mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 3 – Party Crashers

Have you ever had a guest stay past their welcome? Twenty-four seven we are hosting a party in our mind. There’s an A-list of approved guests, but PARTY CRASHERS scheme to sabotage your celebration. They try to sneak in unnoticed or promise they will only stay a few minutes, but before long they’ve moved in, invited friends and trashed your house! Lust knocks on the front door of your mind and says, “I just want to show you something. Can I come in?” But before you realize he’s invited shame, anger, addiction and anxiety and turned your fun soirée into a nightmare.

matthew 9:4

Philippians 4 gives us the A-List celebrities invited to reside in the walls of our mind. Here are their names, are you ready? (drum roll)

TRUTH / NOBLE / JUST / PURE / LOVELY / GOOD REPORT

The Bible says to mediate on these things. No you don’t have to assume the downward dog yoga position, meditation is older than yoga. God created it. He created our minds to work this way, processes and learning with repetition. Sadly, we are just more familiar with the opposite action—Worry!

Meditate: “to mutter, to muse or to speak to one’s self.” It is the process of mulling something over in your mind and mouth.

Worry: (Meridzoe in Greek) used most often for worry & anxiety, “to be divided, to be pulled in opposite directions, to choke” / (Wyrgan in Old English) to cause anxiety, like a dog gnaws a bone; to disturb or interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind 

Chances are you are either meditating or worrying about something in your mind most of the time. Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life. Notice the definitions of worry. “To be pulled in opposite directions, to choke, to cause anxiety like a dog GNAWS a bone. Isn’t this what worry feels like in your stomach–a gnawing aggitation? Joyce Meyer says, “Worry is like a rocking chair, you stay really busy but it gets you know where.”

40% = things that will never happen

30% = are about the past, which can’t be changed

12% = about criticism of others, mostly untrue

10% = about health, which worrying makes worse and adds stress

8%= are about real problems that can be solved.

(source unknown)

Call Security!

There’s good news, Jesus has sent security to guard your mind party; it’s called PEACE. Peace is the bouncer at the door that checks the true identity of a thought to see if it’s allowed entrance.

Peace is like the umpire in baseball that stands behind the plate and announces if it’s SAFE or OUTTA HERE!

This peace isn’t like the world gives (like a magic number in the bank, perfect circumstances, or a respected diploma), it “will always be with us” (vs. 9) and it passes understanding (vs. 7)—it’s beyond our mind—tapped into God’s mind!

philippians 4:7

Okay, I know you’ve got a burning question. If we’re only supposed to “think” about the good stuff, what about the annoying bad stuff ? Notice the word says to MEDITATE on these things–those high truths in Philippians 4. Yes, we have to address the “not so lovely things” too, but they are not the TOP PRIORITY. Negative thoughts need to be addressed and evicted, but positive thoughts get to stay and hang their pictures on the wall. Cheers! With the A-List thoughts to hang out with, it’s going to be a party to remember!

Evict negative thoughts that are crashing your mind party!

RE:think

  • Recollect your thoughts from yesterday, are they on the A-list?
  • Have any evil thoughts crashed your party and forced you to serve them? Plan your eviction notice!
  • What are some ways PEACE can protect your mind? (Ex. When my husband is traveling I never watch shows about plane crashes or loved loves tragically dying because it can invite fear and worry.)

Scripture:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 6-9 NKJ

Prayer:

Jesus, I thank you for your blood that cleanses my heart and mind. Right now I ask you to clean out an evil thought or spirit that does not belong in me. I send fear, shame, insecurity, (insert your party crasher) an eviction notice that they do not belong in my mind and I will NOT entertain and obey them any longer! I pray for PEACE to come be the security guard of my mind. I invite things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report to attend my thoughts and decorate my walls.

Big God Thought: Peace that passes understanding guards my heart and life.

 

 

 


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 2 – It’s the Thought that Counts

We think of the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” when given a handful of dandelions or a homemade potholder, but the truth of this statement far exceeds a gift. YOUR THOUGHTS COUNT EVERY SECOND AND ARE SHAPING YOUR LIFE!

sowthought

 

Until the last thirty years, scientists did not consider a significant connection between our mind and our physical brain. But new technology for research proves what many Christians believed for centuries: there is a physical link between our minds and our body. Thoughts are electronic impulses feeding our brain with positive or negative energy. These impulses affect the body’s chemistry, hormones and mental well being.

Taking this to a deeper level, research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. As you think those negative thoughts about the week ahead that hasn’t happened yet, or that person who hasn’t actually said or done anything yet, (even in the absence of the concrete stimulus) the toxic thinking has changed your brain wiring in a negative direction and thrown your mind and body into stress. According to Dr Herbert Benson, MD, and president of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute (http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/research/), toxic thoughts lead to stress, which affects our body’s natural healing capacities. Toxic thinking literally ‘wears down’ the brain and the rest of the body. – Dr. Caroline Leaf www.drleaf.com

Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – 21 Day Thought Detox – Day 1

Download the FREE 21 Day Thought Detox Scripture Guide rethink-thought-detox

What shape is your mind in? Is it in need of some updating, refreshing and cleaning out the junk? Romans 12:2 encourages us to RENEW our mind. Our mind or our SOUL (mind, will and emotions) is the part of us that makes choices affecting our physical brain and well being of the whole body. Our MINDSETS (habits and automatic responses) are called to look and smell like God’s Spirit and Kingdom–no “STINKIN’ THINKING!

Continue reading…


psalm 118:13

Are You Feeling Pushed Back?

Is it possible to experience PUSH BACK and not be “set back”? 

YES! We finally experience the breakthrough we’ve been praying for, and then comes…the PUSH BACK! We should’ve expected it, right? Shouldn’t we know there’s a Red Sea after the Egypt victory strut? The thief always comes to see if the seed can be stolen. Around every promise a new Goliath bullies progress.  We sniff victory. We can glimpse the promise ahead…and then, the opposition pushes back. Just when we’re running faster and gaining momentum, the big foot of difficulty trips us up.

2 Corinthians 4:8 – “We are pressed in every way, but not crushed.”

Recently, I’ve have seen some huge breakthroughs and miracles this summer. God always does astonishing things during youth camps, missions trips and the annual LTS course we have every summer.

One breakthrough was with an inspiring lady in our church who adopted a special needs child about 15 years ago. The little girl had been neglected and abused, but this amazing couple opened their big hearts to give her a home and the love she deserved. It’s been a roller coaster throughout the years caring for her and trying to understand her needs. This year a new faith rose up in their hearts to see a breakthrough. They believed God’s purpose for her was greater than confusion and anger, and started actively asking God to bring healing and peace–and He moved! We were seeing God do remarkable things. The angry outbursts lessened, she started enjoying worship and coming to church, she was making friends and getting along with the other people in her home. They were standing up against the limits. PROGRESS…MOMENTUM. Slow, but steady…AND THEN, the PUSH BACK.  An unforeseen traumatic event occurred that caused her to regress.

Sadly, I’ve heard this story of opposition many times this month…

  • A mentor and friend made huge strides through a surgery…and then the push back came, which caused her to end up in the hospital again.
  • A couple made huge progress in their relationships and then…PUSH BACK, a massive fight.
  • People testified about financial miracles and how God had blessed them with two cars for the first time in their life…PUSH BACK, a lay off and car accident.
  • My husband was making huge strides in his health. He met the sunrise for his morning run every day, organized a connect group to run and encourage others and ended the day with push ups and sit ups. He made huge progress and then…the PUSH BACK! He developed bursitis in his hip to the point that he needed a wheelchair to help him off the plane in Canada last week.

There’s only one word to describe the initial feeling that comes with the push back…FRUSTRATION!

Frustration = the feeling of being upset or annoyed especially because of inability to change or achieve something; prevention of progress, success or fulfillment (Oxford dictionary)

Deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfilled needs. (Webster’s)

Frustration exists when progress toward a desired goal is blocked. Frustration is a threat to one’s feelings of adequacy and can be an obstacle to reaching a goal…How we REACT to frustration determines in large extent whether or not we reach the desired goals. (Understanding Human Behavior)

That frustration arises because we see the potential in front of us. We know we are capable. We’ve seen the possibility, tasted the reality and then suddenly…the rug is pulled out from under us in an attempt to stop us. Frustration makes it clear the potential is there, but annoys because it’s not realized. Is there a way to harness the power of the push back to actually thrust us forward? 

Three Things to Harness the Power of the Push Back:

  1. Don’t doubt God’s goodness. It is always the enemy’s ploy to twist the plot, and despise the hand that helps us. In all of life’s opposition and obstacles, we cannot let our hearts be torn from our refuge and rescue. Whenever those lies start to invade our mind, we have to take them captive. Thoughts like, “Does God really love me? Why would He let this happen?” Voices determine choices. In times of struggle, we have to hear God’s voice closer and louder than the lies and doubts of the enemy. (In times like this, who we hang around is crucial. Are they feeding my frustration or feeding my faith?)  Dr. Graham Catto always reminds us during the LTS course how, “We only feel the resistance of the wind when we stand up against it, if we’re just lying down we don’t feel the opposition.” If you’re swimming upstream, yes–you’ll feel the push back of the opposition, but don’t blame God for it! He is there to guide you and give you strength. Psalm 118:13, “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.”Resistance
  2. Push back in the opposite spirit. We’re not going to quit and go home. There’s more to us than that. We win if we don’t quit–because He has already won the war! As 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 7 says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We don’t fight back in natural strength or in logic and reason. We don’t counter back with attacks that resemble the enemy’s–revenge, anger and pride. We fight with supernatural strength that opposing doubt with faith, depression with hope and disappointment with grace. As chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians continues, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Maybe you’re on the sofa recovering physically today, but your spirit can soar in His strength. Many theologians believe that we place the wrong emphasis on the phrase “like a flood” in Isaiah 59:19. We are used to hearing, “When the enemy comes in like a flood (meaning the enemy is overwhelming with a huge PUSH BACK), the Lord will raise up a standard against it.” While this is a great promise of the Lord’s response to the enemy’s attacks, many theologians believe it is better translated like the Amplified and many other versions read. It places the emphasis on the LORD being the FLOOD that will push back on the enemy! Picture a tsunami. His strength makes the enemy’s PUSH BACK attempts look small. Praise can unlock this strength. (Psalm 118:14-16)

So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun. For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream, Which the breath of the drives (overwhelming the enemy). Isaiah 59:19 (Amplified Bible)

3. Let the push back be your sling shot. Without Goliath there was no David. Without Pharaoh, who would Moses be? There are no great stories without an antagonist. There are no great victories without PUSH BACKS to overcome. God uses our enemies to reveal his glory. The resistance grows our faith muscles. The opposition makes us stronger.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 Message Push Back

Let the PUSH BACK cause your TAKE OFF! 

If you google “push back,” you’ll see another popular way of using this phrase. When a loaded aircraft is ready for take off, it has to be “pushed back” from the gate. A small tractor or “tug” pushes the several ton aircraft away from the terminal and toward the runway. You are like that 737 — packed with potential and ready to take flight and see the places and faces of your calling. If we can change how we see our obstacles, we can let the PUSH BACK propel us to our destiny, instead of setting us back in frustration. Maybe instead of setting us back, God’s purpose all along was to “set us up”.

We are ready for take off. Come on, push back!

 

 

 


correction2

Why is it hard to feel loved when corrected?

This week my dog, Winston, and I had a showdown of wills—my desire to trim his horribly long nails and his will to be left alone. I’m not sure where his complete and utter abhorrence of nail trimming originates. I’m sure it’s from some dark moment from his puppyhood. The fact remains he is in danger of harming himself and others. Because I love him, his nails must be corrected!

winston the Olde English Bulldog

This job is usually a two-man task. My daughter feeds him wienies, while I sneak up and grab a paw. This week I had no help, but I determined—today is the day, this has gone on long enough! As you can imagine, it wasn’t pretty. I persevered and ended up with a small tooth mark and bruise on my hand from him biting me! I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. In his mind, he was only defending himself from the horrible silver-trimming monster. He saw the potential hurt, not the intended help. Why is it so hard to be corrected?

Correction: a change made to something in order to correct or improve it, or the action of making such a change (Cambridge Dictionary)

Sometimes I’m like Winston and bite the hand that’s trying to help and heal me when it looks like correction. Correction comes to keep us from hurting others, and ourselves, but why does it sting? Hebrews 12 says God only corrects those He loves, but why don’t I feel loved during the initial correction? It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary and it requires change. Sadly, our first response is defense.

So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. (Hebrews 12: 5-6, MSG)

A few years ago, the doctor warned my husband that he had to lose weight in order to correct his blood pressure. He tells the story how his first thought was, “well, you’re not so trim yourself!” The Lord quickly corrected him, “Well, we’re not talking about the doctor now are we?”

I’m loving the Olympics right now. Listening to a coach’s correction is crucial (even in table tennis)! Can you imagine an athlete looking at their coach and saying, “Well I’d like to see you do it!” No. They are getting paid to correct and train them. But sadly, this is often our defensive response when God sends people our way to train and correct us.

Correction requires a choice. Will I RECEIVE correction and change, trusting God has my best in mind? OR, will I RESIST and grow stagnant in my defense? That decision will be the mark of maturity.

correction

A poignant verse in Zephaniah 3 reveals the results of resisting correction.

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:1-2

If we draw near to Him, we’ll see His love behind the correction and hear His true voice. Instead of hearing, “You screw up, what are you thinking? You better do better!” We hear the Father’s heart saying, “Hey, let’s tweak this and you’re doing to be a lot happier with the results of your life.” Maybe the next time we sense the Holy Spirit’s correction; we’ll welcome the scary trimmers that help heal us. Even if we don’t feel “loved” at the moment, we’ll realize how LOVE is the motivation and will be the result if we obey.

If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. John 14:15 (The Voice)

My prayer of correction…

Lord, keep your finger on my heart. Give me a teachable spirit. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, because I defiantly have more to know! Help me to keep growing and learning. I boldly say…(brace yourself) CORRECT ME Lord, and I will obey. Because no matter rather I FEEL loved at the moment or not—I trust your heart for me is good and your lovingkindness leads me to life through my repentance.

 

 


The One Wedge I Hate

I love all kinds of wedges, let’s see…there’s cheese wedges…

auribella_beauty

potato wedges…

Super-Wedges-Pic-8

door wedges…

huperwoman.com

and my favorite (especially for testing my grace and agility) high heel wedges…

converse wedge

 

Wedges are powerful things. They are one of the six ancient simple machines devised for making a job quicker and easier by using leverage to multiply the force. It’s two inclined planes that come to a sharp edge. If you can get the edge “wedged” in between two things, they separate and start working against each other to move apart.

He drives wedges between us.

Being a pastor for over twenty years, this device sounds very familiar to me. It’s the exact method the devil schemes to separate relationships–he drives a WEDGE between us. Same game he’s played through the ages. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Paul and Barnabas. He looks for any gaps–hurts, disappointments, misunderstandings–to bring separation and ultimately destruction.

It starts out small, but sharp enough to hurt. Then the force behind it continues to drive the wedge deeper and deeper until it’s jammed between hearts. Vain imaginations, gossip and insecurity are the hammer force to the WEDGE which splinters offense, mistrust and even disdain as it obstructs the beauty that once was.

Romans 8:35, & 39 assures us nothing can drive a WEDGE between us and God’s love for us.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?…I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35, 39 Message

The Message translation uses the word WEDGE for the Greek word chōrizō which means, to separate, divide, depart, or pull asunder. Jesus tried to tell us how important it was to take THAT unswerving love from the Father and let it fuel our love for each other. But…and this is a BIG BUT, I know… It’s so much harder to love others! The Lord never fails. His unconditional love is always patient, pure, selfless, mature and purposeful. He’s perfect, people aren’t. People are broken, fickle, hurtful, manipulating, and self-centered. People fail. I fail people.

What is the glue that can heal our relational wedges?

Paul instructed the Corinthians that “there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 KJV, underline added) Isn’t that a lovely King James word, “schism”? It means division, split or gap. Paul knew what he was writing about. At this exciting time in the New Testament, there was ripe opportunities for believers to take sides and stick to old mindsets. He and Barnabas decided to stop being travel buddies, when they disagreed about John Mark, who was Barnabas’s nephew. (Add in some family expectations and tension and we have a real wedge on our hands!) Paul didn’t believe John Mark cut the mustard because he had run out on them before, and this could have been a permanent wedge of hurt between them.

And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. [Acts 15:37–40]

We don’t know what happened in Paul’s heart or Barnabas’s heart or in John Mark’s, but at the end of Paul’s mission while imprisoned he asks Timothy to send for John Mark because “he was profitable” to him. 2 Timothy 4:11 Somewhere love removed the wedge.

We know WEDGES will happen.

The threat of wedges are unavoidable. Husbands and wives, fathers and sons, sister to sister, friend to friend–no one is immune. The definition of a wedge is very interesting to me. I thought it would simply be “something used to pull apart.” But look…

Wedge: 1. a block of solid material, esp wood or metal, that is shaped like a narrow V in cross section and can be pushed or driven between two objects or parts of an object in order to split or secure them. (dictionary.com)

What the enemy schemes to SPLIT us — God intends to use to SECURE us!

FACE the wedge!

Yes, it’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Yes, it’s easier to splinter off and stay hurt and offended. Yes, it’s easier to fall into the devil’s schemes to stop God’s purposes and Kingdom relationships in your life. But, YES, it’s worth it! Do all you can to pursue peace. Maybe you just need to face the wedge in your own heart and forgive, or maybe you need to talk to the other person to work it out. You stand before God for your heart condition. Are there wedges and splinters there?  You aren’t accountable for other’s choices, and you can’t control them; but you can control yours!

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (Hebrews 12:14-15 Message)

Here’s to seeing more cheese and potato wedges than bitter wedges! Oh wait, and “door wedges” too! Let me be a person that holds doors open for others–not slam them shut. (And then they’ll know that we are his disciples, because we love like him. John 13:35)

What kind of wedge will you be?


late bloomer

The Beauty of Late Bloomers

Do you feel like a late bloomer? Does it seem like everyone around you is succeeding while you are struggling to stay planted?

Late Bloomer:  someone who becomes successful, attractive, etc., at a later time in life than other people; a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. 

Kris’s Definition – someone who’s been storing up seeds of genius and have just burst on the scene to everyone’s shock & surprise 

A Tale of One Tree

I grew up in the windy Texas Panhandle with tumbleweeds instead of trees, so I have high regard for my green friends. (Okay, I may be a tree-hugger.) This spring I was so concerned about the tree on the left side of the driveway. The tree on the right side was blooming nicely, the backyard Dogwood’s blessed us with vibrant pink bouquets, and all the neighbors trees were strutting their stuff as they sprouted with life; while my left side tree looked dead!

I told my husband I thought I’d better call a tree doctor because something was obviously wrong with it.  I was calculating the costs of chopping it down or replacing it, but somehow hoping it could awaken to the call of spring! I decided to inspect it closer and see if the twigs were hard and brittle. I broke off a small twig, hoping for the best, and discovered the inside had hints of green and was flexible–not hard and breakable. SIGNS OF LIFE! I prayed and spoke life into my little barren tree. (I didn’t hug it – but did lay hands on it!)

signs of life

We waited – nothing. Day after spring day–nothing but bare, naked bark. I can imagine how my little late bloomer felt, “left out” on the left side of the driveway, while all the other trees were showing off their spring wardrobe of flashy, lush leaves and sweet-smelling blooms–it was stuck in winter. Would it’s season ever shift?

Then finally! One day I pulled into the driveway to spot it…not a flower, but a lone, little leaf. Hope. My late bloomer had sprouted into spring.

a sprig of hope for a late bloomer

No flowers or fanfare ever came. Just, faithful, day after day progress with another small leaf and another small leaf and little buds of emerging potential.

a sprig of hope for a late bloomer

I cheered it on and appreciated it’s tenacity far more than all my other overachieving trees in the yard…this one might have been late, but it was WORTH WAITING ON! 

Late bloomer comes around

Today, if you drive by my house you would never know which tree bloomed first or last, which one struggled and overcame–but I do.

Maybe you feel like a LATE BLOOMER today. Can you relate to my little tree tale? Does it seem everyone around you is succeeding, while you struggle?

Jeff Brown quote

Who says when it’s too late? Be blooming awesome!

Don’t give up! Look inside–to your heart–is the life of God inside you? Are the seeds of His purpose and passion still planted? Don’t dig them up! Let your roots sink into good soil and stay put. Let your failures be your lessons that fertilize your roots and strengthen and stretch out. Stay flexible and movable, willing to change and bend with the wind. Don’t give up on your spring…It’s time to burst on the scene and surprise all the naysayers who were ready to chop you down. You may be a late bloomer, but you are worth waiting for!

Late bloomer finally catches up

When Cynicism Clouds Faith

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. H. L. Mencken

Cynicism abounds in our media world, probably because it seems much more entertaining to complain and find fault than to honor and encourage. Radio spots advertise how, on the next episode, they would reveal “who is cheating, who is on the verge of a breakdown, who has just divorced, who has been arrested, as well as who has gained 20 pounds.” Our culture thrives on exposing the negative and ridiculing the weak. It is much more fashionable to gossip about the bad than celebrate the good, and before we know it, the negative slant begins to color our own reality.

Cyncicism

Cynicism is expressed doubt, the tip of the iceberg attached to the much deeper problem.  The pessimistic state of mind is meant to shield us from the hurt of disappointment, since we feel that low expectations will minimize the pain of being let down. But, instead of providing a wall of protection from pain, our pessimism actually becomes a barricade to the presence of God. Furthermore, instead of being a repellant for pain, it actually attracts more hurt, as the projections of worst-case scenarios become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

My friend, Jeff Lucas, describes it brilliantly in his book, Lucas on Life. He says, “We rightly fear cynicism: the cancer that so readily strikes the hopeful. The cynical heart is freezer-cold, unable to be warmed by the God, who really does come and work among his people. Cynicism takes the tenderhearted worshiper and turns him into an arms-folded spectator, a scowling analyst with a stopwatch and clipboard under his arm, and a bless-me-if-you dare expression on his face…The cynic may smile a smug grin and feel that he is more mature than the rest of us naïve simpletons, but his is the grip of a disease and delusion. There is only one cure for cynicism—we must repent of it. It is unbelief by another name.”

It is a serious issue. Doubt masquerades in cynicism and leads us away from faith, and that which is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Inconsistent faith

To read more from this chapter, “Fight Kryptonite” order your copy of Huperwoman today for Kindle at Amazon or get your paperback copy at The Bridge Church in Denton, Texas.

 


IMG_4796

I Still Do – 25 Years Renewed

This week my husband and I celebrated our silver 25th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows. (I know, maybe cheesy…and I love the quote about, “there’s nothing broken about our vows so why get new ones”…But, we felt it was important to celebrate this milestone with our family–so we did!) Miraculously, all three of our children’s schedules lined up to join us as we returned to our honeymoon destination–Orlando Florida!

i still do

I surprised Duane with a DVD copy of our wedding ceremony. (Thank you Sam’s Club who now turns old VHS tapes into DVDs!) We had not watched it in about 15 years because we no longer owned a VHS player! In-between the arcade-like special effects and the 80’s hang over fashions, we watched two very young and naive kids vow to love each other in front of family and friends–many of them are no longer with us on the earth. Our wedding wasn’t expensive (I got my wedding dress second-hand out of the Classifieds for $100) or anywhere near “Pinterest perfect”, but there was something very special about it…God’s presence was there.

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Duane and the groomsmen entered to the pianist singing the Old hymn, “Just As I Am.” This has become one of the theme’s of our marriage.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just “as we were” we came together. Broke, but blessed. Young, but learning. Clueless, but hopeful…

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Looking back through the pages of 25 years, we are amazed and so thankful for God’s grace beyond our own strength. On celebration days like these, you don’t remember the late night fights, the heated discussions over which bills have to be paid first, doubts about parenting choices, and the hard days you didn’t know you signed up for.

Duane and I both come from divorced families. When you’re a child of divorced parents you live with an imaginary question mark over your own marriage — is it inevitable? is divorce my fate too? I’m no better than my parents…what makes us think we can make it? Those question marks can haunt you and cause you to keep a white flag of surrender within careful reach.

Until you return to the old hymn again…

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

25th anniversary

Our kids made our day so special! Ashton fixed my hair and took all the pictures. Kelsey did my makeup, helped me get into my dress and then read us a beautiful letter during our ceremony. Cody, our son, officiated our fun and low key ceremony by a lagoon. He used sayings with a wink and smile that he’s heard his Dad say for years in wedding ceremonies and added his own personal sentiments. If all we had to show for the last 25 years was these three–it was worth the promise.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

family at 25th anniv.

As we ate our anniversary dinner, we made a list of memories we were thankful for and things we are looking forward to in the next 25 years. We pray that our struggles will somehow become others strengths and that our cup will overflow to bless others. We vowed to each other to keep growing and learning, and never adopt the attitude that we’re older and established–we can cut corners and slack off. Growing older together cannot be a downhill slide into mediocrity, but an adventure of new breakthroughs and victories in becoming the best version of ourselves.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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The average wedding costs around $26,000 today (costofweddings.com) and sadly most people focus on preparing a wonderful WEDDING (presenting the best version of themselves to the world), instead of preparing a wonderful MARRIAGE (endeavoring to grow and learn together). I’m thankful God did not leave us how He found us on that rainy day on March 16, 1991.

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One of the best moments of our Anniversary day was re-watching our young selves declare our vows to each other. We had no idea the surprise awaiting us as we reminisced those vintage words of promise. Amid the uproarious laughter from our children making fun of our youthful country twangs, we RE-DISCOVERED a beautiful hint of God’s destiny. Twenty-four-year old Duane (with hair) told starry-eyed Kris (with super BIG hair), “Kris…you are EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY, and ABOVE anything I could have dreamed.” (Ephesians 3:20) This was pre-HUPER revelation in our lives, but seeds of destiny were simmering…and God was smiling.

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His presence and power makes all the difference – good days and bad days. We will continue to come “just as we are” if you Lord, will continue to COME to us as YOU ARE because your presence makes all the difference!

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No matter where you are today in your journey–at a rough patch or a celebration, staring at the question marks or dotting the exclamation–there is an invitation for you…to come. He never leaves you like He finds you and you’ll be surprised at the destiny simmering inside of you!

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Photos courtesy of Ashton White