"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Monday, October 31, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 31 ...


Day 31

"Obey Anyway"

John 14:15

"My AHA"

"Go ahead. Look at your game plan. Write it down below. What would a man or woman experiencing AHA look like facing a similar situation as you? Circle your first step and act on it now, whether or not you feel like it." 

{Now look what comes next in the Days below}

<><><>

I thought long and hard about what might be the best way to fit "40 Days to Lasting Change" into 31; if I should double up or continue into November or just skip the last 9 since by now, you more than likely have an idea of "...lasting change" and how this AHA Challenge works, so I finally decided I'd list Days 32-40 here and briefly share a bit{bare with me and this extra long blog post, but it's better than missing out or having to read 9 more squeezed in}

And this way, we get the full scope to 
lasting
CHANGE
{all 40 days' worth}
Now remember these all relate to the "prodigal" story

Day 32 - "Pick up Your Sword" - Nehemiah 4:14
Day 33 - "Little Guy, Big Change" - Luke 19:8
Day 34 - "Killing Time" - Hebrews 3:15
Day 35 - "Not Too Late" - Luke 23:43
Day 36 - " Come Home" - Luke 15:20
Day 37 - "Older Bro" - Luke 15:11
Day 38 - "You May Be an Older Brother If ..." Hebrews 4:16
Day 39 - "All About the Father" - see below
Day 40 - "More to the Story" - Psalm 34:8

Now which AHA Challenge would you like to see here:
{they're all really good}

"



or 
what AHA Challenge would you create for any of the days above 
just looking at the title and Bible verse
Create your own that's needed
for your own AHA

What LASTING CHANGE will you 
make or have you made 
in 2016?

<><><>

Instead of "Obey Anyway", I think I might have preferred 
to end this with

Day 39

"All About the Father"

although the brother and the others are important to

and for me

I believe

God purposely wants me to end in

OBEDIENCE

because that's what the

Father

is all about

and

LOVE

Ephesians 1:3-5

My AHA

"Let it all go in the Father's embrace."

"Father, here I am with no pretense. I want and I need You. Everything else is Yours. I bring You ... "

the rest of the 

STORY

for there's

MORE

Psalm 34:8

there's

ALWAYS

more to the story

"There is more to your story

Wherever you are, you are not too far to reach God.

Whoever you are in the story of the Prodigal ...

you are not beyond hope for healing and restoration.

God is at work all around you." ...

"Take heart...

Elisha's Prayer

God, open my eyes and let me see ...

{and in my case ... keep hearing enough, until I'm home}

and I'm not just talking about MN or MX




Sunday, October 30, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 30



Day 30

"Getting Past Passivity"

Acts 1:8

"Action - Spectators"

"Ingrained"
<>

"My AHA"

"What are you hoping will work out by itself? It won’t. Put aside passivity and take action to work it out. With the Lord’s strength, I will … "


Saturday, October 29, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 29



Day 29

"Changing Your Story"

Ezekiel 36:26

"Not Easy, but Simple"

"When?"
{"when are you going to get up?" = ACT}
"When is verse 20 going to be a part of your story?" {I'm assuming that's Luke 15:20}

"My AHA"

"Edit your story. Pick a painful or difficult experience— probably one connected to an awakening. For each of the next three or four days, spend fifteen minutes writing about it. Write honestly and explore your emotions freely. Explore how you would like to see God use this experience to shape you." Kyle Idleman
Hoping I get a chance to share one of my "stories"
and the edit before 2016 is over or I'm over
here at "aMazing Grace"



Friday, October 28, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 28



Day 28

1 John 3:18

"Change or Die"

"... What if you were given the choice? ..."

I guess this depends "change what" ... surely if it would be our beliefs
we know what the answer should be, but as we see all the horrific,
devastating tactics of the enemy to sway, destroy, defeat, ...
to steal, to rob, to kill in more and more unseemly  ways,
do we have the strength, courage and integrity
to stand and in this case stand strongly
with a "no" - I won't change THAT!
{you can't imagine what comes after that quoted part above?}
Not the same thought as mine
but it could almost be and hints that way
and then it flip flops

"... Change or Die. What if you were given the choice?  What if a well-informed, trusted authority figure said you had to make difficult and enduring changes in the way you think and act? If you didn’t, your time would end soon— a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change really mattered? When it mattered most?"

"Confused Feelings for Action"

"So what keeps us from taking action? Sometimes we get stuck between honesty and action because we trick ourselves into believing that because we feel different, we’re actually doing something different— different— even if we haven’t done anything yet. We mistake our conviction for real change. So we live with good intentions and strong convictions, but we never actually get around to leaving the pigpen. Conviction is always an invitation to action ...
 Kyle Idleman {and so much more really great points on 'side effects'}

"...side effects can also serve as symptoms or warnings..."

Recognize any?
"an underlying sense of fatigue and frustration"

"unidentified tension in significant relationships"

"undirected anger"

I sure do! ouch, ouch, ouch.
"My AHA"

"Rate your levels of each of the following in a scale of one to ten: Underlying sense of fatigue and frustration: 
Unidentified tension in significant relationships: 
Undirected anger: 
Now add an action step by each category to follow up and do."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 27



Day 27

"Time to Get Up"

Luke 15:20

"Beyond Intentions"

"Think of AHA as a door that swings on three hinges. The first hinge is a sudden awakening. The second hinge is brutal honesty. The third and final hinge is immediate action."Kyle Idleman "Without action, AHA doesn't happen. My question is: When are you going to get up?"


"My AHA"

"...Make a list of your recent good intentions, things about which you might have said, “I should …” or “I need to …” Better yet, dig out your list of New Year’s resolutions. Where are you stuck? Identify what’s holding you back. Get up and overcome an obstacle today."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 26



Day 26

"Settling the Bill"

Romans 6:23

"Counting the Cost"
Romans 5:8
<>

"My AHA"

"What is the spiritual condition of your heart and life? List and total below the emotional, relational, spiritual, or even literal financial cost of your sin and rebellion. Read Romans 10: 9– 13. Confess your sin to God and receive the gift of Christ’s salvation if you have never done so. Then you can write “Paid in Full” across your life’s bill."Kyle Idleman




Tuesday, October 25, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 25



Day 25

"This Time it is a Big Deal"

Psalm 119:11

"Seeing a Different Standard"

"...God’s Word is meant to get our attention so we won’t minimize our sin, but rather realize the seriousness of the situation. When we fill our hearts and minds with Scripture, God uses it to direct and guide us, to sound the alarm when necessary, and to realign our perspectives to His own regardless of the neighbors around us."Kyle Idleman

"My AHA"

...What is God saying to you through His Word? Ask Him to speak to you as you read the Bible. Start with Psalm 119: 9– 16.

Monday, October 24, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 24



Day 24

"Excuses, Excuses"

John 16:8 

"Things will Get Better"
{which is what I was hoping, so these were really encouraging words to read this right now - which was when I was preparing this back in June, when I had just found out about dear sweet Lucky} until I read ...

"what's it gonna take ..." followed by a list of questions ..."To experience AHA, you don't need to back away from the edge. You need to turn and run." 

"My AHA"

"...Write a step you can take today to turn and run from sin."




Sunday, October 23, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 23



Day 23

"It is a Big Deal"

John 8:34

"Maximum Grace"

"Denial is refusing to acknowledge the reality of a situation. Projection is acknowledging the reality of the situation but denying any responsibility. Minimization is acknowledging the reality of the situation and even owning responsibility for it but denying its seriousness." Kyle Idleman

Joel 2:13

"My AHA"

"In what specific areas of your life do you find yourself saying, “It’s just …” or “It’s only …”? What has become a habit that you can’t quit on your own?"


Saturday, October 22, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 22



Day 22

"The Usual Suspects"

Matthew 7:3-5

"Easy Targets"

<><><>

"My AHA"

"Draw a circle. Inside it, write down all the problems and challenges you are having— in life, in your marriage, in your job, with God, whatever. Then draw lines to carve out the piece of the pie that represents your responsibilities for the problems and challenges. Choose to forgive those in the other slices. "


Friday, October 21, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 21



Day 21

"Blame Game"

Luke 15:18

"She Did It"

Genesis 3:12

"My AHA"

" Try this. Say these four words: “I am a sinner.” Say it again. This time out loud: “I am a sinner.” Now name your sin without following it with any blame or excuses."


Thursday, October 20, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 20



Day 20

"Confession is the Cure"

Psalm 51:2 NLT

2 Samuel 12

"The Cure"

Psalm 51:1-9
"My AHA"

"Read Psalm 51 again. But this time, instead of reading David’s words, pray them. Then write your own psalm of confession. "


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 19


Day 19

"Tricks We Use"

1 John 1:8

"Three Tactics of Denial"


  1. Disagree
  2. Defend
  3. Distract

"My AHA"

"What is the state of your life, your spirit, your marriage— as it truly, actually is? Write it out briefly. Then read it back and circle any hints of denial— or points that prick you because you know you’ve written them with a “yeah, but …” motivation. Want to get fully and brutally honest? Read your story to your spouse or closest friend or mentor, asking him or her to flag any hints of denial of reality."


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 18


Day 18

"One Step at a Time"

2 Samuel 11:3

"King of Denial"
2 Samuel 11-12
"My AHA"

"Think of a time when you dug yourself into a problem much deeper by choosing denial and cover-up. What did you learn from the experience? Are you choosing denial now? What is your current opportunity to choose honesty before your problem snowballs?"


Monday, October 17, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 17

Day 17

"Turn Off Denial"

Luke 15:17

"DENIAL"

"... Sigmund Freud defined denial this way: a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept, so they reject it despite overwhelming evidence." 

"DEFINE REALITY"

"...the state of things as they actually exist. " 

"But many of us get stuck in denial. We have an awakening, but we lack the courage to be brutally honest with ourselves about our current reality. Doing so might be humiliating. It’s embarrassing. It’s painful. It’s essential." 


"My AHA"

"Look around. What is the state of things as they actually exist in your life? Define the reality of your circumstances. Use pictures or icons if you’re artistically inclined." Kyle Idleman




Sunday, October 16, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 16

Day 16

"Honesty that Brings Healing"

Proverbs 28:13

"The Next Step of Honesty"

"Healing"

<><><>
"My AHA"

"... Tell someone else. It's time to come clean. You can outline what you want to say here..."



Saturday, October 15, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 15

 
Day 15

"Honest with Myself"

Hebrews 4:13

"Regret or Repentance?"

Luke 15

brutal honesty

"... The honesty that's part of AHA is more than a simple acknowledgement; it's a kind of brokenness. When there is recognition but no repentance, AHA doesn't happen."

"AHA requires you to tell the truth about yourself to yourself"

"Beyond Busted"

"...Have you followed up an awakening by being brutally honest with yourself?"

"My AHA"

"Answer these questions. If you can’t bring yourself to write the answers, go into a bathroom, close the door, look in the mirror, and speak the honest truth. Some of these won’t apply to you, but I hope they will move you to ask yourself some relevant, hard questions. 

1. Did you spend more time this week on Facebook or in prayer?
2. When was the last time you told someone, “I love you”? 
3. How specifically have you helped someone in need in the last month? 
4. When was the last time you said to someone, “I was wrong. Please
forgive me”? 
5. What’s on your DVR at home? Your computer’s history? 
6. When was the last time you prayed with your spouse? With your children? 
7. Can you name one missionary whom you pray for? 
8. What sin have you not confessed to God or anyone else? 
9. When was the last time you sat with an open Bible?
10. Did you spend more money this month eating out than on advancing the kingdom of God? 
11. When was the last time you cried over your sin? 
12. Who besides God knows about your secret sin? "



Friday, October 14, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 14


Day 14

"Willing to Listen"

Proverbs 12:15

"Humble to Hear"

"Often we are the last ones to see the hard truth in our own lives. It’s right in front of us, but somehow we miss it. We all need some- one in our life who can tell it like it is. But Naaman’s story reminds us that sometimes it takes humility to listen." ... "We may not always like what we hear at first. Our natural reaction may be to ignore it or to defend ourselves. But AHA often comes in the hard truth when we’re willing to lay aside our pride and listen."  Kyle Idleman 

"My AHA"

"Want to know the truth? Want to really know the hard truth? Ask your spouse, closest friend, parent, or a trusted leader what blind spot needs some attention in your life. Write down their guidance or advice."

Trust me
my "someone"s are ever ready
to let me know
the blind spots or even the hard-to-change spots
that need attention in my life
on numerous moments, they have been pointed out

Just call me "leopard" of many spots
that need change




Thursday, October 13, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 13

Day 13

"Seek the Silence"

Psalm 46:10

Luke 15:17

"Turning Down Distraction"

"...To seek AHA, to discover awakening, you begin with some solitude and silence. You may find that God has been trying to get your attention for a while, but you haven’t been able to hear Him. Not because He hasn’t been loud enough, but because you haven’t been quiet enough."Kyle Idleman

"Alone on the Mountain"

{OK Sharon, I'm counting on you and your wisdom here}

1 Kings 19
with the prophet Elijah
1 Kings 19:12

definition of
stillness: silence on the outside and surrender on the inside
for Psalm 46:10

"To find stillness, we must turn down or
distance ourselves from the
distractions around us."

<><><>

My AHA

"Set aside some time for stillness today. Put it on your calendar. Go on— complete with a reminder alarm. Start your time reading Psalm 46 and meditating on it."Kyle Idleman


Psalm 46
(Voice, MSG, NLT link)




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 12

Day 12

"In Plain Sight"

John 8:32

"Revealed"

My AHA

"Write a brief story of a startling realization you have experienced. Ask God to show you what’s hiding in plain sight in your life."


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 11


Day 11

"Let Go of Regret"

Romans 8:1-2

Luke 15:11-12
Luke 15:13

"What Have I Done?"

(I cannot pass up sharing this wonderful letter from Kyle's book)

from the Prodigal story and one that every parent with a prodigal will understand

"My dear prodigal son, 

Though I thought I knew everything about unconditional love, it was you who allowed me to practice what I preached. As you have suffered through some dark days and painful losses, I have suffered along with you. I know you have rejected God for many years. I know you yearn for something bigger than yourself. I know underneath all that bravado and self-assurance is a good heart and you would like to believe in something. You ask your brother’s friends about God too often for me not to have some hope. 

And so with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I confess I am to blame for not taking you to church after your mother left. I pray you will forgive me. I pray you know that whatever capacity I have to love, it comes from the One who loved us enough to die for both of us. I will pray for you daily until the day I die, and I hope you know that you can always come to Jesus. He has always loved you and He always will. So do I."

Dad

Kyle Idleman, 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (p. 82). David C. Cook {in no way to I ever mean to infringe on the copyright}
  


My AHA

" What regrets are weighing you down— as a prodigal, as a parent, as a person? What shame is holding you back? List below your regrets and any shame you are feeling as you prayerfully exchange your condemnation for God’s forgiveness and healing. Consider making your list on a separate paper. Then crumple it up and dispose of it— in the trash or a fireplace— as a tangible sign of release." K. Idleman




Monday, October 10, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 10


Day 10

"Escaping the Country of the Blind"

Psalm 119:18

"Escape"

I escaped once upon a time
from a country
I love
for
another country to love
and now it's time
to return

Yet there is another looming "escape" in my future
similar to this one and not one I look forward to at all

Isaiah 40: 28-31

1 Corinthians 2:9

how I'd love to escape ... loss of hearing 
and other's health issues
or
maybe I'll just try
My AHA

"Change your perspective. Plan a retreat. Block off a weekend on your calendar. Or a day. Or an hour, if that’s all you can do. The key is to break out of your routine. The goal is to go somewhere to look and to listen, to seek the Scripture, to open your eyes and refocus on your heavenly Father. Start now with a walk around your block, and pray as you go."Kyle Idleman


Now this 
"escape"
I will truly enjoy
and 
work on ways
to improve
my perspective of the other
impending ones

in prayer



Sunday, October 9, 2016

LASTING CHANGE ~ 9

{this blog post has more content today from me - much more, ha}

Day 9

"Redeeming the Pain"

When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, 
the Eternal moves in close
    and revives him in his pain.
(The Voice)

"If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;..."(MSG) ...

I find this one to be appropriate for this day
and where I am at in life
as I celebrate 1 more year added to it
and the beginning of yet another
"redeeming" 
value
whatever and wherever
in this case, for this day, 
"pain"

The "pain" for this is the pain of "loss", which I can relate to ever so well, ... though not to the degree of loss that is cited by Kyle Idleman of Jerry Sittser and his family of his family nor his response written about in 2 books: "A Grace Disguised" and "A Grace Revealed" (the later which I acquired last year to read). As I've written many times, I have not yet learned to respond or deal well with "loss". I can't even fathom "loss" like Jerry's, nor that of our biblical figure for this Day's journey, of Job. I do want to share however, my highlight from the end of what was shared by Jerry Sittser so profoundly:

"... Response involves the choices we make, the grace we receive, and ultimately the transformation we experience in the loss."Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised

... as Kyle Idleman points out the wisdom of Jerry in this defining moment, he goes on to add: "... Our story may include loss, but ultimately our story doesn't have to be a story about loss. AHA is about how we respond to the loss and let God shape our story." WOW! I so need to hear and get this, somehow always moving beyond the pain of loss to its redeeming quality. And of course, it's the GRACE, His aMazing Grace! (and also mine, the part I share of His Grace with others and even with myself). 

Oh, that I can respond like Job (or Jerry) Job experienced an Awakening. [Job 42:5 (an AHA moment)] "... in the midst of tremendous pain, Job saw God more clearly." ... Job never distanced himself from God in all his "loss" and disappointment, he drew closer instead and near to God, as I'm trying to do and have tried to do for the last 20 years (actually most of my life, but I draw near and then somehow slip away). 

DRAW NEARER

"... don't waste the pain. Hear the alarm and wake up."

2 Corinthians 7:10 (TLB)

Psalm 37:18

Isaiah 66:13

Jeremiah 31:13

"God is not a distant, uncaring god.
He is a loving Father offering comfort, peace, and transformation. 
He waits with open arms to those who are hurting."
"The question is: When difficult circumstances come your way
{and they will and they have}
when there is a famine in the land like that encountered by the Prodigal Son,
how will you respond? How are you responding?"

"What will define your story?"

My AHA

"List any hurts or losses you are facing or have faced, followed by your responses."

"What pattern do you see? What steps will you take to redefine your story?"

Much can be written about how I have faced or am facing my hurts and losses and my poor responses (although some have been better than others) ... the pattern that I see, is not one that bears mentioning or repeating so perhaps this is why I am attempting to prepare and take steps to better resolve or redefine not only my story but the story or ending of others. (sigh)- I really want to CHANGE enough to cope better yet I do know that each time I draw near to God like never before and am ever so thankful that He is always near to me, with me and sees me through. At this point, He has invested much in me and much time to prepare me, to teach me a better response, to awaken me to His proximity and my dependence on Him for each next step in my journey. He knows so I just need to trust and rest securely {much easier said than done}.

Since this is a day to reflect on 61 years of this journey as i begin the 62nd, I will make the most of wherever I am ... and enjoy reflecting on the best of my redeeming value by the greatest Redeemer that has journeyed right beside me through the good, and not-so-good times to show me how much He relentlessly loves me and pursues me, never letting go ... His blessings far exceed anything I deserve and He has taken the time to hold me as He sings and rejoices over me with a new song: 

{thinkin' long and hard on which song I hear, looking for a new one}

Any suggestions?


Jillian Edwards
{the day I received this in a LOOP email, I embedded this song here}
NEW and IMPRESSIVE
Inspired me to listen and learn

"Songbirdwas nice too
{thanks Jennifer Camp for another sweet voice of a new artist}


However, no artist has touched me more in these last two years than
JOEY FEEK

so I searched for one by her and I chose

"That's Important to Me"
{not being a country western fan, she and Rory have taught me to like it, and now heaven is hearing Joey sing so many wonderful ones with the angels}

I also love so many others but for today, I'd like to save these too 
"Leave it There"
"Play Me the Waltz of the Angels"


That's enough songs to bless my heart 
except for any you might like to share

Thank you (in advance)!


another UPDATE 10/9/16: as I re-read my words written above, months ago and am still stranded 3 hours south of the border, unsure of how long or if ever, this can be resolved and wondering "why" - what possible purpose could God have (had) in not allowing me to get home (hassle-free- ha) and be waiting since Weds. in a hotel with my 3 fur babies ... and so far, no hope as to whether my vehicle and all my belongings will ever make it to the permit place here in MX or MN destination. How long? How much more? Very expensive delay ... thankful that funds are being provided but still no van running ...transmission (is that like transition? change?). Well, the automatic transmission was no longer able to make the "changes". My poor van ... my poor fur babies ... and most definitely, not the way, I thought or would choose to celebrate this day. 

With this being a SONday, I was sure I'd be home or near home, and celebrating in church ... and with family. Thankful that I know God and He is a God of the "impossible" and I so need a "miracle" in so many ways ... but especially for my van and getting home. May this struggle not be in vain. May my spirit rise and be renewed with some hope that "where there's a will, there's a way" ... or since mine has really dwindled - where there is hope and faith in God, He will make a way! I am reminded from home through all of this, that they can't do much more and it's up to me. Rest and trust God (this is what I am trying to hold on to ... and what lies ahead has to be better than this). Oh, heart (or hurt) be still and see how great our God really is! - even over vehicles ... even here stranded and strained in MX ... God is at work. I have no idea nor can I imagine what will come of this, the outcome, the solution or resolution. CHANGE is not only lasting but ever so difficult and somethings just can't be changed, so we need the strength to hold on, accept and rise above. 

Please keep praying.
Thank you.

Not at all the way I envisioned ending
my 61st year of life
nor my 20 yrs. away (or back and forth)

ONLY GOD


Please, Father God ... make a way
where there seems to be no way


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This blog is ALL about HIM, for HIM, not about me!
I hope that is what you see
this is why I am



To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy