone is getting together and not asking us, etc… It doesn’t take too long before sinful thoughts invade and flesh start to take over my actions.

That’s why I love Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” and Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure”

God brought me into relationship with Him, forgives my sin, and enables me to “conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel”. God, my Father does the work in me and is renewing me into the women He wants to use.

He changes my heart to know I am His daughter so there is no need to be fearful. I can count it a joy and be willing to suffer for Him because He has my best interest. When those lies and thoughts enter and I have doubts and feelings of loneliness, I can reach out to others, thinking of them instead of myself. Because I have been forgiven much, I want to freely share the gospel with others.

He enables me to live a life that will display His glory and show Jesus is Lord!

On this journey of Living Inside Out I would love to connect with you by email, Facebook or Twitter. The links are on the side bar.

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Attitude Check

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As I continue through Philippians 1:12-26 I am convicted and encouraged by Paul’s example, attitude and view of his circumstances. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, some were preaching to cause him envy and strife while he was in prison and he also longed to be with Christ.

Paul’s only attitude and thought about his circumstances was for God’s glory and that the gospel is preached. He rejoiced because his imprisonment furthered the gospel and had become well known. He rejoiced because Christ was being proclaimed, no matter what the motives of others were.
His joy was not tied to his circumstances or his critics.
His joy and desire was for Christ, to be with Him, but also knowing that God had him where He wanted him. Paul was God’s witness to those outside of Christ and for those in the church.

The way Paul followed Christ and lived his life helped others to be bold and not fearful to speak the word of God. They saw what was happening to Paul and they knew it could happen to them but they were not fearful-their goal was that Christ was preached!

I have to ask myself:
Do I rejoice in circumstances I don’t like?

Is my goal and desire that Christ is exalted in everything or do I complain, become apathetic and want to give up at the slightest discomfort?

Is the gospel forefront in my thoughts and actions and do I share it without fear?

I want to check my attitude, to be aware if it is not exalting Christ.
I want to be like Paul and rejoice in everything with the goal that Christ is exalted.
This is not something I can drum up in myself. It comes from my relationship with Christ-to know Him and the Word.
I am so thankful that God is at work to make me into the woman He wants me to be.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)

As I follow Him, He leads the way, guiding me to change my attitude, enabling me to be joyful, courageous, stronger and not fearful to live for Christ.

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Women Who Hope In God

hope daisy
“Women who hope in God are women who look away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and they focus their attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases.”(John Piper)

I was part of a retreat this past weekend with a great group of women.  We looked at the lives of some women from the Bible during the weekend. It was so exciting to see their stories, how they relate to ours and that we too can trust God no matter what the circumstances.

Here is a snapshot of  the women we looked at.  I encourage you to take the time to read their stories in the Bible and be encouraged.

Jochebed (Numbers 26:59, Exodus 2:1-10, Hebrews 11:23)

Her story is fascinating and shows us that despite a really bad situation she trusted God and we can too. She lived in slavery and humanly speaking it was not the right time to be pregnant. Because of her faith she was not fearful but courageous and resourceful. She was able to nurse and nurture Moses and was paid for it after she thought she would never see him again.  Jochebed willingly surrendered to God’s plan, His story for her life. This not only impacted her story but that of her son and a nation.

Naomi     (Book of RUTH)

Her life changed drastically, even changing her name from “pleasant” to “bitter”.  We see God’s love and care for her in the midst of a hopeless situation. God provided Ruth, a wonderful daughter in law, the exact time to return to her people and Boaz as kinsman redeemer. As the story continues we see that she became the grandmother to David, in the line of Jesus. We can rest in the fact that no matter how hopeless the situation God is always there and in control.

Deborah (Judges 4 & 5)

Deborah was not in a “traditional” role for women.  She was called to lead and be a heroine in a culture where women were not valued. She was a wife, judge and prophetess with faith, wisdom and courage.  One ordinary day God called her into battle. She willingly obeyed God, even when it was so different than what the other women were doing.  God however gifted her and called her to lead which brought peace to the land for 40 years.  We can be encouraged that God will enable us to accomplish what he wants us to do, even if it seems out of the ordinary or what others think we should be.

Elizabeth   (Luke 1)

Elizabeth lived a story in her old age she never thought she would. She could have been angry or bitter because she did not have any children but she lived above her circumstances. Her and her husband were godly and faithfully served the Lord. God chose to bless them with raising John the Baptist.   We can be encouraged because no matter how old we are, our story is still being written with a lot of life to live.

 Anna (Luke 2:36-38)

Anna’s story shows us not live for “what might have been” but in “how can I live for God” She was widowed at a  young age but chose to serve and worship God in the temple over bitterness, anger or hopelessness. She lived out God’s story for her and in turn was able to see Jesus and tell others.

As God worked in the lives of these women He is at work in us, writing our story. We  do not have to give in to fear, doubt, discouragement, bitterness or what other people think. God tells us to keep our eyes on Him, to see our situations from His perspective. It is amazing how the outlook of your story can change for the better.

Be encouraged!

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

What other women from scripture have been your example?  I would love to hear from you!

What Is Your American Idol?

american_idol

The last couple days I have been reading in 1st and 2nd Kings.  It has been very interesting and eye opening. Most of the kings “did evil in the sight of the Lord” and some became more evil than the previous kings.  There were a few and far between that “did right in the sight of the Lord”.

The good kings that “did right in the sight of the Lord” did not destroy or take away the high places so the people still practiced idolatry. Only two Kings, Hezekiah and Josiah obeyed God and followed through by removing and destroying them.

I started thinking, I have a heart for God, I want to do right in His sight, but am I like the other “good” kings and do not completely follow through on removing the idolatry from my life.

Idolatry is anyone or anything that gets our love, attention and time in place of God.

Today we don’t have the high places to go worship idols, but we still practice idolatry with the idols in our lives, the people or things that get in the way of loving God and putting Him first.

I love what  God said about Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25…”there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”

This is what Jesus said when he was asked in Mark 12:30 what was the first and greatest commandment , His response:  “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

This love is of the will, the mind and action rather than the love of feeling or emotion. It is a love that is dedicated and committed and does right no matter how one feels.

Do we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Have we removed the idols from our lives?

Are we any different than the kings who “did right in the sight of God”, but did not completely follow through with removing the high places and idols?

God in His mercy and grace, who loved us first so we can love Him, enables us to follow through with obedience. He began the good work in us and He will complete it. (Philippians 1:6) He chose us in Him to be holy and blameless, and made us His own (Ephesians 1:3-14). He saved us by His grace through the faith He gives and we are His workmanship to do what he prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).

As we spend time with the Lord, allowing Him to expose the idols in our lives then we can remove and replace them with what His Word shows us. Our disobedience changed to obedience and then loving God with all that we have, all we are and in all we do.

Be encouraged, God starts and completes the process of changing us from the inside out!

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