He pours in and we pour out

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

I’ve been spending a lot of time thanking God for what he has done in mine and Janelle’s life lately. We have seen his goodness in a very really way in many parts of our lives—Favor in work, a new place to call home, health, and more. I couldn’t help but stop recently to ask the question, “When did this all start happening?”

After some coffee and meditation, I can boil it down to two things—

1. Who really provides?—In the past I’ve struggled with worrying about how I am going to provide for my wife and our family. Many years ago, a good friend of mine shared a revelation he had on this. It took a while to sink in and become a truth for me. Here it is… I am not the provider for my family. That mindset is inherently prideful. It puts me at the top. It creates an unhealthy thought process that somehow my labor alone can fulfill all of mine and my families needs. Once I renewed my mind on this, and applied Philippians 4:19 (NLT) which says, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” It took off all the pressure, stress, and worry about “making ends meet”. Now I confidently know that God is the one from whom my provision flows and I start to notice that provision daily.

2. Giving generously, even when it hurts—this has become a practice of mine and Janelle’s in the past couple of years. It definitely wasn’t easy in the beginning. Naturally, giving to others means less for us. But that is a notion we’ve worked hard to beat back over time. Now, when we feel a tug to give to bless someone or give to someone in need, we’ve stopped hesitating. We made a determination to recognize God isn’t stingy with us, so we won’t be stingy with others. It made a noticeable difference in our perspective on our personal “needs” and “lack”. More over, giving to others has now become a place of joy for us.

I realized that both of these things take the focus off of ME. Understanding that God graciously pours his provision down on me enables me to then be an instrument of his provision for others. When this focus shifts, all that remains is gratitude.

Feel free to share in the comments any mindset changes you’ve noticed that helped unlock this reality for you.

Pause in His Presence

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love…” (Psalms‬ ‭62:5‬)

I love the way The Passion Translation translates the word “selah” as “pause in His presence.”

I have a difficult time prioritizing Selah in my day. But it is so necessary. So important for living an abundant royal life. Selah moments allow us to hear from God clearly. They give Him the opportunity to speak to us without distraction. Just like the sounds in our current background, God is present and speaking; sometimes we are just too busy to hear it.

Rest. Stay. Abide. Be Still. Calm. Peace. Breathe. Refresh. Tranquil. Stop. Pause. Listen.

Often in times of pausing, God gives us a revelation that transforms our perspective, bringing us closer to Him. Selah positions us to hear His voice and be in His presence.

As someone who combats regularly with anxiety, I am seeing how integral it is to incorporate Selah into my daily living.

In the Selah moment is when we hear the breath and the heartbeat of Heaven.

Recently a good friend told me about a free app called “Pause” based on the book “Get Your Life Back” by John Eldredge. So I downloaded it. The next day I find an email from ChurchSource also promoting the app and included links to videos to watch as well. This app invites you into the simple practice of releasing everything to God.

If you are interested in downloading the app, here is the iOS link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/one-minute-pause/id1471913620
And the Android link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ransomedheart.pause
Here are 7 daily “pause” practices: https://tinyurl.com/y5lbfnzj
Here are the 6 session study videos: https://tinyurl.com/yymzpynm

How do you pause in His presence? How do you cultivate Selah moments throughout the day? How do you find rest for you soul? Let’s share with each other.

Swing for the fences!

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

If you are a baseball fan, this week is significant for you. The long offseason comes to an end, and we will have BASEBALL back on our televisions. I figured it appropriate to draw a Biblical principle out of a game I love so much—my hope is it is an encouragement and a reminder for you—even if you are a Yankee fan. Let’s go Mets!
Okay… enough joking.

In a typical baseball season, you have 30 teams with 25 players each. With simple math, that means the Major Leagues is comprised of 750 players TOTAL. That means only 750 out of thousands who train, practice, and prepare to play baseball actually make it. These 750 are the best of the best of the best.

In baseball your offensive and batting ability is most commonly tracked by batting average—a percentage of how often you produce a hit vs how many opportunities you have at bat.

If I get a hit every time I come to bat, then I am batting 1.000.
If I get a hit 5 out of 10 times, I am batting .500, and so on.

But even the best of the best of the best generally only bat in the .300’s for any given season. Amazing. The best of the best of the best fail roughly 7 out of 10 times they try. Yet they are considered the elite players in the game.

I imagine if those elite players were afraid to fail. If they chose to never pick up the bat, because the likelihood of failure was greater than the likelihood of success.

You may see where I am going with this.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, the Passion Translation, it says,
“9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.
10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.”

One of my favorite aspects of living a Royal Life is that I don’t need to fear failure. Every big “swing and miss” I take, every pop-up, every strike out is an opportunity for God to show up. Even the best fail sometimes, but when we fail it never really looks so much like failure. It looks like an opportunity for God to express his mighty power.

So grab your bat, step up to the plate, and swing for the fences knowing that in success and even in failure, God is there cheering you on!

Taking Inventory

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

Janelle and I moved this past week—which is a great story of God’s provision for another time—but this also made it difficult to record and post a video. For today, I’ll share some thoughts via text.

Anyone who has moved before knows moves can be stressful. Once the packing, coordinating, and moving is complete; there’s the unpacking, reorganizing and settling in to deal with.

One important part—which Janelle excels at—is taking inventory. What do we need to keep? What can we get rid of? When moving you have to be honest and decisive with things you keep and things you let go of. The past couple weeks have been a constant flow of evaluation of everything we’ve kept in our home over nine years of marriage.

It‘s had me thinking of things I’ve kept in myself over the years. As I’ve packed and unpacked boxes, I’ve been evaluating what’s going on in me—in my heart. What do I need to keep? What can I get rid of?

Some scriptures I feel that are a great measuring stick for this type of evaluation comes from Romans 8—a chapter well worth a full read through, but for today I’ll attach a selection for you to read. (In case you missed it, Janelle’s post yesterday is shared from verse 15!)

As you read through it, evaluate the things within you. How do they measure up? What do you need to keep? What can you get rid of?

Until next time!
[Romans 8:5-14, NLT]
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.
8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Adventurously Expectant

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” – Romans‬ ‭8:15 MSG

If He is the King of Kings, Savior of your soul, the Creator of the universe and He lives within you, there is no excuse you should be boring or bored. If we live a mundane, half-hearted Christianity, who will be inspired by that? Living a royal life includes cultivating passionate adventures with God.

Start your day with “Good morning, God! What fun adventure do You have planned for me today?”

Move eagerly throughout your day with child-like faith and wonder, asking “what’s next, Papa?”

End your day with reviewing your “camera roll” of snapshots of your adventures with God. Share them with someone (here in this post, perhaps!).

Then do it all over again the next day.

Your Long Term Goals

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

I recently started reading a book written by Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who commanded the International Space Station for a period of time. His story is really a fascinating one, but the thing that was most interesting to me is that he determined that he wanted to be an astronaut at 9 years old after seeing Americans land on the moon. Even more amazing was at the time there was no such thing as a Canadian astronaut—they didn’t exist!

His philosophy of setting and pursuing goals is a great, practical approach to how we can achieve something bigger than we could ever imagine and enjoy the journey along the way! Better than me explaining it to you, why not hear it from him directly…

– Michael

The ABC’s of God

AUTHOR: Michael-Janelle

“I know the truth about You, God, because You have made it obvious to me. For ever since I was born, I have seen Your creation. Through everything You made, I can clearly see Your invisible qualities – Your eternal power and divine nature. So I have no excuse for not knowing You.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Today I am challenging you all to a fun task. The concept is to say a character trait/attribute of God for each letter of the alphabet. You can start off your paper or digital note with “I thank You and I praise You, God, for You are…” and starting listing one word each from A to Z. If You want to take this challenge a step further, search for Scriptures that go with each word.

If you need a little boost, think about what You already know about God or think about the things You need Him to be for you right now. Adding Scripture will enhance your time together with Him.

There are many ways you can continue with this after today: you can highlight only one letter a day and write down as many words for that letter as you can think of. You can keep one collaborative paper and add to the list one extra word each day. Or you can start over fresh everyday purposefully choosing new words each time.

Please feel free to share with us in the comments below your ABC’s of God.

– Janelle