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Archive for March, 2013

spirituality

spirituality (Photo credit: Loulair Harton)

There comes a time when we must grow up and leave our childhood skeletons behind. Moving forward requires us to take responsibility for our own thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It necessitates shedding our tendencies to blame others, to whine, to be co-dependent, to make excuses, and to continue in our negative habits.

Growing is a life-long process, but, if it is occurring, there will be evidence of it in our changed behavior. As a mature individual, being child-like can be refreshing; however, being child-ish can be inappropriate.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. (I Corinthians 13:11)

In many respects, we grow spiritually without giving it much thought, like a plant that develops in a healthy environment with enough water, sunlight, and fertilizer. By being in the proper spiritual environment such as hearing and studying God’s Word, Christian fellowship, and prayer, we place ourselves in a healthy position to develop spiritually.

However, as long as we still have breath there will be three forces working against us spiritually – the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world, our culture, and our surroundings woo us away from our moral compass. The flesh (our own human desire) lures us to please only ourselves. And, we have an enemy who is a liar and a relentless bully. He wants to stop us from doing the right thing.

As Christians, we are not left alone and defenseless; we have a God who cares about our growth and development. However, life is a series of decisions that we must make. In both the natural and spiritual realm, we have to make a decision to put on our “big-boy” pants, and move in the opposite direction of those forces that hinder us. That could mean demolishing guilt, shame, pride, un-forgiveness, resentment, grumbling, ungratefulness, and more.

Are you feeling hindered in reaching spiritual maturity. What are you doing about it? It is up to you… If you belong to God, you already have everything you need to become spiritually mature. Examine your heart and demolish those things that thwart you.

If you cannot honestly say you belong to God, would you like to do something about that? For more information, send me your questions/comments at www.dorothyruppert.com/contact-dorothy.

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What happens when we hope for things that do not materialize?

In high school, my best friend often told me that she stopped hoping for anything because she did not want to be disappointed again. Obviously, in the short fifteen years of her life she had already met with so much disillusionment that she felt it necessary to build a wall around her heart to shut out hope.

Much later, I learned she lived in a dysfunctional, alcoholic home. Her hope was in her parents’ changed behavior. She hoped they would stop drinking and perhaps that she might be a part of their recovery. However, when the circumstances did not change, it ended in disillusion, because her hope was misdirected.

I once asked a 97-year-old relative if he thought he would go to heaven. He said, “I hope so.”

At age 97, he was surely close to the end of life, and I deemed it urgent to talk about his eternal destination; so, I asked him on what grounds he had hope of going to heaven.

He replied, “I have been a good man. I have obeyed God’s laws. I was faithful to my wife. All my life, I went to church every Sunday…”

However, I burst his bubble when I asked if he just “hoped” he would go to heaven or if he “knew” for sure he would.

“No one ‘knows’ for sure if they will go to heaven,” he rationalized.

His response made it apparent that he only “hoped” he would go to heaven; he was not sure he would. I then shared with him how he could know for sure. His hope had been in his good deeds, and it was misdirected.

When my daughter became ill, I placed my hope in my ability to find the right doctor, the right counselor, and the right medicine. I was sorely disappointed when nothing worked. My hope was misdirected.

The Bible tells us hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5), and yet, we see that when we place our hope in the wrong places i.e. other people, good deeds, or our own abilities, it ends in disillusionment, doubt, and disappointment. How and where have you directed, or misdirected, your hope?

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;

My hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress,

I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6.

Would you like to learn more about finding hope in difficult situations? Enter your name in a drawing to win a free copy of the book, God Placed Her in My Path – Lessons Learned from the Furnace of Bipolar Disorder, go to www.dorothyruppert.com/contact-dorothy . In the message box type “enter me in the drawing” and provide your mailing address. All entries must be submitted by 12:00 a.m., April 15, 2013. Two winners will receive a free copy.

This book is about evidence of God’s grace and hope as I walked alongside my daughter who experienced bipolar disorder.

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A mom never stops being a mom, no matter how old her children. Nevertheless, I may be one of the oldest moms still raising a child. Our daughter went to live with Jesus four years ago and my husband and I took on responsibilities for rearing her two children. Our grandson is now 20 years old and living on his own. Our granddaughter is 14, a freshman in high school, and is still with us.

I have always been a planner – a goal setter. When I married my husband, I had already planned what my life would look like. Of course, everything was going to be perfect, but God had another idea. Planning and setting goals is wise; however, leaving God out of the equation is a mistake. He knows the future and we do not. I have learned that God’s thoughts are forever higher than mine…

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9.

God blessed our marriage with happiness, a home in the country, and a delightful son. Nevertheless, my first unmet goal occurred when I was unable to have a second child. (My infertility lasted 12 years, when we had another natural-born son.) A womb shut up by God, resulted in the adoption of our beautiful three-week-old baby girl in 1969. We named her Tammy and, for the first two years, our lives were picture perfect.

As our baby girl grew into toddlerhood, I observed that she often displayed an unexplainable moodiness. With each passing day, she became more irritable and our home became chaotic. By the time she entered kindergarten, I had read all the books on child development and child behavior in the local public library and two university libraries. To obtain further advice on what could possibly be wrong, I consulted every professional I could find. There were no answers. I could not fix whatever was happening to my child and, apparently, no one else could either.

One evening, when our daughter was six years old and dreadfully ill, I sat in a pew at my church in utter despair; my spirit was broken, my plans demolished. Nonetheless, God had a better plan – one that I did not fully understand at first! That night I surrendered my life and all my plans and dreams to Him.

My trials did not stop – they intensified, but God was now at the helm of the ship instead of me. It took another eleven years for our daughter to receive the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and the treatment for it. My book, God Placed Her in My Path – Lessons Learned from the Furnace of Bipolar Disorder, is the heart-gripping story of my journey through those troubled years.

Wellie-BookThis book is about God’s marvelous grace, imparted to me, in difficult times. God repeatedly reassured me with this verse…

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. II Corinthians 12:9.

So now, I am a “grandma-mom.” My 14-year-old granddaughter teaches me every day that God’s grace is sufficient. I jokingly tell my friends that I am mothering again because I did not learn all my lessons the first time around. However, I am fully aware that this is one more divine opportunity, one more gift from God to discover His plan for my life.

God has the best plan for you and for me – one we could never envision or accomplish on our own.  

Register to win a free PDF copy of thirty devotionals from the book, God Placed Her in My Path – Lessons Learned from the Furnace of Bipolar Disorder, by going to www.dorothyruppert.com/contact-dorothy Type in your name, email address, in the message space type “enter me in the drawing,” and email it back to me. All entries must be submitted on or before 12:00 a.m. CST, April 15, 2013. Two winners will be randomly drawn from the names submitted.

To purchase an author signed soft-cover book, go to www.dorothyruppert.com/purchase-a-book .

Unsigned books and eBooks are available at online retailers.

For more stories of God’s grace, keep coming back to this blog.

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To “bloom where you are planted” is to accept where you find yourself in life – to grow, bloom, and bear fruit right where God placed you. It means to be thankful in all circumstances, bringing beauty and grace to your surroundings. However, we often find ourselves in hard situations, much like flowers growing among rocks; and we want to remove ourselves.

Did you ever try to transplant a flower that was growing in a crevice? Most of the roots have grown deeply beneath the rocks where they find nourishment. Digging up the plant will sever the roots and cause the plant to wither and die. However, if you allow the plant to grow where nature placed it, eventually it will bloom and bring beauty to its surroundings.

flower by tel post

When in the midst of life’s adversities, we tend to want to escape. However, adversity provides more opportunity for growth than privilege. Dealing with the harsh conditions of life produces strong character, courage, compassion, and hope. The best way to grow is to remain where God has planted us, which will cause our spiritual roots to go deep. Then we will bloom like the flowers that grow in harsh conditions on mountainsides, between rocks, or next to fence posts. If we run from our trials, we are likely to become weaker in character.

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit

unless you remain in me.  John 15:4-5

Everything in nature that bears fruit must stay attached to the vine so that it can receive food and eventually bloom. The only way to bloom and bear good spiritual fruit is to remain in Jesus. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own, neither can we bear spiritual fruit without staying connected to the vine that nurtures us.

Are you blooming where God planted you?

 

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