November 24, 2011

What are You Thankful For?

May the Lord of all creation fill your heart, mind, and life with His grace and mercy.

May you look around your reality today and see His fingerprints everywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 23, 2011

There was a time...

For today, I want to side step a bit and share a bit about my own journey with taking thoughts captive.

Many years ago life was unbearable for me. No details necessary, trust me, just the truth that life was very bad. I was too proud to admit to anyone that I was hurting as much as I was so I walked a very dark road alone; or so it seemed.

I did not know the Lord as well as I do today. I was pretty new at trusting Him in every aspect of my life. I had no idea how to cope and survive with my life's reality, so I ran away in my own mind.

In my head I created an entire alter universe if you will. It was pretty elaborate. In every moment of the day that I was was alone I was in this alter world mentally and emotionally. I was happy there. Loved. Nurtured. Busy with good deeds.

It is embarrassing to admit even the tip of the iceberg with this area of my past, yet I believe that some of my readers may struggle with their thoughts as much as I have.

When the Lord finally got my attention, He very clearly spoke to my heart that I was in sin in my own mind. I had created an elaborate false world that did not honor Him. He told me in no such words that this part of my life had to die.

I ignored Him for a while, but eventually I realized that my own fantasy was keeping me from facing and dealing with my life. My imaginary world had to be destroyed so that I could enter the real world.

You may laugh, but this was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My thoughts wandered every single second. I was quick to run and hide in my own head.

The Lord took my heart and walked me through the transition. I sang praise songs, prayed, talked to the Lord out loud, read and memorized scripture. I remember one day driving on a work errand. I was almost screaming at myself as I pleaded with the Lord to help me. I wanted to honor Him, but my secret world was so much happier and better than my real world. I wrestled this with the Lord and He eventually beat me. (Actually He mercifully allowed me to surrender).

You may think I am ridiculous, however I know that if something is true for me it's likely true for someone else. Out of fear of reality I had created this magical kingdom. It was very hard to pack my thoughts and move out.

Fast forward a few decades and the Lord has honestly rescued me from myself. I am fully present in my life. I do not run and hide in my mind like I used to, although there are many days that I struggle with myself. I have learned that taking thoughts captive is sometimes an almost impossible task and can feel like hand to hand combat. There are days that I collapse from exhaustion from fighting my own imagination.

The amazing thing, for me, is that as I look at the things I am supposed to think about: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, etc I am reminded about my past thought enslavement. My mind was truly in chains, yet the Lord mercifully released me.

But it took effort. A Lot of effort.
There's no pixie dust here, no happy thought that will make my life "fly" like Peter Pan.

I have to purpose each and every moment how to look at a glass. Is it half full? Half empty? Chipped? Cracked? Beautiful?

When I struggle most I need to run to the word, recite scripture, put my headphones in and hide in the closet while I meditate on the words to praise music, or ask someone who loves me to pray.

Every single moment we have a choice. Be content and trust that the Lord has our back, or grumble, whine, and complain about our circumstances.

When I find myself being negative, frustrated, angry, or confused...
I talk myself back as I pray...
...back to Him.
...back to peace.

~~Where are you today? Are you exhausted because you have been wrestling your own thoughts? My prayer for you is that you will look up from the floor and see the face of Your God looking at you with compassion. Allow Him to give you true victory over your mind. It is too hard for you, however rejoice that nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible for God~~

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 22, 2011

Whatever is Pure

I have finally recovered from my own cold and its time to focus my thoughts more clearly.  We've already taken a quick look at thoughts that are true, noble, and right.

How are you doing with this whole "taking your thoughts captive" thing?

I have to admit, it is a lot easier on paper than in practice, however I have seen such a huge benefit in my own life due to a concentrated study. My head is always my worst enemy and I love that the Lord already knew I would struggle in this area. He so graciously meets me each time I spend time with Him. His word is truly alive!

Next on our thought checklist is to make sure our thoughts are pure. I love that the Lord is covering all the bases, don't you?

Pure simply means "Unmixed with any other type of matter. Free from harshness or roughness." Exactly!

If I am fixed on Jesus and surrendering my will to His, then there is not any room for "other" types of thoughts. Selfishness cannot exist if I am studying His unselfishness and yielding to His leading each day.

Since God is a God of love and peace, and since He lives in me, then there will NOT be harshness or roughness in my thoughts, words, or actions.

(Hard swallow) The more I study the word the more I become aware of what a wretch I truly am.

When I mix the Words in red with any other material, my thoughts become polluted. I am easily deceived and misled, so I have to be careful what I read. I prefer to stay in the Word, rather than risk an "oil spill" in my brain.

Where I am not as vigilant in guarding my thoughts is when I sit to watch television. I can easily find my vegetative state after a long day and become hypnotized by, well, stupidity. This stupidity leaks into my thoughts and affects my life.

I find the sweet Hallmark movies a perfect example. After watching some of the wonderfully sappy shows that are on lately I can find myself discouraged that my life doesn't measure up. I can entertain negative thoughts about my own husband. "If only he..." I can beat myself up as I compare myself to those amazing women portrayed on the big screen, "If only I..."

When I mix what the Lord has called me to be and do and I dare to compare it with what I perceive He has called you to do, my thoughts and life become murky.

I believe that thinking on "Whatever is Pure" is essential to walking in peace. (Funny that I would agree with the Lord).
When there is an input category of "other" I need to be on guard.

Its a sneaky process. The enemy is truly a liar and a thief desperate to rob us of our peace. We need to be careful in our own lives that we are conscious of what we mix in our minds.

I will stop comparing my life to yours, you need to never compare your life to any one's either. There is no peace there. We need to be purposeful in choosing what we read, watch, and absorb. There are no innocent bystanders here.

Focus on things that are pure: the Love of Christ, the fact He promises peace without understanding, that He is our strength, the promises He gives (and keeps) in His word, His direction and will for our lives. He is so good.

Lord, help us be simple minded people, content within our lives and circumstances, and laser locked on You and Your Word.

I find it hard not to compare my life to others during the holidays.
How about you?

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 17, 2011


I have struggled with my own thoughts this past week.
Funny how that works. Here I am studying and sharing about taking thoughts captive and I find myself being my own student. You gotta laugh.

Nothing reveals where my heart condition is truly at better than sickness or drama running through my life. This past week or two it's been sickness. You know, I never think having five boys is so overwhelming until they all have simultaneous issues. This has been my reality lately.

Fall has brought a burst of beautiful color to our trees, snow capped accenting to our local mountains, and sickness to my home. All 5 of my children have been sick lately. Since I have a couple kids with asthma, "not feeling well" can quickly turn into quite the drama. To top it all off my husband and I have come down with our own versions of what our kids had... Fun!

Back to my thoughts. When I do not feel well I am prone, very probe, to internal grumbling. When my husband is sick, I become acutely aware that I was wise not to become a nurse. I am not patient, loving, and kind naturally. I have to die to my self daily and ask (or beg) for the Lord to flow through my life. When I do not feel well I tend to take my eyes off the Lord and begin to see my life through different eyes.

I confess that this is where my heart has been. Struggling to focus on my negative thought and drag them kicking and screaming through the filters of "whatever is true", "whatever is right", "whatever is noble". It has been almost a world class wrestling match in my head. I'm a bit exhausted.

Yesterday, as I began my day in a full frenzy, my best friend and soul mate encouraged me to filter my day through the priorities the Lord has set before me. In my flesh I was mad. "I do not have time to rethink my day!" but I listened.

I flipped my Bible to the Proverbs of the day (yesterday was the 16th so I read/prayed through Proverbs 16) and there it was in black and white. Paraphrased: I can make all the plans I want, but the Lord is in charge of what really happens. (big sigh)

I surrendered my thoughts, plans, and life once again and ran through my list of priorities.
I had too much to do and not enough time to do everything.

My list was filled with last minute homework assignments for my children, holiday workshops at school, budget and checkbook balancing, menu planning and list making, dinner to plan, and a few hundred other little things.

My original plan was to do all the publically noticeable things first and to leave some core things to do until the evening. After spending time with the Lord I knew I had to do things correctly.

I first prayed for my husband and children and anyone that the Lird placed on my heart.
Then I did the things that would bless my husband: budget, checkbook balance, menu plan, and grocery list. (he hates going through these ontge weekend and it always blesses him when I get them done mid week.

I then planned dinner (loaded baked potatoes and salad). I placed the foil wrapped meal in the oven and set the automatic oven so I didn't have to think about it later.
Then I hit school assignment with the it's
And finally the more public project for the school.
No, I did not get everything done, but there was peace between my husband, my children and I.
Those things that didn't get done, will today.

Taking our thoughts captive can be challenging any day of the year, but it's impossible if we do not approach God. He's right there, waiting.

I'd encourage you to take your heart, thoughts, and "to do" list and sit with the Lord.
Do everything in His order. It's the only order with peace surrounding it...

My priorities:
My husband
My children
My extended family
My church family
My community.

How about you? Do you have a priority checklist?
Where does your family fall on your list?

November 9, 2011

Whatever is Right

Everyone likes to be right.

OK, I confess, I like to be right.
Being wrong is a very hard thing for me.
I think I was born competitive.

My husband is a book collector. A few years back he purchased the 1828 version of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language.
I love this dictionary.
Intertwined with the black and white definitions are God's word and truths.

Today I am examining thoughts that are right. As I look up the word in my 3 inch thick dictionary I can see this is one of those entries that cover more than one full column. Yikes.

I love Noah's second definition:
In morals and religion, just; equitable; accordant to the standard of truth and justice or the will of God. That alone is right in the sight of God, which is constant to His will or law; this being the only standard of truth and justice.

Wow, I love that. The measure of right uses God's will and laws as the standard.

In black and white, right is fair, true, lawful, proper, straight, and fit.

The truth is that right is a relative term depending upon what filter you are looking through.

The goal here is to filter my thoughts through the word and will of God.
Because that where the promise of peace is hidden in plain sight.

Back to my "need" to be right. It's the self-centered thought that gets me in trouble, the pride behind the words spoken, the lack of humility that makes my "right" wrong.

This one can look harmless at first. Be careful. I am afraid we will be tested on this one very soon. If a thought seems right, yet is wrapped in arrogance, pride,self-interest or deceit then it is most definitely wrong!

Need an example?
Recently, my husband and I disagreed about a parenting issue.
I knew I was right and I made no mystery about that fact.
I "agreed" to do things his way, but I wasn't quiet about the fact that  I knew better.

In the end, he was proved right and I saw the light.
Unfortunately, because I had stood on my own pride to declare my thoughts of being right, I ended up undermining his authority in our home.
I am still trying to undo the damage.

If only I had filtered my thoughts through the word...

Not everyone struggles with pride the way I do, yet I know we all struggle with the thoughts in our head.

Today, let our hearts be so full of God's wisdom that we cannot hear our own foolishness!

How about you? Do you struggle with being "right"?

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 7, 2011

2011 Homeschool Blog Awards! Vote Now!

I am so honored to have been nominated for this years Home school Blog Awards. Everyday as I read your emails, notes, or comments I am humbled to have the privilege to speak to your heart!

Click here to vote for "A Penny for Your Thoughts" for the category of
Best Encourager

You can vote once per person in your household anytime between now and November 18th, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PST).
(yes, even the baby can vote if they are encouraged:))
Make sure to take a few minutes and go vote for your favorites and let your bloggers know you love them! Spread the word!

Love and Blessings,

November 6, 2011

Whatever is Noble

This kind of thought is a little bit more abstract for my brain, because I do not normally think in terms of nobility. SO, I looked it up in the dictionary.
Don't laugh.
I love the dictionary!
If God tells me that my thoughts are to be noble, then I better have a clear understanding of what that means, right?

It turns out that there is the obvious definition of nobility pertaining to "class, title, and rank". This was what I thought, yet I had to chew on that for a bit. How do those things honor the Lord in my mind?

definition said Nobility also involves an heir of "being special; set apart". A noble thought is excellent, holds a high moral standard and is wrapped in dignity.

Wow. Have I told you before that I love God's word? It seems like the deeper I go, the more I realize I barely scratch the surface...

 I have already discovered that my thoughts are to be true, but  now to the truth they also must be noble.

In regards to the whole title, rank, class part I am to have no hint of arrogance in the truth that I am set apart for Christ. I am His and that alone make me special (to Him). Arrogant thoughts would be a warning that I have forgotten to think true thoughts. Truth is I am nothing, He is everything.

Back to noble. My thoughts are to be excellent. This one convicts me. I have a lot of thoughts in a day.
I mean a lot.
I have to confess most of them are not "excellent".

In my crazy world, my head is usually spinning as I race from one task to another. This does not produce "excellent" thoughts. I need to slow down in order to ensure that I am purposeful even in my own head. (I can see that this is going to be a lifelong process).

The last two parts of thinking noble thoughts is that I should have "high moral thoughts" and they should be wrapped in dignity. That seems pretty obvious. If I am looking over the fence in my head dreaming that the grass is greener over "there" then I am likely not having high moral thoughts.

There's a praise song that says,
"Lord my heart, is prone to wander.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord take and seal it. Seal it for Your Courts above."

I love that. The truth is the Lord already knows my mind will wander.
An immoral thought, a doubt, an inward complaint is not a sinful thought UNLESS I dwell on it and allow it to take root.

Our enemy is the father of lies and I believe some of the bloodiest spiritual battles are fought between our ears.

Today, let our thoughts be true: absolutely! But may they also be highly moral and wrapped in dignity. May we dwell excellence and be conscious of idle thinking.

Since the Word says clearly, "As a man thinks, So is he" I choose to be conscious of my thoughts.

What's your thought on thinking noble thoughts?

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 4, 2011

True or TRUE

As I was going to sleep last night I was thinking about focusing on truth again.
I was thinking that there may be some people that think that I am over simplifying this process of thinking on "whatever is true."
I know that this is an area that I have personally struggled with in my own Christian walk, so I can only assume there are others like me...

With that in mind:

If You and I were sitting across from one another and I held up a quarter so that each of us could see one side: What would you see?
One of us would see Heads
The other would see tails, right?

If we had never seen that coin before we could argue forever about what we are looking at. Because we can only see one side at a time, it's hard to relate to the "other" side.The truth is that we would both be correct. One of us would absolutely be looking at Washington, the other would definitely be looking at an eagle (if its an older quarter).

In our thoughts, truth is like that.

There are two sides to every thought. One Truth is encouraging, one truth  is destructive.
One truth is from the Lord, the other is from the enemy.

Just like the quarter our thoughts have two sides.
One side is faith filled, the other is doubt filled.
One side is hope filled, one side is defeated.

When taking our thoughts captive, we need to consider the quarter. While both sides are true, we can only look at one side at a time. We need to choose which thoughts to "look" at each moment.
We need to choose the side the Lord would want us to see.

In your own mind today, choose thoughts of truth. God's Truth.
No matter what you are facing, there is a faith-filled, hope-filled thought.

If you are struggling and cannot think of anything good, ask the Lord to show you.
He is faithful.

God has a lot to say about thoughts. Grab your Bible and discover for yourself...

November 2, 2011

Whatever is True

 It has been a few days since I have written, because I have really taken this thought to heart. As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my own head. Thoughts are amazingly powerful. They effect the expression on my face, change the tone of my voice, and scream through my body language.

It's urgently important that I think properly. Like I shared last time, this is a major key to having the peace of God in my life.
I want peace.
I crave peace.
I want the people around me to observe me at peace.

If my thoughts are on track, then my face will be relaxed and quick to smile; my tone will be gentle and in control, and my body will not be all tense.

I am going to dive deeper into this for a few days.
My thoughts are to be about "whatever is true."

But what kind of true?

It is true that, no matter what state or condition my life is in at this moment, it is better than what I deserve.

It is true that the Lord is always with me.

It is true that God wants my praise, not my perfection.
Since I cannot be perfect, I should not pretend to be. I should lovingly devote my everything to Jesus and know that's enough.

It is true that I am a sinner saved by grace.

Jesus is truth. His ways are perfect. If I acknowledge that He is with me in every moment and I believe it with all my heart, then I am filled with truth as well.

The Word is so powerful.
It doesn't matter if it is spoken, written, or even thought.
Since the power of "life and death are in the tongue", I have to assume that this is true even when words are spoken only in my own mind.

Jesus knows my thoughts.
He said that those who hate; commit murder. Those who lust; commit adultery.
He's pretty serious about what goes "unspoken".

My heart and thoughts need to match my appearance.
If I love my Lord, then the truth is that my heart is filled with praise, worship, and prayer.

If I love my husband, then I am constantly dwelling on the truth of how blessed I am to be his wife and how big of an honor it is to serve him.

If its true then I am thankful, even when frustrated.
I have been blessed to be married for over 20 years now and I know my husband deserves a medal for making it this far and still being in love with me.
It is true I am blessed.

If its true I love my children, then I will pray for them and will not be lazy in their training.
If its true that I love them, then my heart dwells on the truth that I only have them under my wing for a few short breaths; then they move on. The truth is I must make the most of every moment.

See why it's been a few days? I've been picking this verse apart and I feel I barely scratched the surface.

How about you? Think about "whatever is true" in your life. If its true then...

I'd love to hear what's on your heart.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."