4 Steps to Love God With Your M.I.N.D.

Reading book

Sometimes I wonder if I am doing all I can to love God. That may sound like a strange statement, but it’s honest. As I fight the battle between the flesh and spirit I find myself growing weary of giving God my all.

Recently, I read a familiar passage of scripture that washed over my spirit convicting me to take a closer look. The scripture comes from Matthew 22:37… “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

While reading it the Lord said, “Jodi, are you loving Me with all of your mind?

Whoa! I knew I was loving Him with all my heart and soul, but I could not say yes to His question. So, I replied with a question:

“Lord, how am I supposed to love you with all of my mind when my thoughts are battling between right and wrong, lies and truth…?”

Do you love God with all your mind, or would you be asking God the same question I did?

God is aware of the difficulty we experience loving Him as He desires us to. Knowing this He has provided us with a powerful weapon that can overthrow the enemy of our mind. His word!

The question is whether or not we will use it. But to use it we must believe God’s word, surrender to it, and live it out.

Are we going to give in and let the flesh win because we are tired of fighting the enemy or will we unleash the power of the Word and claim ground that is the Lord’s?

If God wants us to love Him with our mind, and He does, then no wonder the battle is so intense. The enemy is threatened when our minds are fixed on Christ because we live in peace. (Isaiah 26:3)

The enemy, Satan, is a deceiver, liar, thief, and seeks to distract our thoughts in hopes to lead us down a path of destruction (1 Peter 5:8).

I am willing to stay in the fight using the weapon, the word, God has provided. Are you?

To strengthen my resolve to stay in the battle I created a four-step process using an acronym with the word MIND. (By the way this is God’s answer to my question to Him.)

To help us recall M.I.N.D. click HERE for a printable.

While the process sounds simple, the application of it will prove its need of preparation, awareness, perseverance, and unyielding commitment.

Meditate

Intentionally ponder about God’s truths, and His promises. Recall times He answered your prayers, provided, protected, and proved His awareness of you. The more you meditate on His word and track history the more you will have your mind fixed on Him.

*Create 3×5 cards with scriptures that encourage you, remind you to love God, and inspire you to worship Him. Place them in your car, on your desk, and on your mirror.

Identify

What causes your thoughts to drift away from God? Identify the pitfalls, triggers, so you can be on guard the next time they encroach. Knowing is half the battle.  Take comfort in the knowledge that His word heals and delivers us from destructions (Psalm 107:20).

Navigate

God’s word is a lamp guiding our path, so use it as you navigate a new thought pattern (Psalm 119: 105).  Begin by renewing your mind (Romans 12:2).  Think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely (Philippians 4:8).

Declare

Make a commitment declaring that you cannot do this without Him, but with Him you will be victorious (John 15:5).  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it (Philippians 4:13).  Declare that you will strive daily to love Him with all your mind (Psalm 37:5).

By the time you have gone through “M.I.N.D.”, you will find your thoughts have been redirected, and you now have the upper hand. Let’s not give up on fighting the flesh so that the spirit may win. God is our strength!

The next time your thoughts are unhealthy, destructive, untrue, or deceptive pause and remember “MIND” (Meditate-Identify-Navigate-Declare). Practice until it becomes second nature.

I pray that when God asks us if we are loving Him with all our mind we will all say, “YES,” and with all our heart and soul, too.

Advertisements

When loneliness invites company

Young woman enjoying the nature

Have you ever felt lonely? I imagine everyone has felt it at some point in their lives. To be honest I struggle with it more than I care to admit. Sometimes the loneliness is short lived and other times it is a lengthy battle. I know I am losing when I hear the Enemy whispering lies and I begin wondering if there is any truth in them.

Lies such as:

  • Your friends have forgotten about you.
  • You are not needed.
  • Protect your heart, and keep others at a distance.
  • No one else feels the loneliness you do.
  • You are all alone.

Has the Enemy whispered similar lies to you?

When we are in a state of loneliness, the suffocation of it can prevent us from fighting. We fall limp at the feet of the Enemy hoping for a glimmer of light from God to strengthen us.

During one of my battles of loneliness, I went before the Lord and pleaded for His help. I asked for His light to shine in my darkness. I needed to hear His truth about my situation, feelings, thoughts, and fears. I went to Him because He has never lied to me and He can be trusted.

He led me to the book of Psalms 62-63. As my eyes fell upon Psalms 62:10 my heart sank deep within.

“Do not trust in oppression.”

The Mariam Webster dictionary describes oppress as a sense of being weighed down in body or mind:  depression an oppression of spirits

It was clear to me that I was trusting the whispers of defeat, despair, and desolation. But the battle between my heart and mind raged as they conflicted one another.

Then the Lord drew my eyes back up to Psalms 62:8

“Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.”

As I began pouring my heart out to God and choosing to trust Him, rather than in my oppression, something began to happen. His light began to overpower my darkness. The battle between my heart and thoughts were beginning to properly align.

However, there was one more step He led me to take.

The step was found in Psalms 63:3

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.”

I craved His lovingkindness because this life was feeling bleak. I knew I was to praise Him not just within my heart and mind, but out-loud. This sounds like a simple action step, but when we are in despair, depressed, and lonely it can feel like a daunting task. At first, my words came out as a mumble. However, the more I spoke of His glory, might, power, and majesty I became overwhelmed by His presence with stronger pronunciation.

My loneliness had invited God to join me for company. The battle was won because God heard my praise and my cry for help! My breathing became deeper, thoughts clearer, and eyes brighter. The truth was prevailing and my trust was no longer in my oppression but in almighty God.

Are you in need of His presence? Praise Him out-loud.

Are you in need of His power? Trust Him to do what He says He can do.

Are you in need of His truth? Go to His word and let the truth set you free.

The next time we sense the darkness of loneliness crouching over us, let’s be quicker to turn to God and praise Him. Praise Him with a LOUD voice, because the Enemy cannot withstand our praise to the God of gods, Lord of lords, and King of kings. There is power in His name!

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

John 14:16 – I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever.

 

Choosing to celebrate rather than grieve on Mother’s Day

Caring hands

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time of year for me. Is it for you, too?

I struggle with a mixed bag of emotions; Full of grief and celebration. I have said goodbye to two wonderful moms in my life. The first was to my biological mom as she lost the battle with cancer at the age of 46. The second was to my adopted mom (my mother-in-law) that lost the battle to congestive heart failure at the age of 58. I grieve that I cannot call them on the phone, sit with them on the porch, laugh at silly jokes, or contemplate life together.

While I grieve their absence, I celebrate that they are in a better place with the Lord. I celebrate that there were times that I could cry on their shoulder, laugh until we wet ourselves, talk about different paths of life, and dream together.

I celebrate that I not only had a mom that wanted me but also loved me.

I celebrate having a second mom that took me in and loved me as her own.

Celebrating life is far better than grieving it, but many of you have no celebration within to offer.

Maybe you don’t know your mom or have a strained relationship with her.

Sister, we can choose to grieve what could, should, or would have been, or we can choose to celebrate what is true.

  • Celebrate the life we were given by God and the life He chose to use to bring us into this world.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

  • Celebrate the Moms God has given us:

MOM=My Other Mothers

Let me explain.

While I was blessed with two amazing mothers, God also gave me the gift of many other mothers.

My childhood girlfriends shared their moms with me.

A close neighbor that adopted my mom, as if she were hers, also loved me like a mom.

Women within the church have taken me in as a daughter.

My Step Mom of 28 years and Mother-In-Law of five years loved me as their own.

The many other mothers God has placed in my life have loved me with open arms, counseled me with great wisdom, taken me shopping, sat up late talking, and fed this hungry girl many times.

Who in your life has mentored you, spent time with you, shopped with you, cried with you, or prayed with you?

Celebrate them on MOM’s day (My Other Mothers’ Day) and let them know how grateful you are for them.

We will grieve our losses, but let’s honor God by celebrating the women He has brought into our lives. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do When You’re Falling Apart

anchor

I’ve known Christ as my Savior for thirty years and I’ve learned I’m not immune to falling apart, losing hope, and being trapped in my despair. I’ve also learned that God is patient and faithful to repair my brokenness. During my teenage years, I lost my mom to breast cancer. A year and a half before her death I asked God to save me and began a relationship with Him. However, I grew tremendously angry at God when she died. I was tossed around by my emotions and became battered by my unhealthy decisions. I began falling apart because I chose not to be anchored by God’s love, promises, or plans any longer. I was so blinded by my anger I kept drifting farther away from God. I simply did not believe Him nor trust Him for His promises. I desperately needed some sort of hope in the midst of my despair, but everything I attempted to anchor to let me down. God was patient with me for four years of my mess. It wasn’t until I gave up trying to live life without Him that He came rushing in to restore me. As I recognized He was willing to let me start over and put the pieces back together, I found He was gently covering me with His grace, mercy, and restored hope. Hope in a God I belonged to and could trust even when things did not feel good or make sense.

Have you found yourself falling apart lately?

Maybe you are losing your cool with your kids, husband, coworker…

Maybe you are receiving one bad diagnosis after another and you can’t handle another ounce of bad news.

Maybe your anxiety attacks are impacting your way of life like never before.

Maybe you have lost a loved one recently or long ago and you desperately miss them causing sleepless nights…

Whatever is causing you to fall apart I want you to know there is hope in your despair!

In Acts 27 the apostle Paul is a prisoner being transported by ship to Rome.  During the journey, they encounter a fierce storm causing fear and panic. On a couple of occasions, they lowered anchors which are meant to dig into the sea bottom to keep the vessel from drifting. To no avail, their ship was battered and falling apart by the raging waves and wind. However, Paul was encouraged and at peace in the midst of the storm. Verses 22-26 gives us insight as to why he was:

22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. 23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Paul was anchored to believing God for His promises and plans even during this time of being battered by the waves, tossed around by the wind, and navigationally disoriented. If he had not been confident in God, he would have fallen apart like the other 276 on board and like us at times.

God had a plan and purpose in allowing Paul to travel in the midst of the storm. God used him to demonstrate faith and trust in the God he belonged to so that others may be saved and for God to be magnified. Paul showed them that they too could have hope in the midst of their despair if they would anchor themselves in God. Though their sails were torn, their ship was battered, and they had wandered off course, God had them completely in His grasp.

In whatever way you are falling apart, God just may be in the midst of it. Pause and see what you are anchored to. If it is anything other than God, His word, His promises, His ways, or His authority, pull up anchor and cast it onto Him. He is your stay. He will help you navigate through your brokenness and your storm.

If I had known as a teenager that God was indeed working out His promise and that I could trust Him, I would not have drifted so far from Him. But, because of that horrific storm in my life, I now know that I can believe God and trust Him for who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do. So when I fall apart and begin losing hope I know to evaluate where and what I am anchored to. God is gracious to allow you and me do-overs and second chances. Without that, I would have sunk a long time ago. Praise God for His longsuffering and permanent love for you and me.

Ministry Leaders and Missionaries Unite!

This is a terrific resource for Mom’s, leaders, missionaries, and more. Stephanie Shott, along with her team, is compassionate toward those needing hope, guidance, and a friend. Take a moment and read what Stephanie has to offer and visit her ministry at www.TheMomInitiative.com

 

We’re all on the same team and we all have the same goal. Reach ’em and teach ’em! It’s the Great Commission and it’s what we are all called to. So, let’s unite, sweet friends! We can accomplish much more together than we can apart.  That’s actually what The MOM Initiative is about. Linking hearts and hands with YOU! Because we know that if we serve together, we are more effective, our boarders are enlarged, the message of the Gospel is spread farther, and more women discover the power of the Word of God. Last week, a MOM Group that … Read More

Source: Ministry Leaders and Missionaries Unite!

Get Off The Bench

polder-394335_960_720

Have you ever felt like “confidence” is something you will never achieve? Maybe you have tried again and again to become the confident person you desire, but you fall short each time.  Maybe you secretly do not believe in yourself or feel like no one believes in you. I can relate.

One example is when I played sports in grade school (or should I say, I attended the games). Warming the bench was my usual “position”. Whenever the coach came to the bench to look for a sub, my heart raced in anticipation, but he picked someone else with me, almost without fail. I remember thinking that if my coach or teammates did not have confidence in me, I should not have confidence in myself. So I began to believe I would always be on the bench doubting I could ever be VALUED.

Experiences like what I just mentioned can cause us to doubt ourselves (lack confidence).  We doubt that we are good enough, strong enough, worthy enough…but those doubts are not from God; they are from our adversary the devil.  The enemy lies to us and causes us to lack confidence so we feel paralyzed and stuck.

I love how scripture speaks about confidence:

  • “For You are my hope; O Lord God, You aremy confidence from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)
  • “For the Lordwill be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:26)
  • “In the fear of the Lordthere is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)
  • “And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

Therefore, God is my confidence.

I want people to observe that I have confidence, not from myself, but because I have been with Jesus. I want other people to see me as they saw Peter and John after they had been with Jesus.

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

I may lack confidence in a lot of ways but I can always have confidence in approaching God because I know He will always accept me as I am. I do not have to doubt that He VALUES me. I do not have to get my life together before approaching Him.  God says to come as we are.

My place is not on the bench, and neither is yours.  We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

So stand up! Dust off! Have confidence!

Prayer: God, help me see me as You see me. Valued. You are my confidence and I pray I will start living like it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Perspective from the stands

bandLast night was our high school’s final home game of the regular season. The excitement was thick in the nearly packed stands. At the same time the night provided a silent air of sorrowful reflection. As the final home game, it was “Senior Night” where the graduating class (players and Band) were recognized for their accomplishments and applauded in their future aspirations.

In the midst of great celebration, there was one special recognition that brought a reverent and reflective silence.  A young girl (one of school’s recent alumna) had lost her fight with cancer.  Her life cut short at such a young age reminded all that we are not promised tomorrow. (James 4:14)  The moment of silence was heavy and everyone stopped to acknowledge her life and to applaud her prolonged fight and resolve to LIVE every day of her life.

The game must go on! Boy what a difficult transition! We grieve the loss of life but we must continue to find joy in the life yet to live. Life must go on!

This brought to my mind the truth of how as interconnected beings, we as a “body” suffer together.  The principle of 1 Corinthians 12:26 came to mind: “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

Our team was not performing as well as hoped for and the game seemed to be a struggle most of the night. The spectators remained in the stands, hopeful the team would pull it together.  There were the predictable “ups and downs” but there was one special moment that brought us to our feet!  Our team recovered the ball!football 2

I was so encouraged at how those in the stands were willing to cheer the team on as if to say, “See you can do it, we believe in you!” Then HE caught my attention! A “precious needs child” stood to his feet and looked around trying to understand what was going on.  I saw it connect in his eyes when he realized…and then he ACTED! He turned back to face the field and began to yell out, “Woo Hoo!”

The excitement of the crowd had drawn him in and drew him away from his preoccupation with his “tablet.” It resonated with me… We, collectively, have the power to lift others up or to bring others down. Our choice in any given situation is contagious. All around us are “little eyes” watching and “little ears” listening…seeking to know how they should respond! Oh, the truth of this should prompt us to be ever so careful what we do, knowing they will mirror us, for both good and bad. We demonstrate before them how to live the life we are given, however long or short.

I wish I could tell you that our team won last night, but they did not.  WE lost! We still applauded the players. We will still get up and go see them play next week in the playoffs, because life goes on!

football 3