A Guide Through Transitions

9 verses I lean on...

I’m back!

Well, sort of….

To catch you up, I pulled down my site to give it a facelift. It also give me time to consider how I want to engage with you in this space.

Dana Pittman | 9 Verses | Life Transitions

Today, I thought I’d share nine (9) scriptures that supported me while reevaluating my coaching practice over the past few months. 

Abiding Furthers His Kingdom [Day 8]

I can’t believe I have blogged every single day for a week. I’m amazed. 🙂

Today, we will continue with our time in John 15:1-17.

I have to ask, am I the only one who thinks “abide” when you see “continue”? 😉 Let’s get to it.

The Passage

Read the passage: John 15:1-17 (ESV, NIV, and NLT). Pick one or all. You can also pull out your bible and read it.

Abiding in His Appointment

This passage ends with us reading the differences between servants, friends and disciples of Jesus.

Servants 

  • Servants are not acquainted with the “things” Jesus makes available because they do not know their master’s business  (v 15).
  • Servants are acquainted with Jesus but are not personally familiar with who He is and what He is doing (v 15).
  • Servants may even be aware of His commands (v 14).

Friends

  • Friends know Jesus’ commands (v 14).
  • Friends follow Jesus’ command to love one another (v 12, 14).
  • Friends have access to everything Jesus learned from God (v 15).
  • Friends know what He is doing (v 15).

Disciples

  • Disciples are friends with Jesus (v 14).
  • Disciples love others as Jesus loves (v 12, 14).
  • Disciples bear much fruit (v 16).
  • Disciples are chosen by Jesus (v 16).
  • Disciples are appointed to share the good news with others (v 16).
  • Disciples bear fruit and their fruit bears fruit (v 16).
  • Disciples bear fruit that will last (v 16).

Disciples continue in what Jesus has shared…His teachings, His life, His ministry, His love. Thus, they continue in His appointment, which ultimately furthers His kingdom.

The Wrap Up

Monday, which seems so long ago, we started on this quick, yet, hopefully, enlightening walk through John 15:1-17. Since, I have shared two key thoughts as to why you want to be a follower of Christ who is productive—one who is fruitful for the kingdom of God. They are as follows, and I will wrap it up with the final thought.

1. Followers of Jesus who abide in Him glorify God;

2. Followers of Jesus who abide in Him follow His example; and

3. Followers of Jesus who abide in Him further His kingdom.

That my friends is a wrap!

God bless.

Your Spiritual Midwife Dana Pittman

Consider this: I wrote with a broad stroke. There are other elements I could have focused on. Is there something in particular you have a question on or would like for me to consider for a future post?

 

31 Days of the Word with Dana Pittman | 2015

(Click HERE to view all the posts.)

Abiding Follows His Example [Day 7]

I feel like my entire childhood was surrounded by this demeanor of “do as I say not as I do”.

I never got that.

I don’t want to do as you say… I want to do what you do!

What you do is what I see and has me intrigued.

What you do is what has my attention.

What you do is what is speaking much louder than what you say.

The person, sharing this wonderful advice, tells you this all while having the time of their life.

Living it up!

Or so it seems…

Then they tell you…”this is not the life you want to live…” And my brain is hearing “blah blah blah blah”, as I check out all the stuff I’m not supposed to do. But it appears they are having so much fun doing.

Again, I never got it. Probably never will.

Confusing, I know…

Have you ever experienced that, whether in childhood or as an adult? It is hard for the mind to digest how something can be acceptable enough to engage for one person yet the same behavior, attributes, lifestyle is undesirable for another.

I think it is natural for you to believe if its good for you than it is good for me.

We know this type of thinking is not true. Because we don’t always do what is right. And many times we let our sinful nature get the best of us.

Which brings us to today’s thought. Monday, I declared my intention to share three key thoughts from John 15:1-17 as to why you want to be a follower of Christ who is productive—one who is fruitful for the kingdom of God. The first key thought was our fruitfulness glorifies God. The second is: Abiding follows His example.

The Passage

Read the passage: John 15:1-17 (ESV, NIV, and NLT). Pick one or all. You can also pull out your bible and read it.

Abiding in His Love

Love…

I have experienced love and I believe I know what love is, through my relationship with Jesus.  I believe I show love to others.  And I have to say “believe” because somedays…

…many days…

#RealTalk … I get it all wrong.

And I am so thankful, grateful that Jesus does not say “do as I say not as I do”. Oh no, He says, do exactly as I do.

So for today, I want to focus on one thought, “Abide in my love.” (v 9).

Jesus in this portion of the passage is all but saying you have received love from me and I have receive it and learned from the best. Continue in it!

Now, this is where my brain is working hard to comprehend. He says “if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…” (v 10).

And when I keep His commandments I am abiding in His love (v 10).

And when I abide in Him, He abides in me (v 4).

And when He abides in me, I have joy (v 11).

And when He abides in me, He is making me fruitful (v 5). Causing me to bring glory to God (v 8).

This is utterly amazing!

I mean, I know this…right?! But I find a way to make something so simple so hard. He is saying…

 

Keep my commands…and I got the rest.

God loves Me. I love you. Now love others.

Keep this love thing going.  😉

Continue in it.

The Wrap Up

Follow His example.

Keep his commandments. And He is not commanding us to do anything He, Himself, has not already done. And He does it unselfishly because he wants us to experience the joy He has.

Lord’s will I’ll “see” you tomorrow where we’ll continue with Abiding in His Appointment.

God bless.

Your Spiritual Midwife Dana Pittman

 

P.S. I feel like this is an abrupt end because studying this passage I noticed something for the very first time, I believe. In this passage Jesus does not command us to love Him. No He says, do as I say. The love is there. I will love enough for the both of us. But when you do what I say it places in the very center of everything I have for you.

I am so blown away but His love for us. So I’ll just stop typing…and I will not delete this because I pray YOU know that we don’t need to figure it all out. We just have to be true followers and follow His lead.

 

31 Days of the Word with Dana Pittman | 2015

(Click HERE to view all the posts.)

Abiding Glorifies God [Day 6]

“Abide in me, and I in you…”

John 15:4a

The Passage

Read the passage: John 15:1-17 (ESV, NIV, and NLT). Pick one or all. You can also pull out your bible and read it.

Abiding Glorifies God

Yesterday I started with The Setup and we ended with verse 3 where Jesus told his disciples they were  clean because of the words He spoke to them. In verse 4 He simply states, “Abide in me, and I in you”.

Here’s what we learn about abiding in Jesus:

  • We are to abide in Him and He will abide in us.
  • We are fruitful because we abide in Him.
  • We are to abide in Him and His words.

So what does it mean to abide?

Abide means to continue. Think back to verse 3 when Jesus declared them clean because of His words. He was basically saying you have what you need in Me.

Continue in what I have taught you. Continue in what you have seen and experienced. Continue in Me and I will continue in you.

It is not we who bring about our changes and growth in Him, but Him working in us. It is not we who bear fruit but it is as a result of Him abiding in us. It is not we who develop our strength and resilience and perseverance but Him transforming us.

When Jesus is continuing in us…

  • We are fruitful for the kingdom of God (v 4).
  • We are empowered to do anything (v 5).
  • We are connected to Him and have life (v 6).
  • We are given whatever we ask (v 7).
  • We are proven to be His disciples (v 8).

I started our time in John 15:1-17 stating my belief that this passage shares three key thoughts as to why you want to be a follower of Christ who is productive—one who is fruitful for the kingdom of God. Today reveals the first key thought: Abiding glorifies God.

Jesus does all of this for us so that His Father, Our Father, is glorified.

This passage shares a lot. My brain sees this circle. We are in Jesus. Jesus is in us. In Him we bear fruit. Our fruitfulness glorifies God. Our fruitfulness proves we are His disciples. We get excited about what He is doing in our lives. We praise Him. We lean in even closer to Him. We continue in Him and it all begins again.

“By this my Father is glorified…”

So if I had a mic, and I wanted a “drop the mic and leave it all on the stage moment”…that would be it. I’d drop it and exit the stage or click “publish”. 😉

The Wrap Up

We have access to the source of life. He invites us to live our lives intimately connected with Him. As a result, we are forever changed and the lives of others are forever changed and by this God is glorified.

Lord’s will I’ll “see” you tomorrow where we’ll continue with Abiding in His Love.

God bless.

Your Spiritual Midwife Dana Pittman

Consider this: When you read “fruitful”? What thoughts come to mind?

 

31 Days of the Word with Dana Pittman | 2015

(Click HERE to view all the posts.)

Productive for God’s Kingdom [Day 5]

My mother can make anything grow. She has, what some call, a “green thumb”. Plants, flowers, anything.

I remember she would visit with friends and if they had a beautiful plant she’d get their permission to cut a portion of it. We (my sisters and I) thought it was odd. But she would wrap the stem in a wet paper towel and carry it home.

From there we’d watch as she transferred this stem, usually with a leaf or two, from a paper towel to a glass jar with water ultimately to a pot with soil.

It seemed magical because months later that same friend would visit our house to see a plant draping to the floor. Full and healthy. And they too would be amazed when she’d tell them it was from their plant.

This is a gene I do not possess. 🙂

Because I do not have a single plant in my house. Which is odd because we had a house full of them due to my mother and her plant-loving ways.

But what is truly amazing to me now is…we (my sisters and I) cared for the plants. Not my mother. It was part of our regular chores. She’d instruct us in what to do for each plant.

She knew each plant as if it were a person.

Some would need watering. Others would get one-on-one time with her as she’d prune it. She’d nip here and toss it in the trash. She’d nip there and declare “put it in that glass over there”. One of us would carry the stem to its new location.

She could tell from looking at a plant if it needed to have some time in the sun, or needed rotating to another window. Others needed its vines lifted and draped casually over an adjacent shelf.

Again…it was amazing.

What does this have to do with 31 Days in the Word? Well…a lot because my mother unknowingly helped me get a better understanding of the next passage I will share over the next few days.

The Passage

Read the passage: John 15:1-17 (ESV, NIV, and NLT). Pick one or all. You can also pull out your bible and read it.

The Setup

John 15:1-3 provide an understanding of the relationship between God, Jesus and Jesus’ disciples. This relationship is illustrated using a vine.

The illustration has three key “parties”:

  1. God,
  2. Jesus and
  3. People who claim to follow Jesus.

Jesus tells us in verse 1, he is “the true vine” and God is “the vinedresser”. Now, I paused and wondered what it really meant to be a vine and a vinedresser.

I researched a little and learned that grapevines are known to be very difficult to care for since they require constant care. In scripture, the vine in Old Testament often referred to grapevines. It was also used as a symbol for speaking to Israel. But in the New Testament it is believed to symbolize the kingdom of God.

Thus, with the roles provided:

  1. Vinedresser – a person who cultivates or prunes grapevines
  2. Vine – any plant with a long, thin stem
  3. Branches – any woody extension growing from the trunk or main stem, or from a main limb, of a tree or shrub

[Definitions from Webster Dictionary]

Verse 2 then helps us to understand the ways in which each party interacts. Jesus shares that every branch performs one of two functions. He or she is either: productive or unproductive—the English Standard Version it says “bear fruit” or “does not bear fruit”. At which God, the cultivator of this vineyard, will begin the pruning process.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I share that I am not a gardner. I don’t have plants or anything green in my house other than the produce I purchase at HEB (a Texas-grocery store). Therefore, I needed a little understanding on pruning.

I learned in short a few key points about pruning that will help us here.

  1. Pruning is done to shape and encourage growth in the plant.
  2. Pruning is done to remove dead portions of a plant to prevent disease from traveling to other parts of the plant.
  3. Pruning is done to ensure the health of the surrounding stems and the overall plant.

Let’s pause for a second… Does anything about the key points capture your attention? If so, what? And why?

So back to Verse 2, Jesus says every branch either bears fruit or does not bear fruit. Every branch. In response, God will either cutback (prune) or separate (take away) the branch according to he or her productivity.

What I find most fascinating is every branch will be cut. The cutting will either result in a particular branch bearing more fruit or a branch being severed from the true vine.

What I also find fascinating is pruning is necessary to protect the entire plant. Failure to leave a dead, diseased, or unnecessary branch on a tree can result in the disease traveling throughout the plant and risking the healthy portions as well.

In verse 3 Jesus says “already you are clean”, they have the word from the Word. They have learned from Him. They followed Him. Now, they are in the position to bear fruit for the kingdom

I believe this passage shares three key thoughts as to why you want to stay the course of being a follower of Christ who is productive. One who is fruitful for the kingdom of God.

And Jesus shares these thoughts around:

  1. Abide in Him;
  2. Abide in His love; and
  3. Abide in His appointment.

Lord’s will, I look forward to sharing a thought a day for the next three days. Starting with Abiding in Him tomorrow.

Until then, God bless!

Your Spiritual Midwife Dana Pittman

 

 

 

Consider this: John 15:1-17 is a common passage shared and studied. What thoughts have you always associated with this passage?

 

31 Days of the Word with Dana Pittman | 2015

(Click HERE to view all the posts.)

Week 13 of Bible in 90 Days | Summer 2015

This is the final week. We have four scheduled reading days. The other days are for catching up, if you’re behind. You can do it!!!

Books We’ll Encounter This Week

  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 & 2 Peter
  • 1, 2 & 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation

Our Reading This Week

Hebrews 1:1 – Revelations 22:21

Additional Resources

Made to Last

Day 8 of 31 Days of Audacious Faith...

I watched “42” this weekend. The movie is based on a few years in Jackie Robinson’s life as the first Black man to enter Major League Baseball. It was amazing.

31 Days of Audacious Faith with Dana Pittman

Mr. Robinson said “God built me to last” when confronted with the impending challenges. This thought triggered a few memories….

The Cost of Fear

For much of my professional career I found myself being the only female and mostly the only person of color. Around lunch tables, dinner parties and the like it was always…interesting.

People were kind. People smiled. Yet I always felt like I had something to prove. I had to show I belonged. I had to show I was worth their time and efforts.