Talk to Yourself

Talk to Yourself

Scared and wide-awake, I find myself lying awake in the middle of the night from a bad dream. My heart is pumping a mile a minute and every time I close my eyes the dream starts to repeat itself. I hate that. I really do.

How do you get rid of that feeling and those thoughts?

My mom gave me a great trick when I was younger. Home alone as a teenager, the phone rang. It was a not-so-nice phone call from a man I did not know. Scary, right? Except it was the time before caller ID. So when the phone rang again minutes later, I answered again.

Same guy.

I was really scared now.

I hung up and called my mom. She was miles away and could not be there in person, but her advice gave me more than that. She told me to pull out my Bible and read. She was right.

Scripture changes everything.

That day Scripture changed my heart and turned my fear to peace.

Only God can do that.

As I have grown, I have taken it a step further and challenged my children to do the same. Those moments when I am scared to death, I can read Scripture, yes. But what I find is even more helpful, is to talk to myself.

That’s right – talk out loud.

I read or quote Scripture out loud or sing a hymn (I love the theology of some of them!) and I talk to myself. It sounds crazy at first, but it’s not really. If I do things in my mind, my mind gets distracted and I’m back where I started. If I talk out loud I have to concentrate. Additionally, I think the words or Scripture, I say the words of Scripture, and I hear the words of Scripture.

If I do this enough, it seeps into my heart and soul and Jesus with His Truth brings peace again.

So I challenge you to try it today.

Are you worried about something? Anxious, scared? Try it. I promise. First, Scripture changes things – changes us. Second, we have to remind ourselves of that Truth, especially in times we start to forget.

So – talk to yourself. I dare you.

It Changed My Life

It Changed My Life

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Scripture.

When I was young, Bible drills were a part of our life at church. I used to love them – not necessarily because I memorized lots of Scripture. I used to love the competition that came with it. Putting the Bible between my hands with no fingers hanging over the side, they would say a part of a verse or the reference. Once they said go, I had 30 seconds to find the verse I was looking for and step forward.

I got pretty good at it and have a couple of ribbons to show for it. Much as I loved Bible drills, though, it wasn’t the Bible drills that changed my life.

The Bible changed my life.

I have sat under many fabulous teachers of the Word who have great speaking skills, inspirational stories, and fun interaction. They have taught me much, but it wasn’t them that changed my life either.

The Bible changed my life.

I love to read. There are so many books out there by great authors. Reading books on leadership, organizational management, history, personalities, I have learned so much about myself and others. They have made me better as an individual, but they still haven’t changed my life.

The Bible changed my life.

I have worked through Bible studies written by godly men and women, listened to them through their DVD, and had great discussions. But in the end it was not the book, DVD, or discussions that changed my life.

The Bible changed my life.

While all of these things are good things, there is only one BEST thing, only one thing that truly changes the lives and eternities of people. As you enter into your studies in this new year, lead studies, and choose books to read, remember not to forget you time in Word. Read Scripture in your own space at home. Open your Bible with your friends and study groups and read it together. Sit in church not merely listening to what someone has to say, even the most knowledgeable and godly, but opening your copy of Scripture and seeing for yourself what the Lord has for you. Memorize words of Scripture so that God can bring them back to your mind in moments when you need them.

The Bible is the one most powerful manuscript in the history of the world, available to us in multiple formats and translations.

Praying we use it to its full capacity and allow it to change us. In doing so, we become “complete, equipped for every good work.”

What are you reading in Scripture right now and what is God teaching you through it?

 

 

Joining in on the #MondayminutewithGod over at Planting Roots this week! Click on the graphic to join us!

Do We Believe?

Do We Believe?

I call myself a believer, but do I really believe?

When my friend calls from across the ocean and says her mom has cancer, I tell her I’ll pray. When my sister messages me to let me know that this season of life has been hard and today harder still, I tell her I will pray. When someone I love is hurting physically and some Advil doesn’t fix it, I tell them I’ll pray. I tell lots of people I will pray.

Then I follow it up with, “If there is anything more I can do, please let me know.”

I end the conversation feeling like I should do something more, maybe if I was just there in person I could actually help. Is that what believers do?

A “Believer” is “a person who believes.” Now that’s profound, right?

So what does “believe” mean? Believe means to “to have confidence or faith in the truth.”

Truth. Now that is a Word.

Jesus talked about Truth in Scripture. In John 17:17 in a prayer for the disciples, He said, Your word is truth.” Not long before in a conversation with Thomas in John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus said the word was truth and that He was the truth – so which is it? This question is answered in John 1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

Jesus is the Living Word, so both the written Word of God and the Living Word of God are truth.

Do I believe? Do I have confidence in the Truth? If I ,in fact, believe, then I know and trust that when I pray, when I truly lay these burdens at the foot of my Savior that this is the greatest work. Being there, physically doing something, is nice, but if I think that is the “real help” then I am missing the point.

he-hears

To believe is to have trust and in confidence in the truth. Truth says, “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17) This and in many other instances, Scripture reminds us that the Lord hears.

If He hears us, the next question arises. Will He actually do anything about it?

The Bible reminds us many times how much God loves us, not just that one moment He sacrificed His Son to save us. But in so many other instances and actions, His love is repeated over and over again. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul testifies to just this fact when he says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If He really loves us and it is within His power (because He is, after all, all-powerful) to help us, why wouldn’t He? He does.

So today, as we sit distant from people we love and care for, as we long to be there and actually “do something,” be reminded that we have been given a greater task.

Our job, our privilege, is to take those requests, needs, burdens to the foot of the cross to a God who loves, hears and answers.

greater-work

It is truly the greatest work.

We must believe in who He is and the promises He’s made then trust Him with the outcome.

Believe that prayer is the greater work.

 

What are you praying for today? How can I pray for you?

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**This post is part of the #MondayminutewithGod linkup at Planting Roots!

Obedience

Obedience

So not my favorite word.

One word can bring excitement and fear, energy and weariness, hope and pessimism, joy and sadness. No doubt it does the same to you. God asks us to do some things that are crazy, hard, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. The outcomes of those things can be good or not, and we may not even see the outcome at all.

Are we sure we did the right thing? Did we do it well enough?

We all know half-hearted obedience is not obedience at all. Surely your parents told you such things…or you’ve said them to other short people.  God says the same. We’re not halfway in when following Jesus.

He expects – and DESERVES – wholehearted obedience. Regardless.

 

Regardless of:

Reaction

We encounter lots of people and circumstances in our lifetimes. Very few will react the way we want or expect them to in any given situation. The same is true when we are being obedient to the Lord. Reactions are the immediate replies we encounter.

Example: I tell my children after running multiple errands and a long day that we are back home to stay for the evening. A friend calls and needs some help. We need to be there. I tell the kids to put their shoes on so we can head out. Their reaction is the first words out of their mouths after hearing the news.

Reactions can be a bit intimidating. They can be strong, good or bad, but they are the immediate reply of our heart without thought or processing.

In our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for their reactions of others. We are simply called to do what God said to do.  

Response

Different than a reaction, a response is the reply after folks have had time to process information, possibly ask questions, and ponder their feedback. Responses can be just as strong if not stronger than reactions. With a response can come excuses, reasoning, research, etc.

Example: Once my sweet children are in the car and we are headed to our friends, their response is their attitude and words as we go. They’ve had time to think about what we are doing and why, ask questions (sometimes a million) and have a response to it all.

Responses too can be intimidating, especially if they are not what we expected. They are the processed output in response to words or actions of others.

Again, in our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for the responses of others. We are simply called to do what God said to do.

Result

This one can be the hardest. We (okay, maybe just me) have visions in our head of what can be and what the Lord could do. It doesn’t always turn out like I expected. This is where relationships could change, visions could crumble, hearts can be broken, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The results of our obedience can be hard to swallow sometimes. We long for good outcomes, encouraging directions, and good fruit, but we don’t always see it.

Example: Taking my children out again to help a friend can result in negative attitudes about the inconvenience of friends or it could instill in their hearts the desire to love others well.

2 john

Results can be encouraging or discouraging and sometimes they can be a long time coming. Just ask some of those patriarchs they list in Hebrews 11. Most of them never saw the full results of their obedience to the Lord. We may never either. God doesn’t promise we will, though. He just says to go.

Again, in our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for the results. We are simply called to what God said to do.  

God has called us to obedience – wholehearted, courageous obedience – regardless of reaction, response, or result.

 

May we be faithful to Him today.

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. So now I urge you, lady-not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning-that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. (2 John 1:4-6)

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** NOTE: This blog is part of a link up over at Planting Roots! Check it out here.

The Sin of “Not Enough.”

The Sin of “Not Enough.”

Tuesday morning. It wasn’t my best morning, mainly because Monday had not been one of my best days.

I had finished the day replaying its moments in my mind and was not impressed. I had not chosen well. Throughout the day, I had missed moments with my kids because I was distracted by other things. Accomplishing some things, it ended up being more of a day of chasing my tail, doing little unimportant things instead of the big things.

I had lost my focus on Him and had become focused on stuff. As I finished the day, I was tired. But more than that, I was weary.

I slept, thankful that when I woke up I could start over.

Then, there was Tuesday morning. Instead of starting my day optimistically, I had a nice replay in my brain of Monday. Not pretty.

Where did I end up in about two seconds flat?

not enough

I ended up wallowing. That’s right, wallowing in the sin of “not enough.” I remembered the day before and started feeling like I am not enough for my kids, not enough for my husband, not enough for my friends, not enough for the other things I was for sure God had called me to do. I was simply not enough.

You may be expecting me to tell you how I was encouraged by a friend or comforted by the Holy Spirit during my quiet time. Not quite.

As I wallowed, reality was a compassionate God who said, “That’s right, Kori. You’re not enough. That’s the point.”

I had not necessarily chosen well the day before. There had been many other days that were the same way, and no doubt there would be many more. I struggle with balancing priorities, consistently choosing well, and managing my time. I also am challenged by my personal expectation of perfection in myself.

I am human. Paul knew this struggle well – having a heart’s desire to do well and still coming up short. We all struggle with this very thing.

For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. (Romans 7:15-20)

My God, in His grace and compassion, reminded me again that it is not about me at all. It’s about Him–forever. Paul got this part too.

Christ's power

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His grace is sufficient. His power is perfected in weakness. Thank goodness.

But He will forever be enough for all of it, enough for me. In the end, should I accomplish anything in life, it will simply be because of His grace and power in my life.

You know what’s crazy? This was all in a Tuesday morning. Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen to you.

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