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Strengthening your Spiritual Core

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A few weeks ago I picked up an exercise video at the thrift store. I might as well confess to you right now that I am really out of shape. In an effort to change that, I popped the video into the DVD player and prepared myself to sweat.

This video was different. It was a Yoga workout. The music was soft and soothing, the movements gentle and I was doing great until I was instructed to lie on the floor and do what they called some core strengthening movements.

I couldn't do them. No matter how much I tried to scrunch my abs, I couldn't do it. I have no stomach muscles to speak of. I tried-I tried hard, but could not lift myself from the floor.  The instructor droned on about how this would strengthen my core until I finally yelled at the TV, "I have no core!"

I finally gave up and turned the stinkin' thing off.

Today I was thinking about that video. Not because I wanted to try it again (I've since taken up walking and find that much easier.), but because I I started thinking about my spiritual core.

You know, that part of you that stands strong in the faith, trusting God, believing His Word, unshakable in the storms of life. At least that's how it is if our spiritual core is strong, but if we've allowed our spiritual core to grow weak, we are an easy target for discouragement, fear, doubt and an attack from the enemy.

How do we strengthen our spiritual core?

  • Reading the Word, hiding it in our hearts, speaking it and standing on it
  • Staying in communication with God (prayer) and walking in obedience to Him
  • Surrounding ourselves with strong believers at church, in our small groups
Does that mean we should cloister ourselves within a tight Christian circle? No, it means that if we practice these things, we will strengthen our spiritual core so that not only are we able to stand strong, but we will have something to offer others, an unshakable faith to share with unbelievers and those who are going through the storms of life.

This is one kind of exercise I can do - one that I love to do...and I'm working on the other kind...strengthening my physical core.

How about you? Are you maintaining a strong spiritual core? What do you think are some things that weaken our spiritual core?

Leave a comment and let us know.

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Help me, Lord, I'm going under!


"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

Sometimes life's struggles, trials and temptations feel as if they are dragging us under, as if they will swallow us up. It's hard to see a positive outcome and God seems to have left us to fend for ourselves, but He hasn't!

It's the enemy who whispers...

"You'll never make it out of this one."
"You've messed up too bad this time, God is through with you."
"The thing you fear the most is going to happen."
"You're in this one alone."
Lies, all lies!

The Bible says this about the devil - "there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. " (John 8:44b)

The best way to deal with a liar is to stand firm on the truth. Here's some truth you can stand on...

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Dueteronomy 31:6

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Dueteronomy 31:8

"So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" Hebrews 13:6

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. " Psalm 55:22

"Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth." Revelation 3:10

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

We can stand on these scriptures, assured that though the floods come and the fires rage, we will not be overcome, but will be carried in the arms of God.

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Ouch!

"Sometimes we choose to live with the burden of sin until it causes chronic pain that weighs us down, holds us back, and makes us miserable." ~Tresa Walker

I read that sentence over at Strength Renewed this morning.

My response?

"OUCH!

This is such a true statement that I almost recoiled when I read it. Why? Because it hit a nerve, that's why. Without exposing myself entirely, suffice it to say that I have struggled with a particular sin nearly all my life.

Ok, it's overeating. There, I said it.

With one sentence, God used Tresa (author of Strength Renewed) to put a finger on my issue (issue sounds so much better than sin).  He pointed out that this sin is causing chronic pain that weighs me down (literally) and holds me back. And yes, it makes me miserable.

So, why do I choose to live with that sin? To continue in it day after day? Honestly...I don't know.  I've fought this battle so long and in so many ways that it almost seems destined to win over me, but I'm a stubborn gal. I don't want sin to control me.  I want my life and my behavior to be pleasing to God, so I'll keep fighting and I'll keep trusting God to do in me what I can't do by myself.

I'm so blessed by other Christian bloggers that speak truth into the blogosphere so that God can direct people like me to the words I need to hear.

Thank you, Tresa, for letting God use you this way.

God bless all Christian bloggers!

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If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!

(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

You can put away the duct tape!

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29


Image credit: martyhaas, 123RF Stock Photo
The past few days have been rough. I've been feeling discouraged and out of sorts with several things in my life. How did I handle it?  The wrong way!

I mumbled, I grumbled, I complained and whined. I nursed and rehearsed hurts and problems. I neglected my time with God and made those around me want to run the other way.

The words that were coming out of my mouth were anything but wholesome. While I pride myself on not being a person who swears, I know that negativity can do more harm than a cuss word ever could.  Negativity tears down not only the speaker, but everyone around them. Negativity is contageous and I was a carrier.

It's a wonder my friends and family didn't pull out a roll of duct tape and shut me up!

Fortunately, this evening God got ahold of me and gave me a good talking to. He reminded me that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are supposed to be acceptable to Him (Psalm 19:14)... Mine weren't.

He reminded that reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

He reminded me that the tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21)

Positive, faith-filled words bring life, contentment and hope to both the speaker and the hearer.

Negative, discouraging words bring death to the spirit and hopes of both the speaker and the hearer.

If I have to be a carrier of either life and hope or death and hopelessness...I choose life.

This girl is gonna be watchin' her words from not on, so you can put away the duct tape!

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Thanks! (Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Hold your tongue!

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (New King James Version) - James 1:19-20

One of the hardest things to do is remain silent when you really want to put your 2 cents worth into the conversation.

How many times have you sat listening to a friend pour out their woes, just waiting for a break in their words so that you can tell them how you would handle the situation if it were you? You're so busy thinking of what you wanted to say next that you're not really listening to them at all. Maybe, just maybe, they don't want your advice. Maybe all they really need is a sympathetic and attentive ear so that they can talk it out for themselves.

Can you do it? Can you listen patiently and prayerfully so that when God prompts you to speak, you will have the right words?

And what about those times when someone speaks negatively at you or about you. How quickly do less than godly words pop into your head and out of your mouth? When someone is mad at you do you find your own anger quickly escalating into an explosive outburst?

God wants to produce righteousness in His children. One of the ways He does that is by teaching us to hold our tongue. When we're busy speaking, we're not listening. This even applies to prayer. Yes, we are to speak to Him, thank Him, praise Him, but we are also supposed to listen for His voice, His guidance, His promptings.

So, let's set our minds to listen more than we talk, to hold our tongue until we know that we have something helpful to say and to react to people, not in anger, but in a way that brings honor to the name of Christ, so that God might produce His righteousness in us.

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If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!

(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

You can't take it with you.

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

We have but one life to live. It's doled out to us in increments.

years
months
days
hours
minutes
seconds.

We spend those increments of our lives in pursuit of many things. Some pursuits are worthwhile and some are worthless, but once those increments are spent, they are gone - forever.

Some choose to spend their time in pursuit of riches, fame and pleasure. Their focus is self. Yet even if they acheive all of these, they leave this world with nothing. They can't take it with them. The riches of this world do not transfer to eternity.

Others spend their time pursuing God, seeking to do His will, to love Him and to love others. They are motivated by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - all fruits of the Spirit, given to us by God.  They enrich the lives of others, rather than seek riches for themselves. They gain pleasure from helping others and they do it without recognition. They make a difference!

We are not guaranteed one more second, but should you be given another second, minute, hour, day, month, year or many more years to come...how will you spend them?


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If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!

(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)