Category: Bible

Christian Mind Management

Psalm 3418 copy

 

Day 10 of Faith Dare #FaithDare really spoke to me. It’s titled “Mind Management,” and I suspect it’s relevant to the majority of American Christian women. We bought into the women’s lib, do-it-all have-it-all lie and then we believed that we all had to emulate that annoying Proverbs 31 woman, and what we ended up with was a message: We have to do it all and we have to be perfect.

As a result, we talk unkindly to ourselves. We speak to Self in a way we would never, ever speak to our family or our best friend. We use an ugly tone of voice — try saying out loud sometime what you say to yourself in your head! Doesn’t it sound awful?

So, Day 10 likens our negative self-talk to flies: They are “disgusting, annoying, and downright frustrating,” author Debbie Alsdorf says. She mentions how they return again and again, and even become an overwhelming swarm. Has this woman been inside my head, or what?

If you have this sort of problem, what’s the answer? Focus, says Alsdorf. Handing over these thoughts to God, interrupting the lie with a Truth will stop it in its tracks. I never thought of this as a spiritual practice. I never thought of managing my mind just like I manage my household, spiritual life, relationships, and, errmm, my desk. Please don’t look at my desk.

It’s simple, but I’ve already put it to work and it is successful. Whenever you have a bad thought, look for the good of the situation. If your husband is driving you crazy, stop and think about the positive: He is a good provider, he is great with the kids, he helps with housework. He loves you. Or whatever you can find that’s good about your hubby. 🙂
Once you’ve replaced the bad thoughts, focus on the new, positive thoughts. This is mind management.

If the thought is too stubborn to leave, take it up a notch: Use Scripture. Yes, take out God’s Word and read it silently or aloud to shoo away those lie-flies. Better yet if you have memorized Scripture, you can quote it.

This works because you are able to take charge, you are able to stop the negativism and call on the Lord to help straighten out the oft-blurred line between truth and fiction. Only 4% of women in the US consider themselves beautiful, according to Dove, the “Real Women” proponents. We spend our days thinking, my thighs are fat, I need more makeup, don’t take my picture… Whew! We wear ourselves out just thinking.

As soon as I tried replacing the negative with positive and realized I could push these thoughts aside and make them never return—I felt more in control. I felt like I had found a special key and unlocked a secret door. Because I tend toward depression (part of the fun of having fibromyalgia) I find this especially helpful. I called my daughter, another fibro sufferer, and she was excited over it, too. “It’s not one of those just-get-over-it things, is it?” she asked.

No it’s not. This is reach up to God to reach the tools we need to get through this life. This is how to live on earth happily, how to simplify our own minds. Beautiful!

Philippians 4:8 ~ Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. [NASB]

I’m Not Behind, I Promise!

So I started the new Bible study two days ago, and I didn’t post yesterday. Here’s why: I went to the beach all day, and the group meeting wasn’t until 8 p.m. So I knew I’d prolly be too tired to blog afterward. It was a planned absence.
The group meeting went *so well* and it’s a group of people just like me— people who are passionate about the Lord, about following Him, about doing what we should and not what we could.
At the end of the group meeting, somebody said “can we partner up?” and suddenly we just were. I went to a new friend’s Facebook page to see if she would partner with me, and before I could type it she popped up on chat: “So nice to get to know you! Want to partner?”
Then we found out we had so much in common….and more…and finally she said “are you left handed?” and I burst out laughing, typing back YES. God has such a sense of humor. He put us together, and we fit like 2 peas in the proverbial (pun intended) pod.
Between the excitement of my new, much-like-me partner and the joy of my renewed faith that God will let me know what my ministry is–SOON– I thought I would never go to sleep.
I did find out that I was supposed to read the first 2 chapters first, and start with Day 1 on Aug. 1. So there will be a small delay here as I catch up. Maybe I will make a new video. 🙂
Be blessed!

Living from a New Heart Perspective

Something as simple as whether to blog about a book you’re reading can put you into a sort of tailspin. I read recently that if I’m blogging, as a Christian author, my posts should only be about: 1. me in relation to my book 2. the book itself 3. Christianity as it relates to my book. After giving this some serious thought, I decided that I’m a lot more dimensional than that, and my readers (ok. My one reader?) might appreciate some insight into the thought process. Besides, if I found a blog like that, it would be boring!

So this is my  first day reading a 30 Day book called The Faith Dare, by Debbi Alsdorf.  My online Bible Study group — a lifeline, now that I am without a church home (until we find one here in FL)–is doing it together. I’ll be journaling about it here on Hooked On Jesus throughout the entire month, though possibly not daily. 🙂

So. Today we’re talking about the heart: having an undivided heart, giving God access to all of your heart, becoming a woman of purpose (a single purpose!), and living out of your new heart. This truth is speaking to me strongly, as I know I need a single, focused purpose. Actually I have one–I just keep letting myself get blown around in the tide. I need to sail straighter. Living out of that heart…that’s a difficult thing; if you’ve had pain or trials in your life, sometimes you live out of the past instead of out of the glory in which God has made you.

Today, God asked me whether I was putting other things in front of my Bible reading. Not Bible studies — the actual  study of The Word. Obviously I’m guilty, or He would not have gently presented the question. So I think I’ll start the day with Bible reading, before I even get out of bed.

I also have some awesome CDs of the Bible narrated by some name actors, I love listening to it. It’s just since we moved there is no way to listen privately. I have to play it on my computer in the (shared) office, or in the living room. Blaring out through the entire house, as it’s an open floor plan. lol I’ll have to give that some more thought, as I really enjoy listening to the Bible on Cd. Sometimes I try to follow along in my Bible at the same time; other times I just sit back and enjoy the Word washing over me.

Goals:
Live from my new heart
Find a way to listen to Bible on CD
Read my Bible more
Stick with Faith Dare the whole 30 days

What Happens when Christians become Divisive

….and what we can do about it. Please watch the video for a couple of my thoughts on this topic. Based on Galatians 5.

I’ll post a link here shortly with the “love” verses I promised. 🙂

God’s Name is Father

Does anyone have trouble referring to God as “father”? I did a little survey recently based on this question. I mostly found that people who are close with their own father, the earthly father, are able to relate to a heavenly father in a good way. They pray with a feeling of familiarity, a closeness.

But those who are less close to their earthly father have a hard time referring to God as father.They pray to someone distant.

And then there are those who take it way too far, calling him “the Man upstairs” or other familiar names. To me, this lacks completely and reverence and isn’t how we are supposed to address him.

So here’s my question to you. How do you personally make sense of the awesomeness of God when there is the ability to have such intimacy with him at the same time? How do you strike the balance without being irreverent?

Hint: This is part of my next book!

And thinking of “Our Father” reminded me of the Don Moen song, so here it is for you to enjoy. Don’t forget to leave a comment below!


One Song’s ability to Affect lives

For some reason today I was thinking about a time when I was Music Director at Elizabeth Chapel UMC. It’s been a few years ago now. I absolutely loved that church and its members.

One day we were warming up to sing the anthem, when I looked up at my choir. All their faces were strained, and their sound was…not good. It was my fault; I had given them something to learn that was beyond their ability, and then misjudged how quickly we could prepare it. I slammed my book shut.

“Would you guys like to sing something else today?” I asked.

Heads nodded, some ashamed, some relieved. All in agreement.

A quick prayer, then “How Great Thou Art?” I suggested.

So that’s what we sang. Now, this song has affected nearly every listener who’s ever heard it since it came out in its current version in the 1950s. It was particularly effective at Elizabeth Chapel, because while facing the choir I stood at the foot of a huge stained glass depiction of Jesus. Literally–at his feet.

Interestingly, during the song I felt the sudden wind of the Holy Spirit come onto the choir. Their voices were audibly different, stronger, almost as if there were more of them. My hands shook so hard I could barely direct. Afterward, many members came forth to tell us how moved they were by the song.

That was God moving among the congregation that day. I’m so thankful He gave us, you and me, music that we can love and enjoy and allow Him to use to break through to our oft-hardened hearts.

Here is a great video of Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood performing How Great Thou Art. If you aren’t covered in goosebumps by the end, I’d like to know why! 🙂

Whatever happened to the “H” in deity?

So, my Bible Study is in the hands of an editor. (Yay!) A real, live person who is finding all my mistakes and showing me girl, you might have been writing for that past 7 years, but you don’t know how to write.

Ahem.

Yeah ok, I usually have editors for that kind of thing. I had to laugh when I was researching editors (I finally picked one I knew, and who I knew had experience with Christian writing so she would speak the lingo). Anyway there was a suggestion someplace that you check out the potential editors for your manuscript at preditors & editors, that you check their references, that you make sure the person you talk to is really the one who will do the work and has a resume you can see. This is all very good advice. The final suggestion was this:

Take an English class.

Well. If I haven’t learned it by now (I created my first “book” in the 3rd grade, complete with a hard cover held together by yarn) I am probably not going to learn a whole lot in yet another English class. Not to mention that I’ve been repeating my mistakes for lo these many years. Also not to mention that there’s no way that in the next month I’m going to stop making them, English class or no. I’ll just shell out the bucks for an editor.

So back to the title of this post. My editor asked whether I wanted deity pronouns (that’s like “Him” or “His” when referring to God or Jesus) to be capitalized. I was taken aback. I thought that’s what we did! I thought everybody knew to cap the deities. Not the false ones, but the 2 real ones.

Turns out, that’s not even right. The writer’s guidelines say not to capitalize. Furthermore, she said only TWO VERSIONS of the Bible use caps for those pronouns these days. Are you as shocked as I am? Did you know this?

Color me stupid. I thought you always capitalized them, out of reverence. That’s what I’ve decided to do, and I’ll put some sort of disclaimer [disclaimer! What a word to have to use] in the front explaining why MY God still has a capital H in His name.

Do you have any time stealers?

Yep, time-stealers. Those little things that worm their way in and then suck up your time…or the things you begin to think about instead of what you’re supposed to be doing….or the things you begin to obsess about.

The thing is, they can easily turn into idols. But nobody wants to call them that. Idols seem too large, too much, too heavy…..time-stealers are just little annoyances, like no-seeums [tiny gnat-like things that bug you to death, pardon the pun].

Some people call them false gods, or functional gods because they are functioning as your god. Whatever you want to call it — let’s get it outta the way so you can go forward worshiping Jesus! Agreed?

This is a short lesson from my upcoming Bible Study, Come Back to Jesus — and Don’t Bring your Blackberry. It’s only a little premature; the book should be out in Feb. 2013 and will be available wherever books are sold. There is also an ebook version.

What you’ll need: a Bible, or you can use http://www.biblegateway.com to look up passages

To get the survey mentioned in the video, visit this link and click print page.

We’ll cover these verses

Ephesians 55
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10
Colossians 3:5-11
Psalm 1:1,2

Watch out! For…?

Yesterday on twitter, I posted this:

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Watchful of what?

Not many people took up my challenge, possibly because I’ve recently changed my twitter name and all the followers haven’t caught up yet. Also it was Friday. But here are a few things I think we need to be watchful of:
Satan. Yes I know, in this age of feel-good we relegate him to the back seat. Trust me, he’s still there and he knows it, even if we refuse to admit it. Best to admit and figure out our defense, eh?
Ephesians 6:11 ” Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
But read verses 10-18 to get the whole picture.

Fleshly desires (the things we want, which are not the things God wants). I’m teaching my book Come Back to Jesus right now, and we’re each giving up something to make room for more time with God. I’m impressed with what the ladies have given up this week. Things that really matter to them, but that don’t matter in the grander scheme of things.
Romans 8:5 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

The world – sort of relates to fleshly desires, but it’s the world that gets us in trouble in the first place. We’re to live in it, yet be separate from it.
John 16:33 [Jesus said] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Blessings!