Let’s Talk Recognition…. Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from God More?

Let's Talk Recognition... Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from the Father more?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven

Jesus, Matthew 6:1

What type of recognition do you crave? Recognition from the Father or humans? Would you say it is a mix of the two? Or can you confidently say that you are free from fear of man and the sin of competition, bitterness, envy, jealousy, perfectionism, or other sins that can cause you to crave human acknowledgment?

I ask these deep and layered questions to get you thinking. At first glance, it is easy to say: “I only care about what the Father thinks, not humans.” But, then on a second look, you may find yourself metaphorically dancing in front of humans to impress them or to get them to like you.

Have you ever done this?

I have, and that is why I want to share with you what the Lord told me by providing my latest example of where sin overtook me in a sneaky way.

Now before we dive into this, let me first explain recognition in a psychometric stance.

Someone with high recognition wants to be viewed as a socially desirable person to people. He or she may need the approval of others and is quite concerned about his or her reputation. Such a person’s reputation is a large part of what drives him or her to achieve acknowledgment.

However, a person with low recognition is unconcerned with his or her reputation and does not crave acknowledgment from others. He or she does not usually seek approval and recognition from others.

Where do you think you fall? It may be difficult for you to provide yourself with a clear-cut answer, as other psychometrics can mold this psychometric, but do your best to give yourself a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

As for me, I am someone who once had a very high recognition score. Over the years, the Father and I have been working to lower my fleshly need for human recognition, and we have had great success. I have walked out of a handful of bad habits and grown more secure with the Father’s love. Big picture, I care more about what God says than humans do now, but it has taken me some time to walk out my need for human recognition, and I still fail. While I do not stumble like I once did, I still do stumble. However, now my stumbling is a little bit more subtle than it used to be.

One of my favorite things to do at night with the Father is to spend time reflecting on the day with Him. I like to invite Him in, and I ask Him and the Holy Spirit to highlight any worldly behaviorisms I partook in and anything I need to repent for, and where I could do things more like Christ.

I did this a few days ago regarding Rochester. The Father answered my invitation by showing me where I sought after human recognition over His recognition. It surprised me too because it was so subtle. The devil can be so sneaky sometimes.

It was my mom’s and my first Friday in Rochester, MN. I had gone with her to an appointment that would take about an hour and a half. Sometimes I could go back with my mom for the appointments, but this one I could not. After the nurse came and got her, I asked God, “How would you like me to spend my time?” I heard God answer by saying, “Why don’t you go across the street and get yourself a Starbucks Passion Fruit Tea. I know you like those, so go get yourself a treat.” That is what I did.

As I was leaving Starbucks, I heard a megaphone. I decided to follow the sound. Immediately I began thinking to myself, “hmmm…, is there a protest going on? I thought Rochester was a nice town.” (Not to imply non-nice towns have protests, but Rochester is the friendliest & calmest town I have ever been to. Therefore I was surprised when I heard someone on a megaphone).

As I was thinking that and following the noise, I began walking next to two nurses questioning the noise. We started talking, and the next thing I heard was the word “revival.” I knew it was street preaching or a street revival. I had to introduce myself. I got so excited. Before I continue with this story, let me first tell you the assumptions I fell for without asking God what He wanted me to do.

When I get excited, I can be impulsive, can you?

First, I assumed that since God wanted me to get Starbucks, He wanted me to go over and say hi because everything God-related must be from God. Well, we know that not to be true. But it’s an easy ploy to fall for, but we have to remember the Father did not want every church that exists to exist.

Secondly, I got caught up in the excitement of what these people were doing and forgot to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. I do try to remember to always pray to God before speaking, but I forgot. I try to do my best to let the Father’s light shine through me, but this time I (accidentally) allowed my flesh to take control. Nonetheless, hanging out with these people was awesome. Their faith, boldness, and love for the Lord genuinely exude out of them. It was a huge encouragement to talk with brothers and sisters in Christ-like these. Together we prayed for a nurse and a police officer. We also had a great conversation with one another. I know my faith, boldness, courage, and fearlessness for the Lord grew with this street fellowship.

However, amid this fantastic experience for me, I was falling into my flesh quite a bit. Of course, it took me a few weeks of meditating with the Lord for me to see it, as this is how sly the devil can be. You can automatically agree with his schemes, not even realizing you are doing it.

These individuals were much braver than I was; at least, that is what it looked like. They seem to be more obedient to the Father too. I was amazed and encouraged by their obedience to the Father, and if I am honest, I found myself feeling less than and a bit jealous and envious, which is the fruit of the devil, not the Spirit. The couple I spoke with was from Florida, and they would travel around the U.S.A. and go where the Father told them to go. They didn’t worry about their finances, as they knew where God sends one, He provides too (Isaiah 58:11). I found this to all be so encouraging and faith-building for me. I was so encouraged. I began to buy the lies that I was not good enough. I felt like I needed to prove myself to them and show them what I was doing for God’s kingdom. I began to compare myself and the path God has given me to their course. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to do more. While I can do more for God, the intentions were a bit wrong, if I am honest.

If I reflect with the lens of the Holy Spirit, I see my fleshly actions much clearer. I wanted the glory instead of giving it to the Father. There were numerous times where I was trying to show off my skills, capabilities, talents, and knowledge of the Word. I was falling into spiritual pride, and I wanted them to recognize my abilities. I was trying to get their approval.

Do you see all the self-righteousness I was doing?

I wanted to be the focus instead of letting God be the focus. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Where you were so inspired and encouraged by someone, you began competing with them. Perhaps it was by trying to “top” their story, or maybe you kept bragging about what you were doing as opposed to listening. Whatever it was where you were trying to get favor with them, the humans, or the Father?

Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 6. He begins His sermon by warning against the temptation to parade one’s devoutness by performing deeds to be seen by others. In Matthew 6:2, Jesus continues by saying when people do such a thing, their only reward is the reputation/recognition they gain while on earth.

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get (Matthew 6:1,2 NLT).

Admittedly, I fell into this. The Holy Spirit showed me that the Father would have rather me listened to them, loved them, & encouraged them. He wanted me to observe them and let them know I was listening. God told me earlier this year that humility and illumination were my words. What I see now is He was using that experience to help grow me in humility and meekness. Instead, I got caught up in the excitement of it all, which, I believe, is what caused me to fall into my flesh. I wanted to share with them about me and what I was doing for the Lord when God only asked me to listen, observe, and love them. Righteously so, as Philippians 2:3,4 tells us not to do what I did!

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (NLT).

Even 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against our souls (NLT).

I am delighted I obeyed the Lord and went and got Starbucks. I am thankful for the experience I had. I am incredibly appreciative of the Holy Spirit taking that opportunity to teach me how to act more like Christ and represent Christ better. Sometimes, the only way we can learn is by messing up and then allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the only one who can change you, and when the Spirit convicts you, change will come about if you let it. I am so grateful for this growth!

In closing, where do you fall into selfishness? What creates envy and jealousy inside of you? Where do you crave human recognition over the Father’s? I encourage you today to pray to the Holy Spirit to help you learn these answers about yourself and then ask the Spirit to help change your heart. It is easy to be fooled by this world, but with the guidance and discernment of the Holy Spirit, you can quickly detect the world’s schemes, but you have to listen and pay attention to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son, Jesus, to save me. I know there are times where I crave human recognition overdoing things Your way. Please Forgive me. I ask You to help me turn away from sinful and fleshly desires and only do what You want me to do. Please help me to see when I am participating in my flesh and not in my Spirit. Thank You for growing me, and thank You for using every opportunity to make me more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Jesus Christ is the Most Famous of Them All 🤩

Jesus is the Most Famous!

By: Austin Creecy

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, in a believer's ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear."

John Newton

A few months ago, one of my closest friends, who we will call “John,” found out he was possibly friends with someone “famous!” I am going to call the famous person “Mike” for the sake of conversation.

John = one of my good friends

Mike = celebrity

John had been talking to this “famous” man, Mike, on social media for nearly a year. Over that time, they formed an online friendship. The two men mainly discussed everyday life topics and supported one another to the best of their ability. Obviously, living in two different countries complicates things! You know, your typical online friendship.

At one point, John thought the man in question looked familiar, but he could not put her finger on how or where he had seen this famous man, Mike. Suddenly, a few months ago, it hit him.

John called me up and said, “My online friend is a famous person, an incredibly famous singer overseas with notoriety here in the states also. I knew he was famous!

Mike was using a fake name on his social media account. Once John realized who Mike truthfully was, he began researching to confirm if his hypothesis was correct. John noticed both Mike’s professional and fake accounts shared some of the same pictures. In fact, Mike had sent John childhood photos, as well as photos of his dogs. John now confirmed this “Mike” guy was the famous singer.

John called me freaking out that he was friends with a world-famous singer.

After we both geeked out a little, we carried on with our days. I started thinking about how cool it would be if I were friends with someone famous, and then it struck me. I am!

Jesus Christ is the most famous person ever to exist, and He lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit. Whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or not, you have almost definitely heard of Him. 

He is more famous than The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, and every world-renowned person combined. Name someone who is still talked about as if they are here with us today after 2000 plus years other than Jesus. It’s impossible! Everyone knows who Jesus is, even unbelievers! We can not say that about celebrities.

Why do we get so excited about people who sing songs or portray others on the big screen and television? Why is it they get more airtime and more admiration from most people than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit?

I would argue the devil and his spirits of darkness have distorted the truth and spread so many lies to distract us by using other people. We must stay focused on God and not allow the things of this world to distract us. Again, this is why Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 not to conform to the patterns of the world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

The world is enamored with power, money, and beauty, but God is infatuated with you being obedient and trusting Him! That way He can cultivate a perfect heart within you.

Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 1:13-14, I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 is speaking about his search for happiness under the sun (in the world) and wisdom. First, Solomon believes intellect will make him happy. Therefore, he sets out to learn as much as he can, only to discover that an alphabet after his name and diplomas everywhere did not give him what he was seeking! Solomon concludes what he was doing was working on grasping something elusive as the wind.  However, I believe it fits here as well.

Some of us are so focused on things of this world such as money, notoriety, knowledge, popularity, being impressive, power, etc. But what do they REALLY mean? Nothing! All the things of this world will die and not fulfill you, just as Solomon discovered. Christ is the only thing that will fulfill you! With Christ, only do we get to live on for eternity. Jesus knew this too!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal

(Matthew 6:19-20).

Jesus is telling you the things of this world will be destroyed! He is also saying there is NO security in material things! The only investments that cannot be stolen, rust, or destroyed are treasures in heaven.

I am not saying that famous people will be destroyed or that they are not good people or role models. Some of them are, and some are also very admirable. That does not mean, however, that we should worship them. Remember, God is a jealous God, and we are not to idolize anything (Exodus 34:14)!

It is easy to accidentally and unintentionally begin idolizing a celebrity or anything! Suddenly, you can find yourself wondering what he/she is doing or what he/she is like in person. Next thing you know, you want to emulate the celebrity in various avenues of your life. Perhaps you start dressing like the individual. Meanwhile, Jesus is just sitting there in the background, fading from your thoughts.

Here is the thing, while you are excited and geeking out like John, and I did when we learned Mike was a world-renowned singer, don’t forget about Christ! I know John didn’t. His most significant takeaway from that experience was (1) feeling blessed Jesus had connected him to this man, who he believes is hurting and is a bit lost, and (2) sometimes it’s easy to forget celebrities are normal people. John saw how real and touchable the “untouchable” are. John once wished he was famous and world-renowned like Mike, but when John noticed Mike didn’t have a strong connection with the Lord, he was not impressed by his lifestyle. John told me he’d rather have nothing and have a strong relationship with Christ than all the money or fame in the world!

Jesus is standing right beside you. The Holy Spirit is always with you. You are famous in the Godhead’s eyes, just like Francesca Battistelli says in her song, “He knows my name.” Mike did not know I existed, but God does. Jesus has a Book of Life and in it are all the names of those victorious in Christ (Revelations 3:5). Jesus has written our names as believers in that book. He knows us each individually.

It can be easy in the moment to find yourself focusing on someone in the world and not on the Father. Good people are doing great things in this world, whether using a talent like acting or singing. They may be helping our country or the world in politics. Possibly it is a co-worker or family member, maybe someone at church who you respect. All of that is amazing, and God uses people to reach us and help us grow in Him.

However, the devil uses people as well. The thief (devil) comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). He will use whatever means he can to tear you down and pull you away from God.

I (Jesus) came to give us life and to have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

Next time you find yourself excited by someone in the public eye or someone you know, ask yourself if the reasons you are attracted to them are because of good and pure things or because of something worldly or negative. At that moment, you may find yourself where John and I did, praising God for being our best friend and comforter, no longer caring about some famous person in this world

How to Focus on Your Goals and Live Intentionally Like Jesus!

How to Focus on Your Goals and Live Intentionally Like Jesus!

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV

One thing I consciously work to do is:  LIVE INTENTIONALLY! Sometimes I, too, need downtime or to do “mindless things.” As a follower of Christ, a mental health coach, and a teacher of the Word, I understand the importance of living by your values, even when it involves mindless activities. I am a big fan of learning. In fact, I “relax” by learning. One of my favorite things to do is play word searches to improve my focus and speed-reading skills. 

Most word searches have a word bank that helps you identify the words you have to find for that particular puzzle. Without that word bank, it would be tough to verify if that word you saw was a word you were supposed to find. That’s when it hit me! 

We need to create our own word bank but of goals.

When you know the word you need to find, your mind works with you to help you find that word. Your brain will start to filter out all the letters absent in that word you are looking for and begin filtering in all the letters that are in that word you are looking for. It’s the same with goals. 

Sometimes, you will come across another word in that bank when you are looking for a specific word from that bank. Why is that? Because your mind is consistently seeing the word bank and looking for those words in the sea of letters.

Your self-talk is similar to this! Does your self-talk sound like Jesus’ or the worlds?

Since your self-talk tells your mind what to look for, the brain then will only highlight what you are consciously looking for – there are too many stimuli in the world for your brain to filter it all in!

 When you are reading the word bank, you tell your mind what to look for. Your body works with and apart from thought! Now, this is an excellent example of what it feels like to participate with your conscious mind. The same is true when you engage in your goals, as mentioned above. 

Again, we work to create our most dominant thoughts. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23:7).

Sometimes, you stare at the entire puzzle; you are merely trying to take in all the letters in hopes a word pops out to you. Maybe then you decide to pick a certain word from the bank, looking for it in the sea of letters when SUDDENLY – 💥BAM💥  you find that word! This is an example of your mind responding to thought! It works the same way when we are in “life.”

When you re-expose yourself consciously to your list of goals, you help yourself achieve your goals. Jesus is a great example of this. Since He was always saying what the Father told Him to say. He never lost focus or track of His goal. Jesus never stopped thinking about His primary goals: glorifying the Father, staying in constant relationship with the Father, and teaching people about their authority in Him! It’s fair to say Jesus never lost sight of His personal mission in life!

You can re-expose yourself to your goals by reading your goals as much as possible, envisioning yourself achieving those goals, or intentionally meditating on the goals throughout the day. It will eventually get into your nonconscious mind. What we meditate on shapes up! As you progress through the days, life experiences, and life challenges, your mind will find opportunities that relate to or lead you to accomplish those goals faster. Of course, the same can be said by doing the opposite way of living. You know, when you focus on the short-term, flesh, and lust-filled things. You either are living intentionally by your values or passively not knowing what your values really are!

I am a firm believer your brain can be trained to work with you or against you. Satan can and will try to sell you lies. There are principalities of darkness who are chomping at the bit to teach you to think in a deadly way – in a way that torments, controls, and paralyzes you!  

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Remember, Jesus always spoke what He wanted to see. Jesus only said life. He always stayed in agreement and in the will of His Father as well! We are to walk in that image! Speaking life, the solution, and always praising the Father. 

Most people fail at achieving their new year’s resolutions because they identify their goals, write them down, and then push them to the side. One needs to consciously participate with those goals every day as much as possible by reading them out loud and consciously meditating on them. It’s so important to see yourself accomplishing said goals too!

There are plenty of verses that speak to the significance of continually meditating on God’s word and not allowing scripture to depart from your eyes. The same is valid with goals. Proverbs 28:19 says:

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God] (AMP).

This verse says that when the Word of God is not known or honored, the people run wild. The ones who obey the law (Word of God) are the truly blessed ones. We could take the same principle and apply it to our goals. If your goals are not known to you and are not honored by your choices, you will run wild and, most likely, miss opportunities or delay yourself from getting there. The reality is if you identify your goals and push them to the side, your focus will go with them too. Ultimately, you become more easily distracted by “bright shiny object syndrome.” You know where EVERYTHING seems like a great idea, and you can do it all! …. Only to find out that you can’t and that you have exhausted yourself trying to do so!

Ironically, neuroscience supports this. By consciously thinking and envisioning yourself accomplishing the goal that you want to achieve for a total of one hour a day for 180 days straight, you will have a 90% improvement in reaching that goal or gaining a clearer vision of that goal.  Either way, the results are in your favor! 

It's so important to live life intentionally, as Jesus exemplifies in the Gospel.

We know this to be true because the Bible is truth! However, neuroscience supports these findings because of how the Reticular Activity System (RAS) works and how God designed our minds. Car shopping is an excellent example of how one’s RAS works. When you are contemplating buying a particular car, your mind will highlight that car to your conscious mind every time it is close to you! 

You start to think, “hmm… this car is everywhere.” The reality is there are not any more of these cars than there were before. The difference is now you notice them! You told your mind what to look for, and it responded. Your brain starts to filter in the stimuli you put in through your self-talk and what you meditate on throughout the day. This is also the power of intentional living and having a single-minded focus….just like Jesus did. Remember, a double-minded man is unstable in all that they do (James 1:8).

Now since you, probably, weren’t aware you told yourself to look for that car, this would be an example of how your brain works apart from thought. Just like you don’t tell yourself to breathe! Notice how both conscious and unconscious thought guides you to action!? Perhaps, this explains Proverbs 23:7?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates].

You do what is in your heart (mind).

Thought becomes words - words become actions - actions become habits -habits become your character- and your character becomes your destiny!

I think this is why God reminds us to meditate on His word and told us so many times, “do not be afraid.” He knew precisely what would rotten the soul – and He was right! Duh

 However, when you do not live an intentional life with a clear vision, you are wandering. When you wander, your mind will still work as described above. The most significant difference is when you lack keen focus or direction, everything can become a path you could walk down, or everything becomes an opportunity. It will start to feel like you are treading water instead of moving towards your goals. 

A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead (Proverbs 21:16).

 Living intentionally and practicing thought-control will bring you more useful information, and the other brings, potentially, more useless information. To bring this back to the word search, this would be an example of when you find a word that is not in the word bank. 

 When you look for what you are focusing on and only what you are focusing on, it’s easier to successfully and timely accomplish your goals. Think back to the last word search you did. Didn’t everything else become less important until after you completed the puzzle? 

When concentrating on a word search, the focus you have is the same single-minded intensity and self-discipline you need to achieve your goals. 

The Bible also says the same thing with the following verses:

So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9-10).

Let me ask you…

👉  Where do you need to be more intentional with your goals? 

👉  Where are you departing from godly wisdom in your life?

👉  Where can you start disciplining your flesh to be more like Christ? 

👉  Where can you start living more intentionally versus passively?

PRAYER: Father God, thank You for aligning my desires with Your desires. If there are any goals I want to or am pursuing that do not align with Your will, help me to see that and lose interest in them! Help me to live more intentionally and with a Jesus-like focus. Father help me to achieve only what You would like me to achieve. Holy Spirit help me to stay on the Father’s path for my life. Thank You for nudging me and loving me when I take a wrong step, and more importantly, thank You for getting me back on track. Father, thank You for sacrificing Your Son for me! Thank You for all that You are doing in my life, and I ask You to use me in Your Kingdom however You planned. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S: If you enjoyed this blog, I would be incredibly grateful if you could take just 30 seconds to share this blog with a friend on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Tag Renew Ministries in the share, please! God bless you! 😇🙏🏼.

The Number One Way to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated

The Number One Way to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'”

Billy Graham

Are you ready to get motivated?

Many people contact me asking, “How do I get motivated?” Getting motivated can be challenging, especially if it’s around a task you don’t want to do. Remember, we (believers) do not work for human masters but for the Lord. Sometimes reminding yourself of what Colossians 3:23-24 can be quite powerful:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

I get it, though. Sometimes that’s simpler said than done. Some of what I talk about is simple but not necessarily easy. First, let’s get clear on how motivation is created! Perhaps this will help it all click!

Motivation comes from activation.

A ball does not get momentum until some energy force activates it! As the ball begins to move, it picks up speed (momentum).

Therefore, you must get activated! The only way you will get motivation is by starting. Through taking that first step, the activation occurs, which can lead to the creation of motivation. Now here’s the thing – Watch your feelings!

You might not feel like doing it; that’s why Paul tells us not to focus on how we

feel, in 2 Corinthians 5:7:

For we live by faith, not by sight.

Assuming what you want to do is in line with the Word of God and what God wants you to do, you are going to have to start even when you feel reluctant. Ultimately, God and His Word need to inform your feelings. When you are tempted to listen to your emotions or your feelings are overwhelming you, resubmit yourself to God (James 4:7) – look to what the Word says! If your feelings line up with what the Word says, then excellent, follow that! But if your feelings contradict what the Word says, then say “no” to those thoughts or that activity. Regardless of how strong those feelings are! Emotions and feelings are not always trustworthy. Remember, God’s Word is your foundation and guide! Live by the Word of God, not your feelings.

It’s okay not to want to do something; don’t beat yourself up for it. That’s what the Devil wants you to do anyway. If Satan can get you condemning yourself, he won’t have to! Instead, accept the fact you don’t feel like doing it! Acknowledge your feelings as a feeling, not the truth, while remembering that your feelings can change quite quickly, and then begin. Sometimes what you

don’t feel like doing is precisely what you do need to do. If I am 100% honest, sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the booty by giving yourself tough love and get down to work!

For example, I don’t always like going to the gym, but I love how I feel afterward. Sometimes I think about what it will feel like once it’s completed (long-term thinking), verse how it feels right now (short-term thinking). Or sometimes, I don’t feel like seeing clients, but then I remember how much I love what I do and that the Father wants me to serve other people, and this is one way of doing that!

Here's a quick trick that can alleviate those domineering and entrapping thoughts when you really don't want to do something that you know you need to do!

I tell many of my clients to set a timer for 20 minutes. The reality is 20-minutes is not much time at all. So set your timer for 20 minutes and begin doing the task you feel unmotivated to do. Even if that means sitting in front of the computer screen, standing on the cardio equipment, or whatever it is you need to do. Remember, you’re only going to be doing it for 20 minutes. You can do it for 20-minutes!

Now, if you don’t get traction, which can happen, then stop! Some days when I am unsure if I want to work out, I will do this. I know, after 20-minutes, if my body doesn’t want to work out, then maybe that is the day I need to take a rest day!

What about those where you would like to do a hobby but just don’t feel like you have the energy? What do you do? The same thing. Even if that means you stare at the computer screen or paper for 20-minutes. Allow yourself to gently ease into things. Watch your expectations. It’s okay to go slow.

You see, what usually happens is you begin activating your motivation by just doing the activity. You will find the 20 minutes will fly by too. Most likely, you will end up continuing on with the task of realizing that it was not as bad as you were making it out to be. Some activities might take more time to get into the grove of things making the first 20 minutes go by slower than you hope, and that’s okay.

Sometimes you aren’t getting traction because you aren’t clear of all the steps necessary. If that’s the case, take a few minutes to plan out all the steps you need to take to get you to finish the line. I encourage you to work backward from the goal. Also, make the steps smaller as it is easier to get you motivated and committed.

Other times you may not want to try the thing you would like to do or know you need to do because of fear. That’s okay. Again acknowledge that fear by doing what Jesus would do! Sometimes you will need to tell the Devil or his principalities to “get behind you” (Matthew 16:23) just as Jesus did! Bear in mind, the Father NEVER gave you a spirit of fear! For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Tell the Spirit of Fear to get behind you, for it’s not coming from the Father. Allow the Father’s grace to be sufficient for you while holding on to the truth that YOU CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength (2 Cor. 12:9; Philippians 4:13).

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Encourage yourself as the Father is encouraging you!

Lastly, do not forget that YOU CAN do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13, parentheses added). Perhaps reciting this verse would be a great way to encourage yourself but also to allow Jesus’ strength to move you versus your own.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your grace and power. Thank You for all that you do. Father, help me to stay focused on the mission You have for my life. Help me be motivated and do all the things that I need to do and don’t want to do. Help me fight laziness and the devil with Your strength and not my own. Help me to be productive and remind me that all I do is for You! I love You and receive Your love and Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

STOP, Do You Know How to Receive God’s Wisdom?


STOP, Do You Know How to Receive God's Wisdom?

By: Austin Creecy

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

— Colossians 3:16

You can gain wisdom! We all could benefit from more wisdom in our lives. God wants to give you His understanding – His knowledge! James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. All you have to do is ask God for wisdom, and He will give it to you! How glorious is that? Another example of how much God loves you! Now, remember you must be willing to do what He says!

 

God shows us through Proverbs how to gain divine knowledge, as well as how to put aside our foolish ways. 

 

The word Proverbs refers to “sayings of the wise.” The Book of Proverbs compares and contrasts what living wisely versus foolishly looks like and will bring. The goal of Proverbs is to clearly show the reader how to live life wisely and skillfully. 

 

It is believed that if one implants into his or her life the moral disciplines commanded in chapters 1-9 and masters the practical application of wisdom expressed in chapters 10-31, he or she will indeed have an abundant and successful life. 

 

Most of Proverbs was written by the wisest man ever to live, Solomon. He was writing to his sons. He hoped to make sure they lived long lives and lived them well for God. In doing this, he walks us through how to live wisely and how to live foolishly. 

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).

 

The word “fool” in Proverbs 1:7 means foolish or silly but can also mean perverse. It views another as behaving like a “fool,” which signifies the individual lacks wisdom and allows the enemy to perverts what they perceive. 

 

Let’s say one is reading his or her Bible to check a box. Let’s assume said individual is not paying attention to the words or meditating on them the way God advises. Essentially, the person commits 30-minutes to God and then does the rest of his or her day without Him. Therefore, this individual would be participating with foolishness. 

 

God wants to be in every part of your life. 

 

God is good! He loves you so much. Yes, maybe the person in the example above is getting some insights, but the real question here is – Is the individual growing godly fruit? Remember, the Father is the vine, and His body of Christ are the branches. Jesus evens says a person can recognize another by their fruits. What fruits are growing on your vine? Godly fruits or fruits of the devil? 

 

Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

 

Please understand that merely reading the Word to check a box is not what God is asking. The Father wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). He wants a relationship with you. He is asking you to grow godly fruit and abide by Him in all things. Reading the Word and believing God will do it all for you is foolish thinking! This kind of thinking makes an individual a fool in that department. 

 

Proverbs 1:7 states, “…fools despise wisdom and instructions.” I can attest to this as it is something I have struggled with in my past. I didn’t see my thoughts as being foolish, let alone even behaving foolishly. Yet, when I would sit down and reflect, I realize I didn’t want instruction or help. I was operating from a self-righteous stance, not a righteous one. I was playing the role of God instead of obeying God. 

 

After all, I was living what I believed at the time was the “right way.” At least that is the lie that the enemy was feeding me, and I chose to agree with it. 

 

Of course, the enemy wants us to stay foolish in our thinking and lean on our own understanding. However, Proverbs 3:5 reminds you: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” That means sometimes you will not understand why God is encouraging you to do it the way He is. That’s okay. Trust Him. He’s wiser than you!

 

I know some Christians struggle with thinking they are doing things the way Jesus would. Yet, when they take a closer look, they realize they are missing those subtle and sometimes not so subtle nudges from the Holy Spirit.

 

If you are anything like I once was, sometimes it’s a pile of nudges! 

 

It’s easy to struggle with pride. I have learned my pride can sometimes sound like this: “Oh no, you’re doing everything right. You are doing everything as close as you can to Christ. You do not see growth in your spiritual life because the Spirit just isn’t feeding you.” 

 

That, my brothers and sisters, are lies from the devil! 

 

The truth is I was struggling to grow in my spiritual life because I was spending more time checking boxes and being double-minded in some areas of my life instead of focusing on the word and keeping my eyes set upon the Lord. I thought my focus was on the Lord. However, when I held the mirror up to myself, I realized I was not. We all stumble at times – that is to be human. That’s okay. Quickly repent and move on. Our Father in Heaven is incredibly loving and forgiving. 

 

What we need to remember is God loves you so much!! If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 

He will give you wisdom! All you need to do is ask. A healthy prayer life casts those prayers to Him, entrusting them with Him, and seeking wisdom or discernment when something is not adding up. The Father does not want to hide anything from you, but He also might not tell you everything you want to know. That’s okay. Trust His wisdom. 

 

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

 

If you follow the passage above, you will ask the Lord for wisdom, and you will want to spend time in His Word. You must trust that He will show you, but it may be in His perfect timing, not yours. 

 

When I struggle with a lack of wisdom, I ask the Lord to guide me, and then I choose to abide in His prompts. If I feel I am not hearing Him clearly, I remind myself that I know His voice, then I read Proverbs or go to those letters in red. Who is better to learn wisdom from but Jesus Christ Himself! Do I need to remind you that Christ is God in the flesh?!

 

Usually, once I spend some time in His word, wherever that may be, He shows me the area I am struggling with and how to defeat it. Sometimes God guides me through a conversation with my wife or a family member. Sometimes it’s even a short conversation with a stranger. 

 

If you ask, God will show you. We must remember to be still, know that He is God, and listen to Him. Remember, Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”

 

I have found myself at times behaving foolishly, yet I still believe I am doing the right thing. Except I start to notice life seems a little harder, and I don’t always clearly hear God. When I see this, I recalibrate and find life is more comfortable, more joyful, and smoother in all ways with Him guiding me. Walking with Christ next to you through life and allowing Him to guide you and fill you up allows for the opportunity for the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) to manifest in your life. Living in the fruits of the Spirit is EMPOWERING and FREEING! 

 

I invite you to take a moment today and ask God for wisdom. Perhaps you are searching for divine knowledge on how you live better for Him and His Kingdom. Or maybe you need wisdom regarding a current temptation or sin in your life. Perhaps you are looking for divine knowledge to navigate the normal day-to-day in this hectic, crazy fallen world. Whatever it is – ask God today and entrust that He is or will answer you! 

 

I hope that by gaining wisdom, you will hopefully STOP choosing to live foolishly and continue your growth towards being more like Christ. 

 

Your holy Heavenly Father loves you more than your human mind can even fathom. He yearns for a relationship with you! The Father can grow His relationship with His children to impart His wisdom – His way of thinking and seeing- on to you. 

 

The new year is right around the corner, and I hope you start, if you haven’t already, asking The Father to show you His wisdom and love for you every day so that you can be even closer to Him now!

 

Make gaining God’s wisdom a priority in your life! Don’t be fooled by the biggest fool of all, the devil. 

Does Your Spirit look Like this….?

Does Your Spirit look Like this….?

Understanding God’s Love Series

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

No one ought to be confident in his own strength when he undergoes temptation. For whenever we endure evils courageously, our long-suffering comes from Christ.

Augustine

The Fruit of the Spirit

Last week, I discussed what the fruit of love is and looks like. The newsletter ended with Galatians 5:22-23, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Today I am going to break down the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I understand that it is easy to read these words, but my goal is to make the fruit of the Spirit come alive in your mind’s eye! I am going to do that by breaking down the fruit of the Spirit.

The first piece of the fruit Paul lists out is love. Now, I have already spoken about what love is, but I will share a quick recap.

Love:

God’s love bears little resemblance to the emotional meaning so often given to the world. God’s love is shown by Jesus. I believe love is the foundation for all of the other components of the fruit of the Spirit to gain its richness.

Love is ultimately saying I am going to treat you well because you are a child of God. Think: If God loves you (and He loves all), I will love you too.

God’s love is a choice, and it takes maturity, wisdom, and discernment to walk in. Jesus showed the perfect example of love. I encourage you to create your own Bible Study, where you study how Jesus operates when interacting with people and his disciples. Ultimately Jesus shows love as self-sacrificing and unchanging. The Father demonstrated this kind of love when He sent His only Son for sinners. Can you imagine sacrificing something you love or want so others can be blessed?

Now hope (trust, confidence) does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5; parenthesis are mine).


This is the kind of love, hope, and desire you will need to practice if you want to participate in God’s love. It’s not ALWAYS doing what is best for you, but what is best for others. Now the Father and Jesus provide plenty of examples where they had healthy boundaries and act on those boundaries. Please do not view love as a place for people to walk all over you. At the end of the day, there will be times when you may not do what is best for another because that other person is a stranger to you. That’s fair enough. However, there are always opportunities to act in love toward strangers. It’s the willingness and sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. How can you make sure people benefit for the better when you are around? What are the things you can do?

For starters, you can hold the door for someone. Or you could allow someone in line behind you who has fewer or more items to go in front of you. Additionally, you could buy someone’s food that is in line behind you. You can always create an opportunity where someone benefits without you gaining any return from them.

Love forms the foundation for all the other fruit identified by Paul. If you do not have love as your foundation, you will misrepresent or misuse the other parts of the fruit of the Spirit.

Joy:

Joy is an inner sensation that abides rejoicing despite your external circumstances. Joy comes from God’s presence!

 

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11 NKJV).

Joy is gladness of the heart. There is always something to be glad about. For instance, God loves you. He chose you. He wants you. God is also good. So be glad about that at the very least!

And as the Bible reminds us: Listen, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart on the right course (Proverbs 23:19 NIV). If you are struggling to create a glad heart, then change your thinking. Remember, as a man thinks, so he is (Proverbs 23:7). There is plenty of things to be joyful over.

Therefore, joy becomes a choice.

Understand joy is not happiness. In fact, happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. Believe it or not, no one wants to be happy all the time, but people do want to feel joy. You can be joyful and unhappy. Joy is not dependent on happiness.

According to Ed Diener (2013), (the world’s leading expert on subjective well-being), happiness contains both an affective (feeling) component and a cognitive (sensation) component. Happiness is more of an experience, you could say. It is best thought of as the total amount of pleasant emotions people feel, plus their cognitive evaluation of how satisfied they are with their life as a whole or with a specific aspect of their life, such as job, marriage, or hobbies (Dean & Biswas-Diener, 2013). Think of happiness as the experience of frequent, mildly to highly pleasant emotions, the relative absence of unpleasant feelings, and a general sense of satisfaction with one’s life.

Joy is having gladness or delighting in the Lord.

….for the joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).


In Psalms 16:9, David says, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety (NLT).” David had found the secret to joy. Regardless of what is going on externally in your life, you can feel real joy (God’s joy). Despite your deepest troubles, David understood that his relationship with God determined his outlook in life. Some people base their happiness and joy on external circumstances. Doing so is stupid, reckless, and dangerous! Why would you allow others, events, and other variables you cannot control to dictate your internal joy, peace, or happiness? That seems scary and like a losing battle! That’s like putting a sign in the front of your house, that says, Come on in, and take whatever you want from me! The result of allowing external stimuli to dictate your internal peace is a rollercoaster from hell that you cannot get off of until you change your mindset.

It’s by celebrating God’s daily presence and what He has done for you! This is how you will find contentment and joy. As you walk with God and He unfolds His plans for you, I promise your joy will increase and grow strong. Remember, disciples, are to base their joy and life on God, not circumstances.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

 

Peace:

Peace is an inner quietness, trust, and stillness in God’s sovereignty and His promises (Word). The fruit of peace in work in your life is the tranquility of your mind, which in turn frees you from worry or fear. It is holding on to what Romans 8:28 declares:


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Peace is the profound agreement with the Bible’s word and that God remains in charge of the universe. Allow God’s peace to enter your heart (Colossians 3:15). He has you. He loves you. Let Him have your worries and stay focused on today.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Longsuffering (Patience):

Simply put, it’s controlling yourself and how you respond or react when you are exposed to annoying, frustrating, and inconvenient things. It’s being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I promise the Holy Spirit will increase your endurance and help you successfully deal with the things that annoy you. You have to want this too! Free will is real!

Please note longsuffering is more of a marathon or lifestyle change than a race. You have to train for it! In short, patience or longsuffering has restraint or calmness with others. It is the opposite of a short temper. It is quietly and calmly handling or processing disposition and or bearing injury.

Kindness (Gentleness):

Kindness is acting charitably or benevolently towards others, as God does towards you. Kindness is responding to other people’s needs. Think – acts of kindness. Or merely being attentive to the needs of those you love and care for, but also strangers. There are some basic needs that we all have in common. Help people meet those needs.

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself (Proverbs 11:17)

Goodness:

Goodness is responding to do nice and considerate things to others, REGARDLESS if they deserve it or not. Goodness does not react to evil but absorbs the offense and responds with a positive or loving response/action. Goodness is generosity! What are some ways you can be generous to your loved ones and to strangers?

 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender].  And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:40-24). 

The last three fruit pieces are more general character traits that need to be valued by Christ’s followers. Values are personally chosen life directions. It’s your moral compass.

Faithfulness:

Faithfulness is having faith in others and God. Seeing the best-case scenario, not the worst. What Paul also means is being dependable. Keeping your word and doing what you say you are going to do. If you asked everyone in your life if you are reliable and trustworthy, what would they say?

Gentleness (meekness):

Think of humility. Think of how John the Baptist was. Gentleness is being considerate of others or mindful. One can still get angry as Jesus did in the temple but remain in control of him or herself and respond with love. Please note Jesus was not angry at the people, but at the sin. And, who is the Father of sin?

Self-control:

Self-control (self-discipline, sound mind, temperance) is having discipline or victory over the lusts of the flesh, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts. I do believe this is why the Father encourages fasting. It takes discipline to not buy into those hunger pains or follow the carnal mind’s cravings.

Self-control means having the restraint not to do something even though your flesh desires it. While self-discipline sucks at the moment, in the long run, it feels great. However, not developing self-discipline can cost a person his or her life. Ironically, it is those sinful desires or lust of the flesh that provide an illusion of fulfillment and power but only lead us to slavery and the fruit of the devil.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16). 

The best way to see where you are with the fruit of the Spirit is to rate yourself on a scale of 1-5.

(1) never true of me; (2) rarely true of me; (3) occasionally true of me; (4) frequently true of me; (5) Always true of me.

  1. I respond from a place of love, regardless of my annoyance or dislike for the individual.
  2. I am joyful.
  3. I do not worry or fear many things. Instead, I have peace (calmness/tranquility) inside of me.
  4. I am a patient person.
  5. I am a charitable and kind person.
  6. I am nice and considerate to everyone, not just those I like.
  7. I am a dependable and trustworthy person.
  8. I am courteous and considerate in my relationship with others.
  9. I am a disciplined person. I harness and control my passions and lusts.

The assessment above provides insight into how well you are operating in the fruit of the Spirit. Remember, you do not need to do this alone. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13 NLT). Allow God to work through you. Today I encourage you to take a few minutes to pray to God, asking Him which fruit do you need to consciously work to improve in? He will tell you, and when you start to do what God wants, life gets better!

Prayer: Father, I want to grow spiritually and emotionally. I do not want to be enticed by the world’s ways. I do not wish to adopt worldly behavior but Jesus’ behavior. I want to do Your will and not my own. Help me to use Your strength to grow and operate in the fruit of the Spirit. In moments of weakness, please correct me and show me how to respond – how to represent You and Your glory. Father, Thank You for all You have done in my life. Thank You for helping me grow in the fruit of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Reference: Dean, B., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2013). Positive psychology coaching. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.