Dilemma of Change

What has drastically changed in your life? Have you had an addition to your family, i.e., a baby, new spouse, stepchildren, even a pet? Have you experienced the loss of a baby, a spouse (to divorce or death), the loss of a pet, a brother/sister, a friend, a parent, co-worker (unexpected or expected)? How about a job change, by your choice . . . or maybe it was thrust upon you? Maybe an unexpected demotion or promotion? Or in today’s world, just added responsibility? What about a move, a bigger house, or the loss of a house? What if you experienced fire or a break-in? How about a major physical change, you became pregnant and gained weight, you lost weight? Were you injured or had something corrected? How about a prolonged illness, that you did not expect? How about you won the lottery, or someone stole your life savings, (a bad business deal, or investment)? What if you just noticed or are having to face the fact that you really are aging? Or what if you just/finally went into puberty? These are all examples of change that create stress and loss. And so many of these changes were not our choice or what we would have chosen. 

Because change produces stress and creates loss(es). Even if the change is positive
there will be stress and some kind of loss. I.e. winning the lottery! Stress and change
are two dynamics that humans tend to dislike, and oftentimes resist. We know this
to be true because stress and loss, even if positive, are at the least uncomfortable
and at the most excruciatingly painful. I wonder if plants had voices, what the gowth,
the strain, the bursting of a flower bud opening up, and the partial death process as
they go into fall, and then coming back to life in spring would sound like. We think fall
is beautiful, I wonder what the plant feels like? The many “fall seasons” we
experience in our life should be so beautiful, because if we trust God, a new spring is
always coming, even if it’s our last spring - heaven. In heaven there is no
more death. And we do know that humans by nature gravitate toward pleasure
and naturally resist pain. The seasons of life are stressful!! Stress always creates a
critical juncture for us: “Are we going to let the pain created by this change be in
vain, or will we allow the pain of change to be for gain? Because we know we are never
without pain. You see, God designed human’s for stress; it is a part of his creative
process. Stress creates change, change creates stress, and hopefully manifests
new strength, beauty and depth. Choice is the operative word here, we as
humans, with free will, can decide how we deal with, respond/react to stress,
change, and the pain it brings. There is a plethora of literature that expresses the
resultant-beauty of pain. We have example upon example, story upon story that
exemplifies this phenomenon. It must bring God such heartache to see that pain
brings out the best in humans, (that is, if there is anything good to find, pain will
find it.) Sadly, ease and pleasure, produce nothing valiant or admirable in humans. This only occurs if the pleasure and ease are a byproduct of overcoming or enduring some great and painful hardship. Like the bloom after a long cold winter, but we see even in nature, the old has to die for the new to come. There are seasons for a reason.

Let's remember this in a season of change and stress, that a new day is dawning and the gain is soon to be ours. God is good and faithful and new every morning. 

Listen to the entire series on our Radio page


Boundaries: the basics in recovery.

The New World Dictionary defines boundaries as "any line, or marking a limit"-or a border. In in the period of recovery, we in the 'field' often use the phrase "boundary issues" to describe a primary characterstic of co-dependency. This means a person has a difficult time defining where he or she ends and the other person begins. Adult children often enter relationships with an all or nothing attitude. 

During the process of recovery we learn that we are no longer willing to mindlessly lose everything for the sake of the relationship, appearance, or in the name of love. We can learn to make appropriate choices concerning what we are willing to give in our relationships. Having boundaries does not complicate life - boundaries simplify life. We need to know how far we will go and how far we will allow others to go with us. Once we understand this, we can go anywhere and do anything. 

Growing up in a home where there is chemical dependency or other compulsive disorders can result in 1) having no boundaries or 2) Having boundaries with holes in them, or 3) having built walls instead of boundaries. Sometimes we protect ourselves as we are growing up with walls only to come to a place where the walls come down leaving no boundaries. We have gone from the extreme to the other. The goal in recovery is to develop healthy boundaries  not too pliable and not too rigid. Children may have weak or non existent boundaries if they were emotionally or physically neglected or abandoned. Abuse, humiliation, or shame damages boundaries. It leaves gaping holes where the violation occurred. As adults we will be vulnerable to invasion in that area until we repair and strengthen that part of our border. 

Controlling people invade territory. They trespass and think it's their right to do that. If we lived with someone who tried to control us, our boundaries may have been damaged. If our rights to our emotions, thoughts, bodies, privacy, possessions weren't respected, we may not know we have rights. We may not know others do too. 

We need to learn what hurts and what feels good-what is ours and what is not and what we are willing to lose. We need to learn to stop incessantly controlling and taking care of others. 

Many of us have developed a high tolerance for pain and insanity. Sometimes it takes a long time to recognize when something hurts. Many of us don't have a frame of reference for what is normal and appropriate. How can we tell someone to stop hurting us if we are not sure it hurts?

On a last note, be aware - Setting boundaries is not an isolated process. It is intertwined with developing a closer relationship with the Los and dealing with our feelings. It is connected to detachment. Shame is connected to boundaries. We may feel ashamed when we allow people to invade or trespass on our boundaries. Shame may try to block us from setting the boundaries we ultimately need to set for our health and survival. 


6 Modes for New Year, New Beginnings.

Here are 6 modes of giving our best foot forward this new year. 

1). Position and intention: that every day is a new year!

This means, for this year, I will practice a “position of intention”. I will daily intentionally position my heart and mind to say “not my will but thy will be done”.
I will use my free will to surrender myself will to God’s will, I use my free will to die to self will, and enter into God’s will (repeat). 

To support and encourage ourselves in this we can daily mediate on: Philippians 1:6 (MSG)
"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." Here is another version-

NIV: “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete in you”. Reminding ourselves that our intention is to surrender to God’s work, and believe that He will complete it, He has a way, and we desire his way. 

And a few more-
Proverbs 14:12 (MSG)
12-13  There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
Isaiah 55:8 MSG
“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” GOD’s
Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way
you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow
descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing
their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food
for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-
handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave

2.) Bring the year to a close and keep it closed

"Like driving away looking through the rear view mirror and never turning around."

What does this mean? God made time and seasons for a reason, he knew we
would need “new beginnings”.

1. Ecclesiastes 3
[ A Time for Everything ] There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the
heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and
a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, ...
As we mentioned earlier, we even get “mini season’s” every time we go to
bed and rise for a new day. We need to appreciate being afforded new
beginning’s each day and follow God’s practice in verse
Lamentations 3:22-24
New International Version (NIV)
22  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23  They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

It is extremely important to see the importance of positioning the past in the past. God tells us he puts “our sins are far as the east is from the west, and remembers the, no more”. This is because God doesn’t need to learn from them, nor does he need those memories for his identity. It is imperative that we go through the grief and loss process as to reconcile and forgive others and ourselves.

This also applies to successes. Just as I cannot continue to live in the shame and embarrassment of past behaviors, I must not live in my past successes. This means, what am I taking with me into my new year, into my future? I am taking all that I have learned, lessons! We want to be wise people that learn, not fools that continue to repeat. 

We are to remember and learn. We are never to use hindsight for self abuse, it is only intended to see where we were as it is related to where we are going. We need our memories to remind us of either “who” we are or “who” we are not. When we are reviewing our past, we must resist judgement and condemnation. We know that God say “therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. 
It is also very important to realize that as we close the last year, that we let
go of the good, wonderful, phenomenal experiences we had. In Isaiah
43:18-19 it says:
Isaiah 43:18-21 The Message (MSG)
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me.

God is doing new things, everyday, so we don’t dwell on past mistakes, but we don’t leave in past glory either. He’s doing a new thing, don’t miss it!!
Lastly, remember that major losses, ie, the loss of a loved one, a business, a
major relationship, we’ve been stolen from, etc. These types of losses may not be able to be completely resolved in one year. What we want to do is review and acceptance the progress we have made in the healing process, continuing to move forward with God’s will and intention for our life.

3.) Creating new beginnings

"God Can’t steer a parked car."

What this really means is I don’t get in God’s way, or fight him. It means that I again practice a step of faith and believe that God has good things for me. Again, God cant steer a parked car.

Here is a Biblical reference-
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has
come: [a] The old has gone, the new is here!

We have several very important verses that help us intentionally position our
hearts and minds to allow for new beginnings, for a new future. Not one of the past. We see the need for seasons, for time, we see the need to allow the past to be the past. We are now going to experience new mercies for others, and ourselves accepting God’s grace and forgiveness, and using this as a new way to experience the New year God has afforded us. We will now we look toward the future God has for us with Godly anticipation and

He’s making New Wineskins:
Matthew 9:16
The Message (MSG)
16-17  He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match.
And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”
Isaiah 43: 18-21

Take steps, do not use old wineskins. Create new ones. 

4.) Manage my internal and external world

“I will manage my internal and my external world”.
This is about “self care”. Am I willing to “care for” God’s precious little one? Truthfully, no one wants to do instinctually do this, but we must. 
There are five realms that make-up the human condition, the areas we need to
manage in order to be whole people congruent people are:
1.) The Physical
2.) The Social
3.) The Intellectual
4.) The Emotional/Psychological
5.) The Spiritual
We want to integrate and practice the above three directives within the 5
arenas. That means that in my internal and external world I am practicing
“position of intention”, bringing last year to a close and keeping it closed, I
am allowing for new beginnings, I am managing these worlds, and I am
loving God, myself, and others in the physically, socially, intellectually,
emotionally, and spiritually.

The first two are “my external” world. This is where the majority of
resolutions are made. This is where we generally see incongruences’ and
conflict. These are the areas that the internal are manifested .As we talked
about in the beginning the ripple effect means if I am trying to control my
external world first, hoping that it ripples inwardly, I am doing things
backwards and will get very tired and discouraged. For example, “if I loose
weight I will care about myself more”. When we are managing our internal
areas: emotional/intellectual/spiritual it is much easier to manage the external. This is
because if I am not managing my internal thought world, i.e. “how I think
about myself”. It will be harder to have positive external behaviors
regarding how I care for myself.

*My internal world: The world of emotions, ideas, (my intellectual world,
my emotional world, my spiritual world.

*My external world: My physical and my social world. How I act and
appear in these areana. What do I need to do to “live in love”

5.) Living in Love
1 John 4:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
God’s Love and Ours 7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:7-10
The Message (MSG)
God Is Love.
7-10  My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

Remember, we are learning today how to allow for God’s best, how to create
an internal environment that invites God’s will and his way. Creating this
foundational approach to living my New Year, will cause me to better hear
the Holy Spirit, and to manage whatever successes’, failures, and hardships
may be coming in the New Year.

6.) Don’t worry

The word of the Lord:
Luke 24:36, “Peace be with you”
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not
give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do
not be afraid”.

The British Medical Association claims that 60 to 80 percent of physical problems are rooted in our thinking. According to a heart specialist: it is not so much our arteries that are the problem as
our attitudes.” The effect of worry on the body is well known to all who are involved in treating physical problems. Clearly, worry takes its toll on our physical system. No organ is immune to worry. So you had better stop worrying before your health and effectiveness as a Christian
is weakened. A new beginning can drown in worry, and that is not what God has intended for you. 


If you are struggling with new beginnings, let us know. We genuinely want everyone to be their own best version. Email us anytime. 

Happy New Year. 

20 KEYS to a Kinder, Gentler Relationship

I commit to working on my own issues, that is, ‘personal growth’; not working on
your issues, which results in, ‘no personal growth’.
— Cinthia Hiett

After 22 years of private practice, here is the Master List for healthy successful relationships, which truly begins and ends with self care. 

1.) I will respect, understand, and accept gender differences and the unique hardwiring
of each gender. I will explore and respect the power of “love languages”. As result,
I will love the people in my life in the way that is most meaningful and powerful to
them, even if it is uncomfortable for me.
2.) I will stop being so controlling, and needing “all the ducks to line up” in order to be
happy within my relationship. I will practice flexibility.
3.) I will stop focusing on the external’s (“what I can’t control”), and will commit to
addressing my internal world (“what I can control”).
4.) I commit to working on my own issues, that is, “ personal growth”; not working on
your issues, which results in, “no personal growth”.
5.) I commit to appropriately dealing with my own stress; and the subsequent spiritual,
physical, emotional, social, and intellectual reactions.
6.) I will practice daily acceptance of myself and others, realizing we are all mortal
mistake-making humans.
7.) I will refrain from infidelity and/or pornography as way to get my needs met.
8.) I will stop taking things so seriously and so personally. I will stop moralizing and
judging others. I will recognize the difference between abuse and dysfunction. One
is a character issue; the other is a process, if it is an abuse issue, then it is imperative
for me to learn how to protect myself. If I am unable to discern the difference
between dysfunction and abuse, I commit to finding and receiving professional
9.) I will address and heal from my Codependency and Boundary issues.
10.) I will address my addictive behaviors, either my own, or any individual in my life. I
will address as well, any compulsive disorders, such as: workholism, food, gambling,
sex/love addictions, shopping, perfectionism, etc.
11.) I will address my assertiveness issues, which cause me to avoid expressing my
feelings, as well as, healthy conflict and confrontation.
12.) I am willing to take care of myself; to be a healthy caregiver to myself, not giving
that responsibility to any of my primary relationships.

13.) I will deal with my "emotional baggage". Any relationship or situation that is
unresolved, as it takes energy from the relationship.
14.) I will practice the habit of forgiveness, for others and myself. I will keep short
lists, and resist record keeping.
15.) I will learn healthy communication skills.
16.) I will invest time in my relationships: “Relationships require time”.
17.) I will “act like an adult”. Adults know how to get along. I will be respectful,
courteous, considerate, and thoughtful even when they are not.
18.) I will keep confidences; I will not expose a weakness or make fun of it. I will
practice being a “safe person” for my relationships.
19.) I want to be the person that leaves you better because of your interaction with
me. I do not want to be the person you have to “heal” from.
20.) Lastly, (and if I only do this one), I will have accomplished all the above.
“I will resist and manage my own selfishness!”

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes
to live.” ― Oscar Wilde

Relationships and Gender Differences: Focusing on Men.

It is important that we, people in relationships, learn about gender differences so that we have a basic foundational understanding of the hardwiring of different genders. Accept that these are God-given differences and He likes the differences, and does not appreciate our demeaning, demoralizing, or a general judgment as to whether or not a person should or should not be that way. This is not to say that we are to indulge in our gender, but the more we know about gender the more curious, fascinated, and endearing gender can and should be. This is like different breeds of animals, you wouldn’t expect a goldfish to use a litter box, or a dog to do the dishes! I don’t pet the cat backwards, but the dog loves it. This means I will not judge the differences men and women have when it comes to sexuality, informational processing, internal motivation, etc.

It is interesting how men and women feel loved in such different ways. What might come naturally to me as a woman, doesn’t necessarily communicate love to a man. 

1. Men give provision, women give love.
What does provision mean? Providing an atmosphere where she can feel safe in order to
thrive and be all that God has created her to be, i.e.’ “her own best version”. The primary
way a man provides is financially, however, in today’s world many women make more
money than their partners.
-- It’s not the amount it’s who bears the burden.
-- Women love to help, so in a women’s world,” helping” financially is very
different than “providing” for a man.
-- Providing an atmosphere that is not emotionally combative
-- Providing an atmosphere where she is able to love, nurture and support the
people most important to her, without it being be-littled or minimized in
-- Providing a home where things “work” so that she “care” for those she loves
-- Providing an atmosphere that honors her “work space”.

2. He isn’t “derailed” by my feelings and/or moods.

What does this mean? Women have feelings and thoughts “all the time” that they are
attempting to manage. Something is always “popping up” either from within or from an
external trigger. It is very difficult for us to “just let it go”, difficult to determine level of
importance. This is what men can often help us with, if we are taken seriously and it is
done in love. They are hard-wired to be affected by their world. This is one of the things
that men love about women is that they are “reactionary” beings. One of the most loving
things a man can do for the women he loves is to “stay the course”. It doesn’t mean you
are unemotional. It means that you enjoy having a women and not wanting her to be a
man unless you are having sex with her or she is affected by your plight. This helps
women “right” themselves. A man can be a stabilizing reference point. This is similar to
what God provides as our leader. He never changes, he is always the same. It does not
mean he is not affected by us or is unemotional.

3. He is a grown-up about sex, and how he acts sexually.
What does this mean? He doesn’t act like boy when he is making sexual advances.
Doesn’t do the “grabbie” thing, but sometimes asks permission to touch his
wife/girlfriend understanding that he is “breaking into her world” and she may not enjoy
or appreciate the distraction the same way he does, (i.e. pets, and frosting) very
understandable; but not always pleasurable. He doesn’t pout when she doesn’t want to be
sexual. Women have all kinds of feelings about their bodies, as well as the fact that there
is always something going with their bodies. Our bodies are very complicated.

4. He does things for me, simply to make my life easier and better, he wants to relieve my stress.
Direct benefit when a man will do this for the women he loves. She will be far more
enjoyable to him. Men know how stressful it can be for them when the women they love
is “stressed out”. Important point here is to learn what “stresses her out” and relieve it
the way she wants, not what makes sense to you.

5. He buys me things knowing the biggest part of the what he provides or buys for me is bragging about it.
For a woman, this shows the world she is loved, wanted, and valued by someone. That I
am important and special to someone. Think of fathers providing for their children, how
the Lord provides for us. He made the planet simply for Adam and Eve. It does not take
the place of relationship, and is doesn’t mean that women are materialistic per se.

6. He doesn’t grow tired of reassuring me that he love me and the things/we are OK; even though he’s already told me an hour ago and to him nothing has changed, and all he has been doing all day is working to provide and create a  better life for me!!

Biggest part of our hardwiring is the need for security and the need to continually
establish it. This is what we do for children, family, pets, etc. Secondly we are
hardwired to pick up on all kinds of subtle cues, so you may think nothing changed but
we may have sensed or “picked up” on something. This is similar to the dynamic that we
talked about in #2.

7. He has patience with me when I struggle with my appearance and how I feel about myself.
So he continually reassures me even if I seem neurotic about it. He understands and
accepts that there is tremendous pressure on me to look a certain way, especially in the
world of women. He is careful what he looks at, how long he lingers, and how obvious
he is.

8. He feels protective and possessive of me, because I belong to him.
In today’s culture we are taught that these qualities are bad. If we look at how the Lord
loves us, we see why this is a part of loving someone. When done appropriately it can be
experienced as very romantic and securing. You don’t want her to act independently of
you because she is securing her own world. Of course we do, and of course we can. But
the healthy romantic/sexual dynamic between a man and a woman that love one another
is established in this phenomenon. Sadly, we do not allow this in out culture, some
because it has been abused in past by demeaning women, or done out of a man’s control
and insecurity. This dynamic needs to come from a place of intense value. And it goes
both ways (a man toward a women and a women toward a man), it just isn’t expressed
the all the same ways. Being protective means that I will do anything for the object of
my love to not be hurt or harmed, and if they are there may be some consequences.
Women need the strength of a man, and a man needs the strength woman can provide.
The reality is, no matter how strong I am, no matter how much self-defense I learn, I am
for the most part no match for a man. Men are intended to protect women, children, and
domesticated pets. This has been stolen from them and needs to be given back to them.
It is one of the most basic, fundamental ways and man loves, period. He takes care of his
own! He should be allowed and encouraged to do it.

Relationships and Expectations

You have probably heard "no expectations, no disappointments”. I would say, “no appropriate expectations, no intimacy”. A relationship without appropriate expectations is like a house without walls. If there are no walls, there is nothing to hold up the roof. Therefore there is no real true shelter.

Relationships that desire deep intimacy, the kind where you really know me (the real me, and I really know you, the real you) require structure, dependability, effort, commitment, humility, good inter/interpersonal skills, and maturity.

The things that you should expect from a very intimate relationship, such
as (best friends, lovers, partners, spouses, etc.) are the following:

1. The ability to keep discussions and emotions in confidence.

2. The commitment to not judge the person, but to trust a process with God. If you can’t do this, you cannot have intimacy because you are probably not with a safe
person. Important: “Safe does not mean perfect, it means trustworthy”. If you can’t rust that the person is working hard on his or her own life and program, then you will have great difficulty with peer intimacy. You will either be put into a parental role, or one of a police
officer, or therapist. It doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally operate in these roles for...

Except people we love, but if that is the role you are consistently in, you
cannot then have intimacy, there is no room for you in the relationship. You have to be able to trust God for their process whether you see it or not. If you think it’s not happening, and you choose to stay, then you still need to trust God and not yourself, to make their life work
(see show’s on codependency). Martin Luther said to "Pray—and let God worry”

3. Decency and politeness, which indicates respect (this is a must!)

4. Expectations on yourself: Doing your side of the relationship. Growing, maturing, using your “voice” to ask for what you need, express your feeling appropriately, not expect the other to read your mind, or pick up on your subtle cues. Are you holding the other to the same standards you have for yourself? Is that a source of pride?

5. Expect to have hard times, confusing times, times of doubt, but that you are not depending on this person for your peace, your ultimate security, or for them to be a “god”. Expect them to be  mortal.

6. Expect attempts at honesty, Are you completely honest with yourself and God, with others? This does not mean we should accept blatant, malicious deception.

7. Expect to help the other be the best they can be. This is done through love and acceptance. Why do you think people come to see a therapist? I give them time, I have
patience, I have appropriate expectations.

8. Expect to be challenged and uncomfortable as you examine yourself, your motivations, your control issues, your woundedness. Expect to have to apologize a lot.

9. Expect to feel like things are one-sided and unfair.
10. Expect to pray a lot.
11. Expect to ask for and give mercy a grace in abundance.
12. Expect to have empathy and compassion for even the smallest things, things that don’t make sense to you.
13. Expect to expand your ability to accept and enter in to another’s reality that may not make sense to you or you may not always approve of.
14. Expect to find out how much you don’t know, and how much you are not God. (And be thankful for that)
15. Expect to have fun, grow, and to be loved.

AND Expect to help teach the other how to do these things.


Why God wants us in relationships.

faith christiansen smeets mark of the desert


Here are a few notes to help us through understanding why it is so vital to be in healthy relationship with God our Father, but also one another. Please use these verses to help grow and inspire your relationships. 

So Why does God want us in relationships? 

Because if we are not in relationships, we will grow wild. -Ephesians 4:16

Because "iron sharpens iron." -Proverbs 27:17

Because we need to give and receive encouragement. -Proverbs 17:17, Ecclesiastes 4:10

Because humans need comfort. -2 Corinthians 1:3-7, Lamentations 1

Because we need meaning and purpose. -Exodus 9:16, 2 Corinthians 5:5

Because there is strength in numbers. -Ecclesiastes 4:11-12

Because we need connection to guard against loneliness. -Genesis 2:18, 1 John 1:3

Because we need support. -Exodus 17:8-13, Matthew 26:36-41

Because relationships serve as a reflection of ourselves. -John 8:32

Because it is healing. -James 5:16

We hope you will reflect on these verses and be encouraged to build relationships with others that reflect who God is and who God truly wants you to be. Your own best version can be found in healthy, Godly relationships. 

Have a wonderful week. 



Actually Helping the One You Love: Book List


Healthy apologies continue to instill trust in those we wish to have relationship with, it not only heals the hurt we are apologizing for, it creates more trust and resiliency within the relationship. It creates more positive history in the relationship, and deepens authenticity and feelings of safety and acceptance. As a result there is a relaxing within the relationship as acceptance increases, thus leading to a decrease in defensiveness, hiding, fear, and offense. The heart of apologizing is admission of wrong doing and progressing past it. 

While there is not the regular use of "apology" in the Bible, it does say much about healing, having unity of mind, restoration, and admission of sin: which are true forms of "apologizing". 

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ESV)

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:17-21, ESV)

More about forgiveness is noted than apologies. Maybe it's because forgiving is a part of understanding how to apologize. 

Our show on apologizing is on the site and so are many other shows that help us develop a healthy abundant life. 

Let us know your thoughts! Leave comments below. 

Trust: Constructs

The Three Constructs of Trust - Definition

According to Dr. Duane C. Tway, Jr. in his 1993 dissertation, A Construct of Trust: Tway defines trust as, "the state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something"; He developed a model of trust that includes three components. He calls trust a construct because it is constructed of these three components:

"the capacity for trusting, the perception of competence, and the perception of intentions."

Thinking about trust as made up of the interaction and existence of these three components makes trust easier to understand.

1. The capacity for trusting means that your total life experiences have developed your current capacity and willingness to risk trusting others.

2. The perception of competence is made up of your perception of your ability and the ability of others with whom you work to perform competently at whatever is needed in your current situation.

3. The perception of intentions, as defined by Tway, is your perception that the actions, words, direction, mission, or decisions are motivated by mutually-serving rather than self-serving motives.

One of the most valuable things I teach my patients is the issue of trust. I teach them how to trust, who to trust, when to trust, how much to trust, how to keep on trusting, as well as being a trustworthy person.

We all know how it feels when trust is broken, and/ or if we have broken another’s trust, so more than anything I want to my patients to have the opportunity once again to be a trusting person as well as to trust others once more. 

Yet, what happens when we don’t trust, when we won’t take the risk and trust God or another person?

Without trust one cannot truly receive/feel love or authentically give love. Why? Because we'll withhold, second guess, be paranoid, suspicious all as a way to protect oneself, not realizing this only sabotages the effects of healthy trust. When one is not able to healthfully trust, they cannot truly feel hopeful, or confident. They will constantly second guess, and doubt. It will inhibit relationships, a sense of belonging, resulting in the feeling that one is “not truly wanted” or liked. They will struggle with fulfillment, connectedness, and feeling content. When one struggles with trust, life becomes more nondimensional. Therefore, the person lives to avoid pain, always feeling as if they are surviving, resulting in pleasure seeking behavior. This is surviving not thriving.

Hear more on our show this Sunday airing at 12pm MST on FaithTalk 1360 KPXQ in Metro Phoenix or online. 

Worry and Peace Cannot CoExist.

Neuroscientists have discovered an interesting phenomenon about the human brain; it is like an on and off switch ("Words can change your brain” Andrew Newberg M.D.Mark Robert Waldman Page 18), it cannot focus on both a positive and negative feeling at the same time. This was huge discovery, as a result they also discovered that the brain will always pick the negative before the positive as an unconscious survival mechanism. Our brains are alway trying to help us avoid pain, as a result it will focus on the problem rather than on the solution as a way to change it and protect against the pain of the problem. However, it truly works in reverse.

We all know the famous verse in Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinketh within so he is." This quite simply means the more I worry about things, people and situations the more anxious I become, and the more my mind finds issues to worry about. Instead of focusing on the “What is”, it now begins to focus on the “What if”.  

What does this mean? Let's first go to the book of Matthew. 

Matthew 6:25-34, in relation to worry and anxiety:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The “What is” in this passage is all that God does and will do, the “What if” becomes the striving and worrying about tomorrow. 

Here is that same passage from the MSG Bible: 

Matthew 6:25-34 (MSG)

25-26  “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29  “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33  “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34  “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Let us focus on what is...because we desire the peace that passes all understanding and not the worry that keeps us from what God has for us and has taken care of on the cross. 

Blessings! And hear the full show "I Am With You Always" on our Radio Page. 


A Value System All Your Own.

On Sunday at noon MST, on FaithTalk KPXQ 1360, Conversations with Cinthia we will be discussing something crucial to our health and relationships. We want to talk about the importance and absolute necessity of a personal value system. 

Let's start with a definition of "personal value system". 

By Z. Hereford

A personal value system is a set of principles or ideals that drive and/or guide your behavior.

Your personal value system gives you structure and purpose by helping you determine what is meaningful and important to you.

It helps you express who you are and what you stand for...

If you are unaware of, or become disconnected with your values, you end up making choices out of impulse or instant gratification rather than on solid reasoning and responsible decision-making.

Your values define your character . They impact every aspect of your life including:

  • personal and work behaviors

  • your interactions with family, friends and co-workers

  • your decision-making processes

  • the direction you take in life

This is why it is so important to know what you value, why you value it and what precedence it takes in your life.

And this is what the Bible has to say about that, about what you "value": 

Matthew 6:21 (MSG) 19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

What you treasure, you value, this will dictate your life. This will dictate your behavior, where you spend your time, your money, your emotions, your physical strength, your cognitive attention, this is what you will think on.

In other words, most importantly and truly the bottom line, what you value, what is important to you, will dictate your behavior! You are your behavior. 

And what does God value most? Humans, this means YOU!  We see this because his behavior matches what He values, his commitment, his sacrifice, his words match his actions! This is how we believe his ethics, His ethics reflect and confirm what He values, and His words match His actions...most poignantly His death and resurrection. This was his value system most definitely on display. 

P.S. Another therapeutic exercise:  Acting “As If” . . .1) Act as valuable as you are. 2) Act “as if” you are valuable. 3) Act “as if” you are greatly loved


Lent is for all of us.

We wanted to gather some information about Lent to enlighten those on the topic who might be unfamiliar with the true meaning of the term and encourage Christians to take part in the season before Easter Sunday that is so vital to our faith because of the crucifixion and resurrection. 

Please below and links are included: 


In many liturgical Christian denominations, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday form the Easter Triduum. Lent is a season of grief that necessarily ends with a great celebration of Easter. Thus, it is known in Eastern Orthodox circles as the season of "Bright Sadness."

  • What is Lent? By Andy Rau Senior manager of content for Bible Gateway.
    • How does one observe Lent? It differs from person to person and church to church, but some of the things Christians opt to do to observe Lent include:

    • On the first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday), some Christians mark their foreheads with ash as a symbol of sorrow and mourning over their sin. (See Job 42 for an example of ash used as a symbol of repentance.)
    • Special worship services, or additions to regular worship services, that focus in various ways on man’s need for repentance. This often takes the form of extra Scripture readings and prayer.
    • Some Christians choose to give up a habit or behavior during Lent as an exercise in prayerful self-denial. This might range from something as simple as not drinking soda during Lent to a full-blown program of fasting.
    • Some Christians commit to a special devotional activity during Lent—for example, daily Scripture reading, regular prayer for a specific person or topic throughout Lent, or volunteer work in their community.
  • What is Lent? By Mary Fairchild
    • The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.

      Likewise, the word "Easter" does not appear in the Bible and no early church celebrations of Christ's resurrection are mentioned in Scripture. Easter, like Christmas, is a tradition that developed later in church history.

      The account of Jesus' death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection, or raising from the dead, can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.

  • Redeeming Lent for Christians

  • "That is something all people, even followers of Jesus, are prone to forget. It is what led Martin Luther to say that religion is the default mode of the human heart. He knew that we are constantly tempted to rely on what we do for God, instead of relying what he has done for us in Christ.  

This is why the apostle Paul said, “These [traditions] have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:23).

Without focusing on the grace of God, all fasting—including Lenten fasting—is just self-made religious tradition aimed at making us feel righteous because of something we do. But it doesn't have to be that way. Believers who observe Lent should remember that their fasting does not make them more righteous than those who do not observe Lent.  Similarly, believers who refrain from Lent ought to realize that not everyone who observes Lent does so believing that their efforts make them righteous in the eyes of God.

So this Lenten season, whether you eat or fast, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God."

And no matter what, we agree with the author Doug Ponder, who wrote above..."do it all to the glory of God" 

We hope you were able to learn some about Lent and be encouraged to take part and continue to repent and grow year round. 

Resting in the Music.

He withdrew . . . to a solitary place (Matthew 14:13)

There is no music during a musical rest, but the rest is part of the making of the music. In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests. During those rests, we foolishly believe we have come to the end of the song. God sends us times of forced leisure by allowing sickness, disappointed plans, and frustrated efforts. He brings a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent. We grieve that our part is missing in the music that continually rises to the ear of our Creator. Yet how does a musician read the rest? He counts the break with unwavering precision and plays his next note with confidence, as if no pause were ever there.

***God does not write the music of our lives without a plan. Our part is to learn the tune and not be discouraged during the rests.*** They are not to be slurred over or omitted, nor used to destroy the melody or to change the key. If we will only look up, God Himself will count the time for us. With our eyes on Him, our next note will be full and clear. ****If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, “There is no music in a rest." Let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson! 

-John Ruskin

    Called aside—
From the glad working of your busy life,
From the world’s ceaseless stir of care and strife,
Into the shade and stillness by your Heavenly Guide
For a brief time you have been called aside.

    Called aside—
Called aside— Perhaps into a desert garden dim;
And yet not alone, when you have been with Him,
And heard His voice in sweetest accents say:
“Child, will you not with Me this still hour stay?”

    Called aside—
Called aside— In hidden paths with Christ your Lord to tread,
Deeper to drink at the sweet Fountainhead,
Closer in fellowship with Him to roam,
Nearer, perhaps, to feel your Heavenly Home.

    Called aside—
Called aside— Oh, knowledge deeper grows with Him alone;
In secret oft His deeper love is shown,
And learned in many an hour of dark distress
Some rare, sweet lesson of His tenderness.

    Called aside—
Called aside— We thank You for the stillness and the shade;
We thank You for the hidden paths Your love has made,
And, so that we have wept and watched with Thee,
We thank You for our dark Gethsemane.

    Called aside—
Called aside— O restful thought—He doeth all things well;
O blessed sense, with Christ alone to dwell;
So in the shadow of Your cross to hide,
We thank You, Lord, to have been called aside.

We are His seeds.

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33 NIV, NLT)

Let's use the life of a seed as an analogy for our own lives. Like a seed, there’s an intent/a purpose in us, too, of an original creation waiting to come out. What we shouldn’t do and cannot do is protect the seed. We should not nurture it into staying exactly as it is, or even ease its growth unnecessarily. Nor should we abandon the seed or starve it. It might be buried deeply, waiting out its natural cycle before it germinates, but it still needs water and nourishment.

Instead, let the seed burst forth with new life and do what it was created to do. The important thing to remember, though, is that the seed must die, or change, before it can live; it must break out of the outward shell that is holding it captive. Compare the metaphors of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and a tadpole into a frog. 

Shedding: Change, Change, Change. Growth, growth, growth.

Let’s take a closer look at change. Changes come in three types. And each type treats you differently. Here they are:

1. A change you initiate: this may include an intentional job change, a marriage (or possibly divorce), an addition to the family, a move, a pursuit of higher education.

2. A change that’s predictable, but unavoidable: aging (including puberty), a progression through a job or education, new neighbors.

3. A change that’s unforeseen and out of our hands: an illness, a natural disaster, job loss, winning the lottery.

God has a greater good that will result from great loss (Romans 8:28) and change... if we allow for the grief and loss process, even if we don’t know when the greater good may appear. In truth, sometimes we need these things removed, and we need to be sequestered by God to allow the maturing process to take place so that we can grow and develop uninterrupted in understanding the workings of the Holy Spirit. We will then eventually take our places as the spiritually mature people God has intended us to be. Closely tied to this is the death of a good thing, and possibly a thing that shouldn’t have died. Be that as it may, it has died for one reason or another. God can still do an even better thing in our lives. We’ll see this a bit later with Job’s story: he had no clue whether he would even survive his ordeal, let alone that it could be used to bring him more good in his life than he’d ever had before.

Each change we face in our lives can be described as positive or negative, predictable or not, and avoidable or not; but still it’s a death—something dies with every change. What’s every loss has a gain every gain has a loss. The loss of a seed with a birth of a tree.

God has designed it this way. Glory be to God for his perfect design. 


Making Friends With the Word "No"

"Wielded wisely, No is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free." By Judith Sills Ph.D., published on November 5, 2013 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Here are notes from the Conversations with Cinthia show that airs on every Sunday at 4PM on Faith Talk1360 KPXQ

There comes a moment when you say "Don't call me," and you finally mean it; when you return the charming gift because you forced yourself to acknowledge its invisible strings; when you turn down the friend's request for a helping hand, the colleague's plea for immediate advice, even the teenage son's expectation that dinner will appear before him—all because you have goals of your own from which you refuse to be deflected. Whether trivial or tormenting, each of these moments is an exercise in that poorly understood power, namely, the power of "No".

There's a lot of talk, and a lot to be said, for the power of Yes - It supports risk-taking, courage, and an open-hearted approach to life whose grace cannot be minimized. But No—a metal grate that slams shut the window between one's self and the influence of others—is rarely celebrated. It's a hidden power because it is both easily misunderstood and difficult to engage.

-No is easily confused with negativity.-

It's likely that we are unaware of the surge of strength we draw from No - because, in part, it is easily confused with negativity. Either can involve a turning away, a shake of the head, or a firm refusal. But they are distinctly different psychological states.

-What is negativity?-

Negativity is a chronic attitude, a pair of emotional glasses through which some people get a cloudy view of the world. Negativity expresses itself in a whining perfectionism, a petulant discontent, or risk-averse naysaying. It's an energy sapper. Negative people may douse the enthusiasm of others, but rarely inspire them to action. Negativity certainly ensures that you will not be pleased. You will also not be powerful.

Where negativity is an ongoing attitude, NO is a moment of clear choice. It announces, however indirectly, something affirmative about you. "I will not sign"—because that is not my truth. "I will not join your committee, help with your kids, review your project"—because I am committed to some important project of my own. "Count me out"—because I'm not comfortable, not in agreement, not on the bandwagon. "No, thank you"—because you might feel hurt if I turn down your invitation, but my needs take priority.

And sometimes your needs are serving the greater good, more than you know. It is not always selfish, but protective and healthy. 

Listen to "Conversations with Cinthia" which airs every Sunday on FaithTalk1360 KPXQ or check back on the site on our Radio Page for updated shows. 


Friendship: Job and Suffering.

Job Painting


Job 2:11-13 The Message (MSG)

Job's Three Friends

"Three of Job's friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him.

When they first caught sight of him, they couldn't believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground.

Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering."

Note: they could only do it for 7 days. When humans do not understand they generally become judgmental and controlling. If they don't have answers the start filling in the blanks themselves. They begin problem-solving because they feel helpless and the pain this person is feeling is now affecting them. It is now affecting my serenity my peace and I want it to stop. Many times you will see other’s defense mechanisms come into ply over your pain. I.e. avoidance, control, aggression, manipulation, etc. which we see in Job's wife. The trial in another person's life is not only teaching, molding, and shaping them; but it is also showing me the other side of suffering this is God's side. He hears our cries and stays with us, he works with their own free will but doesn't control us. He doesn't leave us in the midst of our pain, and doesn't steal our pain from us. He allows for the mystery of suffering to do it’s work and doesn’t get mad, judge, or abandon us in the process. Even if we are not doing it well.

There are two sides of healthy development in relationship:

1. Dealing with my process of trial, hardship, suffering and success.

2. Dealing with another’s success, or hardship, suffering, pain.

Which side are you on today? Maybe both. With whom and how are you doing in becoming more Christlike? Are you using defense mechanisms and being codependent, or Christlike?

Job 4:1 we see Job’s friend Eliphaz not being able to hold onto grace. He couldn’t be present with Job’s suffering, because He couldn’t understand it, it wasn’t “his” way. He had to “do” something. So he became a human with human ideas to do something (Like he was in Chapter 2 of Job). His defense mechanism was “intellectualizing. In contrast, we have Job’s friend Bildad the Shuhite in Chapter 8:1 who had to find something to blame: Job’s children must have been sinning. He then lectured Job with a lot of wisdom, that is cognitively sound, and can be used, but was misplaced in Job’s case. Zophar on the other hand, just told Job to repent and then everything would be fine. His tendency was to “minimize” what Job was going through. Just hurry and repent and it will all be ok. Job finally says:

“Can’t you guys just give me a break?”

“I’m dying here!”

Generally, we do not want advice, or lectures, or idea’s. We really want direct/immediate relief from the pain we are in. We can’t fix it, but we can give some relief. You can be a human “pain killer’ for a moment, Sympathy (not pity) goes a long way. Most of us just want someone to care about what we are going through, not judge our process and to real ize we are probably doing the best we can. If we could do better, wouldn’t we?

Let’s be the friend that Job really needed. The ones who enter into his pain, protest and pray with him.

Dilemma of Change: An Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from the notes on Change: 

Because change is inevitable, we oftentimes work harder at resisting and fighting the inevitable, rather than growing through it and becoming stronger people, we use all of our strength to fight and resist. The strongest trees don’t resist growing, but dig their roots deeper to handle the strain of the storm. All their strength is used to drive their roots deeper and wider. This way the tree is able to so stay the vertical growth course by their roots, versus using all their strength to fight the buffeting of the storm. The tree cannot change the storm.

When we try to control/mitigate the storms of life, we then allow the pain that stress and loss brings to activate our defense mechanisms. These usually manifest as avoidance, resistance, control, aggression, disassociation, intellectualization, numbing, and/or manipulation. These defense mechanisms were created by us, not God, to "protect" ourselves. Although these defenses may have helped us survive our life (those stressors and changes), they did not help us to thrive. Conversely, they become more counterproductive and outdated. This simply means that the defense mechanism, which was once necessary for survival; has now become ineffective and inappropriate. Consequently, that defense (that at one time protected me from toxic stress/pain/loss) ends up creating more stress while increasing loss. Generally, because the defense mechanisms begin to create the very problems we were defending against, i.e. you married your mother/father/sister/brother/first spouse, etc.

This is why I began to say: “Every loss has a gain, and every gain has a loss”. If you look at the above changes, what losses may they incur? What possible gains may these changes produced, ie. the addition of a new baby? Wow, what a very special and wonderful gain, but, they is now the loss of time, freedom, and the attachment to a person that has the potential to bring great joy as well as great pain.

What about the death of a person that struggled with a terrible illness, whether it be mental or physical? The loss of a job? The loss of a relationship (even if I ended it)? 


For the conclusion and solutions to dealing with change, please tune Sundays to Conversations with Cinthia on FaithTalk KPXQ1360 at 4PM MST. 

Dream it and Rise Up.

I was inspired when I read Mathew 1:20-23

"While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel Hebrew for “God is with us”.

The passage inspired me to realize that God was saying to me--"I know you can't figure all this out, ask me, I'm giving you dreams, ask for dreams, be open to dreams, take seriously the dreams in your heart--knowing Immanuel now lives in you/me, in our/my heart(s): 

This new year is about rising again, overcoming, all those battle weary words and concepts. This is change, this is about growth, stretching, and living. Dying to be reborn and in the process that occurs is the well-worn path walked by many of those willing to die to the things that were killing them and live the life God has destined (called) for them. Living the DREAM. I'm encouraging you to participate, to be to willing to go through this process--versus, this process happening to you, because either way, the process of dying to live will occur. It is written into God's creation it is the underlying universal plan. 

"God is with us, God is with you" Matthew 1:20-23

12 Days to a "Better Christmas" (Round 2)

As Christmas draws a bit closer and we start to anticipate the joy or for some the dread for gathering, let's focus on how we can make it our best Christmas yet by practicing the guidelines the Bible has laid out for us to go forth in peace and goodwill. Here are a few more topics we have covered on social media this week: 

Day 5 Self Control

Here is an excellent article on the topic from "Desiring God" by David Mathis who writes, "In Jesus, we have a source for true self-control far beyond that of our feeble selves." Our self control can produce an environment of safety, of trust, and of faith amongst our friends and family. Let's look to Jesus to help create that loving environment. How lovely would Christmas be if everyone knew they could trust you for a good time. 

Here are two more notable quotes from the article: 

“True self-control is not about bringing our selves under our own control, but under the power of Christ.”

“Christians can be the people on the planet most hopeful about growing in self-control.”

Day 10 Patience: 

A true story on patience...1 Samuel 13:8-14. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

Do not fret. Have patience. Do not act out of fear or anger or your own selfish anxiety. Even if it is over a parking spot at the local mall...patience is a virtue and the key to a lovely Holiday. It will all work according to the Lord's will. 

Day 4 Joy

Sometimes it really is this simple: 

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Happy Holidays and let's get ready for the best Christmas yet.