When my anxious mind is reeling, I usually count on Psalms to give me peace in the chaos. I love how the psalmist perfectly captures the hopelessness found in our human experience and the remedy found in God’s love and support. This week we get our encouragement from Psalm 94:18-19.
Psalm 94:18-19. It says, I cried out, "I am slipping!" but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."
I love this verse because we do slip. I have anxiety, and I tend to catastrophize situations in my mind. I can convince myself quite effortlessly that the problems in my life are too big, too overwhelming. But, when I am slipping, He is there to remind me that He is greater. I love how in this crazy, messed-up world, Jesus is my rock, my only constant. When doubts fill my mind, only He can set me at ease. How lost I was without Him. My mind reeled with doubt, anger, confusion, but Jesus calmed the storm inside. He brings me to His perfect peace.
I am sure you have heard of the Enneagram by now. It’s been a trendy topic for a few years now. People have social media accounts and whole careers based on the Enneagram. So in case you have missed the craze, the Enneagram is a type of personality test.
The Enneagram starts with nine basic types, and each type has wings and subtypes. What is different about the Enneagram from other personality tests is that you find out your type and learn why you are like that type and how to recognize growth and disintegration. It’s almost like cracking the code of who you are and then learning to work the code to make you be the best version of yourself. The Enneagram can also help you better understand the people in your life.
Now taking the test is a very personal journey. Some people take it and hit it right on the nail, while others, like me, have to sit and feel it out and see where they feel home. It can be a journey to find your type because it depends on how well you can self-assess and reflect. When I first took the test, I got enneagram 6, the loyalist. I accepted it for a while, and it was so close to who I was, but some things didn’t feel right. I thought I was a 4 for a time, but that didn’t quite fit either. It took me about three years to realize I was a 5, which is an investigator. The funny thing is that I didn’t even think I was smart enough to be a 5. But now I have found my home. I am a 5 with a six-wing, which explains why 6 and 4 felt familiar.
There is a lot more to it, too much to go into right now. However, I have been studying it for a few years on my own, and I have to say it has helped bring clarity and understanding to my close relationships.
When I first started as a Christian, I resonated with Peter. He is stubborn and stands up for what he thinks is right. Notice how I said what he thinks is right. Yea, Peter grew spiritually, and I am too. Now I admire Paul. His books give me so much encouragement. So this week, I started with a small verse from the extended one you see below. It is Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
The whole piece is too good not to share it in its entirety, so please read it below.
Colossians 4:2-6 , "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."
So, this week let’s devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. First, let’s pray for each other so that God will give us many opportunities to speak his good news. Pray that we, as the body of Christ, would live wisely among nonbelievers. Remember that we need to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Next, we can pray God gives us pure hearts so our words will be gracious and lovely. Finally, we can pray for our brothers and sisters in chains, bondage, and war. Pray the Lord is working in the circumstances they are in and that they can get the message out to those who need to hear it.
Learning about other cultures and traditions is something that interests me immensely. I am New Mexican, and the customs there are vibrant and affluent. New Mexico is very saturated in old Catholic art and traditions. From the historic cathedrals to the shrines dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe in the historic districts. Visiting is very much an experience whether you are catholic or not.
You can expect rich customs and traditions from many religions, except American Christianity. I know I must seem like I am always on the attack of American Christianity, but lately, I have been feeling flat in my worship. I crave something more. I read my bible, am enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship, attend church every Sunday, and listen to podcast sermons daily. I try to make Christ an integral part of my day. I still crave more.
I have been learning more about Christianity’s Hebrew roots and Jewish customs. It is essential to know and experience certain things to understand them fully. For example, my boys and I recite the Shema Prayer daily since hearing it in our nightly Abide meditations. My boys have taken to saying the morning and evening prayer and love to say the Hebrew words in the Shema. Doing this has also brought attention to the words in Deuteronomy 6:5-9. My kids have questioned what it means to wear them on your hands and forehead and write them on your doorposts. They have asked why we do not have this written on our doorposts. It has profoundly impacted us. Even though we pray, adding the Shema helps us re-frame our prayers to come to the Lord with reverence and worship rather than just supplications.
The Shema prayer is a Jewish prayer recited at morning and evening services. In the Abide meditation, the gentleman mentions that no doubt Jesus said this prayer every day, which moved me to make it part of our routine. I prayed about it because I did not want to offend my Lord. But, I felt this was something good and was led to move forward because, as you know, He offers discernment when we seek it. He affirmed me, and we are truly blessed. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that my kids have taken to this so well. My boys remind me to say it now, and I hear them throughout the day repeating it. My oldest son already has it memorized and leads us in our prayer.
What traditions and practices do you and your family do together to keep your heart on God?
This week, I remind myself to keep my thoughts fixed on Jesus and good things. I am repeating Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Isn’t it amazing to think that we can please the Lord just by having good thoughts? Our thoughts can determine the course of our day. But, we also have the power to bring life or death with our words, not only for ourselves but to everyone we meet. Our thoughts and words have so much power, so we have to direct them towards Jesus actively. I also really love saying, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. It makes me feel close to Him, like a term of endearment. I find my rest in Him. He is my rock.
Keep your thoughts fixed on Him this week, and see the fruit you will bear!
What is wisdom? The dictionary defines it as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and sound judgment, the quality of being wise. Many would think that having ample knowledge makes a person wise, but on the contrary, someone can indeed be very knowledgeable and still be very unwise. Wisdom knows how to apply knowledge correctly to one’s life.
In the world, at school, we learn that knowledge is wisdom. We digest humanism or man’s view of the world. In this view, we are the center of our universe. Each person is essentially their own god. The problem with this view is that there is no universal truth, no moral standard. What is good in one person’s eyes may not be in another and vice versa. When we remove God’s moral standard, we have no absolute moral standard to measure against, and this can cause an ethical dilemma.
We think we have to look in textbooks and listen to lectures to obtain wisdom, and though those will help us gain knowledge, only God can give proper understanding. God’s word tells us that God is the creator of all things, and living our life by His commandments and absolute principles is what a wise person would do.
The problem with us, as people, is that we are bound to our sinful flesh. We have natural tendencies to accept humanistic thought because our flesh craves it. One way to battle this is to remember that we are a consecrated souls as children of God, and we have the power to overcome these temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” God has given us all the tools to have true wisdom, to walk the path He has chosen for us. It is up to us to choose true wisdom or not.
This week my mediation verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.“
I love this verse as it has helped me often and when I am in the throes of temptation I hear the still small voice in the back of my head repeating these words to me. We all deal with temptation from time to time. But, no matter the scope of the lure itself, we can rest assured knowing that our Lord is bigger and stronger. He gives us the power to overcome, so we can quickly look for that exit and beeline to the door!
I hope this scripture will encourage you this week! If you enjoyed the wallpaper from last week, I added it again.
"People do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4
Do you ever feel like God starts to nudge you when you haven’t put any focus on him? I can feel it when I start to slide on spending time with the Lord in my day-to-day life. I get busy with the kids, errands, and household things. Time goes by so fast, and before I know it, it’s time for bed! It can be so hard to find the time to squeeze God in. That in itself is a problem. I shouldn’t have to “squeeze God in,” so I have to be adamant about making time for him. It isn’t something I am great at, but these are a few of the things I do that help me make the time to focus on the Lord and recharge my soul.
Be Intentional. Like I mentioned, I can feel it when I need to soak in the word. I start stressing, getting irritable, and I know I need to get back into God’s word. It’s not something I do because I feel like I have to, although, for my sanity, I do. Set time aside every day to meet with him and dig into his word. Make sure you can do it uninterrupted. I know it’s hard when you have kids. For me, it either has to be early in the morning or after they go to sleep. I prefer mornings, but I don’t always get to do it then.
Commit. Once you have picked a time that works best for you, You have to commit to doing it every day. You have to commit to yourself and God that you will follow through and meet with him. I know that if I promise God I will, I’m more likely to do so than if I decide on my own. I am currently in Bible Study Fellowship. This year is my third year with them. I love BSF because it is so in-depth, and it is great to have a group talk about what you have learned and hold you accountable. Accountability is always helpful. If you can’t find a person or group, it may be a good idea to write out a prayer of commitment. A study I did with Good Morning Girls asked that we do that, and I loved the idea! Something about having it in writing to God makes it more official and could help you better commit.
Create small goals. Let’s face it. The bible can be overwhelming. I found that it’s easier to commit if I do small studies or set a small goal, such as finishing one book at a time. Celebrate your accomplishments. When you complete a study, reward yourself. I feel like I accomplished an incredible feat when I can finish a devotional in its entirety, and a reward is always nice.
Engage your mind. One thing I have found that helps me is keeping a journal. It helps me focus and not let my brain wander to the kitchen or the kids. Plus, I get to think about what God is speaking to me. Even if you do not like to journal, its always good to at least answer some engaging questions to get the most out of your time in the word. Most studies come with questions of some sort, but if you are studying alone at least think about what message is being taught and how you can apply it to your life.
Engage your kids. I have always loved talking to my kids about what I’ve read. Now my kids are old enough to read with me, and they always have the best questions. My daughter has always had fantastic feedback as well. She loves talking about verses, and I love hearing what God is speaking to her through the same verses, she often hears an entirely different message, and it’s terrific sharing that with her!
If you are having trouble finding time to dive in and soak up the word in a busy world, don’t give up, God is always ready to speak to you. Just take the time to listen! These are just a few ways I can plug in and recharge. What are some ways you find work for you? Comment below!
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." Psalms 119:105
I will be starting my weeks off with scripture to meditate on for the week. We could all use some encouragement, and what better source than The Holy Word. So this week, I am meditating on Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything instead of pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Honestly, I meditate on this verse often. I have spent many nights repeating this to myself as I drift off to sleep. This verse is the second verse I memorized and one of my favorites as a chronic worrier. I hope it will bring you some comfort this week!
If you want some extra encouragement, I have included a free phone wallpaper with this weeks scripture below!
In my last post, I talked about how important it is to face sin head-on and repent from it. It is not always easy, but choosing this journey with Jesus was always promised to be complicated. Finding a great pastor who teaches biblical truths with a little bit of humor and a lot of conviction can be a challenging task. I am constantly traveling to new places so finding a home church is almost impossible, and I am sure with Covid restrictions, many of you have not been able to attend your regular church services.
I want to share my favorite pastors that I listen to daily. These men have lead me in my walk with Jesus for years.
Pastor Todd Cook of Sagebrush Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sagebrush is my home church and has been irreplaceable in all my travels. Sagebrush is the church my husband and I were baptized at, raised our children in, and most of our family is still in attendance. Pastor Todd is a wonderful pastor. He is the best at making you laugh until you want to pee and then driving home the message with a straight conviction that leaves you in tears. He is so passionate about Jesus and the incredible things he can do in your life. If you are not a native Burqueño, you can catch Pastor Todd’s message at Sagebrush Church online, or on Sagebrush Church on Apple Podcasts.
Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I have always loved to listen to pastors from Calvary Chapel. Pastor Skip is the head of Albuquerque’s church. He is a fantastic teacher. Skip brings the Bible to life with his vast knowledge of historical facts, his personal experiences in Israel, and a deep understanding of biblical truths. You can listen to Calvary Church online or Connect with Skip Heitzig on Apple Podcasts.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.
Pastor Greg is another one of my favorite pastors. I have never visited one of his services in person, but I listen to his daily podcast. His podcast is one that I listen to every morning, whether at the gym or home. I love to start my morning with some fresh biblical perspective. Pastor Greg is known for his Harvest Revivals. He was part of the Jesus Revolution of the 1960s, and he is aiming for a new revolution and massive revival. It is interesting to hear him preach with such excitement and enthusiasm. Here is the link to Harvest online or Greg Laurie on Apple Podcasts.
It is essential to find pastors whose teachings line up with biblical truths and are not afraid to preach them. I have listened to these three pastors for years, and they have always preached the good news in a straightforward but to-the-point way that will be informative, funny, and, best of all, humbly convicting. If you can’t attend church for Resurrection Sunday, I recommend tuning in to one or all of the above to feed your soul on this special day!
Have you heard of these churches? What are some of your favorite pastors?