Apologies...

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: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent

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. 

12 Days to a "Better Christmas" (Round 1)

The holidays can be a complicated and complex time for many. It is full of emotions, stress, joy, and even failure to connect or act out of kindness. We want to encourage all to embrace a "Better Christmas" this year by practicing 12 Days of Christ like behavior that will radically change how you treat others and how you treat yourself. Whether we are in a parking lot frustrated with another driver or dealing with a difficult family dynamic in desperate need of boundaries...lets start here...well, we started on Tuesday with Surrendering. 

Day 1  Surrender

Let's start here. Surrendering all to Jesus. It is His, all of it...and He gladly carries it for us. We need no longer to fret or worry about tomorrow. Give it up and He will renew you. Here is a famous hymn written in 1896 to remind us that in His presence we will daily live. What a relief. What a joy. What a gift...and it is not even Christmas yet. 

Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896

  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.
    • Refrain:
      I surrender all,
      I surrender all;
      All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
      I surrender all.
  2. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Humbly at His feet I bow;
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  3. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine.
  4. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power,
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  5. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Now I feel the sacred flame;
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

Day 2 Gentleness

"To keep your attitudes and actions meek and gentle, you will need to swim upstream against the culture’s current of rudeness and roughness." Here is a great article on the topic. 

Go against the grain and watch your environment shift. Showing gentleness is not a weakness but a sign of great strength. Gain inner strength this season by showing gentleness instead of dismissive brutality. Your fellow man will not just appreciate it, but will most likely join you in your gentle spot. 

Day 3 Faithfulness

This is both an attitude & action shown toward God and toward others. When you are loyal and steadfast, your rewards are many. Gaining trust and showing love through faithfulness allows beautiful relationships to stay nourished and grow. What a lovely way to spend a "better Christmas" than knowing the gift of friendship will blossom in the new year to come because of faithfulness. 

Here is an in depth study on faithfulness

Til the next round! Keep practicing these traits for a "Better Christmas". 

 

 

Encouragement and Reflection

While we are busy with the holiday season sometimes it seems an impossible to time to stop and breathe and maybe, even perhaps realize how much we need the love and encouragement of Christ to keep moving forward. Yet as the year is coming to a close, this truly is the season to stop and soak up encouragement as we head full speed into the new year. We thought we would share some scripture here to encourage and cause reflection. We also look forward to this new year, your new year. 

Romans 8:1-2 NIV

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a]free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:35-39 (MSG)

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Galations 2:20 (NIV)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galations 2:19-21 (MSG)

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.”

Isaiah 44:21-23 (MSG)

“Remember these things, O Jacob.
    Take it seriously, Israel, that you’re my servant.
I made you, shaped you: You’re my servant.
    O Israel, I’ll never forget you.
I’ve wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings.
    There’s nothing left of your sins.
Come back to me, come back.
    I’ve redeemed you.”

23 High heavens, sing!
    God has done it.
Deep earth, shout!
    And you mountains, sing!
    A forest choir of oaks and pines and cedars!
God has redeemed Jacob.
    God’s glory is on display in Israel.

Lamentations 3:58 (NIV)

You, Lord, took up my case;
    you redeemed my life.

Matthew 9:36 (NIV) 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Emotions

We are in that season of the year where most Americans are wrapped up in emotions or strong feelings and yet so many of those same Americans are trying to ignore or even suppress these emotions. We are here to remind you that emotions and feelings are indicators that should not be ignored. Even our Creator had many of our same emotions and expressed them audibly and visually for others to witness (See Bible Versus Below.) All sorts of emotions (feelings) come to the surface during stressful and even joyous occasions depending on family life, financial situation, past relationships, or sordid decisions in past holiday seasons. We want to make sure you are taking time to consider what they mean and how you should manage them instead of ignoring, suppressing, or praying they just simply go away. We need emotions and are created to have them...

Like the dashboard on a car, our emotions are indicators, which tell us something about how we are operating and what we might need. How fast or how slow we are going in the wrong or right direction or perhaps there are holes in our tires and they need to replaced or patched. Our brain and our body has a dashboard with dials and gadgets and lights and needles to let us know what is going on internally. We must pay attention to our dashboard.

Indicators or feelings are not good or bad, but are pleasant and unpleasant. Again, we need to pay attention and do our best to understand why and how these emotions arise and how best to handle them when they do in order to have our engine running the best it can run. Being your own best version is managing your emotions and being clued in to when, why and how they are happening. We have the dashboard and we just need to watch the indicators. 

Please listen to the full show online when it is convenient for you! (Though we do recommend sooner rather than later.)

Lean into your emotions: Jesus did and so can you. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 15:34 The Message (MSG)

 33-34At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

John 11:35 The Message (MSG)

34-35"Master, come and see," they said. Now Jesus wept.

Luke 22:44 The Message (MSG)

41-44He pulled away from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?" At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

Luke 24:25 The Message (MSG)

25-27Then he said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him

Mark 9:19 The Message (MSG)

 19-20Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here." They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. 

Mark 7:18

The Message (MSG)

 18-19Jesus said, "Are you being willfully stupid? Don't you see that what you swallow can't contaminate you? It doesn't enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed." (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)

More on Thankfulness: Keep going.

As we venture deep into the month of November, which so many equate with a time for thankfulness and reflection, it is time to also be aware that it is not just cultural but Biblical. Why would God instruct us to be grateful?

Why would we not be grateful? This is a discipline, a discipline of our mind, our will, and our nature. We are hard wired by sin to complain, lament, bemoan, commiserate; regarding any circumstance we are experiencing. Even if we win the lottery we’ll complain about taxes and how many “new” friends we have.

The lead of Jesus was to thank his father daily, eventually even thankful for the “cup” that would not pass from his life. Imagine what our lives would be like (if they even were to exist) if we had a complaining Christ, a bitter Jesus? Let’s make this Thanksgiving a hallmark event in our life, a commitment to live differently, love differently, and think differently.

15. Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

16. Romans 1:21

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

6. Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Keep going...God has commanded us to do so. 

 

Thankfulness: Let's start now.

We know and understand biblically how vital a spirit of gratefulness is...and because God is so good, we now know from science that following God's commands to be grateful improves our lives ten fold. Here is an excerpt about Professor Robert Emmons of UC Davis: 

"Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.

Emmons’ findings, along with those from other researchers such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

 Take better care of themselves physically and mentally

 Engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance

 Get more regular exercise

 Eat a healthier diet

 Have improved mental alertness

 Schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor

 Cope better with stress and daily challenges

 Feel happier and more optimistic

 Avoid problematic physical symptoms

 Have stronger immune systems

 Maintain a brighter view of the future

With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it? To get started giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life."

Sources: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/giving-thanks#54

Here are some verses to study as you contemplate your days and weeks ahead and how to start the pattern of true gratefulness: 

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Romans 1:21

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile

in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

We look forward to hearing about how a spirit of gratefulness has improved your health, relationships, and most importantly...your relationship with Christ. 

Listen on Sunday at 4PM MST @Faithtalk1360 as we discuss this topic and more. 

Generosity: Are you generous?

Let's make generosity simple, because it truly is...give what you have. If you have money-give it. If you have time-give it. If you can give approval, spread it around. If you can offer acceptance-offer it. If you can smile, you should. Say Thank you. Have patience. Be generous with your compliments. Its nothing more than giving...

The most powerful forms of generosity are usually practiced in our closest, most intimate relationships. It is here where we love generously, get over transgressions quickly, provide patience, accept someone where they are, pray for them instead of complain about them...we find mercy and compassion for their condition whatever it may be and we do it freely and willingly. While we are doing all things generously in our intimate relationships, we must remember to not use generosity as a tool of control, entitlement or reciprocation. Generosity is a Godly act and is act of love. Love them as God loves: without strings attached. Without expecting anything in return. 

Additionally, for those whom you are most generous and most concerned about in your "generosity circle", trust God is doing good work in them. Trust that God is for more concerned, more aware, and more committed to their behavior than you could ever be-be sure to address the plank in your own eye before addressing the splinter in theirs. Generosity is not about control or behavior modification, it is freely given out of love and service. 

We are discussing generosity in depth these next two weeks on Conversations with Cinthia. The first show in this series is airing this Sunday at 4PM MST on Faith Talk 1360. 

 

Part 2: Love A Man Well (Notes)

We wanted to share one portion from the copious notes and sessions Cinthia has shared on loving a man and the gender differences she sees in her practice. Here are some excerpts from her notes and we hope they will help you process why it is important from a woman to control how you communicate your emotions in your relationship with a man. Please listen to the radio show on Sunday on Faithtalk1360 4PM MST for more, but this might help set the stage for one important aspect of the broadcast. 

Here are the notes: 

Communicating Emotions: One of the things that comes naturally to women is how they express their emotions. When they talk to their girlfriends, women just have feelings, they’re big and perhaps kind of a dramatic, and in a passionate manner. Woman can even be somewhat reactionary. This is how I (Cinthia) am when I am speaking: You can really see things on my face. It comes really naturally to me to be really animated. I use my hands, I get tearful, my voice rises. I use lots of analogies; I’m really, really verbal; I talk really quickly and that doesn’t always go over well with men. I have to do things in order to moderate and adjust this. So I need to speak slower; I use less words; I take some time and am careful about how animated I am, and moderate intensity. There are a lot of feelings and they are often. 

Cinthia account: 

It’s so funny to me when I’m teaching women about men and I say to

them, ‘Do you understand that the scariest thing to a man is a woman’s

feelings?’ They will go to war, they will go to Afghanistan but they

won’t take on their wife having a "bad" feeling. Because they just don’t

know where it’s going to go. They don’t know how to fix it. They don’t

know what’s happening. It starts to then be about them and they are

not a good provider, a good husband, a good lover, a good friend, a

good father or whatever it is. It is very scary. Men come into my office

and they are white-faced because they know they are getting

something. Inevitably, it makes no difference. It cracks me up. A

couple will come into my office, sit down, and I will say, ‘Ok, How are

things?’ The man inevitably, always looks at the woman and says, ‘I

think we’re OK?’ Or he responds, ‘Are we OK?’ The woman will say,

‘Yeah, we are, we had a few little issues.’ then she’ll follow up with, ‘You know what I’m

talking about honey.’ And he’ll always respond, ‘I’m not sure’. This is because

(Thank the Lord) men are really hard-wired to forget. They don’t truly do not

remember. They don’t track information the way women track. Whereas, I can bring

something up from two years ago as a reference point for me as to

why I feel the way I feel today. I can say it to my friends, I can say it to

clients, I can say it to my husband, you know ‘this is why I’m so-and-

so, because when we did this and this at this restaurant...’ He will look

at me and go ‘What are you talking about? What?’

 

What women need to understand about men, when woman do that to a man: express emotions without processing and expect them to remember it all...it goes nuclear. If women do not present their emotions well, men feel totally bombarded. They feel ambushed. They are broad-sided out of left-field and they automatically think they are now in the one-man-down position. They don’t remember and do not have that in their little weaponry like women do. If women are not careful, it’s like a loaded gun. When explaining to men the reason women do this is that it creates an emotional reference point for them. That’s all women are doing. Some women bring it up to be accusatory and keeping score but what really is happening to women emotionally is they are building this emotional grid for themselves, so they can say, "wow, it’s like the same thing, the first time you brought me flowers I’ll never forget how I felt." The guy will be respond, ‘Oh, really, when did I do that?’ They just don’t register the information in the same way. They can feel really, really ambushed when women start bringing stuff up from the past because it is an immediate trigger "Oh no, I thought that was resolved and now I have a big emotional issue I’ve got to deal with. I thought we’d put that to rest but now she’s bringing it up again, re-igniting it again," And what a woman is saying to the man is not necessarily re-hashing it. A woman is trying to give a man a frame of reference as to why that was important to her and why the issue that’s happening today is making it harder for her. Because she remembers what happened to her a year and a half ago when they had that experience.

So, if a woman can give him a little frame of reference and say this is why we are talking about this, "I’m not trying to ambush you" or be honest and say , ‘Yeah, I faked you out. I told you it was resolved and I’ve been carrying it for a year and a half." Yet that is just mean and harmful to your relationship. Men do not do well with this and it is detrimental. Deal with the issue as it rises. Therefore, men start to act very afraid, thinking that they were ok and then finding out that we’re not ok...its a precipice of the unknown. They feel like the rug is pulled out from under them and they can’t trust anymore. So, it’s really important that women address men and are upfront, "Yes, this is resolved." If a woman brings it up in the future, it’s only as an example for why I feel the way I feel. It isn’t because it’s unresolved. If it’s not resolved, a woman really needs to be honest and communicate to the the man that "We probably can’t talk about this anymore but we will have to talk about it again because I’m not ok with "xyz" that occurred." Men are more literal, and compartmentalize, so they can be offended when I refer to the past as a way to explain the present. The past does not explain the present issue at hand. 

We would love to hear feedback and cannot wait for you to hear the show!