Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stop, Pray and No More Complaining

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 19 "I can't help it; I'm just addicted to grumbling, faultfinding and complaining." Wilderness Mentality #4 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's join together and fight this battle!)

For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you. - 1 Peter 2:19-20 Life Application Bible

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. - Philippians 2:14-15 Life Application Bible

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7 Life Application Bible

In Chapter 19, we are introduced to the Wilderness Mentality #4..."I can't help it; I'm just addicted to grumbling, faultfinding and complaining."

Usually, at this time I like to summarize my favorite parts of the chapter. Things that hit home to me the most. However, this week...it all hit home. It's so easy for me to jump on the pity me train and complain about things. Whether it's autism, finances, a rough day, people tailgating me on the highway...I'm the first to voice my complaint. It's not that I'm a negative person. I think it's that I'm looking for someone to validate my feelings. Some one to say "it's ok to feel that way." What I've learned with this chapter, is that no one can make me feel better about this. No one but God can. So I'm taking my concerns, aka complaining, to the wrong people. Instead of complaining to my friends, husband and even kids (what am I thinking?) I need to stop and spend some time with God. I need to stop and pray about. I need to spend time with him so he can hear my concerns and give me the peace that I am looking for in every situation in life.

Let's look at this even further....

Situation #1:

Let's say my son with autism is having a really tough day. It seems that all language gains are regressing. Play skills are dwindling. The connection just isn't there. I have two ways I can go with this. The first way is to pray. Pray to God and give him my frustration, my concerns. However, I need to also give him my thanks for what he has done for me. In this moment, God will give me peace over this situation so that I can move forward and help my son through this day. The other way to handle this situation is to complain. Complain to family members, to friends and to God. This will keep me frustrated. I will not find peace and will most likely frustrate people around me as well. As Joyce says on page 218 "How we handle ourselves in front of other people shows them how they should live." In other words, people know that we are Believers in Christ. They watch our every move to see how we handle things in life.

Situation #2:

Argument with your spouse. Let's say you have a major argument with your spouse. Unfortunately, they may have said something that really hurts your feelings or makes you feel like you should fight back and prove them wrong. What's the first thing you do when you're alone? Do you call your friends and complain about your husband/wife? Do you think of ways to get your point across so you can be the one who is right? Or...do you stop, pray and give it to God. Pray that God will work his way into not only your spouse's mind to show them where they could be wrong but to your mind as well. Another situation in which others are watching how we handle ourselves.

Situation #3:

You've decided to take your child with autism to the park this morning. While there, you notice a lot of parents staring at your child. You can tell by their facial expressions that they are wondering what is going on. In the meantime, you hear other children laughing at your child, wondering what they are doing as well. What do you do in this situation? Do you take your child, leave the park, cry the whole way home and then complain about your life, your situation, autism to any one and everyone who will listen? Or do you use this as a teaching moment to not only teach these children and adults about autism and your child, but to show them how God is working through you?

Situation #4

Autism. How do we not complain about autism? How can we not feel that our children are being cheated out of so many things in life and it's just not fair? How can we not complain about not receiving government assistance that all of our children deserve? How in the world do we stay positive and patient during our trials with autism? It's not easy and God never said it would be easy. This is where we need to take Joyce's advice that she writes on page 222 and 223. "Complaining is definitely a wilderness mentality that will prevent us from crossing over into the Promised Land. Jesus is our example, and we should do what He did. The Israelites complained and remained in the wilderness. Jesus praised and was raised from the dead." On page 223 Joyce shares with us the following Bible verse from Philippians 4:6...Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. She continues on page 223 "...patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting."

Life isn't going to be easy. We can all agree on this. However, God uses so many storms in our lives for good things to come out of them. It's important to stay faithful to God during our storms, be patient and know that he is with us every step of the way and will help us through every situation in life.

This week, when life brings you situations where you want to call a friend and complain...just stop and pray. Watch how much more quickly peace comes over you and the situation seems so much easier.

Dear God,

Thank you so much for giving us such a wonderful book to grow together spiritually. In every situation in life, you never disappoint us. You always provide and we thank you for this. Please remind us this week to come to you with our thanksgivings and our hard moments in life so that you can give us the peace that we are all searching for in life.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nothing is "Too Hard" for God

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 18, "Please make everything easy; I can't take it if things are too hard!", Wilderness Mentality #3, from Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle.)

Most of the time I have more than enough in front of me to focus on while keeping busy with what needs to be done. I don't exactly stop and take inventory of every little thing I do or all that I have ahead of me. When I do, and it all hits me, I hear the thoughts "This is just too hard. No one can do all of this or carry this load." The fact is, we can't be going all the time and we do carry a heavier load than most of us ever imagined. However, we all are called by God to do the work in our own special way, on His strength, not our own. Since I know that these moments will inevitably happen, I have decided to arm myself with these scriptures, committed to memory:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
-Philippians 4:13

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
-Matthew 19:26

I will literally stop in my tracks and recite these in my head as a comeback whenever thoughts of "I can't do this" come to mind. Not only does it break the negative thought pattern, but it brings God into the situation. His power can come to you, and will strengthen you where you need it most at that very moment. We have to fully rely on God, and these are the moments we need Him most.

I want to be really clear about this, this does not mean that we are expected to do everything like some kind of superwoman who never runs out of strength. God gives us strength for what He anoints and purposes for us to do, at the very moment we need it. If we try to take on more than we are supposed to, or more than God leads us to-it is very likely that we will run out of steam quickly. On page 210, Joyce says,

"Grace is the power of God coming to you at no cost to you, to do through you what you cannot do by yourself."

I sometimes want to wince when people say that trials are blessings in disguise. But, as Joyce points out, the truth is we would never grow if our life was easy all the time. Not only would we probably grow bored, but we would never truly know what we are capable of by letting God work through us. As I look back at the past few years of my life, I can see that I am clearly changed. I am not at the place where I would willingly choose for my son to have autism, but I am grateful for the change that has taken place in me. I know and love God in a way that wouldn't have been possible if I wasn't in the position to need Him so much. I clearly see that I need Him desperately in every aspect of my life and am so grateful for the love and grace that He gives, whether I deserve it or not.

Here are some more Bible verses from this chapter that really strengthened me:

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
-Deuteronomy 30:11

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
-Galatians 6:9

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.
-John 14: 16-17

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
-Isaiah 40: 28-31

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Being Responsible

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 17, "Someone do it for me; I don't want to take responsibility", Wilderness Mentality #2, from Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle.)

And Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together to go from Ur of the Chaldees into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. -Genesis 11:31

...For many are called, but few chosen. -Matthew 20:16

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. -1 Peter 5:6,7

As Jessica mentioned last week, Joyce Meyer uses the next section of the book to teach us how to overcome the ten "wilderness mentalities" that the Israelites had that kept them from reaching the Promise Land. Last week, Jessica talked about Wilderness Mentality #1: My future is determined by my past and present. We also learned to use our "spiritual eyes and ears".

This week's Wilderness Mentality is...Someone do it for me; I don't want to take the responsibility.

I do have to preface this post with something that happened this morning. Tuesdays are the days that we use to write our posts on Spectrum Spirit. As I was drinking my coffee this morning, I started thinking about everything I have to do today. I have a meeting with a case worker for my son. I want to go through old toys that I hung on to in hopes that one day my son would want to play with them. He's now too old for them so I'm participating in a consignment sale this week which takes a lot of work. I'm puppysitting a friend's new puppy while they go on vacation. Let's not forget homeschooling, housework, and of course doing this week's post on Spectrum Spirit. That's a lot of things to do in one day! The first thing I did to ease the stress on my day was I decided to wait to do this post. I emailed Jessica and Chrissy to let them know I wouldn't get to the post until tomorrow. There, now my load is lighter. Right? Wrong...God got a hold of my heart very quickly. As I was finishing my coffee, I decided to pick up Battlefield of the Mind and read Chapter 17. Wow did God speak to me quickly. He showed me how I was trying to put off the one thing He needed me to do today. How I was trying to avoid my responsibility. I quickly prayed and asked God for His forgiveness. I devoured Chapter 17 and motivation has now taken over me. It's amazing how I still have the same work load today but after spending the time I needed to with God, I now have my responsibilities in the right order for today!

So, here we go....here are the main thoughts by Joyce that touched me the most in Chapter 17:

* To be responsible is to respond to the opportunities that God has placed in front of us. (p. 199)

* It is fairly easy to be excited when God first speaks to us and gives us an opportunity to do something. But, like Terah (Genesis 11:31), many times we never finish what we start because we get into it and realize there is more involved than goosebumps and excitement. (p. 199)

* ....the Israelites did not want to take responsibility for anything. Moses did their praying; he sought God for them, he even did their repenting when they got themselves in trouble. Exodus 32:1-14 (p. 200)

* We must live our lives before God, knowing that He sees all and that our reward will come from Him if we persist in doing what He has asked us to do. (p. 201)

* ...a lot of people have wishbone but no backbone. People with a "wilderness mentality" want to have everything and do nothing. (p. 201)

* You and I will never have the privilege of standing and ministering under God's anointing if we are not willing to take our responsibility seriously. (p. 202)

* When the Lord asks His people to do something, there is a temptation to wait for "a convenient season". Acts 24:25 There is always the tendency to hold back until it won't cost anything or be so difficult. (p. 203)

* If we do not use the gifts and talents that He has given us, then we are not being responsible over what He has entrusted to us. (p. 203)

* I encourage you to respond to the ability that God has placed in you by doing all that you can with it, so that when the Master returns, you can not only give Him what He has given you, but more besides. (p. 204)

* Set your mind to do what is in front of you and not to run from anything just because it looks challenging. (p. 205)

* Always remember that if God gives you whatever you ask Him for, there is a responsibility that goes along with the blessing. (p. 205)

I want to stop and really talk about the last thought that Joyce has shared with us. Always remember that if God gives you whatever you ask Him for, there is a responsibility that goes along with the blessing. It's so easy for us to pray and ask God for what we want most in life. We want our child to be healed from autism. We want them to live their life to the fullest. We want everything for our children, which is only natural. All parents do. To me, parents with children with autism want it more. However, are we taking up our responsibility that goes along with this blessing? Are we doing God needs us to do? Are we making sure that other moms, therapist, friends, even our spouses know Christ and the difference He's made in our lives? Do we take our responsibility seriously of reaching out to other moms who have children on the spectrum? The moms who are lost, have no hope and don't know where to turn. Or are we hoping the next person will do it because it seems so difficult? Let me ask you this...what if there is no one else that can reach that person besides you? What if that is your big moment in this life for Christ? We can be so much like the Israelites it is scary. We can turn something into a long hard journey when it could have only taken a short amount of time. I believe that we all have many different responsibilities in this journey of autism. As parents, we are the glue that is holding it all together for our kids. We research, we talk to other parents to get new ideas on therapies, biomedical treatments, teaching moments and more. How often are we taking the time to talk to other parents about God and how He is the glue that is holding us together?

It's time for us all to be honest with ourselves and see how we can be very similar to the Israelites and hide from our responsibilities that God has given to us.

Joyce writes on page 203...In meeting resistance you will build your strength. If you only do what is easy, you will always remain week. The easy thing for me to have done this morning is to procrastinate with writing this post and really feeling what God is placing in my heart. It's amazing how after reading Chapter 17 and writing this post, my day doesn't seem so overwhelming to me. I have the same amount of things to accomplish today. I just did the one thing that God needed me to do first and it's made me stronger.

So I ask you, what is God placing on heart to do after reading this post? I encourage you to read this post again, especially the Bible verses and the points from Joyce. I also encourage you to read more about the Israelites. You will find motivation to move forward in doing what God needs from you.

Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for motivating us all to pick up your Word and study it. Thank you for your Word and for guiding us through the tough times. I ask that you show each one of us our gifts and talents and what you need for us to do. Help us be more like Christ and less like the Israelites.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Seeing Beyond the Wilderness

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 16, "My Future is determined by my past and my present"[Wilderness Mentality #1], in Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

Joyce Meyer uses the next several chapters of Battlefield of the Mind to teach us to overcome ten "wilderness mentalities" that kept many of the Israelites from reaching the Promised Land. It is my prayer that each mother will receive many insights from these chapters. I also pray that, unlike the Israelites, these insights will keep us from making an 11 day journey in 40 years and that we ALL make it to the Promised Land.

Wilderness Mentality #1: "My future is determined by my past and present"

It is so easy to get caught up only in what we see, hear and experience in the natural circumstances of life. We can know what the Word of God says, how He has a good plan for our children and how His will is for us to be blessed. Then, you have a really crazy day. Your child is melting down inconsolably for no apparent reason. Immediately, you are seized with thoughts of regression. Looking with your human eyes and operating on high emotions, God's truth can be forgotten, especially in moments of weakness such as these. This is when we find out what our faith is really made of. If in these moments, you do not behave or believe as someone who truly believes God's promises (like most of us at times!), take heart! With God's help you can overcome any negative situation or mindset.

Last week, we learned about having the mind of Christ. This week, Joyce gives us biblical tools to getting a new mindset:

Believe that with God all things are possible (Luke 18:27); with man some things may be impossible, but we serve a God Who created everything we see out of nothing. (Hebrews 11:3) Give Him your nothingness and watch Him go to work. All He needs is your faith in Him. He needs for you to believe, and He will do the rest. (p.192)

The Israelites were only using their natural eyes to view their future. They were seeing themselves as still in bondage, and could not envision the reality of all that God had promised them. As a result, they complained, were ungrateful, fell into strife, doubted and were negative. These attitudes counteracted the power of God in their lives and many never saw God's promises come to pass. Those that did, spent 40 years instead of 11 days getting there.

In order to truly overcome our past and present circumstances, we must learn to use "spiritual" eyes and ears. That is, we must let God be the one who tells us what our future will be, not what the past or present situation looks like. On page 192 Joyce Meyer states,

"We cannot judge things accurately by the sight of our natural eyes. We must have spiritual "eyes to see" and "ears to hear". We need to hear what the Spirit says, not what the world says. Let God speak to you about your future-not everyone else."

In addition to all of the negative reports and daily challenges we face, I believe that God has a positive vision and outlook for each of our individual futures. We need to stay in the Word of God and we need to be available to hear what the Holy Spirit wants to tell us. We then have to dare to dream and claim those promises and visions as our own, even when our natural eyes tell us differently.

As Joyce Meyer reminds us of what the Lord told the Israelites, "You have dwelt long enough on the same mountain; it is time to move on." (Battlefield of the Mind, p. 185)

Bible Verses:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3: 13-14

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thinking Like Christ

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 15, The Mind of Christ, in Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. - 1 Corinthians 2:16

The mind of Christ...that is the mind set we should all strive for. But how? How do think like Christ? How can we change our minds to think like the most perfect man alive?

Joyce gives us six simple steps to follow to have a mind like Christ. They are...

1. Think positive thoughts. Have a positive outlook and attitude. Maintain positive thoughts and expectations. Engage in positive conversation. (p.162-163) During this step, Joyce discusses two things that are very important for us to grasp. The first she writes on page 163...Jesus certainly displayed a positive outlook and attitude. He endured many difficulties including personal attacks-being lied about , being deserted by His disciples when He needed them most, being made fun of, being lonely, misunderstood, and a host of other discouraging things. Yet in the midst of all these negatives He remained positive. He always had an uplifting comment, and encouraging word; He always gave hope to all those He came near. I don't know about you guys but being a mom to a child with autism, I could surely use the mind set of Christ right now. I really had to humble myself and ask if in the midst of this negative battle we call autism, am I remaining positive? Am I providing uplifting comments to other moms or to just anyone? Am I providing hope? I want the mind set of Christ. The second thing that I think it's very important for us to grasp in this first step of thinking like Christ is overcoming depression. Too often, Satan grabs a hold of our minds and will throw us down into a whirlwind of depression before we even know it. Thoughts will come in our heads like "my son will never get better", "will we have to look into institutionalizing him eventually?", and even "I just can't do this." Joyce gives us eight things to remember to quickly help us run from Satan and his trickery of depression. They are to identify the nature and cause of the problem (Satan is going to show you all of the negatives to autism so quickly get them out of your mind), to recognize that depression steals life and light (remember...the longer it is allowed to remain, the harder it becomes to resist.), remember the good times (Look at how far your child has come!) , praise the Lord in the midst of the problem (Thank God for all of the milestones your child has met and IS going to meet! Joyce writes on page 165...God alone can water a thirsty soul. Don't be deceived into thinking that anything else can satisfy you fully and completely. Chasing after the wrong thing will always leave you disappointed, and disappointment opens the door for depression. Thank Him for all He is doing for you!), ask for God's help, listen to the Lord (Wait for Him. Don't decide on your own.) and seek God's wisdom, knowledge and leadership. Don't let Satan win this battle over depression in your mind.

2. Be God-minded. Meditating on God and His ways and works will need to become a regular part of your thought life if you want to experience victory. (p. 167-168) Take the time to really be with God.

3. Be "God-Loves-Me" Minded. (p. 169-172) This is a tricky one. I think that when most of us go through something hard in life we immediately think "What have I done wrong?" or "God is punishing me." When my son was first diagnosed, I immediately thought that God was mad at me. I quickly had to remind myself that God loves me no matter what and does not use our storms in life to punish us. Joyce reminds us on page 169 if we never meditate on His love for us, we will not experience it.

4. Have an exhortative mind. The person with the mind of Christ thinks positive, uplifting, edifying thoughts about other people as well as himself and his own circumstances. So are you the person who adds fuel to the fire, salt to the wound or do you try to put the fire out? In other words, when a friend calls you to vent about someone or something can you speak positive, uplifting words to help them or do you add fuel to the fire to make them even angrier? I really think that with this step, Joyce is encouraging us to not only think positive things about ourselves and each other but to also speak them as well. I love the example she gave on page 173 about the child with behavioral problems...Let's say you have a child who has some behavioral problems and definitely needs to change. You pray for him and ask God to work in his life, making whatever changes are necessary. Now what do you do with your thoughts and words concerning him during the waiting period? Many people never see the answer to their prayers because they negate what they have asked for with their own thoughts and words before God ever gets a chance to work in their behalf. I really think she was speaking directly to me here! Joyce then adds...To live in victory, you must begin by lining up your thoughts with God's Word.

5. Develop a thankful mind. Be a grateful person-one filled with gratitude not only toward God, but also toward people. It's very easy for us to get overwhelmed with autism. However, we need to start taking the time to not only being thankful to God but for each other as well. Especially our spouses.

6. Be Word-minded. It always comes back to the Word of God. Everything that we can do in live to better ourselves, our minds, our family, our physical being...everything goes back to the Word of God. This is why it is so important that we spend a lot of time studying His Word. Not just reading it, but learning from it. Growing from it. I absolutely love what Joyce writes on page 179....The Lord keeps revealing His secrets to those who are diligent about the Word. Don't be the kind of person who always wants to live off of someone else's revelation. Study the Word yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to bless your life with truth. I am guilty of this. I love to read a good, uplifting spiritual book to help get me on track spiritually. However, I need to spend more time with God by reading His Word so that I can get God's interpretation on my life and what I need to do.

I believe that by following these steps we can have a mind like Christ. I love how Joyce closes this chapter with the following scripture:

...whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things. - Philippians 4:8


Thank you for showing and teaching us how to have a mind like Christ. We all want what is best for us in life. Sometimes life gets hard and Satan tries to grab a hold of our minds so that we can't see the victory we have in you. Thank you for always being there for us and helping us through it all. Teach us all to have a that is pleasing to you...a mind like Christ.