Taking a break…

…to worship.

Y’all, I’m not going to lie. These past 3 months have taken a toll. Although life has slowed, my attention and focus are all over the place. This world is like a roller coaster going off its rails and I regret to say that it’s not going to get better any time soon.

I’m not only claiming it, I’m accepting it. However, I will not allow the chaos of this world to wreak havoc on my heart, mind, and soul. Maybe that’s why God has commanded us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” If we focus on loving Him and allowing only Him to fill those places, chaos cannot come in and take over.

That’s why I’m taking a break from posting on the blog and some social media, to focus on worship. True worship is only real worship when it’s done out of love from my heart, soul, and mind. I want to free up as much of me as possible. I’ll check back in few weeks.

Tomorrow, July 1st begins our Roots and Fruits: 30 Days of Worship. If you haven’t joined head on over to the sign up page so you can get the info to begin 30 days of focused worship. What do you have to lose? Don’t allow the chaos of the world to seep into your heart, soul, and mind. You could lose everything to the world or everything to God. I’ll take the latter.

Roots & Fruits

My 15 year-old daughter has recently become interested in plants. This is amusing because I can only keep humans and animals alive. I simply cannot remember to water a plant. My people and dog will let me know their needs. A plant wilts silently from lack of water and then it is too late. My daughter is much like her father. He buys orchids, the hardest plant to keep alive, and somehow they are all thriving.

Orchids bloom in six month intervals. It is strange when you see their vibrant blooms for so long, then suddenly there are none. Even though there are no blooms, the roots still need to be nourished and cared for. The roots of an orchid are rounder and more dense than the stems of the plant. They need constant moisture despite having no flowers. Once the roots exceed their container, the orchid must be replanted quickly.

Roots need as much care as the flower.

In our spiritual lives, this is also true. We frequently claim aspects of the Christian life, yet do not spend time tending to our roots and producing fruit of spiritual growth. I grew up in church. I was baptized at age twelve. Checking off the “baptism” box meant to me that I would not be going to hell. In my mind, that was what it meant by being a Christian, avoiding hell. At age 18, I went to a church camp and was told by one of my leaders that he could not wait to see what God was going to do in my life. Something clicked in my mind and my heart. Being a Christian was more than salvation. Living for God and building a relationship with Him on a daily basis puts you on a path of transformation. I not only wanted to live a saved life, but a transformed life.

When Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, they were in the same place. He acknowledged their faith, love for one another, and hope, but he also encouraged them toward spiritual growth. “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 Paul did not want the church of Colossae to stop with praying the “sinner’s prayer” and continuing to live their lives the way they always have. This is the same for believers today.

How often have you clicked on internet links for something like “30 Days to Healthier Eating”, “30 Days to a Stronger Core”, or “Decluttering Your Home in 30 Days”? If we are so driven to create habits to work on bodies or our homes, why don’t we create habits to work on our spiritual growth? When I have asked this question, some responses are: lack of time, discipline, and focus.

I am creating a program for those who need a more consistent path to strengthen their spiritual life. I want to walk with you to help you deepen your roots and produce an abundance of fruit. As a member, oyou will have access to a private online community where we will focus on one area of spiritual practice together for 30 days through online content and videos.

Honestly, I can not wait to walk this journey with you. Since 2020 fell apart, I have needed to put some boundaries into my life for more focus and discipline. I do not want any more of this year to be wasted. Let’s finish 2020 stronger than anyone ever imagined!

Is your interest peaked yet?

Want more information?

I will be going live on Facebook and Instagram on Thursday, June 18th at 12pm to talk about this new venture. You can find me here: Facebook and Instagram .

See you on Thursday!

Roots Exposed

I enjoy cutting the grass. Really, I do. There is something satisfying about putting music in your ears and pushing the mower through the green blades, getting an immediate result.

My husband and I have had four homes throughout our married years. By far the easiest yard to cut was the one that was completely flat with no obstruction. While the marsh in Lousiana definitely had its challenges i.e. soggy ground, fire ants, etc., our current yard is also a challenge. The back yard slopes downward and requires special athleticism not to turn the mower over on top of myself. Spoiler alert: I don’t have much athleticism. The front yard is a whole other story.

In the front, we have two large trees. In the fall, their leaves turn lovely hues of reds and oranges. My children are climbers and love to pull themselves onto their strong branches, to see how high they can go. Although we love these trees, the roots are a major issue because they are exposed. Have you ever tried to cut the grass around the roots of a tree when they protrude throughout the ground? Not an easy task. They have become quite an obstacle to productive yard work.

We all have roots i.e. truths, morals, and ideals that have shaped us to become the person we are. Childhood, whether peaceful or traumatic produces a set of roots. Experiences in school, church, or home cause your roots to twist and turn as you grow, developing your ideals and feelings. These past few weeks, with the increased racial unrest in our country, roots have been exposed, we are seeing one another for who we are. Our roots keep us centered on one mindset and set of ideals. If you were raised with hatred and selfishness, it doesn’t take long before the world sees your roots.

To be honest, I have some exposed roots that need to be addressed. High school trauma has created a root in my heart that causes deep anxiety. Groups within my school bullied others who didn’t look like them nor have the same degree of athleticism. I tried to avoid these groups, but I wasn’t always successful. While I have tried to not allow my anxiety to affect my behavior toward others and I try to be friendly to anyone I encounter, the nervousness and some bitterness remains. I know I cannot allow what one particular group of girls did to me determine how the rest of the world would treat me nor would it determine how I would treat the world.

I intend to spend the summer (and the rest of my life) working on the exposed roots of bitterness in my heart. I do not feel shame for my roots, but God has gently exposed them to make me change and become a better version of myself. I do not want my roots to affect those around me especially my own children.

I am a lifelong learner, constantly reading and seeking truth to the world around me. I do not want to be told by the world what to think nor what to believe. God does this for me through His Word. I do want to make sure I am reading and asking questions to better understand the cultures God has wonderfully created.

My closest friend is a wise and beautiful black woman living a few hours away. Our children have grown up together and treat one another like family. She has graciously listened as I have asked an abundance of questions and sought to understand her culture over the course of our twenty-year friendship. My experience in high school could have prevented our friendship. I chose not to focus on my hurt that had taken root. Our common faith has carried us through challenging life circumstances and I am so thankful for her voice in my life.

There is an abundance of resources for learning about the racial heritage of our country. One voice I have learned to trust, through podcasts and interviews, is Latasha Morrison and her organization “Be the Bridge”. Latasha travels the country training Bridge Builders, those willing to come together, no matter your race, to heal the roots of racism and prejudice. She does not do this in a way to make you feel shame but to inform you of the truth of the past in order to help you eradicate any negative roots of thought that may be exposed. I have ordered her book, “Be the Bridge” and look forward to reading it with a book club this summer. Here is the link to order: “Be the Bridge” by Latasha Morrison

I searched “what to do about exposed tree roots in your yard?” In order to make sure the tree is getting the right nutrients and enough moisture, you have to expose them even more. According to this tree service site, you have to dig out the dirt around the roots, then fill in the area with a mulch that will help the roots absorb more water. We have to expose our roots in order to get enough moisture for growth.

Think about the exposed roots in your heart that may need to be nourished differently so you can grow. Change can only happen if we each look within ourselves and allow God to bring to the surface what needs to be healed. Do not allow your exposed roots to be an obstacle any longer.

You are Light

Father God, shine Your light through me breaking through any darkness in me and around me. May we all see the light of truth and experience Your joy.
Amen

You are Heard

Father God, thank you for hearing the cries of your children. Help me to hear the same cries so that I may respond with overflowing compassion. Amen.

You are loved

Father God, fill me with Your love to overflow on all those around me. Give me eyes to see those who need the reassurance of your love. Amen.

50 Days

I had a breakdown 50 days into this quarantine. Emotionally and mentally I was already DONE, then I had the worst argument with one of my children. I actually said out loud to my children, “I am going to take the day off and you will have to fend for yourselves.” The next day I was doubled over with the worst pain in my life from a UTI and my children had no choice but to fend for themselves. Not exactly the day off I had imagined. 50 days in and I was ready for something to change.

50 days after Jesus Christ miraculously arose, His disciples were waiting. Exhausted and bewildered, Jesus told them to remain in Jerusalem during the festival of Shavuot (Summer Harvest Festival – Leviticus 23:15-16). Just as John the Baptist baptized with water, God would be baptizing with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ followers were familiar with water baptism, but not Spirit baptism. Needless to say, it was a long 50 days for them. There were so many unknowns. They had devoted three years of their life following their teacher, the Son of God. What now? Their lives were about to look very different and they knew it. They were ready for something to change.

Acts 2 describes the baptism of the Spirit like “tongues of fire” resting on each one of the followers of Jesus Christ. Jerusalem was packed with people because of the Jewish festival and the baptism of the Spirit was witnessed by all of the people present.

This Sunday marks 50 days after Easter. In the Christian faith this is known as Pentecost. God in His mercy, gave us His Son and in His grace He gave us the Holy Spirit. Our faith in Jesus Christ saves us, baptism in the Spirit transforms us.

Throughout the remainder of Acts, the disciples traveled the area, starting churches teaching how vital it is to have salvation WITH transformation. Many people they encountered had been baptized by John the Baptist, but did had not been baptized in the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul lived his life encouraging believers to grow in their faith, to be transformed. In 2 Corinthians 13:10, he wrote “Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

In Acts 2, Peter gives his greatest message to the onlookers present. Convinced everyone was simply drunk, Peter stands in boldness to help everyone understand the transformation taking place. In Acts 2:37, Peter and the apostles were asked, “What should we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That day 3000 were transformed by the Holy Spirit. 3000 left their fifty days of waiting and moved toward a lifetime experiencing a relationship with God.

I know plenty of people today, who believe in God, perhaps grew up in church, but were never baptized by the Holy Spirit. Transformation never took place. It is as if they are still in the middle of their 50 days, waiting. While I was baptized in water at age twelve, I wasn’t transformed by the Holy Spirit until 6 years later. This is why I write about my relationship with God and study His Word. I want all of us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. I want all of us to live a life filled with the peace and love of God.

Are you in a 50 day waiting period, waiting for something to change? As the believers were waiting in Acts 1:14, the were all “continually united in prayer.” Pray. Repent and pray for the Holy Spirit to transform you. Don’t remain stuck in your 50 days. Move beyond and discover all God has for you in a transforming relationship with Him.

Want to know more? Check out “Steps to Salvation”

Have you ordered my new study 30 Days in Acts? Be sure to sent me a picture of your receipt at leahlivelyblog@gmail.com for your free download to use with the study. Be on the lookout for an online study in the fall.

It’s Here!!

For me, 2020 began strong.  I knew I wanted my new study on the book of Acts to be published around the same time as the John study last year.  

May 2020 became my goal. I diligently studied and began writing while my children were in school each day…then March came and our schedules became intertwined.  I pressed on because God never said “stop.” 

Little did I know that I would spend the last 2 months writing my little study on the flame of the early church…not crossing the threshold of my own church building.  It became forbidden. But God’s Holy Spirit flame is not contained within four walls of a church building.  It must reside with in us so that the Holy Spirit can fill whatever space we’re in.  

As church buildings begin to reopen, will we attempt to contain the Holy Spirit fire once again, or let it ignite the world around us as it has always been meant to do?  It is up to each one of us, on an individual level, to decide.

Thank you for your love and support through all of this time.  It means the world.  I pray the study blesses you and brings you closer to the heart of God. 

Don’t forget to check out the virtual book launch on Facebook starting at 11 AM ! Leave a comment on the page to be entered into the 3 drawings throughout the day.

30 Days in Acts – A Journey: Igniting the Flame of the Early Church don’t tell!

When you order the book take a screenshot of the receipt and send it to me on social media or email it to me to this address.  I have a free download just for you! 

%d bloggers like this: