Tag Archives: choices

Regret Syndrome

“Do you suffer from regret syndrome?” the pastor asked.

“Well, now that you mention it, I probably do,” I thought. I’ve struggled with regret for many years. Am I the only one?

A few weeks ago, I decided I’d fooled around with regret long enough. I imagined coming to a stop sign with “Nailed to the Cross” printed on it in the middle of the road.

I wrote, “Every time I’m tempted to go back to regret, I can think, ‘That one was nailed to the cross too. I don’t have to go down “Regret Road” anymore. I can get back to following Jesus.”

But what about actions I just wish I could go back and change—not necessarily sins? Perhaps I’m forgetting that God works even those things into His plans and purposes for good.

So when some old sin or foolish deed flashes into my mind, the old me might say, “Shame on me!” But the new me, transformed by Christ, would question, “What? Did that one slip out when the rest were nailed to the cross?” and that new-in-Christ me would sing for joy because of the truth of Colossians 2:13-14: “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” New Living Translation

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Life Overflowing

Niagara Falls – September 2018

God offers me abundant life through Jesus Christ. But if I stubbornly cling to my own way, and don’t listen to Jesus and don’t obey Him, my life limps along in mediocrity. In fact, the more I try to take control of my life, the more “the mediocre” turns to “the pits.” (Matthew 7:24-26)

However, if I listen to Jesus and seek Him in His Word and try to obey what He says, I grow in His love and find more of His goodness—more abundance in life.

Therefore, let me choose to listen and obey.

John 10:10 “…I [Jesus] have come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (Amplified Bible)

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land….” (New Living Translation)

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Do It Today!

In Jacob’s dream, the Lord stood at the top of a stairway and said, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15).

When I read this verse one morning, I believe God said to me, “My child, Today I am with you. Quit wishing you had believed that back when you were in college, or 20 years ago or whatever past date comes to mind. Believe it today!

Today, when you hear My voice, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7). Your mind knows you can’t go back in time even one minute, but sometimes your heart rebels against that fact. So choose today to forget the past and press on day by day remembering My presence with you (Philippians 3:12-14).

[“Not that I have already …been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. …But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal….” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)]

Jacob’s Ladder, c.1490 (oil on panel) by French School, (15th century); oil on panel Musee du Petit Palais, Avignon, France

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Skip the Bitter Fruit

For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way.” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)

The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?

  • Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
  • Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
  • Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)

Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)

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Struggle to Obey

“The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you….” (Deuteronomy 31:3 NIV)

No fear.

Lord God, I struggle to obey your command to be strong and courageous. Yet, You have promised that wherever I go, You go before me. You “cross over” ahead of me, whatever Jordan I cross over. You prepare the way.

You have told us not to be afraid or terrified because You, the Lord our God, go with us. You will never fail us in any way or for any reason. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted to fear, please prompt me to remember these truths. I can choose strength and courage because You fill me with Your power, love, and a sound mind. Thank You, Lord.

Let me forget my failures from the past, though they are many; but let me remember Your love, Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.

(See Deuteronomy 31:1-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7.)

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LIVING CRUCIFIED #4: HEAVENLY BUTS

I found this sermon by Pastor Tom extremely helpful. I’ve gone back to the final paragraphs several times for help.

Clear Bible

Photo by Szabu00f3 Viktor on Pexels.com

We tend to say things like: “Today was OK, but I think tomorrow is going to be really hard.” What we really think of as most important, or most powerful, we but after that ‘but.’ Leah was a saint who had a very difficult life. People considered her ugly. Her husband didn’t love her, and it didn’t seem like that would ever change. But (!) she learned to put God’s love after the but. We too, can find incredible life and grace by learning to put eternal truth after the ‘buts’ in our life.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Living Crucified Part 4

LIVING CRUCIFIED #4

Genesis 29:16-35

In order to really grab hold of the riches that…

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Making Progress

Journey toward Wholeness Re-blog #17 –

January 27, 2021

(Originally Published 4/25/2018)

One of my journals from 2017 contained this entry:

            “Another bad night last night. Lord, You are my God. The truth is that You are here, that You love me, that I am Your child, and that You hear and answer my prayers.

            “But today I’m having trouble believing the truth. The fear and the lies shout loudly, and I don’t feel Your presence. I have trouble hearing Your voice. I want, need, to know You and walk in real relationship with You. Could I please have a sense of Your presence today? Would you show me how to come into Your secret place and hide under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91)?”

I wonder why I had so much trouble trusting the truth. Maybe because my brain chemicals needed adjustment. Or maybe because I wanted to feel like those things were true. When I started telling myself that I could choose to believe the truth no matter what things seemed like or what my natural feelings were, I made spiritual progress. As Moses told the people, “Today I set before you life and death. Therefore, choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19).” To choose to believe the truth—that’s life. To choose to believe the lies and how I feel—that’s death. Now I’m free to choose truth and life.

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Changing Thinking

When someone suggested I call customer support about one of our office machines, I grumbled, “They’re never any help.” I added in my mind: I’ve had nothing but trouble with that stupid machine from the beginning! Also, communicating with tech support totally frustrates me.

Really? Am I thinking that people should immediately solve the problems and if not, I need to get angry? Or do I believe that because I’ve had difficulties before, things can’t change? Maybe faulty thinking is behind my irritation. How can I change?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation).

I can start with prayer. Lord, please help me! I have harbored anger and frustration in my heart. which have come out in angry words. I also felt resentful toward people who seemed to get better service than I did. I confess these things as sin. Please forgive me.

I could follow up with choosing God’s way over mine. I choose to “cease from anger and forsake wrath because it tends only to evil-doing” (Psalm 37:8–Amplified Bible). I will “put on” the new me which is being re-created in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Now I can forgive others and choose to overlook someone’s fault. I will walk in an attitude of generosity which rejoices when others are blessed.

As I follow Him, Jesus leads me to experience abundant life. What a relief to be able to accomplish my tasks without tripping over my old non-renewed mind!

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Paths of Peace

Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”

Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.

When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).

Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.

Amen.

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Hope in God – Journey Reblog 11

As my journey continued through the distress of almost constant panic, I journaled about my feelings. In mid-January I wrote:

The hours and days pass moment by moment, and I feel faithless and fearful. But I choose to trust in You, Lord Jesus Christ.

            I need sleep! I got very little last night. Lord, You are the One who sustains my body. You know what I need, and You determine how soon the meds will take effect. You are the One who gives sleep.

            I seek You. I need You, Lord! You alone can help me. I don’t feel faithful or trusting, but You alone are Lord, and I’m determined to believe and trust You. Please heal my body and mind. Amen.

When a godly friend prayed for me, I thought that would fix everything. I was disappointed that I still woke up every couple of hours at night and first thing in the morning in panic. I also feared that I would be a disappointment to her—as though it were my responsibility to make the answers come instead of God’s!

Maybe I’m trusting in my ability to believe God instead of trusting in God Himself.

            Father, I don’t know how to change. Please help me focus on You and really trust You. Amen.

The medicine did finally start helping me sleep. I came to the place where I didn’t wake up in panic mode each morning.  By balancing brain chemicals, the medicine also enabled more reasonable ways of thinking. And God is helping me to change my thoughts to healthier patterns (Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”)*

So I want to encourage anyone who is still thrashing through the forest of anxiety/depression symptoms to hope or keep hoping in God. He will lead you out of your distress at just the right time because His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 42:5 “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”*

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”*

 

*Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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