How to Renew Your Mind in Truth

Ever struggled with negative thought patterns? Wonder if you’ll ever be able to change your perspective on pain from the past?

If you’re human, then you answered YES to both those questions. I’m excited to be hosting Kelly Balarie today on my blog. Her most recent book, Battle Ready, was recently published and it’s full of amazing wisdom on how we can renew our minds with God’s truth. We’re going to constantly have battles we face, so it’s essential to equip ourselves in preparation!

Kelly writes with transparency and shares from the deepest parts of her soul. She knows herself how crucial it is to renew your mind. 

Enjoy her post today and make plans to get her book!

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Don’t doubt the power of your mind. This football-sized mass has the power to create and recreate everything in your life. This is why Jesus tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

If we renew our mind, it is like getting a re-do on life. Rather than continuing with old patterns, ways of doing things or habits, we get an upgrade.

You know, when my boy was a baby: he spent nearly every waking hour of every night screaming crying.

My mind now, occasionally hears that baby voice of his crying late at night. He’s 6.

This traumatic time was emblazoned in my mind. The trauma is still there. The memory is still there. The fear is still there.

Another example of this is my finger. When I was a kid I had to feel for a little bump on my right hand finger (where I sucked my thumb) to know the difference between right and left. I still when, deciphering right between left, mentally think about feeling for that bump. My mind was trained in this.

When we experience something again and again, we expect it. We expect a husband to treat us a certain way. We expect pain to keep hitting us as it always has. We expect people to abandon us. Our mind tells us: this is normal. The pain you dealt with from back then is going to happen.

…unless we renew our mind.

To renew your mind is to dig up all the old lies, mistruths, perceptions and fears and to replace them with God’s truth, hope, life, grace and fullness.

It is to break the power of what was, for Who Is. The I AM.

When you know God is I AM, and you let your mind conceive that truth, he overpowers all the ways you tell yourself:

I am not…, I am never…., I am going to….

Mistruths become truth when a woman dedicates herself to the biblical wisdom, practical application and habit-forming strategies that come with abiding in Christ.

Do you know them? I wrote the book Battle Ready as a practical manual to help those struggling with doubt, discouragement, despair or devastation. The whole purpose of the book is to help you renew your mind with the Mind of Christ and to experience His freedom.

Many are getting touched by this message. Lives are changing. People are finding new hope.

Will you be one of them?

About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously

“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurst, (New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries)

Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom:

. how to make new habits stick in just five steps

· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women

· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven,love-releasing thoughts

· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace

· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

Buy Battle Ready here:

Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman, every battle and in every circumstance. She shares this hope on her blog , Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today’s  Christian Woman. Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts. When Kelly is not writing, she is chilling at the beach with her husband , a latte, and 2-toddlers who rightfully demand she build them awesome castles.

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Tell Your Story!

There are chapters of our past we wish didn’t exist. We would love to tear them out of the whole story of our lives if we could.

Do you have chapters like that? You know, the seasons of life where you just fell apart? Where things got ugly. Where your soul was ripped in pieces?

Yes, I get it.

I have chapters like that in my own life.

But the older I get, the more I am realizing that those are the chapters I need to highlight. I need to book mark them. Turn back the pages and reflect.

I don’t know the specifics of your story and your difficult chapters. But I DO know this:

There are other people out there who have similar chapters to yours. They have experienced the same circumstances. They too, know what it’s like to have their soul ripped apart in the same way yours was.

What’s sad is that many people think they are the only ones with that kind of chapter. That nobody understands. That nobody really gets them.

But that isn’t true at all! It’s a flat-out lie. 

The enemy is the father of lies and he wants us to think we are alone. That we are the only ones walking a difficult path. That everybody else has it all together and something must be wrong with us.

Wrong. Lies. Not true.

God even tells us in His word:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man…” (2 Corinthians 10:13)

He also promises that when we suffer, He will comfort us.

“He comforts us in all our troubles.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

This is great news! Yes, God does comfort us. But that’s not the end of the verse!! Read on…

“He comforts us in all our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

Did you catch those two words??

SO THAT!

God doesn’t just comfort us for our own sake. He comforts us so that we can pour that same comfort into others who are hurting. It may not be right away, but at some point we will come across someone who is hurting in the same way we have.

You can count on it.

But here’s the thing. The only way we know WHO to comfort are those who speak up and tell their stories.

The only way I know who God is calling me to comfort are those who have actually spoken up. Maybe they haven’t told all the details of the entire ugly chapter. But they say enough to make it loud and clear that they are hurting.

The only way someone else can bring you comfort and help you along your journey is for YOU to tell YOUR story. This works both ways.

I have experienced this on both ends. Because I have been willing to share my hurt–the ugly chapters of my life–I have been blessed to have others pour God’s comfort all over my aching soul.

And because of my own journey, I have connected with others who have stepped out and told their story. 

Or sometimes a person will hear two different people share their stories and connect them together. One may be on the other side of the hurt and already into a different chapter of life. And the other person is just beginning a painful chapter.

So go ahead. Tell your story. (Of course we need to use discretion and wisdom on when, where and who we share with)

That one chapter you want to tear out? Don’t.

It may just be a life line to someone else who thinks they are the only one.

Lord Jesus, I pray today for whoever is reading this. If there is something in their life you want to use to comfort someone else, would you please reveal that to them? If someone is hurting, would you connect them to someone who understands? And give them courage to step out and tell their story. Amen

Blessings to you!

Lisa

Author of Embracing The Race

 

6 Priorities You Need

Balancing our priorities often feels like a juggling act in this journey we call LIFE.

If you’re like me, I find that I’m often pulled in multiple directions. Each thing that is calling for my attention feels important, or urgent.  In many moments, I get tripped up into wondering how in the world can I manage all these priorities?

*Family members

*Household duties

*Time with friends

*Ministry to others

*An endless list of errands

*Not to mention the emergencies that come out of nowhere, suddenly grasping desperately for my immediate attention.

Oh, and of course somewhere in there I must make time for God. Where exactly does that fit? 

I’ve recently had an opportunity to look at the way Jesus prioritized his life while he walked this earth.

Although he was fully God, he also was fully human, which means he had to prioritize his time. He couldn’t be in more than one place at a time. He had to choose where to go and who to see on a daily basis.

So how exactly did he prioritize his life?

Having just finished an amazing study called “Walking as Jesus Walked” (by Dann Spader), I’ve had the opportunity to take a closer look at the priorities of Jesus. Dann Spader uses an acronym to help us remember what exactly those priorities are: Holy Spirit POWER. 

*First of all, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit in everything he did.

*Prayerful: All throughout scripture we see Jesus intentionally making time to pray. He often withdrew to lonely places, away from the crowds to pray. If you look closely, you can see a pattern of his time in prayer. Immediately after teaching and healing, or before making crucial decisions, you’ll see him getting away to pray

*Obedient: Jesus was characterized by obedience to God the Father. We see explicitly in scripture where he follows through with what God called him to do. He wasn’t just all talk. He didn’t just preach a sermon and demand his followers to obey. He modeled everything through his actions. He showed us how to obey God.

*Word Centered: Jesus quotes Old Testament scripture repeatedly. He constantly challenged the religious leaders about the scriptures. Notice how many times we find Jesus saying, “It is written”, “Haven’t you read..?” When tempted in the desert by the devil, his defense is not showing off his power by doing a miracle. His defense is the word of God. He pulls out powerful scripture each and every time to combat the enemy.

*Exalting the Father: Jesus beautifully models for us what it means to exalt God the Father. He always pointed everything he did back to God. How many times do you notice him saying, “Everything I do comes from the Father.”

*Relational: Jesus poured into his disciples. He didn’t miss a single opportunity to invest in his followers. He exhibited what it means to be relational. Being relational takes time. It takes energy. It is intentional. He could have focused solely on teaching the crowds. But you see him taking more time to pour into the inner circle, the twelve.

So if these were the priorities when Jesus walked this earth, then I think it’s safe to say that these should be our priorities as well. The apostle Paul says it another way by urging us to “follow me as I imitate Christ.”

You might be thinking, How can I possibly fit all of those priorities into my schedule?

I’ve honestly thought that before. But I think the real question we need to ask ourselves is this:

How can I align my schedule to fit these priorities?

What does it look like in our daily lives to align our time, schedule and decisions around the priorities Jesus calls for?

As I’ve come to grips with how I should be living my life, I’m realizing that I need a dramatic shift in my perspective if I’m truly going to live as a follower of Jesus. And I don’t need to look at these things as a check list.

Going about my day, am I being led by the Holy Spirit? Or am I being driven by pride and selfishness?

Am I truly praying throughout the day, staying connected to God? Or is my prayer life limited to only emergency requests?

Are my decisions governed by my selfish desires? Or am I seeking to walk in obedience in every area of my life?

Do I open God’s word only on Sundays? Or am I soaking it up consistently throughout the week, letting truth guide me?

Am I characterized by taking credit for all the blessings in my life? Or do I truly give glory to God for all He’s entrusted me with and point others to Him?

Do I spend my time only with people I’m comfortable with and can benefit me? Or am I pouring into others who need encouragement and the hope of the gospel message?

Dear friends, these are tough and convicting questions. But these are the questions I need to ask myself if I honestly desire to prioritize my life to honor God. And to truly walk as Jesus walked.

What about you? Which of these priorities do you already have in your life? Which ones do you need to implement?I prayerfully challenge you to look at how you spend your time and make your decisions. Instead of feeling perplexed and overwhelmed, I pray you’ll find PEACE.

Blessings to you,

Lisa

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race.

 

 

 

 

Standing Where Jesus Stood

As we approach Good Friday, our minds often fixate only on the cross.  Most of our attention should rightfully be here because this is where he suffered willingly, dying the horrible death we all deserve.

But I want to back up and focus on another place where Jesus suffered before he even got to the cross.

After he was arrested in the garden by Roman soldiers, he was ordered to be taken to the high priest. Jesus was led to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.

(Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.) Matthew 26:57

The house of Caiaphas.

I’ve always just skipped over that phrase in the Bible.  It’s just a place, so what’s the big deal?

But no longer do I just skip over this place.

I’ve actually been there!

Last year my family had the amazing opportunity to visit Israel. Day after day we traveled to different holy sites. Places where Jesus walked. Places where Jesus healed. Places where he taught.

But in most of the places we visited, tour guides informed us that Jesus would have been in this general area. With few exceptions, it would have been difficult to pinpoint exactly where he might have walked or stood.

The House of Caiaphas was one of those exceptions.

When archeologists discovered a dungeon underneath the palace of the high priest, they could say with 100% certainty that this was indeed the place where Jesus would’ve been brought for his trial.

I felt chills come over my entire body as we solemnly entered the prisoner’s dungeon, carved out of bedrock.

Looking up, we observed a hole in the ceiling. The tour guide explained that the high priest would’ve been standing above in the upper chamber of the house in order to remain ceremonially clean. He wasn’t allowed to be in the same room with a criminal who may have been guilty of murder. The high priest could ask questions of the prisoner while peering down into the dungeon, and remain clean at the same time.

As our group huddled together into this dungeon area, I tried to wrap my head around these facts.

This was the only dungeon area.

This is where they brought all prisoners awaiting trial.

Jesus was a prisoner awaiting trial.

This is the exact place where they brought him.

I’m standing where Jesus stood!!!!

Wow.  Total awe. My breath taken away. Surreal.

How is it possible that we’re standing in the place where Jesus, the son of God, actually stood? 

Our group stood in amazement, trying to take it all in. What was Jesus thinking when he was here?

He knew what was coming. He knew what awaited him. This is what he came for.

I have no doubt that he prayed while in that dungeon. That he cried out to God the Father.

But now it hits me thinking back…

Jesus stood where we should have stood. Where I should have stood. Where you should have stood.

Not literally in that dungeon underneath the house of the high priest. But figuratively speaking, we should have been the ones accused. We should have been the ones awaiting trial in prison. We should have been the ones condemned to death.

We are sinners saved by grace. Without Jesus we stand no chance. Without Him we can’t be made right with God.

It’s a really bizarre feeling to have planted my feet where Jesus stood. I’ll always treasure that short momentary experience.

But I’ll always have the peace, joy and comfort of knowing that Jesus stood where I rightfully deserved to stand.

But instead of condemnation and death? I have forgiveness and life!

I pray you will ponder this time of celebrating Easter! Remember his suffering. Remember his sacrifice.

HE IS RISEN!

Blessings to you,

Lisa

Author of Embracing The Race

 

3 Things I’ve Learned From Painful Seasons

PAIN.

Nobody embraces it.

We absolutely hate it with every fiber of our being.

We avoid it at all costs.

But because we live in a broken world, it is part of life on this earth…for now.

Broken relationships.

Faltering health.

Wounds from the past.

Horrible tragedies.

I’ve experienced what feels like unbearable pain. Seasons of life where I thought I’d never survive.

But because of God….

I did survive. I did get through. I found His light at the end of my dark tunnel.

I don’t know about you, but the more I look back on these seasons of my life, I can honestly see a purpose in those painful times.

You mean, there can actually be something good that comes from pain????

As crazy as it sounds, yes.

My painful seasons of life all have these common threads.

*Pain makes me desperate.

What’s so good about feeling desperate? Feeling desperate is not something we usually crave. It creates feelings of panic, worry, and anxiety. Like a weak swimmer who’s drowning in the deep end of the pool, we cry out for help because we’re going under.

I’ve been desperate in the midst of  broken relationships. A failed marriage left me feeling very desperate. With a newborn and an uncertain future, I lived in survival mode and swirled around in desperation quite a bit.

*Pain leads me to be more dependent on God.

When the familiar things of life suddenly become unfamiliar and I’m venturing out into the unknown, I’m always more ready to lean on God. And unfortunately, even the people we think will love us most will leave us disappointed and hurting at times. It’s in those times when I see how much others have failed me that I can truly depend on God’s unfailing love. In a strange way that is hard to describe, it’s during these painful seasons that my dependence on God is strengthened.

*Pain gives me deeper compassion for others.

Once I’ve trudged through a painful season of life, I always discover something I didn’t notice before.

I now possess a unique compassion for others who are in the midst of the same kind of pain!

Because of what I’ve gone through, I gain an understanding and perspective in the midst of my pain. I am then able to recognize this same pain in others. Or when I hear someone share the hurt they’re going through, my heart has an instant connection with them. And this is where the purpose comes in.

The wounds from my previous pain now become stepping-stones, allowing me to enter into someone else’s world. A world where they think there is no hope. A world where they feel trapped. A world where they think nobody could possibly understand.

Even if I’m still feeling the hurt from my painful experience, I can still offer words of hope. I can honestly tell them, “I know how you feel…I’ve been there.”

Part of my own healing from painful wounds comes when I walk alongside someone else who is hurting. The fragile threads of my life that unraveled in my soul are now knitted back together, forming a cord of hope that someone else can cling to.

Your pain is not ever wasted. It’s not in vain. It serves the purpose of becoming more intimate with your Savior and comforting others on the same path. Here’s a few that stand out to me…

My sister-in-law, Holly, has allowed God to do an amazing work in her life in this way. She’s a survivor of sexual abuse. She experienced heart wrenching pain that threatened to swallow her up and leave her bitter. Yet she cried out to God and He has healed her hurting heart. She tells her story often and reaches out to others who are caught up in the same kind of pain. God uses her pain for a purpose.

Dear friends of ours, Brian and Amanda, lost their 18-month old son in a tragic accident a few years ago. They experienced such horrific pain and their world was shaken to the core. But they surrendered their lives to God through the journey and now help encourage and comfort others who have lost young children. God uses their pain for a purpose. 

My friend, Stacy, lost her beautiful daughter who was born prematurely. She lived for about 3 weeks. She spent those days in the newborn intensive care unit, watching her baby hanging on for life. Although her heart shattered in pieces, Stacy has allowed God to do a beautiful thing through her pain. She quilts blankets for babies in the NICU. She reaches out to other families who are waiting to see if their babies are going to make it. She gives genuine comfort to others because she knows the pain they feel. God uses her pain for a purpose.

Be encouraged dear friends! No matter what pain you are experiencing, God is with you. He knows.

Allow your desperation to turn into a strong dependence on the one who rescues and redeems. And let Him do more than rescue and redeem just you. He longs to work through your life to bring comfort and encouragement to others.

Let Him use your pain for His purpose. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

Blessings to you!

Lisa

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race

 

 

Why My New Year’s Resolutions Often Fail

A brand new year! Time to come up with some New Year’s resolutions. Time to make a list of things we want to accomplish in the coming year. It’s the perfect time to try new things. Make some goals to be reached. Right?

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these, there’s still something that nags at my soul when my calendar starts to fill up. We can mindlessly come up with some resolutions that sound really good. We can fill our time with a lot of good things.

Good things for ourselves.

Good things for our kids.

Good things for our family.

But I’ve often found myself doing so many good things that I don’t do anything well. I come up short. I spread myself so thin that I’m no good to anyone.

Maybe I’m qualified to do five things really well, yet when I try to cram them all into a short window of time, those five things crumble, making me feel as if I’m barely treading water.

But shouldn’t we say yes to every good thing that comes our way?

Meeting  friends for lunch? That’s good!

Exercising to stay in shape? That’s good!

Volunteering at your child’s school? That’s good!

Leading a Bible study? That’s good!

Working part-time to earn a little extra money? That’s good!

Signing your child up for their favorite sport? That’s good!

Yes. Each and every one of these are good things. Nobody would argue that they aren’t.

But if you say yes to every single good thing that comes your way, at some point it will leave you feeling frustrated. Overwhelmed. Frazzled. Stressed to the max.

And before you know it, your resolutions and good intentions turn into disappointments and failures.

When we run from one good thing to the next at a break-neck speed, we often miss out on the rest God longs for us to embrace. 

Resting in his presence. Resting in his peace. Resting in his purpose.

Instead of saying yes to everything, we could stop and pray before we answer. Asking God for wisdom and discernment.

Maybe this good thing would be better if I embraced it later, instead of now.

Maybe I should say no to this good thing so that someone else will have the opportunity to say yes.

Maybe this good thing is really my plan instead of God’s. 

Sometimes I’m so busy saying yes to the good things that I don’t make time to pray and ask God what is best.

As this new year begins, here’s a challenge:

Instead of asking God to bless a long list of our hopeful accomplishments, let’s stop and humbly approach Him.

Instead of resolutions, let’s humbly ask Him what is His best for us.

God, what is your plan for me this year? Are there things I need to let go of? What new steps do you want me to take? Help me rest in your presence, so I can know what’s best. Your best.

I pray you will embrace this new year with a sense of peace and purpose.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

New-Years-Resolutions_2

 

 

Blessings to you, dear friends!

Lisa Preuett

 

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why My New Year’s Resolutions Often Fail

A brand new year! Time to come up with some New Year’s resolutions. Time to make a list of things we want to accomplish in the coming year. It’s the perfect time to try new things. Make some goals to be reached. Right?

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these, there’s still something that nags at my soul when my calendar starts to fill up. We can mindlessly come up with some resolutions that sound really good. We can fill our time with a lot of good things.

Good things for ourselves.

Good things for our kids.

Good things for our family.

But I’ve often found myself doing so many good things that I don’t do anything well. I come up short. I spread myself so thin that I’m no good to anyone.

Maybe I’m qualified to do five things really well, yet when I try to cram them all into a short window of time, those five things crumble, making me feel as if I’m barely treading water.

But shouldn’t we say yes to every good thing that comes our way?

Meeting  friends for lunch? That’s good!

Exercising to stay in shape? That’s good!

Volunteering at your child’s school? That’s good!

Leading a Bible study? That’s good!

Working part-time to earn a little extra money? That’s good!

Signing your child up for their favorite sport? That’s good!

Yes. Each and every one of these are good things. Nobody would argue that they aren’t.

But if you say yes to every single good thing that comes your way, at some point it will leave you feeling frustrated. Overwhelmed. Frazzled. Stressed to the max.

And before you know it, your resolutions and good intentions turn into disappointments and failures.

When we run from one good thing to the next at a break-neck speed, we often miss out on the rest God longs for us to embrace. 

Resting in his presence. Resting in his peace. Resting in his purpose.

Instead of saying yes to everything, we could stop and pray before we answer. Asking God for wisdom and discernment.

Maybe this good thing would be better if I embraced it later, instead of now.

Maybe I should say no to this good thing so that someone else will have the opportunity to say yes.

Maybe this good thing is really my plan instead of God’s. 

Sometimes I’m so busy saying yes to the good things that I don’t make time to pray and ask God what is best.

As this new year begins, here’s a challenge:

Instead of asking God to bless a long list of our hopeful accomplishments, let’s stop and humbly approach Him.

Instead of resolutions, let’s humbly ask Him what is His best for us.

God, what is your plan for me this year? Are there things I need to let go of? What new steps do you want me to take? Help me rest in your presence, so I can know what’s best. Your best.

I pray you will embrace this new year with a sense of peace and purpose.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

New-Years-Resolutions_2

 

 

Blessings to you, dear friends!

Lisa Preuett

 

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race.