Benefits of Choosing God’s Perspective

As many of you may remember, my word for the year is “Perspective“.  I marvel at how I’ve seen the hand of God as he is working to re-orient my thinking in several areas, changing my perspective on life. So this week has turned into a montage, where I will share bits and pieces of perspective shift since the beginning of the year.

I began the year by reading the book of Genesis, asking for God’s perspective on two key areas:  “Who is God?”  and “How does he see me?”  As I read the account of the Garden of Eden, I found myself looking at the beginnings of mankind and our relationship with God with a fresh outlook.  Much of what I gained from that study I recently shared over the course of 3 weeks in about 12 blog posts with the categories: “Who Is God?“, “Who Is Jesus?” and “Who Am I?”  Two shifts in perspective for me through this study and writing the posts were:

My choices to either obey God or choose my own way will have lasting consequences which may not be immediately apparent.  These consequences will effect others far more than I would expect, and may last far longer than I could ever have imagined.

and

God’s love has relentlessly pursued relationship with mankind from the moment he created us.

These ideas were tested a couple of weeks ago, when I found myself stewing over something done against me a few moments before.  Bitter thoughts wafted through my brain, and in the heat of the moment I entertained them far too long.

My internal conversation went something like this:

“Why do I have to continue to deal with this behavior time after time?”

Quickly my thoughts devolved to, “If this person really cared about me, they wouldn’t keep doing this.”

To finally, “If God loves me, why does he continue to make me have to deal with this?”

Been there?  I’m so grateful God’s Spirit immediately intervened with, “Will you choose to listen to the enemy of your soul, or will you choose to trust God’s words about you and the situation?”  Because of the recent study in Genesis, immediately, my minds eye began to replay the scene in the garden where the serpent bent the truth of God for a lie of his own making.  My mind also replayed the catastrophic results because Adam and Eve listened!

I know the truth – God does love me, and suffering is part of life.

The lie:

“If God loves me, ……….”

The truth:

 

I John 4:8 (NLT) “….God is love.”

Romans 8:38 (NLT) “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”

The lie:

“God’s love is best shown by protecting me from all difficulty.”

The truth:

Hebrews 5:8 (NLT) “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.”

John 16:33 (NLT) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Gratefully, after being reminded of the truth, I chose to listen to God’s voice instead of the voice of the enemy.  I shutter to think of the heartache I would have needlessly endured, had I chosen instead bitterness of heart.  Also if I remember correctly, the situation troubling me was soon remedied, but may not have been had I chosen to entertain bitterness.

Choosing God’s perspective over my own, brings life not only to me but those around me. Impacting them far more greatly than I realize, for far longer than I could ever imagine!

And

Only eternity will reveal the full extent of how my obedience effected the world around me.

I would love to hear from you how God is changing your perspective, and the results!  God bless you.  You have no idea what a blessing you are to me!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Looking At Me Through God’s Eyes

As I get older, my figure isn’t what it used to be, and modern fashions made for thin, younger women don’t always suit me well, but in spite of this, I long to know that I’m beautiful to someone!

Aren’t we all on a quest to find that person, or group of people who see us as exceptional, beautiful, talented, and valued? And when life gets hard, the voices in our heads so easily send us down dark tunnels that echo “I’m not all that beautiful, and I’m not all that important.”  Those same echo’s have reverberated off the walls of my mind many times throughout my life.

However, I am discovering,

The more I look into my heavenly Father’s face to see my reflection, the less I care about the reflections I see through human eyes.

So, here are some reflections from our heavenly Father’s eyes to ponder:

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
” Psalm 139:13,14 (MSG) 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:31-39 (MSG)

Wow!  Lord, I have trouble comprehending such love – for ME.  Please, help me to be able to embrace your amazing, over-the-top love.

With love,

Robin <3

 

 

 

 

How to Ride Out the Waves

Day 5 of “Fighting Fear”

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all who have prayed and given encouragement the last week.  How blessed I am! 🙂  Unfortunately I still have no news!

Last Thursday morning as I sat in my Bible study, knowing that Evan’s doctor’s appointment was only hours away, I suddenly began to feel panic rising within me – and there was nothing I could do to stop it’s ugly head appearing after so long an absence.  I couldn’t stop it’s appearance, but I’ve learned over the years how to more effectively keep it from escalating.

The things I had written all week weren’t theory.  And rehearsing these truths over and over again all week truly strengthened me.  I began to learn the power of the truths I shared last week 8 years ago.

About 6 months before Norman’s death, I began to experience anxiety attacks, unaware at first what was happening.  I was never given the luxury of a warning.  Day or night, I’d sense a sudden rush of adrenaline followed by lightening bolts and fireworks coursing through my body at speeds that made me want to jump out of my skin and run.  The more I fought the rising emotion, the worse it became.  I felt so hopeless!

The first time I realized Jesus could help, I had just pulled into a Target parking lot, was about to open the door, when wham – “it” began.  As the cycle of panic ramped up, I heard the preacher on the radio calmly begin the story of Jesus fast asleep in a boat, as his disciples fought to keep the boat upright in a fierce storm. In their panic, they awoke Jesus.  “Master, aren’t you concerned we’re going to drown?”  Surprisingly, Jesus chided them for their lack of faith, then spoke peace to the storm, and all became suddenly calm. The preacher then said something I’ll never forget.

“Jesus was in the boat with them, so they didn’t have to fear the storm.  They only needed to ride out the waves.”

jesus_stormThis statement began my training in learning to “ride out the waves” of panic and anxiety. Over the next several years, I learned the things I shared last week, finding greater and greater victory as time elapsed. I have also learned other needed tools to ride out the waves.

We are made up of soul, body, and spirit – and every aspect of our being is greatly effected by stress.  So, this week, as I continue to go “live” in dealing with concerns about Evan’s health and my need to overcome fear, I’ll share how I’m learning to “ride the waves” as I provide what is needed for my physical body and my soul.

Tomorrow, I will share some things I am learning about the effects of excessive stress on the body, and how the Lord used this knowledge to keep those feelings of panic last Thursday from moving into a full blown panic attack.  I am certainly not a medical practitioner, so anything I say is solely from my personal experience.

Please join me.  I would love to hear how you have successfully dealt with anxiety, since we all deal with it throughout life.

With love,

Robin <3

p.s. If you felt last week like I just don’t get where you are in your journey, I’m so sorry. I hope that this week helps!

 

Take Fear Captive!

Today’s Plan to Up End Fear:

Don’t Argue With Fear – Take It Captive.

Rationalizing with fear doesn’t work.  Fear is a foe able to bend kings and mighty warriors to it’s sway.  So, how can I succeed against something so powerful?

The battle with fear begins in my mind, so it must be waged there:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV – emphasis mine)

These verses speak of weapons.  What weapons?

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

It says I’m to make every thought obedient to Christ.  What does Jesus say I am to think about?  What am I to do?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

As I fight with God’s strength to dwell on what is true, noble, right…. I can more easily remember God’s loving, powerful faithfulness to me in the past.

Remembering and dwelling on his past faithfulness strengthens me to come to him fully trusting he can do the same today, in this situation!

 

Let me close this week with “You Are Faithful”, by Carrollton:

This afternoon we head to the specialist.  Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers.  They, along with the reminders of the truth, have strengthened me more than I can say! Fear has been kept at bay – and I am so thankful to God, and to you!

With much love and gratitude,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read:  Caution, Emotions At Play!

 

Fighting to Win…

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks or months when you feel like life is a losing battle?  Me too.  This past weekend seemed like that, until I stopped long enough this morning to ask the Lord what was going on.  I soon got an answer, and the day is going better.  But life and battles are rarely that easy.

As I thought about the struggles within this past weekend, and about this post, I was reminded of a battle about 3 years ago, culminating in a late night where wars raged more inside than out.

I was a fairly new step mom, and the boys and I weren’t doing very well adjusting to each other.  The normal new blended family issues, personalized for us.  This particular night, the war inside me waged severely.  My feelings for the boys at that moment were explosive, but I had no clue how to change things.  Those feelings had been building for many months, and I saw no end in sight.  I was helpless on my own.

I knew I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts desperately wanted to keep replaying why I had a right to feel as I did.  Fear for my interests and hatred from rejection pounded mortars through my mind and body.  After-shocks of anxiety ripped through me.  Yet through the noise, I kept hearing the Holy Spirit not so gently demanding, “Yield to me, Robin”.

Finally, my abilities failing greatly, I cried, “Okay, God.  I can’t keep doing this.  I yield.” And I meant it!  Literally, within seconds, the battle ceased, and peace settled like the silence after a hurricane.

To win the battle, I must be able to distinguish my allies from my enemies.

My ally is always God and his will. Because he is for us.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT – Jesus speaking)

At that moment, my greatest enemy was my own emotions, and the enemy of my soul who bombarded me with fear, anxiety, and hatred to keep me wrapped tightly in chains.

Yet in the middle of the onslaught, I was having a hard time distinguishing friend from foe, and in reality was getting the two mixed up.  It’s easy to do when emotions are high.

Ever been there?  Ever spent all your energy praying and fighting and trying to convince someone else, or change something else, only to find yourself spent trying to fix it alone?

Yet with 2 short words, “I yield”, God began to move.  Peace overcame the barrage, and slowly.  Carefully. Strategically things within and around me began to change, by God’s grace and power.

Is life all rosy now?  No way.  Is it better? Yes in many ways.  And, I haven’t had a night like that since.  God is working.

The Bible describes yielding moments by saying,

“The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

This week we will continue to look at the issue of ‘Perspective’, in regards to how to “Fight to Win” by embracing God as our greatest ally.  I’d love to hear your stories – for I can’t do this alone!

With love,

Robin <3

Worship Re-Orients My Thinking

Advent, Week 1, Day 3

When I was struggling to survive during the Christmas season, the traditional music of the holidays didn’t always comfort me.  I could enjoy the music for a while, but eventually, the songs began to blend together into the “wah, wah, wah” of a Charlie Brown movie short, as my aching soul longed for a life raft, not a Christmas Party.

So, every Wednesday during the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas, I will share one or two You Tube selections that will hopefully throw out a life raft in the form of a song to re-orient our thinking from how we you are feeling, to who Jesus is.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philipians 4:8-9

When Norman’s cancer, or later my being alone were my quickest thoughts, I played the Christian radio station almost constantly.  At moments when I needed it most, the song playing would come to the forfront of my awareness, and God would use it in a most specific way that very moment.  It happened over and over again.

Below you will find a song to redirect thoughts of “I’m not accepted, to I am embraced by the Prince of Peace”.  Click on the link to hear the song on You Tube.  Below are the lyrics, should you wish to ponder them throughout the rest of the week.

Prince of Peace, by Hillsong

My heart a storm, clouds raging deep within
The Prince of peace came bursting through the wind
The violent sky held its breath
And in Your light I found rest

Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of peace met me there

You heard my prayer

Hope like the sunlight piercing through the dark
The Prince of peace came and broke into my heart
The violent cross, the empty grave
And in Your light I found grace

Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of peace met me there

You’re always there
And You hear my prayer

Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war
When night screams terror, there Your voice will roar
Come death or shadow, God I know Your light will meet me there

When fear comes knocking, there You’ll be my guard
When day breeds trouble, there You’ll hold my heart
Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there

Again and again
Oh, be still my heart
I know that You are God

Oh, fear no evil
For I know You are here

And my soul will know Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war
When night screams terror, there Your voice will roar
Come death or shadow, God I know Your light will meet me there

And my soul will know When fear comes knocking, there You’ll be my guard
When day breeds trouble, there You’ll hold my heart
Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there

Oh, be still my heart
And my soul will ever know that You are God
And You heard my prayer

Songwriters: Dylan Thomas, Joel Houston, Matt Crocker
© CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind
With love and prayers,
Robin <3

A Change of Mind

20160822_081848-01-02A few weeks ago, a friend said to me, “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is not”; adding (my paraphrase), “Suffering happens when we refuse to embrace the changes, and instead fight the pain.”

This summer has been a journey of embracing changes.  The biggest change I’m finding is that

I need to Let God change my mind.

Romans 12:2 states: (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (emphasis mine)

God’s Word (the Bible) is unlike any other book written by men.  Many see it as a rule book to follow.  Yet, as I come to know the author more fully, I am learning it is a love story from a powerful King who has the ability to keep his promises as he radically transforms any who venture to follow him.  Transforming them from the inside out – by changing the way they think.  Anxiety to peace. Hate to love. Anger to forgiveness. Purposeless to purposeful.  Hopeless to hope.  By the power of his words through the work of his precious Spirit.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Do we just sit back, read God’s words and let them do their “magic”?  No, his words say that those who choose to follow him also have a responsibility.

II Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (emphasis mine)

How am I letting the words of God change me?  By choosing to focus on and follow God’s words in the Bible regarding forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and hope rather than focusing on all the other thoughts that swirl around my head  – anger, worry, anxiety, rejection, hopelessness. Trusting God’s Spirit (the power behind the words) to do the changing.

To assist, I have set up a series of “Memo’s” on my phone.  The first memo is headed “Transform My Mind – Through Discipline“.  I have listed several verses that remind me of the importance in taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, as well as verses on how I can do so.

Galatians 6:8-10, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:16-18, Romans 5:5-8, Hebrews 12:1-3, Proverbs 15:32, Galatians 5:22-25, John 14:23-24

I am finding subtle changes beginning to take place – I still struggle, but less often. I am more easily able to reel in my thoughts. I am finding peace and calm more quickly taking over. God’s Spirit through his words are working.

Take Every Thought Captive – Rather Than Letting Every Thought Captivate

If this resonates with you, let me know.  Thanks!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read: Attentively Waiting  Caution, Emotions at Play!  I Do Matter!