Encouragement

Have You Been Quieted in His Love?

There is nothing in our journey quite like being quieted in His love. Have you been? Is this a normal part of your walk with Jesus? All of hell is against this! Fear assaults us daily while stress, anxiety, nervous tension, constant worry and trauma work there <insidious plan in our lives. We cannot quiet in His love if focused on these demons. But we must. It is a non-negotiable daily part of our joy in Him. These demons will flee as we quiet in His love!

There's nothing to fear from evil ever again! God Is Present among You 16 Jerusalem will be told: Don't be afraid. Dear Zion, don't despair. 17 Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. 18 The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate. I, your God, will get rid of them for you. You've carried those burdens long enough. 19 At the same time, I'll get rid of all those who've made your life miserable. I'll heal the maimed; I'll bring home the homeless. In the very countries where they were hated they will be venerated. Zephaniah 3:15b-19, The Message

Truly, what marvelous news this is!

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

You ask a bunch of guys about their biggest fears, and you hope for some open dialogue. You don’t really expect someone to whisper from the depths of the fog.

“What if I’m hopeless? This addiction killed my dad and my grandma. My sister’s relapsed over and over for fifteen years. And I’ve prayed and done everything I can for a decade, but I keep falling into the same pattern.

“What if I’m broken so bad that even God can’t fix me?”

How are you gonna respond to that? Think carefully, because whatever you say better not rhyme. It better not be some platitude or theological truism. He’s heard them all, and they’re salt rubbed in an open, bleeding wound.

We don’t want to hear “God can’t.” Our first reaction is to argue — God can do anything! And when that fails — you can’t argue your way out of the fog — we’re tempted to retreat to the safety of the Christian cocoon where the light’s bright, the fog’s clear, and people don’t talk about the hopelessness of addiction and depression.

The Three Graces: Powerful to Equip You

The Three Graces are known in both Greek and Roman mythology as the muses of poetry, music and of course, art.

Lately, I've gained an intense appreciation for their numerous depictions in sculpture and on canvas.

I've been working on an article concerning body image; therefore, I've researched how beauty definitions have changed over time. This, inevitably, brought me to “The Three Graces.".

Centuries ago, the Rubenesque body shape, defined as a voluptuous female figure, was desirable.

In the 1600's, artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens was inspired by this fuller figure in his 1635 work, The Three Graces.

Heart Hope at the End of Your Rope

What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?

But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message


Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.

The Spiritual Man (Words Change Their Meaning)

As time passes, words change their meaning and often come to mean something very different from their earlier intent. In Shakespeare's day, the word "honest" meant sexually chaste; now it refers to a general truthfulness and dependability.

At other times, words remain somewhat the same in their general meaning, but with a dramatically different intention. "Spiritual" is one such word. Paul in Romans 7:14 says,

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The word "spiritual" is, in the Greek original, pneumatikos; it does refer to nonmaterial reality, but even more, to power. To say God's law "is spiritual" is to say that it is powerful beyond man's ability to imagine. It has all the power of God and His heavenly hosts behind it. In this sense, the spiritual man is the most powerful man; he is not a pale and weak figure on the sidelines of life, but God's mover and shaker.

Freedom from Bondage

We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version

Ten Tips for Preventing Relapse

1) Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture. Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image. That is most dangerous, for the mind always tries to complete what it pictures. So always picture "success" no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:6

2) Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal ability or strength come to mind, deliberately voice the words of God:
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."Isaiah 41:10

3) Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Depreciate every so-called obstacle. Minimize them. Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Overcoming Stinkin' Thinkin'

One of the most common types of skills learned in psychotherapy today focuses on our thinking. Unbeknownst to many of us, we often engage in internal conversations with ourselves throughout the day. Unless we're trained to examine these conversations, however, many of us don't even realize we're having them! For instance, imagine looking in the mirror at yourself. What's the first thing you think when you look at yourself? That thought is a part of our internal conversation.

Having these kinds of conversations with yourself is perfectly normal and in fact, everybody does it. Where we mess up in our lives is when we let these conversations take on a life of their own. If we answer ourselves in the above example with something like, "I'm fat and ugly and nobody loves me," that's an example of "stinkin' thinkin'." Our thoughts have taken on an unhealthy attitude, one that is working against us instead of for us. Psychologists would call these thoughts "irrational," because they have little or no basis in reality. For instance, the reality is that most everyone is loved by someone (even if they're no longer with us), and that a lot of our beauty springs from inside us — our personality.

Addiction and Laziness

Those who have done the most for their recovery have been early, on a daily basis, to pour headway on their desires to remain clean.

He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunities and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking recovery will make poor headway seeking it the rest of the day – especially newcomers whose addiction had been escalating in an alarming manner. If recovery is not first in our thoughts and efforts, we may become sidetracked, by temptation, toward certain failure. Morning listlessness demands listless recovery.

It is not simply the getting up that puts recovery to the front, but it is the ardent desire which stirs and breaks all self-indulgent behaviors. Early morning promotion may also increase your strength to the desire rather than the quenching of it. This strength in the face of laziness and self-indulgence gives rise to our faith, fullness, and gladness during the labor of the day.

Ascending the Heights of Grandeur

Only in Papa can we ascend the heights of grandeur, while at the same time plumbing the depths of commonness. That sums up my journey in Christ. The expectations of greatness have far exceeded my wildest dreams or imaginations and the simplicity has astounded me -- a simpleton (not meaning that in a self-deprecating way).

At times I've literally pinched myself to see if I was only imagining where I was being allowed to sojourn. And at other times I've slapped myself to make sure I wasn't asleep at the wheel of life. I know you can track with me. You can, can't you? Or am I the craziest of the King of Kings, Kingdom Kids?

The royal helpmate he gave me to share the journey with... the offspring (natural and spirit born) that have so far exceeded any dream I could have held for their life in Christ...the people he's allowed me to walk with and know... the lifelong friends who have loved me through the 'best and worst' of times (you know who you are)... the exotic and also awful places on this planet I have followed him to... the absolutely insane investment he continues to make in my life... on and on it goes!

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