Welcome to all who are receiving THRIVE for the first time. I’m excited to have you join our family of readers from Mongolia to China, Australia, Canada, and many countries in between. My prayer is that you’ll grow and be spiritually stimulated by taking a few moments to read THRIVE and reflect on how God is moving in your life.
IN A DESERT?
Some of you live in the Middle East and know firsthand both the barrenness and the beauty of the desert. So do those of you who live in Australia, Mongolia and Africa. (Have I missed someone?) You know that a desert is dry, directionless, confusing and intimidating. But it can also be a place of discovery and great beauty. Spiritual deserts can be the same way.
Spiritual deserts are places where you feel confused, as if you’re wandering without direction. You might sense a distance from the Lord. And you spend time thinking and looking for indicators of which way to go. Spiritual deserts can also be places where you learn more about yourself, recognize your inner dryness, and feel your need for God. Does this sound familiar? If so, check out the following:
How do you get in a spiritual desert?
If you’ve read about Christian mystics from past centuries, you have heard the phrase, dark night of the soul. These difficult times of experiencing a complete absence of God’s presence are allowed by God to deepen faith. The resultant spiritual desert is for the purpose of growth, moving us from relying on our feelings to trusting God in spite of their absence. But most of our times of wandering around in spiritual deserts come for other reasons. Here are some:
Neglect —We are spiritually weak, discouraged, defeated by negative thoughts, and without God’s joy because we’ve neglected to replenish our soul, our mind, will, and emotions, which are renewed by regular spiritual practices. Oswald Chambers asks a penetrating question in this regard: “Are you thirsty, or complacent and indifferent—so satisfied with your own experience that you want nothing more of God?” How would you answer that?
Exhaustion —We are in a particular season of life that demands all our energy or we’re running and doing more than God asks of us.
Confusion —We are questioning our circumstances and waiting for signs of God’s direction for our future.
Unconfessed sin —We are wrestling with something that has happened, or is currently going on, and we feel guilty or rebellious and far away from the Lord.
How do we get out of a spiritual desert? We make choices.
Come to Me —All the spiritual practices we need to include in our lives point us in the same direction: Come into Jesus’ presence, draw close, talk to Him, and meditate on Him. We renew our minds by reading His Word: such as portions of John’s Gospel along with the other gospels, Hebrews, Colossians and Philippians 2.
If we want to move from a place of dryness to being penetrated with the spirit of life, these are choices only we can make. Here’s another choice we need to act on:
Be still and know that I am God —Be still, slow down, stop the activity. Still yourself physically and inwardly. Find a quiet place, go for a walk alone, and unplug yourself for the purpose of listening for God’s voice.
Know: knowledge isn’t just accumulated information. To know that He is God implies a confidence, a certainty, and a reliance on truth. What is the truth?
I am God: In your struggles, choose to affirm that He is God, the Almighty One for whom nothing is too difficult. He is in your desert with you and knows what will best produce His purposes for your life. As your God, He promises to cleanse you, sustain you, renew your soul, and lead you out of your spiritual desert—stronger in faith because of this experience.
Spiritual deserts needn’t be wasted time. Use the dryness, the absence of life-giving joy, and the longing for what you have known of God’s closeness to claim this promise from Isaiah 41:18:
“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs.”
New Seminar/Retreat Topic available this Fall: I’m wrapping up my next book tentatively titled: WHY CAN’T HE BE MORE LIKE ME? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question be assured, there are answers! Due to the interest we all have in this topic, I’m offering it as a seminar or retreat with bookings starting this Fall.
Through this fun, Bible-based presentation both SINGLE AND MARRIED WOMEN will be equipped to:
- Understand why men are so different
- Learn what makes men act as they do
- Discover practical steps to create greater harmony
- Grow spiritually, even if their relationship is challenging
For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
LORD, FLIP THIS HOUSE: The three CD’s for this series: Lord, Flip My Attitude; Flip My Words; Flip My Thinking, are now available for order from my website: Cost: $15.00, plus s/h.
SHARE YOUR FAITH: In response to a reader’s question about sharing her faith with friends and family, Karen Robbins wrote four BLOG POSTS during May. Want tips, ideas for questions to ask, how to get prepared, and find encouragement to start talking about Jesus? Karen did a great job so check out her helpful suggestions at my website: www.poppysmith.com Be sure and sign up so you get these almost weekly mini-messages coming regularly into your email box.
VIDEOS AVAILABLE SOON :
Videos of my two plenary sessions at the InspireU women's conference held at Elmbrook Church, Wisconsin (the church where Stuart and Jill Briscoe taught for many years), are available. If you have an interest in these, please email me.
SPIRITUAL SUPPORT: If you or someone you care about is in need of regular spiritual support, help is available. I currently meet with women to walk alongside them as they deal with life situations and want a Scriptural perspective on their circumstances and choices. As a trained Spiritual Director,
God has given me a passion to support women,
as I have been supported in my own journey. For a confidential enquiry, please call: 503-367-1374. This ministry is also available via Skype.
May the Lord pour out His blessings on you, my sisters, wherever you are. May He be your source of wisdom, contentment, and overflowing joy today, and in the days to come.
Here are five verses about Jesus to linger over. What might God be saying to you through them?
Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst . John 4:13
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. John 8:12
||He is the image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15
||We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. Hebrews 10:10
||Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3
March 12: SOUL FEAST, Village Church, Beaverton, OR
March 18-20: Retreat for Grace Four Square Church, Camas, WA
March 26: Inspire U, Elmbrook Church, Wisconsin
April 29-30: Women's Conference, Brookings, OR
May 14-16: Retreat, Community Christian Fellowship, Edmonds, WA
October 16-21: Nairobi, Kenya
Please contact me to speak for your group: email@example.com
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