Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mind Your Mind….

Filled to the brim with excitement, Hubster and I were crossing the pond for our first-ever trip to France. Flying thru’ the night from Detroit to Amsterdam, most everyone but me slept.

Watching a little virtual map of our plane flying over different countries, logging hundreds of miles in minutes, kept me wide-eyed. Just as we touched down in Amsterdam, a big, beautiful orange sun was rising over the airport! While it was midnight back in the States, it was six o’clock in the morning in Amsterdam. Wow.

amsterdam

Clueless as to how to find our next gate, some sweet soul showed us how to enter different checkpoints en route to our plane to Marseilles. Suddenly, we came upon a very familiar landmark: Starbucks! And what before my wondering eyes did appear, directly across from Starbucks, a very large chocolatier!!! What a welcoming sight!

eliz in front of chocolate store

We had plenty of time before our next flight departed, so we plunked ourselves and our carry-ons down for a big ole’ comforting cup of coffee. Like little children on Christmas morning, our adventure was already unfolding.

Amsterdam’s airport is a melting pot of passengers from all over the world. John and I sat back and took it all in. The clothes, the accents, everything was fascinating.

Even the moving sidewalk…this lovely female voice, in a sing-song manner, repeated over and over, “Mind your step…..Mind your step…..Mind your step.” We Americans would’ve just hollered, “Watch where you’re goin’, already!!!”

The newest book by Max Lucado, Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now brings up another way of thinking from “Mind Your Step”, to “Mind Your Mind”….

Glory Days

One of many favorite chapters is Chapter Fourteen, The God-Drenched Mind. Don’t you want your mind to be God-drenched??? This chapter centers around Joshua 14:6-15.

The good news? Max helps us readers with ways to equip our faith and our minds.

The bad news? He opens with, “You’ll never have a problem-free life.” That’s okay, tho’, because surely by now every single one of us knows this!

Max points out that “The Lord” is referenced nine times in this passage alone. We know that any time anything is repeated in the Bible, it’s significant.

Max asks, “Who was on Caleb’s mind? Who was in Caleb’s heart? What caused him to have a different spirit? He centered his mind on the Lord.”

Watch this…Max gets personal: “What about you? What emphasis would a transcript of your thoughts reveal? The Lord? Or the problem? The economy? The jerk?”

Last week we talked about the importance of putting on the helmet of salvation. We addressed running everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 filter:

Philippians 4 8

Max offers a show-stopping visual:

“Imagine two cooking bowls. One contains fresh, clean water. The second contains battery acid. Take an apple and cut it in half.

Place one half of the apple in the bowl of clean water. Place the other half in the bowl of battery acid. Leave each in its respective bowl for five minutes, and then pull out the two halves.

Which one will you want to eat?”

Two different apples, fresh and withered. Rotten apple.

“Your mind is the apple.

God is good water.

Problems are battery acid.

If you marinate your mind in your problems, they will eventually corrode and corrupt your thoughts.

But thoughts of God will preserve and refresh your attitudes.

Caleb was different because he SOAKED HIS MIND IN GOD.”

As God would orchestrate, this very week, our Tuesday Bible study group studied two passages of Scripture which bring this thought home as well. Thanks to our “Visiting Queen” of the week, Lynn Reese, she walked us thru’ these, word by word. (We are on Chapter Four in It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba.)

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Philippians 2:1-8 talks about imitating Christ’s humility, being like-minded with Him, being one in spirit and of one mind…having the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Therefore, having the mind of Christ.

Philippians 4:6-7 is one we all need every single day:

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.”

Max says, “We must be deliberate about remembering God, immersing our minds in God thoughts.”

This sentence stopped me in my tracks, “Stare at the mountain less and at the Mountain Mover more.”

Recently, Max Lucado preached at Southeast, sharing more pearls from Glory Days. You can watch his wonderful sermon from 9/13/15 by clicking on this website: www.southeastchristian.org You’ll find him in the “sermons” section.

MIND YOUR MIND!

‘Til next time!

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You’re Invited to Book Club, Monday, October 26th, to Discuss “Buttermilk Sky” by Jan Watson

Friends! If you live anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky, you’re invited to join us for a lively discussion of a very lovely and lively novel, Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson.

buttermilk-coverWe will meet at Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC), Monday, October 26th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 www.middletownumc.org

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

While Jan lives in Lexington and cannot physically be with us next week, she’s been filling me in on what she’s up to. I’m excited to be sharing fun snippets straight from her. If only I could duplicate her accent, we’d be in business. She’s the best!

This novel, Buttermilk Sky, is my favorite so far. If any of you have read her others, be sure to either bring them or be ready to tell us some of your favorite parts, characters, etc. Needless to say, Jan offers us quite a variety for our enrichment and entertainment!

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TorrentFalls-200x300

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Skip-Rock-Shallows-200x300

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Last Fall I went to hear Jan speak to a Sunday School class at Harvey Brown Presbyterian Church. I also got to meet her sweet brother who drove her over from Lexington. She shared with us why she primarily sets her books in Eastern Kentucky.

She believes the folks from the mountains in Eastern Kentucky are strong, stalwart people. Her desire is to honor them because they are often maligned. I believe we catch some of this from Mazy who treats Cinnamon with love and respect vs. shame, disgrace, and judgment that some of Mazy’s fellow students offer her.

Foggy Morning Barn

Above and beyond admirable and less admirable character traits we’ll discuss, let’s not miss the number of Scriptures Jan includes, plus her emphasis on the urgent importance of being assured of your salvation.

One night when Mazy’s friend Ernestine is visiting her, Mazy recites a favorite Scripture after revealing it was her Mother who taught her how comforting Scripture is. “The words of Jesus were more soothing than any medicine could ever be.

Ernestine loves the sound of Scripture and asks Mazy if she can borrow her Bible sometime. Mazy answers, “The best way to remember Scripture is to write it on your heart….”

Then she probes further, “Do you know Jesus, Ernestine?”

Mazy can tell Ernestine is uncertain while procrastination to learn more tempts her. But, Mazy speaks boldly: “Don’t put it off, Ernestine. None of us knows how long we have on this earth.”

“The best way to get closer to Jesus is to read His Word. Start with the Gospels.”

Bible Study

While thinking about the Gospels, last week we talked about filling our mind with good things, especially from the Bible. Later this week, we will learn more on this most necessary-for-survival topic. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Jan, for your boldness, even in a novel. This speaks to ALL of us. May we be inspired with eyes open for people the Lord places in our paths. Hope your ears are burnin’ come Monday night!

Don’t forget to bring your book so you can share your favorite quotes with us, plus we’ll be reviewing the Discussion Questions on pages 343-345.

Please bring a Kentucky-themed treat to eat if time allows. The fact that Mark’s Feed Store is right down the street from MUMC, and they offer a delicious dessert which rhymes with Buttermilk Sky is not lost on yours truly. Now you know what I’m bringin’!!!

chess pie

Bring a friend or two or ten Monday night, October 26th! The more the merrier!!! Please call the church office to RSVP or if you have any questions : (502) 245-8839.

Let’s close with a beautiful Scripture Jan signs on all of her books, Isaiah 43:1-2:

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go thru’ deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go thru’ rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk thru’ the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  (NLT)

‘Til next time!

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When “Helmet Hair” Can Be a Good Thing…

If you’ve ever been in Louisville, Kentucky the first weekend in May, you know we Louisvillians go CRAZY over the Kentucky Derby. If you’re not one of the one hundred thousand plus people to go to Churchill Downs, then you’re part of the rest of the city going to or hosting a Derby party.

(If you don’t believe me, go to www.kentuckyderby.com and see the countdown to 5/7/16…it’s in days, hours, minutes and seconds…Seriously.)

Following this progression, if you’re female, hat attire is a prerequisite. Many of us have been known to find a hat first, and then a dress, while others march into local stores with dress in hand, hoping to find that perfect match. (Lots of guys wear hats as well. Hats in a mock up of Churchill Downs always make the news!)

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One of my dear friends, Gwen Paten, is hat decorator extraordinaire. She’s now working at Two Chicks, so keep that in mind when Springtime rolls around. What she can do with a hat is nothing short of remarkable. (www.twochicksandcompany.com ) With the holidays nearing, keep in mind she can whip up a fabulous wreath for your door too!

The first time John and I were invited to go to the Derby, our boys were quite young, just 3, 5, and 8. Biggest challenge was finding a babysitter which finally happened at the eleventh hour.

John was handsomely clad in a coat and an equestrianesque tie, while yours truly found a fun, festive dress and the obligatory hat. Finally ready, we walked out into the hall to greet our sitter who was already entertaining the boys. Woody took one look at me and burst into tears. Now there’s a confidence builder!!!

Obviously I never wear hats and this frilly, feathered fedora was too much for a wee one to see his Mother in…I think the older boys just laughed. Surely this was Halloween and Mother was trick or treating???

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Guys can even accessorize with needlepoint belts!

Tradition usually entails the marathon Derby day morph into a marathon night as our guests also suggested dinner out. After wearing a hat all day long??? Can you fathom one’s hairdo??? You’re either married to the hat for the day and night, or sportin’ some sad kind of coiffure come dinner time.

Enough said for “hat head”. Our topic today, is something a little more interesting: “helmet hair”….

Hubster is now quite the cyclist. A recent article in his Bicycling magazine caught my eye. A woman cyclist asked about how to avoid “postride frizz”, twin sister to “helmet hair”

The answer suggested spritzing your hair with argan oil, or bringing a bandana or a baseball hat (!!!), in addition to a pomade (!!!) such as Aveda Men Pure-formance and Got2bGlued. Tres amusmant if you ask me.

So, while “helmet hair” can be challenging, in the physical realm, helmets are the safe route to take. Stats prove you are much safer wearing a helmet than going unprotected.

Group Of Cyclists On Cycle Ride Through Park

Likewise in the spiritual realm, we must protect ourselves daily with the helmet of salvation, another piece of the Full Armor of God. (Remember last week we talked about the belt of truth.)

The Armor of God

Each piece of the armor is equally necessary for us to put on The Full Armor of God daily. (The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet fitted with the readiness that come from the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and finally, prayer.) My prayer is you’ll do this study so as to learn about all of the armor!

The Full Armor of God

My favorite point Priscilla makes about the helmet of salvation are the benefits we can receive by simply putting it on.

Would athletes enter the field of their sport unprotected? I don’t think so! Priscilla adds, “Choosing not to wear a helmet means leaving our mind exposed, unprotected.”

Priscilla says a helmet offers “comprehensive coverage”. This phrase reminds me of an insurance commercial years ago that had a ginormous umbrella covering an entire family. Full coverage.

Businessman hand drawing an umbrella above a family concept for

Additionally, Priscilla has us look up several Scriptures which illustrate the “importance of the mind to the believer’s ability to function in health and victory.”

Two verses in particular are excellent to fill our minds.  First, Isaiah 26:3-4…

Isaiah 26 3-6

(NIV) The New Living Translation says, “all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (the Lord)

The Message helps further: “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.”

Romans 8:6-7 is black and white:

Romans 8 6-7

Priscilla warns, “If your brain is impaired, your body will also be impaired, no matter how healthy the individual parts of your body may be.

And what the brain is to the body, your mind is to your soul….which is why the enemy works so diligently to cripple you thru’ negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of imagination.” YIKES!!!

We must keep pouring Scripture into our minds,

wearing the Helmet of Salvation,

savoring our salvation,

claiming our salvation,

daily.

TAKE.

EVERY.

THOUGHT.

CAPTIVE…(2 Cor. 10:4-5)

Each day of Week Six builds on the other and you will be thrilled, assured and equipped to learn many new fun facts. (Praying you’ll take the time to do that!)

Finally, a thought to leave you with….When you do have a troublesome thought which keeps recurring (oh yes, this happens to us all), or encounter a person with whom you perhaps don’t agree with, and, if you keep stewing over what they may be thinking, please listen to what my dearly departed brother-in-law used to say:

“When you’re trying to figure out what they are thinking, you are literally out of your mind.” In other words, no one but our Lord can read our minds.   We certainly cannot read someone else’s mind. It’s a waste of time and a trick the devil loves to entice us with.

Be more concerned about filling your mind with something good. A Scripture or two (or ten) a day will keep the devil away!

Run everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 Filter:

“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.”

Next week we’ll learn more about filling our minds with good things.

‘Til next time!

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No Wonder “CORE” is a Four-Letter Word…

You can run, but you cannot hide” haunts me on occasion. You?

I was minding my own business, readying to start Week Two of Priscilla Shirer’s most recent Bible study, Armor of God, when I opened the workbook and nearly fell out of my chair.

The Armor of God

Priscilla had the audacity to entitle Day One of Week Two, “Strengthen Your Core”. Yep, as in the core of your body.

As in folks working out at their nearby gym.

As in folks lifting weights.

Doing sit-ups.

Doing planks.

Living room fitness workout - girl doing plank exercises to exer

In a recent conversation with my Dear Hubster, I confessed that all of our walking wasn’t doing a thing for my ever- expanding core. No wonder it’s called one’s girth. No wonder the charming item called a “girdle” reigns in one’s core. (Kudos to those Spanx inventors.)

Let’s be honest. Even attempting to strengthen one’s core is arduous and requires discipline…two non-fun facts which derail yours truly on a daily, fleeting basis.

First, allow me to share some highlights from Priscilla’s study.

Secondly, I’ll show you the spiritual parallel she draws for our lives to be strengthened spiritually at their core.

This is complete and total proof the Lord has a colossal sense of humor to ever-so-gently remind me and the rest of us we do need to take care of our bodies, especially our core. He knows this is one of my many weaknesses.

Further funny, my lovely leader of our Wednesday Bible study group, Jane Chilton, for the first time in the twenty-plus years I’ve known her, emailed our group two links to sets of exercises specifically for your core. Can’t remember when I’ve howled so loud!

Here they are if you’ve “caught” my excitement about this:

www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/core-strengthening-exercises

www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/core-strength/sis-20076575

Being one of Jane’s devoted students, I rebelled and gave her a card with some advice: “Exercising is good…Accessorizing is Better!” No, didn’t get a gold star for that one!

Stylish Set Of Clothing And Accessories For The Fall

Priscilla reports, “…even with all the equipment, classes, and memberships, most workout programs neglect a key part of the body: the core. A person can exercise zealously yet not be actively growing stronger in the one place where they need it most.” Oh yeah, I get this….

She adds, The core is “the central link in the chain that connects the lower and upper parts of your body, enabling all your limbs and movements to work together in harmony.” I s’pose groaning up the stairs isn’t so harmonious…

Finally, she gives us the benefits of a strong core:

“A strong core helps with:

Your balance 

Your stability 

Your resistance to injury

Your stamina over time and under pressure.” 

Likewise, a weak core can wreak havoc in your life. Here are three “main indicators of a weak core” which can be hazardous to our spiritual life as well:

1 – Poor posture—but, armed with the belt of truth allows our “spiritual posture” to be upright…

2 – Injury prone—but, armed with the belt of truth enables us to choose forgiveness over bitterness, extending grace rather than feeling wounded.

3 – Body fatigue—but, “when His truth is at the core of your existence—strength flows into every other area of your life. All your movements and activities (work, school, ministry, relationships) bear witness to the power of God at work in you…”

Sidebar:  while we are talking about the belt of truth, we are talking about God’s truth, Biblical truth.  Priscilla reminds us, “…with the standard of truth in place, you can adjust everything else in your life–your ambitions, choices, and feelings; your mind, will, and emotions–until all of it is ‘tuned’ correctly.”

Dont miss this precious pearl: “…when you have a strong, stable, well-supported core, you cannot easily be led astray by the enemy’s clever lies. Gird yourself with truth, and you’re on guard from the word ‘go’.”

She adds, “Your firm confidence in His promises gives you not only a holy courage, but also the spiritual muscle to carry out whatever He calls you to do.” Friends, let’s exercise our holy courage!

The entire study revolves around the passage in Ephesians, Chapter Six, on the Armor of God. Today we’re only talking about the belt of truth, but every single piece is necessary and important for our faith walk. (Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit and Prayer.)

The Full Armor of God

These marvelous morsels are a mere taste of the enormous wealth of equipping information Priscilla gives us students in The Armor of God. And, these pearls are only a handful of what fill Week Two of Seven weeks in the study!

My prayer is you will desire to do this study yourself. Grab some friends and begin!

Finally, let me leave you with two of Priscilla’s heart-stopping questions. I suggest asking these of yourself every day:

“Have I made a commitment to God’s truth as the guiding directive for my life?” and

“What is God asking me to do as a result of the truth I know?”

So, while “core” is a four-letter word, and is an uber challenging part of our body to strengthen, you can see why it is important to care for it not only physically, but spiritually as well.

If you’ve not seen the movie, “War Room”, do so at your earliest convenience. Priscilla is amazing in this movie and the power of specific, strategic prayer is your take-home lesson. Lifeway has come out with an abundance of products, this Bible study included which goes along with the movie while armoring you up. www.lifeway.org

warroommovie

Priscilla’s book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer is another one of the many excellent resources from the movie.

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Just wait till we talk about “helmet hair” next week…..oh dear….

‘Til next time!

 

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