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Temple Talk: The Struggle & Stewardship of the Spirit

templetalk

(Like the tank? Click here to see where I got it)

Hi friends! I”m so happy to be back this week with you all! I am just loving this GMG study on intentionality! This week the subject is near and dear to my heart as we are talking about our health. I feel like it’s the subject that causes a lot of mixed emotions within the Believer and I consider my joy and privilege to share what God lays on my heart with you all! We all have heard that our bodies are temples of God, but many times, it’s so hard to transfer that into real life. What does this look like for us? How does this practically play out? Where do we get proof in scripture that we are indeed temples? My prayer is that this post provides some clarity for you!

Our reading yesterday took us to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Most of us know this verse. We’ve heard it from the time we’ve been in high school–usually in the context of sexual purity–to our adulthood–as we apply it to the food we eat, what we do with it (or don’t do with it), and more. I want to check out where else in scripture we see passages that talk about our bodies being a temple. Here is a sampling:

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. as God has said; “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

“And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” Acts 17:24

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1

Isn’t it exciting to think that God chooses to dwell within us? We cannot deny this to be true! However, many times understanding this and then practically putting it into action are two different things.
Here are a few principles that I’d like us to consider about temple stewardship:

1.) We will struggle with entitlement
We all struggle with entitlement! It’s defined as feeling like you have a right to something. We hear ourselves saying, “I deserve (fill in the blank).” It manifests itself with the food we eat, the things we buy, and the way we spend our time to name a few. None of these things in themselves are wrong or bad–the problem is when they aren’t taken into submission of the Spirit. But because we have been bought- with a price–a very large one–we have given up that right to be our own.

Body Check: Is there an area of life that you feel entitled to? Have you asked God for freedom in this area?

2.) You have a built-in guidance system
It’s an internal GPS–a Spirit system that gives us nudges. There will be times when you willingly accept those nudges and other times when you want to detach yourself from them quickly—but you will get them. They are there on purpose. Check them with scripture and with wise believers and act in obedience from there. Also, don’t forget–we are not only individually a temple of the Spirit, but corporately. (Ephesians 2:21) Sometimes the Holy Spirit nudge you are feeling involves someone else in the Body of Christ. In your own physical body, you can only ignore a throbbing area for so long until it needs dealt with.

Body Check: Is God using you to intervene for someone? Are you ignoring the nudges from the Spirit?

3.) This will and should affect your every day decisions.
I know you expect me to harp on the food you eat, and how much you do or don’t exercise–and of course, I believe those 2 things to be included in what we consider–but I also want you to know that they are many ways in which we honor Him with our bodies. The Spirit travels with us wherever we go, so we must consider places we go, things we see, and activities we do. Also, the body includes the head which includes the brain. Our minds need held captive to Christ also and if I’m being honest, that’s where most of us will struggle. I’ve found that once the mind and will is submitted to the Lord, our bodies follow with little resistance.

Body Check: Physically: How is the food you are consuming taking control of your body? Are you tending to your physical body with movement regularly, both being kept in check so that you may live in freedom and do the works God has called you to do? Mentally: Are you taking your thoughts captive to truth? How are your every day thoughts affecting what you do daily with your physical body?

4.) It will be a fight.
“But Clare, you don’t understand. It’s just so hard to control myself in (fill in the blank). I have so much pressing in on me and I get tired of fighting.” Oh friends, I do understand. I experience the fight every single day but I also expect it. I cannot expect that the enemy will not want to wage war against me since I am carrying deep within the Spirit that he so despises. You better believe there will be a fight. That doesn’t make you weak or bad–it makes you a Believer who has a beating heart and blood running through your veins! Fight, friends.

Body Check: Have you given up in the battle? Have you given yourself a pass in this life because it’s getting too hard? Do you realize that the struggle within you may actually be a spiritual war?

5.) Satan will try to get us to “toast an unholy cause”.
I referenced in the last post that I’m going through Beth Moore’s “Daniel” study. We are taking it at a half-pace so I’m still working through it and something that stuck out to me was Daniel 5. King Belshazzar used objects from the temple–holy objects, to “toast an unholy cause.” Beth Moore states, ” You are a holy vessel Satan may be trying to use for unholy purposes. You are God’s holy child, and HE wants you prepared for great use.” (“Daniel”, Study Guide, page 99) Friends, we are holy–not by anything that we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us. We must keep ourselves pure–body, soul, and Spirit! 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

Body Check: Are you toasting an unholy cause with your body? With your mind? With your Spirit?

My encouragement to you today is to examine yourselves. I can’t do this for you, nor do I want to. These are hard things to chew on so start by praying. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in these areas. Ask a trusted friend if they see any area here where you may be lacking. Oh the blessing it is to be used by the Almighty God–who has prepared many good works in advance for us to do!

Press on,
Clare
www.peak313.com

___________________________________________________

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 12.29.30 PMClare lives with her husband and 2 children in Northeast Ohio. She has her bachelor’s degree in business management and left a promising career to be a stay-at-home mom to her children. She is a certified fitness instructor and teaches pilates and group fitness classes at her church and local university. Clare’s passion (outside of raising and nurturing her children and home) is motivating women of all ages and stages of life to live well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Visit her at Peak313!

Week 8- Your Health & Next Session Announcement!

Good Morning Girls- Women's Online Bible Study #Intentionally Focused

Welcome to week 8 in our Intentionally Focused study! I’m so glad you’re joining us for our final week in this amazing study! It’s been such a joy to dig into God’s Word with you these past eight weeks! This week we are intentionally focusing on our health and I can’t wait to get started with you!

When it comes to being intentionally focused on our health, there are three things we need to keep in mind.

1. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) The same God who created the heavens and the earth, the majestic mountains and delicate flowers,  also uniquely created you. Remember that truth this week as you get ready in the mornings…you have been designed by the Master Artist.

2. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor.6:19) Knowing this truth should change how we treat our bodies. Our bodies are not our own and because Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by laying down His life.  We need to honor God with how we take care of the bodies He has given to us and be good stewards of them so that we can serve others well inside and outside of our homes.

3. Your best body is yet to come! (Phil. 3:21) Because we live in a broken world, we must remember that we are not home yet. When sickness touches our lives, we have a choice whether or not we will allow God to be glorified through our illness. We are reminded in Philippians 3:21 that Jesus is coming back and when He does, He will transform our lowly bodies to one like His. Now that’s something to look forward to!


(Can’t see the video? Click here)

Week 8 Memory Verse
Good Morning Girls- Women's Online Bible Study #Intentionally Focused Week 1 Memory verse

Week 8 Reading Plan
Good Morning Girls- Women's Online Bible Study #Intentionally Focused

Week 8 Challenge

This week focus on making one healthy habit in both how you eat and exercise! Some examples might include drinking more water, begin walking or running to incorporate some exercise into your day…even skipping the elevator and taking the stairs helps to add in a little exercise throughout the day. Pray and ask God to help you make a healthy habit in each of these areas this week and invite a friend in your life to help hold you accountable.

 Announcing our NEW Easter study! Stay tuned for more details NEXT Monday!

Easter blog graphic

Would you consider inviting some friends and joining us for this next study…..because Easter really does matter!

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

God Changes Lives When We Open Doors

GoodMorningGirls

We may not all be called to serve in foreign lands, volunteer in prison ministries or even start our own ministry for that matter, but we can all be hospitable with the homes God has blessed us with.

Don’t let the term “Hospitality” cause you to break out into hives and run the other direction. Get the “Martha Stewart” type of hospitality out of your mind and just breath for a second. We aren’t aiming for perfection here but rather a heart of serving and loving those who enter our homes. I’m sure it’s not an accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word meaning healing. When we open our homes and hearts to those who are hurting, God uses our act of service to begin healing hurting souls.

Who can you open your home to today? What about the single mom down the street who is needing adult conversations and for someone to look her in the eyes and ask, “How are you really doing?”, or what about the widow whose husband recently passed away from your church? Maybe it’s the co-worker who needs to hear that they matter to God, or the kid from your son’s soccer team who needs a little attention and a warm meal.

You see I think as Christians we have bought into this big lie that satan is selling us.  (and yes, I have purposely typed a lowercase “s”) We think God only wants us to do BIG things for Him. That only the BIG things count. Big things like becoming missionaries and moving overseas, adopting 100 children, selling all our belongings or going into full time Christian ministry. You know, the BIG things.

But what if He’s not telling many of us to do those things? What if that isn’t His plan for many of our lives? What if His plan is even better than that?

What if His plan is actually to multiply our reach by each of us individually becoming intentional and purposefully, using the homes He has already blessed us with to reach those people He has sent us… by opening our doors and hearts to them?

What if we are just called to help those who are lonely feel welcomed by offering a simple meal and an open seat at a well-worn kitchen table?

There is power in extending invitations. Don’t believe me? Allow me to share a personal story. Lives can be changed by the invitations we extend.

Freshman year of college my family was suddenly transferred to Texas for my dad’s job. The girl who decided to stay home and not go away to college suddenly found herself very far from her family. The distance from Ohio to Texas took more than one tank of gas and this college girl was broke, even though she was working her way through. That’s when Joanie stepped in. She honestly didn’t know me that well. Her family and my family had attended the same church before my parents had to move, but for her to offer her home to me on the weekends was incredible. Joanie is one of those rare jewels of a woman who not only loves her Lord deeply, but she puts her faith into action in her life. She saw a girl in need; heartbroken over her family’s sudden move and she stepped into the hurt and offered her home. She was crazy to offer it and I was crazy to accept it. Over the course of 4 years I feel in love with each member of Joanie’s endearing family to the point that Joanie is now considered a grandma to my 3 girls who call her JoJo.

Just like God, He took the brokenness and pain that I felt for my personal family having to move across the country and blessed me with yet another family to love and be loved by. Those 4 years were met with many hard ups and downs, twists and turns so it was always a blessing to walk through the open doors of Joanie’s home, sit at her table and just be loved on like I was one of her own.

Because of how God used Joanie and her hospitality in my life, I am passionate in passing that gift on and extending invitations of hospitality in my own life. I know the value of opening our homes to those outside our families. For the past 4 years I have opened my home almost every Tuesday night to 4 special girls who are my Discipleship Girls. I have been honored to watch them grow and mature from 7th graders to now sophomores in high school and just so you know, having them in my home has blessed me a thousand times over. Not to mention been really handy when I’ve needed a babysitter!

I remember Joanie always saying how it was such a blessing to her to have me live with them. I always thought that was sweet of her to say, but just figured she was saying that to be nice. Now that I’m in the role of opening my home, and my heart to these girls I can honestly say…..I truly am the one blessed. Joanie was right.

dg girls

 (Photo taken last night after our session! Truly LOVE these girls and am so honored to serve them this way!)

God is amazing like that, you know. When we reach out to bless others, to open our doors and place an extra plate at the table, many times we end up being the one who is blessed.

So what if? What if we dream together and think about the possibilities of change God can do in our homes as we embrace our call to be hospitable? What if we push aside the temptations of perfection, the unrealistic expectations and instead offer real homes, simple meals and loving hearts? How can God move through these simple acts of obedience?

God has used men and women in their homes to change countries before, and I believe He will again. He used Nehemiah and fellow Jews to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah encouraged everyone to rebuild the section of the wall near his or her home. With each family focused on rebuilding right where God had already planted them, in the homes, on the streets, in the neighborhoods, He was able to get the wall rebuilt in record time, fifty-two days to be exact. What people tried to do in a number of years, God was able to do in a number of days.

What could this mean for our countries if we really took this call to be hospitable seriously?

I can only imagine…and pray that we will!

Let’s talk: How are you doing Jen’s weekly challenge this week? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas so please share them with our amazing community!

{Week 7} Challenge

This week let’s pray that God would lay on our hearts some people whom we can minister to. Then think of some practical ways that we can bless them.  This will take many of us out of our comfort zone and that is good. We grow when we are stretched.

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

 

If you happened to miss our very special Monday video, click here to watch it! I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Would you like to hear more from Jen’s husband, Joe? You can here!

You can also follow Jen’s personal blog here!

 

{Our Children}… Will we tell them?

He tip-toed down the stairs a little too early a few mornings ago, with sleep still in his eyes as he stumbled and squinted his way into my bathroom.

No “Good Morning” greeting. No drama. No frills.

He just walked up to me and matter-of-factly whispered into my ear, “I think I want to be a missionary when I grow up.”  I believe that boy meant it, and I just knew it was going to be a great day.

And then he promptly put his little sister into a headlock.  Haha.

This is how my days go in the midst of this parenting gig.  One step forward and two steps back.  I’m constantly celebrating, and then taking my pride and humility to the foot of the cross. Let’s just be honest, I’d do better if I just permanently set up camp there.

They’re humans.  Real, live humans that somehow God figured it would be okay to entrust into my care for this short time on earth.  And most days that makes me break out into a hot sweat.  Literally.  They’re energetic and live life louder than most of my friends’ kids, and I just know they’ll channel their hard-core passion into great leadership qualities one day (please, Jesus, let it be so).  But until then, these four have me on my knees.

It’s times like these that make me appreciate my own mother the way that I should have a long, long time ago.  She raised four herself -a few years as a struggling single mom – and I don’t remember her being sweaty even once. Heh.

1984

{My sweet momma and the four of us ~ feathered 80′s hair and all…}

I don’t remember a lot of things, actually.

I don’t remember a big house or trendy clothes.

I don’t remember gourmet foods or fancy cars.

I don’t remember over-the-top family vacations or frequent trips to the mall for the latest gadget.

I don’t remember extravagant birthday parties or permission to do all kinds of irresponsible things fun stuff that I wanted to do.

Because those things didn’t always happen. And I’m thankful. 

Because the way to impact our children for Jesus doesn’t include the long list of things we can acquire, our social statuses, or our constant obsession with self-gratification.

What do I remember?

A soft, soft voice that was rarely raised. Hope spoken in uncertain times.  Her Bible marked up and visited often. Desperate prayers in the quiet corners. Encouraging notes, picnics on the driveway, hymns sung off-key, fingers worked to the bone until the late-night hours, and a countenance that revealed such peace in her heart.  Consistent, faithful, selfless love, often unsung and unrecognized until years much later.

And I remember the name of Jesus on her lips.  We had that, and we knew that we were the richest children in the world. 

And I wonder… will I tell them?

Will my children hear the truth of who Jesus is, day in and day out, even when the girl is in a headlock and dinner is burning on the stove?

Will they hear me gently whisper His name when I’m tempted to whine and criticize and lose it for the 100th time in the same day?

Will they hear me speak Life and Light in the safe haven of our home, or will I give in to this crowded, loud world that’s making me just plain sweaty and tired?

I haven’t been called to a village in Africa, but I have been called to be a missionary in my own home for this critical, fleeting season.  And by the grace of God, this missionary will raise another missionary, and then he’ll raise another, and this – THIS, tired momma – is the Kingdom of God, and is worth every single sweaty sacrifice.

There’s so much to tell them, and so little time.  The greatest gift we can give our children?

Tell them.  And then tell them again.

 ”We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”

“…so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God.”

~ Psalm 78:4, 6-7

At His feet,

Week 6 ~ Our Children {Filled up in order to be spilled out}…

Basic week 6

{Week 6} is here!  This week we’ll be talking about what the Bible says about children.  And you need to know this…

I’ve been praying for you girls tonight.  Every.single.one. of you.

In God’s divine providence, I found myself stuck on an airplane runway for two whole hours this evening, waiting for maintenance to fix a stripped screw before my flight could take off.  No kidding.  One messed up screw (and clearly, an important one – heh.).  Many seemed to be enjoying the delay as much as they could: some visiting with the neighbor beside them, while others worked on their laptops or read books.

But this one sweet momma… oh, she had my heart.

Her young infant had clearly had enough of waits and crowds and confined spaces, and this momma paced the aisle over and over, bouncing and whispering and wrestling and blushing while her baby girl screamed from the top of her lungs.

Raising children is a glorious – and hard – task, amen?! :)

So I prayed for her.  And I prayed for you.

I prayed for the momma in the early years, who longs for sleep and to wear a shirt without spit-up.

And I prayed for the one who would take a spit-up stained shirt in a heartbeat, if only God would answer her prayers.

I prayed for the momma in the hidden years; the one who keeps trudging on, faithfully packing lunches, teaching handwriting and matching socks… and doing it all with excellence, even when nobody sees.

And I prayed for the one who wishes that she could hide behind the pain and loneliness of raising a child who has more needs than she’ll ever be able to meet.

I prayed for the momma with older children who are finding their independence and way farther and farther away from her side, and for the momma who has little ones attached to her side all.day.long. (yes, even in the bathroom).

I prayed for you who are hurting over unimaginable loss, and I prayed for you, sweet momma, who just feels lost every day in this glorious, hard mothering journey.

I prayed for the mommas celebrating incredible victories, and for those mommas who are living with regret.

And yes, I prayed for those of you who are reaching out to and encouraging other mommas and their children, even though you have no children of your own.

You are welcome here, and you have my heart.

God has much to say about children in His Word.  So wherever you are in this journey, thank you for joining us this week, and for seeing God in the glorious and hard places.

God asks us to be intentional with our children.  But before we can ever pass the story of His goodness and grace on to the next generation, we need to know it full well in our own hearts.  We have to be filled up in order to be spilled out…

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

**Let’s talk: Which prayer do you fit in above?  How can we specifically pray for you this week?

{Week 6} Challenge:  As you “walk along the road” with your children this week (at the dinner table, driving to activities, during the bedtime routine, etc.), intentionally make a point to talk about “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78).  If you don’t have children of your own, find time this week to spend time with a child in your life (nieces, nephews, neighbors, children in your church, etc.) with the same intention.

{Week 6} Reading Plan:

Week 6

{Week 6} Memory Verse:

MemoryVerse-06

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