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Archive for July, 2010

I Hope You Dance

Had an early coaching client this morning.  What came out of our session is so powerful.   All of us hurt at one time or another. We don’t like to feel pain and will do almost anything to avoid it.

But let’s look for a moment at what pain is.   Pain is a warning mechanism that God has put within us.   For example, if you touch something hot, you’ll feel pain and learn to not touch something hot again.  Pain in our body reflects something that isn’t working properly.

Emotional pain is no different.  Sometimes it warns us or teaches us to make correct choices.   Other times there was nothing we could do to avoid being hurt because it was someone’s choice to hurt us or a direct result of life’s circumstances.

Because of places where we have experienced pain, we often build walls to protect ourselves emotionally not wanting to feel the hurt again.  Sometimes we are not even aware of them, yet these subconscious places can affect our lives at many different levels.

The question is not “How do I avoid pain?”  It’s “How do I embrace it?”  Instead of feeling weakened by pain, if we embrace it we’ll be empowered.

When we embrace pain, we are able to mourn the loss of whatever has caused the hurt.  We find power to forgive, love again, and move forward.  We replace a victim mentality with a victory dance.

The first step is to take the situation to God. It’s also helpful to work through your loss with a coach, counselor, pastor, or trusted friend.

Psalms 30:10,11 says:(my paraphrase) Hear me Lord.  Give me mercy and grace.  Be my help!  You’ve turned my mourning to dancing.  You’ve replaced  my dark and tattered clothes (my grieving soul and spirit) with garments of  gladness.

What pain or grief in your life do you need to move beyond?

Whatever loss you have experienced in life, I hope you’ve moved beyond it’s control over you.  If not, I hope you’ll receive God’s gift of the Dance of Gladness!

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Put It On

We have been giving the weapons of the Spirit and been told to put them on for our protection.  All the weapons depend on us knowing and applying the Truth of God to our lives.

I’m borrowing from a pastor friend of mine.   For the next 30 days, each time you are tempted to think or speak negatively,  I hope you’ll join me in putting on the Truth.

An affirmation is a statement of agreement.   For the Christian, it is our confession of faith.   Each day I will post a scripture and an affirmation.   Join me in speaking it out loud.  Why outloud?  Because your brain needs to hear it and record it.  Then it can move from your head to your heart.

I hope you’ll share with Moms what you discover and experience as we do this together.   It will encourage us all to make this a daily habit.

Today’s verse: Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Affirmation:  God is with me.   God is Mighty!  God gladly rejoices over me. He sings His song over me.  I AM quieted with His love.

Don’t you feel better?   Keep listening for His song over you!

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Larry the Cable Guy brought “Get ‘er done” into today’s culture.  Good words actually!   I don’t know about you but I’ve spent far too many hours, days, years struggling with negativity, wounds, and behaviors I don’t want.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) says: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

In a sermon on the sword of the spirit,  well-known Charles Spurgeon said to take the word of God and work out its meaning.  He compared it to digging deep in a mine.  The deeper you dig the more gold you will find.

I use to think this verse was a bit scary.  I wasn’t sure I wanted the word of God to discern my thoughts and intents.  You see I was raised with the idea of a angry, judgmental God who demanded perfection and absolute obedience!

I leave the theological discussions to theologians.  I am making some discoveries about my life as I dig deeper into this verse.

From the fall in the garden, there has been a  battle between the soul(mind, will, and emotions) and the spirit.  It can be defined by “What we do versus what we want to do.”

As I continued to read this verse I was curious about “joint and marrow”.  So I asked God and dug deeper.  In the concordance as in our body, the joint is the thing that muscles and ligaments  attach to.  Marrow is the core of the bone.  It’s where the life is.

It’s important to have healthy, functioning joints to be strong. A joint has things attached to it.  Think about arthritis.  It’s calcium build up attached to the joints.  Marrow that has an incorrect balance of red and white blood cells, will create an environment for disease.   So how does that relate to my life or yours? What is at the core of my being?  What is attached to me and how did it get there?

What if we understood that God gave us the sword of the spirit(word of God) not to judge us but to help us understand He has restored us through Jesus?   Consider this.

Our core or center is the essence of who we are. We are soul and spirit.  As a result of the fall, we became entangled in a web of thought that establishes what we believe.  Will we believe what God says or listen to the “other voice”?  One voice (God’s) speaks life and the other death.  I’m sure you are with me in the choice for life.

It’s all about what we believe. If we find ourselves having habits or behaviors that are destructive, it goes back to what we believe.  If we are letting the voices of fear, doubt, insecurity, insignificance, etc. control our life, it goes back to our beliefs.

The quickest way to win that battle is to hack the lies or false beliefs to pieces with the word of God.  Then we can use the word of God to restore, reframe, and rebuild our lives based on truth.

What do you believe about yourself, others, and God?

What life-giving belief from the word of God could you replace the beliefs that bring negative results(death) with?

To be continued……………….

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Pick Up The Sword

Conflicted.  That’s how I went to bed last night and woke up this morning.  I’m sure you’ve been there.  Somewhere between what you believe is true and what seems to be life’s reality.  As long as we are alive, that battle will present itself again and again.  As I studied today’s verse, I found some keys that helped me unlock strategy to resolve my struggle. I hope it will help you too.

Ephesians 6:17(Amplified):  “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

A sword is a powerful offensive weapon.  It can divide, wound, cut off, and kill it’s victim.  If you are in battle you would want to make sure you were correctly using it against the enemy.  Just wielding a sword can hurt others and cause unnecessary wounding.   Ever know someone who used the Word of God as a sword against you?

Had to throw that in but that’s really not the topic of this conversation.

Last week I commented on Jesus fighting the temptation of Satan with the word.  This morning I saw something new in that story, I hadn’t seen before.  Here’s what I realized when I read Luke 4.  Satan tempted Jesus on three levels.

1.  Physical desire–Jesus was hungry.  We are always being tested on the basis of our hunger or emptiness.   Satan is always trying to get us to fill ourselves up with something other than God’s love, truth, and power.

2.  Identity–This one hit me hard.  Jesus was faced with “Prove to me who you say you are!”  Wow!  I’d never seen that before.  Isn’t that what we are faced with almost daily?  That voice in our heads that tells us we are a phony, we are worthless, that we don’t really follow God.  The list goes on and on.  And how many times do we feel the need to prove we are right?  Notice the recurring theme?  The enemy comes to us and wants to debate us and make us think we have to prove what Jesus has already settled.

3.  Immediate Gratification–The enemy tried to get Jesus to skip the pain and suffering for immediate reward.  Mmmmmm!  How often do we try to take the easy way out?  How often have we traded our true purpose and destiny because we didn’t want to wait or pay the price to walk it out.

Jesus resisted those temptations with the Word of God.  He understood the way to defeat the enemy was to pick up the sword and cut the temptation off at it’s root.  He put His relationship to God and Jesus’ destiny(“for the joy set before him” Hebrews 12:2) above anything else.

Just imagine what your life could be like if you filled your hunger with the Word of God instead of physical things.  What could it be like if you knew who you are because you understood how much you were loved ?  What could it be like if you committed to walking out the purpose of your life because you knew the joy and reward at the end was worth it?

Jesus and God were one.  One in character, one in identity, and one in purpose.  Jesus never wavered from that.

What do you need to use the Word of God to fight against?

To be continued…………………

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Heads!

A head injury can be fatal or severely change the quality of someone’s life. A helmet is a necessity whenever we are doing something that could injure our heads.  Life’s battlefield is one of the places where we need to make sure we have our helmet on.

Ephesians 6:17:  “And take the helmet of salvation……”

The first thing I notice is the word take. The meaning of take in this scripture is to accept or receive.  So what is the helmet of salvation and how do we accept and receive it?

A helmet is obviously a head protector.  When we experience something in our life our mind,intellect, and reasoning is the place it filters through.  The brain has over 100 billion neurons which fire our senses.  It processes what we see and what we hear.  Taking the helmet of salvation will help us win the battle because our perspectives will be different.

The word salvation here is reflective of deliverance and rescue.  Who is our rescuer and deliverer in all things?  As a believer, we have hope (confident expectation) that our salvation comes from God.  We rely on Him.  That hope is what protects our heads!  If we want to have a renewed and protected mind we need to fill it with a eternal kingdom mentality.

Here are a few kingdom thoughts.

1.  We hope in His LOVE for us. Unlike the love of others, God’s love is everlasting.  God’s love is unchanging.  God’s love is redemptive.  These are just a few attributes of His love according to scripture.

2.  We hope in His TRUTH. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  The Bible tells us that God cannot lie.  Satan, on the other hand is described as  a thief and a liar.    Standing on the truth of His principles, promises, and power will help us defeat the battle in our mind.

3.  We hope in the Eternal. We may not always recognize the truth of God’s promises because we think the result should look a certain way.  That is one of the ways we get tripped up.   There is deep truth in “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”  Seeing things from the perspective of eternal life gives great hope.

During the time my husband and I were going through our greatest difficulty, I had an experience I’ll never forget.   I’m not sure if I was caught up there or if it was just a vision but I saw myself in heaven.  In one of the scenes, I was standing in front of a dark cave.  It was very intimidating and dark and I was afraid.  Jesus took my hand and said, “Come with me.”  I said, “No, it’s dark and I’m afraid.  It’s too scary!”  He assured me it would be ok and I needed to go in because there was treasure inside.  I took His hand and as we walked in, all the darkness was gone and in the corner was a beautiful, large treasure chest full of abundant, exquisite jewels and riches.

I knew it was representing the trial we were going through.  I also knew that I needed to keep my eye on that treasure.  Things that were happening to us on earth were not the things that were going on in heaven.  The two worlds were different.  One was trying to destroy us and the other was releasing treasure into our lives.

That perspective helped us make it through a very difficult battle. Even though the situation didn’t turn out as we had hoped, the treasure was there and we are still discovering new treasures!

Where are you struggling or battling?

What are you putting your hope in?

Which of God’s promises could you think on that could change your perspective?

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One version says darts (KJV), one says missiles.(Amplified)  Fiery darts and flaming missiles!  These are the weapons the enemy uses against in this journey called life.  They come in lots of different sizes and forms. To name a few:   Little lies, big lies. Conceptions and misconceptions.   Wrong perceptions.  Wrong beliefs.  Trials, testings, and temptation. Condemnation, guilt, and shame.   Injustice and suffering.

All of these things contribute to the ‘voices’ in our heads.  The enemy tries to stop us by getting us to listen to them!

How do we stop the voices?  We don’t!  The enemy will always try to use them against us.  It does us no good to pretend the voices aren’t there.   Their purpose is to cheat and steal our rightful place in this life and for all eternity. Their aim is to convince us to be less than who we are made to be.

But, Ephesians 6:16 (Amplified) tells us how to keep them from “burning” us. “Lift up over all the (covering) of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one.” The KJV calls it the shield of faith.

Faith is sometimes difficult to comprehend.  In this scripture, pistia, which means persuasion comes from the root word pitho, which means to convince by argument. Strong’s concordance explains it as reliance upon Christ for salvation–moral conviction of the truthfulness of God.

How does faith come.  By hearing.  And hearing?  By the word of God.  (Romans 10:17)  The meaning of word in this verse is rhema which means utterance.  That means spoken.

Just think about Jesus in the wilderness.  After 40 days of fasting and prayer, Satan came and tested Him.  How did Jesus fight?  (Matthew 4) “It is written……” In another version–“It has been said…..”

So why did Jesus respond to Satan the way He did?  He understood the way to defeat or quench the arrows of the enemy was with answering them  with the truth (the word of God).

We gain faith by hearing God.  The passage in Romans also let’s us know that even nature bears God’s message. God speaks in many ways. God always speaks the truth!  Satan is a liar.  Truth always trumps a lie!

How do we hear truth?  By agreeing with the spoken word of God.  You hear with your ears, but your brain processes what it hears like a tape recorder.  If we want to hear truth and act on His truth, we need to speak the truth to get it into our hearts!

When we are relying on what He said and is saying, instead of our circumstances and problems we are lifting our shield of faith.  When we are speaking God’s word over our situation, our relationships, our families, and ourselves we are walking covered by the shield of faith.

It’s faith that extinguishes the enemy fire.  It’s faith that allows us to listen to the correct voice…the voice of God.  It’s only by faith(agreeing and relying on what God says) we can put out or quench the fiery darts or flaming missiles.

What is God speaking to you today?

How can you apply that word to what concerns you?

What truth of God can you speak  over your life or situation, today?

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Boots On the Ground

Can your kids say, “My mom wears army boots?” I know, never used to be considered a compliment.  Maybe it will after you read this post.

Imagine walking into battle with nothing on your feet!  Now, I’m a barefoot kind of girl, but there are times you just have to wear shoes and battle would be one of them.

Ephesians 6:15(KJV) tells us to have “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

As a child, I thought this was just knowing the “good news” that Jesus died for us.   I see it differently now.

War is awful but if we are going to go into battle with the enemy our objective should be peace.  That is true of life’s battles as well.  We want peace in our hearts, relationships, finances,  homes, churches, immunities, and throughout any storm we might face.

In my opinion, here’s the “good news”.  The good news is that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Gospel) is OUR GOD REIGNS!(Isaiah 52:7) Why is that important?  Because it produces in us, as Ephesians 6:15 (Amplified) says, “firm footed stability, promptness, and readiness to stand!

If we want want to be stable and balanced, quick thinking and acting, and ready no matter what happens, we gotta put on those battle boots!

Here are a few things we can do to stay prepared.

1. Learn all you can. Read, study, listen!   Read the stories of the Bibles and consider what they are saying about life.  Learn the character of God so you can implement it.  Listen to the testimonies of others who have made it through difficult situations.

2. Eat His Word. No soldier could stand strong if he had not eaten.  Don’t just read the Bible.  Consume the principles and promises of God by meditating(really thinking about them), memorizing(planting it in your mind), and speaking it(confessing it with your mouth) over yourself.  Some of us do the meditating or memorizing but few of us speak it outloud over our lives.  The principles, promises, and character of God have to be at your very core if you aren’t going to lose sight of them in the battle.

3.  Pray all the time. Prayer is communication with God.  It’s not just sitting for an hour or two and going through a list of requests, praying for someone else.  It’s talking(including asking questions) and listening.   Soldiers go to bootcamp first so they can get in shape, learn to follow directions, learn to use their weapons, and learn to follow the chain of command.  That’s the essence of prayer.  You learn to know God’s voice before you go into war so you don’t have to think about that in the middle of the battle.  Because true communication with God takes place inside (in our spirit), we can practice all day long, any time, anywhere.  Practice now and you’ll be ready for anything!

4.  Celebrate and Memorialize. In war,  it’s important to celebrate and remember the victories.  It’s also important to remember the lessons of defeat.  In life, it’s the same.  You can fight better in the next battle if you know the victories(what worked) in the past.  You will be stronger if you understand the defeats (what didn’t work).   Either way you can celebrate because what worked or didn’t become part of the solution next time!

What situation or concern is important to you today?

What have you learned or experienced that can help you stand firmly?

What lessons have the victories or defeats of the past taught you, in order to make you better?

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