Crazy, Untrue Ad Will Make You Think!

I ran across this ad from the 1950s for Winston cigarettes.

Check out the advice this sage mom-to-be gives other expectant women of her day:

  “People are always telling me that smoking causes low birth weight.  Talk about a win-win-win!  An easy labor, a slim baby and the Full Flavor of Winstons!”

“Winston.  When you’re smoking for two.”

What were they thinking????

But then I got to wondering about my ways of thinking that may be just as dangerous. And it occurs to me that if I struggle with thinking things that aren’t true, maybe you do, too.

Since we know our thoughts lead to our actions, we want to build our thoughts on truth. Not hunches, myths or feelings.  On truth.

Here’s what I mean.

Consider these five depressing, self-defeating lies…and replace them with their corresponding, life-giving, true thoughts instead.

Lie: “I can’t go on.”                                                                                                    Truth: Christ, dwelling in me, can victoriously meet whatever lies ahead and I will give Him praise when He does.  (1 Peter 1: 6-7)

Lie: “This problem is going to destroy me and I may lose my faith.”                  Truth: My faith may seem to be fading out of sight…but not out of God’s sight. My faith is not dependent on my holding onto God, but rather God holding onto me, and He is not about to let go! (John 10:28)

Lie: “I am so alone.”                                                                                                 Truth: Christ dwells in me. I am loved, accepted, a new creation. He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Matthew 28:20)

Lie:  “I’ll never be able to do this.”                                                                          Truth: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Lie: “There is no hope.”                                                                                            Truth: My hope is in Him.  I will allow Him to handle each struggle as only He can. (1 Peter 1: 3,4)

Sometimes people tell me, “Connie, I can’t help my feelings.”  True.  We can’t help our feelings.  But we CAN help what we think about.  And what we choose to think about directly impacts our feelings.

Our feelings directly affect our actions.  And our actions determine, to a large part, our quality of life. That’s why it’s critical to run our thoughts, not through hunches and feelings and old, untrustworthy ways of thinking, but rather through the truth of God’s Word.

Trendy thinking comes and goes.  But God’s truths are timeless.  Remember and use them to keep your mind healthy!

(And if you’re pregnant, you might want to check out some slightly more reliable information on how to have a healthy baby!)

Warmly,

Connie

By the way, check out my Christmas Specials, now through December 19th! Both of my CDs and my book are each on sale for $12.95 each.  Buy any 3…get one of your choice FREE.  Free shipping for purchase of 6 or more items.

 

 

 

How to Be Ready for the Storms of Life

Here in central Georgia, I-75 North bound is bumper to bumper with Floridians heeding advice from their Governor and the National Weather Service.  I know this, not only from the news report, but because John and I needed to be in Atlanta yesterday for business. What usually takes 90 minutes to travel from our town to Atlanta took 4 and a half hours. In spite of the inconvenience, we were glad people were taking seriously the call to evacuate.

Evacuees from Florida preparing for storm.

Even though we will not experience the worst of the hurricane, we’re preparing as well.  We’ve stocked up on gas, groceries and flashlight batteries.  We have coolers with dry ice  in case the power goes out and we need to empty the freezer.  Outdoor furniture has been stacked safely underneath the carport.  We have cash on hand in case stores are unable to take credit cards for a couple of days.

We’ve done what we can do to be prepared.

All this prep work reminds me that there are other storms that come our way.  And unlike the warning of the Weather Channel, these storms come with little to no warning. One thing is certain: by God’s design, at some point in time, we all find ourselves in a storm. By that I mean we will be in a season when life’s troubles are simply more than we can handle.

The death of a loved one.

A job loss.

The doctor’s report saying it’s cancer.

The betrayal from a spouse.

In those devastating moments, we want to know:

Where is God?  Does He see me in my storm?

Why would a loving God allow this to happen to me?

How can I remain steady and balanced in a storm that threatens to derail the very core of my faith?

Okay, forget “steady and balanced”.  How do I just get through this?

I believe we can do more than just get through.  We can be prepared for our storms.

Photo credit: China Daily

So how do we do that? Here are a few dos and donts to help you be ready.

  1.  Don’t be shocked.  Do realize this is a fallen world.  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
  2.  As tempting as it may be, Don’t ask, “Why did this happen to me?” Don’t get me wrong.   It’s healthy to ask yourself if you’ve contributed to your problem. For example, if you’re in financial crisis because you’ve been irresponsible with your money.  But generally, the question “Why? Why? Why?” only leads to depression and a victim mentality that gets you nowhere. Do realize that life isn’t easy for any of us.  We all go through storms. You are not alone.
  3. Don’t swallow the lies of the enemy.  For example,  “I’m not going to make it”, “God is getting me back for some past sin”, “I will never be happy again”, etc. Do feed continually on the truth of God’s word concerning His ways. I love what John Piper says: “We must preach to ourselves because the enemy is always preaching to us.”  If we simply go on “default” setting, the lies of the enemy are always there to pull us down into depression, doubts, hatred and self-pity.  The afternoon I found my father dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, I immediately was reminded of words I had heard from a speaker just the day before:  “We don’t have to fall apart when troubles come.  Instead, we know this very moment we get to discover all that stuff we’ve been talking about in Sunday School for the past 40 years is true.”   There was no quick, easy fix.  It wasn’t overnight.  But I found it to be true as I proactively trusted God’s word rather than the lies of the enemy concerning my storm.
  4. Don’t pretend you can handle this on your own.  Do tell God the truth about your feelings. If you think you can’t handle your problems, congratulations!  You’re right!  If you could handle them, who would get the glory?  You.  God leads us into desert-like situations so He alone can be our sufficiency.  Then the glory is all His.
  5. Do look for reasons to be thankful.  Do look for God in every detail.  Ask Him what He wants to show you in this storm.  Then LOOK. Storms are like Easter Egg Hunts.  When you were a kid and you went to an Easter Egg Hunt, did you hand them your basket and did they fill it up for you and say, “Here ya go!  Thanks for coming to our Easter Egg Hunt!”????  NO.  You had to go HUNT for those babies.  (That’s why they call it a HUNT.) In the same way, you have to HUNT for the beautiful golden nuggets that God wants to show you in your storm.

It’s been said that we are always in one of three places: in a storm, just coming out of one or about to go in one.  Friend, the subject of remaining steady in the storm is dear to me because I have been there.  A storm is coming, and I want you to be ready.  My book “Falling Up” deals more in detail with this subject.  If you or someone you know is struggling in a storm, I hope you’ll take advantage of the things God shared with me.  He truly brought me out, stronger on the other side, and I know He longs to do the same for you.

Until next time, sending you love!

Connie

Happy People (Africa Series #4)

Uganda.  War torn.  Victim of the Lord’s Resistance Army, rebels who used to wander around Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, replenishing their ranks by brutally tearing children from their villages and forcing them to fight.

Dr. Ian Clarke, an Irish doctor who pitched himself and his family into Uganda more than twenty years ago, has found purpose in responding to the needs he found all around him there.  In his book, “How Deep is This Pothole?”, he describes the LRA’s atrocities:

A group would target a school or village and abduct more children.  They were taken from their classrooms, roped together and marched into the bush. Within hours many of them had swollen or blistered feet and cried out that they could go no further.  A group of friends would be made to beat the child.  Of course they did not want to hit their friend or sibling, but they themselves were beaten to force them, so they would tentatively beat the child around the legs.

“No, not like that”, the commander would instruct. “Like this.”  And he would beat the child on the head.  Then, crying and sobbing, the other children would beat their victim until his blood and brains leaked out over the ground.

Clarke explains that by forcing children to kill in this manner within hours of their capture, they were made to share in the collective guilt.  Having murdered their own friends and family members, they were now killers and could not go back to a normal life.

Please forgive the gore. But these are the kind of stories we heard sitting under the mango trees with our new friends.

Although thankfully, this ended in 2008,  everyone in Uganda lost a friend or mother or father or brother or sister or child to this atrocity.

You would think they’d be angry, sarcastic, jaded, cynical.

Yet they are gentle, happy, grateful people.  Maybe happier than you and me?

“How can that be?”,  I pondered each night under my mosquito net as I trailed off to sleep.  No electricity, no toilets, no clean water.  Yet happy, genuinely joyful people.

I only know that when they sing,“Lord I lift Your  name on high” and “I’m so glad You’re in my life”,  they mean it. They really mean it.

When they sing “You are my All in all”, there is a look on their faces that tells me that He truly is.

When they speak of having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, there is a conviction in their voices, a sparkle in their eyes.

When I asked one of them about their feelings concerning all that had happened, he pointed me to Job.  “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  “By His grace, our joy is unshakeable because it comes, not from our temporal circumstances, but from Jesus Christ.”

Humbled. Convicted. Seeking God with all my heart to give me a heart like this.

Click on the video below to see my happy friends singing: