Sitting still requires relinquishing your chaos to a God who cares and is in control. Take time to climb onto His lap. Rest your whirling head on His chest. As your heart beat and breathing begins to mimic His calming rhythm, hear His gentle voice say: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
Ingredients? Chopped parsnips, pears, and brussel sprouts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on cooking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven at 375 until brown and yummy.
Which kind of pet owner are you? The first type treats their animals, well, like they’re animals. You provide the basics of kibbles and water. They must serve a function like guard dog, egg layer, or milk producer. You don’t abuse or neglect them. However, they stay where pets belong-outside! My stepfather held this austere philosophy. Suffice it to say, as long as I lived in his house, I never owned a pet. As a tweener girl, I envisioned Lassie, Flipper, or Black Beauty. Why, these pets where your BFF’s.
The second kind of pet owner treats their animal like Paris Hilton. They travel in designer handbags; have encrusted collars; and enjoy pet play dates. They bear touchy-feely titles like “sweetie pie,” “snuggles,” and “mama’s little baby.” Table food? Oh, they eat like royalty. Sleeping arrangements? Right on their master’s bed with matching silk jammies. That’s how I treat our Welsh terrier, Mack. He gets a fresh latte every morning; a walk along the bosque at noon; and biscuits in bed as a nightcap. Go ahead, you can judge me. I’m that kind of dog owner.
Honestly, if you were a pet, which kind of owner would you prefer? Me? I’d be Hotel Tycoon, Leona Helmsley’s, Maltese lap dog named “Trouble” who inherited $12 million at her owner’s death. Believe it or not, as a Christian, that’s exactly the kind of care you receive from Jesus, your Shepherd. His flock never lacks a thing. They drink from still waters the likes of Perrier. They take naps in pastures as idyllic as the English countrysides. When predators appear, He stands guard.Best of all, He restores their soul. In other words, He cares about their deepest, emotional needs.
Take a minute to read Psalm 23. Get to know this Good Shepherd. Follow Him wherever He goes. Even in the deepest valley, He’ll make sure that goodness and mercy follow right behind you. One day you will live in His house forever.
original digital collage by Khanh Dang and Lenya Heitzig
How do you deny past problems access to your forwarding address? Here’s my advice, don’t dwell in the past; you don’t live there anymore. Past, by definition, is something that no longer exists. You can’t bring it back. You can’t change it. You can’t even revel in its glories. Even the star quarterback eventually gains weight while the prom queen ages. All of our bygone days, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are now merely reflections in a review mirror.
Anyone who’s tried to forget the past by sheer determination discovered it multiplies by epic proportions. For instance, the moment you tell yourself, don’t think about creepy gnomes, the more you fixate on them. And then your dreams are riddled with the vexing little bearded guys wearing green waistcoats and pointy red hats. This phenomenon is known as the “ironic process theory” which simply explains the minds tricky way of creating obsessive thoughts despite trying to oppress them.
So, how can you conquer the past? Step ahead! The best way to conquer an old habit is to replace it with a new one. Want to stop swearing? Start praising. Jesus explained, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Need to quit biting your nails? Try painting them pink instead. Follow Paul’s example to “put off the old…and put on the new” (Col. 3:9-10).
The virtuous woman conquered her anxiety, too. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future” (Prov. 31:31:25, NLT). She used her past to prepare for the future. As a result, she was fearless.
When the past comes knocking, you don’t have to answer. Why? You’re not home—you’ve moved on and left no forwarding address.
Do you look around and see the world in darkness and despair? Do you long to see a world filled with love and light? First John is a short yet powerful book full of assurances that while we might not find light and love in this world, we can find it in the One who created it.
Join me and she Ministries in our upcoming citywide Bible study, Live Brilliantly: A Study in the Book of 1 John, Part 1, beginning Tuesday, September 10, as we study powerful verses like “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5) and “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Last week, I got to do something I enjoy very much: visit another women’s ministry and teach. The ladies of Flourish, the women’s ministry at Calvary Kendall in Miami, welcomed me with love and spunk. My friend Lourdes and her husband, Pedro, lead this dynamic church full of Jesus fanatics. I spoke four years ago at their retreat, and this group of ladies is always energetic, interactive, and fun.
Their auditorium was packed to overflowing–and then their overflow quickly filled up. I got to meet and talk with many of the ladies after giving my message, “Peace at Any Price?” from the book of Judges. This is where Gideon, the “mighty man of valor,” meets Jehovah Shalom, The Lord Is My Peace.
As I walked the ladies through this story where we find Gideon in a place of having no peace, I could feel their spirits crying out with the same feeling. When you turn on the TV or check the latest headlines, there seems to be no peace in this world. There is war, famine, crime, and natural disasters at every corner.
As I wrapped up my message, I gave the ladies in turmoil the opportunity to pray to receive God’s peace. As I prayed over the women, I felt a sense of the freedom only God can give come upon the room. He was breaking the chains of bondage as the ladies stood to their feet seeking freedom.
Thanks to the ladies of Calvary Kendall for being so welcoming, vulnerable, and loving. It was a joy to walk through this Scripture with you.
If you need a dose of freedom, you can listen to “Peace at Any Price?” here. Peace is just a step away. If you’re fighting for it personally, spiritually, relationally, or nationally, spend some time getting to know Jehovah Shalom. Gideon did. And because he met Jehovah Shalom, he confronted the enemy, while trusting God for the victory, and through God’s peace, he overcame.