Archive for December, 2014

Renewing Your Mind: New Thoughts in the New Year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

As 2015 approaches, many people are resolving to do a better job at something. Common New Year’s resolutions include:

* getting organized

* losing weight and becoming physically fit

* using time or money more wisely

* healing broken relationships with other people

Do you plan to work on any of these in the coming year? Achieving any of these goals begins with changing the way you think. Before you can change your actions, you have to change your attitudes — and that involves renewing your mind.

I hope this blog will be a useful tool for you in that process. Thanks for reading, and if you’re interested in how faith can help you transform your life, please visit my About.com Angels and Miracles site. If you have a true story about an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience you’d like to share to inspire others, please email it to me at aboutangelsmiracles@gmail.com to publish on the site.

Happy New Year,

Whitney

Share Your True Angel and Miracle Stories

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Now that my About.com Angels and Miracles site is active again, I’m excited about reading and posting reader stories again about meeting angels and experiencing miracles (such as answered prayers).

If you have a true story about an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience you’d like to share to inspire others, please email it to me at aboutangelsmiracles@gmail.com to publish on the site.

Please include your name along with the details. Please keep in mind, as well, that by submitting your story, you agree to have it published on the About.com Angels and Miracles site, and you also agree that the story may be edited for clarity or brevity if necessary before being published.

Thanks for inspiring and encouraging others in our Angels and Miracles community by sharing your story! Reading real-life accounts of angels and miracles in action blesses many people — including me. Learning about readers’ stories is one of my favorite parts of producing the site.

Thanks,

Whitney

Renewing Your Mind: Worry: Shalom Peace

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Since my About.com site on angels and miracles has just been resurrected :>) and today is Christmas Eve, I’d like to direct you there to check out a new article that relates to the peace of mind we need to overcome worry. “Peace on Earth: Christmas Angels Delivering God’s Message of Peace” explores the various aspects of shalom peace — the kind of peace that angels proclaimed on the first Christmas in Bethlehem.

Shalom peace refers to complete well-being, with every part of creation existing in harmony with its creator and thriving as a result.

Merry Christmas!

Renewing Your Mind: Worry: Planning for Peace

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

This Christmas season is the busiest time of year for many people. When angels appeared in Bethlehem on the first Christmas to announce that Jesus Christ had come to Earth, they declared that it should be a time of peace. Now, we often stuff our schedules so full of Christmas activities that we’re stressed to the point of worrying how we’ll be able to do it all.

What we need this time of year is peace of mind.

One of the keys to experiencing that is wise planning. You can start planning well by reflecting on what you’re giving our attention to right now and whether or not each thing you’re focusing on is really worth occupying your mind and schedule. My recent Crosswalk.com article “Have Yourself an Uncomfortable Christmas” challenges you to ask certain questions to pull yourself out of your comfort zone and start focusing on what truly is most worthy of your attention.

Speaking of Christmas, my About.com site about angels and miracles will return later this month after being archived for a while. Thank you, wonderful readers, for continuing to visit the site even while it was archived. The page views have been so high that now it’s being activated once more, and I’ll be able to produce fresh content for it regularly! Since angels and miracles play such important roles in Christmas, the site features lots of Christmas content that I hope you’ll love.

How can you change how you plan your schedule to increase your peace of mind?

Renewing Your Mind: Worry: Closed and Open Doors

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Has your life turned out as you expected? Neither has mine.

Lately, I’ve encountered some closed doors in various parts of my life — from career to family — that I would open if I had the power to do so. But since I can’t, I’m faced with a choice: Get stuck staring at the closed doors, or get moving in another direction where I can find open doors.

We all face that choice when opportunities we’d hoped for don’t materialize. Making the right choice — changing direction to look for other doors that may open for us — begins in our minds. It starts with moving away from closed doors rather than wasting time and energy worrying about the fact that we’re not able to do what we’d thought we wanted. Besides the fact that what’s on the other side of closed doors isn’t what’s best for us after all, worrying about them only distracts us from finding the doors we’re meant to open and walk through.

Visiting Hampton Court Palace in England this summer, I learned a lot about doors. The massive complex of buildings contains many different sections built for the courts of various kings and queens, starting with the notorious King Henry VIII. I expected the unexpected when I walked through doors there, because the rooms to which the doors led were all distinctively different. From the outside, the palace has architectural integrity, appearing as one unified whole.  It’s surrounded by carefully manicured gardens that give the whole outside appearance an orderly, symmetrical appearance. But walking through the inside, it seems like a hodgepodge of mismatched (though elegant) apartments.

The difference? Perspective.

Walking through our lives from the inside, we may not understand why certain doors close while others open, and our circumstances may look like a mess. But from the outside — a larger perspective — everything is connected well. I believe that God has the larger perspective on our lives, and we can gain that perspective ourselves whenever we seek his guidance for which direction we should walk.

So rather than worrying about closed doors, we can search for open doors. In the process, we can find peace no matter what circumstances we’re walking through at the moment. I’ll be writing much more about overcoming worry in upcoming blogs…

What closed doors are you facing in your life right now? How can you move away from them and search for open doors?

Renewing Your Mind: Mystery

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

A church sign I saw recently made me think: “There are some questions that Google can’t answer.” Even though we live in the digital age, when we have access to more information than at any other time during history — mind-boggling amounts of data — we still haven’t come close to answering every question in life. As an information junkie who loves to research to learn about everything I can, I’m grateful for Google and other search engines that make that research possible. I admit that I get a thrilling sense of power from being able to look up facts quickly and easily. But I’m also grateful that I don’t know everything, and that I actually can’t know everything there is to know in this world. I’m glad that I still have to live with mystery.

Why?

Mystery inspires us to keep asking questions and searching for answers in life. It keeps us from growing complacent and arrogant as we would be if we knew it all. Because we don’t truly know it all, we’re motivated to keep learning and growing, which leads us toward new exciting adventures every day if we choose to be lifelong learners.

Humbling ourselves to embrace mystery and keep learning every day is key to the process of renewing our minds.  This is especially vital when it comes to exploring life’s most important questions (which are the least likely questions to be answered by a simple Google search!).

Sometimes even our own minds are mysterious to us. We may find ourselves thinking something and not know what triggered that thought, for example. As noble as it is to try to become more aware of our thoughts — as I’ve emphasized so far in this blog —  we can get stuck in too much analysis, going around in circles trying to figure out what simply won’t be revealed to us for now.

This is where faith comes in.

The Bible defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). As we enter the Christmas season, this is a great time to reflect on how some things truly are greater than what can be encompassed by a computer search or understood completely by our minds.

I  believe that much of what we’ll know one day in heaven is obscured by sin in this fallen world, as the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

And what’s even better than knowing fully? It’s being fully known by the One who created us — minds and all — and loved by him completely and unconditionally!

What mysteries intrigue you the most, and why? How has a mystery in life inspired you to seek an answer to a question, and led to greater faith for you as a result?