Category: Personal Growth

Seeking personal improvement

Daily Growth

What’s growing that we can see and what’s growing that we cannot see? What is it that demonstrates positive growth and which things bring negative growth?

Yesterday my husband had an emergency gall bladder surgery in which they removed it. After 2 days of excruciating pain, an urgent care visit and 3:00 AM emergency run, it was finally concluded that his gallbladder was enlarged and infected. It had been growing daily.

One of the questions he was asked was, “What did you last eat?” His response, “A taquito and salad”. To which the doctor said, “That’ll do it!”

Do what, I’m thinking.

Come to find out the gallbladder’s bile helps to process and breakdown fatty foods. (I thought salads were good for you… oh… you mean taquitos are fatty??!) 🙂

Obviously, 1 taquito is not going to cause a gallbladder to become inflamed and start screaming for attention. But what had been growing daily just might.

Den & I reconsidered our “retired eating habits” and determined to reshape them, albeit if that had been done earlier he still may have his gallbladder. Humph.

Whether we see it or not, growth is natural, and that means growth of negative things as well as positive things.

One of our dear friends has a luscious garden and was sharing this same idea with us as she proudly described the daily growth of her beans, cucumbers, and squash. From small, fingernail sized stubs they grow daily into large, nutrient rich, foods.

The garden takes intentional attention, effort and time to assure that daily growth. Just as a healthy, nutritious diet requires similar attention, effort and time.

Inattention, lack of effort, or intentional ignoring of issues in our life, will lead to an infection with painful side effects. They will just keep growing daily, building up, becoming bigger and bigger until…..

There are issues in and pressing upon our life & there are events that have occurred in our past, that have been planted within us. These seeds will grow daily, starting as hidden within the soil of our heart. Then as they begin to sprout and we notice them, the actions we take will determine their fruitfulness.

Should those sprouting attitudes be of bitterness, anger, pain or hurt, they will grow daily if unattended. Until one day you have an infection that spills over into every conversation and each relationship. Overflowing from that wounded heart is an inflamed sickness that must be removed, or it could be terminal. It will grow daily until it explodes and releases poison that kills everything inside and every relationship.

But should those sprouting attitudes be on the positive side, peace, understanding, self-control, love, what blooms and grows is fruit that sustains your life and the lives of those around you.

Much is growing daily inside of you. Much is building up and perhaps even sprouting out. Give careful attention to it, tend it, uproot or cut it out as needed. Pay attention, lest the poison of infection within you cause pain and sickness.

Feed and water regularity those positive seeds. Take the time and energy needed to see your daily growth be nourishing, vibrant and beautiful.

Remember, whether positive or negative, daily growth IS happening.

Cheers,

Debbie

How Well Does God Like You?

Sunday sermon 5.30.21

What a weird question to ask right? He doesn’t play favorites, and like someone over another, does He? I thought He shows no favoritism and wasn’t a respecter of persons.

What the heck??

Did it get you thinking, I hope so?

Look how this Psalm begins-

“How well God must like you- “

Psalm 1:1 The Message

THAT got me thinking too!

My first thought, “Does He like me?”, followed quickly by “WAIT! he doesn’t play favorites. But does He like me?”

This whole psalm and its opening statement reminds me so much of my relationship with my son, and really any parent with their child.

As parents, we love our children, no doubt, unconditionally, in every circumstance, right? We love them period and nothing will change that unquestionable, locked in fact.

There are times, however, when we are busting our buttons PROUD of them. Something they did, said, acted on, became, earned, or decided lit us up a with smile ear to ear, head shaking, teary eyes joy, peace, pride and satisfaction. Deeply sighing, “Yes, that’s my son!” We don’t love them more, we are just so darn proud of them!

I remember as my son was growing up and going out with friends or to activities, my parting words to him were always, “Be wise.” In those two words I was asking him to think things through and make good decisions in everything he was going to do.

I knew the importance of every little decision he was going to make that night, and I wanted him to be wise and think ahead, consider the consequences and be a wise young man, not a foolish young man.

It was his decisions that made me proud then and to this day. I don’t love him more or less for his decisions, but goodness, how proud I am of him when he stands strong with wise decisions. Proud Momma, for sure!

Psalm 1 is that kind of moment. That moment when God says, “Be wise” to us, his kid, and then reveals his pride in us when we make good decisions and are wise.

Let’s look at the entire text of Psalm 1-

“ How well God must like you- you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word… you are a tree planted that bears fruit every month…never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.”

Psalm 1:1 The Message paraphrase

Other translations put it differently but what remains common is that here we see three things to NOT do (to be wise and receive God’s “pride”), and three things To Do ( to be wise and receive God’s “pride”).

Three things God is proud of us for NOT doing:

  1. Not hanging out at Sin Saloon- other translations say not walking with sinners or in step with sinners. When we decide to not walk in step with or agree with the ungodly influences in this world- GOD IS PROUD.
  2. Don’t slink along Dead-End Road- others say: share the sinners way or stand in the way that sinners take. GOD IS PROUD of you when you choose to keep out of the way of dead end conversations and life styles.
  3. Don’t go to Smart Mouth College- other ways of saying it are- sit in the company of mockers. Spending our time sitting and chiming in with what mockers & scorners are chirping about does NOT MAKE GOD PROUD.

He doesn’t love us any more or less, we are His kids and He always, unconditionally loves us. But when we make these three wise choices He is busting His buttons proud of us!

Furthermore, there are three choices that we can make by what we DO that also make Him proud of us.

Instead we:

  1. Thrill to God’s Word. We take time and pleasure reading His Word- the Bible. We think about it, we savior it, we seek to understand it and love it. This makes God Very PROUD of us.
  2. Are planted, standing firm, like a tree in His ways and His Word. Nothing blowing us over or uprooting us, we are strongly planted and nourished by God, just like a tree. We even produce healthy fruit every month for others to enjoy.
  3. Are always in blossom, never wilting, dry or barren. We are healthy spiritually and produce evidence that nourishes others.

You see, God gets super proud of you when you choose these things. Three to do and three to not do.

The choice is always ours. Walk with those people and do that, sit there and participate in that, go that way….

Actually spend time reading the Bible, think about it, mull it over, stand firmly on those principles of the Word, yield to the growing process of that Word in and through us with evidence being produced from us .

Make God proud of your wise choices.

Making these six wise choices will not necessarily cause God to like you more, cuz He already loves you like crazy. But making these six wise choices will cause Him to smile on you with even more joy and favor and “pride”.

Look at these six again- what choices can you make that will make God even more proud of you, today?

Go with God.

Debbie

Your Worldview



The Joshua Files Podcast 5.28.21

I am very anxious to talk about world views on this Friday’s podcast and for you to consider your world view with its implications.

This principle is so valuable in our lives. Please listen in when you can, and let me know what your think

Thank you for your continued time and support.

TGIF,

Debbie

Back to 1

Sunday Sermon 5.15.21

When our son was working in the entertainment industry, there was a phrase that we heard often, learned it’s meaning, and have ourselves implemented on many occasions. It is –

“Back to 1”

At the end of a scene or run through of a section, the director would call out, “Back to 1”. Everyone would then move and return to the start of that scene, their original positions. They would return to their first and beginning spot by readjusting everything to where it all started. People, costumes, props, equipment, lights, sound, crew – it all returned to 1, the original start spot (of that scene). Lines, marks, and brains all had to return to 1.

As I consider this, I realize that most, if not all of us could benefit from this practice.

What is our 1? Why do we need to return to it?

In the many scenes of our life, we find ourselves spending our energies, ideas, words, and feelings on those we love or things we love. We give, do, help, and speak almost constantly. And then, eventually, we notice our speech, feelings, attitudes and maybe even our actions are not filled with love.

Note taken, but we still continue with all we are doing, because after all, it still has to be done, and who’s gonna do it?

That is why, we need to go back to 1. That is why we must return to love.

Number 1 is love, and in this context I do mean love of God.

You see, I am a better wife, when I am loving God. I am a better mom, the more I love God. I am a better sister, when I am closer to God. I am a better friend as I have talked with God.

As I love God and fill up with His love, this enables me to step into each scene in my life fully equipped to pour out what He has poured into me.

When I go back to 1, back to God and His love for me, back to talking with Him in prayer, and in His presence, then I can do the things that I need to with love and motivated by love – not obligation.

Years ago, I was reading my bible and was in Matthew 22, I was reminded of what Jesus said about this when He said the number 1 thing in life is to:

“Love God…….and love others as yourself.”

Matthew 22:37-39

I was so impressed with that challenge, that I drew a target in my bible over those verses to remind me that this was my focus, this was my target in life and this was my number 1.

Back to 1 is returning to the greatest commandment, returning to what is most important, and checking our love. How is our passion for God? How are we doing with talking to Him, hearing from Him and receiving His life changing love in our life?

The way we face everything and everyone in our life will be based on our number 1 relationship – with God. All other relationships flow from our relationship with Him. If we are filled up with God and His love and ways, that will flow from us. If we are empty of God’s love, so too will be our relationships and responsibilities.

Look at the full text of what Jesus answered, when he was asked, what is most important –

“Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40

What you do is important. Who you are helping is important. The job you are doing is important. But what is MOST important is loving God. Your love for and relationship with God is number 1. Is it your focus, your target, and your priority?

The Apostle Paul told us this about love,

“If I speak…. and don’t have love… I am a gong, … if I have understanding…. and don’t have love…I am nothing… if I give all …. and do not have love, I gain nothing. These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians13′:1-3;13

Matthew mentions in the last days –

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”

Matthew 24:12

In the end of the New Testament age, John the revelator, saw a church in Laodicea and said this to it:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16

Perhaps Matthew and John were seeing into these days, into our lives. Seeing times when love grows cold, when it no longer offers refreshing. Seeing times when love is hot, full of passion, healing and health.

The picture in John’s revelation of the lukewarm being spit out of the mouth, is an Aramaic idiom that means, “I am about to give you my mouth.” Or, we would say, I’m gonna give you a piece of my mind. I’m gonna say a few things. In other words, God has a few things to say to the lukewarm, He’s about to give them a piece of His mind.

Going back to 1 involves checking our “love for God temperature.” Hot- passionate for Him? Cold – offering the refreshment to others that He gives us? Or cold, in the way Matthew put it, Cold- towards God and the things of God. Cold – overcome by things that have put our love for God out.

Our love for God is our number 1. Love is the most important thing in all we do. Love is the motivation and motor for what we do. Love will sustain us in the long and tiring deeds of the day. Love, love, love.

I hear the Director calling, “Back to 1!”

Go with God,

Debbie

Your Core Values

The Joshua Files Podcast 5.14.21

Building your life on core values, choosing to live by them and make decisions based on them is challenging, but you will find the greatest fulfillment, pride and happiness doing so.

Click on this Friday’s episode of my podcast to hear some important truth.

Subscribe, leave a message, give it a star rating and spread the word – all I would greatly appreciate.

TGIF!

Cheers.

Debbie

You Are What You Breathe

Walking through the supermarket I wasn’t even aware what was happening. The same thing happened when I was sitting down with the family this weekend and again when I was at work, in that smoke filled room.

Without even my awareness or effort, the most important thing that I do was being done.

I was breathing!

16 breaths a minute totaling 13 pints of air every minute,17,280 breaths a day, 5,000 gallons of air every 24 hours and exhaling 17.5 mL of water each hour. My lungs were doing their life sustaining job, keeping me alive, and naturally expelling toxins that would harm me.

My lungs!

Those amazing, spongy organs on either side of my chest, were processing that air and filtering it through my body. The two bronchi, the 300 million alveoli in each lung, the layer of fluid surrounding each lung (the pleura), and the bronchioles, all preform their duties each and every day with little notice or fanfare. Yet, without them, we would cease to exist. (Although, our human design is so wonderfully planned that we could survive and thrive with just one functioning lung.)

We think of our lungs as being like balloons, filling up with air and releasing it. In fact, that is true. But if you were to open up those spongy balloons, and lay them flat and measure the surface area, you would find them to be as large as a tennis court. The total length of the airways running through them is 1,500 miles!

Your lungs are one of the largest organs in your body. Oh… and they are the only organs in your body that float! But I digress…

It is interesting to note that 70% of the waste in our body is eliminated through our lungs. (again, who knew?)

Which brings us to our title – you are what you breathe.

We breathe in air pollution, smoke, and other toxins that damage our lungs. COPD, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Asthma or any number of other lung diseases can affect those spongy, filters of ours, making the unnoticed breathing of everyday life much more complicated, debilitating and even scary. Ask one of the 235 million Asthma sufferers if they have ever been scared?

Therefore, keeping healthy, clean lungs is important for life.

Did you know that there are actually ways that you can clean/clear your lungs? I didn’t.

They are: stream therapy – inhaling water vapor to open up the airways, controlled coughing, discharging mucus, exercise, green tea, and anti inflammatory foods. Each of these will provide some level of temporary assistance in clearing out toxins and clearing those tissues and membranes in our lungs.

Can I share one thing? It’s about mucus. As gross as that stuff is, that stuff is powerful! I mean it. It is cleaner than our blood and will actually kill the bacteria it surrounds. Blood will not kill, it allows the bacteria to grow. Mucus traps harmful particles so it can be coughed up and out. Think of that.

Amazing lungs!

Why the lesson on lungs? Consider this.

In what ways can you draw parallels between the toxins and pollutants that you are bombarded with via the news, social media, academia, friends, family, associates, colleagues and your need to breathe clearly? In what ways have the toxic voices in your life acted like COPD on your chest?

Phil Collins, and The Police said it best, “With every breath you take”, you are taking in way more than you need or that is even healthy. If you are finding your breathing labored, you are becoming inflamed with issues, or there is some kind of build up in your spirit or blockage in your peace – (like those that cause lung disease), it is time for a lung cleansing. You need to breathe deeply and clearly and remove those toxins and pollutants from your environment. Your personal survival is dependent on it.

Just like my choice to smoke or not is affecting my physical lungs, in the same way, my choice to expose myself to toxic people and ideas is affecting the clarity and strength of my daily breathing and energy.

Find the time, find a way and place to rid yourself of those deadly pollutants that are damaging you on the inside. Allow your “spiritual mucus” to surround that harmful particle in your life and get it out of you. Your life depends on it.

You are what you breathe and I want you to have a healthy life in every way with every breath you take.

Breathe deeply.

Cheers.

Debbie

Finding Your Purpose

This Friday’s Podcast of The Joshua Files 5.7.21

Is it time to reevaluate, or maybe even establish for the first time?

Finding your purpose and living with it as the compass for your life is one of the most basic foundations of adulthood. In this podcast we address all of these issues and offer some serious thoughts to consider. Please check it out:

Feel free to share the word or leave me a message. I’d love your input and feedback.

TGIF,

Debbie

Get Ready to Cross

Sunday Sermon 5.1.21

For the past four months, there has been a sense in the Spirit that we are on the edge of something; a break through, a release, a new and powerful outpouring, taking on some promised land, if you will.

Actually, on December 10, 2020, I wrote this in my Bible –

” I sense in the Spirit we’re at a point of preparing to cross over into new territory.”

That was confirmed by others that very day, and since then it has been boiling and brewing more and more in people all over the world. Perhaps you are even one…

What does that mean, get ready to cross over?

Well, for starters, it is based on the story of Joshua in the Bible.

In Joshua 1, we find that Moses has died, and along with him, perhaps the hopes, expectations, faith and trust of the nation of Israel. After all, he was the one who went up on the mountain and spent 40 days with God- AND LIVED. He is the one who received the commandments. He is the one who had led them through the Red Sea and all those nasty plagues in Egypt. He was the one that God talked to God and then delivered the message to Aaron. Moses was THE MAN of GOD.

He’s dead now tho, what now? Imagine the confusion in this conflicted people. Really, what do we do now?

They recognized that they were at a crossroads. They knew they had to cross into the land they were promised. They were aware their journey had not yet been completed. That now was a valid fear and worry for them.

“What do we do now?” may even express what you have been feeling lately. “Where do we go form here?”, “What’s next?”. Perhaps for you too, fear and worry have crept in as you realize the precipice that we are standing on and the danger that lies ahead.

Returning to Joshua 1, we see what the response was to that concern and fear.

“After the death of Moses… the Lord said to Joshua… Moses is dead. Now then, you and all these people get ready to cross over the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them…”

Joshua 1:1-2

God spoke. He spoke the obvious – Moses is dead. (duh) Then He told them to get ready to cross over because He was going to give them the land He had promised to them.

When they didn’t know what to do or what was next, God reminded them that His promise is true so get ready to cross over and see it fulfilled.

When we don’t know what to do because the old ways are done with, God’s promise is that He will give us the new land if we prepare and cross over.

There are some very powerful statements made in Joshua to Joshua and the people of Israel and those words need to resonate in our heart and minds as well. These are the days for them to ring loud and clear and dispel any fear and unbelief.

These are the things for us to be believing and practicing if we are to cross over from the old ways into the new days:

Check them out:

  • I will give you every place where you set your foot Joshua 1:3
  • No one will be able to stand against you Joshua 1:5
  • As I was with Moses so I will be with you, I will never leave you or forsake you Joshua 1:5
  • Be strong and courageous Joshua 1:6
  • Be careful to obey all my law Joshua 1:7
  • Do not turn to the right or to the left Joshua 1:7
  • Keep this Book of the Law on your lips Joshua 1:8
  • Meditate on it Joshua 1:8
  • Be strong and courageous Joshua 1:9
  • Do not be afraid or discouraged Joshua 1:9
  • For the Lord is with you where ever you go Joshua 1:9

My friends, something wonderful in the Spirit realm is about to explode upon us, upon the Earth. God has promised it, we are expecting it. But we must be spiritually awake, spiritually hungry & spiritually empowered to both see and participate in it. This is the call of Joshua and the Joshua generation of believers.

Gone are the days of quietly sitting in family gatherings, or silently enduring community planning meetings, or phone conversations denying the power and relevance of the Christian message. Gone are the days of quiet believers letting go of opportunities to speak the Word, return the focus to God and His abilities and stand up for what is right and just.

It is time to cross over!

It is time to take the cross over into every relationship, every meeting, every conversation, every idea. It is time to cross over. Prepare yourselves, get ready, delay no longer. It is time to cross over.

That means, for those of us willing to accept that challenge, that:

  • our personal faith is growing, not diminishing
  • we recognize the Lordship of Jesus in our every day life and that He is with us
  • we may grow weak or faint, but find our courage and strength in Him and His Word
  • voices may tell us values are changing, but we are holding to the absolute truth of the Word of God
  • we talk about the Word, we think about the Word.
  • we are strengthened by Him
  • we find courage in Him
  • we know He is with us, no matter where we go or what happens

These are mindsets for the believer and I hope for you.

Times are changing. Our country is changing. Views are changing. It appears that the old is dead and gone.

But I refuse to let go of God’s standard, His promises and His end game. It is time to cross over!

The river is at flood level, it seems impossible and beyond human achievement to cross now, I know. What do we do? What’s next? The old is gone? We’ve never gone this way before. This is new territory.

There is in you, a ray of His Word, a splinter of of truth, or a wealth of Word. It is time for you to release it. Let it out, everywhere you go, in every setting. Let it out. Cross over that barrier and be strong, courageous, the Lord is with you.

Speak hope, speak life, speak truth, speak strength, speak faith. Step through that barrier and into a new season. Cross over. You have it in you, let it flow out of you.

It matters little the storehouse of Word that is in you now. What matters much is how you are using and sharing what you do have. Please, don’t think that you have nothing to share, or that you are not a qualified vessel to say anything at all. We all are to share what we have, our own personal story, and when we do, more will be given to us. But it is true that “to whom much is given, much is required.”

It is time, my friend, for those that call themselves believers to cross over. To break free from fear and begin sharing the message of the Gospel, the message of hope, the message of life where ever they go. He is with us. Be strong and courageous. He is with you.

Keep your eyes and hearts open. Along your path He has placed ones that need what you have. Don’t pass them by, don’t overlook them. They need exactly what YOU have. It is time to cross over.

Be strong and very courageous, get ready to cross over.

Go with God.

Debbie

One Hit Wonders

While recently reading a passage in an ancient manuscript, the linguistic comment stated that a certain portion of it was a “hapax legomenon”.

A whaaaat?

Now, I confess that I’m old enough to have valid reasons for forgetting things I have learned, so I don’t know if I learned what a “hapax legomenon” is and forgot it, or if I slept through that English class in middle school, high school and again in college or if I honestly never learned it. (Yep, it’s the teacher’s fault. ha ha)

Do you remember what it is? (It has nothing to do with legos. :-))

“hapax legomenon is an expression that occurs only once within a context: either the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or in a single text.”

Merriam-Webster

Ohhh, got it. “One and done. Only said once. One hit wonders.” – my mind quickly translated and applied.

Here are a couple examples from literature, then we will move on to more fun ones…

  • flother – a synonym for snowflake used by Shakespease
  • honorificabilitudinitatibus – another one of the Bard’s words, who knows what it means
  • nortelrye – used by Chaucer, it means education
  • satyr – we have heard it, but it occurs only once in Shakespeare’s writings

So, you get the point.

Now, for the fun “one hit wonders”. Be they songs or inventions, these are people with only one big success to their name. They are human hapax legomenons, if you will.

Do you recall these one hit wonders?

Devo’s song – Whip it. Or The Weather Girls song, “It’s Raining Men”?

How ’bout this one from the 1981…

Emo Rubik had only one hit as well, and who hasn’t played with his Rubik’s Cube?

Did you know that the Rocket Chemical Company was trying to invent a degreaser for rockets and on the 40th try, they came up with a useful solution – they called it WD40. We have nothing else from them after that, but I bet you have a can of WD40 nearby, don’t you?

Required reading for all is “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. She made Atticus the protagonist of the century, and yet, THAT book is her one hapax legomenon.

Being a child of the 60’s, let’s go to 1969 and pull out one of my favorite one hit wonders. This one by Norman Greenbaum.

Here’s another favorite from 1985 and the band Aha.

It is amazing that most of us, if not all of us have heard of these one hit wonders. And yet, that is pretty much the only thing that the artist is known for.

Crocs, the shoe belong in that category. So does penicillin. Some even say that President James K. Polk is a one hit wonder because although he only served one term, he is the only president said to have fulfilled all of his campaign goals. Now THAT is a statement!

Winnie the Pooh’s author, a well known scholar, A. Milne, had a hard time finding work and writing again after his children’s book. Seems that “they” didn’t think that it was very scholarly.

So we can see, whether a songwriter, with the number one, one hit wonder of ALL TIME, Los del Rio’s Macarena,

Or one of the world’s richest people – “Notch”, the no name developer of the one hit wonder “MINECRAFT”, there is no shame in being a hapax legomenon.

Truly, folks, we are not expected to do everything well. We are not expected to even do many things well. But each of us can find one thing, just one, that we can do well. May your world be a better place because of the one thing that you bring to it.

May YOU be (at least) a one hit wonder, a human hapax legonmenon.

Cheers to you,

Debbie