3 Ways to Be Different on Purpose at Home

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2. Don’t merely reflect the values of this world; change them. Be a change agent. Be different on purpose. Here are three ways you can live this out in your home:

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1. Bring God into the home. Don’t just go to church together. Don’t just mention God at meal times. Create conversations throughout the day that center around God. I know it should be obvious, but if the only time God is talked about is at church, if you don’t talk about him during the week, then he’s not in your home. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

2. Learn the Bible together. Here’s a concrete way to bring God into your home. Learn Scripture together. Do devotions with them. Can you memorize one Bible verse a month with your kids? The world doesn’t do that. Many Christians don’t do that. If you want to be different, learn the Bible together.

3. Get out and stay out of debt. This may not seem spiritual at first, but money is a very spiritual issue. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21. If you want to reflect the world’s values, jump deep into debt trying to keep up with everyone else. Sell out to the myth that stuff equals happiness. You want to be really different? Learn to be disciplined with the incredible wealth God has already given you. Learn that contentment doesn’t come from stuff. If you can teach your kids how to handle money so that money doesn’t handle them, how much better are they going to be set up for life?

QUESTION: What other ways can you be different on purpose in your home?

Hope for Hump Day

For those who might need a little encouragement today, this post is for you.

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God’s got this. That thing, that broken relationship, that crisis at work, that stress at school, God’s got this. It might have taken you by surprise and thrown you up against the ropes, but it didn’t catch God by surprise and it didn’t move him one inch.

That mountain that’s standing in front of you, the unscalable peaks that are above the clouds from your perspective is a tiny ant hill from where God sits. Impossibilities quickly become possibilities when God enters in.

God’s got this. And God’s got you. He cares for you, knows you, weeps with you during this trial. His love for you is overwhelming, an undeserved, overflowing, never ending, pursuing love that looks past your faults and fears and sees the child created in His image.

When you feel alone, isolated, discouraged, beat up, ready to quit, crying for help, God is there. In the stillness, God is there. And whether you feel them or not, God has his loving arms wrapped around you tight, holding you close in the shadow of his wings.

So today, go forth victorious. Hold your head high. Don’t give ground, take ground. Remind yourself who’s on the throne of the universe. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. Today is just a day. God is eternity. Your trial is momentary. God is forever. Your strength may be weak, but His strength made the mountains. God is with you.

Be encouraged, live in faith, walk victorious. Your God loves you and is always with you.

Are You a Thermometer or Thermostat?

There’s a small but distinct difference between the two. A thermometer can tell you what the temperature is. It accurately reflects the surrounding climate. A thermostat, on the other hand, sets the temperature. On a blazing summer day or a freezing winter night, you don’t want a thermometer simply reflecting how miserable you are. You want a thermostat to change the climate around you. We’re used to setting the temperature climate around us, but what about the mental, emotional and spiritual climate of the spaces we inhabit?

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Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that we are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” We’re designed to change our circumstances, not merely reflect them. The Apostle Paul shares this heartbeat when he states in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In today’s terms, he’s saying ‘don’t be a thermometer, be a thermostat.’ Don’t merely reflect the values of a fallen world, be transformed and transform your world.

Think about where you work or where you go to school. Is it a healthy environment or a toxic one? Does it reflect the world’s values or godly values? Are you merely reflecting the culture around you, or are you being intentional for Christ? Are you being salt and light? Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

Think about your home environment. Is it a healthy environment? Is it filled with love, intimacy, trust, care, joy and laughter? Is God in the middle of your home? Is Christ at the center of your family? Or have you fallen under the gravitational pull to follow the world’s example? Is your family dominated by the pursuit of money, the pursuit of leisure, the pursuit of self? Is there bitterness, anger, silence in the home? If your home life is toxic, God is calling you to be a thermostat, to change the emotional and spiritual climate in your home.

Tomorrow’s post will look at three ways you can begin to change the climate in your home. Are you a thermometer or thermostat?

3 Ways to Make a Difference at Work

If you’re tired of the same routine: dragging yourself into work Monday morning, fighting through the long afternoon hours, counting down until the next day off, here are three simple things you can do to begin to make a difference where you work.

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1. Work for more than a paycheck.  If money is your bottom-line, then you’re simply reflecting the values of the world around you. Be about more than just dollar signs. Businesses that do that can make a huge difference. Chick-fil-A has been criticized for years for closing on Sundays. Sunday is a huge business day, and they’re missing out on profits. But they’ve said for years that they’re about more than just profits. They want to honor the Sabbath and safeguard the long-term wellbeing of their employees. And guess which quick service chain is rated top in customer satisfaction? The one not simply going after profits. Everyone else works for a paycheck. Be different. Work for something more.

2. View work as an opportunity to change a life. Every day you go to work, you have an opportunity to change a life. It may be a co-worker, it may be a customer, it may be your boss. Every day you interact with people, you have an opportunity to impact people. Don’t grind out your days hiding behind a computer terminal. Don’t mentally disappear whenever possible. You can change lives every day, no matter what job you have. Look for opportunities and lean into the ones you already have. That’s when your job moves from salary to significance.

3. Be the example you want to see. Even if you’re in a toxic work environment, be the change you want to see. I know you probably have a list a mile long of why everyone else around you is idiots, why your boss is an idiot. Be different. Be better than that. Raise the bar for yourself first. Work hard. Be the best employee in your business. Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to change things.

Today isn’t just another Monday, it’s an opportunity to set the climate for your work. Go do it!

One Free App Every Woman Should Download

8.6.15An incredible free app just came out for women and I want to tell you about it. Popular author and speaker Lysa TerKeurst and her team at Proverbs 31 Ministries have come out with a devotional app called First 5. “We say we put God first . . . So wouldn’t it make sense that we give Him the first 5 minutes of each day? We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.” Lysa TerKeurst

This app is a devotional app where you can read a short Bible truth to start your day. Each day finishes with a question which everyone can respond to, so you’re able to interact with an entire community of people on the same topic.

And probably the best feature is the alarm. You can set your alarm through the app, and when you turn your alarm off, the app automatically opens, starting your day off in the Word, rather than on Facebook or Instagram.

It’s free, it’s helpful and I think it can make a positive difference in your life! Check it out at www.first5.org and download it from the App Store!

The Simplest Way to Get More Things Done This School Year

As a new school year launches, I know many of us are trying to shake off the cobwebs and get back into a routine, a schedule. Maybe we’ve gone soft over the summer and we know we need to get back on whatever horse we need to get on.

Let me offer a simple piece of advice that I believe will help you get more things done this school year. It will make you more productive, give you more energy, and help you start your day off on the right note. My advice is simply this: go to bed at 9 pm each night. Now, before you write me off as an out-of-touch spinster, this about this: what productive things happen after 9 pm? What is it that you do after 9 pm that helps you in your family or your work? There may be a few genuine night owls, but for the vast majority of us, all we’re doing after 9 pm is killing time watching tv or playing on our phone. Nothing productive is happening. All we’re wasting is time, sleep, and potential energy.

You go to bed late, you’ll tend to sleep in more, you’ll have less energy, you’ll be rushing around which increases your stress levels, and you’ll start your day feeling like you’re behind. But if you go to bed at 9 pm, you can get up at some ungodly hour like 5 am and still have a full night’s rest. You can spend unhurried time in God’s word, you can go to the gym, you can plan out your day, you can drink a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise, all things that set you up to be more productive that day.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Habits will have to change. That worthless tv show or iPhone game will have to remain unwatched or unplayed. But if you want to accomplish more this school year, go to bed at 9 pm. Try it for a week, see what happens!

The Right Way and the Better Way For Christians to Respond to the Planned Parenthood Videos

Like you, I’m horrified. Abortion has long been a stain on our national conscience as defenseless babies are murdered for the sake of convenience. For those outraged against the sin of abortion, the Planned Parenthood videos will both shock you and fire you up. Abortion providers casually discussing the murder and dissection of unborn babies for profit. How they can maximize profits by selling the murdered baby parts. Unconscionable.

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So what do we do? How do Christians respond to this outrage perpetrated by Planned Parenthood? There are many legitimate responses, but let me focus on two: the right way, and the better way.

The right response is to get angry. Get mad. Be shocked, horrified, outraged. Call somebody. Petition Congress. Picket a clinic. For the mass murder happening, all of those responses are justified. All human life is precious. In one sense even our own justice system knows that, which is why if a pregnant woman is murdered, the accused killer is charged with two homicides, not just one. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Defend the defenseless. These are the actions that pro-life supporters have been engaging in for years, and they’re all good.

But I would submit that there is a better way, one that moves beyond emotional outrage to tangible action: befriend pregnant mothers in need. That young lady driving herself to Planned Parenthood most likely is conflicted about what she’s considering doing. And yet it seems like the only option because she doesn’t have hope. Be that hope for her. Befriend someone in a crisis situation. Offer hope. If you’re willing to protest outside an abortion clinic, would you be willing to adopt the child of an unwanted pregnancy? Does your resolve go deeper than momentary indignation? Would it last 18 years raising a child?

As Christians, it’s right to be outraged by what we’re seeing. But here’s another step we can take: build bridges of trust with women in need, so that they don’t just hear condemnation after the fact, but they see hope before they have to make that fateful decision.

Of my four beautiful children, two are adopted. Without going into details, abortion was a significant option in one or both of those unplanned pregnancies. Every day I wake up and see those smiling faces, I’m grateful that those moms chose life.