Sunday, January 20, 2019

Keep your mind set on the higher things...


Let's be honest. It's really easy for our mind to get stuck in the muck and the mire and the mundane of life on planet earth. At any given moment my mind might be wrestling with a worrisome situation, thinking about my to-do list, making a mental list of things I need to pick up at the grocery store, stewing about an offense in a relationship-all while I'm putting a load of laundry into the washer and chopping onions for the pot of chicken noodle soup that I'm making for that night's small group. Whew! Keep my mind on things above? How in the world do I do that?

Start the day with Jesus.
The enemy loves for our first thoughts of the day to be negative ones - thoughts of worry, fear, and frustration, for example. He loves us to begin our day already feeling defeated. Everyone's schedule is different, and not everyone can refocus their mind by having an extended amount of quiet time or devotions in the morning. However, everyone can take a few moments to connect with God, to surrender themselves into His loving, capable hands, to cast their cares onto His strong shoulders, and to invite Him to take charge of their day.

Let negative thoughts become a signal to refocus.
Even if we start the day with Jesus, things will inevitably happen during the day that will pull our minds back into frustration, fear or other negative thoughts. You can actually train your brain to turn those negative thoughts into reminders to pray. For example, let's say that you catch yourself worrying about a financial need. Immediately stop that thought, and all of the subsequent thoughts that we tend to have about how we are going to try to fix the problem ourselves. Then just say a quick prayer to God asking Him to meet the need and to give you wisdom and insight about any action He would have you to take. God hears our thirty second prayers every bit as much as long prayers of intercession. He also hears your heart prayers when you're at work or somewhere where you can't pray aloud. I believe that the more we practice refocusing our negative thoughts into prayers, the less the enemy will torment us.

Realize that heaven is in middle of your place on earth.
"The dishes need done!" "That proposal is due to my boss by tomorrow!" "I need to remember to bake those cookies for the bake sale!" "Did you see what so and so posted on her Instagram!" "I don't think that friendship is a good one for my daughter!" Things in our life are constantly screaming for our attention. Stop, breathe, and remember God is right there with you in the middle of it all. The Holy Spirit is God on earth and God within you. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit now dwells in your innermost being and personality. Everything you need for this life is available to you. You might be earthbound and have earthly problems to deal with, but there is heavenly help right there with you. Set your mind on that more than on the problem.

"Too heavenly minded, no earthly good" is an old saying that I'm not sure is true.  I think that if we keep our minds set on the things above, we'll actually be better equipped to handle our life here on earth.


Friday, January 18, 2019

When You're Stuck in Stressful Thoughts



By: Sarah Geringer

Lately I've been stuck in stressful thought-life categories. When I'm upset about something or stressed out, I tend to overanalyze and obsess about the topic. This wears me out mentally, emotionally and spiritually, because I am hyperfocused in one category.

This week, I watched an interesting webinar about using social media. The expert encourages people to pick a few content categories and consistently post in several of them rather than in just one category, so you appeal to your whole group of followers.

You probably already do this. You post about your pets one day, vacation pics another day, a funny GIF or thoughtful meme the next time, and maybe a photo of your children or grandchildren another day. I also like seeing yummy food pictures in my friend's feeds. The more diverse your social media feed is, the more interesting it is to new followers. 

After the webinar, I looked at my Facebook and Instagram feeds, and saw books, books and more books. Kind of like my thought life--focused on one problem over and over again. I need to make it healthier by shaking it up. 

This is the scripture that is helping me reorient my thought-life categories, and I hope it helps you reorient and diversify your thoughts in healthy, God-pleasing ways.

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.
Philippians 4:8 NLT

 
See how these thought-life categories are diverse and beautiful? How each one points you toward God rather than your troubles?

When I'm stuck in a stressful thought category, I force myself to think about something true, right or pure. When troubles overwhelm me, I can reorient myself to thinking about what is excellent and worthy of praise. Lovely thoughts inspire us to worship God. Honorable thoughts raise us up over our circumstances.

This isn't easy for an obsession-prone person like me. But I'm getting better at it with God's help. I still need time to process my stress, worries and cares with God and sometimes others. Yet I have a choice in whether to stay stuck in one thought-life category. I can set the stress aside and ponder all the good things about God's character and all the gifts he gives me every day. Meditating on God's Word throughout the day helps me do this.

How about you? Does another verse prompt you to reorient your thought-life categories when you feel stuck?



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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,



Photo from Canva.com

Reflection questions:


1. In which category do your thoughts typically get stuck?


2. Which verse will help you deal with stress in a healthier way?


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ripples

By: Jenifer Metzger

Have you ever thrown a pebble into the water? What happened? You saw ripples. Even if you simply touch water, ripples are quick to follow.

Ripples don't just happen in the water, they happen in life. Everything you do makes ripples.


Sometimes we do things and bad ripples follow. We choose to stay up too late at night which causes us to oversleep, which causes a late morning, which causes a rushed morning, which causes a bad day. Ripples. We choose to over-indulge in all that delicious food someone brought to the office which causes us to feel poorly and causes our jeans to fit a little tighter than we'd like. Ripples. We choose to share something about someone that wasn't any of our business which causes the person we told to have a poor view of the object of our conversation, which causes disconnect in their relationship, which causes hurt feelings. Ripples. We are rude to the cashier at the grocery store which causes her to get upset, which is causes her to be rude to the next customer, which causes a domino effect of rude behavior. Ripples.

Then sometimes we do things and good ripples follow. We choose to go to bed a few minutes early, which causes us to wake up on time, which starts our day out good. Ripples. We choose to eat that yummy food in moderation, which helps us to stick to our health plan, which causes us to feel good. Ripples. We choose to not share what we heard about someone but instead to pray for them which causes no hurt feelings and God touching their life and ours. Ripples. We are kind to the cashier at the grocery store when she seems frustrated which causes her to calm down, which causes her to be kind to the next customer, which causes a domino effect of kindness. Ripples.

Everything we do and everything we say causes ripples. What kind of ripples are you causing? Today I challenge you to think before you speak or act. Will your ripples be bad, causing pain to you or someone else? Or will your ripples be good? Will they draw you closer to God or bless someone?

Let's be women who cause good ripples for ourselves, our families, and those around us.







It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories in their comments.

If you are a blogger and would like to link up, here are three easy rules to the link up:
1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Please link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you'd like!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.


Woman to Woman Ministries


Inlinkz Link Party

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Judging Others



Have you ever been around someone and noticed that they are being really judgmental about a person or situation? Judging others... we have all done it, there's no denying that. It happens everywhere, even in our churches. It's so easy to do, yet it's one of those things that we shouldn't be doing. We as Christians have an example to set. We should be trying our best to be living out the Word of God. We can't pick and choose which verses we will follow. Sometimes we do that without even realizing it. So we really need to be careful. We have to take control of our thoughts, including the judgmental ones. 
The level of hypocrisy in the church is disturbing to me. And it's growing. We are constantly looking around and focusing on who is doing what, who's not studying their Bible, who's not worshiping, who's  not paying their tithes, etc. when we should be focusing on our OWN walk. Because while we are asking these questions, we are also judging others, therefore there is a hindrance in our walk with the Lord. Yes, we need to have concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ and lead them to the Lord. We should be showing them how to live a christian lifestyle, and discipling them. But NO, we shouldn't be judging their walk or the things they are doing as Christians. For example, if someone is clearly in the Word everyday, we shouldn't be questioning their walk or how in depth they are studying their Bible. That is between that person and the Lord. We should, however, come along side them, help them, guide them, and put our feet where our mouth is, sort of speak. The Bible warns us multiple times about judging others. 

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
James 4:11-12

I like this verse because it reminds me that I have no right or reason to judge others. That's not my responsibility, nor my concern. That is God's job! Sometimes I need to check myself, and evaluate the thoughts I have to make sure they aren't going against what the Word says. 


“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye."
Matthew 7:1-5

If we are going to be God's servants, and leaders to the lost, we need to be very careful about judging others, because we as Christians need to be the example. And if we are judging others and their walk with God, that teaches the newer Christians, and those around us, to do the same thing. And that is not what the Bible says to do. So let's not give the world, or anyone else, a reason to think we are judgmental or hypocritical. I encourage you, take control of your thoughts, and let's raise and lift people up instead of critiquing their every move.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37

Side note: No one is perfect, so if we find ourselves doing this, we should repent and accept God's grace that he freely gives us, for our humanness and imperfections.  



Monday, January 14, 2019

An Accomplishing Word

 By: Joanne Viola

As I turned the page of a new calendar year, I felt compelled to read the first few chapters in Genesis.

After all, what better time to read of the beginning of time than at the beginning of a new year.

Here is what I noticed:
  •  “Then God said ….” (verse 6) and “… that is what happened” (verse 7).
  • “Then God said …” (verse 9) and “… that is what happened” (verse 9).
  • “Then God said …” (verse 11) and  “… that is what happened” (verse 11).
  • “Then God said …” (verse 14) and “… that is what happened” (verse 15).
  • “Then God said …” (verse 24) and “… that is what happened” (verse 24).
  • “Then God said …” (verse 29) and “… that is what happened” (verse 30). 

Cause and effect is where one action results in another.
God spoke and it happened.



 I found myself concluding that God’s Word is certain. His Word is meant to accomplish:

“The rain and the snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11, NLT)

In his book Unshakeable Hope, Max Lucado offers this definition of faith:
“… faith is the deeply held belief that God will keep his promises.”
(from page 6)
God's thoughts are not like ours, nor His ways anything we can fully imagine (see Isaiah 55:8). His plans are far beyond our understanding. But in all things,  He is faithful to His Word and His promises.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not a human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19, NLT)

“So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” (Hebrews 6:18, NLT)

God spoke and it happened. His Word was sure then and it will be sure in 2019. May we hold steadfastly to His Word and promises to us. 

To which promise are you currently holding onto? Won't you share it in the comments and be a source of encouragement to others.