Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  – John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

wERA4ybWWc6eW6phrckP8CBe3W5wG8seBzQdA87T6tacfepC_4_600.jpgCreate a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Does Your Light Shine?

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Happiness is derived from helping others, making a difference, and serving the world in your own unique way.  For me, I try to do it by helping those who are struggling.

No matter what your purpose is, let your underlying mission be to “live your life in a way people say  “There’s something different about them and I want to feel the same peace, joy, and love in my own life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Here are five ways you can share this idea:

1. Look for ways to be a blessing.

Letting your light shine means letting all the good within you come out. In a world full of negativity, you will be amazed at the light which enters your world when you do something good.  It is like a burst of fresh air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing to others with simple random acts of kindness.  It can be as easy as a “thank you” or holding the door for someone, or paying for someone’s coffee.  It can be for someone you know or someone you don’t know – either way, your light with shine.

2. Refuse to be judgmental.

One of the fastest ways to turn people away from God is to judge them. And sometimes we do it without even realizing it.  Have you heard the saying “hate the act not the person”?  Basically, we can acknowledge a person has done wrong without condemning them for it.  We are all sinners and fall short every day.   We have all done things we need to be forgiven for, and by grace the grace of God,  we have received forgiveness.  Choose to pray for those you feel tempted to judge – not always an easy thing to do. Embrace and support others when they are trying to do better. .

3. Speak up for what is just.

Speak up for what is just—not right. Do you confuse being right with doing right? I know I have.  We should really be focusing more on doing right. No matter what, especially during conflict, it’s essential you treat people justly. Ensure those who cross your path are better off because they encountered you.  When in a situation where others are being cheated, disrespected, or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. Don’t ATTACK but do it in a direct, calm, straightforward, and nonjudgmental manner.  It may not always be easy but it is important to do.

4. Let go of the desire to fit in.

This is probably the toughest thing for this “people pleaser”.  Letting our light shine when we feel the need to fit in everywhere you go, is probably the hardest thing for me.  I am learning a simple smile, talking kindly to people can make all of the difference in the world.  When we are more concerned about being an instrument of truth and love rather than fitting in, our light will shine.

5. Don’t hide your spiritual life.

Do you have a relationship with God but pretend publicly he is not central in your life?  If God is an important part of who you are, why would you keep it to yourself?  Does it have something to do with fitting in?  I don’t mean you need to have a Bible on your desk or quote scripture all of the time. When an opportunity comes up  to share where your strength comes from or how blessed you are, be honest.  Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.  You will also stop trying to please the world.

8330AB52.jpgHas your light dimmed in today’s crazy world?  I challenge you this week to find one way to share your light with the world.  Share how you did it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You Are Beloved and Chosen

 

Thank you Holley Gerth for today’s message.

I step into a Junior High lunch room that smells like old fries and sticky plastic trays. I scan the scene—the popular kids at one table, bookworms at another, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. Who will look up and invite me over?

Tell me who I am.

My friends and I have crushes and dates and boyfriends. We fix our hair a hundred different ways. Crowd into dressing rooms to try a thousand different outfits. Loop silver and gold through our ears. The doorbell rings and he is holding roses.

Tell me who I am.

I am typing into a small screen and pressing “publish.” Sending my heart in black and white into the internet. There will be comments and likes, criticisms and compliments. I watch the cursor blink.

Tell me who I am.

Isn’t this the whisper of our hearts as women? The friends, the men, the crowd. They will tell us if we are okay. If we are worthy. If we are enough. Isn’t that their job?

But then I bump into this verse, “But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people” (John 2:24). All people. The popular kids and the bookworms, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. This verse has been there all along and it’s been a head-scratcher for me. He didn’t entrust Himself to them?

Then suddenly it occurs to me this might the answer: Jesus is the only human to walk this spinning planet and not say Tell me who I am. He didn’t look to others to definite His identity, to determine His worth. “Instead He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). “Judge” has a reputation of being a harsh word but I don’t think that’s the meaning here. I think it’s saying that God alone knows the truest-truth and that’s why His opinion is the only one that really matters.

Of course, we are going to care what others think. We’re going to desire acceptance and want to fit in. This is the way we’re created to connect. The only folks who don’t are sociopaths. So, no guilt about this, no shame or hardening our hearts. Instead we can simply say, “But God gets the final word.”

Tell me who I am.

And God says we are beloved and chosen, cherished and gifted, wanted and a divinely-shaped wonder.

When someone says, “You’ll never amount to anything,” He says, “You can do all things because I strengthen you” (Philippians 4:13).

When someone tells us, “You don’t look the right way,” He whispers, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

When someone implies, “You aren’t wanted,” He declares, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1b).

God is the One who gives us our identities. He is the One who sets us free from condemnation and comparison, hustling to be liked and trying to be perfect. He is the One right there with us every time we feel tempted to listen to the lies. May His love always be louder than any other voice.

Tell us who we are.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Overcoming Negative Internal Chatter

Thank  you Rachel Wojo for today’s message…

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:5, ESV).

The morning alarm sounded. I batted thin air, trying to shut off the noise without opening my eyes. Suddenly, it hit me. An epiphany that yes, I had overslept!!! By 45 minutes!! I’m guessing you can relate to the pandemonium that followed. I rushed 5 kids through an exceptionally abbreviated morning routine and somehow managed to pull up in front of the school only 15 minutes after the bell rang. I remembered the “I-love-you’s” and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But as I pulled away from the curb, a wave of self-reproach folded over me. “How could you do this? What kind of mother sleeps through her alarm?” The belittling questions streaming through my mind overwhelmed my heart. “You shouldn’t have laid back down for ‘just a few minutes.” I felt powerless to stop it. Negative internal chatter over a rough start to the day threatened to ruin the entire day.

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Whether it was one small decision you wish you could change or a bigger mistake that couldn’t be reversed, the ticker tape of your mind rolled with continual adverse thoughts. One thought led to another that led to another and before you knew it, you felt consumed by the tornado of pessimism.

Maybe you’ve read all the quick fixes on thinking positive thoughts. But thinking positively requires more than just stopping the negative swirl of the mind. It requires digging deep and making a choice. The choice to set your mind on truth. Making that choice is often contrary to feelings, isn’t it?

Today’s Scripture focus helps us understand the power in our choice. Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, explains that when we choose negative thoughts? We are setting our minds on temporary issues that die. Things that fade away. But when we choose to place our minds on the truth of God’s Word, it creates a lasting impact. Our temporary world of thoughts is peaceful, and life is breathed into our souls.

Whether the issue is worry, anxiety, fear, anger or self-confidence, the truth of God’s Word must be our guide to replacing negative internal chatter. The simple choice of setting our minds on the truth of God’s Word in place of our fleshly temporal thoughts contains the power to change not just a single moment or a day, but our entire lives!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Give Yourself Permission to Make a Change

 

Change – it’s not something which is easy for me – or most people.  I am again learning how I can’t change the past, I can’t go back an get a new beginning.  BUT what I can do is start a new start today and make a new ending.

At the ripe old age of 61 with MS kicking my butt a lot of days, I wonder if it is to late to make changes.  I think back to the many changes I made in my career – I started out looking at law school to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves, then it was off to Atlantic City to work in the hotel/casinos.  As my addiction progressed and finally sent me to my knees, a new passion emerged and my life as a social worker was born.  A career I would not change for the world.  I learned so much and it gave me a chance to make difference in the lives of others.  I know I am squirreling…..

How often have you asked yourself if it is too late to change careers and pursue something you are  more passionate about.  The truth is “It’s never too late,”!  If you feel led in a new direction, make a plan to transition and go for it!

Whether you are in your twenties, or  in your sixties — it is never too late.  Life is too short to settle and be unhappy.  So whether you want to change jobs, save a relationship or start planning for retirement – DO IT!  I know, easier said then done, right?

The first thing you need to do is LET GO of the idea it’s too late to change the course of your life.  Stop comparing yourself to others and where they are.  Give up the shoulda, coulda and woulda.  The world pressures us to believe everything has to happen in a certain time frame, and when we want to go a different route, FEAR steps in.  It can feel as though it is “against the rules” to follow a path outside the norm.  Who is to say what the “norm” is?   Fear will keep you stuck where you are, thinking it is wrong to change your mind about what you want in life. God will often lead you in a new direction when you have learned all you were supposed to learn at a particular stage of your life.  Have you learned everything you could for your current stage of life?

Our experiences develop us into a unique person and our path doesn’t look like anyone else’s and it shouldn’t. Believe it or not, the mistakes you’ve made – you can learn from them and use those lessons to make a change sometimes for the better..

Is it time to reconsider the things you had decided it was too late to do?  Why not rekindle your desire for change.  Give yourself permission to dream a bigger dream,  walking a divinely inspired path which is uniquely yours.  It’s not too late to try something new.  In fact, life becomes stale when you get stuck in a rut.  I know, it’s tempting to give up on the idea you could have what you really want in your life, but you don’t have to give in to temptation. Your journey becomes richer and more joyful when you remain open to your possibilities.

Here are some things it’s not too late for you to do:

  • Change careers
  • Go back to school
  • Fall in love
  • Apologize to someone you hurt
  • Forgive someone who hurt you
  • Plan a trip to your dream destination
  • Have children (even if it’s biologically impossible, the child you were meant to have may be waiting to be adopted by you)
  • Start saving for retirement
  • Get fit
  • Start taking better care of yourself
  • Turn your finances around
  • Deepen your relationship with God
  • Change your attitude or your perspective on life

Today is a NEW day and I am letting go of the thoughts of “it’s too late”.  Just for today, I am going to focus on the positive and where I want to be in my life.  I am going to open my mind to new possibilities. I’m going to take a step in the direction to achieve my potential.

Share with us, what you decided it’s too late to do.  Then tell us what steps you are going to take to move toward it? You are not alone… We can do this together.

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!