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Change Your Game

Around 2012, I was invited to a conference in Dallas that helped me to move along a little further on the path.

Still in the process of finding Personality and Persona, and still learning more and more about God and His character.

This conference was a bit like the conference in 2008, only on steroids.

At this conference, we were encouraged to not be happy with only changing who we thought we were in God’s eyes, but to be the ones who helped those around us to make the change for their own selves.

You know. Be the change. Be “Game Changers”.

Time for that upgrade?

We won’t have time here for three days worth of info.

I’ll just share one step.

It’s a big step, but a place to begin.

God wants us to learn to trust Him. He is consistently trying to teach us how to do that.

“There are two things God is doing. He is teaching us how to trust Him. It is really difficult to become Christ like when everything is going well. You do not learn the beauty of it when things are going well, because you are busy enjoying it and it is exactly the right thing to do. But when it is not going well, when it is hard, that is when God finds out things about us. That is when we learn to trust Him and when He learns to trust us. That is the second thing God is doing. He is bringing us to a place where he can trust us.” Graham Cooke

We have to know who God is for us; every single day, in the good times and the bad.

  • Who is God for me when things are going wrong?
  • Who is God for me when favor is being displayed?
  • Who is God for me when I am in need?
  • Who is God for me when I need more resources?
  • Who is God for me on any given day?
  • How does God see me?
  • How does He think about me?
  • How does He talk about me?

Answers to these questions come by experience with God.

From that experience comes the knowledge of who He is, and an encounter with Him that builds trust.

“What you think about God is the most important thought you’re ever going to have.

What you think about God is everything and you have to work it out.

If you do not know that vital stuff about God, you are always going to struggle when the heat is on.

It is what you know about God that keeps you, that makes you stand, that makes you get up, and that makes you walk.

Our true identity is made up of who we are on earth and how we are known in heaven.

You have an identity that heaven knows and understands.

You are known in heaven!”

Join me on Friday for the last installment about who you are.

Two Fine Questions

For quite a while, from 2008 to about 2012, I studied and studied a manuscript from a conference I had gone to in Washington D.C.

This study was about our true identity. It was written and taught by Graham Cooke .

Graham maintains that our identity is made up of two things; Who we are on earth, and how we are know in heaven.

Our PERSONALITY – made up of who we are on earth;

and our PERSONA – made up of how we are known in heaven.

When you understand who God made you to be, or how you are known in heaven, it changes your perception of your circumstances.

When you understand who God made you to be; you can look at things a different way during awful conditions.

“Why is this happening to me?” and “Why this? Why now? Why me?” are questions we would ask from our personality.

They cause us to be victims.

“What does this mean?”

and

“What shall I do?”

These are questions we would ask from our persona.

They help us to be victorious!

Those have been the two most helpful questions to me in times of trouble.

These questions have changed me from a victim, to a victor!

I get to CHOOSE! I can ask myself these two questions and then take action. 

These questions may seem over simplified, but knowing what the words say, and actually putting them to work in your life are two different issues.

The level of difficulty is often disproportionately boosted.

I worked on installing those thoughts and ideas into my heart and mind for more than four years.

I still have to break out the lesson once in a while for a re-cap.

How in the world can you change the way you think?

I did it by reading scripture over and over about just who God says I am and what He thinks of me.

Here are some important things that God wants us to know. I hope you find them helpful.

  • The most important thing that God says about me (and He says it about you to by the way) is this;

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance:
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

  • We are not mistakes. We are not accidents. No matter what we’ve been told.

 Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  •  He made us just how we are, and He gave us purpose.  All different, and gloriously unique!

2 Samuel 22:20 (ESV)

He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because He delights in me.

  • He delights in us and wants to rescue us from the chaos of this world!

Deuteronomy 32:10 “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

  • He loves us so much. He rescues us from our wasteland. We are the apple of His eye!

John 3:16-17 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life; For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

  • He loves us ALL the same.

If we are born again in Him, then we can always know and remember that He is there for us; even if we are not in Him, we can know that He wants us to be.

I know I’m going long here, but I’d like to share just one more thing with you today.

The words from this song by Morgan Harper Nichols, states my position on what He thinks of me (and you) very well.

It reminds me of how He cared for me, even when I was unaware of Him.

The Storyteller

On a Sunday evening I’m
looking back over all the years
and where I’ve been
Looking at old photographs
I’m remembering
you were right there
and you have been ever since

With every page that turns
I see your faithfulness

Oh the mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the story I’ll tell
You brought the pieces together
Made me this storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That’s the story I’ll tell

There were some nights that felt like
They would last forever
But you kept me breathing
You were with me right then
And all that you have done for me
I could never hold it in
So here’s to me telling this story
Over and over again

Oh the mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the…

Source: Musixmatch

Please join me again next time for part two.

Be Who You Are

Feel sometimes like I’m being lazy. Feel like I should be DOING MORE.

God has made it very clear to me that I am doing life the way I am created to.

I am not created to act like………. (fill in the blanks with the name of the person you wish you could be like) dress like……………..eat like……………..play like………………..pray like……………worship like…………write like………….minister like………………Anything like………………….. God has told me on more than one occasion that I am operating as He wants me to.

When He asks me to do something, I do it, with very little fuss. (Not NO fuss, mind you, but very little) the reason, I am positive, is because I understand that He wants the best for me.

For the next three posts, I’ll delve into that just a bit deeper.

Join me in the discovery won’t you?

Take a Breath

 

In lieu of many things on my mind as of late, I thought I’d re-run a post that I originally ran in September of 2011.

 

Psalm 139: 13-16   For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

These are the most important words.

I want you to hear them.

God created you.

You were His choice.

If you hear anything different than this,

It is a lie.

Straight from the enemy of your soul.

Designed solely to keep you away from your loving Father in Heaven.

Run from that lie,

And into His arms of truth.

Have a rest there.

Take a breath.

 

I’m working on Friday’s topic.    Until then, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Whatever is on your mind.  A question?  An answer?  A bit of your story?

Or perhaps a topic you’d like to see discussed here.

Above all,  take a breath,

and I’ll see you back here on Friday.

Think Lovely Thoughts

In my adult life, I’ve taken some sense of value in my ability to stay calm in crazy situations.

Not EVERY time, but mostly.

What this has involved has been taking the time to quiet myself.

Time to rein my thoughts in and turn them around to a positive way of being;

I.e. To look on the bright side.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Well it seems that through the years of practice with this “Quietude”, there has been an unexpected side effect; that of not feeling the full spectrum of emotion.

I’ll start by saying that over the last several years, if you ask me how I’m doing; my answer would invariably be “Fine”.

My heart has been at peace. My mind has been at rest.

This answer is accurate and correct.

Recently though, something else has been happening.

Circumstances over the last several weeks have caused many emotions to come to the surface.

By that I mean, the tears are closer to the surface than I am accustomed to them being, and I’m perhaps a bit touchier than I like.

I’ve tried and tried to figure out what was happening.

This week, two things happened that seemed to open up a window for me to view the issue in a different way.

  1. I remembered a quote I had heard from Brene’ Brown;
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 155460-bren-brown-quote-we-cannot-selectively-numb-emotions-when-we-numb.jpg

And then;

  • I had lunch with my BFF. I was discussing the fact that I wasn’t processing this issue very well, and that I wasn’t really sure how to put it in words. Here’s what she said; (When they know all your secrets, they can get to the heart of things!)

“You have been doing well with your emotions. This one circumstance has been a grief to you for a long time. You cannot sustain yourself in grief mode for that long a period of time.”

(Basically, she was saying that I had been protecting myself and my emotions from burning themselves out.)

So now, things have changed.

 “You can grieve now. You can feel the emotions and get them healed.”

These words were like a bright shining light on my soul.

The window is open.

This is where Brene’s quote comes into play; there was definitely a time where numbing out the painful emotions was the right thing to do.

But now, I can go on to “un-numbing” the positive emotions!

I can feel the emotions I need to feel, and get on with things, get on with life.

I can feel some real joy.

                                                                        *********

Was all that time of “Peace and rest” wrong?

Was all that time of “Peace and rest” untrue?

Was it all counterfeit?

No, No, and No.

The peace and rest that I grew to know and love, was so very real.

I believe it was God’s way of protecting my mind, my heart and my health.

A lengthy sustained period of grief would have destroyed me from the inside out.

Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

*********

So how about you, are your emotions in line with the times you’re in?

Are your thoughts running to the positive or the negative?

Are you thinking on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable?

“If you don’t like the thought you’re having; have another thought!”

Graham Cooke
Peter Pan

Psalms of Life

A long time friend of mine has begun a new project.

Now we have spoken very little, if any, about his topic.

Imagine my surprise when I began reading his words!

(Surprised, but not surprised. Our verbiage is even the same!)

If you have been here on my blog for any time at all,

you know how much value I put on having quiet time.

How much peace there is to having time to settle your heart and soul.

And how I also always delight if in some small way, I can help you to help yourself.

Even for just a moment; a little at a time.

So with Gary’s permission, I share his offerings with you now.

Psalms of Life

There is a quiet place
Far from the rapid pace
Where God can soothe my troubled mind

Those are the first words of a song that is not an original work of mine but have been on my heart a lot in recent days. I would like to suggest, my dear Psalms of Life friends, that dedicating yourself to a time of ‘stillness within’ is so valuable.

Establishing the habit for even a few minutes a day (especially at the beginning) is where the power lies. It is the ‘master key’ to a more fulfilling life.

Find a quiet place if only for a few minutes. Be silent, place your hand lightly on your heart. (Your mind focuses on where the touch is felt.) Then breathe slowly and deeply, listening to your breath while you choose to feel grateful.

Listening to your breath actually relates back to the fact that, in Hebrew, the deepest root meaning of Yahweh is ‘passionate breath.’

Practicing the simple habit of daily stillness with the Lord will transform your life. Studying and reading the Scriptures is good, but the art of practicing simple stillness is the most important foundation to build upon. Thanks for spreading these thoughts with 👍 ❤️ !

Gary Ellis
Psalms of Life

Remember to share your thoughts and comments.

We really love to hear your “Voice”.

Until next time.

Click here for more of Psalms of Life

My Friend Joy!

Joy has been in a photo group with me for a couple of years.

Joy’s style is photo journalistic in nature.

Joy has a good eye, and is known to find beauty in the most unexpected places.

It could be her “Flower of the Day” series, or her walk along the river front or in Weed Park.

Joy is not deterred by the heat or cold, or rain or sunshine. She just goes.

It’s always a treat to see where she is going to show up next.

Join me now while I ask her some questions, and share some of her work.

Interview July 9, 2019, at the Black Pearl Cafe

  • How long have you been taking photos?
    • About four to five years now.
    • My interest began on a camping trip, in a little town in Indiana, where there was art work, murals and things, all through out the down town area.
    • The town boasted a flower garden calendar. It was so beautiful it begged to be photographed.
    • It was divided into four seasons, and it was unique and beautiful.
    • It sparked my interest in capturing the beauty of God’s creation, and being able to share it with others; flowers, sunrises, nature.
  • What camera do you use to get your photos?
    • I actually use the camera on my phone. It’s a Galaxy S9.
      • I’m mobile!
    • My phone takes quality photos, is very portable, and always ready for a shot, without doing much with the settings.
  • Do you use any filters on your photos?
    • I use no filters.
    • I have tried recently to do a couple of black and white photos, but then went back to regular photos with my phone.
  • What is your motivation for the photos you take?
    • Worship. It’s definitely a part of my worship.
    • I find it very healing.
    • I’ve dealt with depression.
    • Depression makes you pull inside yourself, and away from people.
    • Now that I enjoy photography, I get out of my house. I go places.
    • I can go with someone, or even go by myself.
    • This makes me happy because I can do things however I like. Take a picture or not, stay or go, I can decide.
    • I tend to take pictures dealing with light and creation, and the CREATION always makes me feel connected to the CREATOR.
    • The amount and diversity of creation is amazing and awe inspiring.
    • I no longer take for granted the state and town I live in.
    • Embracing and sharing my hometown, causes me to want to do it more.
    • There is beauty in every state, but coming home to Iowa is always best.
  • How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
    • Trial and error
    • Practice
    • Viewing others photos on photography websites
    • My husband is being educated on my photo taking needs as well!
  • Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
“Favorite picture of the summer so far. Taken from the bike trail during the flooding. I always enjoy capturing reflections and cool shadows. So beautiful with the white puffy clouds.”
  • What mood or message do you try to portray in your photos?
    • Natural beauty.
    • Positive. Always positive.
    • Encouraging.
    • I want my photos to point people to God.
      • She also likes to show off her town! (Added by me)
    • I want to try to stay out of “competition mode”.
  • Whose work has influenced you most?
  • What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
    • (Chuckles) How to take a decent selfie!
  • What would you say to encourage someone to is considering beginning photography?
    • Go out as often as possible.
    • Go out a different times of the day.
    • Play with light and shadows.

Some of Joy’s favorites for photos;

Sisters’ Garden & Bloom

Iowa Photograph

“Driving back from Kalona, with the sun behind us, I had a realization. For some people, looking back is painful emotionally. However, when it comes to photography, you need to be willing to examine your subject from every angle. Otherwise, you might miss the best picture ever!”

Joy

Dare I say, Joy doesn’t miss much!

Thanks for joining us!

See you next time!