Emotional, Mental & Spiritual Health Blog

My Thoughts...

I have dealt with many struggles, difficult circumstances and hurting situations in my lifetime. Just as, I am sure, you have.

I wish to share how my journey of life has been enhanced through Scripture, which has helped me to have understanding, and growth in the knowledge of God's Way-Truth-Life. Please come along...



Today's Thoughts - Good Friday

posted Apr 10, 2020, 12:33 PM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Apr 10, 2020, 12:37 PM ]

Return to the way it was…

So, truth is, I don’t want things to return to the way they once were. I pray that I can take the lessons and challenges of the past few weeks and create a new normal.

My goal is to pray more, love harder, and truly appreciate the daily abundance of blessings that were so easily overlooked just a mere few weeks ago.

1.    I pray the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug, I will take the time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.

2.    I pray that the next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant I take the time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and thank God for the gift of community.

3.    I pray that the next time I’m standing in church listening to the voices of praise and taking communion that I take a moment to thank God for the gift of the congregation.

4.    I pray that the next time I see a person or situation that needs prayer, I hope I pray as passionately and fervently as I have these past few weeks.

5.    I pray that when I am at the grocery store that I take a moment to thank God that He provides us with the necessities of life and the amazing people who work so hard to keep us supplied.

6.    I pray that I never again take for granted the ability to hop in the car and visit a friend, go to the mall, or even go to the park, etc.

Encourager or Not?

posted Sep 1, 2019, 7:05 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Jan 13, 2020, 5:12 PM ]

Today I was thinking about encouragement, and how we are to encourage each other, as Paul tells us to in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, is to build each other up.  In Scripture, it says, “just as you are already doing.”

I had to stop a moment and ask myself. “am I doing this?  Am I thinking of others, being other-centered, or thinking only of my own comfort, thoughts and wants? Being self-centered or other-centered?

Last week, in the sermon, Pastor suggested three steps for us to take as we look at our lives. Of course, he was referencing anger and controlling our tongue, as James tells us in his first chapter. However, after hearing these three steps, I thought I could use them in looking at my full character, which is really one part of my personality and who I am in relationship to God. This originally became important to me in 2001, as I accepted myself as a new creation in Jesus for the very first time.

I started to review my current behaviors and habits recently, as I became certified as a facilitator of the Christian DISC Personality Assessment test.  This is where I began to exam how my temperament (how God has wired me) combines with my character (my values I have developed in life).

 I started to look inward at my moral makeup, what was I using to function in my relationships, how was I treating others, and what things motivated me to action. Was I an encourager of others? Was I looking for what I could get from them?

Our pastor challenged us to take these steps:

  • Step 1 is to admit what I am doing. To look within to what motivates my behaviors.

  • Step 2 is to exam it. Am I living a life that is in line with how I say I want to live? Am I walking my talk? 

  • I looked at how I do tasks, how I function in relationships, and how I meet demands on my time, my abilities, my heart, my desires?  Would I encourage other’s ideas, or interrupt them, to tell them how I would do it? Was I willing to exam my words, thoughts, and deeds under God’s light?

  • Step 3 is to transform the behaviors that concerned me. Confess them to God and ask Him for transformation, to guide my steps, thoughts, actions, and deeds! To help me be an encourager to others, willingly building them up.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NLT) 

Here is where I started to think about my temperament, how God wired me, and the gifts He has given to me….but that leads us into another discussion. Tune in tomorrow to read about how we respond to receiving gifts from God, like salvation!

God Bless, Rita



Do I Value the Gifts from God?

posted Jun 15, 2019, 8:19 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Jan 13, 2020, 5:14 PM ]

Paul said, “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:9)  It's a gift, God’s gift of Salvation to those who believe.


How do we respond to receiving a gift?  We say, “thank you”. Yet our sincerity in accepting a gift is based on the value we attribute to the gift. The gifts God gives to us seem intangible. We cannot see them, cannot physically hold them. So, do we value them or do the words only float past our mind? Salvation, Holy Spirit, eternal life, blessings, grace, mercy, forgiveness (to name some of God’s gifts). In our “thank you” does God see sincerity?


I hear the words, I read the scriptures, I live daily in this evil world. What is more tangible to me? I had to stop and think about the value I attribute to these gifts.  What do I value more - the ways of this world or the ways of God?   Where do I place my value? On my evil thoughts, pleasures, and desires? Or do I value my freedom in Christ and my ability to love, serve, and sit with him?  Which is harder to practice – God’s Way or worldly ways?


Today, I believe that I practice more integrity in my day to day life than I did in the past. I want to do the hard work of practicing God’s way, accepting God’s gifts with sincerity. This is progress in building my relationship with God. I will, more often than not, catch the lie, before it leaves my lips; make sure I am only taking what is mine to take; practice saying edifying encouraging statements about others instead of participating in gossip or grumbling, and looking for ways to serve instead of being served.


I'm not perfect at any of this, however, reading scripture daily helps my habit of thinking to change. I am growing in my awareness and acceptance of the gifts God has given. I like being in a relationship with God more than I like being a part of the world’s way. I like feeling the changes He has made in me.  It is my pathway to peace. 


Eternal Life - The Holy Spirit & Me!

posted Jun 14, 2019, 7:02 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Jan 13, 2020, 5:15 PM ]

Ephesians 1:14 – The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.

In chaos found in this life, we can rest in this knowledge: Jesus is Lord & God is in control! God’s purpose for believers is eternal life! Satan cannot take this away from believers – no matter what his temptations try to do to us on this earth, seen in our struggles and difficult situations in this temporary life.

God’s power works in us to transform us, giving us a taste of the total experience, we will have in Him in eternity! This is our pathway to peace.

What are your thoughts on eternity? Does it feel unlikely – as if this life is all there is? Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do you believe He overcame death? What did Jesus promise us – that He would go and make a room for us in His Father’s house?

Have you given any thought to what eternal life means to you? I had to stop and think about eternal life and exactly what I thought and believed it meant for me – how about you?

God Bless!

Who is the Star of Your Story?

posted Mar 6, 2019, 6:01 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Aug 25, 2019, 5:27 PM ]


(Me) Your hand is gently pushing me - Thank You Lord, you know my path, you know your love, you know what you have planned for me. I am your child, I am desiring to be your obedient child. You are the Almighty, you desire to show me your way, my sight is limited. My choices are self-centered. I am the star of my story - No, God, I want you to be the star of my story, I am the supporting actor.


You are so beautiful to me.


The words of a song resonate inside my chest. It is like I can feel a grip on my heart that is lightly squeezing. You are so beautiful to me - can't you see? I sit here in the morning light, I am teary-eyed. I feel hopeful. I have a confident expectation of where I am headed in life, my eternal life with God.



(Phil. 4: 13) "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."



Many times, I have not understood situations or events in my life. I did not grasp the meaning of the thoughts, feelings, or experiences – until afterwards…in hindsight (which is 20/20 vision), for then I could see how God was working for my good, through a painful experience. Was it like this for the disciples?


(Luke 18:34 NLT)  “But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of His words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about.”


Understand?


Did Jesus know the disciples would not understand His words, until after the event of His death, until He was resurrected?  Yes, I am positive our All-knowing God was fully aware and in knowledge of what His disciples understood.


(Me) How many times have I failed to understand the significance of the words I was given, in the moment. Maybe I wasn’t meant to understand, until afterwards. So, it seems some things are not going to be apparent in our lives until we go through the doors God means for us to go through on this journey.



(Phil 3: 14) "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."



Each day, God presents us with the needs and opportunities that challenge us to do what is right. He wants us to re-evaluate our thoughts, words, and deeds, to see if we are truly believing in Him!

For us to understand that He is the star of our story!



 (John 6: 47) "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."



Thank you, God, for loving me, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, just as I am. All the praise and glory go to You, Father.


Tell me…”Who is the star of YOUR story?”   


Create a New Habit of Thinking

posted Mar 6, 2019, 5:58 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Jan 16, 2020, 2:14 PM ]

“Please...Come Walk with Me”  says the LORD.


"He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

(Mark 9:35)

(Me:) As I read the Bible on how the disciples were arguing amongst themselves, trying to determine who was the most important, (as if they could decide who was going to be first, next to Jesus). I am thinking - I want to be first, however, in scripture I am learning that I must be willing to be last, to serve in the way God designed me to serve. I do want to serve! However...

I like being on stage. It is not to be in the spotlight, but to have the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts, and truths from God’s word. It is exciting, to me, to watch a person's face change, as they grasp a new idea, a different way of thinking, then as they become determined to create a new habit of thinking, as the light bulb goes on with an “aha!”  


It is having the opportunity to help another person create a new habit of thinking, to adapt to their adoption, through the exploration of God’s ways and truths, that is exciting to me. So, I am here to serve!


What is "Habit of Thinking"?

Sometimes we get into such a rut in our thinking. It keeps us going back and forth in the same path, until we dig ourselves a ditch. This habit of thinking is something that we do without realizing we are doing it. The thinking is built off old beliefs, things from our environment, past experiences, and beliefs of others ingrained into our thinking. It is not something that we do consciously, we do it without realizing that we do it.


Then a new idea comes along, and suddenly, we realize how our old thinking has trapped us, and old behaviors keep us trapped.


Dr. Henry Cloud asks the question:  “Do You think about Your thinking?”


Thinking is the genesis of your performance. Your thinking determines how you view yourself, your team and your potential for success. It drives your behavior, both offensively and defensively; determining how you attack projects and make decisions, as well as how you internalize the voices that challenge or threaten your success.

Your thinking is your software, it's at the root of everything you do.

So, I will ask you again... Do you think about your thinking?

If the answer is no, you've got a huge problem. Without taking time for metacognition, (thinking about your thinking) you are building trenches for your thoughts. These trenches are routes your brain often takes, they're generally easy and/or familiar, but they aren't always the best way forward. They are simply ways your brain can move forward more quickly. It's very likely you aren't even aware of how many 'brain shortcuts' your thinking is currently navigating.

Stop the pattern. Start to examine these routes, challenge them and begin to create new paths forward that best serve your ideas 
your projects and your life!

Leadership University, 2/19/2019
Copyright © 2019, Cloud Productions All rights reserved.


The Holy Spirit Guides

To Become New This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)


Jesus wants us to hear new ideas, to hear new ways of thinking, His way. The Holy Spirit guides us with a voice inside, the nudge, that guides us. In that knowledge we hear His words, or we hear the world's words, and we have a choice to make which way do we go do I follow the world or do I follow Jesus. Maybe it is time to adapt to our adoption.

I read in 2 Peter 1:8-9...

"The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But those who fail to develop in this way are short sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins."

(ME) I do not want to be short sighted or blind, I determine that I want to unpack these things, and gain direction in my life. I read, write, and take time to apply God’s ways to my life, to get out of the rut that keeps me repeating the same destructive behaviors.

How to Create New Thinking

Verse 3 (2 Peter 1) tells me that “God has given me everything I need for living a godly life”. Do I believe in God’s word?

Verse 4 – “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

Peter gives us directions on how to be identified as God’s chosen children ( Look at: v. 13-14):

  • Faith

  • Moral excellence

  • Knowledge

  • Self-control

  • Patient endurance

  • Godliness

  • Brotherly affection

  • Love for everyone!

Gift of the Holy Spirit


How do we do all of this? Not on our own power or strength. God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us. Surrender daily: Invite the Holy Spirit to lead us daily!

“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These is no law against these things.”  (Galatians 5:22-23)

(ME) I must respond to God, becoming willing to take action in building my character. To be productive and useful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, who guides me by the Holy Spirit. He will help me to develop self-control over the physical temptations of this world, over the emotions that toss me around like the waves of the sea, and the many distractions of this world. His Spirit empowers me!


Dear God,

Move me forward. May my feet follow where you lead me. Open my thoughts for I’ve been stubborn, I confess my behaviors to you Father. I ask for forgiveness. May my ears be open to your voice, and my thinking be open to your ways. Help me to be more like you in all I do. Every day in every way! Amen



Heroic Living!

posted Mar 6, 2019, 5:52 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Dec 12, 2019, 7:55 AM ]

 

What does that mean - heroic living?  

It is defined as behavior or talk that is bold or dramatic, excessively or unexpectedly so.  


(As an example)

Prayer of Jabez - found in 1 Chronicle.

 Jabez was a man who desired to be bold, follow God, in unexpected ways. He talked with Him. He asked Him to use him.

 

Yes! Talk to God, Be Bold!

Jabez was a man who desired to be bold, follow God, in unexpected ways. He talked with Him. He asked Him to use him. Is this what praying is, just talking to God, asking for opportunities to serve Him?  

(Me:) I talk with God each day, much more than I use to...Why? I think it has something to do with believing He is hearing me, that He cares to hear what I have to say, to complain about, and to ask for. I want Him to do unexpected things in my life. To use me!

Located in 1 Chronicle, where the descendants of Judah are listed, the Bible notes how Jabez is an honorable man, more than his brothers. We find information about Jabez and his prayer:


He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel…

"Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory!  Please be with me in all I do and keep me from all trouble and pain! And God granted him his request.”

(1 Chronicles 4:10 NLT)


What is Jabez asking here?

In this prayer, he is making God the center of our life, he is asking Him:

·         To bless me

·         To use me

·         To guard my thoughts and actions

·         To keep me protected from all evil!


I say: "I want this too!"


When we are like Jabez, and we want God to be the Lord of our life, we make it a priority to talk with God.


I think about how I have struggled to know the right way to go, before I started to include God in my decisions. The weight felt heavier, in the past.


Today, I feel relieved to have someone so powerful to have the ability to chime in on my decisions. I do not feel alone now.


In This Prayer


We are asking God to take His rightful place as Lord over our work, our family time, and our recreation, when we are including Him in our decisions, choices, and thoughts.


Living in this fallen world, as we do, filled with sin – it is important to ask God to protect us from ALL evil – Our evil thoughts, evil desires, evil actions and reactions!  


Obeying God in daily responsibilities is Heroic Living!

For Matthew 7:7 tells us what to do for effective prayer:


“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Are you living heroically?

We do not have because we do not ask, and we do not ask because we do not believe…Do you believe?

(ME) I know I believe...yet, there may be an inkling of doubt - Jesus does not expect perfection from me. I may believe, yet Jesus' teachings in Mark 9:24 NLT indicates my need to continually call out to Him...


The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"


I encourage you to say the Prayer of Jabez, every morning, for a week…See if you see more evidence of God in your life?   He is in mine 😊.


Relationship with God

posted Mar 6, 2019, 5:24 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Aug 25, 2019, 5:29 PM ]

Relationship with God - the important thing to God (as scripture relays to us) is not that we go through the motions of religion, for He wants to truly know us and that we truly know Him. The important thing to God is that we know Him and depend on Him in our obedience.


Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
(Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)


   Our genuine heartfelt obedience to His Way, Truth and Life will please Him far more than any sacrifice we can dream up.


How Do I Start


How do I start to have a relationship with God?
  1. Read one verse
  2. Stop, sit quietly, think on this verse.
  3. Ask God for understanding.
  4. Take Action and apply His word to life, daily, one moment at a time!


Popular joke in the world today asks, “How do you eat an elephant?”  One bite at a time!


That’s all there is to starting a Relationship with God.  My silent acceptance of who He is and my surrender to His Way!  One day at a time, One moment at a time!


“And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” 
(Mark 12:33 NLT)

Use God's Armor!

posted Mar 6, 2019, 5:22 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 5:32 AM ]

"Let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself. 
(Ephesians 6: 10-11 CEV)


How Do We Do This?

  1. The Belt of Truth - wrap His truth around you, it will keep us on the right path.
  2. The Breatsplate of righteousness - Do what is right - He guards and protects our hearts.
  3. The Helmet of Salvation - He has given us this freely - He guards our minds with His great promises.
  4. Shield of Faith - deflects temptations that wound us.
  5. Shield of the Gospel - which gives us peace and purpose.
  6. Sword of the Spirit - Our defensive weapon which prepares us with the strength to fight the good fight against all evil!

Thank you Father for clothing me with everything I need to stand firm in your love. With your mighty defense, I know I will be strong and stand firm in you.  Amen.

I Say - God's Word Says

posted Mar 5, 2019, 10:12 AM by Rita Shipman   [ updated Jan 13, 2020, 5:25 PM ]

 

I say: I am  lost

God’s Word says: “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”     


Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)



I say: It is  Impossible

God’s Word says:  “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Luke 18:27(NLT)

I say: I am  Exhausted

God’s Word says: “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”   

Isaiah 40:31(NLT)


I say: I can’t go on  

God’s Word says: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.    

2 Corinthians 12:9(NLT)

I say: I can’t do it  

God’s Word says: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13(NLT)

I say: Its not worth it  

God’s Word says:  So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.


Galatians 6:9(NLT)


I say: I can’t forgive myself  

God’s Word says: ” Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32(NLT)   

I say: I can’t make ends meet  

God’s Word says: “And this same God who takes care of you will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  


Philippians 4:19(NLT)


I say: I am afraid  

God’s Word says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”   

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)   

I say: I can’t handle this…  

God says: “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”   

Psalm 55:22(NLT)

I say: I am not smart enough  

God’s Word says: God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit, God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.

1 Corinthians 1:30(NLT)

I say:  I feel alone  

God’s Word says:  This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9(NLT)

I say: I am hopeless   

God’s Word says: “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Ephesians 4: 23-24(NLT)

I say: I am full of worry  

God’s Word says:“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done.” 

Philippians 4:6(NLT)

I say: I am tired of doing good   

God’s Word says: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”    

1 Peter 5: 8(NLT)  

I say: I feel dirty  

God’s Word says: “we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin..”

1 John 1:7 (NLT)


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