Monthly Archives: January 2016

How to Get What You Don’t Want

Did you know there’s a sure-fire way to get what you don’t want? Yep, and many people practice this method everyday. They speak their reality into existence with their words, and what they speak is what they don’t want rather than what they do want.

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

How often have you heard someone say, “I’m so bummed because I’m not married yet.” Or “I’ll probably never have children. It’s getting too late in life.” Or “I’m sure I won’t be able to get a job as good as the one I had before.” Or “I’m hopeless! I’m such an idiot!” Maybe you’ve said at least one of these yourself.

Do you realize that your words have creative power? Do you realize that, like the God whose image we are created in, we can speak reality into existence. Matthew 9 is filled with such stories: the man whose daughter died, the woman with the issue of blood, the two blind men. In each case, Jesus healed them and commended them on their faith. After healing the two blind men he said, “According to your faith be it done to you” (Matt. 9:29). All of these people spoke in faith, believing that Jesus could and would heal them.

Jesus hasn’t changed. He still acts according to our faith. What do you have faith in? What would happen if you stopped speaking in faith that the negative will happen, and rather, spoke in faith that Jesus will indeed provide what you need or desire? If you’re creating a reality you really don’t want, there is a way to change that.

 

Tips for Emotionally Managing Caregiving

Are you one of the 65 million Americans providing care for loved ones needing help due to illness, disabilities, or aging? If so, you no doubt experience a vast array of emotions. You’re busy, untrained, and just plain exhausted—and perhaps managing a boatload of grief in the process.

Bang Head Here

Bang Head Here for Stress Relief
Photo Credit Lynn Hasselberger

Dr. Steve Landers offers simple but important tips for managing four common stressors in family caregiving in his article Family Caregiving Isn’t Easy: Emotional Management Tips.

I currently manage care for three people: my 94-year old mother who lives four hours away, my sister who has acute needs requiring me to be with her during hospitalizations (also four hours away), and my husband who has Parkinson’s Disease. The demands and thus the emotions regarding each vary with who they are, what their needs are, and my relationship to them. Personally, I’m great with the medical aspects of their care. I understand and can often diagnose what’s going on even before their physicians do. But I get frustrated when they behave like helpless victims. When they don’t do the things they know to do to take care of themselves. When they complain about things that neither they nor I can change, and let those complaints taint their whole day.

My tip for managing the whiny victim? Become a Pollyanna. When I’m handed a negative – a complaint, a criticism, or an accusation, I come back with a positive. A reason why I believe the sky isn’t falling. A suggestion for making lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons. An action they can take to make things better. I resist doing anything I know they can do for themselves, even while constantly reassessing to make sure they can still do it.

What is your biggest challenge in caregiving, and what do you do about it?

 

 

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Is the Gospel Being Distorted?

This week I’ve had discussions with two moms whose adult sons have lived with non-Christian girls in long-standing relationships. Both parents raised their boys with Christian values, but somewhere along the line, worldly values overtook them. One mom was devastated and prays regularly for her son and his girlfriend. The other mom took a more ho-hum attitude. After all they are in love…

Values are Changing Photo Credit: Flickr/ Parker Knight

Values are Changing                                                                                                         Photo Credit: Flickr/ Parker Knight

These moms aren’t alone. Increasingly we are seeing a dilution of the gospel in the lives of our kids. Faith isn’t as important to most of them as it was and is to us. influenced by their schools, their peers, TV and movies, music and culture, today’s Millennials are more “open,” but often at the expense of the beliefs they were raised with.

We see the same thing with other issues of the day as Millennials buy the cultural lies about homosexuality, Islam, abortion, and the environment. Chelsen Vicari addresses this in her article “How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel.”  She suggests that faith leaders in many of the “hip” (read: growing) churches are “encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They’re slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an update,” and the results are leading to a new variation of Christianity that would not be recognized by their grandparents.

Why does this matter? Because the very fiber of orthodoxy is being sacrificed on the altar of cultural relevance. We are sacrificing the gospel of Jesus Christ in an attempt to be relevant, loving, understanding, and compassionate. What we, and our kids, don’t realize is that Jesus wasn’t always these things. He was counter-cultural. He ruffled feathers. He irritated the leaders. But he didn’t compromise. And his steadfastness was attractive.

This year, let’s be very aware of the influences that are wooing our young people and let’s take a stand for orthopraxy (right practice). Let’s be willing to be unpopular as we give our kids good reasons to follow the real Jesus, not the pop-Jesus. It won’t be easy, but then, few worthwhile things are…

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Forty years ago today I made the most important decision of my life. I stopped fighting and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Happy Birthday to Me! Photo Credit: Abby

Happy Birthday to Me!                                                        Photo Credit: Flickr/Abby

Little did I know what that decision would mean. I was simply looking for a life preserver, a fire insurance policy. Since my friend, Jadene, had shared Jesus with me a few months before, I knew that day would come. I figured that when I hit bottom, I could just pull out Jesus – my “get out of jail free card” – and all would be well. It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t have to hit bottom. After all, how much lower could I go? And did I really want to go there?

I drove from San Francisco to the church her husband pastored in Fresno, and in a bucket of tears, surrendered my life to the Great Unknown. And that Great Unknown met me, right where I was. I didn’t have to clean up my act first. I just had to come.

Well, by the time I got back to San Francisco, He was already beginning to rearrange the furniture of my life. Within a week he threw me into a Christian singles group where I was loved, discipled, and given every opportunity to grow. And every time I said yes to an opportunity, they gave me another. Never since have I seen a better discipleship program, and these folks were all lay people, unpaid and untrained. But they nurtured me to maturity and laid a firm foundation for me. Many of these people are still my best friends, and one – the coordinator of the group – is my husband.

I want to offer a huge thank you to everyone who has played a part in my life over the past 40 years, and a monstrous thanks to Jesus, who rescued me from the miry pit and set my feet on solid ground. I couldn’t ask for a better life.