How I control my thoughts (& a free printable so you can do it too)

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

I struggle with my thoughts.

My mind has a tendency to run after its own things, to dwell on what isn't helpful for me.

Sometimes these thoughts take the form of fears. 

Sometimes these thoughts take the shape of lies.

Sometimes these thoughts take the shape of TV shows I probably shouldn't have watched in the first place.

I love CSI, but my mind doesn't. Once a month or so I'll watch an episode anyway. I did this the other night and in my morning dreams, you know the vivid ones just before you wake up, the actions of a serial killer disturbed me once again.

As I woke up my mind started to think about what I'd been dreaming. But I've been training myself for years not to be overcome by fear so I told myself, 
"STOP. 

Whatsoever things are true think about such things.

What things are true?

I will never leave you or forsake you (Deut 31:6)
When I pass through the darkest valley God is with me. (Psalm 23:4)

Whatsoever things are honest think about those things...”

In place of images and fear I let bible verses run through my mind.

I don't memorise as much scripture as I should, but I've found a good way to do it is to put the scripture somewhere I'll see it all the time: on my phone, on the mirror, next to your bed, above your desk. And whenever it catches my eye, I’ll say it three times, and then once from memory. 

This way when you find yourself in a situation where your thoughts aren't where you want them to be you can try and remember the verse you've been trying learn. 

I start by recalling Philippians 4:8:
Whatsoever things are true…

Sometimes the thoughts I want to banish disappear like I’m switching off a TV, other times it takes a bit more discipline, sometimes it takes prayer, "Lord Jesus, help me to take these thoughts captive, bring to mind things that are true, honest, just and pure. Help me to focus my mind on what is lovely."

It doesn't just happen, this training of the mind; it's hard work, it's discipline. But like most physical training, this spiritual training is worth it.

Ponder: Will this tool help you train yourself to manage the thoughts you struggle with? 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to take these thoughts captive, bring to mind things that are true, honest, just and pure. Help me to focus my mind on what is lovely.

Printable: If you want to start this practice today here's a FREE printable (in four colour options) to help you memorise Philippians 4:8. 
Tweet about this free printable

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Two things to remember when you're anxious about changes in your life

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

 For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. Hebrews 13:8 (MSG)

There has been a lot of change in my life recently: we’ve moved house, got a puppy, changed the times I work, added clients.

My husband and I have been living in between, in the tension between the now and the not-yet. We have been living with my parents while we wait for our new house, in a new city to be renovated. 

In the midst of all this shift I’ve been thinking about one verse in Hebrews: 
For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. (tweet this)
There is so much I like about this verse. 

I like how Jesus doesn’t change, how he is solid and steady and true. 

I like how the Jesus that held me in my past, hears my whispered worries about today, is the same Jesus who knows my future as well as he can count the stars

There is comfort in knowing that the Jesus who met me in my past will be the same who welcomes me with open arms in my future. 

The other thing I like is how it reminds me that in every situation Jesus is always totally himself. 

There’s a temptation when I’m a new environment to be the person I think everyone else wants me to be, so I find freedom in knowing that Jesus is always totally himself. 

If Jesus doesn’t change like a chameleon to fit the situation then I don’t need to be anyone but the woman God made me to be. 

This is one of those verses’ that makes me pray, “Jesus, make me more like you. Make me the kind of person who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The kind of person who can be relied on to always be totally myself.”

I love that even when I fail at those things, even when I change my mood more often than I change clothes that I can hold onto one thing: Jesus will never change and his love, his grace and his acceptance will remain the same. (tweet this)

Ponder: How do you react to change? Have you ever thought how Jesus behaved in times of flux?

Prayer: Jesus, make me more like you. Make me the kind of person who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The kind of person who can be relied on to always be totally myself.

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Is it okay to ask God for the moon?

9:28 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!” Isaiah 7:10-11 (MSG)

This verse was written in the colours of a rainbow on my sister-in-law’s kitchen wall:
Scrawled onto the blackboard this verse caught my imagination: 
Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon! (tweet this)

I thought of all the times I’ve asked God for the moon but have been disappointed when I haven’t received it gift wrapped as the sun rises. 

I prayed that Xylon wouldn’t have cancer. 
I prayed he wouldn’t have to have chemo, then more chemo, then a bone marrow transplant, then radiation.

I prayed that my nephew would be born perfect.

My sister-in-law nursed her son while she told me that after Noah was diagnosed with Down Syndrome she started reading through Isaiah and found this verse. 

Then in quiet tones she told me about how after they read the verse my brother asked
“God, does this mean I can ask for you to take Noah's Down Syndrome away?”

And then she told me what my brother felt God had replied to his question: 
"You know when you reach the legal age for driving and ask your dad for a car. But instead of the car that all your friends have he gets you a car that makes you stand out from everyone else.

And you’re upset about it because you wanted to be like your friends, “Why? Why did you give me this car? I just wanted the one that everyone else has.”

And you’re so upset that your car isn’t what you expected, you fail to realise what a blessing a car with 5 doors instead of 3 is. All you see is that you weren't treated the same as everyone else. And you miss the gift that has been given you. ”

Maybe all this time God has been gift-wrapping the moon for me and I didn’t recognise it. (tweet this)

Ponder: Do you believe you can ask God for anything, that you can ask him for the moon? 

Prayer: God, your word says I can ask for anything so I’m asking for (fill in the blank). Lord, I don’t want to miss the gift you give me so please open my eyes and heart to recognise the gift you’ve given when it doesn’t look like what I hoped for. 

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): hand and street unsplash.com, moon: Luna rona (license) | Design: Wendy van Eyck

One thing to remember when you feel life is too fast (or what God is teaching me as I rest)

7:18 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” John 11:4-6 (NLT)

I've been forced to rest recently. 

We moved to the country from the city, we are staying with my parents while we wait for our place to finish being renovated, and my main client halved the hours I work with them due to financial issues.

Life is slower where we live now. That’s the main reason we moved because we wanted to live a slower life. Living with someone else generates less work: there aren’t constant projects to fix in the house. 

Then my employer has opened up half of my week. My instinct is to rush out and find more clients.  From time-to-time, my husband asks me, “What do I want to do the extra time I have on my hands?”

I've been thinking about it, praying about it, especially in light of the two prayer focuses I have for this year: “Disturb me, Lord”, and "If you have put this place in my road to change me, please open my eyes so that I can see."

Each time I'm feeling the words: rest, stay, be still.

And it's hard for me. 

I want to do the next thing but it's like Gods hand is sitting softly on my shoulder restraining me, begging me to stay, and watch lest I miss out on what he is about to do, in case I stop looking and fail to see his glory pass by. 

Recently, someone pointed out to me how Jesus never ran anywhere. Jesus is invited to a funeral and he arrives four days after his friend is buried. 

Maybe God doesn't want me to rush to a friend, (or the next thing), rather maybe God wants his glory to be visible through me; through his timing.

I'm always in a rush, always getting to the next thing but I'm learning that maybe the waiting is the purpose of Gods plan, the tool that he uses to craft me into something he can use. 

So I wait for God.

And I rest in the light pressure on my shoulder.

Wait. Rest. Look for his glory to appear.

Ponder: What areas of your life do you sense God is wanting you to slow down in? 

Prayer: Lord, help me to be still with you so you can use me to share your glory. (tweet this)

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If Valentines has you feeling defeated and alone today, please read this

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

As a result of this encounter, Hagar decided to give the Eternal One who had spoken to her a special name because He had seen her in her misery.
Hagar: I’m going to call You the God of Seeing because in this place I have seen the One who watches over me. Genesis 16:13 (VOICE)

I get it, if this Valentine’s Day you don’t want to hear that you are loved by God. (tweet this)

Even though it's true, it’s kind of Christianity 101. And it's kind of a platitude that can mean so little when your love forgets the 14th of Feb is an important date, or you're out pretending you don't care with friends, or heating up yet another meal for one. At times like that it feels a lot like God's love has failed you.

Being told “God loves you” on Valentine’s Day is a bit like being told that boys only pull the hair of girls they like. 

I get it, if this Valentine’s Day you don’t want to hear God is with you either.

While it’s just as true as the phrase “You are loved by God” doesn’t this one just make you want to shout, “Tell that to the empty chair on the opposite side of the table”, or “Say that to the man at the cinema who looked pitifully at me when I order a ticket for one”, or “Well, then, where is God when my partner is out again with someone else”. 

This Valentine’s Day what I really want to know is that my heart and my dreams are seen and remembered by God. 

Some of my favourite stories in the bible bear witness to this. The verses I underline, the chapters that I read over and over again are those where God notices the people others pass by: 
The woman at the well
The woman caught in adultery 
The lame
The cripple
The blind 
The thief

And then there is the story of Hagar, the servant girl that Sarah used as a way to force God’s hand to fulfill his promise of a child. 

A girl who ran away to the desert to die. 
A girl who God saw. 
A girl who God met with in her lonely, unlovable state and reminded her that he saw her, that she mattered.


As a result of this encounter, Hagar decided to give the Eternal One who had spoken to her special name because He had seen her in her misery.
Hagar said: I’m going to call You the God of Seeing because in this place I have seen the One who watches over me. (tweet this)

Isn't that beautiful?

Recently I read Sara Hagerty's book, "Every Bitter Thing is Sweet". It's a story of the highs and lows of infertility, adoption, and finding the family you always longed for. 

One of my favourite parts in the book is when Sara is praying with her four year-old son birthed on another continent:
“Thank You, God, for remembering me when my Ethiopian mommy wasn’t around.” He had words for concepts too big for his young mind to fully conceive. Then my girl followed. “Thank You for remembering when I got my ears pierced, even though I don’t remember.” I caught Nate’s eyes and he gave me the look that said, We just stumbled onto something holy . Her words, too, were too big for her. An initiation that most girls anticipate for years and then treasure in memory was lost to her. Another unwitnessed mile marker. But wait, there was a Witness.

I love that. 

I love that these once-orphan children felt that God had witnessed their lives when they seemed to be forgotten, when they had no earthly mother and father to prize their milestones.

This is what I want you to know about God on Valentine's: I want you to know that God isn't going to pass you by, write you off, or walk away ashamed. 

I want you to know that God is going to invite you into a relationship with him despite my hair colour, height, weight, wallet size or sense of humor.

I want you to know that when you thought you were alone, when you felt you were unloved, God witnessed it all, that God remembered you.

God sees you, he can pick you out in a crowd, name the hairs on your head, and hold your thoughts in his hands.

He is a God who paints rainbows in the sky to remind you that nothing that is broken cannot be made new.*

So this Valentine’s I’m asking God to give me the gift of remembrance, to open my eyes to things he remembers about me from the times when I felt unloved and lonely. Will you join me?

Ponder: What do you most want God to tell you this Valentines?

Pray: God, open my eyes to things you remembers about me from the times when I felt unloved and lonely. 

* This line is a paraphrase of Phil Joel's song, God is watching over you.
**This post includes affiliate links


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What to do when life isn't going the way you want

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

DO I TRUST GOD?









A guest post by Jennifer Kelly: 


This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. John 6:29 (NASB)

I was asked a question a while back. 

It was one of those trick questions – a hard and honest one that ends up changing everything in the end. All that is needed in answering such a question is silence. To shut your mouth and reflect with some bravado. I needed the question to steep into my mind and stay there for a while. I needed it to simmer and sputter and settle.

It went like this, “Jen, are you more in love with the gifts of Jesus or Jesus Himself?”
THIS question rocked my ever-moving world.

Do I trust Jesus? Is my response to Jesus, in the context of my everyday life, to know Him more? Am I walking and talking with Jesus? Am I reading His Word with the intention of learning how He would have me live this life? Do I trust Jesus even if life is not going the way I want it to?

Faith can seem like such a passive thing – a very small part in our oftentimes-fragmented lives. 
And it was never meant to be that way. 
We say our distant prayers to an even more distant God for eternal coverage, for money, for-this or for-that, and go on living life on our terms. And then we wonder why we are left standing there at the end of the day, disheartened and disillusioned.

Elizabeth Elliot wrote, “We have been given a task. Faith is that task”.

Faith in Jesus is anything but passive. (tweet this)
It’s living water. 

ELIZABETH ELLIOT QUOTE
The living water of Jesus ebbs and flows and moves and bubbles up into every nick and cranny of your life. When you follow Jesus, you realize your attitude, your money, your gifts, talents, abilities, home, children, thoughts and actions are not your own. You realize it’s not about you. 

When we are more interested in the gifts of Jesus isn’t that still about us? When our faith is a tool used for self-betterment or making us feel better, how is it any different from what the world offers? 

But, when we find ourselves in love with Jesus – the God, the man, the Savior and King, our faith becomes this anchor of hope rooted only in Jesus. We are not so easily moved. We live with conviction and honor and duty and grace and love, because He first loved us.

His love moves us in such a way that we become available to do His will even when things don’t go our way. Because it’s about Him.

When I’m in love with Jesus, I am beyond thankful for His mercy and grace and look forward to His return. I can face death and disease and discomfort knowing that there are better days ahead – found only in the precious blood of Jesus. 

I’m no longer concerned with what I’m getting out of my faith (blessings, work, healing, money, house, kids, etc.) but am only thinking about the ways in which I can express my gratitude and love, how I can serve my Lord and my King. 

And that can only come with surrender. 


And to that my dear friends – I gladly surrender.

Ponder: Are you more in love with the gifts of Jesus or Jesus Himself?

Prayer: Lord, I'm so thankful for all you've done. Help me to find ways to express my gratitude. 


More about the author of this guest devotional 
Jennifer Kelly is a very messy wife and mom. She loves reading, writing, philosophy, music, art, theatre, and really anything that is created by an artist. Jennifer is learning quickly and slowly, joyously and painfully, that it’s really not about her, but the One that calls her by name. Follow along her with her at www.jenjkelly.com or on twitter @JenniferjkellyJ and Facebook.

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How to pray when you want God to change your life

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Claire Diaz-Ortiz quote hope runs
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (MSG)

This year I prayed a reckless prayer: Lord, disturb me.

I stumbled over the words of Sir Francis Drake as I asked that God would disturb me when my dreams come true because I’ve dreamed too little, that God disturb me when I arrive safely because I sail too close to the shore.

I prayed a hard and holy prayer and made "disturb" my #OneWord365, the 7 letters that I’m going to circle back to for the next year.

I’ve been waiting for God to disturb my life but so far nothing has shifted.

Yet I feel God is preparing me for something. 

Proverbs 19:21 The lord's purpose prevailsRecently I bought a book by Claire Diaz-Ortiz called Hope Runs*. I'm only about half way through but I’ve realised it is book about how God disturbs the life she thought she would have for the life he wanted her to have. 

When Claire Diaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mt. Kenya, then head back home. 

She entered an orphanage seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek. 

God had other plans.

While there Claire prays: 
If you have put this place in my road to change me, please open my eyes so that I can see. (tweet this)

I loved that. 

I’ve started praying it.

Letting the words move from my head to my soul. 

I don’t know what place or person or opportunity God might put in my road but I’m praying that God will open my eyes so that I can see. 

Ponder: What person, place or opportunity might God have put in your road to change you?

Prayer: If you have put this place in my road to change me, please open my eyes so that I can see.

*This post includes affiliate links

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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck