How to Pursue Humility

How to Pursue Humility as Followers of Christ

When we look around our communities and our world, it seems we have allowed pride and privilege to take over our hearts and lives. Perhaps it’s time to pursue humility in all our lives.

Inspired by her earlier post, Seven Biblical Promises for Walking in Humility, I asked Karen Friday if she would write more on the subject. Karen is a fellow Christian blogger and a pastor’s wife. Read with open hearts and then share on the link-up what you have been writing about Leaving a Legacy.


How to Pursue Humility & Legacy Link-Up Click To Tweet

by Karen “Girl” Friday

Humility.

pursue humility

It seems missing from our present culture. But this lack isn’t anything new. People, even God’s people, have always had a bent toward self-centeredness and boasting.

And learning to pursue humility is a needed spiritual discipline for a Christ-follower.

So here are 8 ways to pursue H-U-M-I-L-I-T-Y.

H – Honor God.

Pursuing humility starts with honoring God by letting Him be God and do His job—not taking over.

But we have a choice to let Him act as CEO of our plans and purpose. We ask ourselves: God is CEO, am I in His seat? If I am, it means I’ve exchanged honoring God for honoring myself.

Because when we take the reins, God doesn’t reign as Lord.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10, ESV)

U – Understand humanity.

Once we realize who God is, we come to terms with our own flesh. Created in God’s image, we are wired for humility, but learn life’s about me.

Our flesh and spirit war against each other. And make no mistake, our flesh and the enemy of our soul wars against humility in our life. But our spirit desires humility.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, NIV, emphasis added)

clothes yourself in humility
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modified by Mandy

M – Model Jesus.

Although Jesus was fully human and divine, He lived and ministered as a humble man who put the interest of others first. He never turned anyone away, not even those considered “unclean” or social outcasts.

We are called to the same humble life.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves…Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8, ESV, emphasis added)

I – Invite transformation.

Ask the Holy Spirit for help to change and transform us from the inside out.

Maybe we start with praying these Bible verses over ourselves.

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans 12:16, NIV)

“…serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13b, ESV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)

Live in #harmony
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L – Lay down pride.

None of us enjoy discovering areas of pride. But it is worth a continual evaluation if we consider how Satan’s fall all started with pride. And pride disrupts our relationships with others and the Lord. Again, ask the Spirit to reveal this to us.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)

“Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.” (Proverbs 21:4, NIV)

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4, NIV)

I – Identify boasting.

Boasting is often seen online, in our career, in relationships, and so on.

Many life areas may promote boasting, “Look at me and what I did.” If we don’t voice it, we display the attitude.

Jeremiah describes a time God’s people had forsaken His law, not obeyed His voice, but followed their own hearts and other gods.

The Lord said, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord….” (Jeremiah 9:23-24a, ESV)

Likewise, Paul notes how God doesn’t choose those to minister and serve based on the world’s standards of wisdom, power, or nobility. “So that no human being might boast in the presence of God…as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:29-31, ESV)

Identify areas of outward or inward boasting of “me,” and increase our boasting of God.

T – Train in godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 encourages us to train for a godly life. Godliness always includes humility.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13, NIV, emphasis added)

“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” (Psalm 25:8-9, ESV, emphasis added)

Y – Yield to God’s glory.

Nothing showcases humility like yielding everything to God and making sure He receives the glory—He’s always in the spotlight.

“Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4, NIV)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” (Psalm 104:1, NASB)


Thank you, Karen. You have given all of us some new ways to pursue humility. I pray that we will take this to heart today. You will find more of Karen’s wisdom on her blog, Karen “Girl” Friday.

Want to Pursue Humility Further?

If you would like to study more on the topics of Pride and Humility, may I suggest a new book out by Linda Wentworth Barnes, (my college roommate, and also a pastor’s wife.) Look for my review on the Amazon listing of this book.



It’s Your Turn

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What Is Spiritual Formation and How Do I Practice It?

My desire from the beginning of the year has been to explore the disciplines. I introduced the plan of a series with a post on the What and Why of Spiritual Disciplines. Then my sister, Kandy Chimento followed up with a post on the ‘How’ using the Bonsia tree as an illustration.

About that time, my family received a surprise announcement that we had two months to move out of our home. And the disciplines were set on the back burner. I continued reading, all the while these things have been simmering in my mind. Now that life returns to “normal”, I am ready to jump into writing.

I shared my plans with Patty Scott and she offered to write an introductory post to get us going again. So here we go…

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 Spiritual Formation

by Patty H Scott 

spiritual formations
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I came back to my walk with Jesus in my early 20s after having wandered away during some very painful and trying experiences in adolescence. I hadn’t planned to return to Christianity, but Jesus, relentless in His love for me, made an unexpected way. Then I found myself in a small group with a bunch of relative strangers after a friend had invited me to her church. The leader of this small group was immersed in Spiritual Formation as he attended Talbot School of Theology. He invited me to attend lectures at Biola (the University that houses Talbot). And that is where my foundation in Spiritual Formation began. 

At that time, I had some distorted ideas about God. My faith had started in childhood. And had been strengthened through the influence of some families around me in my elementary and high school years. I had voluntarily read through the Bible five times. So I was well aware of the stories and many of the principles of our faith. While I had some meaningful personal experiences with God, much of my approach to my relationship with Him felt distant. I viewed God as being a lot like other authority figures in my life who were perfectionistic, demanding, and critical. Even though my head knew God was loving, I held doubts and hidden beliefs about His love and true forgiveness of me.  

though my head knew God was loving, I held doubts… #spiritualformation #thedisciplines Click To Tweet

Finding a Mentor

It was at this time in my walk with Jesus that I met Dallas Willard. Much like another famous Christian philosopher, C. S. Lewis, Dallas had a way of bringing Jesus into every situation. And reflecting the depth of his own walk with such thoughtfulness and intelligence. He was the man who introduced me to the Spiritual Disciplines. He also introduced me to my mentor who became like a mother in the faith to me.  

Dallas taught that Spiritual Formation is the process of being formed in our spirit. This is the purpose of God. He made each of us unique. And He never intends to delete or override the special qualities He so carefully wove into each one of our personalities. He does, however, want to form us to be increasingly like Christ.

Just as a concrete worker sets out a mold before he pours the liquid into it, God has a mold for us to be conformed into – and that mold is Christlikeness. While we will maintain our own individuality, we also will become more and more like Jesus. As we practice the disciplines, we deepen our trust-follow relationship with God.  

What are Spiritual Disciplines?

The Spiritual Disciplines are instrumental in this process. We often think of a few basic and common practices as we go about practicing our faith. It is usual to talk about quiet time, reading the Word, prayer, and fellowship. Those are all wonderful things we can do to deepen our faith and help us grow. What I want us to really look at here is how we sometimes misuse those practices. Then I want us to see how we can best apply Spiritual Disciplines to help achieve God’s aims…

  • to make us more like Jesus,
  • and to draw us into greater intimacy with the Triune God.  

Being a “Good Christian”

As I said, my view of God when I returned to the faith was tainted with my misperceptions of His character. When I sat in quiet time, for example, I felt this pressing need to 

being a good christan; spiritual formation
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  • use the “best” books,
  • do the most I could,
  • and show up daily for a specific period of time.

The time I set apart to be with God looked more like someone doing homework for a course than someone spending quality time with a good friend. I checked off the boxes, made sure I did things “right,”. And yet, I missed some of the benefits of sitting with God in His Word and prayer. I was doing it all to earn something from Him. I figured I was not worthy of His love. Therefore, I was going to work and work (serving in church, doing all the requirements of the faith) and show Him He hadn’t made a mistake in offering me His love.  

What the Disciplines Do For Us Spiritually

Dallas said something that turned my life around.

“Faith isn’t opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” #spiritualdisciplines #spiritualformation Click To Tweet

Here I was trying to build my spiritual resume when God already accepted and loved me fully. I knew that in my head. It took a while for it to settle in the places that really mattered.

Over time my practice of the disciplines took a different approach. One teacher at Biola said,

“It’s not so much the form that matters as the function.”

He went on to say that some of us aren’t morning people. If we are forcing ourselves to have quiet time in the morning because we believe that is what “good Christians” do, but we are half awake and unable to focus, we have put the form (making sure quiet time is in the morning), ahead of the function (the purpose of quiet time is to draw us near to God and let Him reach into our lives and hearts to help us grow).  

There are Varied Spiritual Disciplines

Over the years I have learned how many varied Spiritual Disciplines exist. For example, when I have been on Facebook and Instagram too much and those social media sites are starting to have a pull on me, I can fast from them for a while and my self-control is restored, as well as my sense of what matters most. Fasting is a great discipline to teach us how to be sweet when we aren’t getting our way. It also teaches us to say no to our urges and wait patiently.  

Dallas often “prescribed” various disciplines as each one might suit a specific area of growth for an individual in a given season. If you are feeling prideful and constantly having to make your point, you can practice the discipline of NOT having the last word. While you may not find that particular practice in the Bible, it is a helpful thing to undertake with the Holy Spirit.

As we seek Him to show us areas where He wants us to grow, He will provide the means towards that growth. In any Spiritual Discipline, we do the thing we can do (abstaining from Facebook, for example) so that God can do in us what we couldn’t do before (cultivate self-control).  

AS we seek Him, He provides the means toward that growth. #spiritualformation #spiritualdisciplines Click To Tweet

Is Your Heart in the Right Place?

The most important aspect of Spiritual Formation through the use of the Disciplines is that our heart is in the right place. As we look at the Pharisees, we see that Jesus acknowledged…

  • their prayer life,
  • their careful tithing, 
  • and their adherence to all sorts of religious practices.

Yet, their hearts were far from God.

We need to approach all Spiritual Formation knowing that we are already fully loved as is, wanted by God, and included in His eternal life. There is nothing to be earned. We are invited into eternal abundance and internal growth as we engage in practices such as…

  • scripture memory,
  • solitude,
  • silence,
  • prayer,
  • meditation upon God’s Word and character,
  • worship with music,
  • or any other number of exercises.

I hope you can pick one or two practices and enter them with the sole purpose of drawing near to the God who formed you, loves you, and longs to help you grow to be more and more like Jesus.  

Patty H Scott

It’s Your Turn…

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holy attitudes

Holy Attitudes for Living the Blessed Christian Life

BLESSED

Matthew 5:3-12


When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, he launched into the longest sermon ever recorded. At the beginning of that sermon are what we know as The Beatitudes. My husband recently preached a sermon from Matthew 5:3-12, and he stated,

The Beatitudes are “holy attitudes for living the Christian life.” 

Rev. Skip Atchison
The Beatitudes are "holy attitudes for living the Christian life."  #thebeatitudes #attitudes #holiness Click To Tweet


v. 3:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poor in spirit: humble. A servant knows that they are reliant on God. The desire to serve God by serving others comes from the love that God pours into our hearts. The more we allow, the more he bestows!

v. 4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

We tend to link this verse with earthly sorrow and mourning for a loved one who has died. But consider the sorrow that comes because of separation from God because of our sin? Sorrow for our sin brings us into the comforting arms of Jesus.

v.5: Blessed are the meed, for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus was meek, but not weak. Meekness is not spinelessness. It’s humility. Meekness is knowing that you need God.

v. 6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

How intense is our hunger and thirst for God? How much do we desire to be more like Jesus, to have more and more of His love filling us? Until we know that what we are seeking is God himself, we will not be satisfied.

v. 7: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.   

 Where would we be without God’s love, mercy and grace? Where would we be? When Jesus taught what we know as “The Golden Rule, (love your neighbor as yourself), He was teaching simple mercy. 

v. 8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.     

A pure heart is an unselfish heart, a heart with pure motives, a heart like Christ. The more we can truly be like Christ, the more likely we are to bring others to Him.

v. 9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.   

The only way to truly have peace is through Christ. Even when we get that peace, Satan will try to steal it or disturb it. We should seek peace in Jesus, and we should let Him be our peace.

v. 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

v. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.     

We read, hear and see stories of Christians persecuted for their faith. These persecutions range from “no public prayer” to execution for your faith (depending on where you are in the world.) We must stay strong in our faith. Jesus told His disciples that this would happen, and sure enough, it does!

But Jesus also said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) 

v. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.     

Being persecuted for our faith is nothing new. It has happened since the old testament prophets were proclaiming their faith in God. 


Finally, Our hope is in Christ.

My point in all of this is a simple one:


BLESSED.

If we live according to God’s Holy Word,

… follow the teachings of Christ,

… accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior,

then WE ARE BLESSED.

 No matter what each day of life brings,

  • joy or sorrow,
  • good or bad,
  • in abundance or in want,

we are so blessed because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Count your blessings, and have a great day!

Glenae Atchison

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Experience a #deeperfaithwalk

How Experience Creates a Deeper Faith Walk & LinkUp

Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life.

from The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware

The Way of Life: a Path Which we Journey

This quote in itself is the experience that I desire to find this year. I want to follow the old paths as Jeremiah instructed us. (Jeremiah 6:16) And here it was in the first chapter of Bob Bennett’s Disciplines for the Inner Life. You see, Christianity is more than just a prayer and hallelujah. It’s a personal relationship we experience every day, deeper and greater.

Christianity is more than just a prayer and a hallelujah. #ancientpaths #experiencegod Click To Tweet
Deeper Faith Walk
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Yes, We are saved by faith through grace and that is all it takes to be saved. But I submit to you that there can be a much deeper faith walk than just believing that Jesus saves. We can experience this faith and salvation in such a deeper and more real way if we follow His paths and draw near to Him. We can truly experience God when we follow His paths.

Created for Relationship

God created us for relationship: not just to be someone He could lord over and tell us what to do. He desires to be our Father and our Friend: to “walk with us and talk with us and tell us we are His own“. But He also wants it to be a two-way street. That is why He has given us free will – an opportunity to chose this life. He wants us to desire to be with Him just as much as He wants to be with us.

How to Experience Relationship w/God

great faith walk #spiritualdisciplines #faithwalk

Just as with any relationship, talking and spending time with that person is the very best way to get to know them. When my husband and I were dating, we lived four hours apart. But we spent every evening talking on the phone. Many would say that a long-distance relationship is difficult, but we spent all that time talking where few talk this much when on an actual date. By the time our wedding rolled around, we knew each other well.

Throughout Biblical history, men and women talked with God; they questioned Him. They came to know Him through experience.

Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden every evening. (Genesis 3)

Jacob wrestled with God and begged Him for His blessing. HE said I won’t let you go until you bless me. (Genesis 32:22-31)

Job sat with God and questioned Him about His ways. He learned much and His thoughts about God became more clear. (Job 42:1-6)

The Samaritan Woman talked with Jesus and questioned Him until she understood about the Messiah. She hung on every word He spoke. Then she ran to tell others what she had learned. (John 4:1-26)

What’s the Difference?

Jeremiah described compared those who followed after God and those who did not. Those who follow after the ways of man find themselves weak and parched while those who follow after God become strong like a tree planted by the waters.

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 NLT

Desire to Experience the Power of God

The Apostle Paul desired to know God more than anything. He considered anything in this life not worthy of holding on to. It was like garbage to him. He wanted to experience the Power of Christ that only comes from surrendering everything to Him.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Philippians 3:7-11

In Conclusion

Let’s finish up with the next few thoughts from Kallistos Ware…

There is only one means of discovering the true nature of Christianity. We must step out upon this path, commit ourselves to this way of life, and then we shall begin to see for ourselves.

So long as we remain outside, we cannot properly understand. Certainly we need to be given directions before we start; we need to be told what signposts to look out for, and we need to have companions. Indeed, without guidance from others it is scarcely possible to begin the journey.

But directions given by others can never convey to us what the way is actually like; they cannot be a substitute for direct, personal experience. Each is called to verify for himself what he has been taught, each is required to re-live the Tradition he has received.

The Creed,” said Metropoliton Philaret of Moscow, “does not belong to you unless you have lived it.” No one can be an armchair traveller on this all-important journey. No one can be a Christian at second hand. God has children, but he has no grandchildren.”

From The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware
The Creed does not belong to you unless you have lived it. Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow #experiencegod #ancientpaths Click To Tweet

Are You Ready to Experience Christ?

How do you see the things of this life?

Do you desire the things of earth or the things of Heaven?

Seek Him, know Him, and obey Him then you will experience Him fully and completely. Follow my posts this year as I seek to go deeper with Christ. I want to know Christ and experience the power of His resurrection.

I would love for you to partner with me.

In Christ,

Mandy Farmer

It’s Your Turn

How do you leave a legacy with your deeper faith in Christ? What disciplines are important to you?

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How to Train Yourself to be Godly

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

I Timothy 4:7-8

Train – (verb) to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying

Training is a word that gets tossed around a lot, especially this time of year when people are making new resolutions. People, anxious for a change in their lifestyle, know that something needs to happen differently. That given no direction, things will continue to go “off-track” (did you catch the “train” (noun) reference?)

Training a Bonsai Plant

bonsai training

One of Webster’s definitions of “train” is to “direct the growth (of a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying”. In order to train a plant, especially to achieve a look or purpose that is different than its nature, specific steps must be taken. Creating bonsai plants involves several types of cutting and shaping. Contrary to popular belief, bonsai trees are not miniature plants, but in reality, are regular plants which have been shaped/created to have a particular look or effect. Wires are used to bend and reposition branches, and later the wires are removed. Leaves are removed and deadwood created to bring about other effects.

Bonsai tree training
Arnold, MD.–8/28/16– A wire is used to shape a tree for its training as a bonsai. “The Baltimore Bonsai Club; founded in 1972; is an active and growing group of bonsai enthusiasts in Central Maryland. Club activities include exhibitions, workshops, collection trips and visiting artists,” according to its website. Baltimore Sun: Kenneth K. Lam KKL_0830 md-darkroom-bonsai lam

Training yourself to be godly, as directed in First Timothy, is similar. Our natural bend or form is sinful. We need to make changes in order to achieve our purpose.

What are some spiritual pruning methods available?

1) Reading the instructions. The Bible gives us direction on how to become more godly. The New Testament is chock-full of directives for us. Love one another, turn the other cheek, don’t show partiality, forgive each other, take care of widows and orphans, etc. And James tells us, if you lack wisdom, just ask God!

2) Do it! Do what, you say? See #1. Do what it says. Be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. Faith without works is dead. You won’t get your body in shape by reading a book about good exercise. You have to actually “do” the exercise. Funny how that works.

3) Continue doing it. In my recent health journey, I learned this – As I have continued my lifestyle of eating habits, I will continue on my healthy path. But if after I have reached my “goal” I go back to my former habits, guess what? I will find myself back at the place where I started! The changes must be ongoing.

Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.

John 8:31

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.

2 Timothy 3:14

Continue steadfastly in prayer.

Colossians 4:2

Let brotherly love continue.

Hebrews 13:11

Is it hard sometimes?

Do we fall short at times? Sure! Do you think Olympic athletes have never fallen? Do they quit if something is hard? No! When we start an exercise program, we don’t start with 100 pushups! We start with one. Then two. Then three.

Start today.

Start doing one more thing today that will train yourself to be more godly. Then do another tomorrow. And guess what? In a year, a month, or even a week, that one thing will get easier and easier. And then you will do it without thinking because it will have become a habit, a lifestyle.

And just like the bonsai tree, the wire that is used to bend and reposition the branches will become unnecessary. The habit is made and the training is easier. And then we get to move on to more training in godliness. And godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Happy training in 2020!!

Kandy Chimento

Read Kandy’s Transformation Story here: Gettin’ Back to My Roots

Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. #ancientpaths #spiritualdisciplines Click To Tweet

It’s Your Turn

What’s your transformation story? Linkup with us today and share.

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Write about your Favorite Spiritual Discipline

We are accepting guest writers for the once a month Legacy Link-up. Read our guidelines here and contact Mandy if interested. Thanks

What are Spiritual Disciplines and Why do I need them?

Image credit Free Photos at Pixabay

Here we stand at the beginning of a new year. Many of us are examining our lives to see where we need improvement. I felt God calling me this year to find the old paths and draw up closer to Him. The next thing He said was, “Go back to the spiritual disciplines and see where you have fallen back.

Spiritual Disciplines, ick!

Years ago, I read on a book required in my college philosophy class, Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. In my shallow Christianity, I thought the guy was off of his rocker. I didn’t see the need for the things written in this book.

Today, looking back, I wish I had taken it more seriously. Maybe I would have put my feet on solid ground much earlier in my life. About ten years ago, I decided to present the disciplines to my women’s group at church. This time I used Barbara Hughes’ Disciplines of a Godly Woman because I had a true desire to be known as a godly woman. Whether or not the women grasped the importance of the disciplines, I’m not certain; but it was certainly a big growth year for myself.

Spiritual Disciplines, Yes!

Would you come along with me on this journey? I plan revisiting both of the books mentioned above and another devotional type book, Disciplines of the Inner Life by Bob Benson. I’ll write at the first of each month and have guest writers share their thoughts as well. Sign up for the newsletter to receive the monthly calendar with a verse for each day that I will share about on Instagram.

What are Spiritual Disciplines?

Richard Foster says, “The Spiritual Disciplines are God’s means of grace by which we are enabled to bring our little, individualized power pack we call a human body and place it before God as a “living sacrifice”, as the wise apostle Paul put it. (Romans 12:1)

Celebration of Discipline, special anniversary Edition

It’s about a relationship with God. Because He loves us, we desire to draw close to Him and live according to His plan. The disciplines are the tools we use to draw near to Him. The lack of spiritual disciplines leaves us weak and with very little growth to our souls. As parents, wouldn’t we be sad if our child never learned to walk or speak in complete sentences? Yes, we would. And God wants us to have spiritual growth just the same.

We cannot be truly transformed into His image without the spiritual disciplines. Timothy 4:7-8 tells us to “train ourselves to be godly”. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run the race to win by removing the things that hinder us. These things take discipline.

We cannot be truly transformed into His image without the Spiritual Disciplines. #ancientpath #spiritualdisciplines Click To Tweet

Let’s start exercising those muscles!

I know I could use a little exercise in the disciplines. It’s always easier to do this with a friend. So join me as we look at the spiritual disciplines and find out where we need improvement.

Closing Prayer from John Wesley

O God, fill my soul with so entire a love of Thee that I may love nothing but for Thy sake and in subordination to Thy love. Give me grace to study Thy knowledge daily that the more I know Thee, the more I more love Thee. Create in me a zealous obedience to all Thy commands, a cheerful patience under all the chastisements, and a thankful resignation to all Thy disposals. Let it be the one business of my life to glorify Thee by every word of my tongue, by every work of my hand, by professing Thy truth, and by engaging all men, so far as in me lies, to glorify and love Thee.

John Wesley, Garden of Prayer

Mandy Farmer





old paths

Choose Old Paths at New Crossroads

Which Path Leads to Success in 2020?

This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16, NLT
Ask for the old, godly way and walk in it. #ancientpaths Click To Tweet

One Word or One Verse?

Old Paths New Crossroads
image created for free on canva.com

For years now, I have followed the popular idea of choosing one word for the year. It has done me well, amazingly, for many years. But I have noticed a shift in my search for that one word. That is, to select a verse that will lead me through my year.

Last year, I chose to take small steps. I selected a verse from Zechariah 4:10 that reminded me that small steps are not to be despised. It made it easier for me to breathe in and out. I was able to slow down and remove the pressure of life.

At the Crossroads to a New Decade

So now we stand at the crossroads of a new year, a new decade. What does God have for us? I have a strong sense that this year could lead to something big. (that’s relative, of course, due to my health. But who knows?)

In all truthfulness, I have a great desire to draw closer to God; to refresh the commitments I have already made and strengthen them. I have decided to dig out my old studies on the spiritual disciplines and see where I might have veered away from the old paths.

He knows the path; Elisabeth Elliott
God sees the ONE needful thing and He alone knows the path that will take me there – Elisabeth Elliot #disciplines #ancientpaths Click To Tweet

Areas in which to Consider Old Paths

As I mentioned, I’ll be studying and writing on the spiritual disciplines this year but also want to carry this forward into other areas of my life. A few things, I have been considering to make as goals.

  • Bible Reading Plan – Chronological reading of the Old Testament Possibly returning to the New King James Version. (Aat times I miss this because I was raised on it and most of my memory work has been done in KJV.
  • Devotional Reading – Disciplines of The Inner Life by Bob Benson will take me all year. I acquired it years ago when it went out of print, but I noticed it’s back!
  • Reading – Read biographies, classic works, or books already on my shelves. Starting with Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline 30th Anniversary and Barbara Hughes Disciplines of a Godly Woman. What They Meant for Evil by Rebecca Deng is a biography I am reviewing that will become available later this year. I also just acquired the audiobook for The Pilgrim’s Progress. These will keep me busy for a while.
  • Movies – Watch some movies based on real-life that I haven’t seen
  • Travel – I plan to visit my parents in Texas this year which I haven’t been able to do for several years. We seldom leave our own town, but if and when we travel, maybe I can get my hubby to get off the beaten path and take some of the old roads. It would be a way to slow life down.

My Old Paths Make the Difference

These are the thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind. I pray that through these things I can become closer to the God I Love. I truly desire to, as Robert Frost said, take the road less traveled.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost #ancientpaths #oneword365 Click To Tweet

You will find be writing several places this year beyond this blog. Maybe you will search me out.

  1. My Own Instagram [@Mandy_holds_u_up]. I’ll be providing Scriptures of the day each month for all subscribers. In January the theme is #ancientpaths How about joining me and writing a mini gram of your own? Subscribe below for your January Calendar.
  2. Gracefully Truthful is a place to connect, it’s a place to be real, it’s a place to share fearsask questions, and unashamedly seek out the Father who crafted our hearts to love boldly and bravely as we discover together what it means to truly walk in the fullness of grace and truth. My first submission will appear this month in the Theme Treasure. Come study along with us.
  3. Nazarene Connections [Women’s Ministries] I have written here before but they have recently released this new app for your phone. I’ve written a 7-devo series called God’s Preposterous Promise – God With Us. I’m not certain when these will release, but I will certainly let you know.
Mandy Farmer

Keeping the Old Paths

Oh, yes, by the way, you will still get some Spice of Life and recipes from Michele. And, of course, we will both add other Bits of Fun along the way as well.

We have enjoyed reading your additions to our new Legacy Link-ups. This will continue to open ever 2nd & 4th Tuesday featuring guest writers. If you want to be featured this year, click here.

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter on the blue stripe at the bottom of your screen to receive your free scripture of the day calendar.

Elisabeth Elliot

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

Welcome to the first of four LEgacy Link-ups for the summer of 2019! We are so excited! With Mother’s Day coming up, We would like this link-up to be All About Women who have or are Leaving a Legacy for us to follow. I started us out writing about Susie Spurgeon and Susanna Wesley. Now read what guest writer, Michele Morin from Living Our Days wants to share with us. Then write and share your own legacy story at the bottom.

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Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming; however . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the will to do it was lacking.

“Maybe I’ll call a friend,” I mused. “Or this would be a great day to wash windows!”

An Example to Live by

When I’m pondering the possibility of veering off course in some small way, I remember the faithful example of Elisabeth Elliot, who readily admitted that she was also subject to all the usual distractions and reluctance when it was time to sit down and write. She spoke of “taking herself by the scruff of the neck” and sitting herself down before the task at hand.

SHaping of a Christian Family
TSOACH, Updated in 2005

Raised by attentive parents who set high standards for her behavior, Elisabeth inherited a “habit of order” (TSOACH, 73) and a love for uncluttered efficiency that I have had to live my way into as an adult. Then, in the Ecuadorian jungles, Elisabeth witnessed the patient diligence of tribal people whose very lives depended upon their hard work through mud, thorns, snakes, steep climbing, and deep forests. Measuring her own small inconveniences against the lot of women who regularly carried hundred-pound packs on their backs, she was startled into an awareness of her tendency to complain about small inconveniences.

A Cracked Pot

Elisabeth had no illusions about her own status as a sinner, “a cracked pot” whose supreme privilege it was to reveal in her own life “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) By grace, however, she was able to speak truth with grit, even on topics that are usually off limits. For example, with wry humor, she noted that no one is actually qualified to address self-discipline around eating habits because if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!

"..if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!" #Elisabeth Elliot #LegacyLinkUp Click To Tweet

Naturally slender, Elisabeth found to her surprise that as she aged, she could pick up a few extra pounds when she traveled. To avoid gaining weight unawares, she weighed herself daily, reasoning that (1) it’s better to keep weight off than to shed pounds once they have been gained; (2) it’s easier to lose five pounds immediately than fifteen pounds later.

Who Left a Legacy for Elisabeth?

A Lamp For My Feet

Mentored by the writing of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth endeavored to apply the counsel that shaped Amy’s perspective in doing things that were not to her liking:  “See in it a chance to die.” (ALFMF, 30) The small offerings, tiny deaths to self that we make every day are a way of cooperating with God, and this is a theme that ran through Elisabeth’s writing and speaking ministries—because it also runs through Scripture. She described it as the “interworking of the will of God and the will of man.” (ALFMF, 21) Responding in self-discipline is an opportunity to participate in God’s work here on earth as surely as those who filled the water pots in Cana or distributed the loaves and fish on a grassy Galilean hillside.

So, I’ll do the next thing today, trusting God to put words on the page and grateful for the example of a mentor from afar. Elisabeth Elliot blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins.

-Michele Morin

Works Cited

{affiliate links}

A Lamp for My Feet, 1985 (ALFMF)

The Shaping of a Christian Home, 1992 (TSOACH)
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It’s Legacy Link Up Time!

summer of legacy

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Join us at Mandy and Michele's Legacy Link-up Party all about Legacy! #MMLL #legacylinkup Click To Tweet
SUsanna Wesley motherhood

Legacy of Motherhood: The Life of Susanna Wesley

My Mother and the first three kids.
Mom with my brother, sister, and me

For as long as I can remember, my greatest desire was to be a mother. And why not? God blessed me with the greatest examples of motherhood that a girl could have. My own mother was a portrait of motherhood. She had 6 children and countless foster kids. And she loved them all well. She told us often how wonderful it was to have children. Unlike many women today, she dreaded the end of summer and sending her children off to school. She wanted them around her feet, pulling on her skirt tails. There was never any doubt that she was proud to be a momma.

Godly Grandmothers

And then there were my godly grandmothers. Oh my goodness, if I could live up to their lives I would be so proud, but that would just pull me down from the heights of glory because they were all of the humble kind.

One thing my Grandma Dawson was proud of was that I was her namesake. And once I learned what that meant, I was proud of it too.
If you look at my father, uncles, and aunt you know that she was a great example of motherhood. She was a servant of God and man. At her funeral, my Uncle said, “You could always find her on her knees, either in prayer or serving others.

"You could always find her on her knees, either in prayer or service to others." #motherhood #grandmother #legacy Click To Tweet

Grandma Dawson (Amanda Leona) was also named for her Grandmother Amanda Hukill. Though I never knew her, she left a legacy of perseverance and faith enough for all of us. I can look to her whenever I think I have had my share of trials because she dealt with more than I ever have.

I look to her whenever I think I have had more than my fair share of trials. #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

So Many More Legacy Builders

So you can see that it was easy for me to want to be a momma myself. It seemed the greatest accomplishment to me, it still does. Early on, I began reading about others that have set an example that has passed the test of time. Jackie Green’s book Only One Life speaks of many women who have left a legacy for us. There are two Susanna’s that have stood out for me as perfect examples of motherhood (physically and spiritually), Susie Spurgeon, whom I have already written about and Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley.

#Motherhood The greatest accomplishment. #lleavingalegacy Click To Tweet
Susanna motherhood

Susanna Wesley, Wife of a Minister

Susanna, wife of Rev. Samuel Wesley, Sr. and educated herself stayed right up with her husband (and later, her sons) in theological studies, reading anything and everything in her husband’s library. Her husband traveled often to schools and preaching, leaving her to hold down everything at home. They report that while he was away if the substitute priest was not “up to par”, she would have Bible lessons that evening in her home. This grew quickly from just her small brood to include many of the church members.

Mother of Nineteen

Susanna Wesley had nineteen children but only 10 of them reached adulthood (two of which were John and Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism). It was important to her that her children, girls included, would be given an education and she did it. All of them began their formal education at home and the girls completed their education under her teaching. She determined to have a dedicated period of study time set aside for each child, individually, each week. (When I think about this now, and factor in that she was likely pregnant or nursing the entire time, I am amazed. Yikes!)

Susanna's unwavering discipline
photo credit: Holinesstoday.org

Legacy of Discipline & Resilience

Susanna managed the gardening, cooking, and housekeeping along with the children’s studies. She kept a regular time set apart for meditation and self-examination before God, keeping of a spiritual journal and strict adherence to the Sabbath. Susanna, known as a great prayer warrior, with a houseful of activity, would pull her apron up over her head to pray; the signal for no interruptions. She expected the same devotion by her children.. to spend an allocated amount of time in Bible study and prayer. She wrote in a letter for her son Samuel:

I will tell you what rule I observed when I was young, and too much addicted to childish diversions, was this — never spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spent in private religious devotions.

Eliza Clarke, Susanna Wesley (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1886), 68

I have often read the writings of young people from earlier centuries and marveled at the depth of thought in young minds. Susanna’s practices, which came from the Puritan heritage, are how such depth of thought can be found. We all might take heed and learn from them.

SUsannah's Devotion to God
www.holinesstoday.org

“Mother of Methodism”

Susanna Wesley, mother of Methodism. Not only because she was the Mother of the founding men, John & Charles, but because she kept up with her husband and sons in their studies. She remained deeply involved with them in establishing the Methodist Church. As I type this, I am realizing that her disciplines stated above were carried into the new Methodist movement. The worship style of Methodism is just that. Methodical and with reason. I also wonder if it wasn’t her Sunday afternoon lessons, that sparked the idea of Sunday School classes for better learning and further teaching. can teach

Susanna Wesley a Legacy of Discipline, Faith & Prayer #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

Large Shoes to Fill

The Life and Legacy of Susanna Wesley leave much for us to learn and follow. I encourage you to do some research on your own and perhaps take one area to use as an example to follow. There are many sources available for purchase; however, most of what I write today comes from the magazine Holiness Today, September/October 2018 issue which can be read online.

www.holinesstoday.org

What an excellent legacy to follow.

I pray that I do.

Mandy Farmer
summer of legacy

See you next week!