The Day I Almost Lost A Friend {because of what I said}

forgiveness wordsJames said it best, that in all of creation, the tongue is the hardest thing to tame. We tame and train large wild animals, but cannot seem to control our own little tongue, one of the smallest things in the body. Made in the image of a God who created everything with His spoken word, we are created to speak in order to bring more space for love, peace, and blessing. It doesn’t always work out that way.

This week as I put the finishing touches on an article for the newspaper entitled, The Power of Our Words, I prayed briefly and reacted too quickly and without wisdom to a post I saw on social media and ended up hurting a friend.

While we’ve known each other for over 11 years and experienced working, learning, and praying together during a 2 year period, I leapt when I should have kneeled. Call it surprise, shock, or concern, my mouth went into gear before I had time to hear the Father clearly about how to respond. When we are stunned by something we see in another, that should be the very thing that leads us into prayer. We can never know the whole story by what is seen in one photograph.

So realizing the wound I’d caused, oh boy did I pray then! The Father reminded me of my heart for women and what He has called me to do, and how that can never step in front of the leading of His Spirit in my life. After all, it’s His Spirit who called me to teach and coach women with the truth of who they are in His eyes. So it is His Spirit I need to listen and obey.

When I contacted her, my friend shared more of the story, giving background information of which I was completely unaware, and helped me to understand. And whether or not I feel something may be wrong, doesn’t make it mine to help or correct. It was mine to seek God and then reach out to her. Because of my reaction, it was then mine to ask forgiveness and thankfully it was granted. We talked through it and our relationship is restored, hopefully, stronger than before. To know that I have a friend who gives grace and forgiveness is a treasure.

Another difficult lesson learned? Yes. I will never be a perfect friend, but I am a loyal and honest friend, so when my honesty hurts another it brings many tears to my eyes. I am also a friend who has learned to ask forgiveness. Making excuses or rationalizing over reasons why only waste precious time and deepen wounds.

And I also remember that I have an enemy who loves nothing more than to trap us and then shame us. In order to give the Lord the praise for this experience, I am sharing the story here with you. We certainly need our hearts to reflect the unfailing love of the Father that is sent out continually to us all and available night and day. As we grow deeper in Him, that becomes possible.

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Never let yourself get too big that you hinder a true apology coming from your heart when you’ve hurt another. Lessons like this are part of the journey and require courage of us. While another serving of humility may not taste very good, it is always good for the soul.

Glad for grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where my heart is recovering its joy. – And hey, remember when you’ve messed up, you also need to forgive yourself and let it go.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, May 5, 2016

Spirit to Spirit, You Are Beautiful!

God speaksDid you know that what you see in the mirror is just one part of who you are? You are the sum of three beautiful parts that make up the whole. Your Heavenly Father knit you together with a spirit, soul, and body. The Bible tells you that you were first a spirit that came to live in a body when you were conceived. Your spirit is your highest form of being. God is Spirit and relates to you spirit to spirit. When you talk to Him in prayer, you are communicating with Him spirit to spirit.

The Bible teaches you to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” as the foundation of your relationship. Worship is much more than singing in church. Worship is a lifestyle of walking closely with the Father, focused on His presence. To focus on Him as the One who created you is the reason you were created. We are protected as we allow His Spirit to lead us through life. We get the reflection of who we truly are from His eyes and in coming to understand how He sees us.

Your Father is watching over your day and knows every detail, every choice you will face, and every moment you need His guidance. He has given you His Spirit of Truth to live inside you. The Holy Spirit is there as a Comforter, Counselor, Guide, Intercessor, Advocate, and Strengthener. Just for you! When you grow in your relationship with the Father, you receive from Him your true identity. You are His beloved child and He is glad.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless

at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23

 

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate 

to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.

John 14:16-17

 

For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

Respond to your Father’s thoughts about you. He says you are wondrous and beautiful!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where sun is reflected on dark green trees and I’m going to walk the dog.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – May 1, 2015

Please contact me about speaking or coaching for your group of friends! Send an email to robinlewiswords@gmail.com. I’d love to come share more with you!

The Good Is The Enemy of The Best {choosing well for your life}

woman with a bibleEvery day we make about 3,000 choices. Most of these are automatic habits we live by, and many fueled by emotions. Some are made in the moment, and some choices we make with great intention because we know it’s needed. Whether it’s about what we eat or what how we spend our time, or even how we respond in an emergency, the choice is always ours, choice having been given as a gift by God.

In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes about choice and learning to live a life led by the Spirit of God:

If you are [learning to] live the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God make your choice for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith. But if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and allow God to make your choice for you. This is the discipline God uses to transform the natural into the spiritual through obedience to His voice.

Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.

Many of us are entering a season of change. Like Oswald said, the good is not always the best. In listening for God’s voice of direction, I am making a slight change in where I put my written words. I will be investing my writing time in a devotional book project called In the Father’s Eyes, and I plan to post content from that project. In following His leading, the new project will contain more of what I speak about at events and workshops – the identity, value, and purpose of each individual life, how to know the Father’s heart and voice, and teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, which Jesus talked a lot about.

When we step into something new, we must watch for distractions for they will always come to draw us away from where the Father is leading us. In praying for discernment, we must expect to focus with intention like Nehemiah did as he was rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. Many came with seemingly “good” ideas that he had to ignore to fulfill the call on his life, for these good things were intended to halt his progress. The same is true for each of us today.

God’s mercies are new every morning, and His voice and word are like fresh manna every day – just what we need to know how to live this life of faith, how to walk with others, and how to bring the Kingdom where we are. He is speaking. Are you listening? What new things have come alive in your heart recently? Listen for His leading, for He will never steer you wrong, but always into the BEST for your life now. It will be what leaves a beautiful ripple effect of blessing!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window, excited to write on a new page as the sun shines brightly and I listen for His very words.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, April 2015

When Fear Erodes Our Power, Love, & Sound Mind {and what to do about it}

When we learn of hard things happening in the lives of those we care about, it can grab the heart and we can easily react in fear and anger. We don’t want those we love to suffer, and the enemy certainly uses our weaknesses, fears, and doubts against us.  Those emotions allowed to run can build up walls of “fear material” that God’s voice cannot penetrate. When we fear, we have moved away from God. Fear erodes faith and peace like battery acid on a Saltine Cracker.

Worry is always fueled by fear and is a block to hearing the Father’s voice. And let’s be honest – when we worry, we are not trusting God. In fact, we can’t even see or hear God when we move into worry. He is not in the equation at all when my thoughts are focused on what I fear. As long as I have my eyes focused on fear, I am unable to receive His comfort or guidance.

fear 2 tim 1 7The negative emotions can even move me to pray, but fueled by fears, we can “pray without ceasing” without listening! “Lord, what can I say? What can I do to help? They are off balance and falling! How can I help, protect, or provide? Father God, what are you doing? Do you see?” When we finally land in a place of feeling  powerless and helpless, we are where we need to be in order to let go of it all and trust God to work.

Fear and worry should remind me how small I am with an immediate turning to the Father, but if my focus is on anything other than Him, then those emotions and the “what if…” questions grow larger than life. When I think I can jump in and rescue or change another life, I can feel pretty powerful. I can think I have the answer someone needs. But I really do not. How can I when fear is the motivator?

2 Timothy 1:7 is one of my favorite verses because it shows both sides of the coin:

For God has not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

Let’s face it, when fear is the ruling power in my life, I have none of that “power, love and sound mind” stuff. Quite the contrary! When any of us are focused on our fears, they consume us, swallowing us whole! Let’s clarify an important point: God isn’t mad at me when I am afraid. God just wants me to come to Him because He sees it all clearly.

When we finally turn full round from all that burden and care, and lift our face and gaze to the Father, and in all our powerlessness cry out to Him for help, we can then let go of our fears and concerns. Then every time without fail I can be the receiver of His grace and peace.

His presence provides all we need in the way of power, love, and a sound mind. This is what He provides for us, but when we allow the cares of life to disturb, I am walking away from all the peace He has to give. When I return, it’s all mine again and the fear cannot follow me into His presence. Oh, but to learn to remain there!

The release of concern, not in denial but in dependence on God, provides the pathway and opens our ears again to hear His voice. It’s good to remember that we are small, and can trust the biggest Giver of very life for daily life, so we are more able to trust Him with everything that concerns us. In exchange, we feel peace and joy restored, and the erosion of fear repaired!storms of life

Like a lip reader who gets distracted and then cannot translate what is being said to the deaf, so are we. When our focus is on anything other than the Father, and we see something wrong and move into deep fear, we are in the worst position to help because we have walked away from His presence and cannot hear what to pray, say, or do. He speaks in a still, small voice and the only way to hear it is to be near Him.

We can practice His presence in our daily life, and when a crisis occurs, we’ll be right where we need to be to hear the Father’s direction. Keep in mind, He may not tell you anything at all, or He may send you to make a difference. We must be so secure in our trust of Him that we don’t question the role He gives us, we simply obey.

“True sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit of God and they are the ones who believe against all odds (in the face of adversity). Hope must take root and faith must rise that God does bring forth exactly what He knows is needed.”  Our goal is to live a Spirit-led life who makes the most impact in the lives of others, and with prayer or action, can bring peace to the storms of life.

Loads of grace and peace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a sunny spring day, drawing in close ’cause I don’t want to miss a single word He says.

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, April 2015

Quote by Shirley Weaver Ministries, A Clear Trumpet www.acleartrumpet.org

The Journey to Fulfillment (and why we don’t often choose it)

woman at computerThere are times, if I’m still enough to listen, I can hear the battle in my mind for my moment or my day.  Recently, I realized I was feeling unfulfilled, testy.  The thoughts were something like these…

“Why is it so hard?”

“Why can’t this work out better?  With less effort?”

“Just put it off.  I don’t have to do that right now.  I am not sure what to do anyway.”

“If I stick my neck out again, what if nothing comes of it?”

“What if no one wants what I have?  What if this doesn’t succeed?”

“Maybe I’d better check Facebook or do another webinar to get ideas.”

I have a life purpose that is bigger than me.  I am called to do a certain thing and I have been doing it full-time since February.  I practically flew out of the starting gate like California Chrome, and like that horse, my career / calling had its ups and downs quickly.  Such is life, such is learning, such is the journey to becoming better.  But when we listen and realize what is happening in our thought life, we must step in and interrupt the conversation!

I can let that play out and become discouraged (the enemy’s goal to stop me), or I can jump in and declare truth over my moment, my day, and my life.  When I know the Truth, it’s that Truth that will set me free from the lies attempting to run through  my mind.  If I appropriate it.

But it takes effort.  And we read all the writers who tell us all we’re capable of accomplishing, and we take it like a vitamin and then sit down.  It’s like expecting to become more fit, but not ever leaving the couch.  (We are all culture-influenced.)

So I stopped the thought flow and asked, “OK, Father, what am I hearing?  Why do I feel unfulfilled?”  I heard in my spirit, “You know the things that lead to fulfillment, but you’re not doing them.”

In other words, I know what I’m called to do, but I’m letting these “what if’s” stop me while I try to figure out the best way, instead of seeking the Lord and then taking action!  We must do something in order to have or accomplish something.  And thank God that He lets us get dissatisfied in order to move us forward.  He’s a great Dad.

I believe that Jesus was thrilled to go back to Heaven for one reason: He wanted us to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit living inside us.  He knew what that was like, and wanted it for us.  A returning to God’s original plan for the life of people!  We have full access to a Spirit-led life.  We have full access to all the Father gave the Son, but we don’t appropriate it.

If you know your calling, what you should be doing, but aren’t, you might want to get still and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the thought conversation happening in your head.  And believe me, the best way to make it stop is to seek the Lord’s guidance and take an action step.  And adversity?  Yeah, you can expect it.  There will always be opposition to God’s plan.  And since He fulfills that plan through us, we will have to face adversity.

We can let fear rule the day, or we can stand in the authority given to us and clear some more brush from the Kingdom path we’re blazing and make a way for others to follow.  This is the journey to fulfillment.  This is the way to Sozo Life.  Let’s get moving.  Like Ann Voskamp says, “Everything the Lord has for you is over the fence of fear.”

purpose for me

Grace and more Grace,

Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, June 26, 2014

Hard Rain in Dry Places

hard rain 1 It rained hard where I live.  We’d not seen rain in nearly 3 weeks.  The ground was dusty and cracking open in places.  And I felt a little of that within.  Farmers were looking to the sky from their Spring fields.  I had planted something of my own and had been trying to absorb spiritually and mentally what I needed to keep up with the new endeavor I had launched.  Dryness can creep in gradually until you feel that clearing of the throat repeatedly and you know.  You know you’re not getting what you need.  All the usual effective habits of prayer or community have switched themselves off and you can hear Elijah beside you in the desert saying, “I’m the last one, Lord!  And I won’t last long!”  And God says, “Eat and sleep and trust.”

A sense of urgency flashes in moments, and I start to remember when this has happened before – when I was led around a bend to some place I didn’t expect and my weakness there was apparent.  We’d rather be strong, feel capable, look professional.  But now in moments in a new place, God reveals just how small we are.  And we wait, realizing.  And we eat, sleep, and trust there because we’ve seen His goodness before in places like this one.

woman reading by window

Watering the wheat fields near Ritzville in Eastern Washington. dry road field

Nearly 2 inches in a day left water standing, loose soil washed away, and rivers high. But it rained!  Farmers were relieved, and it was on those rainy days, that my heart realized the lesson of this place.

clouds_gathering_before_rain_field_tree-wide

grass trees field mist

rainbow over field

God’s promises aren’t needed in the rain, but in the dry places.  That’s where we choose again what we believe – where the fields and the bones are dry.  Walking the new path, I found myself standing with friends recently where I was to speak.  I wasn’t usually unsure in the waiting, but this time was different.  Prior to this day, adequate preparation and just showing up was enough.  God would make it work, bringing the message out of me, like He was pulling on ribbons of truth and wrapping them around the women in the room. I loved watching Him do that.

But this time was different.  In the moments before walking to the podium, I saw rain pouring down on me and around me.  Silver threads of droplets falling softly, like Heaven was pouring blessing down.  I held out my hands to receive it and saw the Lord come and hug me in close, warm, covered.  In a moment, He can take you from where you stand all dusty and lead you beside still waters and restore your soul.

When I took my place, my words tumbled and tangled some and I struggled through to the end in my attempt to be faithful.  Then the women came for prayer and I knew that even in my weakness,  my smallness, that He comes and does what only He can do anyway.

In the days since, I read how a great evangelist would hold back on his natural talent when speaking to a group just to make sure God was in it.  He wanted the supernatural, spirit connection to flow from God to those who had come hungry.  And I heard the Lord ask me, “Did I say my strength was made perfect in polished speaking?  Or that my strength was made perfect in talent?  No, dear one, my strength is made perfect in your weakness!  That’s when I am seen.”

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor 9:8).

My calling obviously exceeds my ability, and that is the way I want it to be.  I want to show up in who I really am, just a girl with some truth to share, and watch God do amazing things so that I am awed by Him over and over again.

If you are in a climb in your spiritual journey where you know He is leading, but the way is hard, remember this…

It’s good to be learning to understand and rely on Grace!  Therein is our strength – in what only God can provide.  There is no pressure in Grace.

And there is more resting here than we think.  Yes, we are the physical feet walking this ground, but it is the Spirit of God who leads and provides, and gives breath after breath, and takes us from glory to glory!

He is El Shaddai – All Mighty God!  And He is our Daddy, faithful and strong.  Let Him lead – it’s the only way to dance in this adventure!

Love & Grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window on a sunny day where the grass is green.

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, Robin L. Lewis, May 19, 2014

 

The Light of Advent

advent candlesWith Poinsettias perched atop anything that would hold them up, the wreaths hung, evergreens extended in celebration of life on every arched window.  At my church, we are celebrating, witnessing advent.  We are lighting candles each of four Sundays before Christmas, candles of Hope, Peace, and today, Love, and pausing to recognize that Love Came Down and that it continues to come down for us, for me.  And I want more of it.

This season so often lost in busyness and greed is about the coming of Love, the invasion of God in the flesh, a Father running after His children to bring them Light and full Life.

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the Light of the world is Jesus.  Like sunshine at noon-day His glory came in; the Light of the world is Jesus.  ~Come to the Light, tis shining for thee.  Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me.  Once I was blind, but now I see.  The Light of the world is Jesus.

Listening with one ear to the choir and one ear to the Spirit of God that had decided to pour Himself out upon me in that wooden pew, I sat next to my husband and thought about the storyline in Genesis 1 and 2.  The first thing spoken into existence was Light and it broke through the darkness that was over the face of the deep.  All for love.  Man’s disobedience dimmed the light, a dividing away from the One who made it and us.  But the promise echoed sure throughout time, speaking of a restoring of Light for all,

I will also make you a light to the nations so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth, (Isaiah 49)

and at a certain amazing moment, that Light of the world broke through again, an unquenchable flame.  I look at the candles flickering.  Sometimes light seems small.

Luke 1 and 2 tell the story, how Light invaded the darkness again.  I listen to the narrator read.  Mary, hovered over, filled with Holy Spirit, stretched by God so that all of us may come to see and be free.  And just as in the beginning that first Light had invaded the darkness, this God-man Light, this Jesus-Light of the world, marked by a star, invaded our darkness.  Small baby, big promise.  Coming as one of us, walking here, making a way for all God wanted for us from the beginning of time.

And when I feel small, I remember that I am learning just how big He is.  Gabriel told Mary, For nothing is impossible with God.  Love and Light spoken into earthly air where I live, and the (supernatural) Word became (physical) flesh and lived among us.  A Messiah for the small, the needy, the messes, with a love that can make impossible things lovely.  All that Light, and I am learning to see because of it.

(c) Robin Lawrimore Lewis, December 2013