A Thirsty Land, A Thirsty Soul

strength to the weak

My desk by the window with coffee in hand is the first place I land after waking, stretching, and thanking.  The mist hangs low and veils the pines across the road after last night’s hard rain.  Two of the three horses in the pasture are visible, and I imagine are enjoying the dew-heavy grass.  Our land has been thirsty.  These rain drops that fell will soak into soil and bring shriveled corn into fullness again, encouraging the shriveled hearts of farmers as well.

We, too, can become thirsty in soul.  Made to need the One who made us, without receiving from Him, we become dry and the living out of our lives can become shriveled like the corn in nearby fields, not producing much.  A thirsty soul is a good thing to have as it draws us to God.  We learn not to fill ourselves with other things as they don’t long satisfy and we find ourselves needing more of a temporary solution.  Jesus said to the woman at the well, if you knew who was speaking to you, you would want what I can give.

“Everyone who drinks this  well water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”  ~John 4, The Message Bible

In the Saturday stillness, remember to get all you need for refreshment that satisfies and brings peace and new life within.  It will feel good to your soul and you are worth it.

Grace & peace,

Robin

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

From the desk by the window on a day of rest. May you get filled up and may your rest be sweet!

 

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.

Nothing In Between


woman prayingWhen I pause, really pause and draw near to God, He always reveals Himself to me in a different way. This morning after I woke up, I was focusing my thoughts on Him and thought about the veil in the temple being torn in two from TOP to BOTTOM at the moment Jesus died on the cross. This tearing allowing entrance into the Holy of Holies in the temple, into the place where only the High Priest was allowed. A supernatural and human act of sacrificial love ripped a thick, heavy curtain right through. But the Spirit of God wasn’t just sitting and waiting for people to come in to see Him.

God’s love doesn’t wait for me to come in; no, this kind of love comes looking for me, searching until it finds me. With the symbolic tearing of the veil, there was now nothing in between God and all mankind. And that includes me. And you.

Then I thought of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2 and of the firmament being created as “waters were separated from waters” giving room for sky and how it’s described as a dome over the earth. When “God sent His Son into the world” and into the womb of Mary, He tore through that sky, the beautiful blue firmament, to the womb of one young girl who’d found favor with God. And then when the time for his human birth drew near, He tore through the sticky embryonic sac and breathed earthly air into baby lungs.

He’s always coming into what needs Him, removing every barrier, every wall to make it possible for us to come to Him. And sometimes it seems to happen that way, but in reality, we find He’s been searching for us to make us new and introduce us to the Father. Jesus told the disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd” and a Good Shepherd leaves the 99 in safe pasture to go and find the 1 little sheep that has lost its way. Ezekiel wrote, “For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”

As He seeks us out, He draws us to come to Him, and we get another promise that Jeremiah wrote down: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

God is always coming with love-light into our darkness, making an unobstructed way, removing anything that would come between us and Him. That’s love, love that searches until it finds. And that temple veil? I like to imagine a love so strong that with the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, that the Spirit of God ripped that dividing curtain in two and came soaring out! Soaring out to search, find, and gather His own – those who recognize their need for a love like that.

It’s all about making a way for us to return to God, tearing through anything in the way, and pulling us right into His arms. So what do we do when we realize we’ve patched that curtain and allowed something to divide us away from Him? All we have to do is turn and return and forgiveness is instant and love in our hearts is restored.

Keep seeking and growing,

Robin

From the desk by the window where thanks to God, all is light!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – June 8, 2016

woman on beach with scarf

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Stumbling Along in Following God {when seasons shift}

Are you having some trouble following God’s will right now?

Dutch Sheets, one of my all-time-favorite Bible teachers said, “I find that I stumble into the will of God more times than I find it on purpose.” That helps me a lot for when I have trouble knowing God’s will, I can still be confident that He will get me where I need to be even if I stumble into it.

Many of you are feeling an uncomfortable shift in your life this year. It’s OK. It’s God getting your course corrected. So if you wake up most mornings wondering if you’re still in your right mind or feeling out of sorts, just keep leaning on Him. He can get you right where you need to be. (Learn to be aware of His presence with you. Pray honest prayers. Read your Bible. Listen for His subtle leading.)  

woman thinkingYou may be in a physical shift from one job to another. This may be a mental shift as your thinking is changed in an area. But this is definitely a spiritual shift. (Remember, everything is spiritual because you first are spiritual!) Everything is about getting you in a better, more blessed, more free place looking more like His Son. 

How do you handle it? Let yourself be keenly aware of how much you need God’s help and direction. (That means you don’t know everything you need to know.) The challenges you face are far too great to handle alone. To walk with God in humble dependence is the most strong, blessed, and protected place you can be! Practice resting your mind, will, and emotions, and let Him “train you in trust” while you wait.

How long will it last? That is between you and God. Your shift and season may be similar to another, but will be uniquely different from anyone else. This is about you and God, so let it be… about you and God.

Why is it so hard to submit and follow? Because we think we know best! We think we know what our life should look like and be like, but without God our life will never have the meaning and outcome He has in mind. We want God’s best, but we usually don’t want the trials, work, introspection, change, and personal growth that goes along with it.

Comparing yourself to others is a dead end. There are many famous TV pastors or authors with followers who say, “I want to do what you do!” They  see the glory in it and may want to do it, but do they realize the price that’s been paid to get there? Jesus faced a similar question from Peter in John 13:37 who boldly proclaimed, “Lord, I am willing to lay down my life for you!” To which Jesus responded, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, I say to you, a rooster shall not crow until you deny me three times. Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in Me.”  (John 13:37-14:1)

We think we are strong enough. We think we are ready. But our Father knows our hearts and what we need next. He is faithful to lead us through preparation, shifts, and changes that are right for us individually. While many are not easy or comfortable, and some are downright hard, hang on for He’s not finished yet and neither your past nor your present gets the last word!

Listen – I understand. In my life, I’ve experienced many shifts and literal moves that seemed crazy at the time, but looking in that wonderful rearview mirror it’s easy to see how the Lord was faithful in every step.

For today, can we just say something honest like this? “Lord, help me, I’m an unblended mess. This is hard, but I am willing to be made willing to take the next step with You. Give me a desire for what pleases Your heart. Protect me and strengthen me for what is to come.”

You’re going to do alright. You are unconditionally and greatly loved. You are held in very strong hands. So get still and listen.  Practice resting your mind, will, and emotions, woman, walk, road, directionand let Him “train you in trust” while you wait. 

When this shift is over, you will stand in a new place. A place that maybe you weren’t expecting, but a place where you know with more certainty than ever that the Father’s eyes are upon you and His hand is guiding you. You are living a journey to remember. 

Lots of love & grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where the robins are resting in the yard, taking all they need, and then taking flight!!

Want to find out more about how Spiritual Life Coaching can help you go forward? Email me at robinlewiswords@gmail.com. No one has to do life alone.

 

When It’s Hard to Go Where God is Leading

What do you do when you know God is asking you to leave, move, or start something new, and it’s just not what you had in mind for your life? In fact, it’s what you would never choose! What then?

I had done it before. More than once I had left a job when I knew I was done and when I felt the Lord’s confirmation in my heart. He always had provided the next place, the next job, and so I fully expected it again. I began a journey of unemployment that would take me through nearly every dollar I’d saved and right back where I started – to move in with my parents right before my 50th birthday. I felt like George Costanza on Seinfeld. My unemployment journey would end with a part-time job at a local book store 1 year to the day that I had turned in my resignation. I called it “the year of the wonderful / awful” for God had picked me up and completely turned my life around and I was the better for it.

Home story beginsAbout 3 years before, I felt strongly inclined to stop in a gift shop when returning from a spiritual retreat. I purchased a sign that says Home is where your story begins. At the time I didn’t know what it meant, I just knew I had to have it.

In the last 6 years since that Seinfeld move, I’ve gotten married to the most wonderful man (Yes, it’s really true – don’t settle for less than God’s best, ladies!), moved back to my hometown, been fired, and started a company I had waited 9 long years to start.

You never know what blessings God has up His heavenly sleeve for you. 

To walk with Him in close friendship is the ultimate reason we live and breathe. To make that a day-in-day-out reality here on earth is something else altogether! It will ask everything of you and it should. We get far too connected to earthly things like iPhones, houses, and the perfect job. We need to hold these things loosely, knowing that God holds us firmly, never letting go, always providing, loving, forgiving, and asking more of us so that we can know more of Him. 

Boyd Bailey of Wisdom Hunters says, “Has God asked you to go where you don’t want to go? Trust Him and choose to serve Him wherever He calls, even if it’s somewhere that isn’t comfortable or doesn’t feel like home.”

“Anyone who loves their life will lose it while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). This means we are to love and value rightly our eternal life (which will last a really long time) more than our earthly life (which is temporary) and obey the Lord of our life over our own desires.

“Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5) These are Mary’s words instructing the servants to obey Jesus’ requests that made a miracle possible – water into wine! Yes, we can trust Him. Because of that move 6 years ago, I had 3 truly amazing years with my parents before my father died, met again and married a truly amazing man, and began the very thing God had called me to do in 2005. Yes, He had some substantial blessings up His sleeve!  But what if I had stayed where I was? I would have missed it all.

So if He is calling you out, calling you forward, or calling you on the carpet, let Him. Give Him permission to interrupt your life and change it around. Follow where He leads for you never know what surprises, challenges, and blessings await you. You never know what equipping and gifting He will call to the surface of your life that helps you live the most fulfilling earthly life possible that makes the most eternal difference.

Lots of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window with joy, remembering home is where this story began.

Robin 9

 

For information on Spiritual Life Coaching or Event Speaking, email me at robinlewiswords@gmail.com.

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, February 23, 2016

The Weight of Chronic Overthinking {How to be Free}

how-to-tell-when-youre-overthinking

Chronic. I have been a chronic over-thinker. And I can still fall into it at times. It. feels. awful. And yet, we do it because we don’t know what “might” happen.

The “what if’s” come like rapid fire gun shots at our thoughts and we scramble like soldiers for a bunker of mental safety, strategizing a plan to make sure everything turns out alright.

Like we think we are that powerful. Newsflash: WE ARE NOT THAT POWERFUL.

As Christians, we talk about our faith walk, and then worry about what could be around the next corner. We are listening to the wrong voices. We are believing the wrong things.

In fact, the only way to grow our faith is to NOT KNOW and still lean hard with all the weight of our concerns upon God. We are to “cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us.”

We are not to cast it like a fishing lure, then reel it back in. We’re to throw it out like the garbage and trust that God is going to be God.

I was telling a new friend yesterday that sometimes when life circumstances seem way too big, we just need to walk outside and look up at that really big sky and remember that our Heavenly Father made that sky…with His words! And that His hands hold it and us together.

So when you catch yourself with the “what if” or the “I’ve got to do something about this” thoughts, walk outside and throw it all at the Lord who is so very big. Then come back in, make a nice cuppa tea, and ask for His help. He promises to give it.

  • Reflection time: If you have the habit of reflecting over the day or over your life at the end of the day, look for ways you lived well, give thanks, and rest easy knowing you’re a process.
  • Maxwell’s Law of the Mirror: You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself. Give yourself a check up in your “self talk” and “self behavior” where they relate to stress, criticism, comparison to others, and how you use your mental time.
  • It’s impossible to worry and trust God at the same time. To shift it to trust, control your thoughts (yes this is possible), and choose to focus on giving thanks. Gratitude trips worry and over-thinking every time, making it fall on it’s ugly little face.

Trusting Him feels so very good and is the way to living free!

Grace & Peace,
Robin

From the desk by the window, realizing my smallness and God bigness, and feeling pretty good about that.

2016-01-05 16.50.00

Ever wondered if Life Coaching is for you? I work with women ages 16 and up, up, up who feel stuck, going through something hard, or wanting to change their life and don’t know where to begin. Let’s meet for coffee and talk about it! Email or call me – robinlewiswords@gmail.com or (843) 319-5390.

Hey! For some great FREE coaching tools I use with every client, shoot me an email and I’ll send them right over!

ask, think, imagine, ephesians 3 20

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, 2015

 

When We Pursue a Thing Over Pursuing God We Miss the Thing

window openIn the last couple of years, I have pressured myself to expand my business, make a profit, and light the fuse that launches what God has called me to do. After 9 years of waiting filled with writing, coaching, and ministry classes, I was finally doing full-time what He called me to do in 2005. I’ve been overjoyed that the time had finally arrived! Yay! I felt like I’d been let out of a starting gate!

Even though I’ve begun what I’d waited for, learning to figure out when I’m supposed to wait and when I’m to act is not an easy thing for this “do-er” girl. I’d rather act, push forward, keep going, do something – anything – even if it turns out to be wrong. I can still get a lesson from it for the future, right? But…

I’ve worn myself out with all this activity at times, doing my best to meet my goals and be faithful to what God has called me to do. And I love it, but…all that activity if it’s not “God activity” will make one weary. The truth is this…

If I am pursuing that thing more than I am pursuing that God, it will rob me of energy, joy, peace, and ultimately faith.

writer sketchWhen we pursue even the good thing to the point of placing too much focus there, then we begin to judge ourselves as to whether we’ve done all we should. If we are consistently finding fault or giving ourselves praise based on our performance, then we have created our own little religion where we are the god who judges ourselves based on our works – the opposite of how God behaves toward us. Bam!

Then what about that good thing God has so graciously called and equipped us to do? We will miss that, too, every. single. time. So if this is where you have been, let’s step down off the little earthly throne we have erected, and turn our eyes upon Jesus.

If we are so focused on our own efforts that we are out front, then He is not able to lead us. Many of us believe we are letting Jesus lead, when we are not. His leading of us is not hurried, rushed, or intended to tire us out. His leading is gentle, loving, full of rest, peace, and joy! His leading will challenge us and grow our faith, further equipping us for the life He has given us to live.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” (old hymn with excellent theology)

That’s the place where we are healed, forgiven again, and set right. That’s the place where intimacy with Him grows. That’s the place we actually live our lives from, and the quality of that one relationship with determine the quality of what we do.

He promises to provide all we need, “lead us beside still waters, and restore our soul”. All our hurried, harried ways (even if those only exist between our ears) never travel by places like that! We can miss His beautiful rest completely if we don’t apply the brakes and give ourselves the same permission He has already given us – that if we seek Him first, He will be found by us. If we focus on Him and learn His ways, we will enjoy the fulfillment of first knowing we are His child. Learning to abide there brings rest and His blessings there will chase us down and we will begin to see it all as the GRACE it actually is.

Stop and think about what characterizes your life. If you need more peace, rest, and joy, then make the choices that will make room for those things. For a change in life results, we have to create a change in our believing, thinking, and speaking. You have the ability to do that. (I can help if you like.)

So where am I in this journey? Still learning. Taking life one “calendar week” at a time (grin), and remembering to first seek Him. He is much more interested in me knowing Him than knowing what the next appointment or speaking engagement will be like. I try, sometimes fail, and get up and try again with what I’ve learned. Kind of like “shampoo, rinse, repeat”, life is a continual day in, day out education.

Father, forgive us for our hurried ways, for letting the world teach us that all that activity is necessary. Father, help us learn to rest in You, letting You lead us. You say to us that we are perfectly acceptable in Your eyes just because we are your children. We don’t have to work or get it all right for You to be pleased. Thank you for Grace, Father. Thank you for Grace. Help us receive it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There’s so much love & grace.

Robin – one still learning to follow

From the desk by the window where a gentle rain falls creating pools of still waters and reminding me it’s OK to go enjoy that cup of tea and not rush through the day.DSC_4975

{For info on Spiritual Life Coaching or booking Robin to speak to your group, you can email her at robinlewiswords@gmail.com. She promises to write back with encouragement in living your best life.}

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, January 24, 2016