Coffee Can Be a Spiritual Experience

laptop coffee old tableI live again in the little town in which I grew up, a small farm-to-market town with a few stores and a great sense of community. After having lived away and been exposed to “big city things” I can sometimes find the local grocery store a bit of a challenge, but that’s OK. Except for the coffee.

My younger daughter worked as a barista at some great coffee shops when we lived in Tampa and Greensboro. That’s when I realized there was a lot more to coffee than the Maxwell House I’d grown up knowing. I learned about the power of the bean! The organic, fairly traded, and freshly roasted bean from Kenya remains my favorite. The oils on top of the French Press cup, the deep aroma, the earthy flavor with notes that linger, combined with honey and half and half make for a satisfying and rewarding cup of coffee. I’m spoiled – been called a coffee snob – but I know what I’ve experienced!

I’ve found it’s the same in my spiritual life. The God I grew up knowing in the same small town was taught about with faithfulness from the pastors who shared all they knew, but it wasn’t until my own relationship with God began to deepen and grow, until I experienced more of the Holy Spirit for myself, and had more real peace and joy did I understand that there was more to know and hold.

I have sought after God finding that He alone is my source of wisdom and revelation, and I’ve discovered an intimate relationship with Him where I can tell Him anything. Seriously, anything. After experiencing different forms of abuse and trauma, I find He has set me on my feet with a life of purpose. You may ask why I think I need more than what I was given as a child. That’s where the Kenyan coffee compares to the Maxwell House. To experience God is to find that life has more flavor and a sweet aroma, and just when I think He can’t show me anymore, He always does, speaking to my heart in a way I can understand and then encouraging me to share the truth about Him and all that unconditional love He has ready.

So now that I’ve come to know that God is more than a Bible story, and Jesus is more than a Savior, I am just beginning to live the restored, fulfilling, “Sozo” kind of life that was supposed to be mine all the time.  And I know what I’ve experienced!

Be satisfied with a “Maxwell House God”? Sorry, I can’t do that now. When I have been exposed to more richness and fullness in my soul, more identity and purpose about why I am here, when I’ve learned to hear God’s voice, why would I want to return to the way things used to be? Why would I ask for less than what is available for me? I want all the flavor, aroma, and purpose for a life that is mine to live well.

Don’t you have a responsibility to yourself to learn how to live your one life well? No one can do it for you, but…

You can have it, too! For more about how you can live a fulfilling life of significance and worth, send me an email today at robinlewiswords@gmail.com. My brand of encouraging life coaching and speaking topics can help. Your one life is worth it! Contact me today!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a Monday full of sunshine and a tender heart for you.

banner cropped for constant contact(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 10, 2015. (Reposted August 18, 2016)

 

When Faith Is Under Pressure {Stay the Course, Trust the Process}

book, journal, computerIt’s not one of  my favorite scriptures. In chapter 1, James is writing to Christians who are being persecuted and telling them how to think and live in order to win. He tells them to see difficulties as a gift.  Did you know that when we come into relationship with Christ it places a target on us? Yes, we are “saved” by believing, but then we have the same enemy that Christ had who wants to “steal, kill, and destroy” everything good the Father has planned for us. While Jesus defeated death and hell, we still have conflict over our lives today until He returns.

In His Name we pray, stand, speak, and live by His Authority that He won by His finished work on the cross. Through the trials we face in life we are changed, strengthened, and grown in maturity in our faith and love. The word Christian means anointed one. Yeah, that’s you if you believe in Him. Don’t feel anointed? Well, sometimes I don’t either. Sometimes it feels like my faith is under attack and the external and internal pressures of life are great. What then? Here’s that verse:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-3 MSG)

Tests and challenges are a gift? Yes. And not only are they a gift, we have a choice as to whether we receive the gift or not. We can stay the course or leave it prematurely. Many people leave their church as soon as their feelings get hurt. Some quit a job when they feel it’s too hard or they weren’t invited to the office party. There are others who agree with an abusive person to avoid conflict, allowing their lives to be controlled. And most of us struggle with even the basics of letting God lead us through life’s choices and decisions. We need to learn to stay the course!

While growth is not easy and sometimes quite painful, we need it! Without that personal growth, we flounder where we are and end up a complaining, weeping, mess of a person in bondage to the very things from which Christ came to set us free! So how do we choose to grow? How do we find the gift in the trouble? We stick with God!

God will make a wayStart making a daily choice to become determined in your faith that no matter what comes, no matter how difficult the circumstance, you are going to stay the course and trust the process for the Lord is going to use it for your good. There’s a gift inside every problem. There’s an opportunity for more faith in every difficulty. Growth and maturity are woven into every moment of your life and is yours for the taking…IF you stay the course and trust the process of who you are as God’s dearly loved son or daughter.

Stop accepting what is unacceptable to Him. You are here for a reason – to know His love, yes, but for more. So when the pressure comes, when conflicts arise, when your heart is troubled, take it all to God. He has a way for you through the difficulty and promises to lead you through the fiery trial you are facing. Call someone to pray with you.

Suffering brings God’s presence near in a way nothing else can. – Timothy Keller

Learn to follow Him in the small things and then you’ll be able to follow Him through the big things that want to shatter your world. Build relationship with Him now in order to remain close in trust when things go dark.

His love for you really is perfect, lacking nothing that you need, and your trust in that love makes the darkness run! Fear cannot remain when we grow in trusting God’s love.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. (1 John 4:17-18 MSG)

We typically relate God’s love to our own limited, human love. His love is deeper than the ocean and wider than the universe. Paul’s desire in Ephesians 3:18 was that we all would come to understand how wide, how high, and how deep the love of Christ really is! It’s a supernatural, all-enveloping, everything-you-need kind of love!

There are many who have been a Christian a long time who still aren’t well acquainted with God’s perfect love for them. Fear has a crippling power in their life. They are weak in the face of trouble. (That’s been me more times than I want to remember!) But “our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s” so that we are able to live an effective, powerful life with God while we are here. As long as we are depending on His love for us.

Allow Him to grow you up in your relationship with Him. Make the decision daily that you are going to grow in knowing that love and allow it to grow you. Then when your faith is under pressure, you will so trust in that love that you are able to stay the course no matter what and receive the gift hidden in the problem. Your true colors will be displayed to a fearful and hurting world and others will be inspired by the life you live.

There’s so much grace for the journey,Robin 12

Robin

From the desk by the window where the morning mist is floating gently through the pines.

Want more info about book Robin to speak? Or maybe some info on her Spiritual Life Coaching program for women? Robin does individual and group coaching and her clients are simply amazing! Email her at robinlewiswords@gmail.com and visit the here and here for more info.

Trying to be Something I’m Not

woman mirrorLiving in the world can cause you can take on a wrong idea about who you are, almost like a false identity that’s uncomfortable, like an itchy sweater, because it’s not the real you, the God-designed you. Many times this starts by what we learned from our parents, teachers, culture, or media, or by wanting approval and acceptance from others. If you’re concerned about disappointing certain people in your life or looking to others to know who you are, you are placing yourself in a type of prison where the real you steps back and is hidden by an impostor. What you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside. 

The Father wants you to recognize this false self and the wrong expectations you live under. He can “take the chains off” that connect you to a wrong need of other people. He is the only place, the only one who can surround you and heal you, to set you free. He wants you to become the unique, amazing, and precious person He created. He never expects you to try to fill the roles that others plan for you. He can see through the false self that’s been created and into the glorious future He plans for your life. And He wants you to know the truth: you have no rival. No one rivals you in His eyes. His enormous love is the same, and just as huge, for you as for any other.

You never have to compete or comply with the demands or requests of others to feel safe or have what you need. Your Father knows what you need. You can come to Him and ask for healing in all your relationships, and let the truth of who you are renew your mind so that your thoughts about you agree with what the Father says is true. Receive the blessing of His security, acceptance, and affirmation of who you are.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 NIV

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1 NLT

affirmation, live, authentic, lifeThe Father wants you to know that He doesn’t want you to be weakened by the souls of other people. He did not create you for that. Remain strong in Him by staying close to Him. His Fathering of you will be complete and perfect and He will set you free. There’s always grace and safety for the real you in the Father’s embrace…just like you are.

Let your heart respond to your Father’s thoughts about you…

Much love,

Robin

From the desk by the window where sunshine and a cool breeze beckon and the dog is wanting to go for a walk. Be back later.

yay, celebrate

Spiritual Life Coaching is available for women with Robin Lewis – robinlewiswords@gmail.com or (843) 319-5390. You never know how high you can soar until you begin to spread your wings! Contact Robin today for your FREE 30 minute introductory call! Don’t wait, dear one, this is your time!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 30, 2016

Thanks, Mary Crimmins & Learning to Become Fully Alive, for the image.

Progress Not Perfection {Don’t Give Up}

God listens, give up, despairWhat you own, where you work, what you wear, where you live – these things do not define who you are. The culture we live in will try to convince you that you must survive life successfully in a certain way. Some who are believers in God will even try to tell you that you cannot become what your heart desires because of your gender, race, age, or income. This is man’s law and has nothing to do with God’s definition of who you are or of what you are capable. The Father has never expected perfection from you. He knows life is messy, but desires progress for you in becoming the amazing person He created.

What is the dream in your heart that won’t keep quiet? You were created to do that – imperfectly! There is no limit with God in who he chooses, calls, and equips for certain tasks. Your future is guaranteed by His Spirit, not dependent on what characterizes your physical life. You were created by God to submit to His leadership of love and to walk in a trusting relationship with Him. He wants you to enjoy your spiritual inheritance as a child of the King, and walk in the destiny He has planned for you. He knows life isn’t easy, so He is always with you to strengthen and encourage your heart.

When the Father sent an angel to tell Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Messiah, the response of her heart was excellent: “May everything you’ve said about me come true.” She was just a young girl, about 14, willing to say yes and walk out her destiny. The angel responded to her, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Let the false self with all its efforts of perfection and self-protection fall away and allow the real you God created to shine. Some are afraid of letting too much of themselves show even to God, but not you. You are receiving more of who you are and you are coming to know that if He loves you so much, that He will be the safest place for the revealing of who you were created to be.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.

‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Who you are is defined by the realization of God’s unconditional love that goes down deep into your heart, renewing the mind, and healing the soul. The result is a deep peace inside that comforts, encourage, and propels you forward!

“Who knows but that you were positioned here for such a time as this?”

Ester 4:14

Loads of love & grace….

Robin2016-05-25 13.20.43

From the desk by the window where a slow, gentle, healing rain is falling outside, soaking into dry ground. 

Want more? Three (3) new spots just opened up for Spiritual Life Coaching clients! I’m hoping to get those filled soon. Please share with your friends – my speciality is helping women who feel stuck, who are in transition, and those who need to capture more confidence and significance! I’m just an email or call away: robinlewiswords@gmail.com or (843) 319-5390.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 25, 2016

You Are A History Maker and Just May Be A Hero

I can almost hear you, “Me? A history maker?” I know, I felt the same way until I understood. It is common for most of us to think in terms of a history maker being someone like the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution or fought for liberty. People like George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr. But we too are history makers – every day, every moment.

The voices of culture and tradition want to define your life and make you dependent on their approval and acceptance. These voices say that your identity is linked to your position, income level, skin color, or circle of friends. These voices want to fill your mind with fear, doubt, and insignificance. They want to define and paint a picture of your life that’s less than who God says you are. This is small-scale living.

The truth is you are a masterpiece and you might just be a hero.

A few years ago, I took classes in an art gallery and learned that a Master Artist is one who has learned all the rules of shape and color, of texture, brush strokes, and canvas, and then breaks those rules in such a way that creates something new, one-of-a-kind, a can’t-be-duplicated work of art, a masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) says, “We are God’s own masterpiece, recreated in Christ Jesus with a new start so that we may do all the good works for which we were created, taking the paths which He prepared for us ahead of time, so that we can walk in them and live the good life God thought out, prearranged, and made ready for us to live.”

journey masterpiece

You are a can’t-be-duplicated, without-rival, highly valued creation by God who rightly defines you. He created you to be a person who connects with Him for vision, a man or woman with a voice that is here to create positive change and make a difference for the betterment of mankind. God chose the timing of your birth to be in this generation. He chose the talents, spiritual gifts, and dreams that would be developed for the purpose of your life. And He chose your gender. Whether you are a man or a woman, you have been made in God’s image and have been created to be a person of power, love, and great influence.

Like an inspiring work of art, you are here to lead others into their greatness. As you grow into a person of authenticity, you experience freedom to move in your strengths, giftedness, and passion because your authentic self will always display your uniqueness. A false self will only display a clouded, partial version of who you are to be. You are designed to be an overcomer, not a copy. You are created to be a problem solver, not one who just accepts things as they are. You are fashioned to be a one-of-a-kind, greatly valued individual with a purpose.

Our problem? We don’t believe it. More people are held back by self-limiting beliefs than by any other barrier. We will always live out what we really believe is true or possible for us. It’s time to let the real you emerge, the beautiful parts, and the places where you are strong. For this to happen, you must be intentional about your personal growth. There are parts of you that need to be healed and strengthened. When you choose to trust and receive, you become your truest self, enabled by God to fully live with eternal significance.

artist, creator, canvas, masterpiece

In 2015, America watched my home state as the Confederate Flag was removed from the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC. The news reporter kept repeating, “You are seeing history being made.” Events of historical significance are distinguished and memorable, but do you think of the importance of your own life in creating history? With your life, you are writing history! Your life has an impact on others around you and on the generations yet to be born. Generations after us will look back and discuss some of us who realized the power of our choice and voice and used them to set the stage for the future. Some of us will be thanked and honored and some of us will be ridiculed and shamed. Don’t let the authentic you be painted over or muted by the brush strokes of the world that seek to diminish your beauty and purpose.

We are all history makers, for better or for worse, and if we pursue Him, God will help you become all He originally intended you to be – a leader, a history maker, and a person characterized by confidence and joy. Our stories were written to be joined with God so we can know first hand His ability to restore! No more boxed in, insignificant living. With authenticity, you can learn to lead like the unique, significant history maker you are. History may write you down as a hero. How you walk out your one life with God will determine how history views you. Set your focus on Him and live with intention to bring transformation into your world.

Love & Grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a cloudy Saturday where the trees are waiting for rain.

You’re invited to email Robin L. Lewis at robinlewiswords@gmail.com about Spiritual Life Coaching or to book her to speak. Visit her website to subscribe to her inspiration blog at www.sozolifeleaders.com.

You Are God’s Image-Bearer {But who do you look like?}

We need to understand this: “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

God wanted you to exist and wanted you to look like Him. He has never changed in His good character and intentions towards you. As His child, you bear His image, His reflection, and more and more you reflect that image onto the world that needs to know the same love. Are you looking more like your Father?

cat, lion, image, identity

In the same way that you are influenced by those closest to you, you also receive more of God’s reflection when you spend time with Him. When you read and study the Word of God and as you gaze upon Him you come to look more like your Father. Even while invisible to physical sight, God is visible to the heart. He removes the build up of life in the world and helps you be more able to receive His love and reflect it back to Him and to others. As you focus on your Father, you begin to understand your own significance and value. “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” -Psalms 34:5

Sylvia Gunter writes, “When you are strong and full of light, you reflect the nature and character of God, but your soul has been in control at many points: stuck in the past, wounded, undernourished, in bondage, in fear, and shame. You have been run over by others through manipulation. You have been controlled by your own wounded or fearful reactions. You have been trapped. But you are not a victim! That is not the real you; you are made of the essence of the light of God. You have the best intentions, but the wounded soul keeps you from being seen as you really are. Be blessed to heal the soul by speaking truth to it.”

We take on the image of what we worship, what we focus on, and so the importance of daily walking with God and time set apart to just be with Him is vital to your health in spirit, soul, and body. Where we still struggle, where we walk through repeating problems, He is there. Invite Him to bring the change needed in you, the healing, the growth, and the maturity you need in order to be free in Him. Submit to Him in all things, recognizing your need of Him, and He will lift you up.

You take on the image of what you worship, what you focus on, and so the importance of daily walking with God and time set apart to just be with Him is vital to your health in spirit, soul, and body. Where you still struggle, where you walk through repeating problems, He is there. Invite Him to bring the change needed in you, the healing, the growth, and the maturity you need in order to be free in Him. Submit to Him in all things, recognizing your need of Him, for He promises to keep working in you.

“And being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1:6

Your heart listens to everything you say, especially about yourself. Speak truth daily into your soul and spirit. Come to know yourself as an incredibly loved child of God, your original Father, and everything in your life will change. There won’t be a day that you suddenly “arrive” or stop needing God. Your understanding of your complete dependence on Him for everything is the foundation of living life as His child. As you grow stronger in Him, you will be able to do the will of God in your life.

As His image bearer growing closer to Him, He will heal and change you to be the overcomer He created you to be; as you come to intimately know the truth about who you really are, “the Truth will set you free.”

Keep growing,

Robin

From the desk by the window where I am thankful for His love that changes me!

2016-04-27 09.41.29Robin Lewis’ program of Sozo Life Coaching for women is unique and accomplishes the results you need and desire for your life. Don’t wait – Contact her today for your FREE 30-minute consultation call. It just might be the critical difference you need!

Call or email: (843) 319-5390 / robinlewiswords@gmail.com

(c) 2016 Robin L. Lewis – Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC at www.sozolifeleaders.com

Struggles Prepare You For Success {don’t skip God’s preparation season}

This post was published in the Morning News on Sunday, May 22, 2016. I pray this is a blessing for you where you are – in your waiting, in your struggle, in your own unique period of preparation!

struggle, promotion, timing, Joseph calling, OsThroughout life, difficult times happen to everyone, but the person intent on personal growth finds a way to maximize the experience and gain from the lessons learned; whether personally or professionally, today’s struggle can prepare you for tomorrow’s promotion and success.

In the bible, Joseph walked a very difficult road for much of his life. It seemed that his circumstances would never improve. As a young man, he was given a dream from God that he would one day rule over others. But the reality was Joseph would be sold into slavery by his own brothers, purchased by an Egyptian as a house servant, and accused of sexual misconduct by his boss’ wife! He was thrown into prison for many years yet he continued to be faithful and serve those around him. Prison was where he began to be promoted in positions over sections of prisoners. The Lord continued to give Joseph favor even though his circumstances had not changed. What was he to do?

Never forgetting the dream he’d had, Joseph kept trusting God and became willing to be content where he was. He didn’t know how God would bring his dream to fulfillment, but God was using the long years of waiting to prepare him. Joseph would come to be positioned to rule the great nation of Egypt and there by save millions of people from starvation, including his own family. When they came face to face, Joseph helped his family see the bigger picture of what God had been doing in his life.

“I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.  But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives and to preserve many others. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8)

God desires to be just as involved in our lives today as He was in the life of Joseph. He uses our periods of waiting, struggle, and dryness to prepare us for something bigger. Whether your calling is to business, community, or something individual, know that not everyone walks through a Joseph calling, but many do; and the experiences are usually related to the magnitude of the call on your life.

Many who are destined for greater impact lose much along the journey, so if God has purposed you for greater things, expect to walk through times that don’t make sense, where God seems silent. He has not forgotten you and will bring you to a place of success and restoration according to His timing and purpose for your life.

My Spiritual Life Coaching Clients who have walked through difficulties learn that our part is to submit to God, learn to trust Him, and continue to seek His direction. Our lives need God’s refining work for our strength and integrity to be developed.

While Joseph was “Called” as a young man, he wasn’t “Commissioned” into his destiny until many years later. Just as Joseph allowed God to refine and prepare him, so can you. Even in prison Joseph was being made ready and matured in his gifts and talents. While it may appear small, those very experiences would catapult him forward to rule over the nation and save many lives.

Maybe you, too, feel called to something great, destined to also to “save many lives” in some way. Don’t shortcut the season of preparation and continue to forgive those who “sell you out”. Be determined to serve faithfully where you are and seek God for all He wants to do in and through you. You may very well be a modern-day Joseph! The all-important middle years of “Preparation” that requires waiting and trusting will serve to have you ready for success.

Keep growing, 

Robin

From the desk by the window where the sun is rising on a cool Monday morning.

women sitting togetherRobin L. Lewis is a certified life coach, speaker, and writer who specializes in encouragement and confidence. For more information, email Robin at robinlewiswords@gmail.com and get free updates at www.sozolifeleaders.com/blog.