Give it away. Give it away. Give it away, now! The Results!

blog giveaway

I would say, “And the winners are…” but you’re all winners in my book! Cheesy? Yes, it is. But cheese is good on almost everything, right? Or is that bacon? Hmmmm…. bacon….

Ok, I’m back! Just got me some cheesy bacon to munch on.

Before I get to my announcement, can I say: Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting over the last few weeks. On this side of the screen, I’ve been encouraged by all the messages and comments I’ve received about what God is revealing in hearts! And the Lord continues to speak sweetly over me, that this isn’t the half of it!

I’ve had some sweet times in prayer over you, reader. I might not know you by name, but God does… and that’s more than enough. His Word NEVER returns void. There’s always beauty that emerges when people believe and trust Him at His Word. So, I’m choosing today to believe what 2 Timothy 1:7 says: We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE, AND A SOUND MIND!

The second thing I want to highlight, before I go any further, is this: I’m so proud of my lovely assistant, Mr. Noah, who has been my model in this series! He has done a great job portraying the themes by his facial expressions and body language! He’s a HOOT and a half! So, there’s a shout out to my first born for being willing and so stinkin’ cute!

Ready to get to it? Sheesh, I am! I’ve been announcing the tar out of this. People in fb-land are ready to defriend me… EEK!

Gift #1: The Great Exchange CD along with Heroes Coffeephoto-41

Doesn’t this look like a great way to spend your morning? I mean who doesn’t want to put on over-sized headphones and soak in some GREAT tunes? Your Heroes Coffee can be brewing while you take in the album’s first song: “beauty for these ashes.” Friends, the first time I heard this song I couldn’t hold back the tears. Tyler was singing MY SONG! Only God can take the ashes of your life and make beauty come from it! Some of you can truly relate… you’re nodding right now, aren’t you?! Others of you are thinking, “I want Him to do that for me!” Oh-me-oh-my… HE CAN AND HE WILL if you let Him. That’s another blog for another day. (Or check out what our book’s about if you haven’t!) Who is capable of such a thing? Seriously!? Our God… that’s who! You are gonna L-O-V-E the first track and the second and the third…! (By the way, after I told The Great Exchange what I was up to they donated this cd to our giveaway! Now that’s good people, right there!)

Drum roll please…..

GIFT NUMBER UNO GOES TO: “thearthurz”

So, don’t be a sore loser if you didn’t win, you can still get a copy through itunes or on their website: www.thegreatexchangeband.com!

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Gift #2: Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, along with Heroes Coffee!photo-38

Look at my 6-year-old reading a devotional and drinking a cup of Heroes coffee! (That’s his second one this morning!) Oh, how I’ve poured over the pages in this book. Anytime I open it, I feel as if Jesus, Himself, has nestled Himself in next to me. And as He speaks, the world becomes dim as the eyes of my heart once again aligns with Truth. And Truth, my friend, sets you and I… FREE!

You can get this book anywhere and everywhere! So, if your name was not drawn out of the hat this time, (and that’s exactly how we did it) you can be a happy loser and go purchase a copy for your little ole self. (Here’s a link to the book on amazon.)

Can I get another drum roll, please…..

GIFT NUMBER DOS (two… for those of you who don’t speak Spanish) GOES TO: “Ashley O.”

•••

Thanks for journeying with us on here! It’s been an encouragement to my heart and soul to see how many people are sharing our blog with others. We are seeking to be obedient to what He’s asked of us, to be His voice of Hope and real Love in this dark world! Happy to link arms with each and every one of you as we strive to love our God LOUD!

Until the next post, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

“thearthurz” and “Ashley O.”, email me your addresses privately at hgilion@lifepointozark.com, pretty please and I’ll get you your winnings! Hooray!

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Fear? Goodness, no! {part 3: A SOUND MIND} & GIVEAWAY

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So here we go! The conclusion to our discussion based on 2 Timothy 1:7. If this is your first time to our blog and you’re scratching your head, “Conclusion? I just got here!” Feel free to backtrack to {part 1: POWER}, and then hit {part 2: LOVE}. But if you are the rebellious type and you don’t like me telling you what to do, that’s totally fine. No problem, friend, read on. I promise, I won’t try and make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a conversation mid-way through.

2 Timothy 1:7, sing it with me:

2timothy1-7actions

In this post I’m tackling the third gift… A SOUND MIND.

Do any of you feel like you have anything BUT a Sound Mind?? (Ladies, maybe just once a month? No? Then I shall study your ways.)

Do you ever feel like you are out of control? You put the “Cra” in Crazy? I’ve heard some mom’s refer to it as “baby brain”—forgetful, irrational, crying about nothing, and yelling about everything! Sure, let’s blame it on the innocent. (I couldn’t blame crazy brain on them before they entered this world, maybe I should suck-it-up and not do it now.) All joking aside, there is some truth to it. You add together aging, along with a few bundles of joy, countless sleepless nights, years of aspartame, and you’re bound to feel like your brain isn’t quite firing on all cylinders. They say with more grays comes wisdom, but I see it as growing wise to the fact that you’re losing it! Did I just use shampoo or was that the conditioner… darn it, maybe I should just start all over?!

My Mom:  “If I tell you the same story over and over, will you just stop me?” She’s been telling us that recently over and over. Just kidding, Momma! You’re all good!

{*Sidenote: The mind is a powerful gift God has given us, and I might be having fun poking at the reality of what aging naturally does to us, but I’m in no way speaking about mental illness, etc. Just want to make that clear.}

So, what does He mean by “sound mind” anyway?

A sound mind means a disciplined and self-controlled mind. In other words, God did not have it purposed that defeat should be the norm of your Christian walk. We should be disciplined Christians rather than slaves to our emotions. Now, living with a sound mind will not happen in our strength or by believing we’ve got the right mojo to make it happen, rather, we have been gifted with this mind. Now choosing to live using this gift… that’s up to us.

Our mind must be engaged, fixed and focused, and at all times seeking to align ourselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ. John MacArthur said that we’ve been given a sound mind to “focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will.”

Wired by the Creator God, Himself, we at times drip, trickle, slop, and spill out with emotions; but emotional living is not how we are to live. We sometimes make decisions out of fear and anxiety when we’re operating in self-preservation mode or when we “feel” good or bad—that’s not the voice that should control our next step.

We all experience fluctuating feelings, but if you haven’t focused and applied your life, circumstances, dreams and fears to what is said in His Word revealed by His Spirit, then you are not going to make sound, disciplined decision. “You’re not using your noggin’!” as my Dad would affectionately say, while (lightly) knuckling my head.

Are you weak, tired, drained, empty, lost or disengaged? How are you responding based on how you feel? This is an opportunity to take Him at His Word whether you “feel” like it or not—to make a CHOICE (like I talked about in {part 2}) to live in

HIS POWER,
HIS LOVE,
AND HIS SOUND MIND.

Q: So if having a sound mind means that we are to be disciplined, controlled, and sound in our decisions, how does fear steal our discipline? How does anxiety and insecurity rob our minds?

A: Anxiety leads you to make rash decisions. Fear makes you explain away what He’s called you to, due to fear of actually having to do it, fear of the unknown, fear of what others might say, or fear of failure. Fear leads us to unbelief and distrust in His Words and His commands. Instead, we set our path based on how we feel.

For those of you that like to talk to yourself, here’s a great passage just for you!
(High-five, peeps, we’re NOT crazy, after all!)

 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” (Psalm 42:5)

Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little stern talking to by addressing our very souls! And that’s why I love this verse so much! It’s saying, Insert your name here, why are you down? Why are you distraught? Why are you fearful… worried… anxious?” This is where the pep talk comes into play: “Stop it! HOPE IN GOD!”

We need to hear truth whether it’s from one another or from ourselves—CONSTANTLY!

May today we converse with our ever-present God, asking Him to continue to teach us how to live aligning our minds to His Will and asking for peace to reign when we feel crazy, anxious, or tempted to make our own happy. May we choose to live based on TRUTH rather than feelings.

Sooo… speaking of putting Truth in our ears, hearts, and minds, it’s time to explain our GIVEAWAYS! I chose these specifically because you’ll be able to use them as pep talks for your soul! Here’s what’s up for the taking.

•••

TWO GIFTS for TWO WINNERS:

#1:  The Great Exchange is a band that I think is fantastic! I would love to give 175away their CD, “We Are The Branches”. I do happen to know the lead singer, Tyler Greene, he’s our worship leader at Lifepoint Church. Not trying to brag or anything, but after you hear him and hear his heart, you’ll see why I sound like I’m bragging. We are a blessed community! The lyrics on this album are full of the Word and the Word never disappoints or returns void. Check out these dudes: http://www.thegreatexchangeband.com/

#2:  Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is a devotional jesus callingthat Holly and I received from a gal in a church we spoke at in Illinois last year (you know who you are). What a treasure this book has been to me in my personal time with the Lord! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s written as if Jesus was speaking to you. He is a personal God, and this is such a sweet reminder of that intimacy that He longs to have with us. Again, Word-based. There’s a theme here, isn’t there? I’d love to give one away!

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Along with #1 and #2 the winners will receive a bag of coffee from my favorite roastery: Heroes Coffee! Woah, now I’ve got your attention! “Wake Up. Do Good. Repeat.” That’s their coffeebaghome-heroes-seperato copyslogan! Heroes Coffee Company is a gourmet wholesale roaster in Springfield, Missouri. I didn’t like coffee until I had their coffee! Plus, the owners happen to be friends and neighbors of mine! (If you’re a weirdo and don’t like coffee—been there—it’ll still be a sweet gift to a coffee-lover you know!) Why coffee? Just helps to be awake when we are living out this POWER, LOVE, AND SOUND MIND!

THIS IS HOW YOU ENTER: 

1. Subscribe to our blog, would you? We’re a big fan of God’s Word and we believe in sharing the gospel, and this is one way we do it. We strive to share a little something every three weeks or so. We’ll try not to annoy you.

2. Share this blog post. I know this particular post is the conclusion, but I believe the Lord will use it however He so chooses. Pray as you share…

3. After you’ve shared it, leave a comment below that you’ve shared it and which prize that you would like to win:
#1 The Great Exchange CD along with Heroes Coffee or
#2 Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, along with Heroes Coffee!
(It’ll be fair and square… picked by a random drawing.)

I’ll announce the winners of GIFT #1 & GIFT #2 on Thursday 5/23! You’ve got a week: Ready, set, GO!

Fear? Goodness, no! {part 2: LOVE}

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by Heather Spring

If you missed {part 1: POWER}, obviously it’s not too late to catch up. Close your eyes and tap your shoes together three times and say, “There’s no place like part 1. There’s no place like part 1.” That should get you there… or press here.

You all remember the song that I taught you that my dad taught me?

Let’s sing together:

“For God has not given us the spirit of FEAR (scary face here!), but of

POWER, AND LOVE, AND A SOUND SOUND MIND!”

2 Timothy 1:7

I’m going to attempt to tackle the second gift He’s given… LOVE!

You’ve heard that there are three different love types: Eros love (known as the physical, sensual love between a husband and wife—bow chicka bow wow, as I like to call it), Phileo love (based on friendship between two people), and Agape love (unconditional, sacrificial love).

In 2 Timothy 1:7, the “love” that’s been “given” to us is agape love… the highest and ultimate form of love!

I have to chuckle when I hear Agape love referred to as brotherly love. Listen, I am raising two brothers and you’ve got to know, I’ve got story after story on this one. I’ve seen them peg one another in the head with matchbox cars only to have the injured scold me for scolding the offender. Between all the wedgies and sword-fights-gone-too-far, I see a protective, steadfast, ever-growing love they display for one another.

But agape love is so much more than that.

Agape arrived on this earth and walked around in sandals. You could touch Agape, smell Agape, and listen to Agape. Agape was so unique and refreshing, that droves of people would follow Him around taking in this otherness. And after living perfectly, and always loving just right, Agape laid down His life. “Oh, Agape, how much you truly love us!”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

And guess what? He has given those that believe in Him this same LOVE… Agape planted within our very hearts. Consider it a wedding gift! What extravagance! It’s one thing for Him to be that incredible and just downright “other,” but WE are given this same spirit of love? Unfortunately, it’s a gift we squander away or are satisfied to “love” when it benefits us. We love with me at the center.  That’s not agape love.

You see, real agape love is a love that’s a without-strings-attached-or-hidden-agenda kind of love. It is selfless and it is a choice. It is “the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship.”

It is a decisive love.

As a teen, I remember my dad telling me that every day he chose to love my mom. I was floored! I was horrified! It made me angry! To be honest, I felt sorry for my mom. I thought, “You have to CHOOSE to LOVE her? What kind of marriage is that? Well, I don’t want one of those!”

Oh… but I’ve since then eaten those words (with a little salt and ketchup) because that’s the kind of marriage that works, that thrives, that lasts, that grows, that satisfies, and that mirrors Jesus. I’m not saying that marriage doesn’t consist of Eros (a little Marvin Gaye on repeat) and Phileo (“I’m giddy that you love music as much as I do!” Insert wild clapping!). I’m just saying most days we’ve got to both land on this agape, decisive and sacrificial love, or we’ll be left frustrated and selfishly pining for something or someone else to fill our love reservoir.

But this CHOICE is not just for the husband and wife. It is for EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP THAT WE HAVE. No one is excluded here. Agape is even for your worst enemy… ouch, that stings a bit! It is not in us to naturally agape love another. We’re selfish by nature. But God says, “I have given you power, (Agape) LOVE, and a sound mind.” If you CHOOSE to live out this agape love, you will be:

Agape-ing when you don’t “feel” like it.
Agape-ing when it costs you everything and promises nothing.
Agape-ing those that annoy you.
Agape-ing those that you are tempted to look down on.
Agape-ing people that have wounded you.
Agape-ing people, that if you were to be honest, you just don’t like.
(Oh, now I need to stop and pray for a bit… convicted!)

So, this Scripture says, “He hasn’t given us the spirit of fear… but of love.”

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)

Let me tell you how fear comes in and steals you from loving in this God-like manner.

When you struggle with comparing yourself to others, you won’t be able to really love them. You won’t. (Any Bookface-ers or Interestingpinners struggling in this area?) If comparison has got your number, you’ll be too busy feeding thoughts of jealousy and self-doubt to agape others. You will struggle with confidence when you are full of jealousy, envy, and suspicion. You will struggle with freedom in Christ when you continue playing the victim card. And all of this stems from fear! When you are fearful, you live out of self-preservation mode, everything in you fighting for what satisfies you, what makes you “happy” and “whole.” When you are fear-driven, you’ll be defensive and will come against whoever seemingly threatens your happiness… even God. So it’s easier to look at others as competition instead of seeing the Jesus in them. And you can’t love when you view others as competition.

Even within the church walls, we can find ourselves competing with one another, tearing one another down because we are feeling threatened by others’ giftings, roles, or “blessings.” Jealousy robs us from joining together as one body to fulfill the plans of God.  Can we stop, for one second, and see the unique qualities of God Himself in the eyes, hands, feet, laughter, and presence of the ones on our right and left? They are not our competition, rather, they are God-made masterpieces that we are called to love… agape style. Ladies, we can be the worst at falling into this trap! Sister in Christ, may I make a plea to you: we are on the same team! Start encouraging, sharpening, and speaking truth into one another, fostering unity! (Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.)

You want power, freedom, and peace?

1. Pray against the spirit of fear that so easily comes to rob you, and love decisively, CHOOSING to use the very gift of love that has been embedded in your heart. You don’t have to be insecure. You don’t have to be jealous. You don’t have to compare. You don’t have to live off the fumes of half-hearted-me-centered-love; you’ve got the gas! Now rev up that engine and agape the way Christ has fueled your sweet, little heart to do so.

2. Don’t let your eyes leave the cross. I’m serious. Pop a squat and don’t get up. Do you get this love that was demonstrated on the cross… for you… for others? May we see every relationship from our past, our present, and our future, through the cross, and then we’ll be asking:  How can we not love?

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

•••

Get ready for {part 3: A SOUND MIND}! I’ll post this conclusion to our series THURSDAY (5/16)! Maybe all this has been just for me. If so, I’m good with that. But I do hope and pray it’s been an encouragement to you as well. Feel free to share this with anyone that may be encouraged by this post! By the way, I’m pumped about the giveaway… EEK! I love surprises!

Fear? Goodness, no! {part 1: POWER}

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by Heather Spring

There’s a new book that’s been an instant favorite around this joint:

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

It’s main theme is having confidence throughout the day, come what may. A repetitive line in it goes like this: “Does Pete worry? Goodness, no!”

I’ve been thinking about what life would feel like FREE from worry, fear, anxiety, and insecurity. God’s doing a new thing in me. I want it said of me: “Does Heather worry? Goodness, no!” Do I believe that can be a reality? Yes, yes, I do. More and more every day. But… I do know what it feels like to be in the grip of fear, only to end up a coward. I’ve also drank the waste-your-days-in-worry-kool-aid, unfortunately I awoke faced with unchanged circumstances that tempted me to fill up my glass with more of the same. My fears have kept me from really loving people, trusting others, and ultimately trusting God.

Do you know how many times the Bible says: “Fear Not”?

It is said that there are 366 “Fear not’s” in the Bible—one for every day of the year, including Leap Year! God doesn’t want us to go a single day without hearing His word of comfort: “Fear not!”

I think there are a few reasons God has to repeat Himself when it comes to the subject of fear:

1. We are a fearful, anxious people (a.k.a. a bunch of scaredy cats). If you are sitting there all proud, murmuring to yourself, “I’m not anxious. I’m not scared of anything!” Then you’re worse off than the rest of us, for you are even too scared to admit your “scaredness” to yourself. There… I said it, you’re welcome. We all have heard horrific stories of what others have gone through that have left us speechless. The fact is, we fear losing what we love. We love people. We have dreams we’re fond of. We desire comfort and a life of ease, and there are numerous, possible scenarios that threaten these things we call precious.

2. We are not home. It’s like we know our address but somehow we can’t escape the reality that we’ve been left bunking with our crazy uncle who’s hell-bent on not following the rules and indifferent to the fact his snuggly, cuddly blanky is filthy and the pacifier he’s joyfully sucking on is actually a grenade. He blissfully drifts off to la-la-land to escape this hopeless chaos. Our “now” is messed up, I don’t have to tell you that. This world is broken and it isn’t our home.

3. There are just some things that we have to be told over and over and over again. Like “don’t chew with your mouth open,” or “wash your hands after you use the restroom,” or “please, don’t pass gas at the dinner table.” (I live with boys, enough said.) “Don’t fear” falls into God’s category of musts in repetitive instruction.

Here are a few examples of this repetition of care and love for us:

Are you fearful about your future?
“Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you” (Gen. 26:24)

Moms & dads, are you fearful about providing for your family?
“So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” (Gen. 50:21)

College students, teens, men, and women:
Are you fearful of what can happen if you go against the crowd?
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord,” (Exodus 14:13)

Are you anxious about what He’s called you to?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)

Christ followers, we have one voice saying: “Don’t fear, be SECURE & CONFIDENT in the One that lives IN you!” And then we have this other voice that is saying quite the opposite, don’t we?  “The accuser of the brethren” wants to cause you to doubt, waver, question, and live trapped in insecurity. He delights when you are uncertain of who you are and what you are capable of!

As a little girl, my dad taught me 2 Timothy 1:7 in song form. I bet you want to hear it don’t you?

Here it is…

Let me paraphrase this verse in 2 Timothy: “This spirit of fear that you have, yeah, that’s not of Him… but let me tell you WHAT IS FROM HIM: Three ah-mazing gifts…

POWER, LOVE, AND A SOUND MIND.

I’m going to break this verse down in three separate blog posts.
In {part 1}, I want to spend time on this first gift that we’ve been given that combats fear: POWER. And {part 2} I’ll expand on LOVE. And finally {part 3}: A SOUND MIND + a chance to enter a giveaway. Whoop whoop!

So the first gift: POWER

The Greek translation is “Dunamis” (doo’-nahm-is): strength power, ability
It comes from the word Dynamite! I LOVE THIS!

I truly believe, we don’t need more of Him—we need less of us! When you invite Christ in, He’s not just a little in, He’s ALL IN! And this ALL includes a power that can only be associated with dynamite! Boom!

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”(Acts 1:8)

We have received this POWER, supernatural, out of this world, power—the same power that raised Christ from the dead—and He LIVES IN US! (Romans 8:11). How in is He? He’s ALL IN? And how secure can we be? Completely Secure! Why? Because we can muster up this power? Goodness, no! Because, we’ve got HIS power pulsing through our veins, making us courageous, fueling our fire, engaging a supernatural strength that has everything to do with His IN-ness! (I’m typing so fast I’m making up words now!)

“His divine POWER has given us everything we need for a godly life…” (2 Peter 1:3)

What do we have to fear? Who can come against us?

Nobody.

No one.

Not a single soul.

Nothing in this world or out of this world!

Does that not make you feel a little bit stronger? A little more confident? Does it make you want to do courageous things for the glory of God? It should!

And here we are missing out, living locked up and shaken up—fearful in our todays and doubting He’ll be with us in our tomorrows.

All the while, He most adamantly says, “I’M ALL IN! Why are you insecure? Why are you fearful? MY SPIRIT LIVES IN YOU!”

So when I’m lacking the power and living in fear, plagued by insecurities, worrying my life away, living out of self-preservation – it is my choice!

Do you need to fear? Goodness, no!

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

**{part 2: LOVE} will be posted on Monday (5/13).
{part 3: A SOUND MIND} will be posted on Thursday (5/16).
So, if you haven’t subscribed this would be a great time to do so! You’ll receive the new posts in your little virtual mailbox. Ok? There’s my plug. You totally don’t want to miss out on the giveaway! Plus, there’s so much more in this Scripture to discuss!