The True Meaning Behind ‘Spring Forward’ (Part 1)

After last week’s intro on ‘springing forward’, I want to drill down and discuss how this looks when we love with a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5).

But before we dig in, let’s refresh ourselves on where we’re going. As previously defined, to ‘spring forward’ is to allow God’s wellsprings of life to spring up within; however, how this happens, as we’ll unpack in this series, depends on our surrender, or as Romans 1:17 puts it, “springing from faith in a way that awakens more faith“.

Granted, the subject lends to an array of starting points; thus, to simplify, let’s begin with the two greatest commandments as expressed through 1 Timothy 1.

First The Message (v. 5-7)

 “The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.

Now The Amplified

But the goal of our instruction is love [which springs] from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some individuals have wandered away from these things into empty arguments and useless discussions, wanting to be teachers of the Law [of Moses], even though they do not understand the terms they use or the subjects about which they make [such] confident declarations.

Note Paul’s emphasis on love as life source reminiscent to 1 Corinthians 13:1:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” 

Essentially, Paul is reminding us how the evidence of our faith must be rooted in selfless love and a life ready to receive it.

For if what we model springs only from good intention, then we risk insulating the sincerity of our faith and the purity of our heart from its overflow1.

Now consider 1 Timothy 1:13b-16

But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus…[who] came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost…I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

Applying our premise to Paul’s testimony, we find if we want to love with a pure heart, we must surrender² with the intent to receive mercy and faith through grace. In this way, we posture ourselves not only to abide in humility, but also to embrace God’s joy as strength while persevering in unceasing prayer³ (see James 1:12).

From there, once repentance4 becomes rhythm, we can better live Romans 12:2 and Philippians 4:8-9 in the sense we’re…

  • Transformed by the renewing of our minds to better discern God’s will…
  • Equipped to know whatever is honorable, true, admirable…and yes, you guessed it…pure
  • Empowered to love and pray for/speak life to challenging, unreciprocating personalities.

Remember the ultimate goal is to allow God’s life to spring up within our wellsprings. Therefore, to purify our flow, we must purge the contaminants of insecurity, offense, fear, anxiety, and self-reliance while filtering in Psalm 51:10/Matthew 5:8 through the heart-cry of…

“Lord, create in me what will allow me to see AND reflect you!”

…a pure heart surrounded in steadfast spirit.

In closing, I encourage you…

  • Draw near to God with a true heart (Hebrews 10:22) in full assurance of faith…
  • Cleanse yourself from what is dishonorable…fleeing youthful passions (2 Timothy 2:21)…
  • Purify your wells by substituting any form of worldly reliance (performance, excellence, likability, even perceived integrity) for a Holy Spirit reliance through which you can discover what you were made to long for: love from a pure heart
  • Continue pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace…along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

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Stay tuned next time when we’ll tackle part 2 in our ‘spring forward’ series: maturing faith from holy confidence. In the meantime, if you have any questions and/or need prayer concerning this issue, feel free to contact me or Lys at your convenience and we’d be delighted to offer our support.

Here’s to the journey…

~ Cameron

Footnotes

  1. For which it was designed
  2. As “a life open to God”
  3. As a blessed (happy, spiritually prosperous, favored) man/woman of God
  4. Repentance = not only confessing our sin, but repenting and renouncing it

Cover photo creds: Yelp

The True Meaning Behind ‘Spring Forward’ (Intro)

It’s a snowy night as I drive in a galaxy far, far away…

…a dusky night lit with flakes blasting the beams of my Millennial Falcon.

Low on tread, but high in spirit, my mind goes warp speed as I reset the clock.

Why do we spring forward on a Sunday morning, anyway? 

The seconds tick to the beat of the ‘shield.

And then it hits me…

…how we spring forward¹ on the day of rest…

…set apart so we can drink from whom springs up living waters within us (John 4:14).

Constantly flowing, always satisfying…even in the grayest doldrums.

For many of us, springing forward in spiritual terms is easier said than done. We crave the refreshment of God’s living water yet to a lesser extent what gets us there.

For instance, we may be thirsty for God’s grace, but not so much letting love spring from a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5), faith from holy confidence (Romans 15:13, Hebrews 10:19) or cutting off springs of resentment (Hebrews 12:15).

However, when we consider God’s wells spring life for our wellsprings of life (i.e. heart; Proverbs 4:23), we ultimately find all his springs are in us (Psalm 87:7)². As a result, we can spring forward when we allow God to spring up.

Granted, this leveling up process takes time, discipline, and koinonia. Yet, even if you think you lack one of these elements or don’t have what it takes to ‘cross the river’, remember it’s not what you have, it’s what already dwelling inside you…

…the very reason Israel sang, “Spring up, O well” (Numbers 21:17).

Looking ahead, I want to unpack how we can better abide in these springs of life³ so we can spring from faith and lead in faith in a way that awakens more faith.” (Romans 1:17)

In the meantime, as we near Easter in this season of lent, let’s position ourselves for God to spring up new life so we can spring forward.

Selah.

Footnotes

  1. And fall back
  2. Whether in mountain or valley (Psalm 104:10).
  3. God’s righteousness reveals

Photo cover creds: 4K Spring Field Flowers Image

Halftime: 3 Life Lessons From 2017 So Far

As we approach that magical time when people finally stop shooting fireworks, it’s crazy to think we’re only days past the year’s mid-point. Seriously, does anyone else think the first six months of 2017 had twelve embedded in them?

Either way, if you’re like me, then chances are you’ve experienced quite a lot since the time all acquaintances were last forgot.  And while a single blog wouldn’t do justice in capturing the year’s magnitude, it does allow me to reflect on three life lessons learned and re-learned…

  1. More social, less social media

I admit: In my 20’s…I was on social media a little way too much. In fact, it got so bad, I remember arguing with my wife early in our marriage about my perceived unlikability citing red notification bubbles as evidence. Shallow, I know; however, in hindsight, that was a bane I bore…hiding behind the need to ‘turn off’ and catch up on ‘news’, exchanging security for smoke and mirrors as mind went one way and thumbs went another.

But these days the tables have turned. The foremost reason being: I’ve allowed God’s perspective to outweigh all others. Granted, I had to get to that point (which I’ll get to in a second). Still, for the journey to even start, I had to…

a) …die to God’s truth needing validation…

b) …stop using social media as a ‘magic mirror on the wall’ and…

c) …engage my fear of God into the places of rest I was shielding it from.

To do this…I revamped my socio-spiritual diet. I got more intentional having God time before networking time, took ‘leisure’ out of my social media vocabulary, made more concerted efforts to connect in person, and yes, even started removing social media apps after posting. The goal? To dive out of the worlds I wish I could be a part of and re-stake my focus into the one I was in.

Flash-forward to today and I’m still on the recovery road; however, I’m proud to say the distance between ‘social’ and ‘media’ has never been further. Thanks to this first lesson, I’m well on my way moving forward.

  1. To get free, sometimes you gotta get help 

When this year started, I was in a depressive rut. I had just come off the worst December of my life after a solid summer/fall stretch. It literally got to the point where I was at my church worshiping with food poisoning thinking I was having a normal Sunday morning experience. Underwater and disoriented, it’s like I didn’t know what was up or down anymore.

Yet, even in my despair, I recall that still, small voice gently whispering, ‘You’re infected. Get help!’ and (*click play*)…

And so the story of 2017 began…not as a climber looking to scale Everest, but an ex-defeated enthusiast eager  to learn what would heal him to make another run…

….which brings me to Restoring the Foundations (i.e. the ‘help’).

Honestly, I haven’t yet found the words to describe the impact of my RTF week. All I can say for now is I’ve never been so happy to love myself again…to know hope in my helplessness and joy in my brokenness. Yeah, I may not be satisfied where I’m at, but I am satisfied knowing I am Cameron. I may not be a lot of things, but who I am is a catalyst, a fighter in Christ who finally doesn’t need to be understood to be content. While it’s too early to write a book on this, I can sure as heck write a future blog’s worth so stay tuned on this point…

3. Seasons change so you will too

As mentioned, 2017 has been a year of big (yet mostly under the radar) change as the transition current has picked up. Yet, while the flavor of life has sweetened in recent months, there have been some bitter moments…the kind you wish could be out of mind, but seem out of control.

That said, I’ve been rediscovering how being overwhelmed can be ideal to the extent we allow God’s goodness to overflow us more intimately and intentionally. For instance, in my case, having more responsibility spread out on my plate lately has allowed me to distribute my emotional investments more evenly among different people and situations. Now personalities and assignments I would have struggled with in prior years are easier to handle having learned to let pressure refresh the way I prioritize and manage my care.

So I guess you could say: while the breakthrough has certainly been nice, it couldn’t have possibly happened without God turning up the heat. Perhaps that’s why they say seasons change so we can too.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Pinterest – Pinimg Originals; video creds: Olan Rogers – “A Cut From the Picture”

Making H1s7tory: 3 Big Life Goals for 2017

This may sound passé, but I don’t get why New Year’s resolutions are as big a deal as they are. Yes, I’m all about life change and terminating undesired behavior; however, when it comes to one’s resolve to #levelup, I guess I’m a tad skeptical. Perhaps it’s the sugarcoated tradition we, as a culture, have placed on taking spiritual inventory or the ghost of New Year’s past reminding me of the times I missed targets once aimed for. Either way, I feel like a fish out of water writing about goals in a time when it’s so cliché.

Still, I can’t deny the wisdom in writing down the vision (Habakkuk 2:2) of Spirit-led aspirations. Thus, without further ado, here are my top three goals for 2017…

  1.  Make like a proton & stay positive.

Ok, so I know this sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating: positivity is a choice and a fruit of the voice. Granted, I’m not saying anything new; however, speaking from conviction, while I don’t struggle with hope, I do struggle in consistently guarding it with joy. As a result, my positivity can find itself restricted to change on the horizon as opposed to living fully in the moment. If you’re like me in the sense your positivity and present aren’t always aligned, I encourage you: consider how you want your life to speak and set your mind for positivity.

‘Cause truth is: you cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. You cannot use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, and your heart for love if you’re not consistently believing the best for you and those around you. Yeah, I know it’s easy to let the downers of life, whether people or circumstances, set the tone. Yet, when I consider how I want to grow in 2017, no question, I want to be more positive; hence, why I’m goin’ to make like a proton and stay positive no matter how ‘neutron’ or ‘electron’ life gets.

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  1. Capitalize on opportunity.

It’s been said nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. In terms of cost, I agree. Certainly there’s a correlation between seizing the day and staying alert…between staying alert and challenging oneself.

The question is: How do we actually stay alert?

For starters, we must stand firm in prayer and faith (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). In my experience, I’ve found it easier to desire a challenge than what sets us up to overcome it. We want the thrill, we want the strength, just not the silence or the persistence. Yet, while wanting to better steward the assignments of God is entirely good, we can only get there if we allow our prayer life to be more purposeful and perpetual. After all, given prayer is a cyclical process, we can’t hear if we don’t listen and we can’t be more sensitive if we’re not intentional.

I believe for many of us, 2017 is going to be a year when our minds are renewed through the refreshing of our listening…a season in which we’ll hear God’s voice more clearly through deliberate prayer and furthermore by the divine appointments he arranges.

My advice: If you’re faithful in the quiet spaces (seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness), God will ensure his confidence and influence through you in the public places…as you serve in love (and all these things will be given to you; (Psalm 118:5; Matthew 6:33).

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  1. Pursue freedom.

Freedom can be a tricky word in our spiritual vocabulary. On one hand, we know it’s for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17); on the other, we might think: “If I’ve been purchased at a price, why do I still feel anything but free?

Honestly, I think part of the reason is our tendency to equate freedom with victory. Yes, Jesus took away our chains at Calvary. Yet, while victory was attained at the cross, we still have the choice (free will) to walk in the freedom that victory produced. So while some may view freedom through a ‘have it or you don’t’ mentality, I contend it’s grace in motion…a pursuable, tangible reality we can know AND walk in.

Interestingly, if we dig a little deeper,  we find freedom, as described by Paul’s  verb selection in his letters, as obtainable in the desert places and fillable in the empty places. Therefore, I submit: if we’re struggling with shame yet are aiming for freedom, we shouldn’t be afraid to lay it all on the altar before God considering a) his compassion…his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and b) his freedom is always on the move.

As Davey Blackburn once stated: “God wants to use [us] in [our] weakness far better than [we] can use [our] talent.” So why not allow the freeing work of God in Christ through his Spirit consume places where sin and its rubble once dwelt as we humbly boast in God’s ability to use our weakness as opposed to exalting it ourselves?

Selah.

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Photo creds: staastao.com

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