Fix Your Attention to God


Romans 12:1-2Place Your Life Before God ] So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Be you. The world will adjust. - 6-word motivational quotes to lift your spirit - OurMindfulLife.com / short inspirational quotes and sayings with images

Today’s Five Minute Friday word prompt is ADJUST.

I found this scripture in the Message version of the Bible. It is fitting. We are now thinking about how we fit into our culture. We each play a role in society, and those roles have been adjusted this month. We are living in a time that is full of adjustments:

The kids are no longer attending public school but instead virtual education is taking place…my kids are going to be awesome at this…because you know they already love their PCs as if it were an additional sibling!

The parents are no longer reporting to work in person but instead online…my husband has commandeered the home office…I’ll have to commandeer a space for my online therapy starting today with training as a speech therapist virtually with my team of therapists from our local school district. I think I’ll pick outdoors in our secret garden alcove…it will be quiet and lighting should be natural!

The medical professionals are now doing teleheath or practicing full time or over time…my counselor called me on Wednesday and we chatted for about 30 minutes. I updated her on the fact that I’m feeling really good these days. She advised how to help our children adjust to the new schedule. I recommended she try Zoom…and offered to help her try it out! She’s in her 60s so that would be a leap of faith. Now we all have a touch of anxiety…welcome to my world!

The pastors and priests are serving their congregations/parishes in unique ways…our priest did a Facebook live session yesterday with an update on how our Sunday services are now once a day and encouraged those 65+ to stay home (in accordance with the Florida governor) and anyone to stay home and watch online this Lenten season.

The fitness gurus have taken to the online communities of Zoom and Facebook as well….I’ve taken two online yoga classes through our yoga instructors/local yoga studio. We are tuning in live from home. It’s not bad, but the glitchy stream of audio/video is a touch annoying…I think all four of us family members are sucking up bandwidth.

The friends and family are also gathering through video chats…I feel like the Carousel of Progress at Disney World is coming to real life. We are now video chatting with almost everyone! We had a family reunion complete with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins last night tuning in 5 screens. It was a little wild! We determined that the kids need their own channel to show off and goof off with one another!

We are adjusting to a new normal, and it kind of feels great in some ways to me. I like being at home. I like my immediate family a lot…I love em of course! I only yelled at our sons once in the two weeks they have been off from school. They were playing a PVC sword battle in the pool, and I drew the line in the sand to “STOP!” when the shards of one PVC sword were flying to bits all over the pool/patio. We are adjusting. How about you? Drop me a comment please. I’d love some interactions with others outside of my family!

Dear Lord, You are the beginning of wisdom. As Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Forgive me when I try to go to the news or Facebook feed for knowledge. Help me instead to rest at Your feet in prayer and in reading Thy Word. I know this season of adjustment will be better if I include You more in the journey. Amen.

Proverbs 9:10 KJV; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Being a Christian Doesn’t Mean Life’s Easy


For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him… Philippians 1:29NIV

Being a Christian doesn’t mean life gets easier. It doesn’t. Life is still life. We live, we breathe, we succeed, we fail, we are happy, and we are sad. Life isn’t all roses and rainbows. We pick up our cross from time to time and have to walk the hard roads just as Christ did.

We are not alone in the moments that are easy nor are we alone when the road is long and hard. We are in a season of picking up our crosses friends. We have some hard days ahead. I have been handling all of this quarantine fairly well, but this morning it hit me. For how long? How long do we have to live in a quarantine and distancing phase? I miss my co-workers faces. I miss the students that I just got to know. I miss meeting at the yoga studio to do yoga in real life. I am missing the people and places.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean life’s easy.

In Lent, we reflect on the time Jesus spent here on earth. He was a young man when he carried the cross and died upon it. He was in his 30s. I’m now 40. I have definitely had some low points where is felt like the cross was crushing in on me through horrible bouts of depression, anxiety, and out of control mania. I survived though. I didn’t die. I consider that lucky and heavenly sent grace. I’m a survivor folks. I share this with you in this somewhat private space because my blog isn’t traveled by the thousands, but by the few…you. Thank you. Thank you for being with me in this space to share my feelings on a online journal of sorts. I make this public because I feel that it may help others. The journey I’m on is different that yours.

But, together we can acknowledge that being a Christian doesn’t mean life’s easy.

Cheers with my morning hot tea to you! May we make the best of today. May we carry the cross and know that the Lord walked before us, and he also walks beside us.

Bartolomeo Montagna ~ “Christ Bearing the Cross”, ca. 1515

The Answer to Fear


“The answer to our individual fear is found in a personal faith in the living, glorified Lord. And the answer to collective fear is a corporate faith in the living, glorified Lord. The answer to national and international tensions and fears is for the world to know Him who is alive forevermore.” March 25 Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day “Do not be afraid.” Matthew 28:10

Well that is fitting! I read my daily flip calendar at my desk. I pondered what to blog today, and I read this. I realized that the answer to fear is what we all need right now. The answer to fear is faith. I am so thankful to have a personal faith in the living, glorified Lord. He is supreme. He is so much bigger and stronger than any fear we may hold. Thank you Jesus!

What is your answer to fear?

As a person who has anxiety clinically at times, I am so very thankful that I’m not at a crumbling point. I have very little fear about COVID19. I know that He is with me. I know that He knows the future, and I don’t have to. I know that fear is conquered by faith. I also know that in this time I’ve had more time to blog and pray. I have had more time to read His word. I know that this Lent looks very different than any other Lent I’ve experienced. We have a collective sigh. We aren’t sure what the next days, weeks, months will look like. But, I’ll tell you one thing. The church will remain. The Believers will still be there. We will be a collective. We will be smiling when others are frowning. We will be lit. We will love well.

QUOTES | NgLp Designs shares How to Find Out What You're Passionate About by Karen Walrond ~ a beautiful definition of finding your superpower and passion with step-by-step exercises to help you really hone in on and tiny habits that will change your life. “Be loud about the things that are important to you.” ~ Karen Walrond, quote | habits, how to, self care, self love, journey /// #wellness #howto #mindset

Walk and Talk


The Road to Emmaus….Luke 24

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

Can you imagine taking a seven mile walk with a friend? I’ve done 3-4 mile walks with a girlfriend or my spouse. But, I haven’t ever walked longer. Run however, I have done that! I have completed many long runs with friends and with my husband, Daniel. We run/walk and talk along the way. These two men did the same. They discussed the current affairs—a man had died and was now missing from his tomb! Jesus. They were intrigued by the man.

The man, Jesus Christ, brought men and women both to speak of his presence. Do you think He changed the world? I do. I think He is still moving amidst the world in the Holy Spirit within many of us. We have a time, now, to share the light and love of Christ with others. Are we talking about things or Him? We are in a season of Lent. We (and I) need a re-focus. There is something big going on in this world, and it can happen on our day to day activities. It can happen on a walk. We can talk about Him. We can rejoice in His presence with us, and the remarkable stories He has included through His followers in the Bible, in blogs across the globe, and in inspirational posts of scripture that are now sprinkling social media now more than ever!

I did a walk talk with a friend last night. Don’t worry we kept our distance and didn’t cough on each other. She is a dear friend of mine, and she too believes in Christ. Our friendship is strong because it includes that 3rd strand…the presence of Christ in our hearts. We can cheer each other on as we parent and know that we will not get this right. We will just do the best we can for our families and for each other.

Walking with Your Best Friend Art for Women Quotes for

We plan to walk talk again today. I also plan to pray. I’ll start right now…

Dear God, You are Christ. You came to save us. You came to die a horrible death in order that our sins may be erased, and in communion with your Holy Spirit we can made right with you again day after day. We have you in our hearts. Forgive us when we ignore the spiritual things that are always happening around us. Give us eyes to see and hands to help others in the best ways that we can. Help us to share the love of Christ with others. Give us your peace. Give us hearts that bow to You in prayer. AMEN.

Luke 24:6

Perseverance


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12NIV

Blessed Is The One Who Perseveres Under Trials…. | Trophy Of Grace

Perseverance is something I’m familiar with in a few different ways. I learned from a young age how to persevere through a lengthy track race. How to persevere through a losing tennis match, I gained understanding that it’s not always going to be a victory. I persevered through teasing as a young child. I was the academic and shy one. Not really in the cool crowd.

As an adult I learned to persevere through the days that our young sons didn’t sleep and were needing for a mother’s breast milk. I persevered through depression and anxiety attacks. I am here writing today after all. I’ve lived to tell the stories of times that required me to persevere.

We all have trials of some sort. What trial are you facing today? Is it the trial of job loss during a crisis in our world that puts many out of work? Is it the trial of mental health battles that seem to be never quite won? Is it the trial of parenting kids that aren’t easy to parent?

Thirteen Bible Verses About Perseverence #bibleverse #faith #printables

Dear God, You are the presence we need in all of our little and big trials. Forgive us when we try to persevere on our own strength instead of inviting You into the moment. Give me Your Holy Spirit today so that I may persevere through this day with You. Amen.

With ordinary talent & extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable. -- Thomas Fowell Buxton // Web design, branding, blogging and marketing tips for entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers & bloggers at fivedesign.co #entrepreneur #quotes #motivation #business #career #blogger #success #perseverance

Anxious Always…But Not Now


Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I recently released a book, Anxious Always. I self-published it to Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. I dropped the price of the Kindle book to $0.99 this week. I’d be honored if you’d read it. It is the story of my life struggle with anxiety through the decades. I have always been an anxious person, but not now. I have the right medications, engage in prayer, do yoga once a week, and run/walk daily. I have found that by doing these things I’m no longer anxious. I have peace.

The audience for this book includes parents, people with anxiety, depression, and/or bipolar disorder, teachers, counselors, and psychiatrists. The audience is big…there are many people who are struggling with mental illness or know someone who is. The people who will walk into a bookstore or order online will likely be people who are seeking comfort in the mental illness journey.

Anxiety Affirmations | Etsy

What makes you anxious?

I’d love to pray for your at this moment…today. Leave me a comment or privately email me at cook.jennifer@gmail.com.

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Jennifer Erd Cook, Instagram jenniferkcookslp, and Pinterest cookjennifer. I’m not on Twitter as of late because I’ve locked up my account somehow!

Dear God, You are the Divine Healer. Forgive us when we become more anxious than necessary. Grant me peace. Grant me love. Grant me a trust in You that can help me to conquer each day at a time. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit. Help it to descend on me like a dove. Amen.

Who is My Neighbor?


I think we can all agree we may be getting to know our neighbors now more than ever. We are mostly home. We are mostly wanting to be outdoors. Going stir crazy from social media and news overload. It is the time for family walks, gardening, and household projects. Even our kids are getting tired of screens.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Who is my neighbor?

Our neighbors are literal and figurative. We have neighbors that we will come upon at the grocery and big box stores. We owe it to smile at the cashiers. We owe it to the stocking staff to smile and give them a “thank you.” We can patron local businesses that have remained open. We can text our co-workers to check in on how they’re doing. We can do a Google Hangout or Facetime with family members who are older and encouraged to stay home now more than ever.

Who is my neighbor?

What is your answer to this question? Leave me a comment. I pray you find some neighbors to interact with at a distance. We walked with a young couple last night and shared adult beverages and just talked and walked. It was wonderful. We plan to do the same tonight. Fresh air and neighbors.

Dear God, You are the creator of neighbors. Your Word instructs us to love them. Help me to love neighbors today. Place people in my path that need encouragement and grace. When we go out today for errands and products that our household needs…help us to be patient and kind. Amen.

He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
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