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Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Prov. 4:23, GNT)

Your Thoughts Matter!

Did you know your beliefs unconsciously direct you in your moment-by-moment choices and actions? What you believe drives your viewpoint and your mindset in every situation. That means your beliefs actually become self-fulfilling prophecies in your life.

Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the “Pygmalion effect,” a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. This fictional story shows how self-perception, who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life. We behave according to who we believe we should be.

So what do we do when we face a difficult situation and can see no positive side to the issue? There is no way you or I can predict the challenges we will face in our lives, and usually our priorities will change as we go on. But just as we shape our lives with our thoughts, our reactions to those challenges can alter the outcome. If your thoughts are holding you back, or negatively affecting your relationship with someone else, then it’s time to reframe.

When you reframe, you change your perspective on how you experience events, ideas, concepts, or emotions so you can find the most valuable positive alternative for the purpose of moving ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions for achieving goals. Being able to choose to see a different perspective is essential to problem solving, decision making, and new learning.

Your thoughts are things, and they become your reality. If you want to change your life, you first have to change your reality. We each have the ability to choose our thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, you don’t have to think about whatever falls into your mind. As Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) says, “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” You could also say it like this: Where the mind goes, your life will follow.

Reframing Your Thoughts

Whatever situation you may be facing, if you are ready to reframe then start with this affirmation:

As I turn my thinking around, I break free in a new direction toward the solution.

Understanding how the brain works can help you grow in every area of your life. Quantum physics has proven that the observation process itself changes the properties of the atoms being studied. Since our brains contain billions of neurons made of subatomic components, it makes sense that this principle would also hold true for human particles. In other words, observing your thinking, your calling, and your internal self-talk, will have a profound effect on your development.

Thinking is actually a complex chemical process inside the cells of your brain called neurons. The neurons transmit information by firing electrical impulses through synapses. As you learn to think in new ways the connections between the neurons become stronger and the synapses are reinforced. “Cells that fire together, wire together.”

Your every thought is an electrochemical reaction. Each thought stimulates chemicals in magnificently complex electromagnetic waves that would sound like the most exquisite symphony if you could hear them. The brain, the magnificent control center God created, is said to be the most complex organic structure in the universe. Reframing, reworking those chemical reactions and rewiring the connections, changes your perspective to find a more positive alternative that will help you move ahead, adapt, and implement solutions for achieving goals. Choosing a different perspective is essential to problem-solving, decision-making, and learning.

By reframing, you can summon all your cognitive, intellectual, and emotional resources to create positive change because you believe that positive change is possible. No one can know the story inside your thoughts, but even if your thoughts are negative today you can switch your toxic thinking to positive power thoughts!

Start by reading through the following questions, thinking about how they apply to your life today, meditating on the impact of your answers, and praying for God to show you where you need change. Don’t rehash yesterday-ask these questions with future solutions in mind.

  1. When you are confronted with challenges, how do you focus on a solution?
  2. Are you acting on faith or fear?
  3. What obstacles do you see in your way?
  4. What steps could you take immediately that would make the greatest difference in your current situation?
  5. How do your thoughts make your life more stressful, or less stressful?
  6. What changes need to take place in your thinking?
  7. Your focused attention is your mindset. How can you make your mindset a positive, creative force?
  8. What do you participate in that is toxic to your mindset?
  9. What is the first change you would like to make to be fully satisfied with your life?
  10. For you to be truly happy, what would you have to change?

 

To find the answers to the obstacles you are facing in your life, you must be willing to change your thinking and turn your mindset inside out. By reframing, you can summon all your cognitive, intellectual, and emotional resources to create positive change because you believe that positive change is possible. To move forward, you can increase your power to reframe every part of your life on the positive pathway toward your solution.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest lessons that Jesus taught. In fact, He lived and died for our forgiveness and so we could learn the importance of forgiving. When someone hurts us in some way, intentionally or unintentionally, the act causes pain, frustration, and even anger to take root in our lives. Those feelings can take over if we are not careful, spreading to other relationships and even affecting how we function on a daily basis. Jesus wanted each of His followers to know that opening the door to negative emotions would ultimately interfere with their relationship with Him!

So What Is Forgiveness?

In order to understand why forgiveness is so important we must first understand what forgiveness is. Forgiveness means you’ve acknowledged the hurt or injustice you’ve faced and you are ready to let it go. According to Psychology Today, “Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger toward others to eat away at us.” Forgiveness is not something you are doing for someone else, you are forgiving for your own peace of mind and for your relationship with Jesus. When you hold on to the hurt and anger, you are essentially punishing yourself for what someone else did!

How Can I Forgive Like Jesus?

Forgiving another person is one of the hardest decisions we can make. Forgiving ourselves sometimes seems impossible. And what about forgiving God when we feel we’ve been treated unfairly? In a world with so much pain and wrong-doing, is it possible to forgive for real?

Jesus, as He was telling His disciples how to pray, said:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:9-15)

We Have to Learn to Let It Go.

The Greek word apoluo means “to let loose from.” It gives the impression of pushing away something that is undesirable. That is what forgiveness does. It pushes away those undesireable emotions, opening us to a true relationship with God and with those around us. Unforgiveness is the opposite. It is holding toxic emotions close. No one can do anything of significance in life (in relationships, in business, in your family, in ministry) until they stop running from yesterday. We have to stop thinking about “the way it should have been” and we need to quit asking ourselves, “why did this happen to me?” If you don’t let it go, unforgiveness can:

  • Allow anger and cynicism to color every relationship and new experience you have.
  • Prevent you from enjoying what is happening right now.
  • Lead to depression and anxiety.

if we want to move forward. Forgiveness is the key!

But WHY Should I Forgive?

Forgiveness isn’t for other people, it is for yourself. Forgiveness is God’s way of blessing you. What does it mean to forgive? Here’s how Jesus explained it in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Forgiveness is not a one-time thing. It is ongoing. Jesus freely forgave us of all of our sins, dying on the cross so we could have freedom for eternity. He tells us we are to follow His example and make forgiveness central in our lives.

Letting go, forgiving, can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Improved mental health
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • A stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Improved self-esteem

 

How Does Forgiveness Work in Me?

Forgiveness does three things in your life:

  • Forgiveness allows God to forgive me for what I have done.
  • When God forgives me, I can forgive others.
  • Forgiveness sets me free from the pain and disappointment of yesterday!

 

GOD wants to BLESS you, and He cannot do that if you are NOT releasing the hurts of the past.

This isn’t about others. Forgiveness is all about YOU. It is God’s method for you to clean out yesterday, so you can be clean and powerful for today! It’s never too late to begin again!

As we celebrated Father’s Day this past weekend, I thought a lot about my father and the lessons I learned from him as I was growing. My dad was a warm, affirming father. He supported my call to ministry, and I feel incredibly blessed to have learned my leadership basics by watching how he lived his life.

He gave his all to his God, his family, and his ministry. He loved his work so much that he worked full time as pastor until his eightieth birthday! In his retirement, as pastor emeritus, he continued to go to work every day to serve the church he loved so much. His personal mission to build that church continued to give him boundless energy and enthusiasm until he went to heaven at age eighty-six.

All of us have role models and mentors we learn from. Some are formal relationships, some are friendships, some of us are blessed to grow alongside amazing, God-ordained leaders. Dad was a great leader, and I want to share with you a few of the lessons I learned by watching him. Lessons I still live by today.

Never limit God’s influence in your life and ministry.

We do this. We do this all the time. We get a picture in our head of how things are supposed to be, and that is what we work toward. What you and I need to understand is that when we live only according to our vision we limit God’s influence in our life.

God’s plans for us have no limits. He sees potential where we see only walls. When we let God have his way, we end up in places we never could have dreamed because they are outside of our realm of experience. When we moved to Florida, we had a specific image of what our ministry would look like. And we struggled. We cried, we begged God to help us, we despaired of every making any headway. Then we had an epiphany. Where we saw insurmountable problems God saw unlimited potential.

As soon as we stopped doing things our way, and started doing things God’s way, the blessings started pouring in. Our ministry started growing and kept growing. Twenty years ago we never could have envisioned where we are now. That is what happens when you get out of God’s way and let Him influence your life.

Expect and embrace change.

I get it, change is scary. Most of us like to find our comfortable routine and stick with it. But when you are following the path God lays out, it seldom travels in a straight line. My dad dealt with change like he dealt with every other obstacle in life. He prayed, asked for guidance, and then accepted God’s will.

You see, Dad knew that change happens. Change is what keeps us on our toes. It keeps us fresh and flexible. If we acknowledge that change is going to happen, and then ask for God’s guidance when we face change, it takes the uncertainty and discomfort out of the situation. Then we are able to accept change for what it is, a continuation of God’s blessings in our life!

Plan for the future, don’t just live for today.

While we don’t want to limit God’s influence in our lives, and we have to be ready for unanticipated changes, that doesn’t mean we just sit and wait for life to happen. We need to prayerfully plan for the future. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I have found that to be so incredibly true through the years.

I can remember Dad planning for the future. He always had a long-term plan. He prayed for guidance, and he listened to others who had a stake. He planned carefully, but he was never set in stone. He built adaptability into his plans. This is what we all must do. Make your plans. Set you goals. But always remember to ask for God’s influence to guide every step, and always be ready for change!

Build a community.

I’ve said it before, and I think this lesson bears repeating. We are not made to travel this journey alone. You need to surround yourself with people who will support you, who love you, who want the best for you, and who love God as fiercely as you do.

Dad dearly loved people. He respected and honored them because he knew that each is a child of God, wonderfully made and wonderfully loved. His heart for people brought others into community with him. When their church burnt after they had just finished expanding, that community came together to salvage what they could even as the fire was still being put out. They gathered together and created something even greater. All because of community.

Don’t underestimate the importance of others walking beside you in your life. I don’t doubt that you are capable of doing things alone, but you don’t have to do it that way. I want to challenge you to build a community and then soak in the joy that comes from knowing those people are ready to step in and help, or hold you, or cheer you up on a rough day. Relationships are God’s greatest gift to us. And I am so thankful that I learned that lesson early on by watching my Dad.

Never, ever, ever give up!

My father’s last words before he passed were, “Never, ever, ever give up!” That was his last advice to his children, and I will always take those words to heart. I want to pass those words on to you today. God made you. God placed you where you are for a purpose. You will face hardships. You will deal with scary, unpredictable changes that you haven’t planned for. But never give up!

My father enriched my life in so many ways. I will always cherish the love and support, the guidance, the correction, and the advice he gave me. Even more though, I will hold close the lessons I learned by watching him embrace the life God gave him. I hope these lessons will enrich your life as they have mine!

My granddaughter Israel (Izzy) just recently graduated from kindergarten. When I watched my kids hit milestones, it gave me a feeling that is hard to describe. Joy, happiness, wonder, and thankfulness all tied together to form an emotion that grabbed me by the throat. Now I get the pleasure of doing the same with my grandkids, and I have to say it is a different experience. All of those emotions are still there, but it seems richer somehow. I feel this sense of honor and gratitude at the legacy God is creating out of my life. I see the continuation of the legacy built by my mother and my grandmother and her grandmother before her.

Izzy is more than just my granddaughter. She is a glorious, wonderful creation of God. She is a leader, an innovator, and she already has such a heart for the Lord. There is power and intelligence in that girl that fills my heart to overflowing. As she graduated from kindergarten, I was reminded that God has wrought a miracle in her. She is going to change lives. She is going to lead in her own way. She is going to step out in faith and do things I never could. The generations of women who came before her opened doors that she will stride through without thought. And she will open doors for those who come after her.

Here is my prayer today for Izzy and all of the little girls who are going to lead their generation. “Peace I leave with you, Izzy; my peace I give to you, my girl; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.” (John 14:27) I pray the words Jesus gave us. I pray His courage and peace down on her every day. I pray the same for my daughters-in-love as they lead people to Jesus through love, compassion, and some truly powerful biblical preaching.

Here’s my point, we NEVER stop graduating into new seasons.

I received my Doctorate of Ministry two years ago. I then published a book to help coach leaders as they grown in leadership. In my life I have had seasons of daughter, wife, motherhood, ministry, leadership, coach, supporter, encourager, and so many more. God granted me what I needed to succeed and even thrive in each season. Some of those seasons overlap, some are still going on. The lesson I have learned is to NEVER doubt that God has an amazing future planned for each of us!

I want to encourage you today to embrace those seasons that are coming in your life. Look for new opportunities for leadership and growth. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith! Here are some ways you can prepare for your graduation and the new season that follows.

Find affirmations that you can embrace to your heart.

Look for a Bible verse that speaks to you and put your name in there (like the one I pray for Izzy). Here are a few you might consider, but don’t let these limit you!

For I know the plans I have for you (____),” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan. This is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them (_________) to have the same form as the image of his Son. Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children. (Rom. 8:28–29, GW)

Be careful how you think (_________); your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Prov. 4:23, GNT)

My thoughts will be clear; I (_______) will speak words of wisdom. (Ps. 49:3, GNT)

I (_________) can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13, ESV)

(________) Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you (_________) belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Phil. 4:6–7, CEV)

Create a mission statement and goals for your life.

In the business world, if a company doesn’t have a mission statement they likely aren’t moving forward. The same can happen in our lives. Your mission statement should be short, a few sentences usually, and you need to write it down. The goal is for this mission statement to help you understand how you can be intentional about what you are creating in your life and why you are doing it.

Goals are also important. Set as many goals as you want, or just set one. The point is to create forward momentum! Don’t overwhelm yourself though. My recommendation is to set one, big yearly goal. Break that down into 12 smaller monthly goals. And then work from that point. You should be making progress every month, if not every week!

Spend time with God.

Spiritual disciplines should be an important part of your life. Are you spending time with God on a regular basis? If you don’t put God first, how can He guide you through important decisions and help you reach your goals? Most importantly, a closer relationship with Him will enrich your lives in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

There are many ways you can incorporate the spiritual disciplines. Here are some you might consider:

Set aside a time for prayer every day.

Incorporate regular Bible study into your routine.

Make your daily walk a praise and worship walk.

Practice silence and solitude on a regular basis.

Set a goal to become more active in your church community.

However you do it, I can guarantee that making the spiritual disciplines a part of your everyday life will change the way you think, the way you feel, and how you approach challenges and opportunities in your life.

My prayer for you today is the prayer I pray for my Izzy. “Peace I leave with you, my friend; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.” (John 14:27) Step out in faith today! Get ready for your graduation to the next season!

I want to talk to you for a minute about how important teamwork is in our lives. We live in a society where the person on top is considered the “winner.” Unfortunately, that attitude is not biblical, and it doesn’t reflect what actually happens to create that “winner.”

When I read about leadership (all of us are leaders in some area of our lives), most books and articles narrowly focus on the leader as an individual, neglecting the role of teams, collaboration, and partnership. This individual focus may or may not serve as an effective approach within business organizations (none of us is an island), but I think it is particularly ill-suited in the context of church leadership and in our daily lives—where teamwork is essential

Your Teams

What kind of teams do you have in your life? A team can be any collection of people who have come together for some common reason (even just two!). Your family is a team. You may have a work group, small group, book club, or parents group that functions as a team. How do the people in those teams work together? Does the leader (you or another) work alone? I hope not!

When teams are functioning well, they are generally working together. The idea behind collaboration is that people with different views come together, putting aside their own self-interests, and attempt to solve a problem or achieve a goal.

The key to successful collaboration is clear, open, and effective communication. This is true in any area of your life. Teamwork is the act of working together toward one purpose. You can’t do that without effective communication! Imagine doing even a simple task as a group without the ability to communicate in some way. You cannot coordinate if you are not communicating.

History of Teamwork

Teamwork has a long history with strong scriptural roots. Ephesians 4:4-6 states: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” In Romans 12: 3-5 we read, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

There are five principles of teamwork in these two passages that can be applied to your life. The team must understand the goal, the strength of the team is in its members, the team should must work together in unity, team leaders must remain humble, and when a team is strong it is hard to destroy (Brooks 2009, 5-7). When teamwork becomes a regular part of your life, it brings strength and endurance with it!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

For many of us, our teamwork takes place in the form of servant leadership. Servant leadership builds any team through mutual service to one another. The basic concept behind servant leadership, based on Jesus’s leadership and command (Mark 10:42-44), is that a leader is meant to serve and not to rule.

So why am I bringing up teamwork now? Because I want to encourage you! You are not alone. You are surrounded by people who either already are (or who could be) your teammates as you go through life. Join together with them. Find your common purposes. Depend on one another. Communicate about your goals and your needs. Support one another emotionally, physically, and mentally. You will be amazed at the difference it makes on your stress levels when you know you have a teammate there ready to stand up with you!

“Get out of bed Robyn! For heaven’s sake, why are you still in that bed? This is the third time I’ve called you, and it’s the last time. If you don’t get up, I’m coming in there to get you up myself!” 

I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was get up early and go, so in my whiny voice I answered, “Mom, why won’t you just leave me alone? I don’t want to go!” 

As the sleep fell away from my consciousness, I struggled to sit up and pull myself out of bed. This time, I shouted down the hall so she could hear me, “Hey Mom here’s a question. Why do I have to go church again?”

Before I could get to my feet, my little, five-foot Norwegian mom bounded into my room, laughing, and roared at me, “Because you’re the pastor! That’s why! Now get ready!” Mom was visiting us in Miami, and I was late for church.

 

Moms never stop being moms.

You can be 50 years old and your mother will still ask if you are eating right, are you getting enough sleep, and she will still tell you what to do when you are in the same place together. God bless Mom!

We need the voice of a mother in our lives. Mothers nurture us, guide us, coddle us when we need it, correct us when we veer off the right path, and become a steadying force in our lives. When I remember my childhood, I remember my mom as ever steady, always ready with a solution to every situation, and that constant support made me feel solid and strong inside. I never doubted my call in life because she instilled in me to listen for God’s voice and believe it. When I had doubts as a new mother she offered advice when I asked and told me I was created to be a mother. When my little Graham fell sick as a baby she insisted I rush him to the hospital, ultimately saving his life. My feisty, tiny, Norwegian mom is and has always been my rock.

My mom faced a major health scare at the end of last year, and I was afraid we were going to lose her. Her body became paralyzed, and she was unable to do anything for herself, but her spirit remained strong. When my niece, who was unable to come to the hospital, did a video call and sang a hymn to Mom, tears ran down her face and she worshiped even when she couldn’t move. I will never forget that moment of seeing my rock, my mom, completely still for the first time in my life, but still worshiping Jesus with all of her heart.

This weekend is Mother’s Day.

We will have special services honoring mothers across the country. Greeting cards will fly off of the shelf, stores have displays of jewelry and “mom” gifts, and florists are doing a booming business. A day set aside to honor the women who gave us life and guided us has largely turned into a commercial holiday.

I want to challenge you to truly honor your mom this weekend. Hug her or call her up. Tell her that you appreciate and value her contributions to your life. Tell her how her example has guided you and helped you become the person you are. Make an effort to show her how much she means to you. Flowers and cards and treats are good too, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to give honor where honor is due.

Your “mother” may or may not have been your biological mother. She may have been a grandmother who raised you, or teacher who spoke into your life each day, or a woman who loved and mentored you when you really needed that mother’s voice. But on this weekend, and as often as you can throughout the year, take the time to honor that woman and the impact she has had on your life.

Thank you, Jesus, for all of the amazing mothers in this world, and for those women who are willing to step in and mother when there is a gap. Thank you for my mother, who helped shape me into a woman of God, a leader, a mother, and prepared me for a solid marriage. Thank you for lessons learned, kissed boo boos, sage advice, and the warmth and love in a mother’s smile. Thank you, Lord, for creating mothers to share Your love with us all!

 

 

Imagine His pain.

The heavy wooden beam of the cross hung across His lacerated and bleeding shoulders as the procession of the condemned Christ and His executioners began its slow journey from the Roman jail to His crucifixion site. The path snaked through the city and up the hill, an impossible journey for a wounded man with such a heavy burden. With enormous blood loss and in shock, Jesus stumbled and fell.

When they arrived at Golgotha, the beam was placed on the ground and Jesus was thrown backward on top of it. His entire body pressed against the wooden stake. The soldiers stretched His arms out against the cross beam.

The Roman soldier with the hammer grabbed His arm and dug into Jesus’ wrist to locate the depression at the top of His hand. Once the executioner was satisfied he had found the spot, he drove a heavy, square, wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood, ignoring the screams of pain. He moved to the other side and repeated the action.

He Took Our Sin

Imagine Jesus, turning His head toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it. Imagine Jesus seeing the mallet, the nail, and the soldier’s hand. Believe that Jesus saw something else. Through the eyes of scripture we can see what those who were there that Friday could not see. But Jesus knew it was there.

Colossians 2:14 states,

He canceled the record that contained the charges against usHe took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.

Between Jesus’ hand and the wooden cross was a list. A long list. A list of our mistakes: our lusts, our lies, greedy moments and prodigal years. A list of our sins.

Dangling from the cross are the bad choices from last year and the years before. There in broad daylight, for all of heaven to see, was the comprehensive eternal list of all our evil thoughts, wicked actions, and failures.

The list however cannot be read. The words cannot be deciphered. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Jesus’ hands hide those at the top; His blood runs down the Cross and covers every sin down the list.

ALL OUR FAILURES ARE BLOTTED OUT – FOREVER

His left foot was pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each foot. The searing agony of the nail tore through the nerves and bone of the feet. A sign was nailed to the top of the cross that read “King of the Jews.” As His arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over His muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.

Jesus fought to raise Himself to get a short breath. Tissue was torn from His lacerated back every time He moved up and down against the rough timber. Jesus felt a deep crushing pain in His chest and the chill of death crept through His tissue. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry. “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

His Death, Our Forgiveness

The Roman soldier made doubly sure Jesus was dead by driving his sword through Christ’s ribcage, piercing the heart, and immediately blood and water drained from his wounded body. Thereby Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart.

Envision Jesus on that cross. Take a moment to see yourself there. It was my sins and your sins which nailed Jesus to the Cross. But now — see those sins nailed to the Cross. Done. Forgiven.

 

Why did He do it? Because he loved us, he valued us that much.

BUT – What does it mean today for us?

Life is Not Futile

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11

Failures are Not Fatal

For I will be merciful regarding their wrong deeds, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12 ISV

Death is Not Final

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Does your life feel futile? Doesn’t have to.

Do some of your failures seem fatal? They aren’t.

Does the grave appear to be the final stop? According to Christ, your death is just the start of the something great.

There is a truth greater than all the losses and sorrows of life. And it can be discovered in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Through his death, your life has purpose and meaning. You are forgiven and loved by a Savior who died for you. And an empty tomb proclaims that death does not have the final word.

Peace is Our Reward

Peace where there should be pain. Confidence in the midst of crisis. Joy in place of tears.

What’s so GOOD about “Good FRIDAY”? Because of that supernatural Friday, we have the daily power for abundant living now … with eternal life as a bonus. WOW — mind blowing! Wonderful! TGIF

THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY!

What are you going to do to celebrate this wonderful gift? 

This is Your Year to Thrive!

As a woman, you need to have a strong sense of mission in every part of your life. Being an excellent mother requires a commitment to mission. Staying married when our culture gives permission to give up on family solidarity necessitates personal mission. Persevering in your calling will demand that your mission is crystal clear to you. God created a mission for you to help you flourish and thrive.

Knowing your mission, keeping it at the forefront of your life, enables you to push yourself to the edge of your capacity, and then farther. Without meaning, work is an endurance test between vacations. With mission comes a sense of meaning that makes any job a calling. Deploying your greatest strengths into the achievement of a meaningful purpose brings the energy you need to break through everyday goals, opening your life to long-lasting, sustainable happiness and satisfaction.

Do you know your mission? Do you have a dream given to you by God? Commit to your dream today! The way to do that is by setting goals. Goals are dreams with deadlines. So how do you start? By being specific. The clearer and more vividly you visualize a goal, the easier it becomes to achieve or acquire it. If possible, envision yourself accomplishing the goal. Role-play yourself doing it. Close your eyes and imagine how it feels to realize that goal.

Can you feel it? Now sit down and start writing.

First, ask yourself “what needs to be done?” instead of “what should I do first?”

Asking this focuses your attention on how you are contributing to your mission, rather than just focusing on an activity that is for your benefit alone. You will likely have more than one answer to this question, and that is okay. As you proceed you will start to focus your goals.

Second, ask yourself “where can I contribute best?”

This question helps you look at what you are passionate about, your strengths, your interests, and what you want to do. When you have more than one answer to the first question, your answers to this question will help you choose the one(s) that is most in line with your interests, skills, and strengths.

Third Ask “what are the limitations?”

The point of the order of these questions is to start big. Dream without boundaries first, then ask how you are equipped by God to achieve those dreams. At this third stage, you are identifying what might limit your dreams. But don’t let these limits tie you in just yet!

Now aim high and forge ahead!

This isn’t the time to tie yourself into a narrow path of action. Don’t settle for doing something just as much as you have to. You need to be fully committed to the process of achieving your dreams! Aim for the highest possible outcome and make big, but achievable plans on how to get there. And remember that you aren’t achieving these goals on your own, you have the power of God on your side. And if God is for you, what could possibly be against you?

2018 is going to be a great year for you! This is your year of achieving goals, fulfilling dreams, and taking definite steps toward fulfilling your mission.

What situation in your life could benefit from forward movement if you were willing to open your mind?

 

Your beliefs unconsciously direct you in your moment-by-moment choices and actions. It’s true! What you believe drives your viewpoint and your mindset in every situation. That means your beliefs actually become self-fulfilling prophecies in your life. Your beliefs shape your perceptions, your perceptions define your experience, and you find meaning in your life from your experiences. This process is often called a “Self-fulfilling Prophecy.”

 

Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the “Pygmalion effect,” a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. In the story, Professor Henry Higgins won a bet to prove his opinion that nurture was more powerful than nature. To make his case, he located a crude, unrefined young woman named Eliza Doolittle. With his coaching, she transformed from a street urchin to a charming, enchanting beauty. The fictional story presents how our self-perception, or who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life. We behave according to who we believe we should be.

Not only does what we believe about ourselves impact our destiny, what we believe about others affects their behavior, even without their knowledge. Your thoughts, about yourself and others, have power. If your thoughts are holding you back, or negatively affecting your relationship with someone else, then

It’s time to reframe.

Reframing is the act of changing your perspective on how you experience events, ideas, concepts, or emotions so you can find the most valuable positive alternative for the purpose of moving ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions for achieving goals. Being able to choose to see a different perspective is essential to problem solving, decision making, and new learning.

Thoughts are things, and they become your reality. If you want to change your life, you first have to change your reality. We each have the ability to choose our thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, you don’t have to think about

whatever falls into your mind. This is a life-changing revelation! As Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) says, “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” We say it like this: Where the mind goes, your life will follow.

God is concerned about the hidden heart of the human, the inner life, what we think about. That’s why we need to think about what we’re thinking about. If we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us. Christ offers a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, real joy, and the ability to become all God created us to be. It comes down to choosing to believe what

God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say, or our circumstances.

To find the answers to the obstacles you are facing in your life, are you willing to change your thinking and turn your mindset inside out? By reframing, you can summon all your cognitive, intellectual, and emotional resources to create positive change because you believe that positive change is possible. To move forward, you can increase your power to reframe every part of your life on the positive pathway toward your solution.

So I’ll ask you once again: What situation in your life could benefit from forward movement if you were willing to open your mind?

Change Your Thinking for a Better You!

How you think, your choice of focusing on the positive or the negative, actually affects the way your body and your brain works. The more you focus on positive things, the more likely you are to enjoy a sense of well-being, and positive thinking brings positive responses in your body that boost your mood and diminish stress.

According to recent studies on its effect on our bodies, positive thinking boosts immunity, improves heart health, fights stress, increases resilience, helps us tolerate pain, prevents hypertension, and even extends lifespan.

One well-know study, The Nun Study, looked at the impact of positive emotions and attitude on longevity and well-being and showed that there is a direct relationship between being positive and longevity. Another study focused on  individuals who have lived to 100 years-of-age or more, looking for reasons they enjoy such a long lifespan. Lynn Peters-Adler, a contributor to Forbes writes: “Almost all of the centenarians we spoke to believe a positive yet realistic attitude is critical throughout one’s life and described themselves as optimistic people.”

Even more exciting, scientists have shown that positive thinking actually protects us! Alex Dranovsky and E. David Leonardo neuroscientists who are studying how positivity impacts the brain, state, “Stimulating neurons in the brain’s hippocampus that are normally activated by pleasurable experiences protects us from the depressive consequences of stress.”

So how do we counteract negative thinking and become more positive? What science is proving is true, God has always known, and He has provided us with the tools we need to stay positive in His Word. Positive thinking isn’t the same as trying to gloss over the negative, nor should you ignore your problems. Positive thinking is instead a way of approaching the challenges life throws at you with a positive attitude and the knowledge that God is on your side.“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

Choose to focus on the right things. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Feeling anxious? Stop and pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6)

Know that God intends good things for your life. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11)

Choose to get rid of the negatives. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Be conscious of your words. “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matt. 15:11)

Don’t respond with anger. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1).

Be confident. “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Heb. 13:16)

Acknowledge your gratitude. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)

Remember that Jesus brings us Peace! “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 14:27)

Start EVERY day in God’s Word! “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” Psalm 118:24

Martha Washington, the first First Lady of the United States said, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” I challenge you today to remember that your circumstances do not control you, your attitude and your thoughts do. So stay positive!