Learning the Pieces of a Peaceful Life (Theme Chosen by my daughter Leila)

I think about why my daughter chose A Peaceful Life for this post.  She sat by me as I wrote about a week ago.  For the first time, she asked me what I was writing about.  It turned into a short chat about what she thought I should write about and out this title came.  It is no surprise to me that it is now, this season, that she begins to ask me thought-full questions.  I can see in the way she prays, in the way that she thinks, cares and changes that she is becoming a young woman.  I can’t be more warmed by this changing young woman to choose a theme called Peace.

Questions I am learning to ask myself:  What do I really need?  Is there more?  What makes me cry?  How do I measure success?   What do I love to do that I miss?  Is my idea of the right way keeping me from the best way?

Questions from Jeff Goins, Lynn Donovan, Emily P. Freeman and my journal.

Verse: Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still.  Psalm 4:4

Deep Thought: When I gather questions to ask myself, I start to remember things about myself that I have forgotten.  I remember that I like butterflies and owls and that I like to bake.  I remember that God has given me space to be and do the things that get quietly pushed aside by the needs of the day.  I remember that He made us to live and work and do our roles, but also to dream, imagine and believe in the unique way He made each of us.  When I remember these things, I am inspired to live an intentional, full, beautiful life.

Quote: I think what we all are aching for is the perfect unity of Heaven.  Until then, we are messy people longing to be seen and known, living under the banner of grace, laboring together for God’s dreams until He makes all things new.  By Ashley Abramson, June 9, 2015, Relevant Magazine

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me:  I really like the regular change of authors in the Daily Devos of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.  All of the authors ask really good questions like Am I looking backwards from the cross or looking forward from His resurrection?

My Prayer to You:  I pray that we would take time to know ourselves.  God, help us see the beauty in the details and intricacies that You placed within our souls.  Help us remember that life is not complete without the expression of what You have placed within our souls.  Help us to meditate and be still so that we can hear You share Your heart with us.  God, we know that we will ache for You until You bring us home or make all things new.  Even so, help us live and breathe among community so that our  ache leans on side of Hope.  And, finally, God, help us to keep seeking You and the very perfect design You have made in and for all of us.  Amen.

Changing the “Fate” of Your Family Tree

“My parents didn’t grow up hearing about Jesus, nor did their parents, nor theirs. And yet, the light of Christ broke into my parents’ worlds, and they said “yes” to Him. And because of God’s faithfulness to them and their faithfulness to Him—just one generation later—here I am. I’m not free of baggage, but I’m free of the curse.” –Bonnie McMaken, as published in Relevant Magazine.

Read more of Bonnie McMaken’s article about changing the destiny of your family tree…

Luck v. Faith: Thinking About Leprechauns…

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This month, FemmeFuel will be featuring the theme of Luck v. Faith. Do you tend to think the concept of random “luck” plays more into your life, rather than the will of God? Do you believe that your actions in life are dictated by fate or chance, as opposed to the divine intervention of God? Maybe you believe in a combination of all of the above?

To kickstart this month, take a look at this article originally published in Relevant Magazine, by Jim Palmer, the author of Divine Nobodies, and Wide Open Spaces.

“The concept of luck relates to circumstances. People hope for “good luck,” which implies something positive happening, and fear “bad luck,” which is equated with some unfortunate occurrence. The entire mentality is based on the fallacy that our well-being is contingent upon our circumstances.

Christians sometimes share in this fallacy by living as if their peace, security, identity, worth, identity, purpose, contentment and fulfillment are determined by circumstances. The value of God is seen in His ability to influence life’s situations for the good or offer protection from adversity or misfortune. One of the most common forms of prayer is asking God to intervene and change our circumstances. We often equate God’s “blessing” with things going our way.

Jesus continuously pressed people to see that the source of their deepest desires was not outside themselves but inside them. Jesus announced that God’s kingdom had come… Jesus said they needed to look inside themselves to find this kingdom. Jesus also taught that we could experience His Spirit alive inside us. Paul discovered that this kingdom and divine presence within him was the secret to his contentment. He wrote in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Pretty impressive for a guy who often seemed “down on his luck”―imprisoned, beaten, hungry, and shipwrecked…three times!”

–Jim Palmer, from the article, Leprechauns, Luck and Seeing Life Differently

What You DO Matters

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Do you divide the world into “spiritual jobs” (e.g., missionary work) and “secular jobs” (e.g., account executive at ABC Company)?

Do you ever sit in your cubicle thinking, “I’m just a pencil-pusher. What I do here doesn’t really matter in the great scheme of things.”

Do you send out resumes, hoping to find a job that has “real meaning and purpose”?

Is your vocation a part of your spiritual calling?

Check out this article by Scot McKnight, as published in Relevant Magazine, where he maintains that, “Your vocation, which in so many ways is unique to you, can genuinely matter if you keep your eyes on the Kingdom of God as your guiding North Star.”

Liven Up Those New Year’s Resolutions

By JMathis

Relevant Magazine just posted a great article on how to actually make New Year’s Resolutions that are not…well, boring.  How many times have you tried starting a new fitness plan on January 1st, only to be stuffing your face with Twinkies by January 3rd? Check out this article by Rachel Held Evans.

For those of you unfamiliar with the writings of Rachel Held Evans, I really encourage you to pick up a copy of her bestselling book, Evolving in Monkey Town. This is a beautifully written memoir that honestly recounts Rachel’s personal struggle with doubting her faith in God. So many of us, including myself, are wrestling with spiritual and intellectual doubt as to long-standing beliefs instilled in us by the church, family or our culture. Many of us are trained to shut up about our doubts, lest we appear to be heretical or traitorous to others in the religious community.

It takes a great writer like Rachel to give us the courage to openly ask why we believe in Jesus Christ, as in many ways, this process of questioning is what will help us to better embrace a deeper, personal and more mature faith in Christ.