Are You Flexible?

 

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A friend once told me, “A flexible woman rarely gets bent out of shape.” I like that! Plans change, challenges arise and mistakes happen. We must remain flexible in the process. A flexible woman looks for alternative plans and wise options. A flexible woman doesn’t sit back and say, “This is the way we have always done it.” She recognizes the opportunity to jump into action instead of stewing in anger or fear. An old Japanese proverbs states, “The bamboo which bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

How do we grow to be flexible in God’s hands? It begins in our belief system. If we believe that God is sovereign and that He loves us, we can look to Him as the winds of change or challenge blow through our lives. Our faith changes the way we respond to circumstances. Knowing He is the God who sees all, keeps us from despair.  We can respond to situations with the calm assurance that God will never leave us and that His hand will guide us. We can say to ourselves, “Although this is not what I planned, I can trust God will bring something good out of this situation.”

We can learn to be flexible and respond with grace when our eyes are on the Lord and our trust is in His plan. There are no guarantees about what tomorrow will bring, but we do know we are not alone in the battles we face. We can put our faith into action and move forward to make a difference in a seemingly impossible situation.  The following poem reminds us of the difference our faith makes in how we view our circumstances.

My Father’s way may twist and turn,

My heart my throb and ache.

But in my soul I’m glad I know,

He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astraiy,

My hopes may fade away,

But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,

For He doth know the way,

Tho’night be dark and it may seem

That day will never break,

I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,

He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much I cannot see,

My eyesight far too dim,

But come what may, I’ll simply trust

And leave it all to Him.

For bye and bye the mist will lift,

And plain it all He’ll make.

Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,

He maketh not one mistake!

Author Unknown

 

We can trust God’s sovereign grace in whatever comes our way, and live with assurance that He will walk with us. We don’t need to fret or complain, just advance with a humble trust in the God who loves us and has a big and beautiful plan. Step forward, my friend, with your eyes on Him and your faith in the work He has yet to do in your life.

 

This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women.  On sale now for $5. Click here for more info:

In the Pit

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Ever felt like you were in a pit? When life or emotions seem to bring us down, it is difficult to see anything but the pit in which we dwell. Interestingly, did you ever notice that there are several instances in the Bible where people were in literal pits? Think about it. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers and then eventually sold into slavery. Not the Plan A Joseph had for his life. And then there’s a little known story about Benaiah who ended up in a pit with a lion. Seriously! The Bible tells us that Benaiah was a valiant warrior and performed many great exploits. The prophet Samuel recorded, “Benaiah struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion (2 Samuel 23:20).” Now that probably wasn’t on his schedule of things to do that day either.

David described God as the one who “redeems our life from the pit. Now perhaps you have felt as though your life or your day was in the pits and you could see no hope, no redemption and no way out.  I suppose that’s how pit-dweller Jeremiah felt. Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets who was thrown in a pit as a result of simply proclaiming what God told him to say. That doesn’t seem right! There he was obeying God, and he was thrown in the pit. Take a look at how low this Old Testament prophet must have felt as he wrote, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.”

But Jeremiah didn’t call it quits. He was able to keep his eyes on the Lord despite his circumstances. Here’s what he said after describing his situation, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:  The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him (Lamentations 3:19-25).”

Now there’s a person who has their eyes in a positive direction!  He’s not dwelling on his dismal circumstances in the pit, instead He is dwelling on the Lords faithfulness. His sight is going beyond what he can see, and looking to the hope of what a faithful God can do.  How’s your eyesight? In one of his most fearful moments David declared, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5).” Oh for the faith to look past the dark clouds of despair and see the sunlight of God’s faithfulness peeking through to bring us comfort and hope! May He be your strength today.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women on sale this month for $5. Click here for more info.

Pick a Few and Get Started!

 

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When I was a young girl, my parents took us to Barnhill’s Restaurant in Akron, Ohio. It was our favorite place to eat dinner because the entrance of the store was filled with barrels and bins of every kind of candy you can imagine. After dinner, our parents would give us a little money to spend on candy, and we had a blast figuring out how we wanted to spend our money. It was overwhelming! How do you choose when there are so many options? Well, that’s the way you may feel about choosing Bible verses and passages you want to memorize. There’s so many good rich passages that it’s hard to know where to start. Yet if we want our minds to be filled with the beautiful truths of God’s Word, we need to choose a few passages and begin the process of committing them to memory.

Last week, as we examined healthy self-talk, I mentioned I would share with you some of my favorite verses. These are verses that I recite by memory every morning. I encourage you to begin keeping your own personal list of passages that will help you replace negative thoughts with positive truths from God’s Word. You will see that I use different translations for different passages. Generally, I like to memorize in New International Version, but sometimes I will memorize in New Living Translation or English Standard Version. Here’s the list of my daily seven:

 

 Psalm 37:23-24 (nlt)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.

He delights in every detail of their lives.

 Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.

 

Psalm 62:5-8

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,

for my hope is in him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress where I will not be shaken.

My victory and honor come from God alone.

He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in him at all times.

Pour out your heart to him,

for God is our refuge.

 

John 15:5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Psalm 23 (nlt)

The Lord is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.

 

Hebrews 10:23-25

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 (nlt)

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

 

 

Perhaps you liked some of these verses. I know they make a difference in my thinking –  changing defeat into hope and fear into strength. I encourage you to find verses that will encourage you and commit them to memory. For practical tips on memorizing Bible verses, check out Becoming a Woman of the Word.

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Healthy Self Talk

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What are the voices that tend to creep into your mind? Maybe it’s the voice of fear that whispers, “What if ……happens?” Or perhaps it’s the voice of self-doubt which scolds you and says, “You’ve made so many stupid mistakes – you can’t do anything right.” Maybe it’s the voice that continually beats you up in your brain sniveling, “You’re not smart thin enough, you’re not good enough, you never do enough.” The voices we hear come in many forms and fashions, but we don’t have to allow them to grow into weeds and overtake our minds. Instead we can pull them out by the roots and replace these thoughts with the seeds of truth.

Whether we are weeding a garden or weeding out the negative thoughts in our brains, we can apply the three R’s: Recognize, Root out and Replace. It’s amazing how quickly a weed can grow in our minds without us even realizing it. When it comes to the real flower garden in front of our house, I literally think weeds pop up overnight. Given a few days, and some of those pesky plants can grow to become the size of small trees! So we must be vigilant and alert, recognizing weeds at the point when they first appear. The apostle Peter wrote, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).”

It’s inevitable – doubts, discouragement and lies will pop into our heads. How do we recognize them? We need to take a moment to consider our own personal reoccurring thoughts – the ones that seem to grow in our own garden. For me personally, I struggled many years with self-doubt in every area of my life, from my physical appearance to my capabilities to even my relationships. I first needed to recognize that these were unhealthy and destructive thoughts. They were doing more harm than good. Often we grow comfortable with our fears and doubts, and fail to identify them as weeds. We must recognize that they are not based on God’s truth, and have a negative drain on our lives. These negative thoughts also prevent good seeds from growing.

Stop for a moment and consider, what are some of the destructive voices you are allowing to grow in your mind? Once you begin to recognize your own personal brain-weeds, then it is time to root them out at the core. If you have ever tended a garden you know that if you just whack weeds off at the surface level, then they will return. We must dig them out from the roots! For me, at the core of my self-doubt was really the doubt the God loved me. I didn’t believe that He created me for a purpose and had equipped me with gifts and talents. It was time to weed out the deep roots of doubt.

What is at the root of the negative voices that pop into your head? Dig deep for a minute and consider the core. Dealing with the root system of the weeds in your mind, allows you to dig them out and then turn in a new direction. We must replace the old ugly weeds with healthy, vibrant truth. Where do we find that truth? The Bible reveals that God is love. His very nature is love. He is good, and He is faithful. He is able to do all things. Oh what powerful and life-changing seeds we plant in our brain when we know God’s word! I recommend choosing at least one verse to memorize in order to help you crowd out the weeds that want to grow in your mind. Ask God to lead you to just the right verse to help you.

Next week, I will give you some of my favorite verses which I have memorized to help me plant seeds of faith and strength in my mind.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women  on sale this month for $5!

Need a Little Courage?

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God is in the courage-giving business. Throughout the Bible we hear the call again and again, “Fear not for I am with you.” God’s message is one of faith and courage, not fear and trembling. From Abraham, to Joshua, to Mary to the shepherds in the field, God has been proclaiming to the generations, “Do not be afraid.” In the Psalms we are reminded, “Even when I walk through the darkest valleys, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” There is comfort in knowing we are not alone, that God is close beside us through our difficulties. What a reassurance comes when we remember God’s voice saying, “I am with you.”

I’m reminded of the encouragement God gave Joshua as he took over the leadership of the Israelites, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:8,9).” God wanted Joshua to continually meditate on His commands and to walk in courage. Joshua had to face many difficult battles, but God gave him what he needed for each battle. God doesn’t want us to live in the discouragement of fear, but rather the courage of knowing He is with us.

Where is God calling you to step out into the uncomfortable? It’s easy for us to grow content in safe places, but are we willing to step forward in courage and face our fear? God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. If you are afraid, take some time to stop and be still. Remind yourself that He is with you. Ask God to give you confidence and direction, and also ask Him to dispel the fear and doubt in your life.
I pray that this week you will not allow fear to hold you back from what God is calling you to do. Be strong and courageous my friend.

A portion of this is from Positive Life Principles for Women.

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