Category Archives: Renewing the Mind

Where Do You Want to Be? | Contentment

Are you satisfied with where you are and what you’re doing? So many people aren’t. Single people want to be married. Married people wish they weren’t. If a job isn’t perfect, some people complain, threaten to quit, and sometimes even orchestrate their firing. They believe they will be happy when… And they can’t be happy unless…

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands (The Show Ponies) has a perfect line:

“You’ll never be where you want to be until you want to be where you are.”

Think about it. Instead of always wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else, what if you were simply able to be content. Right where you are? To rejoice in being. Just who you are. Every day. What would it take for you?

Would you need to set aside your visions of what your life was supposed to look like? All too often we have our preconceived ideas about the course of our life, and when it doesn’t work out, we blame God. Or ourselves. Or someone else. We strive to accomplish our goals, even if they aren’t God’s goals. In the process, we drown in discontentment. We want to be anywhere other than where we are.

Try it. Just be where you are, and decide that you want to be there. Practice contentment and see what a difference it makes.

Change You Can Count On–Every 37 Seconds

Do you have trouble implementing a change in your thinking, emotions, or behavior? Most of us do.

Whack a mole

Whack that Emotion or Thought Every 37 Seconds

 

 

Here’s the problem. Most of us address change like we do mouthwash – once in the morning does it. Problem is, once in the morning doesn’t do it. When we want to make a change, we need to attack that sucker like our greatest enemy. The way I recommend is what I call “every 37 seconds.”

What does that mean? It means that every time the feelings come up, you whack them down. You use your words to tell that emotion, that thought, that demon, to back off. Get out. Change. When the emotions come back, you whack it again. When the emotions come back, you whack them again. Every 37 seconds. All day. Every day. Over and over. Every 37 seconds.

If you do this consistently, I guarantee that you will conquer that negative emotion within a month to six weeks. Seriously!

Photo Credit: Laura

A Letter From Your Abba

As I do ministry with women, one of the most devastating problems I encounter is that most people, most women, don’t really understand how loved they are. How precious they are to God. How his love can heal them.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God clouds sky

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
Photo Credit: (c) Pat Sikora

The following is from The Father’s Love website. You can also listen to this letter from Abba at the site, or print this out and read it — s-l-o-w-ly — every day until it sinks in to your DNA. I guarantee that if you get this, healing will follow.

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.

Psalm 139: 1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32


Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

How Do You Make Decisions?

How do you make decisions? So many choices!

How do you make decisions? So many choices!
Photo Credit: danmoyle

How do you make decisions? I’m taking a class on the Gospels, and we’ve been having a discussion on Luke’s focus on the poor and marginalized. My classmates have been dialoguing on what that means in their lives. One of things I shared is something that has been guiding and even driving my life for a few years. I’ve found it is much harder to sort out the truth of right living when we are trying to evaluate ourselves by ourselves. Especially in America. We make ourselves the starting point and plumbline, and then measure everyone and everything by that standard. Indeed, it requires much prayer and a willingness to stand outside of ourselves in determining our actual true-to-life theology (as opposed to our textbook theology).

I face this in the area of caregiving. The society screams that I should be self-actualizing. Even the church expects me to live to a certain standard, given my many skills and gifts <g>. Strong Christian friends wonder why I “waste” my time as I do, caring for my mom, my husband, a neighbor. When we were considering taking in a great nephew whose guardian was dying, I railed at God, “When do I get a turn!?” His response: “That’s a very arrogant American attitude, isn’t it?? Yep, it was. And is. And is a daily struggle to make biblical choices.

How about you? What guides your decisions?

 

Guilt or Shame? Do You Know the Difference?

Guilt or Shame?

Guilt or Shame?
Photo Credit: LMAP

We had completed a successful ministry session just a week ago, but Susan continued to say how dirty she felt every time she “let God down” by not doing everything perfectly. Many of the things she was reporting were not really sin. They were unhealed attitudes about herself. And frankly, some of them made sense for her protection. It struck me that she was not suffering from guilt, but from shame.

Do you know the difference? She didn’t, nor do most people I minister to. Here’s my definition, which has helped to set a number of people free:

Guilt is about what you have done. Shame is about who you are.

So, what difference does that make? All the difference in the world! You see, guilt is related to true sin. A violation of God’s commandments. And so, I am guilty. But the good news is that the antidote to guilt has already been provided for us by the cross of Christ. When we are guilty, we simply confess our sin, repent, and receive forgiveness.

Shame, on the other hand, requires a different remedy. Since shame is about who I am rather than what I did, the critical test is whether this self-assessment is biblical truth. God has already provided his assessment of who I am throughout Scripture. If my assessment differs from his, guess who’s wrong? For example, he says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). Who am I to assert anything different? I need to rein in those thoughts and make them conform to what God says about me (2 Cor. 10:4-5). If I don’t, that is sin. Then I am guilty of unbelief. But if I accept God’s assessment of me, then I have dealt effectively with shame.

Now here’s the secret. Shame is empowered by an evil spirit and is often very resistant to leaving. It will argue and double down, repeatedly reminding me terrible I am. But if I declare and repeat God’s truth regularly, every 37 seconds (or every time the feeling returns), it’s only a matter of time before the negative feelings leave and are replaced with Truth. In my experience, it takes about a month to feel better if I’m diligent in refusing to accept the lie while applying the Truth.

So, give it a try. Conquer guilt by confessing and repenting. Conquer shame by appropriating God’s truth and rejecting Satan’s lies. Let me know how it works for you.

Did You Know that Your Words Create Reality? Stop Cursing Yourself

Watch Your Words!

Watch Your Words!
Photo Credit: Celestinechua

Do you have a habit a dissing your life? Or your choices? Or other people? Do you whine and complain about what may or may not happen tomorrow? Do you hear about a possible opportunity and immediately assume it won’t happen? Do you regularly muse that things are going to get worse? Be careful. It’s easy to curse your present and your future by simply trying to protect yourself.

I tend to do this a lot. Things don’t go well and I assume they will get worse. Or at least won’t get any better. I think I have to “be honest” if I’m going to speak with integrity. I don’t want to get my hopes up, so I dash them before life can. I curse myself and potentially miss out on some blessings.

Are you familiar with this concept? Here’s the deal. We are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), who spoke reality into existence (Gen 1:3,5, etc.). Jesus is the Word of God (John 1). Words are more powerful than most of us think. We, like God, actually create reality with our words. When we muse that things could get worse, we are essentially cursing the ourselves and situation. We see and example of this in Job 3:25. Job created a reality in his words and mind, and eventually it happened. It reversed only when he saw God as who He really is and repented.

Self-cursing easy to fix. Repent and watch your words. Speak and declare the positive, the potential, the good, the promises of God. Renew your mind (Rom 12:2) to believe that God is good, the giver of good gifts (James 1:17). And stop cursing yourself!