CHALLENGE: How can we use self-compassion to connect with ourselves?
Do you often choose multi-tasking over mindfulness? I am so guilty of multitasking around my husband and kids. They will try to talk to me, but I listen while also doing other things. What does that communicate to them? I am sending the message that they are not important enough to have my full attention. Yikes! What a difference mindfulness can make when we stop everything, look into his/her eyes, and really focus on what he/she is telling us. Not only will the relationship strengthen but the person sees the practice of mindfulness at work.
Negative self-talk affects us all. There is no escaping it. I am no stranger to falling victim to my negative thoughts. They can start like a trickle and quickly turn into a flood. The vicious cycle of shaming ourselves, judging ourselves, nagging ourselves and berating ourselves can become our normal routine if we are not careful to combat it. Friends, the negative self-talk can easily damage our lives and the lives of those we love.
We can change!!! It is never too late to incorporate positive change into our life. Dr. Shauna Shapiro, clinical psychologist, author, and mindfulness expert says that wherever you are right now is the entry point for positive change. She tells us that a mindfulness mindset starts by seeing things clearly and being fully present in the moment. It is a way of being, a way of living, and a way of growing. Whatever we practice grows stronger.
Dr. Shapiro continues to say that once we start practicing mindfulness, we are laying down the pathways for positive change. Every time we make a choice to choose differently, we are building the foundation for a new path of self-compassion. Dr. Shapiro gives a 3-step process for practicing self-compassion:
Mindfulness and Self-Compassion help us to embrace each moment and not live on autopilot all day long.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
No wonder Jesus emphasized the importance of taking every thought captive. He knew the intense battle of the mind. Jesus knows our weaknesses and battles with negative self-talk. He offers us His strength, wisdom, and courage to make positive changes. Jesus Christ himself is LOVE, TRUTH, and DISCIPLINE. He is all that we need to create new pathways for mindfulness and self-compassion.
Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Many of us may think this verse is only targeted to our relationships with others, but it is also targeted to ourselves. Do we talk to ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience? Jesus desires us to treat others AND ourselves with these characteristics.
I Corinthians 10:4-5, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Friends, this verse is life-changing and life-giving for us. As we pursue positive changes, Jesus gives us the weapons and tools we need to put an end to the vicious cycle of shame and judgment of ourselves. We simply surrender to His power and work with Him to love ourselves the way that He loves us.
Books for Dr. Shauna Shapiro:
The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger
Podcast Interview with Dr. Shauna Shapiro:
“The Fresh Start Family Show” Episode #49: Using Self-Compassion to Transform Your Family
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CHALLENGE: Is a real connection possible with someone you have never met?
Have you ever read a book and never wanted it to end? Have you watched a movie and completely related to one of the characters? Have you heard a song that resonated with your current circumstance? Have you heard a Bible story and knew the story was meant for you to hear during that season of your life?
Yes, we have all had instances where we felt connected to a book, character, song, and story. Something triggers us to want to know more and become immersed in the outcome. A few years ago, I read an email about a girl who was kidnapped and held in captivity because she refused to renounce her faith in Christ. My spirit was immediately gripped by this girl’s story. I began researching to find out as many details as possible about this girl. From that first email, I’ve had a real connection to her for reasons that I don’t understand.
INSPIRATION: Leah Sharibu
If you have not heard of Leah Sharibu, it is my incredible honor to share her story with you. At the age of 14, she was kidnapped from her school in Nigeria along with 109 of her classmates. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, released all the girls except for Leah because she was the only one who would not renounce Christ and convert to Islam.
In the book, "Leah Sharibu: The Girl Boko Haram Left Behind,” author Reno Omokri writes, "A group of radical Islamic terrorists, Boko Haram, is on a savage mission to end all forms of organized Western education in Nigeria. In keeping with their philosophy that Western education is sinful and the cause of most of society’s ills, this group of misguided radicals have either burnt or otherwise destroyed 1500 schools and twice that number of churches. With their hatred for Western education, coupled with their disdain for Christianity, led this group to the town of Dapchi where they abducted 110 girls from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, on Monday, February 19, 2018. Leah Sharibu was one of 110 girls that were taken."
Omokri continues, "On March 21, 2018, Boko Haram released 104 girls (5 of the girls died either during abduction or while in captivity). Leah was not released." Leah was not released because she refused to convert to Islam.
On May 14, 2019, Leah celebrated her 16th birthday in captivity. No celebrations with her friends and family. No gifts. No special memories for a momentous milestone. BUT as a Christ follower with amazing courage, Leah knows all the rewards she will receive in eternity. She knows her eternal future is secure in Christ and no captivity will ever change that.
As of this writing, Leah is still believed to be alive and a prisoner of the terrorist group, Boko Haram. She is an extraordinary example to us of what it means to choose Christ over Comfort. We certainly do not understand why God is allowing her to suffer but we do know that He promises to bring good from all circumstances. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Maybe the good will be at least one terrorist who sees the power of Christ in Leah and commits his life to the Savior. Maybe the good is all of Leah's family and community will become more committed to Christ and bring hope filled change to a corrupt government. Maybe the good will be an international movement of prayer warriors to flood God's throne for justice on the earth.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
God is ALWAYS faithful.
We do not know the good God will use but we know He will use it. We can be comforted that He sees Leah; He has a plan for her and her family; He will bring freedom whether on this earth or in Heaven.
In the New Testament, Paul (a missionary for Christ) was imprisoned for many years of his life. As he writes in the verses below, he suffered everything in order for others to know the saving power of Jesus Christ. God tells us that we all will suffer for Christ. As Christ followers, we are never immune from struggle. However, God freely gives His wisdom and strength to endure and remain faithful.
2 TIMOTHY 2:8-13
"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we disown Him, He will also disown us;
If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself."
Our lives are not our own. Our lives are His for His will, His timing, and His glory. We can take the examples of Paul and Leah to encourage us to trust God in all circumstances and draw on His strength during our struggle. The more we know God's word, the more we are freely able to surrender to His will. The more we know God's faithfulness, the more we can trust His timing. The more we know God's character, the more we can use our lives to glorify Him.
God deliberately gives each of us a connection to a particular person, tribe of people, country, or cause. He creates a love inside of us to provide our prayers, passions, and purpose for helping them. We may never have an in-person connection, but it doesn’t make the connection any less real.
I will probably never meet Leah on this side of Heaven, but I know that I’m committed to foster this connection to her through prayer.
Whatever your connection is, ask God how He can use you to further His kingdom with this connection.
Verses and Resources for Leah:
Need more connections in your life? Download our free Roadmap to Real Connection Here:
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CHALLENGE: How can you use scripture for self-connection and transformation?
Ideally, all of us would have filling and productive days to live our best lives. The reality, however, is that most days are difficult and draining. Too many of us rely on our own strength to get through the day. We put on “band aids” to try to fix reoccurring problems and stresses. Eventually, we get so overwhelmed that we do not even know how to stop the vicious cycle.
The Bible is very clear that we are to take care of our bodies. The great benefit to being a Christ-follower is that He freely gives us what we need to take care of ourselves. We only have to seek Him and ask! Jesus is our healer, comforter, encourager, motivator, helper, and advocate. He wants to pour His strength into us, so we aren’t trying to do everything in our strength. He knows our weaknesses and is ready to equip us to overcome!
So, what area do you most need Jesus’ strength? Is it exercise, rest, healthy eating, stress relief, or positive mindset? Let’s look at verses that will enable us to utilize Jesus’ mighty power to restore us.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
Proverbs 4:12, “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”
Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Isiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
Psalm 119:76, “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”
Exodus 31:15a, “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord.”
Exodus 33:14, “The Lord replied, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’”
Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Psalm 62:5, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.”
For Healthy Eating:
1 Corinthians 10:23, “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive.”
1 Corinthians 10: 31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Genesis 1:30b, “I give every green plant for food.”
Proverbs 21:20, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
I Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
For Stress Relief:
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
Proverbs 17: 22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Colossians 2:6-8, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
For more transformation, download our FREE Resource Real Connection Starter Guide.
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BIBLE TRIVIA QUIZ – ANGELS AND DEMONS
CHALLENGE: Does Satan know the scriptures better than you do?
The reality is that Satan, our enemy, knows the scriptures extremely well. However, his only purpose in knowing the scriptures is to manipulate them to deceive you. He wants to use God’s truth against you. It is imperative that we know the scriptures well enough so that we won’t be deceived by Satan’s evil tactics.
One way to connect with Jesus is to know His truth from His words. Take this true/false quiz to find out how much you know about angels and demons. Answers are below.
1. All children have personal angels.
2. Satan does not know biblical scripture.
3. God's angels can die.
4. Fallen angels cohabited with human women and had offspring.
5. Michael, the archangel, is given power to rebuke Satan.
6. Angels serve and observe believers.
7. All of Satan's demons have the same amount of power.
8. All angels have free will.
9. Every believer has a specific angel guarding him/her.
10. Satan is a spirit and a person.
11. Angels are allowed to marry each other.
12. When believers die, they become guardian angels.
13. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and demons can disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
14. Satan has his own angels.
15. Believers are asked to worship God's angels.
16. Believers will not judge angels in Heaven.
17. Angels are organized and ranked.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
Angels and Demons Quiz - ANSWERS
1. All children have personal angels. TRUE Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
2. Satan does not know biblical scripture. FALSE Matthew 4:6, Satan speaking to Jesus “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Satan is quoting scripture from Psalm 91:11-12 for the sole purpose of deceiving Jesus. Satan purposely omitted a phrase from Psalm in order to suit his plan and purpose.
3. God's angels can die. FALSE Luke 20:34-36, “Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.’”
4. Fallen angels cohabited with human women and had offspring. TRUE Genesis 6:1-4, “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [fallen angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.** The Nephilim were on the earth those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God [fallen angels] went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
** Side Note: Because of man’s great sin, God warned them of their destruction. God flooded the earth 120 years after this warning.
5. Michael, the archangel, is given power to rebuke Satan. FALSE Jude 1:9, “But even the archangel, Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”
6. Angels serve and observe believers. TRUE Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” 1 Corinthians 4:9, “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.”
7. All of Satan's demons have the same amount of power. FALSE Luke 11:24-26, “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
8. All angels have free will. TRUE 2 Peter 2:4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.” Jude 1:6, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own homes-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”
9. Every believer has a specific angel guarding him/her. TRUE Psalm 91:11, “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
10. Satan is a spirit and a person. TRUE 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
11. Angels are allowed to marry each other. FALSE Matthew 22:30, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
12. When believers die, they become guardian angels. FALSE While believers are on earth, they have less authority than angels. Psalm 8:5 says, “You made him a little lower than the heavenly being and crowned him with glory and honor.” After death, believers in Heaven have higher authority than angels. I Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more than things of this life!”
13. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and demons can disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. TRUE 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
14. Satan has his own angels. TRUE Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
15. Believers are asked to worship God's angels. FALSE Colossians 2:18, “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.”
16. Believers will not judge angels in Heaven. FALSE I Corinthians 6:3, ““Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more than things of this life!”
17. Angels are organized and ranked. TRUE Jude 1:9, “But even the archangel, Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Daniel 10:13, “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes [angels] came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” Revelation 12:7, “And there was war in Heaven. Michael [archangel] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.”
Spend time in the scriptures everyday so you will not be deceived by Satan’s lies.
Jesus is TRUE
Satan is FALSE
Need more inspiration? Download our Free Resource: Real Connection Starter Guide
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