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It. Is. My. Day!

It is MY Day

People often reflect “in my day … ”.

There is rising within me a cry, a shout, a roar – This. Is. My. Day!

This is a roar I want to hear throughout the body of Christ.

What will be the reflection of my day in the next generation? in eternity?

It is MY Day

What will be said of My Day? Will it be looked on with regret or gratitude?

In my day the world went to hell in a handbasket. OR In my day we turn the world upside down for Jesus.

In my day they killed a fifth to a quarter of every generation. OR In my day we prayed and worked to end abortion.

In my day the sacredness of marriage was lost OR In my day we connected people embraced the blessing and holiness of marriage as God’s best.

In my day evil was called good and good evil. OR In my day the love of God flowed so strong we saw people living in truth despite the unrighteous laws.

In my day the youth were deceived, abandoned, and lost. OR In my day the youth caught a vision for a world in love with Jesus. They were unstoppable.

It. Is. My. Day!.

It is your day.

This is our day.

Our day to live like we believe Jesus meant what He said.

  • He died for the sins of the world (John 3:16).
  • He gave us all authority (Luke 10:19).
  • We will do the works He did and even greater (John 14:12).
  • He loves us. The Father loves us like He loves Jesus (John 17:23).
  • Holy Spirit lives in us to teach, to guide, to do good works (John 16:13-15).
  • We lack nothing we need to accomplish the good works He has planned for us to do (2 Peter 1:3).

What will be said of you and your day?

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4 Times Trying Harder Doesn’t Work

4 Times When Trying Harder Doesn't Work

Trying harder works sometimes, for some things.

But what about when it doesn’t? Why does it work sometimes and not others?

Why does it work for some people and not me?

In my search for answers I have come across a few ideas so far.

4 Times When Trying Harder Doesn't Work

1. Trying harder doesn’t work when we don’t have the right tools

For years I tried hard to be the wife, the mom, the Christian I wanted to be. I was trying to do it on my own. I wanted deep, healthy relationships. I didn’t have the tools for that kind of relationship.

It turns out you only learn those tools in relationship. I felt stuck for a long, long time. When I finally risked relationship with genuine people things started to change.

2. Trying harder doesn’t work when we have the right tools but don’t know how to use them

I did Boundaries in a study group years ago. I knew I needed boundaries. I loved the freedom, purpose, and empowerment I heard from people who knew their boundaries.

It didn’t work. I didn’t have a framework in my thinking for them to work. I had the right tools boundaries, but I had nowhere to put them. I couldn’t explain this at the time. I just felt more messed up and hopeless than ever.

3. Trying harder doesn’t work when we have the right tool with the wrong intention. (It’s worse yet when we don’t know we have the wrong intention.)

When my children were elementary age I found a parenting book I loved, Loving Your Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. One of the concepts was to offer choices whenever possible. This keeps you from always saying no. It also allows for your children to begin practicing decision-making skills.

I really wanted to use this new tool of offering choices. The part I didn’t get was how to offer two real choices. It usually sounded like “Do what I said or be in trouble” That’s not really a choice. It’s manipulation trying to disguise itself as having a choice.

I thought I had the right intention but I didn’t and it didn’t work.

4. Trying harder doesn’t work when the right intention isn’t connected to the right tools.

I asked my daughter what she was thinking. I could see she was irritated. My intention was to be a safe place for her to talk about what was upsetting her. It turns out I was what was upsetting her.

My intention to be compassionate and empathetic were not connected to the relational skills to do that. I quickly fell to defending myself and explaining my choices. It led to disconnection and more hurt instead of the connection I had intentions for.

Do you have experience with trying harder and feeling worse instead of better? What has helped you when trying harder didn’t?

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6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Here’s what I mean. I want to live each day with my Father. To do that I need:

I write a sentence, word or phrase for each word.6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

Some days it’s my thoughts to Him:

  • Focus: You are good and bigger than any hurt.
  • Authority: I control my thoughts and choose prayer and praise.
  • Thanksgiving: I thank you for Brian and my kids, and for hard relationships.
  • Hope: God you alone are my hope.
  • Encouragement: With You all things are possible.
  • Rest: I rest in Your goodness and love!

Some days He speaks to me:

  • Focus: I love you. I am working. You are enough.
  • Authority: Bless the day. Walk in authority.
  • Thanksgiving: Praise me all day.
  • Hope: in, Me. I am faithful & true – Always.
  • Encouragement: I am pleased.
  • Rest: I am here. Ask. Listen. Obey.

Some days it’s declarations:

  • Focus: I am loved and accepted.
  • Authority: I have authority in Jesus name.
  • Thanksgiving:  I am blessed beyond measure.
  • Hope: God is working in and through me.
  • Encouragement: It will be worth it.
  • Rest: God is for me. Who can be against me?

Give it a try! I’d love to hear how it goes.

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2 Steps to Finding Rest: Remember and Come

2 Steps to Find Rest

Why is it so hard to rest? Why don’t I have this yet?!

I’ve read the verses, heard the message, gotten the advice, and yet I struggle to rest.

Turns out that is perfectly normal. I hope that is obvious to you. It’s sort of news to me. Especially when it applies to me. In my mind I know change is a process that looks more like wandering than a track race.

You can wander and I will encourage you “You are making progress!”

In my soul I am often beating myself up for not completing a 50 yard dash.

There’s no rest in that.

2 Steps to Find Rest

David talks of resting in the presence of his Shepherd. Jesus promises rest to anyone who comes to Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV

How do I do that?

2 Steps to Finding Rest

Remember

I start with remembering my Father, my Shepherd, my Friend. He is faithful. He is good. He is working to complete the work He started. He is beyond my comprehension. His is holy and righteous, full of grace and truth.

Remembering brings me to a place of peace. He is big enough for whatever I’m facing. I need peace to rest.

Come

I come and receive rest. Not rest as in a life in a hammock on the beach. Rather rest of a solid place to operate from. A place to leave burdens that are not mine to carry. A foundation to hear clearly and obey.

When I remember the God who loves me, who promised me rest, I can come to Him.

I come in repentance. I have not been thinking in agreement with his thoughts or I would be at rest. I come and give Him my worries and fears, my stress and what if’s. He gives me Himself. Beauty for ashes. Joy for mourning. A double portion for shame.

He is a wonderful place to rest.

What interferes with your resting in the Lord?

How do you rest in the Lord?

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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4 Sources of Discouragement & 3 Sources of Encouragement

4 Sources of Discouragement & 3 Sources of Encouragement

Looking at sources for encouragement and discouragement I came up with more sources of discouragement! No wonder it can be so hard to stay encouraged. It definitely takes being intentional.

4 Sources of Discouragement

For me discouragement comes from four sources; Satan, the world, others, and myself.

Satan discourages me with:

  • Lies
  • Accusations
  • Temptation to worry or try to be in control
  • Reminders of my past

The world uses discouraging voices of:

  • Comparison
  • Judgement

Other people discourage me if:

  • They don’t respond the way I wanted them to
  • I don’t feel understood by them
  • We value relationship differently
  • When they try to give me their problems as if they are mine own

I discourage myself by:

  • I agree with any of these other voices
  • Forget it’s about progress not perfection
  • I think my value from people’s approval
  • My identity is in what I can do and do well

I don’t set out to discourage myself. It’s a bad habit I’m replacing with building myself up in the Lord. With all those sources trying to discourage me I have some choices to make.

Who will I listen to? Which side will I be on?

4 Sources of Discouragement & 3 Sources of Encouragement3 Sources of encouragement

No mater how many voices there are I am responsible for my attitude, for my mind-set. I can choose encouragement. I find encouragement when I am intentional about tuning out the voices of discouragement and tuning in the sources of encouragement: God, others, and myself.

God encourages me in these ways:

  • Revealing Himself in Scripture
  • Speaking truth to my heart
  • Through other people

Other people encourage me by:

  • Reminding me who I am, that they believe in me
  • Smiling
  • Listening
  • Offering practical support: meals, dishes, childcare

I encourage myself by:

  • Remembering what God has said
  • Remembering the encouragement of others
  • Singing songs of truth
  • Worshiping
  • Reading scripture
  • Speaking truth out loud
  • Praying
  • Creating something to remind me: a sketch, a painting, a journal entry

What source of discouragement do you find yourself listening to?

How do you encourage yourself?

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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Hold on to Hope

Hold on to Hope

It’s so silly. I struggle to hold on to hope. I obsess and question and study to figure out a way to deal with life’s challenges big and small.

  • what to make for dinner
  • how to better connect with a child
  • healing my soul
  • sorting papers
  • how to organize my ideas
  • my life message

There is hope. There are ways to effectively deal with all of life’s challenges. Hope and solutions come by focusing on Jesus who is The Way.

With Jesus beside me every step of the way I can focus on the current step. I can be present and do my best with this step because if He told me to take it than it is taking me one step closer to where He wants me to go. What may seem to me to be steps sideways or even backwards really aren’t if they are directed by Him. And He is so good that even if I miss it or deliberately go the wrong way He still will use it for my good when I come back to Him and His way!

That’s where hope is.

Hold on to HopeWhen I don’t know what step to take next I simply ask Him. He’s right there.

The hope comes from knowing The Way, Jesus.

The directions He gives, the path to take are tools. They are not where to place my hope. With my hope in the path or the circumstances it becomes about my performance. I know myself and my track record. Hope fades quickly.

I often get discouraged and lose my hope because I am trying to figure out the way myself.

I keep my hope when I remember to focus on Jesus instead of my circumstances or performance.

How do you hold on to hope?

Do you ask Jesus what to do when your hope or direction seem unclear?

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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5 Ways to Practice Being Thankful

5 Ways to Practice Being Thankful

I wish I felt more thankful. Maybe I’m setting myself up for failure.

I’m told to give thanks, not feel thankful. I guess it seems easier for other people than for me.

Being thankful is a choice. I choose to be thankful regardless of feelings or circumstances, or even natural disposition. I naturally tended to be the Eeyore.

I see what’s wrong instead of right.
I see how far there is to go instead of how far I’ve come.
I see the work and get tired.
I also can see the good in people, in hard things, and I choose to give thanks.

I thank Him in faith for the things He has promised.

Why am I not more thankful?

My “but”

I imagine that is much like the apology “I’m sorry, but…”

  • “Thank You for my husband’s job but I wish he didn’t have to work away.”
  • “Thank You for providing for us to build our dream shop but I wish it would go faster.”
  • “Thank You for promising growth and breakthrough but can I be done with this process?”

If I really believe God is good and working ALL things for my good I have no reason for anything but thanksgiving.

5 ways to practice being thankful

1.    Turns complaints to thanks.

“I’m tired of the snow.”

“I’m thankful, snow helps pay my bills.”

2.    Make a list.

I choose to start my time with God thanking Him for something. Even on days that don’t seem too good He is always good and I can always start there. Some days I just stay there. He is good – always. I’m thankful!

3.    Meditate on scripture, soak your mind and spirit in God’s truth.

4. Get rid of the “buts”.

Listen to your thoughts this week as you give thanks. Is there are but tagging along? Repent, confess, ask forgiveness if need be. Ask God for His perspective.

5. Tell someone thank you. Be specific.

“Thank you for helping out.” is nice. “Thank you for bringing a meal and taking the time to listen. It was really encouraging.” is better.

What helps you be more thankful?

If this isn’t something you struggle with what are you most thankful for?

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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4 Ways to Exercise Authority in Faith

4 Ways to Excercise Authority in Faith

You gave them authority over all things. “Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. Hebrews 2:8 NLT

I have been given authority over all things in Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ so have you.

What are we are supposed to do with this authority? What do we have authority over?

  • All things – Ephesians 1:22
  • The world – 1 John 4:4
  • Our thoughts – 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Our speech – Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29
  • Our emotions – Colossians 3:8-14
  • Mountains (obstacles) – Matthew 17:20
  • Satan and his realm – James 4:7, Matthew 10:1, 12:28

4 Ways to Excercise Authority in Faith4 ways I am learning to exercise my God-given authority

1. Blessing my day

Something I started doing recently is blessing my day. I was listening to a message by Joyce Meyer. She said something to the effect of taking authority over your day by blessing it and everything in it. Blessing is more than a saying, more than “I wish you the best.” Our words of blessing carry power and the authority for God to move in the situation we have blessed.

2. Pleading the blood of Jesus

If pleading the blood sounds strange think of a court of law. A defendant is brought before the judge and asked how they plead. They can say guilty or not guilty. Because of Jesus we can say “I plead the blood of Jesus.” Jesus sacrifice makes us righteous, fully adopted children of the Most High God! That carries some major authority. Everything God made available to Jesus is available to us. We are co-heirs with Jesus.

3. Declare my authority

I state my authority, reminding myself and Satan daily that he has no right to me or anything concerning me. I am under the blood of Jesus. My property, finances, family, everything concerning me is under the blood. Jesus provided for it to be safe from the thief.

This changes my perspective. I’m never a victim. I am more than a conqueror in Christ.

4. Over my emotions

I frequently have to take authority over my emotions. Emotions are real. They are not always true and they are even less often a good basis for decisions. I am learning to feel and understand my emotions and what caused them without letting them run my life. Notice I said learning. I still struggle and fail in moments and situations. I will keep learning.

This can look like telling myself to act like the person I want to be instead of how I’m feeling. Get up and make dinner. Sort and file that stack of papers. Go have a conversation and make someone feel welcome.

Have you exercised your authority in any of these ways?

What questions do you have about using your authority?

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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10 Tips to Refocus

10 Tips to Refocus

I can, and do, focus on so many things.

I could focus on my clothes that don’t fit quite right, my body that lumps in the wrong places, where I am going with my writing, and my platform “they” say I have to build. Then there’s ministry and politics and relationships…The list is endless.

The trouble with focusing on all these thing is I can get discouraged, feel overwhelmed and defeated. I have to be careful and I often need to refocus.

I home school my three older children. All of them in high school this year. I can certainly focus on the fact that time is short and I might be messing up. Or I can focus on how precious and amazing my teens are.

We are building a building that is WAY beyond my ability. We need more of everything than we have on our own, more money, more time, more skill, more labor. I can get discouraged or I can focus on God’s faithfulness and provision.

I can focus on my home that isn’t finished and is never clean enough. I can focus on the blessing of no mortgage and  happy memories with my family.

What do I want my focus to be?

I want to be thinking His thoughts, seeing things and people the way He does. I want to focus on His promises and plans instead of mine. His faithfulness, goodness, and grace are a better focus than any of my stuff. When I’m focused on Him I see my stuff more clearly.

So how do I change my focus?

FOCUS ON SOMETHING ELSE.

I know very obvious and not very helpful. It’s true though. Right now you are focused on the words in this post. Look up at the ceiling and you are no longer focused on the words on your screen.

Changing life long thought patterns is not that easy. It is that simple. Each and every time you think about or focus on something you don’t want to focus on refocus on something you want to focus on. Eventually you will have created the new habit of focusing on the right thing.

10 Tips to Refocus

  1. Find scripture and what God has to say about what to focus on. I think of verses that say things like: Set your hearts on things above, seek first the kingdom, Bless the Lord, rejoice, and give thanks.
  2. Read encouraging words, quotes, or scriptures.
  3. Hang pictures that God has used to speak to you, that speak to your destiny and His promises.
  4. Sing hymns, worship, and solid scriptural songs
  5. Take a break
  6. Get alone and tell Satan to leave you alone.
  7. Take authority over anything that is not of God in your home or your environment and release the opposite. If there is tension, tell it to go and release peace.
  8. Write. It is a great way for to process, identify lies, patterns, and connections.
  9. Record the truth God reveals so you can go back to it when you need to refocus.
  10. An accountability partner can be a great help to. This doesn’t have to be intense or time-consuming. It can be as simple as letting your friends know you have a new focus and you want them to ask you how you are doing. Give them permission to respectfully point out when you miss your new focus.

Are you pleased with what you have been focused on?

I’d love to hear if these ideas are helpful and how you refocus, too.

During a quiet time God gave me this idea for directing my thoughts for the day. In the morning I write out my day with the acronym FATHER.

Read the other posts:

For some examples read 6 Ways to Direct Your Thoughts

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How to Handle Hard Days

How to Handle Hard Days

“It’s been a hard year.” I hear myself say this and hate that it rolls off my tongue. I’m so tired of that being my perspective.

It’s been a couple of months and I’m still sorting through things in my soul. It has been a hard year. It has also been a wonderful year.

Trying to get out of the “hard” mindset has brought me back to a tool the Lord gave me a few years ago.

This is where I was then and frankly have been again:

First I feel or think something ugly.

Then I beat myself up because

  • I know better.
  • I’ve dealt with this.
  • I didn’t think I was like that.

Then it gets really good because I can beat myself up for beating myself up!

Sound familiar? I hope not, but I suspect for some it does. Not you? Great! Maybe reading will help you understand a friend who falls into this dreadful, downward spiraling trap.

Reaching out for help wasn’t helping. I would feel worse instead of better. Looking through too many dirty lenses to see help or truth perhaps?

THERE’S CONFUSION.

Why am I feeling this way? Why do I keep thinking that? Why am I here again? I thought I dealt with this. I had a strategy, what was it? Why can’t I change? What am I missing?

THERE’S CONDEMNATION. 

You’ve been teaching people, challenging people to walk victorious and look at you! You should know better. You DO know better. Look at what a mess you are.

THERE’S HOPELESSNESS.

This will never change. I will never change.

Through that stack of dirty lenses and massive cloud of lies the Lord gave me an idea I want to hang onto. Maybe you can hang on to it too.

I live each day with my Father.

Focus. Authority. Thanksgiving. Hope. Encouragement. Rest.

FOCUS:

Where have I set my attention? My affections?

AUTHORITY:

How do things change when I remember Jesus has given me all authority in His name?

THANKSGIVING:

Reflect and acknowledge the goodness of God, the greatness of His character.

HOPE:

Where is my hope? People? Things? Desired outcomes? God alone.

ENCOURAGEMENT:

Asking Father to speak. He is always encouraging.

REST:

Where do I find rest? In His presence is joy, peace and rest.

No matter the circumstance remembering, choosing, abiding with the Father makes it better.

Nothing changes when I remember I am seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Yet everything changes when I remember.

Nothing changes in my circumstances because I draw close to Him. It doesn’t have to.

I change when I draw close to Him. I find peace. I find rest. I remember He is bigger than it all. I remember He is good, beyond my understanding, beyond my seeing. He is working, always for my good. He has called me to rest. (Matthew 11:28)

I’ll explain each of these keys and how I am learning to use them to frame my day in future posts.

As I wrote out this process with the Lord I could feel stress leaving and peace growing. I often reread it during hard times of the day.

I live each day with focus, authority, thanksgiving, hope, encouragement, and rest.

Please share how you handle hard days.