Peace

A Simple Solution for a Pesky Problem

I want to tell you something ridiculous. I had a little problem of an explosion of shoes and socks in my laundry room for 12 years. I had a shoe shelf for people to put their shoes on and a basket for socks, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the family to use them. They would just throw everything on the floor and call it good.

The crazy thing is, I couldn’t make myself do any differently than them. When I would get tired of the mess or if people were coming over, I would just shove everything over and close the door!

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A couple weeks ago my oldest son, Judah, finally figured out how to fix the problem. He suggested that we move the shoe shelf to the other side of the room. You see, it was kind of half-hidden behind the door. Just like that - BOOM - the 12-year-old problem was solved.

That pesky problem is no more, and every time I walk past the laundry room I feel happy instead of annoyed. The solution was so ridiculously simple. I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me 11+ years ago.

As I was thinking about moving the shelf to the other side, I thought of when the disciples were fishing and Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. You see, Jesus has a solution ready for every single problem we face.

Sometimes we think His answer seems too simple or silly, and sometimes we just forget to ask Him. My laundry room situation made me think: why didn’t I just ask Jesus what the solution was 12 years ago?  

When Relief Is Only Temporary...

Have you ever experienced relief from a problem only to have it come right back? Sometimes the issue is a result of warfare or just natural circumstances, but other times it’s a direct result of our own stubbornness.

King Saul disobeyed the Lord, and because of his disobedience, he was tormented by an evil spirit. He found that he got relief from the torment only when David played his harp and worshiped the Lord.

That’s amazing, but the relief was only temporary. David could not possibly play 24/7. As great as the gift of David’s worship was, Saul could’ve easily found permanent relief by humbling himself and repenting of his sin.

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This same thing happens over and over today. People hide sin in their hearts and they end up suffering because of it. Then they go to church and experience God’s presence in worship. God’s presence is so wonderful and powerful that they experience some relief. But the relief is only temporary.

As followers of Jesus, we can’t just look for a “fix". It’s not enough to merely experience some temporary relief. We need to look to Him for Him.

You see, true peace only comes through being absolutely surrendered and obedient to Jesus. Partner with the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper, to live a life of purity and obedience! This is the pathway out of anxiety and into peace!


Today I want to share this amazing message by Havilah Cunnington. It is one of the best things I’ve heard in a while. Please check it out by using the button below.

Are You Sleeping With A Python?

There was a woman who had a pet python. Over time she noticed that her beloved pet was not eating. She took the snake to the veterinarian to see what could be done about the problem. The doctor asked an odd question, "Does your pet sleep with you?"

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Yuck! Turns out that indeed the pet snake shared the woman's bed. The doctor proceeded to inform the woman that her beloved python was starving itself so that it would be hungry enough to eat her when just the right moment arrived.

Wow! Let that sink in for a moment.

This story troubles me so much. It makes me want to just weep for people who I love, who are sleeping with their "pythons" and believing that it is a safe and acceptable way to live.

Rest Assured:

Your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23b)

It's time to take a big ax and chop off the head of that ugly snake. Don't delay another day. I beg you to do it now before it swallows you alive.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:30)

Maybe you need to get rid of your phone or cable, or maybe you have some friendships or a relationship that you need to end. These measures are not too extreme.

If God is convicting you of something, agree with Him quickly and get a fresh start.

What Do You Do When Your Nose Is Out of Joint?

Have you ever heard anyone say they got their nose out of joint? Usually what they mean by that is that they needed an attitude adjustment.

As you probably know, I’ve been getting my health in order and feeling better than I have in years. But what you probably don’t know is I have been struggling with a pesky, painful spot in my lower back.

The muscles have been extremely tight, and that’s part of what has been causing my problem. Apparently, my hips have been out of joint, and that has been putting pressure on the other parts of my core. I’ve been getting deep tissue massages, but in addition to that I needed to make a trip to the chiropractor.

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You see, the massage therapist can help the muscles relax, but if something in your frame is out of place, the relief is only temporary. Turns out my L5 was out of alignment, and I’m getting better now!

When you have something out of place, the chiropractor is a whiz at getting you straightened out. Combine this with a massage therapist and you’ve got a winning plan.

But what do you do when your nose is out of joint? Who do you call when you’ve allowed your heart and mind to get out of alignment with God?

It can be helpful to talk things through with a trusted mentor, but in the end you have to humble yourself and work with God to get your heart and mind adjusted. Your heart and mind are your responsibility. Don’t just wait for God to magically change you. You have to work with Him.

You see, I couldn’t just sit at home and expect the chiropractor to magically fix my condition. I had to get in my van, drive to his office, and humbly lie down on the table. I had to take a deep breath, let it slowly out, and allow him to push on me until everything popped back into place.

If your nose is out of joint, don’t wait any longer. It’s time to take care of business and get things in order. If you don’t, it will affect all of the other parts of your life.

Is It Time To Update Your Playlist?

Have you seen the Pixar movie Inside Out? It shows the inside workings of a little girl's memory bank. From time to time an annoying bubble gum commercial ditty randomly pops into her head.

Get a copy of the movie here!

This basic memory function is what advertisers who write jingles depend on. If they can plant messages in our minds, we can definitely do it to ourselves too.

It’s so great to have scripture playing in the soundtrack of your day instead of negativity. As you meditate on God’s Word, the enemy’s lies and accusations get blocked out.

When I was a kid we used to sing this verse to a fun, little tune. From time to time it pops into my head and sticks around for a while.

He that dwells in the secret place of the most High

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge

and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.

Psalm 91:1-2 KJV 2000

Singing the scripture is such a great way to get God’s Word in your heart. Once you’ve learned a verse to song, it stays in a place in your brain for years. At any moment the Word can spring forth into your memory.

Do you have a certain tune that pops into your head from time to time?

Putting scripture to song is a fun way to fight back. It really is a powerful weapon for you. Think of it as part of putting on the full armor of God.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

Intentionally get God’s Word into your heart and mind, then meditate on it as you go about your daily routine!

Which piece of armor do you think singing the Bible best represents? Helmet of Salvation, Breastplate of Righteousness, Sword of the Spirit, Belt of Truth, or Shoes of Peace?


I just listened to a podcast by Joel Osteen about this very thing. It was so good, that I decided to share it with you here! After you click the button below, select the episode called The Right Recording.

 
 

My husband’s first book is now available on Amazon!

  Has your heart been filled with longing to know how to enter God’s presence? Has there been a desire to not just touch His presence, but learn how to cultivate and abide in His presence? Come On In To Papa’s Presence teaches theologically and practically, with Scripture and stories, how to live life in Papa’s presence.    Through this book, allow the Holy Spirit to take you on a journey of overcoming barriers that keep us from His presence and experiencing the depths of His love. As you go on this journey, don’t just read about the encounters in this book, but invite the Lord to take you into your own experiences with Him.    If you’ve never experienced His presence, let this be a tool in the hand of God as you begin your journey. If you’re already acquainted with God’s presence, let this book be an invitation to go deeper than ever before.

Has your heart been filled with longing to know how to enter God’s presence? Has there been a desire to not just touch His presence, but learn how to cultivate and abide in His presence? Come On In To Papa’s Presence teaches theologically and practically, with Scripture and stories, how to live life in Papa’s presence.

Through this book, allow the Holy Spirit to take you on a journey of overcoming barriers that keep us from His presence and experiencing the depths of His love. As you go on this journey, don’t just read about the encounters in this book, but invite the Lord to take you into your own experiences with Him.

If you’ve never experienced His presence, let this be a tool in the hand of God as you begin your journey. If you’re already acquainted with God’s presence, let this book be an invitation to go deeper than ever before.

 

Don't Spew On The Ones You Love

I bet that if you had a stomach virus, you would never intentionally walk up to your loved ones and puke in their faces. Gross! Who would ever do that to anyone, much less than to the people who really matter to them?

Reasonable people try to stay away from others when they're sick. They do it out of mercy and kindness. They stay away until they are well, and no longer contagious. If the sickness doesn't seem to be passing, they get to a doctor to do their best to resolve the situation. Being sick is no fun for the one who is sick or for the rest of the family.

Why is it that we let emotional issues go unsorted for years and years? When the emotional pain buttons in our lives get pushed, the fallout hurts the people around us at least as much it hurts us. It’s time to disconnect those buttons.

You know, the secret areas of pain that you keep hidden and hope that no one ever finds out about? I have news for you, people may not know the specifics, but they can certainly feel the painful symptoms.

If you aren't willing to get healthy for your sake, at least do the hard work of getting yourself sorted out for the sake of the people you love. You really don't want people around you to feel like they have to spend their whole lives walking on eggshells.

Don't delay. Get the help you need. Make an appointment with a counselor or reach out to get with a mature, trusted mentor. If you live in central Iowa, you could come to Freedom Ministry at Heartland Church. It's held the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6 - 8 pm.

In the video below, my mom and I discuss what she wished she would’ve known before she got married. Much of the content of the video is directly related to today’s theme of getting your heart and mind healthy.

 

I was recently in Ohio with my mom, and we recorded this video WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THIS HEALTH JOURNEY.

If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all, you know that I’m passionate about helping you live in peace and hope! That’s why I’m so excited about this health journey. I know that so many people live exhausted and worried about their overall health.

This program is a game changer if you have concerns about your:

  • Energy level

  • Inflammation

  • Excess weight

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Sleep problems & more

    If you have questions about getting some peace and hope in your health, I’d love to talk with you to see if this program would be a good fit for you!

 

Can A Godly Person Have Boundaries?

Boundaries indicate limits. They are the fence around you that keeps good things in and bad things out.  

I have a chain link fence in my backyard. We paid good money to have it built because we had small kids who we wanted to keep safe. We also wanted to keep the neighbor’s large dogs from walking right up to our back door and trying to come inside our house.

 Boundaries are not:  

1.     An excuse to be selfish or rude.

2.     A way to turn you into me.

3.     A way to control other people.

Making demands is a form of control. You cannot demand of someone and show honor to them at the same time.

 
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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phil. 2:3-4)                             

Healthy boundaries are:

1.     A way to be healthy in order to love God and others well.

2.     A way to protect other people from you.

3.     A tool to give you power to control yourself.

You do not get to control other people. You are the only person you can control.

You are only responsible for the things in your own yard. The kinds of things that are in your yard are YOUR:

  • Feelings

  • Attitudes

  • Beliefs

  • Behaviors

  • Actions

  • Choices

  • Thoughts

  • Values

  • Limits

  • Talents

  • Strengths

  • Desires

  • Passions

  • Love

You are not responsible for these in other people. You only get to control YOU.

It is not your job to keep everyone around you happy. You cannot afford to work harder on other people’s lives than they are willing to.

Boundaries are all about self-control. They are about having a plan so that you can be who you need to be, to accomplish the call God has on your life.

 An example of a good boundary with time is:

Don’t let other people push you to make a quick decision. Take the time you need to think things through. Tell the person you will get back to them, then be sure to show them honor by following through.

An example of a boundary with your words is:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Phil 2:14-15)

You get to choose what comes out of your own mouth. You do not get to pick what other people say. Let your words create life.

An example of boundaries with your attitude is:

If you're grumpy, send yourself to your room, go for a drive, or take a walk. You need to protect other people from you. This is a great way to preserve a peaceful atmosphere in your family. You can just tell your family that you need a time out.

Here is a clear boundary for your thought life:

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. (Phil 4:8)  

 
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What can you do when someone hurts you? Matthew 18 lays out the solution very clearly.

1.     If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

2.     But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

3.      If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

When you go to talk to the person who has offended you, your motive needs to be to restore unity, not to pick at the other person or try to make them be just like you.

Always assume the best about the other person. Say something like, “I am probably missing something, but I feel like (insert the feeling and specific incident). Can you help me understand the situation better?”

If you do not feel that the situation is resolved, pull in an impartial, mature mediator to help you.

If you still cannot get to a place of unity, you will want to bring the matter to your pastor or leader. 

Can a godly person have boundaries? Did Jesus have boundaries?

1.    Jesus often went away alone to pray even though the crowds were pressing in for His attention.

2.     He did not get off track with other people’s agendas for His life. He said that He only did what His Father was doing and saying.

3.     He said that He is the ONLY way to the Father. No one can get to the Father except through Him.

Key Idea: Ask Jesus to show you any boundaries you need to make or any walls you need to tear down.

How To Break Free From The Power Of Shame

Living under the weight of shame is a weight that no one should ever have to live under. Unfortunately, we tend to stay stuck in that place year after year because shame causes us to hide. To break free from it, you have to come into the light. You have to take a risk and be honestly seen for who you are. 

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When you choose to be vulnerable and honest, you are choosing humility. God promises that He gives grace to the humble. This grace is the power to break free from all that shame. It is the path to freedom. 

You can turn your heart toward the Lord today, and He will be right there ready to take you into His heart. 

When you turn to Him and choose to stop doing the things that are separating you from Him, He will remove your shame and heal your heart. 

You haven't gone too far that God can't redeem you. There's no place you can hide from His love. Even if you were to run to the ends of the earth, He would still be right there chasing you down to embrace you. 

His love for you is so big, bigger than your mind could ever grasp. It's not too late for you. You haven't gone too far. 

Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double: everlasting joy shall be theirs. Isaiah 61:7

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Moving Past the Pain of Rejection

Have you ever been betrayed? In order to be betrayed, you have to have loved and trusted someone deeply.

It is stunning to me that Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but it did not hold Him back from including Judas in His inner circle and risking His heart.

I think that if I knew ahead of time that someone was going to betray me, I would not even introduce myself much less bring the person into my inner circle.

Jesus is so different from me. He blows my mind. He keeps His love turned on towards all people 100% of the time.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. (John 6:64b NASB)

Jesus' life illustrates this truth: even if you do everything absolutely perfectly, you will still experience rejection.   -Tweet This

Perfection does not equal acceptance from the people around you.

You might even say that the more Christ-like you become, the more you may experience rejection.

Jesus walked in confidence because His sense of self-worth did not come from His companions.

When the Jews wanted to kill Him He said,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. (John 5:19-20 NASB)

Jesus' identity was completed wrapped up in what the Father thought about Him and in living according to His Father's wishes.  

 
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Your Father loves you with the same exact love He loves Jesus with. Make living your life in Him your highest aim and the acceptance or rejection from people will lose its hold on you.

Any pain you have stored up in your heart from betrayal belongs to you. You can choose to own it and to let it go. Choose to let it go today!

I BLESS YOU TO LIVE IN PEACE

 
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Breaking Up With Fear

It's easy to go down a trail of imagining the worst even when things really are going well. It starts with the thought "what if."

  • What if an armed robber breaks into my house?
  • What if my spouse gets killed in a car wreck on their way home from work?
  • What if my kid gets a horrible disease? 

If we're not careful we can get ourselves all worked up about something that may never happen. We can waste our precious time mentally planning out funerals that aren't going to happen anytime soon. This is how you partner with fear. It is vain imagination hard at work.

You can partner with peace by turning your "what if's" into things that agree with God.

  • What if God really, really loves me?
  • What if God wants to use my life to touch the world around me?
  • What if God has given me everything I need to live an amazing life? 

This is glorified imagination. Going down this path will fill your heart with hope!

Key Idea: Worry is a mis-use of your imagination.

 
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When the Enemy Comes In Like a Flood...

The battle is in the mind. The enemy will always try to attack you in your thoughts. That's why he's the accuser of the brethren. His main tactic is to accuse you, try to intimidate you, and move you off your ground.

If the enemy can mess with your head without you fighting back, he knows he can derail you and keep you out of the battle.

The devil is very interested in keeping you from walking out the plans God has for you, and messing with your head is one of his favorite tools.

It is vital that you guard your mind with the truth of God’s Word. You must stand firm. You must put on the helmet of salvation. 

It can be helpful to imagine yourself putting on the helmet. Physically place your hands on your head and thank God for giving you protection for your mind. Lay your hands on your head and declare that you have the mind of Christ, that you will think His thoughts. Resist the enemy’s lies that he’s wanting you to partner with.

God has given you the gift of a sound mind. Thank Him for it and receive it by faith. Peace of mind, not anxiety, is a part of the normal Christian life. You do not have to lose the battle in your mind.

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

This is the battle. And if you stand firm, you will win it!

Remember. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise you up!

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Do You Ever Experience Phantom Worry?

The city that I live in seems to be in a competition with Chicago for the title of "Windy City." We regularly get high winds blowing in over the flat prairie. This wind has made our home life pretty interesting.

  1. When we have a combination of snow and wind, we almost always end up with a 2-3 foot snow drift covering our driveway. The crazy thing is that the yard will be nearly snow free. For some reason the way our house is situated causes the wind to pick the snow up from the yard and drop it into the driveway.
  2. We have had two trampolines over the years. The first one blew away in the middle of the night. The wind picked it up and carried it all the way down the street, past 5 or 6 houses, and dropped it into a pond where it presumably still is today. As the trampoline traveled down the street, it left pieces of itself along the way in the neighbors' yards. We had to pay $160 to repair our neighbor's fence. We tied the second trampoline down firmly, but it eventually wore out from use, so we got rid of it.
  3. A few years ago my parents gave the kids a basketball goal for Christmas. It was the kind that you put sand in to weigh it down, as opposed to the kind that you cement into the ground. Even with 300 pounds of sand, the wind regularly blew it over. We had to be careful to not park the car near it on windy days. Eventually one of the metal rods that held the goal up, snapped clean through because of the pressure from the wind.
 
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When my husband and I woke up one recent windy morning, we both had the same thought. We simultaneously experienced a moment of worry, only to breathe a sigh of relief when we remembered that we had nothing left in the yard to blow away.

We laughed together, and Christopher said, "That was like phantom worry." It was kind of like the stories you hear about amputees who still feel sensations from their missing limbs. Or maybe what more of us can relate to, the feeling of your phone vibrating when it really isn't.

It made me think, how many of the things we worry about are even based in reality? Maybe a huge portion of our worry is only a matter of habit. Maybe we simply need to retrain ourselves to think differently. What do you think?

How To Handle Rejection

Have you ever been betrayed? In order to be betrayed, you have to have loved and trusted someone deeply.

It is stunning to me that Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but it did not hold Him back from including Judas in His inner circle and risking His heart.

I think that if I knew ahead of time that someone was going to betray me, I would not even introduce myself much less bring the person into my inner circle.

Jesus is so different from me. He blows my mind. He keeps His love turned on towards all people 100% of the time.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. (John 6:64b NASB)

Jesus' life illustrates this truth: even if you do everything absolutely perfectly, you will still experience rejection.   -Tweet This

Perfection does not equal acceptance from the people around you.

You might even say that the more Christ like you become, the more you may experience rejection.

Jesus walked in confidence because His sense of self worth did not come from His companions.

When the Jews wanted to kill Him He said,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. (John 5:19-20 NASB)

Jesus' identity was completed wrapped up in what the Father thought about Him and in living according to His Father's wishes.  

You won't be healed of your rejection by analyzing the source of your rejection but by looking at the source of your acceptance. -Bob Sorge

Your Father loves you with the same exact love He loves Jesus with. Make living your life in Him your highest aim and the acceptance or rejection from people will lose its hold on you.

Any pain you have stored up in your heart from betrayal belongs to you. You can choose to own it and to let it go. Choose to let it go today!

I bless you to live in peace.


Here is a true life story movie about a brother laying down his life. It is a "wow" story. I checked this out for free from our public library, but here is the link to check it out on Amazon:

Your Marriage Team

Thinking about getting married?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about the person you're considering:

1.     Do they love God more than they love you? As flattering as it may be to have someone adore you, it is vital that you not come first in their life. You do not want to be an idol. God will not bless idolatry.

2.      Do they have respectful, healthy relationships with their parents and siblings? The way they already do family relationships is what you can expect from them if you start a new family with them. Spend a lot of time with them and their family together so that you can get a good idea of what is in store for you.

3.     Do they have the same life mission as you? It will be very hard to accomplish your heart’s mission if you are tied to someone who is headed in a different direction than you are.

Already Married?

Once you are married, you have a lifetime to grow and strategize together in your life mission. Every family should take time to formulate their mission.

What does your family bring to the world to make it a better place?

If you find that you are not headed in the same direction as your spouse, bailing on them is not an option. You will need to find a new mission that you both can invest in.

God is completely committed to helping you have a bright future. He is so faithful to complete the work that He has started in you. It is hard to get off track when you have a sincere desire to follow Him.

He even takes your mistakes and weaves them into your destiny to make your story powerful. He redeems every messy situation to the core.

Think of a wall with a hole knocked into it. God doesn’t just slap some scotch tape and spray paint onto it. He does a thorough repair job to the point that the wall looks brand new. 

Destiny key: Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to figure out God’s will for your life. Submit yourself to God and your leaders, get into a place of peace and do what God is putting in your heart.

 

For I am confident of this very thing,

that He who began a good work in you

will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6


Check out my mom's message called A Marriage Behind Closed Doors. Warning: It contains mature content.

Do you desire a strong and healthy marriage? After over 41 years of marriage, Leanne shares from her heart the principles that have contributed to having the great marriage she has today. Through this inspiring message you will laugh, weep, and be intrigued by the truths and realities we all face in our marriages. Whether you're presently married, looking forward to marriage, or know someone who needs a marriage like this, you will not be disappointed by "A Marriage Behind Closed Doors!

Can a Godly Person Have Boundaries?

Boundaries indicate limits. They are the fence around you that keeps good things in and bad things out.  

I have a chain link fence in my backyard. We paid good money to have it built because we had small kids who we wanted to keep safe. We also wanted to keep the neighbor’s large dogs from walking right up to our back door and trying to come inside our house.

 Boundaries are not:  

1.     An excuse to be selfish or rude.

2.     A way to turn you into me.

3.     A way to control other people.

Making demands is a form of control. You cannot demand of someone and show honor to them at the same time.

bethblogmarriage3.png

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phil. 2:3-4)                             

Healthy boundaries are:

1.     A way to be healthy in order to love God and others well.

2.     A way to protect other people from you.

3.     A tool to give you power to control yourself.

You do not get to control other people. You are the only person you can control.

You are only responsible for the things in your own yard. The kinds of things that are in your yard are YOUR:

  • Feelings
  • Attitudes
  • Beliefs
  • Behaviors
  • Actions
  • Choices
  • Thoughts
  • Values
  • Limits
  • Talents
  • Strengths
  • Desires
  • Passions
  • Love

You are not responsible for these in other people. You only get to control YOU.

It is not your job to keep everyone around you happy. You cannot afford to work harder on other people’s lives than they are willing to.

Boundaries are all about self-control. They are about having a plan so that you can be who you need to be, to accomplish the call God has on your life.

 An example of a good boundary with time is:

Don’t let other people push you to make a quick decision. Take the time you need to think things through. Tell the person you will get back to them, then be sure to show them honor by following through.

An example of a boundary with your words is:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Phil 2:14-15)

You get to choose what comes out of your own mouth. You do not get to pick what other people say. Let your words create life.

An example of boundaries with your attitude is:

If you're grumpy, send yourself to your room, go for a drive, or take a walk. You need to protect other people from you. This is a great way to preserve a peaceful atmosphere in your family. You can just tell your family that you need a time out.

Here is a clear boundary for your thought life:

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. (Phil 4:8)  

What can you do when someone hurts you? Matthew 18 lays out the solution very clearly.

1.     If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

2.     But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

3.      If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

When you go to talk to the person who has offended you, your motive needs to be to restore unity, not to pick at the other person or try to make them be just like you.

Always assume the best about the other person. Say something like, “I am probably missing something, but I feel like (insert the feeling and specific incident). Can you help me understand the situation better?”

If you do not feel that the situation is resolved, pull in an impartial, mature mediator to help you.

If you still cannot get to a place of unity, you will want to bring the matter to your pastor or leader. 

Can a godly person have boundaries? Did Jesus have boundaries?

1.    Jesus often went away alone to pray even though the crowds were pressing in for His attention.

2.     He did not get off track with other people’s agendas for His life. He said that He only did what His Father was doing and saying.

3.     He said that He is the ONLY way to the Father. No one can get to the Father except through Him.

Key Idea: Ask Jesus to show you any boundaries you need to make or any walls you need to tear down.

 

Merry Christmas

Christmas is the time when we remember the mind-blowing fact that God became a man! He loved us so much, that He chose to humble Himself and become one of us so that we could be in relationship with Him again. 

You see, the whole reason He created people in the first place was to be with them. He has not given up on His original desire. He really desires you!

As we take time with our friends and family this Christmas season, let's remember that our desire for connection with each other is a reflection of God's desire to connect with us. 

Emmanuel - God with Us

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How To Overcome Fear & Worry

Did you know that you can live in perfect peace? Did you know that fear and worry are tools of the enemy to keep you from your destiny? I'm so tired of the enemy tricking us into thinking that fear and worry are some kind of normal emotion.  

It seems to be so socially acceptable to worry about our kids or family members. But in reality, fear and worry are evil spirits that we can choose to stand against or agree with.  

We are in a battle. We need to see it for what it is and fight. Let's not agree with the enemy and let him have place to rule in our hearts.

We have to be aware of our self talk....the voices in our head. Every thought you have is not your own. The devil whispers lies constantly, and we have to practice recognizing them and not agreeing with them.  

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It is great to have a healthy friend or spiritual parent to tell your thoughts to. They should be able to help you decide where the thought is coming from.  

When we agree with God's thoughts towards us, we grow in peace and joy. When we agree with the enemy, we open the door for him to come in and destroy our peace.

Holy Spirit is our friend and helper. We need Him so much. As we take time to value Him and soak in His presence, He fills us up.  

The enemy will do everything he can to keep you from spending time with God. I bet everyone of us could come up with a huge list of reasons why we don't have time to spend resting in God's presence. It really takes practice.  

Quieting the heart does not come natural to everyone. You have to really set aside 15 minutes to practice. Put on some worship music that touches your heart and invite Holy Spirit to come.  

It's helpful to have a notebook to write stuff down. When you remember things you need to do, write them down so you can deal with them later.  

Write down things Holy Spirit whispers to your heart. If you take time to practice spending time with God, it will become easier. Getting to that place of peace and rest is vital. 

Key Idea: You do not have to agree with fear and worry. 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3


 
 
 

How to Get the Grace You Need to Be Able to Forgive

The other day I posted this quote on social media, and I got some questions about it. I'd like to take a moment now to expound on it. The quote was:

 
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If you keep trying to forgive but can't seem to let go, you might have fallen into unrighteous judgment.

We all know that holding unforgiveness in our hearts is not the pathway to living in peace, but as much as we may want to forgive, the actual letting go can be really, really hard.

Here's the thing, if you feel like you've tried to forgive but just can't, you probably have moved from being hurt into the sin of unrighteous judgment. 

I'm not saying that it is always wrong to judge. In fact, there is a time where judging is actually appropriate. You can read more about that here.

Things get messy when you start to judge out of a critical heart. If you want to be free, you will need to actually repent of the judgment and ask God to forgive you for it. When you do, grace will come to your life. 

Key Idea: If you’ve fallen into the sin of unrighteousness judgment, repent of it and ask God to forgive you. This will unlock grace for you to truly forgive.

Here are a couple of resources (from some heroes of mine) on this subject: 

 https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Forgiveness-JohnAndamp-Carol-Arnott/dp/1894310756

https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Forgiveness-JohnAndamp-Carol-Arnott/dp/1894310756


I'm excited to announce the release of my 3rd book, 30 Days of Peace & Hope!

 
 Can you imagine how your life would look if you walked in peace and hope every day? Jesus gives us peace and then commands us to not let our hearts be troubled. This is both a gift and a responsibility. Let’s take the next 30 days to work together on cultivating a peace that leads to lasting hope.

Can you imagine how your life would look if you walked in peace and hope every day? Jesus gives us peace and then commands us to not let our hearts be troubled. This is both a gift and a responsibility. Let’s take the next 30 days to work together on cultivating a peace that leads to lasting hope.

 

How To Wait Without Getting Impatient

Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry? As much as we might want Him to get things moving, He doesn’t seem to ever get impatient.

God is not constrained by time. He created time and is outside of it.

The Bible tells us that God’s Kingdom is always increasing and advancing. He knows that He wins in the end, so He doesn’t need to worry at all.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life where God will start to highlight a subject to me a year or two before I start to see movement in that particular area. It’s like I start to feel passionate about fixing a certain problem, or I get a new idea well before the window of time that the people around me are ready for it.

This used to bother me, but now that I have realized the pattern, I’m more easily able to wait patiently and stay out of frustration.

God’s timing is perfect. The journey between the idea and the fulfillment of the idea is an important time of personal growth and clarity of purpose.

Don’t get impatient in the process. Wait on the Lord.

Wait for the LORD;

be strong and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:14

 
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How To Resist The Devil's Plan To Keep You From Intimacy With God

I love Holy Spirit so much. He's just so good. The intimate fellowship that I experience with Him is like nothing else in this life. It fills me with peace that is beyond comprehension.

I know that this is a huge part of what Jesus was talking about when He said, "I come to give you life, and life more abundant."  

I'm so thankful to Jesus that He went to His Father and sent Holy Spirit to us: the Spirit of Truth who teaches us everything we need to know.

The devil hates for us to experience this sweet fellowship with Holy Spirit. He whispers so many lies to keep us from this divine connection.

Some of the lies he used on me over the years were:

  1. You're not really hearing from the Lord or feeling anything really spiritual. You are just making it up. 
  2. You're not as spiritual as other people, so you might as well serve others and not even try to have spiritual encounters. 
  3. If you were really spiritual, you could connect with God without using music as a crutch.    

Wow, do you see how accusing those statements are? I had to learn to recognize where the thoughts in my head were coming from.

Key Idea: Any thought that is keeping you from spending time with God, is not from God.

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What freedom! When I realized that all of those years I really had been so sincere in my love for God, and that He knew it and loved that about me, I started to enter into His presence in a whole new way.  

Now when I spend time with Him, I have confidence. I know that I love Him, and He loves me. I have thoughts running through my head like: 

  1. Holy Spirit, I love You so much. I love it when You come and spend time with me. 
  2. Jesus, thank You so much that I'm clean, and it's my nature to love.
  3. Father, thank You that I'm Your child, and You love to give me good gifts.

That's a little of my journey in connecting with Him, who is our Life. I hope you are encouraged to keep working towards heart connection with the One who loves you like no other!