Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog Message, Part 2- How Can I Change My Life?



2. God's Part In Changing Me: He Uses The Holy Spirit.
"Once the Spirit ... lives within you, He will bring to your whole being ... new strength and vitality." Romans 8:11
"As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him." I Cor. 3:18

My Part In Changing Me: I Can Depend On The Holy Spirit.
"Take care to live in Me and let Me live in you. For a branch can't produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit." John 15:4-5

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13

Blog Message, Part 1- How Can I Change My Life?



PHILIPPIANS 2:12- " ... Continue to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who WORKS IN you to will and to act according to his good purpose." ("work out": "your salvation": "God works in you": )

GOD'S PART & MY PART IN CHANGING ME

1. God's Part In Changing Us: His Word, The Bible
"The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God's way of making us well prepared at every point ..." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (LB)

Our Part In Changing Us: We Choose What We Think About.
"Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts." Prov. 4:23
"Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the `new self' that has been created in God's way ..." Eph 4:23-25

Rom. 12:2 Think > Feel > Act

Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is."
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true ... noble ... right... pure ... lovely ... admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." "... fill your mind with those things ..." (GN) "...fix your mind on them ..."
Verses for Bible Meditation: Psalm 1:1-3, Phil. 4:8, Col. 3:16, Ps. 119:9 & 11, Joshua 1:8

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 4

We've dealt with the issues that produce discouragement, but how do we overcome it? Here are some thoughts below that you can use to put into action today! I've heard it said that great coaches not only have a great game plan to defeat their enemy, but they also have the ability to adjust to the battle. Many times our initial plans, regardless of how great they are, simply don't work! When that happens, we cannot quit & give up. We need to do what Nehemiah did and reorganize our efforts. You may need to change your game plan. Nehemiah 4:13, says, "Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows." Nehemiah did not quit building the wall, he simply reorganized the people so that they could be more effective in the face of danger. We can apply that very same principle to our lives. You may need to reorganize your family, finances or your future. The dreams for your life may not need to change, but your strategy will. Reorganize & refocus. The story continues in verse 14, "After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." Nehemiah challenged the people to fight against discouragement! Don't give in to fear & discouragement by focusing on it. Encourage yourself by redirecting your attention to the Lord. Nehemiah said, "Remember the Lord...". Remember, God is for you & by His power you will rebuild your life & have success. You don't need to live discourage the rest of your life. Today, remember the Lord & His mighty power! Make a decision to resist the temptation to b paralyzed by fear & choose to reorganize your life for victory & you'll have success. It only took 52 days for the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that had laid in ruins for years. Remember, your situation will change, stay in faith & in hope because God is with you!
Meditate on these scriptures today:
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
"If God is for us, who can be against us." Rom. 8:31
"Everything is possible for Him who believes." Mark 9:23

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 3

When we look at the story of the rebuilding of the wall, we see that the Israelites were full of fatigue & frustration. Many times our biggest battles have nothing to do with the size of the battle but the state of our hearts. The root of our discouragement is the fear of failure. Nehemiah 4:10 says, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." The Israelites believed that failure was inevitable & it affected their attitude & perspective. How we handle failure in our lives is vital to our future success. When you fail, do you blame others or have a pity party? We need to fail forward by learning from our mistakes & problems. They are only temporary, success is in your future! The #1 issue that causes discouragement is fear. Nehemiah 4:11-12 states, " 11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." Fear produces anxiety, fatigue, frustration & a sense of impending failure. You'll notice in the story that their was a group that came & spread fear to the workers. They were negative people. Negative people & negative speech will always keep you from the promises of God because it takes away your faith. You may need to choose some new friends today! Make a decision right now that you are not going to be full of fear because of your current circumstance. The Message paraphrase of Romans 8:15-17, "This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!" Be encouraged!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Baby #5




Today I witnessed the birth of my 5TH child! A girl! Her name is Makenna Faith. She was born (9/19/09) at 8:32 a.m. & weighed in at 7 lbs. 2 oz. & 19 1/4 inches long. As far as the eye can see, she is perfect. A perfect gift! The Bible teaches us in the book of James that every good & perfect gift comes from heaven above. I've been blessed to have 5 little blessings in my life with the first one coming 9 & 1/2 years ago. As I look at my little girl, I remember the birth of my first child, a little girl. (Mikayla) I'm thankful for God's goodness & favor in my life! I have so much to be thankful for. The truth is, we all do. Today I praise God for His faithfulness to me & the gift of another child. What do you have to praise God for today? When you focus on the 'good & perfect gifts,' you will develop a heart of praise & gratitude. Your discouragement will dissipate as you focus on God's goodness. Make a decision to focus on the 'little blessings' & God's goodness today! It will give you the courage to face another day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 2

Yesterday I talked about how fatigue is the best friend of discouragement. There are some other elements to the story found in Nehemiah chapter 4 and to our lives that can contribute to discouragement. Verse 10 says, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." I guess you could say that they were in some rubble trouble. They were frustrated! They looked at what they were trying to accomplish and all that they could see was the rubble that was keeping them from fulfilling their dream. Many times we look at our lives all we see are mountains of rubble. We see mountains of unfinished tasks and misplaced priorities that cause intense frustration! These things ultimately steal our courage to live out God's purposes through our lives. Maybe it is time to take out the trash today? Every thursday morning I take out the trash. It only takes a few moments & it causes everything to smell so much better! Get rid of the waste that is in your life today. Stop doing everything. Stop going out every night. Stop saying yes to everything. Stop trying to please everyone! Take the unnecessary things out of your life & get out of rubble trouble today! Put God first in your life and daily agenda by allowing His Spirit to guide you in your choices and commitments. Take out the trash today & let the aroma of your life change today!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How To Deal With Discouragement- Part 1

Discouragement is a big issue because it is something that we all deal with. There are no exceptions. If you live long enough, you will face discouragement. It doesn't matter how positive you are or whether or not you're a Christian. Unlike many diseases, you never really grow an immunity to discouragement. It can come back over & over again. It is also highly contagious, which means you need to be careful with whom you associate. Although discouragement is universal & contagious, it is also very curable. I've personally been through many stretches of discouragement in my life & ministry. Life doesn't always go according to plan & when that happens, you need a new perspective.
This week we will look at the life of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a leader of the Jewish group that had returned to Israel from Babylon to rebuild the wall round Jerusalem. When they began rebuilding the wall, everyone was real excited & had a lot of passion & zeal. Because of a series of events, everyone became discouraged & wanted to give up. Have you been there? I know that I sure have! Nehemiah led the people of God to some early victories & everything was going phenomenal. Chapter 4 & verse 6 of the book of Nehemiah says, "So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." Things were great & moving along just fine until verse 10, "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." It is true that fatigue makes cowards of us all. I've found that fatigue & discouragement go hand in hand. Maybe the most spiritual thing that you can do right now is go & take a nap. Take a moment & rest. Take a sabbath, reflect & reenergize for the days ahead. As I've heard Rick Warren say, "You should always divert daily, withdraw weekly & abandon annually." God has called you burn bright for Him, not burn out! Take a break & be encouraged! Your greatest days are still ahead!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seven Secrets of Stress Management by Rick Warren

Then Jesus said, “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.” There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31 (NLT)
Jesus experienced enormous stress and pressure, yet it didn’t seem to disturb his peace of mind. In spite of opposition, constant demands, and little privacy, his life reflected a calm sense of balance.
What was his secret?

1. Identification – Know who you are (John 8:12)
 Eighteen times Jesus publicly defined himself. There was no doubt in his mind as to who he was. If you are unsure of your identity, you’ll allow others to pressure you into their molds. Trying to be someone you’re not causes stress!
2. Dedication – Know who you want (John 5:30)
You can’t please everyone. Even God can’t! Just about the time you get “Crowd A” happy, then “Crowd B” willbe upset with you. Jesus never let the fear of rejection manipulate him. No one can pressure you without your permission.
3. Organization – Set clear goals (John 8:14)
 Jesus said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.” (NIV) Preparation prevents pressure, but procrastination produces it. You work by either priorities or pressures.
4. Concentration – Focus on one thing at a time (Luke 4:42-44) 
You can’t chase two rabbits at the same time! Jesus knew how to handle interruptions without being distracted from his primary goal.
5. Delegation – Don’t try to do everything yourself (Mark 3:14)
 We get tense when we feel it all depends on us. Jesus enlisted twelve disciples. Don’t allow perfectionism, or the fear that others may do a better job, to keep you from involving others in the task.
6. Meditation – Make a habit of prayer (Mark 1:35)
 No matter how busy Jesus got, he found time to get alone to pray everyday. A daily quiet time is a great stress decompression chamber. Use this time to talk to God about your pressures and problems, evaluate your priorities, and discover the rules for successful living by reading the Bible.
7. Relaxation – Take time to enjoy life (Mark 6:30-31)
 Balance is the key to stress management. Work must be balanced with fun and worship.
© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

FRIDAY- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

THE RESULT
"If you do this you will experience God's Peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." v. 7.
There is a promise of guaranteed peace of mind. People are looking everywhere for peace of mind. They try pills, fads, therapy, rock crystals, stress reduction seminars and listen to tapes, books -- anything to give just a little peace of mind. Paul says, God's peace is a gift to you. It is a gift that cannot be explained, duplicated, fabricated or understood. It is the sense of peace that comes over your life.

How do I maintain that kind of peace?
"... as you trust in Christ Jesus." Paul is not taking about a religion; he's talking about a relationship with God's Son Jesus Christ. You were made with a God-shaped vacuum in your life and when you try to fill that with anything else it's tlike trying to put a square into a round hole -- it doesn't fit. We try to fill our lives with popularity, power, pleasure, possessions or prestige and they don't fit. God made you to know Him. Nobody is here on the earth by accienet. He made you for a purpose. The starting point of that purpose is to understand that He made you for a relationship. He wants you to know Him. And when you know Him there is a sense of peace that comes into your life.

This passage also says, "His peace will keep your thoughts..." The word "keep" in the Greek is a military term. It means a sentry guard, a garrison, or a detachment of soldiers. The book of Philippians was written to a group of people who lived in the city of Philippi in Greece. The city of Philippi was a Roman colony that was protected by the Roman legion. The people knew this word very well for they knew the Roman legion kept the peace in Philippi. Paul used the word that he knew everybody would know and says, that's the way God will guard your mind and heart when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and trust Him moment by moment. Instead of worrying about everything, you pray about everything. And you thank God for all things and keep your mind on the right things. God will put a garrison, a sentry guard, around your heart and when worry comes knocking at the door He will protect you with His peace. What's got you worried? Finances? the economy? your health? your marriage relationship? your kids? your career? What makes you anxious, that raises the stress level in your life? How do you normally respond to stress? What is your favorite pattern? This is God's alternative to dealing with stress. I Peter 5:7 "Throw the whole weight of your concern on God because He considers you His personal concern." He carried your sins on the cross, He will carry your stress in the present. Give it to Him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP FOUR: THINK ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS
To reduce stress in your life you must change the way your think. The stress is in yourself not outside. Your mind is a special gift from God. Your mind is capable of storing over 100 trillion thoughts. It can handle enormous things. You hve been given by God the freedom to choose what you think about. V. 8 "finally brothers, whatever is true ... noble .. right .. pure ... lovely ... admirable -- If anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." You need to chosoe what you think about and think about the right things. What we put into our minds affects our lives. What I see that some people allow to enter their minds, no wonder they are under stress. Many people, even Christians, are totally indescriminate about what they allow to enter their minds. They are allowing all kinds of trasy garbage and reading material and movies and songs that are downers. Then they wonder why they are depressed. What you think affects the way you feel; the way you feel affects the way you act. Guard your mind. Keep your mind on the right things. Jerusalem Bible says, "Fill your mind with those things." Good News says, "Fix your mind on them..." Paul is saying this involves a deliberate, conscious choice. Change the channels of your mind. When a thought comes into your mind, ask "Is this true, noble, right...?" If it's not, reject it. These eight words are eight filters. If the thoughts is not right, true, pure, lovely, etc. don't think about them. Don't allow them to get into your mind, because it's going to create stress.
Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." What dominates your mind? What do you think about the most? The root cause of stress is the way I choose to think.
Insight: Whatever I think about is what I am becoming.
If you don't like the way you're headed, change what you think about. Change the direction of your thought life.
Click here for a list of scriptures that will help you change the way that you think!

Wednesday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP THREE: THANK GOD FOR ALL THINGS
v. 6 "... in everything ... with thanksgiving ..."
Good News says, "...always asking Him with a thankful heart."
The attitude of gratitude. The healthiest human emotion is the attitude of gratitude, having a grateful heart, being thankful. It actually increases your immunities. It is a physical benefit to express the attitude of gratitude. Ungrateful people also tend to be unhappy people. Nothing every satisfies them, it's never good enough. They are "when... and then" people -- "when such and such happens then I'll be happy". If you're depressed, make a list of fifty things you can be grateful for. When you're grateful, it gets the focus off your problems and gets the focus on the benefits in your life. We have so much that we take for granted. Develop the attitude of gratitude and watch the stress level in your life go down. It gets your eyes off the problem and onto the many things we do have to be grateful for. I Thes. 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." One part of God's will for your life is "in all things give thanks."

Insight: There is always something to be grateful for.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tuesday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

STEP TWO: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING

Whenever God tells you to eliminate something He always has something superior. He always replaces a negative with a positive. V. 6b "In everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Paul is saying, don't panic -- pray. If you stopped worrying, realize how much free time you'd have. It would create a great vacuum, a void in your life to stop worrying. Pray during that time. If those people who say "I don't hve time to pray" would spend their time praying instead of worrying, they'd have a whole lot less to worry about. "In everything..." Some people think that God is only interested in you praying about "religious" matters. God is interested in everything in your life. "petition" is a specific, detailed request. Get specific with God. Tell Him exactly what you want and what you need. Most people pray too vague, too general. "God, bless my life." What is a blessing? Sometimes blessings are problems. Don't pray general, vague prayers but be specific. "God, I'm under stress. I'm tense, I'm nervous." Be specific about it. Phillips: "When you pray tell God every detail of your needs." If it's big enough to worry about, it's big enough to pray about.

I Peter 5:7: "Unload all your worries on Him since He is looking after you!" Take our problems to the Lord, pray about everything instead of worrying. Unload them! Pray is a tremendous safety valvue release of pressure. A life insurance company did a study. They learned that people who attend church once a week, they live on the average, 5.7 years longer than the general public. Why? Perhaps, people who attend church every week are more likely to pray than worry. Worry destroys your system. God says unload all your worries on Him. The God who made every thumbprint in the world different and the God who made every snowflake in the world different and the God who made every voice print in the world different is a big enough God to handle all the details in your life. He is a God of details. He can handle anything you give Him. Phillips: "You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern!" James 4:2 "You have not because you ask not." Twenty times in the New Testament we are told "ask".

Insight: There is no problem that is too big for God's power or too small for God's concern.

Monday- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

This week I want to share with you some great thoughts about reducing stress & focusing your life by Rick Warren. Each day I'll be posting some great advice that I believe will be very helpful to you this fall. I know that you'll be encouraged & I pray that you'll be able to take some of these thoughts to help simplify & de-stress your life. Enjoy the thought below from His message entitled, "A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS."

Philippians 4:6-8, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ...Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

I. STEP ONE: WORRY ABOUT NOTHING
V. 6: "Do not be anxious about anything." "Do not fret of have any anxiety." (Amplified) "Be careful for nothing" (KJV)
Worry is a kill joy and source of stress. We tend to expect the worst in life. Smithsonian magazine calls this the Age of Anxiety. There are macro worries that every body on the planet worries about. Thee are micro worries that are personal, that you have everyday. Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended for me to have. It's playing God, trying to control the uncontrollable. Dr. Walter Cavert has done studies on your worries. He has discovered that:

40% of our worries never happen
30% of our worries concern the past
12% of our worries are needless worries about your health
10% of our worries are insignificant or petty concerns
8% of our worries are really legitimate concerns


Worry is worthless. It cannot change the past or control the future. It only messes you up right now. It is an incredable waste of energy. It is stewing without doing. It is a waste of creativity. When we worry about things, they get bigger and bigger. We are very creative about worry. The Bible says, "Do not worry about anything." Probably this is the hardest command to obey. Some people are born worriers; they have the ability to find a problem in every solution. They look at the negative, the bad. Worry is not natural, Jesus said, in Matthew 6:6. It is something you learn; you have to practice to get good at it. If it is learned it can also be unlearned. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own."

Insight: In order to relieve stress live one day at a time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Are you an encourager? My life's mission is to help encourage people to greatness in God. Giving courage to others is such an incredible privilege. God can use each of us in releasing the power of encouragement to others. The devotional below is courtesy of Jentezen Franklin ministries. To read more, click here.

Pleasant words are...health to the bones. Pr 16:24 NKJV

Everybody needs encouragement. None of us achieves anything without help. The great achievers in history became all that they were because of the people in their lives. We’ve seen The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. But did you know that their authors, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, were professors at Oxford University and maintained a close friendship? Every week they’d meet to eat, talk about their fiction-writing endeavors and read passages of their yet unpublished works. It was Tolkien who encouraged Lewis, an avowed atheist, to explore Christianity, ultimately leading to his conversion. And it was Lewis who encouraged Tolkien to continue writing fiction and to seek publication. Were it not for their friendship and mutual encouragement, the world wouldn’t have received the finest writing in apologetics of the twentieth century, nor one of the finest fantasy works ever written.

Everyone young and old, successful and less-than-successful, famous and unknown who receives encouragement is changed by it. Mark Twain said, "One compliment can keep me going for a whole month." A word of encouragement from a teacher can change a child’s life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can strengthen or even save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach his or her potential. Zig Ziglar says, "You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life." The Bible says, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Pr 16:24 NKJV).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kingdom Culture- Faith, Hope & Love

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have Kingdom DNA (culture) running through every fiber of your existence. The essence of the culture of the kingdom of heaven can be found in the Apostle Paul's writings to the church in Corinth. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." That simply means that because you have submitted your life to God, you have FAITH for your future, HOPE in the midst of your circumstance & LOVE for everyone around you.
So what are you going through today that requires some faith, hope and/or love? If you are a follower of Jesus, a Kingdom person, then you are equipped with every ounce of those three that you need. Stay encouraged today & keep spreading the King (Jesus) & the culture of His Kingdom to everyone that you meet!

Great Devotional for this Week!

Here is a great devotional that I read this past week! Stay encouraged & stay in faith this fall because God is able & is faithful!

Your Appointed Time

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it" (Habakkuk 2:3 KJV)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria

God has an appointed time to fulfill the visions, dreams, and desires in your heart. Just because it has taken a long time or because you've tried and failed, doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Don't give up on those dreams! Don't be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart. Our God is a faithful God. No matter how long it's been, no matter how impossible things looks, if you'll stay in faith, your appointed time is coming.

Remember, every dream that's in your heart, every promise that has taken root, God put it in there. And not only that, but He has every intention of bringing it to pass. Hold on to that vision today by declaring, "My time is coming. God is working behind the scenes on my behalf. I will fulfill my destiny!" As you continue to hold on to that vision and speak life over your dreams, you'll see them begin to take shape. You'll see your faith grow, you'll see your hope strengthen, and you'll see yourself step into the destiny God has prepared for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

"Father in heaven, I receive Your truth today. I receive Your promises today. I ask that You ignite my heart with Your holy fire so that I can pursue Your perfect plan for my life. Make my thoughts and words agreeable to Your will. In Jesus' Name. Amen."