What was I thinking???

 

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One of my favorite authors, Rick Warren says…”Let me sum it up this way: You are not what you think you are, but rather, what you think, you are.”

If you’re a believer, deciding to make Jesus CEO of your life is only the beginning.  “Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT) You have to decide to change the way you think about things.  We think ourselves into feelings.  That’s why if you show me your friends I’ll show you your future.  You can’t hang around with friends who are getting divorced and listen to them talk endlessly about everything that’s wrong with their marriages and feel the same way about your own marriage.  Because what you think, affects how you feel.  I can think myself into feeling tired, or anxious or happy or sad.  Most of the time,  I can trace my emotions, back  to my thinking.  Feelings should be thought of as indicators not dictators.

Skeptical?  I’m not surprised, most women believe they are a slave to their feelings.  We love chick flicks where people feel things deeply and can’t help the way they feel… but I disagree and so does the Bible.   So let’s do a little exercise..close your eyes.  I want you to picture a hot summer day, you’re sooo hot and thirsty.   I ask “Would you like some nice cold homemade lemonade??” You say” YES!  I’m sooo hot and thirsty!”  So I get a lemon out of the fridge, oh you can smell it.    Soooo lemony and fresh smelling…I take out a knife and slice it and you can see it’s so juicy.. the juice running down onto the cutting board mmmm it smells so delicious.  Is your mouth watering yet? …. But there isn’t any lemon and you aren’t hot and I’m not even there.  Your mind is so powerful.  If you aim it in the right direction, there’s almost nothing you can’t do, but if you let it wander aimlessly for whatever the world offers up.  You’ll end up adrift…someday asking yourself “what was I thinking?”

If you want to  change your  situation you have to change your thinking on purpose, and specifically, it doesn’t just happen by accident.  For instance my husband and I have been in ministry for about 27 years and so many women are desperate for a change in their marriage…they love their kids, they want their marriage to work but feel hopeless.  And they will eventually say ” I just don’t love him anymore.”

If you want to love your husband more,  then don’t dwell on his shortcomings, or how he irritates you,  or what he needs to improve on.  Don’t say  “he’ll never change” that says more about what you believe about God than what you believe about your husband.    Instead say to yourself “I love my husband more and more every single day, he’s the best!”   You may say “well Lisa, you don’t know my husband.”   Well, that’s true, but I know my God and I know that He’s in the redemption business.  Now, if you’re being abused, girl get the heck out of there right now…do not stay another minute.   But most women are not being abused, they’re  being deceived…. by the thinking of the world or by the enemy of their souls.  I find that so many of  my sweet sisters are stuck fantasizing about and even believing that there’s someone better for them out there than their husbands.     Someone who would treat them better… who would not make the mistakes their husbands have made.    Someone…well like the guy on TV or like their friend’s husband or that nice guy at their office.  The world thinks…what’s the big deal?  Kids get over divorce all the time, I deserve to be happy.   Well you know the grass is always greener over the septic tank (thanks Erma Bombeck)…and I do mean always.   So if that’s you, I want you to start saying to yourself….”he looks perfect but I wonder where the septic tank is located?”   LOL

When you change the way you think of things the things you think of change.  If you want to change your life, start with the 7 inches between your ears.  Want a better husband?   Start by being his biggest cheerleader, in your thoughts and in your speech… you’ll be telling him what to think about himself in the process  and he’ll start believing it and acting out of it.  Your own feelings will begin to change because of what you’re thinking and saying about him.    You will begin to love him more and…. he’ll begin to be more lovable.

As she thinks in her heart …so is she.

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Enough is enough

19 And my God will supply all your needs(1)

Do you ever find yourself doubting that God will supply all your needs?  You probably believe that God can supply all of your needs but somewhere in the back of our minds we kind of doubt if He actually will.   I think that doubt creeps in because our idea and God’s idea of what we need may be different.   For instance, I thought I needed a bigger better house about 8 years ago.  I prayed about it and began talking to my husband about it and my husband said ” No, I don’t think God’s in that honey.”   So, instead of praying about whether it was actually God’s will for us to have the bigger better house, I began to pray for God to change my husband’s mind about it….I know…. this is where I’ve lost you LOL….you can’t identify with that at all.  (hehe)  Well, God did not change his mind….and I’m so glad He didn’t,  because we would’ve bought at the very tippy top of the real estate market in 2005 and would’ve lost thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands in the subsequent crash.   God will supply all your needs….but let me ask you is enough enough for you?   My house was enough for us, it supplied all of our needs,  but enough was not enough for me back then.  When enough is enough for you, you become free in a way that’s  hard to describe….you no longer labor and strive….but rest and work as unto the Lord.  It certainly isn’t bad to want more and work to have more….but when we decide that enough is enough it’s a really peaceful place to be…if you get more that’s awesome, but it’s just the cherry on top of your sundae of contentment.   Godliness with contentment is great gain….He will supply all your needs according to His riches.

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Does God love people who don’t love him?

We love because He first loved us.

I had someone tell me “I don’t believe in God” and I said “well, gosh that’s a bummer, cuz you are sooo missing out”  Hey!  there’s no high like the Most High..and there’s no love like the love of the Almighty.   You can  totally reject God, but He still loves you.  He’s not like people, who’s love and acceptance is typically conditional.   No, He loves people who don’t love Him at all.   I know this because He said it in the Bible.  Like from beginning to end,  the Bible is a story of a loving creator making a way back for His creation.  In fact, in the Bible He says that He’ll leave the 99 (people who already love Him) to go after the 1 who is lost.  He sent His one and only, very best, His son Jesus  so that we could have a love relationship with Him through Jesus.  You can certainly reject God’s love for you ,  but you will be missing out on the love of the one who is love.  God made us with the free will to choose and you can exercise your free will ……because love isn’t love without the power to choose.  It’s not love if you make someone love you.   God so loved the world that He gave his son….His dearest ….. so whoever believed in Him would not perish but have life forever.    God didn’t send His son into the world to condemn the world….no….He sent Him so that the world might be saved.   He loves you….as you walk around today, do your job, get your haircut, eat lunch….do it knowing you’re dearly loved by God.

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Not Cheap….Free

They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3;24

Have you ever paid for the person behind you in line at the drive through at Starbucks?  Have you ever had someone do that for you? Imagine, you drive up to the window with your debit card out, ready to pay what you owe, only to find out that someone has already paid ???  Whaaaat????  SAAAWEET!  For a coffee enthusiast such as myself, this would be a day maker.

You know,  the Christian faith is kind of like that.  Jesus paid what we owed, and we just accept the gift.  It’s one of the major differences between Christianity and other world religions.  In Christianity,  we are redeemed because of what Jesus did for us, He paid the price for our sin.  The Bible says..we are saved by faith and not by works so that no one can boast….we can only boast in the sacrifice Christ made for us, not in how good we are.   I feel that people sometimes misunderstand Christianity.  Christianity is not an exclusive religion that seeks to leave people out…rather it’s the most inclusive, …whosoever- will -may- come  belief system.    Christianity is the most inclusive religion.  The Bible says that “God is no respecter of persons”, we’re all the same to God.  God’s desire is that none should perish (spend eternity separated from Him…hell).   It was for freedom that Christ has set us free, not to be shackled up to “am I good enough?” doubts for the rest of our lives.  But rather, God made a way for us to know that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven….by accepting the free gift of salvation. This frees us from wondering if we’ve done enough good to outweigh the bad, have we met the obligations, rituals and other hoops that man erects.  Men go to work to complicate it, but God’s plan to make a way for us to spend eternity with Him ( Heaven)  is really simple.

Now, don’t mistake free with cheap, that would be missing a huge part of this whole thing.. .God demonstrates His great love for His creation, by offering His one and only, dearest, son for us.    Jesus’ gift to us cost Him everything, yet is completely free to us.

Rejecting God’s free gift would be silly…  it would be  kind of like pulling up the the drive thru window and the guy says…”someone has paid for your coffee and you say ….”hmmmmm let me think about that… um, no thanks, I’ll just pay for it myself. ”   That’d be crazy right??   After we accept God’s free gift, then we live out the Faith, powered up by God’s spirit, it’s a very cool thing.    Not cheap, no,  it cost Jesus everything….. but completely free to us….to ALL of us.

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don’t look away

I don’t like thinking about the crucifixion of Christ.  I physically want to look away…it’s just too awful to think about, to contemplate….the brutality, the blood, the suffering , the sacrifice.  Even now maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not going to read this today.   She’s always so positive but this makes me feel uncomfortable.”

But don’t look away, without contemplating the cross of Christ,  it’s hard to get some understanding of the HUGENESS of  the  resurrection of Christ.  Without thinking about what God was willing to pay for you, it’s hard to understand how much you’re worth to Him.

Don’t look away from the Cross of Christ, don’t hide your face in your hands but rather take a good long look at it.  It’s what love looks like.  When I consider the crucifixion of Christ, the pain He endured, the torture He willingly subjected Himself to. I’m given the gift of perspective in 3 things.

1)  I begin to see my own “sufferings” differently.

2) I begin to understand the power it took to raise Jesus from the dead.

3) I begin to understand what love looks like.

When I contemplate the sufferings of Christ, I begin to ….begin to understand the miracle of His resurrection.

Don’t look away sweet friend, it was His gift to you.  It was Jesus saying ” I think you’re to die for”

John 15:12-14 NIV

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

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You’re being followed.

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord Forever.

Pssst…..You’re being followed.  And I’m being followed too!

Yes! Followed, by the One True God.  The goodness and mercy of the most high literally follow the followers of Christ.   I may not feel it or see it, but I choose to know it and have come to expect it.   I literally expect the goodness and mercy of the Lord to be right behind me , backing me up ….following me.   Following me through the troubles, following me when I’m lonely, following me when I’ve messed up,   Like the trust fall…whenever I need to fall into the arms of mercy I just let go and relax and know that goodness and mercy will never let me down.     It seems to me that some Christians expect just the opposite to be following them. It seems that they live life trying to stay one step ahead of judgement.  Always expecting the worst, and trying their best to stay a step ahead of problems.  When I believe that goodness and mercy follow me, my pace slows, I relax in the knowledge that I’m never alone, and God “has my back”.     This passage of scripture, comes from the 23rd Psalm…one of the most well-known in the whole bible and it begins with “The Lord is my Shepherd”  Basically the Lord leads me, and at the same time has my back.   Mercy and goodness, not harshness and judgement,  are following me everywhere I go.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me. all the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.   Psalm 23:6

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Got Peace?

imagesGot peace?  Peace is something lots of people are talking about today, but very few seem to actually experience it.  The harried hustle bustle of the season leaves many of us in a heap of holly jolly this time of year….sucking our thumbs, rocking back and forth singing jingle bells in the corner while we go over our Christmas list ….one last time to make absolutely  sure we haven’t forgotten anyone and that every child has exactly the same amount of gifts to open….EEEK!  Aaaaah Christmas….It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  

Yes! Christmas is in fact the most wonderful time of the year, but not because of the tree or the lights or the gifts.  All of those things are the way we celebrate, not what we celebrate.   At Christmas time we light lights and trim trees and bake cookies and buy gifts because we have something incredible to celebrate… the birth of the Prince of Peace.  It’s so funny that we would celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace by, well, driving ourselves crazy LOL  If we take a moment and focus on the Christmas gift God gave, it puts so much into perspective.

God gave us the best Christmas gift ever…He gave us His one and only…His best…  Jesus.   Jesus made a way for us to have peace with God again.  Jesus came as a defenseless baby and grew into a man who would willing sacrifice himself.    He would make one final sacrifice for sin, once and for all.    God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world,  but that through Him the world might be saved.   ( paraphrase John 3:17)  God sent His one and only to bring peace….not peace -sign- peace but peace with God.  Through God’s Christmas gift to us, Jesus, we can be friends with God again.

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6 HCSB

Jesus brings us personal peace, because our ultimate fear is taken off the table, fear of death.  God’s great gift, Jesus, is the way in which we have eternal life with God, not separated from Him….but with Him.   Got Peace?  Not the peace the world gives, but the peace of Christ.

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