SUMMER SIPPIN!

This week California has experienced, ‘Summer Sizzlin!’ It was HOT! If you were like me, you could not get enough water! I did not just fill one water bottle as I left my house each morning. I carried a cinch sack that had two full hydro’s and held a full bottle in my hand.

I returned home with 3 empty bottles to wash and refill each evening. I realized that I wasn’t even doing the “dance” as much as usual. You know what I mean. That side to side, up and down, can’t find a bathroom quick enough, “dance.” Why? Because I was so hot that I was absorbing the water throughout my overheated body. I also realized that the more I drank, the more I wanted. I simply could not get enough! My thirst seemed unquenchable!

That is the kind of thirst that I believe God wants from us every single day. He desires that we wake up each and every morning feeling like we just can’t get enough of Him!

OH, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD! BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT TAKES REFUGE IN HIM!”   PSALM 34:8

I think it is easy to pass over the most common definition of, TASTE, and miss it’s deeper meaning all together.

Commonly, the definition of Taste is, “To try and test the flavor of something by taking some into the mouth.”

I personally have this definition of TASTE down very well!

The word, TASTE, also means, “To perceive, or distinguish the flavor of.” And, “To have or get to experience something.”

This definition is the one David is referring to in Psalm 34.  

Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  

David is confident and sure, from past experience, that when you experience God by spending time with Him, like we have been disciplining ourselves to do, you will see that HE IS GOOD!

So, I got to thinking…Why not combine the two definitions and make it a double Summer Steppin Discipline? Two ways will always increase our experience and make it even better!

Summer Steppin Discipline #5) SUMMER SIPPIN!

As we are practicing the second definition of “Tasting and Seeing That The Lord is Good,”

reading His Word and spending time in prayer with Him, Disciplines #2, and #3, let’s also practice the first definition of TASTE and sip a refreshing cool summer drink. 

TRUTH BOMB

WE ARE TRULY REFRESHED BY GOD WHEN WE TASTE AND SEE THAT HE IS GOOD!

In the spirit of ‘Summer Steppin,’ I want my ‘Summer Sippin’ to be healthy and refreshing to my physical body and to my spiritual body! Here are a few of my favorites…

*Sparkling Water with a Twist

Pour sparkling water into a glass of ice. Slice your favorite fruit(mine is lemon) and squeeze the juice of that fruit straight into your glass. Then, drop that fruit into your glass, add a straw and sip away! The fruit infusses the water the entire time you sip!

-If you prefer still water, it works just as well!

*Jump Start Latte

Fill a glass with ice, select your preferred dairy or non-dairy creamer, mine is almond milk, fill the glass half full with the creamer, pour coffee over the creamer and ice, fill to the top of the glass. Add a straw and sip away!

You can adapt this delectable sip any way you like. Use caffeinated coffee or decaf, use dairy or non-dairy creamer, add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to the top. Anyway you prefer it, sip it!

*Power House Smoothie

Add a huge handful of spinach or power greens to any blender, pour crushed ice and liquid, I use almond milk or coconut milk, about half way up. Add fresh fruit, any kind you prefer, and blend! Pour into a glass and sip away!

**Note, you can use frozen fruit in place of the fresh fruit and crushed ice!

*Fruit Juice Sparkling Water

Select your favorite fruit juice, fill a glass with ice, then pour it into the glass only one quarter of the way up. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water, add a straw and sip away!

**Another fun way to sip is to add fresh squeezed fruit or fruit juice to ice cube trays. Freeze them and fill a glass with them. Add sparkling water and sip away!

My mouth is already watering, no pun intended, as I picture myself, on these warm summer days, reading, praying and sippin, as I “TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!”

These disciplines are the way to truly be refreshed in The Lord regardless of the weather!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER STEPS TO DAILY DISCIPLINE #5

The Little Engine That Could

Do you remember that classic children’s book, ‘The Little Engine That Could?’

The ordinary, plain little engine pulled a circus train, full of animals. As the train cars were filled with more and more animals the engine huffed and puffed to keep the circus train running along the tracks. The trip was not easy as he pulled cars of larger animals like elephants and giraffes. But he kept at the task knowing the animals needed to reach the circus on time. Tired already from the journey he faced his greatest obstacle yet! In front of him stood a hill. As he looked at it, stalled there on the tracks, he began to feel his exhaustion. He had gotten the circus animals this far, but now the road ahead loomed over him and brought despair. This was too much! He was just one little engine. There was no way he could pull this train full of circus animals up and over this great hill! He was tired, exhausted and “out of steam!”  He felt discouraged that he had come all this way and could not finish. As he sat, stalled on the tracks, he had a choice to make. Would he press on or would he quit and fail at his goal? The choice was hard! 

It would cost him something. Could he do it?

From his delima, come the encouraging words that have spoken over millions of people as they face similar crossroads…

“I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN!”

And so he did! The little engine mustered all his strength and he persevered!

He turned his negative thoughts into positive ones and climbed that hill!

This is the definition of PERSEVERANCE my friends! We keep on, keeping on, regardless of the obstacles that lie in front of us. We do not give up when the going gets tough. We push onward, much of the time, one small step at a time, but moving forward!

“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all PERSEVERANCE.”                      Ephesians 6:18

As believers in Jesus, we have direct access to the source of all strength and perseverance. We can do it because we have the power of Jesus Christ living in us!

What roadblock are you facing as you find yourself “Summer Steppin,” and out of steam to keep on steppin?  

Whatever you are facing, with Jesus, we have a mantra that will never fail. We do not just, “Think We Can,” we know HE CAN!

With Jesus, our mantra is,

“I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN!”

TRUTH BOMB

JESUS IN US GIVES US ALL WE NEED TO PERSEVERE!

So what is it that you need to keep “Steppin” through? Maybe it is our ‘SUMMER DAILY DISCIPLINES,’ that we have committed to practice every day this Summer.  If it is getting hard for you and you find yourself stalled on the tracks as Summer lingers on, let’s commit to putting Step #5 into our daily disciplines!

DAILY STEP #5 PERSEVERE

PRAY AND SAY, “I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN, I KNOW HE CAN,” AND DO IT!

Keep those feet up as you trust Jesus for your PERSEVERANCE to “Keep on Summer Steppin!”

I KNOW YOU CAN!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER STEPS TO DAILY DISCIPLINE #4

The Practice of Daily Fasting

I believe that the discipline of spiritual daily fasting can be the antidote to self-centeredness.

I was reminded this week of a quote by a well known pastor in Southern California, Rick Warren;

“This is true humility, not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.”

I am finding it more and more obvious, that when I am sad, lonely, hopeless, frustrated, discouraged or experience any other negative emotions, I am thinking of myself!

My focus has gone off of God and onto myself. So, what can I do?

The antidote for thinking of myself less is to think of God more! I cannot think of a better way to think of God more than when I have purposefully committed to going without food!

I do not know about you but when I get up in the morning I am thinking about two main things, coffee and food! I would love to tell you that I am so spiritually mature, that my first thought in the morning is God and I am all pumped to sit and spend time with Him.

Truth is, I need DISCIPLINE! This is the very reason we are focusing on practicing daily DISCIPLINES. We are by nature, selfish, and in order to develop a character like Christ, we must develop disciplines that create in us a Christ-like character.

Jesus Himself fasted to keep His focus on God and off of the distractions and temptations around Him.

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  Matthew 4:2-3

I think verse 2 may be the greatest understatement in the history of the world,

“HE WAS HUNGRY!” As my daughter would say, “Thank you Captain Obvious!”

But because He is Jesus, He answers with complete focus and discipline.

“Jesus answered, “It is written; Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

If we want to be more like Jesus than I believe it is important to continue developing Daily Disciplines that emulate the character of Jesus.

I am not saying that we have to fast for 40 days! That actually would not work as a daily discipline. Eventually, we would need to eat or we would die! That is the way God created our bodies. It is possible however, to develop a daily time when you purposefully go without food in order to turn your focus toward God.

I realize most of you have heard of INTERMITTENT FASTING, it can be a healthy way to manage your weight. I am not talking about that! That is a practice for your physical health. The FASTING I am talking about is a time each and every day, that you go without food in order to focus on God.

For example, because I have already committed myself to Disciplines 1, 2, and 3, I am going to add discipline #4, and set the first two hours I get up each day to fast, to go without any food.

This means I am disciplining myself to #1) Pray and acknowledge my need for God, #2) Read God’s Word, #3) MOVE, and #4) FAST for the first two hours of each day!

You may have a medical need to have food as soon as you wake up. You may be able to go without food for a longer stretch of time. You may focus on your time alone with God at your lunch time and want to FAST then. Maybe you prefer to end your day praying and reading God’s Word and you choose to FAST from 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening until you get up the next morning. There is no right or wrong way to practice this discipline. You may find any time of the day or amount of time in your day to FAST from food and focus on God. 

Does it have to be food? No, it really does not. But food is typically something we all enjoy, look forward to and notice if we are not partaking of it. Therefore, for me, it is the perfect discipline to choose to FAST from!

TRUTH BOMB

THE DISCIPLINE OF FASTING HELPS DEVELOP A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER IN US.

MY COMMITMENT TO “SUMMER STEPIN,” DEVELOPING DAILY DISCIPLINES, IS TO TAKE THIS SUMMER AND DEVELOP DISCIPLINES THAT WILL MAKE ME MORE LIKE JESUS.

It is not easy, but so very worth it!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER STEPS TO DAILY DISCIPLINE #3

It’s the first day of June!

 The temperatures are rising and it is truly beginning to feel like Summer. So why am I not feeling energetic and enthused about my “Summer Steppin?”

It’s week 3 of Developing Daily Disciplines and my steps have come to a halt!

I’m doing well with steps 1 and 2, but this week I am committing to step 3, and my body is not conforming!

My Third Healthy Habit is to MOVE!

#3) MOVE

No matter how big or how small, MOVE!

Talk a walk, take a run, hike, bike or stretch! Complete a full workout, or stretch for 20 minutes…just get moving! Do something!

I am encouraged by the song,

“You’ve got to move it, move it!

You’ve got to move it, move it!

You’ve got to move it, move it!

“You’ve got to, You’ve got to!”

But it’s June 1st, Summer is in the air and my body is singing a different tune!

The lyrics in my head sound more like;

“ I don’t want to move it, move it!”

“ I don’t want to move it, move it!”

“I don’t want to move it, move it!”

“I don’t want to!”

“I don’t want to!”

Do you relate? Or, am I the only one who runs out of strength, energy and will- power?

The problem with the second version of my song is the word “I!” In my own strength, in my own flesh, depending on my will power, I AM WEAK! It is only when I depend on God that I am able to find the strength to accomplish these healthy habits and anything else God has for me!

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”   Psalm 73:26

BUT GOD!

Did you catch that?

I am weak, I get tired, my flesh fails…

TRUTH BOMB

BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND PORTION AND WITH HIM I CAN PERSEVERE!

The entire chapter of Psalm 73 teaches us this Truth!

We see two major truths in this Psalm;

#1) We can be weak as humans no matter of our gender, race or age.

And,

#2) We need God as our source of strength! 

At times we are weak, BUT GOD!

The Psalm repeats these two truths over and over…

My feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.

For all day long I had been stricken.

It seemed a wearisome task.

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart.

AND

BUT GOD

“…you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory!

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

And finally,

But for me it is good to be near God; 

I have made The Lord God my refuge,

That I may tell of all your works.

So let’s get moving! 

Let’s continue “Summer Steppin” as we develop healthy daily disciplines remembering that when we are weak, “BUT GOD!” 

God is our strength!

Speak Truth Love