Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An inexhaustible fountain...

The following is a quote I like from Hunger for God, by John Piper:

“One might think that those who feast most often on communion with God are the least hungry.  They turn often from the innocent pleasures of the world to linger more directly in the presence of God though the revelation of his Word.  And there they eat the Bread of Heaven and drink the Living Water by meditation and faith.  But, paradoxically, it is not so that they are the least hungry saints.  The opposite is the case.  The strongest, most mature Christians I have ever met are the hungriest for God.  It might seem that those who eat most would be least hungry.  But that’s not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, and an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord.  When you take your stand on the finished work of God in Christ, and begin to drink at the River of Life and eat the Bread of Heaven, and know that you have found the end of all your longings, you only get hungrier for God. -- The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ…the more homesick you get for heaven…the more you want ‘all the fullness of God’…the more you want to be done with sin…the more you want the Bridegroom to come again…the more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus…the more you want a great awakening to God’s reality in the cities…the more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ to penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world…the more you want to see false worldviews yield to the force of Truth…the more you want to see pain relieved and tears wiped away and death destroyed…the more you long for every wrong to be made right and the justice and grace of God to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea.  If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.  It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world.  Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

canis, canis - dog

A few posts back, I randomly mentioned that our family was considering the idea of welcoming a puppy into our midst...who would have thought that making such a decision could create such turmoil???  Emotions ran deep as the pros and cons list grew on both sides, and it was a daily challenge to place family unity for the glory of God above the diversity of personal opinions/desires on the matter.  But on the up side, God used the whole experience to grow us individually and as a family as we rode the roller coaster of hopes, practicalities, and tears together.

The decision?  At least for now, no doggie!  Here are a couple pics of me taking the kids to say goodbye to our furry little friend:
This may seem unrelated at first, but in our Latin class, when we are learning the new vocabulary for the week, the teacher reads the new Latin word in its nominative and genitive case, followed by it's English equivalent.  The week the decision was made, we were all sitting in class dealing with various levels of disappointment, when the teacher introduced our third new vocabulary word for the day and said "canis, canis - dog"...sounding very much like "Connie's, Connie's dog."  Strange glances were exchanged all around, but I took to heart God's providence that day.  Cody Machen (that's what we named him) will not be our family dog, but God used him to teach me more about His love, loving others/dying to self, family unity, and submission; and in a way, I see him as my dog, a loyal little messenger from my Father.
"canis, canis - dog"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Power Thought #4

I am difficult to offend.
[Unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.]

I was offended by this chapter. Not really. Once again, the author offered some helpful hints for us to consider as we renew our minds according to God’s Word and I’ll focus on those. Some comments were right on target - ouch!  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, right? (Prov 27:6)

The basic idea in this chapter is to encourage us to not be easily offended, overly sensitive, bearing grudges sort of people, but rather to be vessels through which the mercy of God might flow to others.  Amen.

“We have convinced ourselves and set our mind to fail at one of God’s most important commands, which is to forgive and pray for our enemies and those who hurt and abuse us (see Luke 6:35,36).  We meditate too much on what the offensive person has done to us, and we fail to realize what we are doing to ourselves by taking the bait of Satan.  Keep remembering that being offended will not change the person, but it does change you!  It makes you bitter, withdrawn, and often revengeful.  It keeps your thoughts on something that does not bear good fruit in your life.”'s getting a little warm in here.

She presses us to believe the best of others.  “We tend to be suspicious of others and we often get hurt due to our own imagination.  It is possible to believe someone hurt you on purpose when the truth is they were not even aware they did anything at all and would be grieved to know that they hurt you…Resist the temptation to question their motives or to think they hurt you intentionally.  Believing the best about others will keep offense and bitterness out of your life and help you stay peaceful and joyful.” 

She talked about times when temptations to become overly sensitive tend to rise (when we are exhausted, under a lot of stress, or doing the PMS thing, for example) …if you can avoid conflict and get a little extra rest at these times, great, but regardless you should be aware that fatigue and hormones are not excuses to sin and you should guard your heart, mind and tongue…tell yourself “I’m going to obey God and not harbor hurt and offense.”  Tell yourself  “I will not be easily offended.”

“The Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit (see Gal. 5:25) and in order to do that we must manage our emotions rather than allowing them to control us.  We must take responsibility for our responses to daily events, especially the little offenses that tempt us to be angry…Life is too short to waste one day being angry, bitter, and resentful…Anything God has given us, such as forgiveness and mercy, He expects us to extend to others.  If it comes to us, it should flow through us – and that should be our goal.  When we are offended, we need to quickly call to mind the fact that God has freely and fully forgiven us, so we should freely and fully forgive others.”

She spends quite a bit of time talking about forgiveness.  We should never harbor bitterness, we should always stand ready and even eager to forgive.  I liked this quote: “Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person”.

Another helpful thing for me in this chapter relates to not taking personally that which is not intended to be taken personally.  What do I mean by that?  Well, let’s say my hubby comes home from work after a hard day and is quiet and not his normal, cheerful self.  My mind can immediately begin to hunt through the filing cabinet of the past few days looking for what I might have said or done to upset him…my operating assumption is “I must have done or said something wrong.”  The result: frustration, a sense of isolation, and lots of other yuck, but never anything good.  THAT is a bad operating assumption.  We have a relationship in which we talk to each other when there is a problem between us.  WHY would that be my assumption?  Honestly, it is probably vanity, like that ole song that says “you probably think this song is about you….you’re so vain.”  May God deliver me!  My girls get tempted in this same way…they sometimes perceive my tiredness at night as me being upset with them and they have been known to lay awake trying to figure out what they have said or done to upset me, imagining all kinds of things, when I’m not upset with them at all…I’m just tuckered out and wanting to get to bed.  This chapter, even though I didn’t care for portions of it, has been useful in helping us become aware of these temptations (and others)…it has helped us to grow in believing the best about each other and to work at clear communication, taking each other at our word. 

If you’re following along, I hope there was something helpful here for you too.  The next chapter is one of my favorites…it’s titled “I love people and I enjoy helping them.”  Come on back to check it out in a week or so.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Power Thought #3

I Will Not Live in Fear.
[Unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.]

“There are many ways Satan uses fear to steal from us.  For example, the fear that we will not be accepted as we are causes us to develop phony personalities that stifle our true selves and hide who God has made us to be.  The fear of failure prevents us from ever trying new things or stretching ourselves to do more than we feel comfortable doing.  The fear of the future can cause us not to enjoy today…[Fear] can absolutely paralyze us and in its more advance stages can drive us to do things that are completely irrational.”

There are all kinds of fears – “fear of pain, fear of discomfort, fear of lack, fear of sacrifice, fear that life is going to be too hard, fear of losing friends, fear of being alone, fear of losing your reputation, fear that no one will understand you, fear that you’re missing God, and on and on.  Fear is the enemy’s perversion of faith.  He says, ‘Believe what I’m telling you.  This is not going to work.  Your prayers aren’t any good…you are a failure.’  Fear always tells you what you’re not, what you don’t have, what you can’t do, and what you’ll never be. But Romans 8:15 says, [changed translation to NKJV] ‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."’ You do not have to live in bondage to fear or allow fear to control your life.  You can be bold, courageous, and adventurous.”

Disclaimer…when fear is being talked about here, it is not referring to the proper fear of God that we all should have or the kinds of fear that God has given us for our good such as being afraid to lean over the edge of a cliff without restraints.  She is talking about the kind of fear that God means when He says repeatedly in the Scriptures to “fear not” because He is with us… those fears are kind of like roadblocks along the path He has called us to walk for His glory that need to be overcome by faith in Him.

So what does she recommend we do?
  • She encourages her readers to “catch it early.”  Choose a “fighter verse”, a sword to pull out the instant you begin to feel afraid.  Meditate on various fighter verses and stories God has given us that relate to courage and overcoming fear when you are NOT afraid so you will be more prepared to stand against it when it comes.
  •  She talks about “power twins” to help defeat the spirit of fear.  They are “I pray” and “I say.”  The idea here is that as soon as you begin to be fearful, pray and ask God to help you overcome by faith in Him.  And say “I will not fear!” or whatever verse you’ve committed to memory to move beyond fear to faithfulness. 
  • She also talks tells us to “Do it afraid.”  “When the Bible says, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear,’ it does not mean we will never feel fear.  As a matter of fact, when God said to so many people in the Bible, ‘Fear not,’ He was basically telling them, ‘Fear is going to come after you.  You are going to have to deal with it.’…Courage is not the absence of fear, it is progress in its presence.”  
Here are some related passages from the Scriptures:
Rom. 8:15
Rom 8:31-32
Ps 118:6
2 Tim 1:7
Acts 20:22-24
Acts 21:13-14
Heb 2:14-18
Isa 41:10
Isa 43:1-3a
All of 1 Sam 17, especially 17:40-47

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In the air as I write this...

My plan was to write the post for Power Thought 3 tonight, but instead I want to share a few pictures from earlier today and ask you to join us in praying for our friends, the Niemans.  They left this morning for S. Korea where they plan to live for 2 years.
I will so miss Mira! 
Our families have schooled together for 2 years (1x weekly), 
vacationed together for the past 3 years,
and just plain like to be together.
The whole family will be sorely missed,
but I trust God has lead them to go.
It was a mix of excitement and sadness today.

Here are my kiddos with hers 
(from left to right, we see 
my Rebekah, her Leah, my MJ, my Paul, and her Jesse) 

Mira and Ryan checking their baggage in.  

Our fellow co-op "sisters" were there too...
an international bunch to be sure.  
Melodie and I were born in America, 
but Sonila (on the far left) grew up in Albania 
and Mira was raised in S. Korea. 
We love the multi-cultural interaction 
as we all seek to follow Jesus,
the One who reigns over all the nations!

Enjoying our final moments together, 
at least for a season.

 The girls' group shot ;-)

The boys' group shot ;-)

And the family of four are off...

Will you join me in praying for their safe travel, for God's peace and leading as they transition in so many ways as a family, and for fruitfulness in their time there...that God would be pleased to work in and through them for His glory?

Thank you,

ps...We decided to start taking two weeks instead of one on the Power week felt like we were rushing through.  So much is going on here (seeing friends off, deciding whether to add a particular puppy to our family [yeah, crazy right?], starting school back up in full swing, etc), but I will make every effort to get the post on the next power thought written soon for those of you who are following along.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the basis of His grace

"Every day of our Christian experience should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone.  Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.  And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace."  
(from Transforming Grace, by Jerry Bridges)

Isn't that a good quote?  It offers hope when hopeless, and it encourages humility when tempted to pride...and oh how sweet it is to relate to God on the basis of His grace!

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (Rom 16:20),

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From Psalm 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great: 
You are clothed with honor and majesty...

Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.  
You who laid the foundations of the earth...

He sends the springs into the valleys; 
They flow among the hills. 
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys...
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.  

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth, 
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man's heart.

...the stork
...the wild goats
...the rock badgers
...the young lions 
seek their food from God.

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions —   
This great and wide sea,
....innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great...
These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.  

What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good. 
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.  

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works...

I was reading this Psalm tonight and the whole thing reminded me of Acts 17:28 which tells us that it is "in Him we live and move and have our being."

I've had a number of positive comments about the story that I shared in my post Power Thought # 1.  I'm so glad.  As you might recall, the conversation that followed the command to jump up and touch the ceiling went like this:
me: Honey, did you obey?
daughter:  yes, Mama
me:  Could you do it alone?
daughter: no
me:  Honey, we can always obey God, but we always need the strength He gives us.  We can't do it alone.

It is SO true that we can only obey through Christ who strengthens us.  BUT, do we "get" that it is ALWAYS true.  Some of us might be tempted to think that we only need to rely on God for the "big stuff" or when we're called upon to do "hard" for Jesus.  So for people like me who in practical every day living have fallen repeatedly into the temptation of thinking I can do a whole lot "on my own," there is another exercise I'd like to add.

I'll call it "bend down and touch the floor."  If that was the command and you obeyed it, how would you answer the question "Could you do that alone?"

Is there really any strength that we have that isn't given to us by God?  We live and move and have our being in Him.  If He takes away our breath, we die.  Every heartbeat is a gift.  Every functioning nerve and muscle and joint and tendon and the blood flow and everything else that is needed for us to bend over and touch the floor is a gift.  May we grow in thankfulness to Him for the strength He supplies for EVERYTHING we do!

No wonder the Psalmist ends his consideration of God's wonderful works with these words...let's join him.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.  
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord. 
May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Power Thought #2

God loves me unconditionally!
[Unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.]

There is a truth we need to grasp in this chapter.  We need to "get" that there were no conditions we needed to meet before God loved us...HE MET THE CONDITIONS.  He sent His Son to bear the wrath that we deserved and to clothe us in His righteousness.  It is IN CHRIST that we are made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).  It was before the foundation of the world that God chose us, predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself and made us accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:3-6).  If we are in Christ, we HAVE His love because He has chosen to GIVE it...we can rest in faith right there, and enjoy the love of our Father.  Let it sink deep into our bones!  

He's given us right standing with Him, but the problem is we know we still sin against Him and feel our "wrongness."  So let's talk about that for a minute. 

I have three children...I love them all very much and they are all secure in that love though they don't always "feel" secure.  Occasionally when they do wrong, instead of coming to me, telling me about it and asking me to forgive them (which I stand ready to do), they may start writing me little love notes and excessively offering to help with the jobs around the house, all the while acting insecurely.  I've been guilty of the same sort of thing in relationship with God: times when I have pridefully attempted to sweep my sins under the proverbial rug (ignore them, just let "enough time pass", or justify myself in some way, as if that solves anything with a holy, omniscient God) and just work harder to earn His favor.  And I bet I'm not alone.  So when I notice that one of my kids is insecure (or I note it in myself), I've learned to turn to a verse like Proverbs 28:13 that reminds us "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."  

There is a dangerous way to view "unconditional love" and I want to mention it just is to think somehow that since God loves us unconditionally, it doesn't matter what we do.  Paul warned against this presumption in Romans 6.  It is NOT an invitation to licentious living.  But if we are truly in Christ, we can rest assured that God does love us and will continue to complete the good work He has begun in us.  Even when we mess up.  Proverbs 3:12 tells us "For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights."  Hebrews 12 quotes this proverb and uses it to argue that if we are chastened by the Lord, He is dealing with us as is an evidence of His love. 

My love for my children doesn't vanish every time they do wrong...but they don't always feel secure because sin blinds and deceives. God's love for us doesn't vanish every time we do wrong fact, His love is perfect and He assures us of it.  Listen to 1 John 3:1 which says: "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!"  Do we trust and believe that?  Or are we listening the the enemy?  Our right standing is based in Christ, not our own performance. Let's have our actions flow from that confidence! 

Those who believe, those who are IN CHRIST, those who God foreknew and predestined to be conformed to the image of His son (Rom 8:29), can and should trust God's love and walk securely in it.  "The more we experience God's love, the more we desire to do what pleases Him."  So go ahead and write Him love notes and offer to help around His house, but do these things and all that you do in response to His love, not in an attempt to earn it.  There is a big difference between those two approaches...with the first, our attention is fixed on the love of the Father and there is great joy and security; with the second we tend to be self-focused and striving for joy but not experiencing it because we're too busy feeling condemned and unworthy. 

If we're feeling insecure, we need to believe 1 John 1:9 that tells us "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Confess and forsake your sins and find mercy BECAUSE HE ALREADY LOVES YOU!
This week, renew your mind with thoughts like:
     * "I am chosen in Christ, and in Him I am blameless before God."
     * "I am a new creation in Christ."
     * "God loves me...and I am made right with Him through faith in Jesus."

"When you awake in the morning, lie in bed for a few minutes and thank God because He loves you and will be with you all day, in everything you do."  

Here are some more relevant verses to chew on:
2 Cor. 5:17, 21
Eph. 1:3-15
Ezek. 11:19-21
Eph. 2:10
Deut. 7:6-8
Acts 13:48
Rom. 8:28-30
1 Peter 2:9-10
Rom. 8:1
1 Cor. 1:26-31
I'll leave you with this prayer by the Apostle Paul:
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height —  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."  -- Eph 3:14-19

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


In May of this year, my kids joined up with 5 others to form the Under His Wings team and did a fund-raising walkathon for the Pregnancy Resource Centers.  I wrote about it here.  These eight kids raised $5,256.67 and received an award for being the top fundraisers in their age group.  Their prize?  A trip to Bullwinkles Family Fun Center!  Woo hoo!  And they got to take their parents along too, and let me tell you, we all had a GREAT time together last Tuesday when we enjoyed an all day Extreme Day Pass.  

Today will be a heavy picture day...

The team enjoying a picnic dinner together...
the 8 kids with a little sister who wasn't old enough to be on the team.

Paul starting out on the rock climbing wall

MJ and Mrs. Nieman on the go-carts

Getting ready to play one of our many games of Lazer Tag

 The whole day was received as a gift, but we felt like we got an extra kiss from God when we discovered our passes worked in the video games area. The arcade was not supposed to be included on the Extreme Pass so we asked the manager about it.  He told us that our cards had somehow been loaded with bonus cash and for us to go have fun using it.  With a thanks to the manager, and a "thank you Jesus" offered up, we proceeded to play, play, play. Here's Bekah and Lizzy showing us how to run this race.

My hubby in the batting cages (which was another area not covered by the Extreme Pass, but we all had plenty of bonus cash to cover it if we wanted to take a swing at it.  My arm was SO SORE the next day because I swung about a hundred times too many, but I sure had a good time...I loved the batting cages!)

Bekah and I before we raced...we loved the go carts too!

MJ on the sky walk being true to her drama-queen-self ;-)

Paul on the bumper boats...he was a mighty good shooter!

 We took a gazillion pictures, but I'll end with this one of the kiddos enjoying their double decker ice cream cones.  It was a sweet day of refreshment, laughter, and friendship sharing for our three families.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Power Thought #1

The first "Power Thought" in the book I referenced here is:
"I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ."
That sounds very much like Phil 4:13, which says: 
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Her main point here is that we can trust that wherever God leads us, He will enable and empower.  "The secret to being able to do what we need to do is realizing that we cannot do it alone; we can only do it in Christ."  

As I was reading from this chapter to my kids, they all said it reminded them of a little exercise I've had them do on occasion.   Years ago, one of my darling children was failing daily to obey in a particular area...daily instruction and discipline was happening, but no change of heart or action could be detected.  I sat frustrated in the living room one night praying for her and pleading with God to show me how to reach her little stubborn heart, and an idea came to mind.  The next day I tried it out...

I told my daughter that I was going to give her a command and that she needed to obey it, and that she could NOT say "I can't" when I told her what it was.  Then I told her to jump up and touch the ceiling.  She knew she couldn't do it, but she also knew she shouldn't say "I can't" so she stood there dumbfounded, not knowing what to do.  I let her skirm for a moment.  Then I gave the command again and this time told her that she was not to say "I can't", but that she could say "help me."  A smile of hopefulness came immediately upon her face and she quickly asked for help.  As she jumped, I gave her the lift she needed and she triumphantly touched the ceiling.  

A conversation like this followed:
me: Honey, did you obey?
daughter:  yes, Mama
me:  Could you do it alone?
daughter: no
me:  Honey, we can always obey God, but we always need the strength He gives us.  We can't do it alone.

Then we talked about the recurring problem and how we need to ask God for help.  We did, and He answered with grace.  That day there was a change of heart and action; joy replaced frustration and painful discipline...and my little girl and I both had a big lesson in our need to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Each of my kids have had the opportunity for this lesson, and sometimes they've taken turns jumping up to touch the ceiling with help because they love the truth it displays and they just plain need simple reminders.  Don't we all?

That's what this book has been for me.  Are you drowning in the sea of negative nasties or facing some sort of hard that "feels" too hard?  Believe God that you CAN do all He calls you to do THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens you.  Take the simple lifebuoy His Word offers you to keep your head above the waters that threaten you until He brings you out to a broad place (2 Sam 22:17-20).  Throw away your excuse bag.  "Go get a 'can-do bag' and fill it with biblical, faith-filled reasons you can do what you need to do."

Here are some other passages that relate to this Power Thought...meditate on them and be strengthened in Christ today to do all He calls you to do. 
John 15:1-8   
Heb 12:1-2 
Isa 40:29-31 
Isa 41:10  
2 Cor 12:9-10  
Eph 3:14-21   
Eph 6:10-18  
Col 1:11-14  
Rom 8:31-39 


Monday, August 1, 2011

God strikes straight blows with crooked sticks

A few months ago, one of my dearest friends gave me a copy of a book she thought might prove helpful to me.  And it did!  Remember all those "negative nasties" I mentioned in my last post?  Well, I was being bombarded and I wasn't winning the war when she handed it to me  -- I didn't think I had time to start a new book, but because of who it was who gave it to me, I jumped right in.  The author's message was timely and God used it to strike a straight blow!

So, what is this book?  Well, before I tell you, I want to say this.  I've gotten some pretty strong reactions from people in my circles when I've mentioned the name of the book and it's author...shock, oh shock.  It's true that I like Puritans and other dear ole dead guys who wrote with a depth and reverence that I cannot get enough of.  Men like John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Boston, and many! There are a few living people like John Piper and Ed Welch and Paul David Tripp that draw my attention often as well because their message is always Christ-exalting and centered in the Word of God.   So people who know me, know that I like meaty books.  But for the record, I believe God can use whatever and whoever He wants as His messengers and though it is true that I favor the above mentioned authors, I read widely.  Jesus was the only perfect man...the rest of us are crooked sticks with which He is incredibly able to strike straight blows.  Every one of us has room to grow, but we also all have things to contribute to the body of Christ.  So let's be gracious with one another and put away our snobbery.  Let us be humble contributors and thankful receivers, all by God's grace and for His glory.

Okay, so the book is titled Power Thoughts, and it was written by Joyce Meyer.  Her stated goal is to give "you tools that can make you strong where you have been weak, triumphant where you have been defeated, positive where you have been negative, courageous where you have been afraid, and successful where you have failed in the past."  She makes it clear that our thoughts powerfully influence us and emphasizes our need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds according to God's Word (Eph 4:23; Rom 12:2).  Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."  She has 12 "Power Thoughts", none of which are necessarily new to anyone who has been walking with God for very long, but they are good reminders and come packaged with a vivid description of the battlefield of the mind and how important it is for us to put on the whole armor of God.  The book is not written with the depth of any of my favorite ole dead guys and I disagree outright with some of the peripheral comments she writes, but I personally found her main points very helpful and think many others would benefit too. 

"Your mind can be a junkyard or a treasure can make it one or the other by deciding whether you will think thoughts that are negative, cheap, common, and low or thoughts that are positive, pure, honorable, and valuable in God's eyes.  You can think 'power-enhancing' thoughts or 'power-draining' thoughts."  Her encouragements to meditate on God's Word, to take seriously the battlefield in our minds, to tear down strongholds and to be intentional in our thinking are worthy of our attention.  She offers some simple tools to put to use in our lives as we attempt to take every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

Last week I started working my way through the book again, this time with my kids and two girlfriends.  We want to take one week to chew on each power thought, sharing selections from the book and working on memorizing applicable scripture together.  Once a week, I hope to write a little bit of what I've gleaned the previous week for your encouragement as well.  So next time Lord willing, I'll tell you about Power Thought #1 and share a little story that relates.

Sweet dreams are calling my name...good night!
Thanks for stopping by :-)