In the Word

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Are you reading the Bible regularly? Are you in God’s Word?

I used to think my daily verse of the day on my phone was enough. Or the perpetual calendar on my desk, that has a verse a day, would fill my needs. Even the verses hung around my home should be enough to sustain me when temptation, hardship, struggles, or pain hit me in the day. They aren’t enough. They are good. They are wonderful reminders in my day. They refocus me. They are worth having in my life. Yet, when the storms of life hit – they are not enough.

Spending time in God’s Word doesn’t mean you have a notebook and a Bible and a study Bible and a special concordance. It can mean that. If you love a deep study in God’s Word, go for it. For most of us, time in God’s Word is our warm beverage of choice and a Bible. We read, we reflect, we process, we pray, and we are better for it. These days, life is harder than it used to be for everyone. It truly is. A “quick fix” in God’s Word isn’t going to keep us going. We need concentrated time in God’s Word. This doesn’t mean you read more verses, it means you are spending more time reflecting on what you read, who God is, and what He may be teaching you about Him or yourself. Some days, I read one verse. I will sit in that verse for 30 minutes – just sipping tea and processing with God. Other days, I want to do a deep dive into a section of scripture. Both provide me with what I’m seeking – focusing my heart, soul, and mind on God and God alone. This focused time gets me in a frame of mind to face the world with God leading.

Honestly, these days we all have more time. Let’s use it wisely. As the world opens up more and more each day, make sure you only add back those things that bring value and energy to your life. Carefully restructure your day. I don’t have time each morning for a long focused time with God. I work early or I needed to sleep more. I do have time several days a week. I remember when I was in Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), we had a speaker say “it’s a season of life when you just don’t have a lot of time with God.” She was wrong. One of our mentor moms agreed with me and told our group, “you find time with God whenever you can. You can’t get through this season of raising babies without God.” Those days a desk calendar of verses was my sustenance. However, there were days when I could do more and I never regretted the times I chose to. Schedule God on your calendar. Make Him your first appointment of the day or your last appointment before bed. Get God on your calendar.

Life isn’t going to get easier. It just isn’t. Without a discipline of reading God’s Word and reflecting, you will struggle more than you need to.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

You will find rest for your soul when you come to Him. You will understand and learn from Him. God’s Word – teaches, rebukes, correct, trains, and equips. We aren’t equipped for all that the day holds unless we are doing it with God. If we invite Him into our day, we will find rest and we will be equipped. Those are powerful truths. Many days I’m tired. God provides me with rest when I come to Him. Some days I feel like everything is beyond my grasp. God provides me with teaching, rebuking, correcting, training, and equipping. Wow!

Get into His Word. Be with Him as many days a week as you can. Read His Word. It’s one of His best ways to speak to us. Let’s listen.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

My thought life

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Today I return to my “get healthy” focus. Reality – I need to lose weight. In my flesh (literally and figuratively), I don’t have control. I allow my thoughts to go off on “you won’t ever lose the weight – why try?”, “you ate that cookie, might as well give up”, “you can’t do this – you will fail again”, “eat that salad but why? you will fail later”, and so on. I don’t know what you tell yourself when you are trying to accomplish a goal or make a change. We all have an inner dialog that plagues us. What is your inner voice saying? Want to silence it? Me too!

Reality is, I tell you I want to “get healthy” because that is the right way to say it and focus my mind on progress. However, internally I say, “I have to lose this weight. I’m fat.” I tell people “I’m working to get healthy” but I tell myself “you are fat, lose this weight.” So my inner dialog is still sabotaging me. I need my inner dialog to match what I tell the world.

What you tell the world is what you need to tell yourself. How can I replace the old with the new? Practice, prayer and God’s Word. Practice telling myself internally, “I’m working to get healthy.” When “you are fat” enters my mind, I replace it immediately. Sometimes I need to say it aloud. Just thinking it isn’t enough power. I am getting healthy. My goal is health. My inner dialog is shame and sabotage. Replacing the phrase with another eventually makes it the new tape I play in my mind.

Prayer is key in this change of mindset. Asking God to help me the minute I hear the inner tape of lies. It is a lie to say I’m fat because fat equates to shame. I’m overweight and need to get healthy in order to stay healthy and do the things God has planned for me. There is no shame in that 2nd mindset. Words of shame leave when we replace them with new words and we ask God for help. Prayer is conversation with God and He will help. Some days I cry out for help hourly. Other days I cry out for help once or twice.

Lastly, God’s Word is needed. Truth is God’s Word. Find a verse to memorize that helps you focus on truth. It doesn’t have to be big or lofty just John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.) You are loved. Or John 10:10 (I have come that they have have life and have it to the full.) He wants me to have a full life. All truths! Find a truth in His Word and memorize it when you feel yourself sinking into your inner dialog of negativity.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

We fight our battles as Christians differently. Weight loss is a battle. Overcoming negative thoughts is a battle. Spending time with God daily is unfortunately a battle. Saying kind words to others is a battle. Walking away from addiction is a battle. Not judging is a battle. Whatever battle you are facing, taking your thoughts captive is a HUGE weapon to help you win. It says in Corinthians that we CAN demolish strongholds. Strongholds are those things in your life that pull you from God. Our inner dialog is a stronghold because it keeps us from being effective and present in our life. We demolish this by taking thoughts captive.

Please take time this week to identify an inner dialog that needs to change. Take that thought captive by practicing a new phrase internally, praying for help when you become aware of it, and recite a verse because God’s Word will help you release that stronghold for good. We have tools this world doesn’t have. Taking our thoughts captive for Him is our best weapon.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

He Is Risen!

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One of my favorite parts of Easter is saying “He is risen” and someone responds, “He is risen indeed!” There is hope in that. There is confirmation when two are in agreement. There is strength in that phrase.

What else can I say year-round that someone can reply to?

Jesus is alive. He is alive indeed!

I am loved by God. You are loved indeed!

I have great value. You have great value indeed!

I am equipped and called. You are equipped and called indeed!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You are fearfully and wonderfully made indeed!

I am chosen, not forsaken. You are chosen, not forsaken indeed!

I am a child of God. You are a child of God indeed!

I am forgiven. You are forgiven indeed!

Jesus is alive. He is alive indeed!

Let’s focus on the truth and exclaim it. When someone speaks truth, let’s repeat it back with indeed! at the end of the phrase. We can claim this hope and power every day of the year. Easter is our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection which gives us a path back to God because our sins are cleansed and our debt is paid. This truth is a 365 day truth. Let’s celebrate it and the full life we have today because of our faith in Jesus!

Dream Big! Pray Big!