The Struggle to Embrace Change

leaves-changing-colors_pan_24685We human beings are very resistant to change. Have you ever noticed this about yourself or about others? We will come up with a host of excuses why we shouldn’t (or can’t) change, or go through a myriad of negative emotions when change occurs that is outside of our control. It seems it is one of the most difficult things for us to do without dread, fear, reluctance, hesitation, complaining, etc. It seems innately ingrained in us that we do not want to change. I admit I don’t like it. For one, it is difficult. Old habits die hard. The longer the habit, the harder it is to break it. It doesn’t matter if the habit is as simple as our morning routine, or as difficult as changing jobs or moving away from home.

During my years in ministry, I often encountered this resistance in people who said they were desperate to be free. One lady told me on the phone she had battled depression for over 20 years and tearfully said she was desperate to be free from this torment. But during our 2nd or 3 session, when I challenged an ungodly belief (lie) she had about being a victim, and asked her to break agreement with it, and receive the truth that Jesus had paid for her healing, she refused, saying she could not believe that. The reality was she wouldn’t believe it, because it required her to change her way of thinking about and seeing herself. Believing is always a choice, and we have the freedom to choose what we do or don’t believe. She left that day, still in bondage to the depression because she refused to change.

I see the same type of behavior when teaching others about the importance of taking care of your health, using non-toxic products whenever possible, changing diet, exercise, reducing stress, etc. Changing one’s diet, or starting an exercise regimen is no easy matter when it’s been neglected for years. Until they get the diagnosis from the doctor – they have cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes, or they just stay sick, run down, and lethargic most of the time. Then they might be wiling to try something different. But why does it take such drastic circumstances to get us to change?

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.” We hear that and chuckle, but so many people actually live this way! My favorite question to ask people, and I’ve been asking it for years, when I recognize their resistance to change, is, “So, how’s that been working for you?” Most people will acknowledge it hasn’t, but so many still refuse to change. Our resistance to change, I believe, is because we are living in denial, and many are deceived into thinking they are not.

Yes, change is difficult and often painful, but the consequences of refusing to change are even worse. God will help us, if we are willing. What seems impossible for us can be possible when we cooperate with Him each day. I have found that when I embrace the need and willingness to change, it is seldom as awful as I think it will be. Too often, our imaginations get the best of us and sabotage our efforts before we even get started. Change is inevitable. We can choose to do it willingly and make it easier, or we can be drug along, kicking and screaming. I’ve done it both ways, and have decided it is best to embrace changes. What about you?

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Freedom

1*A3VYCTO3MZwu1K1VhwGv9gWell, I have been MIA for a few weeks with a bad case of writer’s block; at least that’s what it’s felt like. I realize, too, that my transition from doing full-time ministry into the business world has caused my focus to change quite a bit. Even though I view my business as also being a ministry, I believe I am still trying to find my voice in this new and unfamiliar realm. One thing I have already noticed is that so much of what I learned from ministry is also relevant in business. My passion in ministry of seeing people set free, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, has become a passion to see them set free from sickness, harmful side effects, toxic products, and debt.

I am working through this process myself, just as I did years ago before feeling the call to ministry. I have learned from experience that you can’t take people where you haven’t been. I have been experiencing my own freedom in some of these areas and I know that will continue until I have achieved the goals and dreams God has put in my heart. Only then will I be fully equipped to lead more people into that same freedom. Though I am still very much in the early stages of this business/ministry, I am excited, hopeful, and expectant that much good will come from it – not just for myself and my family, but for those whose paths cross mine. God gave me a promise from His Word as a new believer many years ago that He causes all things to work together for good. (Rom. 8:28)

Whatever our vocation, He is faithful and will complete the good work He has begun in each of us, for our benefit and so that we may be a blessing to many others. He came to give us abundant life and paid the price for us to have freedom in every area of our lives. My desire is to walk in all that He has made possible. What is yours?

The Door That Leads to the Heart of God

shutterstock_370535978My husband and I recently got to spend a couple of days with our oldest daughter who lives in the northeast and whom we haven’t seen since last Christmas. She’s been living far from home for several years now, so seeing her only a couple of times a year has been normal, yet it never gets any easier for this momma’s heart. We all laughed together, watching old home movies which always brings up memories from the past, and leaves me in a reflective state of mind for several days.

Since becoming a mom just over 30 years ago, I have found that no other experience in my life has helped me to understand the heart of God like being a parent. I’m not sure it’s possible to really feel true unconditional love until you hold your own child in your arms for the first time (and every time after that). Realizing for the first time that the tiny human you helped to create is totally helpless and dependent upon you to live, is a sobering weight of responsibility, yet full of joy and excitement at the same time. In that moment, you know that if it ever came down to it, you would lay down your life for this child. You feel the same way for every one of them.

As they grow into teenagers, you feel the pain they feel as they experience rejection from friends, heartbreak from broken relationships, fear about fitting in, stress from making important decisions. You not only feel their emotions, but you also feel the fear of letting them make choices that could alter the course of their lives. Of course, you offer counsel and advice, but often in their quest for independence, your wisdom isn’t heeded. Still, you love and pray for God to watch over and guide them. You want to protect them, but realize they have to learn from their mistakes just like you have.

When they become adults and begin their own lives apart from you, your deepest desire is that they would be healthy, happy, emotionally stable, and ready, as much as is possible, to face a vast, unknown future. Having done your best, with God’s help, to get them to this stage in life, you hope they will remember what you’ve taught them, and one day teach it to their children as well.

Through this process, God is continually allowing us to feel His heart for us, as His children. He truly loves us unconditionally, no matter what we do or don’t do, and whether we reciprocate His love or not. He laid down His life for us when we were totally helpless to save ourselves and He continues to take care of us, no matter our age. He knows, far better than we do, how totally dependent we are upon Him for everything.

He feels every pain that we experience in this life, and He weeps with, and comforts us in our sorrows. Even when we make poor choices, He allows us to learn from our mistakes rather than always protecting us from the consequences, though they be painful. He also laughs and rejoices with us in our victories. He wants us to grow to maturity, though we never reach a point where we don’t need Him anymore. He desires that we also teach our children about Him, generation after generation, that He might truly have a family, which was His desire from before creation. Truly, the ability to create life and raise our children is one of the greatest, if not the greatest privileges He has given to us as His children. It is a door that leads us straight into His heart.

Guarding Your Heart Against the Danger of Offense

Charlene S Hughes

heart_0These days, in our politically correct society, everyone is offended at something or someone, it seems. You hear it on TV; read it on social media; see it in the workplace; even in the Church. Offense has become an epidemic. According to the dictionary, offense means, “something that offends or displeases; the feeling of resentful displeasure caused; the act of attacking; attack or assault.” Everyone has an opinion, and the slightest disagreement often leads to offense. This violation can escalate to anger, hate, even violence. At times it appears that some people are looking for something to be offended about.

The biblical definition of offense means, “to cause one to stumble or fall away; to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority; to cause one to judge unfavorably or unjustly of another; to make indignant.” In Matthew 13 as Jesus taught in the…

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Learning to Love Yourself

love-yourselfThose who have been believers in Jesus for very long are quite familiar with the first Two of the Ten Commandments, which Jesus said were the two greatest. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” is what He said. (Matt. 22:37-40) We hear a lot about loving our neighbor, doing good for others, helping the poor, etc. But we hear little to nothing about loving ourselves. Yet, if you break down what Jesus said in terms of priority, it would be:

  1. Love God with all your being
  2. Love yourself
  3. Love your neighbor

He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, we can’t love our neighbors the way He would have us to until we first learn to love ourselves. Most believers would claim that is selfish and even against what Jesus taught. But is it really? Do we ever stop and think about what it actually means to love ourselves the way God wants us to? If we think that the love He is speaking of is selfish, greedy, or self-indulgent, we are wrong. That’s not biblical love. Biblical love is desiring and doing what is best for the beloved, no matter what the cost.

So what does that kind of love look like when we refer to loving ourselves? I believe it means many, many things, but for the sake of space, I will list some of the most important ones. Loving oneself, I believe, means (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Taking care of your body – getting proper sleep, exercise, eating healthy, avoiding toxins as much as possible.
  2. Setting healthy boundaries – taking time for yourself, for leisure, hobbies, personal space, quiet time, rest. Saying “no” whenever necessary in order to have that time.
  3. Taking care of yourself emotionally – learning healthy ways to release negative emotions, receiving inner healing, forgiving those who have hurt you, be a human “being,” not a human “doing.”
  4. Taking responsibility for your spiritual health – spending time with God each day, in His Word, prayer, worship, fasting, journaling, your own personal expressions. Also just resting in His presence, letting Him love and minister to you is so crucial. Seek to see yourself as God sees you, this is key to loving yourself the way that He does.

These are just a few ways you can begin to love yourself. Each one could include a list of things you can do, and some things you need to avoid as well. I see and hear believers nearly every day say the worst things about themselves. Many go so far as to even hate themselves. When we do that, we grieve the heart of our Father who created us in His image and loves us infinitely! If we struggle to love ourselves, we are really struggling to love God. When we receive the revelation of God’s great love and passion for us, in spite of our sins, flaws, weaknesses, imperfections, failures, etc., it is easy to love ourselves the way that He does. Then we can truly begin to love our neighbors, because He loves all of them just as much.

Is it Wrong to Need to Be Right?

Charlene S Hughes

Animals___Wild_artiodactyls_Two_deer_butt_097461_Have you ever been around someone who seemed to have a need to always be right? Perhaps you feel that way. I know I did for way too many years. If someone said something I disagreed with, or knew to be wrong, I was always quick to point out their error, or tell them why what they said was incorrect. Unfortunately, for those around me, it was terribly annoying to say the least. My attitude certainly didn’t win me any friends, and often drove my family crazy. In these increasingly dark times we live in, the need to be right has grown by epidemic proportions. It is especially evident in both the news media and the world of social media. Maybe it seems that way because social media relentlessly provides a platform for every thought, word, and deed, both good and bad, of millions of users.

Everyone has a point…

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Keys to Discovering Your Passion and Purpose

right_questions-300x222Many people, believers included, live their lives with no real sense of purpose. They wander aimlessly from relationship to relationship, from job to job, and often from one location to another, never having any clear sense of direction. I was that way myself and I talk to people all the time that are in a similar place. I’ve heard several messages on the subject and found that one of the keys to discovering your purpose is to first find your passion. This can be difficult too, if you’re not sure how to recognize what it is. There are a few questions that can help get you started, such as, what do you get excited about? What makes you get up in the morning? What do you love to talk about? If time and money were no issue, what would you choose to do with your life? What do you dream about doing? What makes you cry when you hear, see, or read something? What stirs up your compassion? These are just a few to get your mental wheels turning.

Spend some time thinking, rethinking, and praying over these questions. Discovering your passion can often lead you to discovering your purpose. The things that move you, that stir you up, are usually an indication that those may be areas in which you’re called to serve. If you feel compassion for sick people, perhaps your purpose is to go into the medical field. If you get stirred up by stories about human trafficking, maybe you’re called to join or start a ministry that frees victims. I’m sure you get the idea.

God has a purpose for your life that is far beyond living in survivor mode, just trying to get from one day to the next, from one paycheck to the next, from one crisis to the next. Some people sadly never find that purpose. You were not an accident. You’re not here to just take up space, or to get by as best you can until your days on earth are over. God’s ultimate purpose for everybody is to know Him and be conformed into His image. Any other purpose He has for us plays into that one, and He wants us to find fulfillment and satisfaction in living that purpose out. He came to give us abundant life, meaning, life to the fullest. A life full of meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment, no matter what our purpose may be, is His desire for us.

Don’t waste any more time just living from day to day, trying to get by. Jesus paid the price for us to live abundantly, and to throw that away would be foolish, not to mention irreverent. Ask Him to show you what your passion(s) and purpose is. He put it in you, so He is not trying to hide it from you! Ask yourself the questions I mentioned earlier, and He will help you to discover and live the life of meaning and purpose He desires for you.