God’s Peace Plan: P.R.A.Y.

planPEACE PLAN: Remember the spunky Miss Clara in the movie War Room? She narrates: “We fight for power. We fight for riches. And we fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about.” Yet. . .

“Very few of us know how to fight the right way.”

In this post, war-roomI’ll outline a simple, Spirit-inspired peace plan to pray. Miss Clara prayed in her closet she calls her “war room” and taught Elizabeth, played by Priscilla Shirer, to speak fervently with God about her crumbling marriage.

Is your marriage in trouble? Are your emotions out of control? Is your teen making poor choices? Are you ill? In financial duress? Brokenhearted?

God has a peace plan for the war you’re in. Prayer is your battle cry!

God’s Peace Plan

It’s a four-letter word: P.R.A.Y.

Do not be anxious about ANYTHING but in EVERYTHING, by PRAYER and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6

Read this familiar verse again. Then think on it. Now do what it says: P.R.A.Y. This is your peace plan!

P: Praise

Begin with praise. Praising God puts your mind where it need to be: focused on God. He is the One who not only created to universe, but also knows your hurts and deeply cares.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16, NIV

R: Repent

To repent is to change your mind and line up your thoughts with God’s thoughts. Repentance is a gift from God, and I’ve noticed in counseling, those who repent make lasting, positive, godly changes the quickest.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

A: Ask

The Lord invites you to approach him confidently and share what’s on your heart. This is part of deepening your relationship with him. He promises to give you all that is good.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:2

Y: Yield

As you pray, believing that God can handle your problems, your faith will increase, and you’ll become calm and confident.

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! Hebrews 12:9

Go ahead, PRAY. I will too. Tell me how it goes.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses are comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Embracing the Truth of God’s Character

GodWhen you embrace the truth of who God is, your burdens lift. . .even in trials. Dr. Donna Hart, PhD, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, shares loving truth. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.

When our burdens seem too heavy a weight to carry, we can be tempted to believe that God has unjustly piled them on us. The heaviness of the burden may lure us toward unbiblical views leading us to distrust his goodness. Then we may feel depressed.

He loves us too much to give us inner peace when we hold on to attitudes or beliefs about him that are not true to who he is.

False belief: I should get what I want

One belief we are prone to have is our right to certain things or relationships. We can mistakenly believe we have a “right” to what we want. We fail to realize the truth that it is a blessing to have. It is not a right.

Then anger often emerges, prompting us to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness. This path of thought will lead us to presume we know better than God. And we will likely try to do things our way.

Do you ever think God is arbitrarily making you miserable? If so, you may base your thinking on persistent feelings of discomfort, rather than upon God’s words of promise. So it’s is no wonder you’re miserable!

Asaph Questions God’s Character

Asaph questions God’s character in a similar way in Psalm 77:7-9:

Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show His favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld His compassion?

Fortunately, Asaph asks his questions from a place of faith in God. Our questions may be like Asaph’s, but they may not be asked from a position of faith.

An unbiblical interpretation of our lives can lead us down a slippery slope of false beliefs, which cause us to become more deeply saddened, thinking the future holds no hope.

False Belief: This world is all there is

Our hearts can start to think this world is all there is and seek only temporal relief rather than longing for his glory. Second Corinthians 4:17-18 says,

 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

When we continually reject the truth of the Word by believing our own thoughts and emotions about our circumstances, we start to feel guilty. We also assume he has rejected us, leaving us with little hope.

Our hearts often cry out as Asaph did, asking if his will ever return. But we must remember that it is not true that he has forgotten to be gracious or that he has withdrawn his love, leaving us victims.

We must rebuke the lies that cause us to think God is standing with a raised hammer just waiting for the opportunity to lower it on our heads.

Asaph foresaw the inevitable judgment on Israel. In his heart he cries to God as he anticipates the coming misery of the Israelites’ suffering in captivity. He voices his fears but continues to appeal to to God’s divine power to change all that is to come.

False Belief: Trials are bad

The truth is, God ordains our trials to teach us to trust him and to grow our faith. In those trials, we must exercise a strenuous faith and give God glory and honor regardless of the circumstances. Be determined to resist self-focused desires of insisting on comfortable lives with easy answers, and convenient timetables.

As we learn to give God the glory and honor him no matter the circumstances, he will help us to. . .

  • make discerning decisions with the right perspective
  • grow in our faith
  • persevere with joy

Let us learn to not gaze long and hard at our own suffering. Rather, may we stay focused on the promises God has set before us.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Reading Scripture for Life Transformation

Scripture is a life-changing love letter. Counselor Donna Hart, PhD, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, experiences life change personally as she reads the Bible for understanding and transformation. Do you desire life transformation too? Donna’s article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.

hope icon

A while back, I attended a women’s theology conference where Ruth Haley Barton spoke of our need to pay attention to our God-given desires. . .and to practice spiritual disciplines. She said believers through the centuries have practiced them as a way of opening up to the transforming presence of God.

As I listened I felt my spirit start to stiffen in resistance. I like to practice disciplines that are theologically correct. And I don’t like going off into a lot of emotion and commotion without any devotion.

Then she said something that captured my attention.

When we engage the Scriptures for spiritual transformation, we engage not only our mind but also our heart, our emotions, our body, our curiosity, our imagination, and our will.

We open ourselves to a deeper level of understanding and insight that grows out of and leads us deeper into our personal relationship with the One behind the text. It is in the context of relational intimacy that real life change takes place.

Scripture Is a Life-Changing Love Letter

Barton went on to clarify the importance of reading Scripture as a love letter from someone who loves you deeply. Indeed, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are active, alive, and God-breathed, just it says:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

How to Read Scripture

I followed her instruction to experience the Word for myself: Take a moment to become quiet and close your eyes to eliminate the distractions. Then let your body relax and allow yourself to become consciously aware of God’s presence with you.

  • First Reading: Pick a Scripture of 4 or 5 verses, maybe a Psalm you particularly like, Isaiah 43:1-4, or Psalm 23. Read it out loud, listening for the word or phrase that catches your attention and savor the Word.
  • Second Reading: Read the same verses out loud again and listen for the way in which this passage connects with your life today.
  • Third Reading: Read the verses again listen for an invitation contained in God’s Word to you. Respond honestly to God about what you are hearing. This is a response that flows out of your deepest longing for God.
  • Fourth Reading: Read these verses out loud, this time to rest in the word God has given you, knowing that he who has called you will be faithful to bring it to pass.

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Experiencing Life Change

I walked away from this exercise with a deep sense of peace and excitement. But I wanted to stay in that word the Lord had just given me, resolved to do exactly what He told me to do. Also I wanted to hold on to it and carry it with me all day and savor the moment of intimacy with God. It was like entering the throne room of God. And I did not want to leave. It was like the Lord was giving me a little taste of heaven.

I encourage you to try this discipline for yourself and experience the transforming presence of God. I would also love to hear about your encounter with God.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

A-to-Z Identity List: Your Tuesday Tool


list“A-to-Z Identity List” is this month’s Tuesday tool.

When you tell yourself the truth of who you are in Christ, your life undergoes a beautiful transformation.

“I am Chosen by God”…”I am Made to worship”…”I am Victorious over sin” — these A-to-Z truths and others come from the Word of God. And they will encourage you to stop false beliefs and start seeing through the lens of scripture. Then as you embrace them, healing follows.

Get the Most from the A-to-Z List

Here are two excellent ways to delve into your God-given identity and get the most out of the A-to-Z list.

1) Once daily look up the scriptures for one of the words, until you’ve completed all 26.

2) Read through the entire list of words. Circle 3 to 5 that are meaningful to you. Then in a journal, personalize the verses. Example: For Lamentations 3:22-23, you might personalize it by jotting down,

God loves me and has great compassion for me.

I don’t have to let trials rock me because God is always faithful to me.

Journaling God’s truth is among the best helps for my counselees and for me.

A-to-Z List

Accepted–John 15:15; Ephesians 1:6

Born Again–John 3:5-7

Chosen, confident–Ephesians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 3:3-4

Direct Access to God–Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 2:5

Established by God–Genesis 1:27; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Forgiven—Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 32:1; Isaiah 43:25-26!

God’s Child—John 1:12; 1 John 3:1

Heir with Christ–Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29

Immersed in Jesus Christ–Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4

Justified—1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-8

Kept for eternity–John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6

Loved–John 3:16, 15:13; Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 3:12

Made to worship–Ecclesiastes 3:10-11; John 4:24

New creation in Christ–2 Corinthians 5:17

Optimistic–Joshua 1:9; Romans 8:28-29

Peace—John 14:27; Philippians 4:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Quietness of Soul–Psalm 46:10, 62:5, 131:2

Rescued from Satan’s domain–Colossians 1:13

Secure, sealed – 1 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9

Temple of God–1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:1

Unique–Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:14

Victorious over sin–1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4

Whole, no longer incomplete–James 1:2-4, 1 John 4:12

Xtra valued by God–Psalm 17:8, Deuteronomy 32:10

Yoked with Jesus–Matthew 11:28-29

Zealous for the things of God–Revelation 3:19; Titus 2:14

A Freebie for You

Would you like an attactive handout of the A-toZ Identity in Christ list? Simply ask for it. Contact me now and type “Send me A-to-Z Identity List in the subject line. This list was inspired by my fellow counselors at Biblical Counseling Center.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Beautiful Truth of Who You Are

truthHere’s beautiful truth: You are who God says you are!

And God says you’re worth it and you’re lovely.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? God cares about you and me and everyone. But isn’t it tough to believe that something so wonderful is true? That he protects you? That he cares?

In fact, you may have struggled with believing you matter and that God has a good plan for your life. Have you ever asked yourself questions like,

  • Do I make a difference in anyone’s life?
  • Does God smile when he thinks of me?
  • How can God love me?

The truth is, Jesus is with you. He loves you. He cares.

Two Encouraging Stories

Corrie Ten Boom: God’s Protection

Chances are, you’ve heard parts of Corrie Ten Boom’s WWII story. Her family hid Jews in a secret place in their home above their watch shop. When the Nazis discovered their secret in 1944, they arrested the Ten Boom family and sent them to a concentration camp.

Upon arrival at the camp, Corrie and her sister, Betsie, waited in line to be searched. And guess what Corried did? She prayed.

With a bible hidden in her clothing, she prayed that the Nazis would not find it. She prayed, “Dear God, you have given me this precious Book. You have kept it hidden through checkpoints and inspections.” The Nazis searched the woman in front of Corrie, and they searched Betsie.

But Corrie? They left her alone. The bible stayed with her in the camp, and God’s word kept hatred from her heart.

Like Corrie, you are secure because you are hidden in Christ.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble. Psalm 32:7

Sandi: Small Acts of Kindness

Years ago I counseled “Sandi,” whose parents were addicts and abused her every which way imaginable. As the eldest, she would stand between her parents and her little brothers and sisters, sparing them and taking the punishment. And she was a child too!

The authorities caught up with Sandi’s parents, who were convicted of child abuse and distributing child pornography, and served time in prison. Sandi and her siblings ended up in foster care. Yet God blessed her and gave her a desire to be kind to others.

Among her stories I love is the time she noticed a homeless woman taking food from a dumpster behind a fast food joint, She offered her her own uneaten lunch. The woman declined at first. Then Sandi began regularly buying two lunches a few times a week–one for herself, one for the woman–and the woman ate hers.

Sandi’s small acts of kindness demonstrated the truth that God treasures all people–Sandi, you, me. And the homeless.

Like Sandi, you are significant because you are precious in God’s eyes.

You are precious and honored in my sight…because I love you. Isaiah 43:4

Scriptures About You

Read through this short list of the truth of who you are. May I encourage you to look up the bible verses too? They are hope for your heart.

I have a long list too. If you want the long list, please send me a message with the words “Who I Am in Christ” in the subject line and I’ll send it to you.

You are precious to God. (Isaiah 43:4)

You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are complete. (Colossians 2:9,10)

You are secure. (Romans 8:31-39)

You are God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are God’s treasure. (1 Peter 2:9,10)

Father, thank you for reminding us who we are in Christ. Thank you that when you look at us you see true beauty that comes from your Son, our Savior. Amen.

Counseling Hope to Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Get this 64 page ebook FREE when you sign up for my blog!

 

5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

You have Successfully Subscribed!