5 affirmations that changed my day

Recently, my husband accidentally stumbled across some affirmations I had written in my journal months before we left for our family vacation. He shared his surprise that I had begun to mentally prepare for the trip long before we left.

We were planning to spend 12 days visiting his family in Germany and then taking a mini 8 day trip to Italy and Greece with our children. That trip was rigorous visiting a total of four cities and a new Airbnb every couple of nights.

I had read that we tend to remember events based on the emotions we attach to them.  When you come home from a vacation all you have left is memories, right?  Knowing I am not a born traveler and tend toward safe comfortable places where both my feet are on the ground, my journal affirmations came from a place of knowing the trip would challenge and stretch me.

Affirmations

I first read about affirmations in Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning.  My initial reaction was one of feeling like they were silly. I felt like it was the philosophy that everyone is a winner – everyone gets a trophy for trying – you know, positive thinking mumbo-jumbo.

But when I began to pay attention to my thoughts I began to realize how much negative chatter went on in my head.   I realized I would never talk to another person the way I talked to myself. (You are so stupid, I can’t believe you said that. Or, you know this plane is going to crash, right?)

An affirmation is a statement that declares something to be true.

Ephesians 2:22-24 encourages us to replace stinky thoughts with truth. One of the definitions of the name Satan is accuser.  (Rev. 12:10-11). He is also called the Father of lies (John 8:44). We don’t have to believe the worry, anxiety and fear that loops through our heads. Jesus came to set us free from the power of the enemy.   Freedom is found by replacing the lies of accusation, shame, and insecurity with words of truth, light and hope.

While reading the book of 1 John I noticed that in the middle the book, John summarizes the purpose of the letter he was writing. He also specifically mentions each age group, clarifying that no one was exempt from the truths. As I looked at the verses I realized they were affirmations.  John is assuring us of the truths that we need to tell ourselves.

5 Affirmations from 1 John

  1. Your sins are forgiven through Jesus
  2. You know God who has been from the beginning
  3. You are strong
  4. The Word of God lives in you
  5. You have overcome the evil one

These are some strong statements. Statements that I want my soul to believe. I wrote these on my mirror in the bathroom so I can remember who I am. I’m finding that focusing my mind on truth isn’t a one time experience. Left to its default my mind is soon swimming in a pool of what-ifs and if-onlys.  Especially when I am in a HALT moment (hungry, angry, lonely, tired).   It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes moment-by-moment choice to think on what is true.  (Phil. 4:6-8)

As for the family trip? It was fun and it was stressful.  There were long lines, lots of people and tight spaces.  We loved well, laughed often and cried together (or maybe it was just me who cried. What happens in Rome stays in Rome.  Just sayin’. )  We made great memories. And, I found new freedom by doing the hard and uncomfortable thing and standing up to my fears and coming out the other side alive.


 

How about you? Have you tried affirmations? Have you found them helpful?

1 John 2:12-14

I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
14 I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.


Father in heaven,
I thank you that you are the same unchanging God from the beginning of time to now. I thank you for your loving kindness and limitless love. I thank you that Jesus stands in my place, that I am forgiven for my sins. I am strong. I choose to replace negative thoughts with the truth of your Word. I thank you for giving me truth and life and bring defeat to the accusations and lies the enemy tried to defeat me with. Amen.

Be Bold – a coloring devotional review

Be Bold Book Cover Be Bold
Ellen Elliott
Young Adult Nonfiction
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
March 1, 2017
80

Be Bold offers an outlet to simultaneously focus on God's Word and express creativity. Using scripture as the foundation for her designs, Ellen Elliot takes readers through a series of inspiring verses reinforced with short devotional writings. Topics include joy, hope, self-image, peace, and more. Each coloring page and corresponding devotional will help the reader develop a closer relationship with the Heavenly Father.

My Thoughts

This book has a month’s worth of 31 devotionals. On the right side of the page, there is a Bible verse, a theme and a short  5-minute devotional.  On the left side is a page to color.   Some of the themes are: Believe who God says you are, Choose joy, Jesus never changes, and Trust in the Lord.

The book is marketed to teens – but, I think it would be fun for any age. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my teen years are a very distant memory!  Coloring is a great stress reliever and I enjoy coloring pages where there is a focus on Bible verse. I find myself thinking about that truth while I color.

What I liked

  • At the back of the book are 12 blank pages to write prayers or notes
  • The coloring pages are bold and whimsical, not tiny details.  Fun to color!
  • The pages are a thicker paper.

What I didn’t like

  • The pages aren’t perforated. I often prefer to tear the pages out to color them
  • The pages don’t lay flat – not a deal breaker for me but could be a challenge if you are left handed.

I would recommend it to

I think it would make a great gift for a teen or tween.

I have received a copy of this book from Tyndale for an honest review of the product.  

Zip It – a book review

Zip It Book Cover Zip It
Karen Ehman
Religion
Zondervan
February 7, 2017
240

Zip It empowers readers to put into action the advice and commands of Scripture concerning the tongue. Karen Ehman now takes a deeper look and offers practical how-to's that will inspire you to use your words to build, to bless, to encourage, and to praise. Each entry ends with both a challenge that will help you carry out the directive in the verse and a prayer prompt. Rather than a traditional devotional, the entries in Zip It build upon each other, equipping you with new habits in how to, or not to, use words.

 

My Thoughts

I read this book during the 40 days leading up to Easter.  Each morning I took jotted a line from the book on the top of my journal page. It was a visible reminder throughout the day to be aware of my words.

Some notes I wrote in my journal:

  • Praise not put downs
  • Our thoughts are the birthplace of our words
  • Don’t say something permanently painful because you are temporarily ticked off.
  • Take time to cool down – then address issues
  • Are my words truth and hope or confusion and discouragement?
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit and be yourself.
  • Jesus knows my thoughts. How does he feel about the way I treat myself?
  • Put my mouth on a ten-second DRV delay.
  • Are my words appropriate, gracious and necessary?

What I liked

  • Each day was structured with a Bible verse, a short lesson, Today’s Takeaways, Lessons for the Lips and a prayer.
  • There were lots of practical suggestions on how-to’s to use your words to bless and encourage others.
  • This isn’t a book you read through in a few hours and then set on your shelf.  I feel I gained practical tools for my tool box to help me in my journey of being a blessing and not negative and hurtful with my tongue.

 

I would recommend it to

Anyone looking for a devotional that has depth and practical application.

Sum it up

The tongue is a powerful tool that can be used to encourage and build up or tear down and hurt. You have the choice on which way you use it.


I have received a copy of this book from Zondervan for an honest review of the product.  

A to Z Reflections

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Psalms 103:1

 

This is my second year doing the A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a post every day of the month of April (except Sundays) using the letters A-Z.

At the end of the challenge last year I decided I would plan ahead better this year and write some posts in March.  March started off strong with choosing a theme and writing out possible post titles for each day.  But, then the flu hit our house for most of March, and my mom duties trumped writing.

When April 1 rolled around, I had decided I had too much on my plate and I wouldn’t do it. Then April 2 came and I saw my calendar with the theme chosen and a word for God for each day of the month written in and I decided to go for it.

And I’m glad I did. Thank you to everyone who read or commented this month. You’ve been a blessing to me!

My biggest takeaway

After spending a month reflecting on the character of God my take away is that God is God and I am not.  He is so beyond what my mind can grasp.  As I read Psalms 103 this morning I realized I could spend the rest of my life trying to answer the question, “Who is God?” and still only have a glimpse of His majesty and power.  Yet, it is a worthwhile pursuit, I believe.  As I realize more of who God is my love swells for Him and others.

Lessons I learned

  1.  I love writing.  I mean I really, really love writing – like catching the drips of a triple decker chocolate ice cream melting down my hand on a hot July day.
  2. Doing one thing means not doing another.  Time is a limited commodity – that was evident to me last month.  My zero-inbox email has become the 100’s of unread emails inbox.  I didn’t read as much as I would have liked.  My husband is a saint, and cheerfully cereal for supper more than once.
  3. Even when I’m short on time I need to take care of myself (sleeping, eat healthy, exercise, time in the Word). When one of those slips, I get grumpy. When I’m grumpy I don’t love those around me well.
  4. Done is better than perfect.  Often I would have preferred to edit and re-write the posts over a period of a few days.  Needing to post each day and having a limited amount of time to do it meant I had to resist the urge to edit and edit.

Blogs I discovered

Part of the challenge was to visit five blogs a day and comment.  That was fun and I found some new friends – too many to list here. But here are a few of my favorites:

Heather Erickson – Her husband has stage IV cancer. She writes candidly about their journey. I appreciated advice and thoughts on how to encourage and bless someone going through cancer. Her writing is full of grace, love, and life.

Tossing it out – His theme was It’s About Time. I enjoyed his thought-provoking posts.

Life and Faith in Caneyhead – I enjoyed her theme on Perspectives.

Word Dreams – Her theme was Literary Genres. I was not surprised to learn I love biographies and historical fiction.  Zombie fiction – not so much.

Missed a letter or want to go back and re-read one?  Head to my website Filled to Empty.  There is a A to Z Challenge link under the tab Devotionals at the top of the page where you can find all the posts.  Happy reading!


What was your take-away from the series?  Has your view of God changed? How do you read your favorite blogs?  I have a list of blogs I discovered and would love to read on a regular basis. I’ve tried email, bloglovin, and Feedly with little success.  I’d love to know if you’ve found something that works for you?

 

 

 

 

God is zealous

“The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” 2 Kings 19:31

When my kids were babies I loved scrapbooking. I would have three prints of each picture developed so I could make three scrapbooks – one for each of us. I bought stickers, acid-free paper, punches, markers and every kind of scissors and circle cutters. That passion rolled into the idea of saving money by making my own cards. So I bought rubber stamps and ink and glitter – you get the idea. A few years ago I sold the entire set because I hadn’t used it in years.

In the beginning, I was zealous. I dreamed of my children as adults flipping through the photo albums I had hand made for them. But times changed. I changed. We moved to digital cameras and I found it was easier to organize and display my photos on a screen rather than paper.

God is a zealous God

To have zeal is to have passion, to be diligently devoted to something. God is zealous which means He is fully committed to what He plans. He is in it 100% – all the way to the end. He doesn’t get tired, bored or overwhelmed. Quitting isn’t in His character.  Unlike my scrapbooking adventures, God never changes.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. He said he was glad that I had a personal relationship with God, but He didn’t view God that way. He believes in God. But he feels God made the world and then sits up in heaven watching us like a player of the Sims video game. When I looked at the antonyms for zealous (apathetic, cold, unconcerned, indifferent) it became clear my friend didn’t believe God was zealous.

God calls us to be zealous.

I can easily get all fired up about something – a careless word spoken or rudeness. God has been helping me to turn that passion into honoring Him and loving others instead.  When I chose to set my mind on God that changes my perspective.  I’m going to be zealous. The question is what am I going to be zealous about?

Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. Rom 8:5-6

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Rom 12:10-12

God’s unending love

We are at the end of our  A-Z journey of God’s characteristics.  As we wrap up today I want to close with some words from Romans 8 that describe how much God loves each of us.  Thank you for joining me, I pray God’s richest blessings on you as you walk with the King and be a blessing!

If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you have any hobbies? How about past hobbies that have fallen by the wayside? Are you zealous by nature? If not, I would wonder what being zealous for God would look like for you.  Leave a comment below.


Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on who you are. I thank you for each one who has joined me on the journey through the alphabet. I pray you would bless them and strength them. I pray your face will shine upon them and give them grace. May we all be zealous for you. As you have loved us, may we love others lavishly. We pray these things for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.