A Renewed Perspective and Refreshed Mindset

A new perspective is so often what I need.  This past weekend, I officially entered my 50’s and “wasting away” takes on new meaning.  Unfortunately it’s not my “waistline” that’s decreasing.  This is one of those birthdays I was not looking forward to for several reasons —and I KNOW! — 50 is the new 40, just like 40 was the new 30.  Nevertheless, it was a decade  I wish I could stall for a bit.  We’ve been talking about our mindset and thought life in this Finding Freedom from Fear series, and today’s passage from the lesson was so appropriate:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This milestone in my life was the perfect occasion to ask myself some questions based on these verses:

Do I see my troubles as light and momentary or large and looming?

Do I focus more on the outward wasting away or the inward renewal?

Do I fixate on the “seen” rather than seeking for glimpses of the unseen eternal?

Do any of these resonate with you?

Too often the gravity pull of this world tempts me to get wrapped up in and often overwhelmed by the here and now. But as I renew my mind in the truths of God’s Word and who HE is, I am reminded that the perspective I choose in the midst of the here and now not only affects my attitude, but my joy, my contentment, my peace and my relationships.  And I do have a choice —gravity pull or glory perspective.  For the TRUTH is, the unpleasant and hard in the here and now is most definitely achieving for me an eternal glory in Christ Jesus that far outweighs them all!  Take a look at the preceding verses in this chapter — a great “BUT…!” passage:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. —2 Corinthians 4:7-12

These are great truths to focus on when an attitude adjustment is needed.

Celebrating who HE is and all I am IN Him!

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©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com

 

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Fighting Fear in the Battles

A Lesson from Jehoshaphat

This week in Bible study we looked at the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.  What can we learn from his “Gap Moment”?

Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-34. (Download the handout from class.)

What can we learn from Jehoshaphat about fighting fear in the midst of a battle?  Jehoshaphat received word that a “vast army” was coming against them.  And his first response was not to gather the troops or map out a battle plan.  We all face what feel like “vast armies”.  Sometimes it is an enemy from without, a difficult situation or circumstance that has come upon us.  Sometimes the battle is in a relationship.  Sometimes the battle is internal as we fight against those “what if” and “if only” thoughts that can assail our minds.  And sometimes we are battling the sin in our heart and lives.  Take a look at what happened in 2 Chronicles and note how Jehoshaphat chose to respond instead of react in the midst of this fearful situation. Be encouraged by what you learn! Continue reading “Fighting Fear in the Battles”

When A Light Comes On!

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I love it when God sheds light on an area of my heart hidden in darkness.  Well actually, most of the time, my initial reaction to the light is the same as when my husband turns on the bathroom light that blasts a glaring ray interrupting my peaceful, wonderfully blissful sleep.  (I’m not the morning person in our relationship).  He calls me dramatic…whatever!  I actually love early mornings…the peace, the calm, the newness, a fresh beginning…I just have a hard time getting there. This same scenario plays out when God hits my heart with His Truth.

I read this verse one morning and it stuck with me all day long. It quickly became like that glaring bathroom light!

In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your Name forever. —Psalm 44:8

I couldn’t get it off my mind.  I kept asking myself, what is your “all-day long boast”?

Webster’s Dictionary defines boasting:  to show off; to wear or display in an ostentatious (to attract attention) manner.

In the original Hebrew of Psalm 44:8 the word for boast is “halal” – to be bright, shine, to be splendid, to boast, to praise, to celebrate, to glorify; at the heart of this root word is the idea of radiance.

So I pondered and paused throughout my day asking myself, what are you wearing, showing off, radiating?  I quickly became painfully aware of my boastings and was not really thrilled with my conclusions. Continue reading “When A Light Comes On!”

Get OUT of the Expectation Trap!

Expectations! We all have them.  When our expectations collide with our reality, it is what I call “expectality”.  Sometimes it can be good—better than we expected—but very often it’s an explosion in our lives. Our expectations can become a trap imprisoning us—robbing our joy and peace, and ruining relationships. How do we get out of this expectation trap?  Some suggest we should just not have any expectations and then we won’t be disappointed. I think that tends to be a bit fatalistic and an attitude that can stunt growth in our life. God has purpose even the hard places of our lives, even in our disappointed longings and expectations.  God has wired us with a sense of expectancy.

I’d like to share some practical steps we can take to GET OUT of the “expectation trap” so our expectations are not ruling our lives, robbing us of joy and ruining our relationships.

We can choose how we will respond to our unfulfilled and disappointed longings! Continue reading “Get OUT of the Expectation Trap!”

Expectality in 2014

Expectations.  We all have them.  Often they rule and reign in our lives creating stress, frustration and discontent.  They can ruin relationships.  They can sour our attitudes.  But we all have them.  So what’s a girl to do?  I’ve been mulling this idea over quite a bit in the last year.  It’s not necessarily the expectations that are the problem, but rather “expectality”.  Don’t bother looking it up.  It’s a made up word.  When I find myself stressed, frustrated and discontent because my expectations have been thwarted, dashed or unmet, this is the state known as “expectality”.  It’s when my expectations collide with my reality.  For me (and perhaps you), it’s really a control issue.  I want to control situations and outcomes.  I want to be comfortable, happy and content.  I want my way.  But…that’s not life.  Jesus said it perfectly before He left earth, “…in the world you WILL have trouble…”.  It’s a truth none of us will argue with, to be sure!  The answer to dealing with “expectality” in life lies in the “BUT” statement that follows in this verse.  I think we often overlook and forget this… Continue reading “Expectality in 2014”

Embracing Beauty in Your Life

Beauty & Truth

 Embrace Beauty

Let your adornment be what’s inside —the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. 1 Peter 3:4-5

The world bombards us daily with its idea of beauty and what is beautiful. But this often runs contrary to God’s idea of beauty. What does it mean to embrace beauty? Thanks for joining Lori and I back at the kitchen table as she shares her story. Listen to what the Lord has shown my Lori through her experience over the last several years:

What does it mean to embrace beauty?  It’s been a long process, almost seven years, but I’m starting to see the full picture of what God was trying to teach me.

I knew the beauty I saw in flowers, textiles, dishes, works of art, or a lovely landscape would make my heart sing.  Being drawn to and creating beautiful things is part of who we are as women, and the world is a better place because of it.  Of course, it couldn’t be my own beauty because I didn’t see myself as beautiful. For many reasons, I struggled with that part of me, believing that it was frivolous and I should be doing more serious things for God.  You know, “working for the Lord!” – standing on street corners preaching the gospel, traveling to foreign lands and sacrificing everything I own!!  But all beauty comes from Him and embracing it, creating it and nurturing it are all part of my worship.

Now let’s get back to our own beauty.  That’s not so easy to embrace.  How many of us look in the mirror and don’t like what we see?  God loves what He sees.  I know that in my head, but it’s quite another story to settle that in my heart.  Our world is so fixated on personal appearance that it’s very difficult to turn off the world’s message and focus on reality.  The reality is . . . you are loved just the way you are and God is much more interested in your heart and mind than He is your physical appearance.  At age 54, I am learning to embrace who I am, the way God created me, and not worry about the world.  I still believe we should be the best we can be in all areas; it honors our Creator.  But our eyes need to be focused on what is pleasing, true and lovely.

 Relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us every day; in nature, in created things like pretty dishes and a handmade quilt, but especially in people, both inside and out. —Lori Fink

Embrace accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.

Beauty the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.

What do you believe about your true beauty that you accept willingly and enthusiastically?  Do you know how God defines your beauty?  If it is contrary to your belief, are you willing to change your belief and embrace who God says you are?

What is God’s idea of beauty? 1 Peter 3:4-5 instructs us that real beauty is found on the inside and this inside beauty has several characteristics:

1. It’s the real you.

2. It’s a lasting beauty.

3. It’s consists of a gracious/gentle and quiet spirit.

4. It’s pleasing to a God.

What does a gracious (gentle) and quiet spirit look like in our lives?  Take a look at the definitions for these words in the original language of the Bible:

Gracious/Gentle prausa mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness- Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will. (Gal. 5:23)

Quiethesychiosquiet, tranquil, undisturbed.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 tells us that our outward appearance (and body) is wasting away. Regardless of how many beauty products and treatments we use, we are aging daily. I know that is probably not the encouragement you wanted to hear. BUT here is the good news!  True beauty, inner beauty is eternal, it does not fade. Our inner man, the part of us that will live forever, the part God is concerned about, is being renewed day by day.  We need this daily renewal treatment to combat the world’s messages on beauty.

What is this daily renewal treatment? Renewal in Scripture is a word that means a complete change for the better, new, fresh, to cause to grow up. It is growing in our knowledge of Christ, in our faith, our love, our joy, our peace and gentleness. It is growth in Christlikeness. It is possible through our relationship with Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.  Here are some verses on how we are renewed that you might want to check out later: Titus 3:5, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10 and Romans 12:1-2.

 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

This beauty treatment of renewing our minds is where our attention needs to be focused. We are renewed through time spent in a God’s Word —studying, meditating and seeking to live it out. We are renewed as we spend time in prayer, communicating with God. We are renewed as we seek to acknowledge and embrace the beauty around us, in creation, in seeing God’s hand in all of our circumstances and in the relationships with other people He brings into our lives. Being aware and counting these blessings or gifts throughout our day is a way of renewing our mind and spirit and most importantly it honors and glorifies God.

There is always beauty to be embraced, regardless of our circumstances because God is beauty! We can always embrace the beauty found in our relationship with Him through Christ Jesus.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth. 1 Chronicles 16:29

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the beauty and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

How is your inner beauty regiment going? How is your time in God’s Word, in prayer, in seeking His presence daily and in cultivating a spirit and attitude of gratefulness to our Creator?

Embrace true beauty in your life today!

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