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Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12: 2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. But exactly how do we do that? The “experts” say we do that my reading and studying God’s Word. And I think they’re probably right. Of course, there are other things (going to church; praying; praising…) we do as well but reading, studying, and knowing God’s Word is one of the best ways.

But why do we need to the renewing of our minds?  Life can be really difficult. First we have our own personal problems such as chronic illness, money problems, and difficult family relationships to name just a few. Then there’s the state of the country and the world to worry about, not to mention all the difficulties of our friends and families. Let’s not forget about all the tragedies.

If we don’t renew our mind on a regular basis, sadness, sorrow, worry, anxiety, and even anger are going invade our thoughts. The more we dwell on the negative–on how helpless we are or how “bad” the world is the more negative we become. Before you know it, we’ve lost the peace and joy that is our spiritual birthright.

And that’s why we need the renewing of our mind on a regular basis. But like the infomercials says–wait…that’s not all! Yes renewing our mind will keep us in a good place spiritually, but it does so much more than that. The second part of the verse says, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  As we renew our minds, we will begin to know God’s will for us.

How good is that!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

Setting My Priorities

Matthew 6: 33 (KJV)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.

This verse popped into my head a few weeks ago, or at least the part about seek ye first the kingdom of God. So it’s become my new mantra. Seeking God first. It sounds simple enough but not always an easy things to do. I always plan to do that when I get to my office to start my workday. By my office, I mean upstairs at my house in my jammies. I’m retired now so writing has become my job. (Yay!!)

Anyway most weekdays, I get up spend some time with my husband then exercise. Then it’s off to work I go–hi-ho-hi-ho. So the plan is to always do a little Bible study first but…then I check my emails and answer a few…then that leads me to do this or that or the other thing…and before you know it, NO Bible study that day or the next or the next.

Sooner or later, I start to feel a bit unsettled. So I include some Bible study and then I begin to feel more settled. Then it slowly slips away again. And it becomes a cycle–not a good one. So when this verse popped into my head, I took it seriously. Which is why there are more devotions being posted lately.

Anyway…back to the verse: all these things will be added unto you. What things you might be asking? At least that’s what I asked. So I read the complete chapter and discovered it was Jesus speaking during the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s a few more verses to add clarity to the verse, this is from the NIV.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The bold print is mine. So you can see these verses are about Jesus telling us to not worry but instead to seek the kingdom of God and that God will take care of us. Sounds good, doesn’t it–a life with no worry, but not so easy to do. I don’t consider myself a big worrier but I still find myself worrying about things sometimes.

Because after all, life can be overwhelming at times. Worry is the opposite of trusting God. And above all, I want to honor God by trusting Him so I’ve been setting my priorities. And that means seeking God first and everything else comes second.

YOUR TURN: How about you? What interferes with you seeking God first?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Attitude is Everything!

Proverbs 17: 22

A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Yesterday I found out that I’m facing months of chemotherapy again for my brain tumors–third time actually–if the insurance company agrees. And of course, it comes right as I’m finally feeling better than I have in a long time. My chemo isn’t as bad as what a lot of people experience and for that I’m grateful. The main issue for me seems to be fatigue and it sabotages my weight loss.

My first reaction was to throw up my hands and say, “I give up!” Give up on trying to getting healthy. Give up on trying to lose more weight or even to maintain at this point. Just give up-give up-give up! But that didn’t seem to be the best attitude to have. And attitude is everything!

So I had my little pity party and then it was time to move on and be cheerful.

After all, the chemotherapy has saved my hearing twice in the past, and hopefully it will again. And that’s a really good thing! So what if I don’t feel quite as good for a while. So be it!

Attitude is everything! And I’m determined to have a good attitude–even if it kills me! That’s a joke! I’ve been dealing with my brain tumors for a little more than four years so I’ve learned a bit about how to keep a good attitude. Here’s some of the things I do to keep a cheerful heart in spite of difficult circumstances.

  1. Being thankful for all the good things in my life.
  2. Stay close to God through His Word. It’s amazing how powerful God’s Word is.
  3. Stay close to God through praying. The Bible encourages us to bring our petitions to God–so why not do it?
  4. Staying close to God through praising. Feeling down? Turn on some praise music or traditional hymns and be sure to sing along!
  5. Focus on other people–life isn’t just about me and my problems!

Those are some of my ways I keep a cheerful heart.

YOUR TURN:  What about you? What’s some of the ways you keep a cheerful heart in the midst of a storm?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Today’s Words of Wisdom

Another one of my favorite verses:

Isaiah 55: 8 (AMP)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

We can make ourselves a little bit crazy or a lot if we don’t remember this. GOD is GOD and His ways are perfect even when we don’t understand them. The best thing we can do (at least that’s what I think) is to remember that God loves us and to trust Him no matter what circumstances happen.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Yet Again–Part 2: Giving Up Isn’t An Option!

Proverbs 24: 16

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
         But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

I finally managed to get Joey + Rory’s new album—oops I mean CD, HYMNS on my IPod that I use while I work out. If you don’t know Joey + Rory’s story, you might want to check out Rory’s blog, This Life I Live at http://thislifeilive.com.  Just be sure to have a few tissues handy.

As I listened to Joey’s beautiful voice this morning singing her favorite traditional hymns, I was inspired by her courage. But more than her courage, also by the fact she didn’t lose her faith during her battle with cancer, even when she knew she wouldn’t be winning the battle–here. But she’s won now because  Joey’s in the arms of her dear Savior and mine.

But the inspiration doesn’t end there. If you know anything about Joey + Rory, it’s how much Rory loved his bride. We were blessed to see them perform several times and the one thing I always noticed was the love that twinkled in Rory’s eyes whenever he looked at Joey.

So these days, Rory’s doing what he needs to do to get back up after losing his beloved bride. For him, giving up isn’t an option. He’s determined to honor God and Joey as he goes on with his life. Which should inspire all of us to do the same. We all fall down but staying down and giving up shouldn’t be an option when you’re a Christian.

Joey inspires still but so does Rory!

Anyway as I said in my last blog, Yet Again, I’m back on treatment for my brain tumors in spite of being told they were stable and shouldn’t cause any more problems.  This came right at the point where I was feeling stronger and healthier than I have in years. Even if I manage to avoid chemo, I know the steroids are going to knock me down again–for now.

But giving up isn’t an option.

Yes, I’ve fallen down once again but with God’s help I know I’ll get back up.

Now it’s YOUR TURN: Who inspires you and why? Doesn’t matter if the person is famous or only famous to you. Tell us what inspires you about them.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

YET AGAIN!

Philippians 4: 7

And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Did you notice the all-capital letter title? I’m not exactly yelling but…I’m definitely frustrated. Or at least I was for a little while this week. Once I tell you why, you’ll probably agree that my frustration is understandable. But Philippians 4:7 says God gives a peace that transcends all understanding.

And that’s where I am right now–in this moment. Not sure where I’ll be in the next but I’m praying to stay in the peace of God that transcends all understanding.

I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors 4 years ago this month. At the time, the doctor told me I would need 2 separate Gamma Knife surgeries and it would take a year to recover from them. In August 2012, I have my first Gamma Knife and then in October 2013 I had my second. So by all accounts my treatments should be finished by October 2014, right?

Wrong!

The problem is that my hearing keeps going wonky! Meaning sounds become so distorted that I can’t understand speech at all! Not a good thing. I lost all my hearing in my right ear after the Gamma Knife and started to lose my hearing in my left. But my wonderful doctors at Cleveland Clinic have worked really hard for that not to happen.

Since the 2nd Gamma Knife, I’ve had two rounds of chemotherapy and months and months of being on steroids. Not a good thing either but this past January I was told my tumors were stable. Finally! No more treatments and I wouldn’t need another MRI until the following January.

YAY! Right? Wrong!

This past Saturday, the wonky hearing came back. I’m now back under the doctor’s care, on steroids again and hoping to avoid a 3rd round of chemo. Along with that, I finally got to the lowest weight in almost 20 years! Another big YAY until I had sto start taking the steroids again. Now, I’m eating and eating and….you get my point.

If that wasn’t enough, we’ve had a bad week at our house with several other major upsets and I do mean major. So you can understand my frustration, right? But I choose not to live and wallow in that frustration. I have my moments but I refuse to get stuck in those moments.

So how do I do that? As the verse above says, Phillipians 4: 7 says it’s a peace that transcends understanding. What I can tell you is I’ve done a lot of talking with God this week. Yes, I’ve asked for healing and asked others to pray for that as well. But that’s only been the start of our talks. I’ve also told God I trust Him. I know He loves me whatever happens. And just telling Him how incredibly frustrating the situation is for me along with some old-fashioned praise and thanksgiving. Because after all things could be worse.

I’ve also spent time focusing on the Bible, specifically verses that talk about who I am in Christ. The comfort, support, and encouragement I get from the Bible keeps me focused on Jesus, not on my circumstances.

Finally, I’ve  made a point to spend time listening to and singing uplifiting music, both praise and traditional hymns. Both add to my joy and my peace. I haven’t been able to hear all the words but that’s OK, I could still sing along.

So that’s been my week, I pray yours was better.

Now it’s YOUR TURN: What’s something you do to stay in God’s peace and joy no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Happiness

My very special guest writer today is Chad Young.

ChadYoung-colorheadshot

He’s a 14-year Cru (formerly Campus Crusades for Christ) staff member residing in Atlanta, Ga., with his wife Elizabeth and their children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. He’s also the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World.  His latest release is Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators.

 

“Two Keys to Happiness” by Chad Young

What if someone told you that if you do two simple things today, you will be a happier person? Recently I read the first part of the book of Philippians, and I found two keys to happiness that we can apply to our lives today:

1) Be Thankful – The first thing Paul did was to thank God. He thanked God for the people in his life, the people he loved. He counted his blessings and thanked God for them in his prayers. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Phil. 1:3-5, ESV)

2) Rest in God’s Sovereignty – Secondly, Paul acknowledged that God is in control. He’s at work in people’s lives. He never gives up on us, and this gives me hope because I know it means he will work out everything for my good. He will even use my trials and tragedies for my long-term benefit. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6, ESV)

 

Great advice! I agree with you, Chad! I’ve seen that in my own life as I struggle with the aftereffects of my brain tumors.

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!