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WHAT IS HOLDING YOU UP?


Hearing God in the Garden: A summer blog series



As we pulled into the driveway from our family vacation, I could hardly wait to go check my garden. It had been planted for about a month and when I had left a week prior, everything was starting to bloom and grow. During this time of the year, the garden changes daily. So, I knew that in the amount of time I had been gone, it would have transformed from when I had seen it last. It was growing so perfect when I left. We had been given weeks of optimal weather and my beautiful garden was thriving. Unfortunately, when I walked outside to take a look, it became evident in an instant that it had not transformed at all in a way I had hoped for or expected. I realized rather quickly that I had made a mistake. I had forgotten to get a cage to put around my plant to protect it. It had totally just slipped my mind. In addition to the lack of protection, a storm had come while I was gone. The result was that my pepper plant was not standing up; instead, it had fallen all the way over and was laid completely down.


Life is so much like this for us at times. Days, weeks, and years are running smoothly. Trials have been, for the most part, nonexistent and difficult days have been minimal. And on this smooth path, our life is bearing fruit. All the while we are growing, thriving and excelling. Sometimes, it’s in those optimal conditions and smooth sailing times that we become lazy in the areas of protecting, guarding, and shielding our lives from the unforeseen times ahead.


Therefore, the cage is a must! It’s the barrier –the protection. It’s what keeps the plant standing up when the weight of the world gets heavy. It’s the guard that keeps its stem from snapping when the strong winds and heavy rain comes. I had underestimated the weight of the plant, and I hadn’t prepared for the storms ahead. And the result? My plant was suffering. The same plant that one week prior was bearing fruit now was fighting to keep its roots grounded.


Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

The Bible speaks a lot about being rooted in Christ and grounded in His Word. And of course, there is absolute importance in being rooted individually in Christ. We will be held accountable one day for our relationship with our Father. Did we live for Him and devote our lives to Him? It is our own selves that make the choice to follow Him and be obedient to His calling for our lives. But guess what? We were not called to do it alone. That cage that protects the plant, is much like community in our lives. I think too often as followers of Christ, we just want to go through this life alone. Quite possibly, there is a multitude of reasons for this. We don’t want to “nosey” in people’s business, so we ignore what is staring us in the face. We want to respect their privacy, so we just don’t ask. We want to be left alone to handle our problems privately, so we turn off the phone and lock the door. We fear being judged so we isolate ourselves from the world. We’re embarrassed so we pretend that it’s not that bad. Or maybe we are just too busy to make time for anything else in our days.


And then one day, the easy road we had been walking down changed instantaneously. There was no time to prepare or change courses. The difficulties surrounded us on all sides and the weight of the world was heavy –too heavy to bear. We were alone and in desperate need of help. But we hadn’t established support. We just didn’t think that we needed it. But now the time had come and what seemed unnecessary now was our lifeline.



“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Please hear this truth, we were not created to walk this world alone. We were designed by a Holy God to walk in community with other believers. Do you know why? Because even on our best days life is heavy. And sometimes, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to hold us up. The burdens that we face are like a thick cloud of smoke that hinder our ability to see the path to restoration. These people not only offer us kindness and love, but they offer it parallel to the truth of Scripture. It is with this support that we can see clearly the truths that we may have been blinded to for one reason or another.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

The next problem is that we have surrounded ourselves with unbelievers. Should we love on and befriend unbelievers? I would absolutely say yes. If we never stepped outside of our circle of believers, how will we ever reach the lost? But your closest circle of friends –the ones you call first, well they need to be the friends that are equipped to speak clarity into your life. Not clarity that is found in the broken world that we live in, but clarity instead based on God’s Holy Word. These friends need to be the ones that don’t judge you but instead speak truth into your situation and then help you find your way back onto the right path. Truth and love are vital in these relationships but in addition to this, accountability must be an element of these friendships as well. Accountability sees when the boundaries haven’t been established and the prep work hasn’t been completed. These friends jump in at a moments notice to help you prepare for the storm ahead or recover from the storm that has passed.

I feel passionate about this for so many reasons. But the most important is that I have had the blessing of experiencing these friendships in my life. Because of this gift, I have been shown endless amounts of support and encouragement on the days that I needed it the most. I have been pointed daily to the truth of scripture when my focus was directed in the wrong direction. I have an army of believers that are walking alongside me through all of life’s hardships. Because of them, I am better, strong, more prepared, more equipped, and most importantly, closer to my Creator.


1. Have you fallen into the lie of the enemy believing that you do not have time for friendships?

2. Do you attempt to handle all of life’s problems on your own?

3. Are your friendships pulling you opposite of Christ?

Remember there is purpose in Christian community and fellowship. Spend some time in prayer asking God to bring people into your life that He can use as a tool to grow you closer to Him. The time spent in these relationships will be a time that you will never regret.




 

Spiritual Disciplines


Spiritual Disciplines have been such a ginormous part of my growth in Christ. These disciplines changed my daily walk with the Lord and have taught me about reliance and dependence on Him! My prayer is that this space can help deepen your knowledge and understanding by teaching you to lean in closer to God. With that being said, my goal is to incorporate these disciplines slowly so that you can gain a clear picture and understanding of each one as well as learn how to incorporate them into your daily walk with the Lord. Here is a list of the 8 disciplines that we will cover. If these disciplines are already a regular part of your day, now is a great opportunity to reach out to a friend that could use some help learning and growing.


  • Bible Study

  • Memorization

  • Meditation

  • Prayer

  • Worship

  • Evangelism

  • Fasting

  • Solitude

We have now covered the eight tangible spiritual disciplines that growing in God focuses on. IF you missed any of these, please go back and review them in the past blogs.


 

This week, the daily readings will focus the importance of Christian friendships and community.

This week's Bible Study:


-MONDAY: Galatians 6

-TUESDAY:1 Thessalonians 5

-WEDNESDAY: 1 John 1

-THURSDAY: Colossians 3

-FRIDAY: Romans 12

-SATURDAY: john 15

-SUNDAY: Hebrews 10




 

This week's verse to memorize and meditate on:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


 


Tips and challenges this week:

  1. If you have not already, begin implementing spiritual disciplines into your daily walk with God.

  2. Some like to begin by adding one at a time.

  3. Dig deeper and gain a better understanding of the meaning and purpose behind each discipline.

  4. Find an accountability partner that can encourage you in your time spent with the Lord. (For help with this, check out our accountability groups. Scan the QR code at the bottom of this page for more information.)





 

Private Facebook Discussion Group

Would you like to dig a little deeper into your weekly reading and spiritual disciplines? Join our Facebook group where we learn, grow and encourage one another.



 
Questions?

If you have questions or things that you don't understand, please email them to me and I will add them to the Q&A section. I can't promise you that I will have all of the answers, but I can promise I will do my best to find them if I don't have them.


 

Growing in God

Would you like a tool to encourage your growth in God? Check out my newly released 12-month spiritual disciplines book/journal. This journal will give you a brief understanding of 8 tangible spiritual disciplines as well as give you a space to implement these disciplines into your daily walk with God.


 











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