The Movie Version

If you’ve read The Book, you know Who wins. But during your time here on earth, you’re being directed in the Movie Version. No one can play your part except you. So who is directing you?

The Lord says you belong to him. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The enemy says you belong to no one. Do what you please.

The Lord wants to make you over in His Image. (Genesis 1:26)
The enemy wants to make you over into his.

The Lord says you are one flesh in marriage. (Ephesians 5:31)
The enemy says it doesn’t matter. Just move on if you don’t get what you want.

The Lord says a woman was created for her husband. (1 Corinthians 11:9)
The enemy says the man is just a paycheck and slave labor for his wife.

The Lord says a man’s job is to love and protect his wife. (Ephesians 5:25-30)
The enemy says the man should look out only for himself.

QUESTION: So who is directing your thoughts and feelings and actions? On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how would you rate your ability to distinguish who is directing your life movie? Is it The Lord … or is it someone else?

A Quick Turnaround

God's Goodness leads to repentance

How quickly and easily You can turn me around, Papa. I woke up this morning wondering how I could make it through today. Then I thanked You for the Beautiful Dream You gave to me. And the Amazing Possibilities You have shown me for my life. I mean AMAZING! And my mood lifted instantly. You, Lord, are Irresistible!

Nonetheless, I am aware that – in the natural world – I am nowhere near any of that. Even so, my spirit quickens when I think of Your Goodness. Your Everlasting Kindness.

One thought led to another, and I remembered my walks on the Peninsula the summer of 2011. I’d march two miles up the shoreline, recounting all the reasons this would never work. My resolve was firm. I would protect myself. No one would ever hurt me again. I determined to erect a wall strong enough to protect myself from my own vulnerability.

The Repentance of Elizabeth BennetBut somehow, as soon as I made the Turnaround and headed back down the beach, all of my thoughts – and even the direction of my feelings – changed. Suddenly. Effortlessly.

In the words of Miss Elizabeth Bennet,
they were “quite the opposite.”

In a moment’s time, I found myself composing a message. Words that would not only encourage, but also put myself out there a bit further. So much for self-protection.

[callout]My resistance had been completely undone
by Your persistently insistent desire to bless me.[/callout]

You and I went through the same routine everyday at the beach. You always won me over. And You hadn’t said a word. How did you do that?

The Beauty of Repentance

I know Your Word is Powerful. When You speak, something happens.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV)

But so is Your Spirit. And I suspect He is Your Method. Both then and now.

… Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b, NKJV)

The Goodness of Your Presence always causes me to repent – to change my mind. And the Beauty of Repentance is being back in step with You.

Thank You, Papa, for Your Goodness. Your Kindness. Your Gentleness. Your Loving Heart that is ever focused on me as I’m learning to follow.

Always,
Your Beloved Daughter

[callout]Definition of repentance: Many understand the term repentance to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.”[/callout]

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Perspectives

God's ways

You have a perspective on where you are now. In your relationship. And in your life. So does your mate. They never line up perfectly. If they did, one of you wouldn’t be necessary.

You may suspect that The Lord’s point of view is different than either of yours. It’s not that you and your mate are totally wrong about life. You just have a limited view of what’s really happening. Not only in The Natural World. But especially in the Spiritual Realm.

The Holy Spirit wants to help you change that.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17

Dealing with Feeling

Why did God give us emotions? First, our feelings enable us to fully enjoy the Good Things God has given us. Second, they activate our Personal Warning System. A signal that something is happening within us or around us.

How physical feelings work can help us understand our Personal Warning System.

Let’s say you’re walking on the beach. You step on something. Like a bee. (I actually did that. Ouch!) You immediately feel pain. You stop. And take a close look at where it hurts. Then you make a decision in regard to what need to be done.

Ignoring pain doesn’t work. In fact, it will make matters worse.

The same is true for your emotions. They are signals that something is happening. Internally or externally. And paying attention to them will provide valuable information.

How to use your emotions – even the unpleasant ones – to your advantage:

  1. Notice that you’re feeling something. That seems like a no-brainer. But a lot of people have spent a lifetime trying to tune out emotions. Especially the unpleasant ones. So being aware that you’re feeling is the first step.
  2. Identify the specific emotion. Angry. Sad. Hurt. Afraid. Guilty. Ashamed. Happy. These are broad categories. Be as specific as you can. Here’s a list that can help you find just the right word to express what you’re feeling.
  3. Identify your need. Feelings can be signals that you need something. Comfort. Reassurance. Healing. Hearing the voice of a Loved One. Being held by someone who cares. Or your feeling may be telling you to do something. Such as protect yourself or someone else. Be careful though. Sometimes self-protection is counter-productive. Especially if it’s rooted in past experience, rather than in the present.
  4. Ask someone to help meet your need. Ask Your Heavenly Father. Or ask someone who loves you. “I’m feeling sad right now. Would you please hold me?”
  5. Accept the response you get. The Lord answers in many different ways. You might feel His Presence emotionally or even physically. He might remind you of Scripture. Either way, you can be sure He hears you. So keep talking to Him.

(a) It’s a little different when you ask another human being to help meet your need. If he does what you ask (your request must be be concrete, simple, specific), soak it up. Your feelings may take a while to subside, so give yourself time as you replay his loving response in your mind.

(b) However, he may deny your request. And you must accept that, too. Because he may be overwhelmed himself. He can’t give you something if he doesn’t have it.

The Bottom Line

God gave your feelings to YOU. So you are responsible for understanding and responding to them. Never try to manipulate others to make yourself feel better. It will backfire.

If you’d like help to understand your own feelings, explore the Negative Cycle Survey now.

Perfect Partners

what do you believe about women

In the movie Fireproof, the statement “Never leave your partner behind” was a motto of the Fire Department. Caleb learned to apply that principle to his marriage.

So what do we mean by partner when it comes to marriage?

The Dictionary Definition: person who takes part with another

Which of these synonyms define your partnership with your mate?

accomplice | ally | assistant | associate | buddy | chum | cohort | collaborator | colleague | companion | comrade | confederate | consort | coworker | crony | date | friend | helper | helpmate | mate | pal | participant | playmate | sidekick | spouse | teammate

sometimes your heart

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12