Why a small church is best.

MR. PETERSON: That’s true. We go to a small church. When I was a pastor of a congregation, people would leave and say, “How do I pick a church?”


MR. PETERSON: And my usual question, my usual answer was go to the closest church where you live, and the smallest. And if after six months it’s just not working, go to the next smallest. [laughs]

MS. TIPPETT: [laughs] OK, so what is it about small rather than big?

MR. PETERSON: Because you have to deal with people as they are. And you’ve got to learn how to love them when they’re not loveable. And we go to a church now that’s — I’m a Presbyterian, but it’s a Lutheran church. And most of the people are my age. And our pastor is young. And he’s a really good pastor. But I don’t go to church — I mean, I go there to be immersed in what I don’t know about. And these people. I mean, there’s 80 people in church, and I don’t — I know some of them quite well. I grew up with many of them. I would just — they still treat me like a little kid.


So the most valuable thing in the world is the human experience.

  1. Human experience is a gift from God
  2. Human experience is a squaredance – Father, Son, Holy Spirit + Me
  3. Human experience is not designed to be done alone
  4. The best possible human experience is characterized by an order of loves
    1. Love God First
      • love wife
      • love kids
      • love family
      • love people from church
    2. Love neighbour
  5. We are given a purpose and a promise from God
    1. Glorify God
      • Keep his loves in correct order
      • Fulfill his plan – best possible human experience for each and every person
      • we are God’s hands
      • To fulfill his plan we must learn – Because you have to deal with people as they are.   Best done in a small church, small community, small group
  6. God’s promises
    • Love rules all.   Main thing is LOVE:
    • Love is patient and kind.
    • Love does not envy or boast
    • Love is not arrogant or rude
    • Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
    • Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing
    • Love rejoices with the truth.
    • Love bears all things
    • Love believes all things
    • Love hopes all things
    • Love endures all things.
    • Love never ends


So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.   And it is because of LOVE (in the right order) that we have other promises:

  • Peace on earth and goodwill – Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased”
  • Justice
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.


Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?


The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;


If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.


Deliverance from demonic harassment
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.


For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.


Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.


And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.


And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.


The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.


The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.


Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.


Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.


Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.


For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.


It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.


Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.


Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.


But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;


Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.


The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.


For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:


But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.


And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…


The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.


And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.


I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.


The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.


When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.


Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.


Filling of Holy Spirit
Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.


And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.


That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.


Finances / Jobs
The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.


He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.


Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.


Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.


Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.


Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.


For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.


And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.


And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.


Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.


What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.


I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.


Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:


And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.


Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.


Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.


If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.


Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.


But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.


Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD…


But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.


Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.


Marriage / Companionship
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.


Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.


God setteth the solitary in families…


Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.


For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.


And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:


Salvation / God’s Love
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.


And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.


To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.


He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.


Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


Strength to do God’s will
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.


He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.


No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.


A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.


For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.


And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.


I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Perhaps the hardest part of listening prayer is clearing your mind. With all the noise of life regularly cascading through your mind, it can be hard to hear God’s voice. There’s no formula, but let me share a few principles that have worked for me:

  1. Set aside at least half an hour to start. When you are ready, quiet yourself. If stray thoughts come through your mind, write them down on a separate piece of paper.
  2. Read some scripture. Ask the Lord to speak to you through it in a way that you can understand. Ask God to protect you in Jesus’ name from deception.
  3. Then write down your question for prayer. Pause. This is where you wait and listen. God may direct you to another passage of Scripture. He may share a tender word. Whatever you feel he may be saying to you, write it down.
  4. Ask him to confirm anything he shared with you.

Simple Strategies for Better Prayer Times

  1. Use a journal; it will help you focus. Plus it’s a great resource to look back and see the journey the Lord took you on. It also helps fine-tune your spiritual ears to better hear him. Writing down your impression of the Lord’s responses creates in you an expectancy that he will respond.
  2. Use two different pens. I like to use the first color to record my thoughts and the second pen to record what I sense God is saying. The different colors clarify “who’s talking.”
  3. If, when you sit down to pray, you often have a to-do list pop up in your head, then have another piece of paper handy to make a list with any other thoughts that pop up. It’s okay and it’s natural. Just let them come out so you can focus.

Questions To Test What you Hear from God

  1. Was it a clear word or just an impression? God may give us different degrees of confidence in what he has said. We therefore need to humbly admit our fallibility. Get someone you trust to check your impression and to confirm it or not.
  2. Does it exalt Christ? (John 16:14)
  3. Is it scriptural? Scripture is our authority. God does not contradict himself. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
  4. Do other Christians confirm it? (Proverbs 20:18, Proverbs 15:22)
  5. Does God cause it to actually take place? (Isaiah 55:11, Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

Trinity, Trinitarian Theology, Perichoresis



Trinitarian theology widespread

The more I learn about the Triune God, the more I am finding that this “rediscovery” of the Trinity is being experienced all over the Christian world. The Worldwide Church of God is not alone in coming to greater understanding of Trinitarian theology. And it’s not just Baxter Kruger or the Torrance brothers. It’s kind of like when you buy a new car; you start seeing that model everywhere. I’ve noticed many in the Christian world are reexamining our faith from the viewpoint of the Trinity, and it excites me! I just found an interview with Larry Crabb on Christianity Today’s website that is wonderful. Regarding his vision for the formation of caring congregations, Mr. Crabb was asked whether his idea can be taught.

He replied: “It starts with a recognition of impoverished theology. Eugene Peterson was scheduled to appear at a conference on spiritual formation. I phoned him to ask what he would speak on. ‘Our Trinitarian theology in the evangelical church is thin,’ he said. Until it gets thicker, we’re not going to make much progress in this whole area of spiritual formation. God is in eternal community, a radically other-centered relationship where the Father is always saying, Isn’t my Son something?! The Son’s always saying, Look at the Father. And the Spirit is always saying, Look at Jesus. Until we start pondering the mystery of the Trinity, we won’t have a clue that we’re a million miles from it in terms of community. People need to be overwhelmed by the Trinitarian community.”

Crabb was then asked, “How do you put that in practical terms?”

His reply: “Are you familiar with the word perichoresis? It’s a word fourth-century
monks came up with to help laymen think about the Trinity: peri meaning
“around” and choretic coming from ‘choreography.’ It’s ‘dancing around.’ When (Eugene) Peterson teaches the Trinity, he says to visualize the Trinity having a square dance. Can you hear the rhythm of the Spirit and enter the dance? I think it means God is having a good time. When we understand community like that, we will realize we’re missing something here. ”

This interview was done in 2004. I am encouraged that God is allowing us to be a part of this rediscovery of His Triune nature and that it is something He is doing among many parts of the Body of Christ. I hope this encourages you!

He told a story about how when he was a young seminary student, he and his friends used to go square dancing. Now, he wasn’t a particularly good or confident dancer, so he’d usually start on the sidelines. He’d watch folks as they danced, seeing partners swap, join hands, circle up. But as the dance got faster and faster—as it does—the individuals became almost indistinguishable, a blur of movement and motion. And, he said, at some point a hand would reach out and he’d get yanked in—all of a sudden part of the dancing. He was dancing not because he was particularly good at it, but because he was with those who knew how to dance.

Life with God is like that, he said. God is love and God loves us. Father, Son, and Spirit have existed eternally in a community of love, created the universe at the beginning of time out of that love, and invite us to live our lives in that love.

It was a welcome and needed reminder that love and relationality are what define us.

Why are we here? What does it mean to be human? What is the soul?

Worldview – framework of meaning, sense making of “why are we here”?

Knowledge lives in the relational understanding of all the little bits of our lives pulled together into a framework of worldview.  Meaning for our lives.  Greater understanding of the whole.


Meaning is the opposite of the trivial.

Ultimately it is meaning that secular humanists seek to give to their lives.

Christian worldview is that God gives us the meaning to our lives.

Human experience is the most valuable thing in the created world.

We are not alone with the questions we are pondering or grappling with.

HOPE is a function of struggle.

Hope is not a baked in faculty that you are either born with or not.

Hope is a choice.  Hope is a conditioned response.  We can choose to respond to horrible events that happen in the world and in our lives with either hope or with resignation.  It is a choice.

What can we do to counter responding to suffereing and horrible things in the world with resignation.  To choose to respond with hope.

The human experience is hope.

MS. MARIA POPOVA: You know, we never see the world exactly as it is. We see it as we hope it will be or we fear it might be. And we spend our lives going through a sort of modified stages of grief about that realization. And we deny it, and then we argue with it, and we despair over it. But eventually — and this is my belief — that we come to see it, not as despairing, but as vitalizing. We never see the world exactly as it is because we are how the world is.

People want to do something useful with their time. And yes, I agree. I think people hunger to do something useful with their time in our age of uselessness, time uselessly spent…… But I deeply believe that people want to be good, that, more than that, we want to be better, to grow, to ennoble our souls. And I have hope for this medium with that lens.



MS. TIPPETT: How — if I ask you how you measure success, like, in any given day, what comes to mind?

MS. POPOVA: Well, once again, I am going to side with Thoreau. And he said something like, if the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers, it’s more elastic and more starry and more immortal, that is your success. And for me, that’s pretty much it — waking up and being excited and curiously restless to face the day ahead, and being very present with that day, and then going to bed feeling like it actually happened, that the day was lived. I mean, there’s nothing more than that, really.


MS. TIPPETT: And in terms of the effect that you can gauge externally, I do hear you that you don’t measure success on number. But what feels like success to you when it comes to you from outside?

MS. POPOVA: Well, we are such — and I’m not — I’m far from being on the sort of high moral horse of, I don’t — I’m immune to these metrics that we all respond to. I think we’re such Pavlovian creatures, and we thrive on constant positive reinforcement. And we live in an era where the tangibles of that have become very readily available. You can see things like Facebook likes and retweets.

MS. TIPPETT: Right, right.

MS. POPOVA: And it is so tempting and so easy because they’re concrete. They’re concrete substitutes for things that are inherently nebulous. It’s so easy to sort of hang your sanity and your sense of worth on them. And I have certainly suffered from that earlier on when these metrics first became available. And they’re right there. I mean, they are right there. And I think it takes a real discipline just to not hang the stability of your soul on them. And so one thing that I’ve done for myself, which is probably the most sanity-inducing thing that I’ve done in the last few years, is to never look at statistics and such sort of externalities. But I do read all of the emails and letters — I also get letters from readers. And to me, that really is the metric of what we mean to one another and how we connect and that aspect of communion. I mean, I heard from a woman yesterday who said that she’s been living with stage IV cancer for 26 years.

MS. POPOVA: And she goes and tells me this remarkably moving — it’s not a story, it’s her life. And it makes you go, wow, these are the things that matter. And her — she was writing very, very generously to say that she was finding nourishment in all of these thinkers and these ideas. And that, to me, is success, the feeling that somebody more enlightened and living a harder life and, in some ways, a more beautiful life than I am resonates. That’s what it is.


MS. TIPPETT: Yeah. You wrote somewhere, “We are a collage of our interests, our influences, our inspirations, all the fragmentary impressions we’ve collected by being alive and awake to the world. Who we are is simply a finely-curated catalogue of those.” Which brings the word “curation” — which I understand you’re not as fond of anymore — into this — into the answer of what it means to be human, that we curate our lives. How do you think your sense of what it means to be human, that grand question, has evolved? How would you start to talk about that?

MS. POPOVA: Hmm. I think much of it has shifted from an understanding that’s based on concreteness to an understanding that’s based on relational things. That this notion of not just who we are but who we are in relation to our past selves, the people around us, the culture that we came from, the culture that we live in, all the different lives we’ve had. And for me, certainly, I feel like I’ve had all these different lives. I grew up in a country that is pretty much the exact opposite of my life right now. I grew up having nothing, and then I sort of clawed my way up and out. And now I live in New York City.

And I am able to afford my own life and live my own life without worrying about things that I worried about for many, many, many, many years. And it’s so strange how we’re able to carry forward this mystery of personal identity even when our present selves are so different from our future selves. And I — and from our past selves most of all. And I think a lot about this question of, what is a person? I mean, how — am I the same person as my childhood self? And sure, we share the same body, but even that body is so different. It’s unrecognizably different. Our lives are so different. Our ideas and ideals are so different. And to me, this question of what it means to be human is always a question of elasticity of being. It’s never an arrival point, you know? But I want to also go back to this — you mentioned the fragments, this notion of the fragments. And yes, I do agree that we’re kind of a mashup of what we let into our lives. But at the same time, we live in a culture of dividedness. And I don’t mean just people being divided amongst themselves, but people being divided within themselves. And our language reflects that, and language matters enormously in, not just conveying, but also shaping our beliefs. And even the language of secular spirituality reflects that. I mean, consider that — the things that we encourage when we talk about a full life, wholeheartedness and mindfulness. And of course, we are so much more expansive than our hearts and our minds and our perfect abs or whatever fragment we fixate on. [laughs]

MS. TIPPETT: [laughs] Right.

MS. POPOVA: But yet, we compartmentalize our experience in that way. We divide it into these fragments to be divided and conquered. And I was reading this morning, actually, for a piece that I’m writing for tomorrow, Virginia Woolf’s diary, which is not a journal, but a diary.


And our language reflects that, and language matters enormously in, not just conveying, but also shaping our beliefs. And even the language of secular spirituality reflects that. I mean, consider that — the things that we encourage when we talk about a full life, wholeheartedness and mindfulness. And of course, we are so much more expansive than our hearts and our minds and our perfect abs or whatever fragment we fixate on. [laughs]

MS. POPOVA: And she says, “One can’t write directly about the soul. Looked at, it vanishes.” And she talks about the slipperiness of the soul and the delicacy and complexity of the soul. But I think the fullest people, the people most whole and most alive, are always those unafraid and unashamed of the soul. And the soul is never an assemblage of fragments. And it always is.


Western media (TV ads) have taught us that to be happy we need more stuff.  Growing up watching TV and getting 3-5 minutes of ads every 10-15 minutes, brainwashed a generation that one more toy, one more car, one more piece of jewelry will make us rich, happy, successful and get us lots of women.

We learned this from TV.  How do we unlearn it after being brainwashed for so many years?


What is Unlearning?

Unlearning is not reframing or refreezing or something along that lines. They all focus on an end state whereas unlearning is about moving away from something rather than moving towards something.

So unlearning is exactly what it says. Intending to let go of what we have already learned or acquired. It is not about right or wrong. It is about being open to and exploring something that lies underneath the judgment, underneath the right and the wrong.

Unlearning and Spirituality

In spirituality literature, we talk about liberation or freeing oneself from the bondage. Whether it is Sufi, or Hindu or Buddhism or Judeo-Christian religions, unlearning the conditined or acquired behaviors and reaching for the higher truth, or Spirit, or God is the ultimate goal. Jiddu Krishnamurti, a well known Indian philosopher of the 20th Century had said repeated that the ‘truth is a pathless land’ and focused on freeing us from the conditioned responses. The process of unlearning is about liberation or freedom from the conditioning or from the known.

Obviously in this context of exploring unlearning, learning is used as acquisition of knowledge or information. In Vedanta, they talk about ‘para vidya’ and ‘apara vidya.’ One is learning about the manifested, external world and learning to manage and become good at dealing with what is outside of you. The other is about what is inside of you and knowing yourself and exploring who you are and what you are. In other words, the first one is about objective knowledge and the second is about subjective knowledge. Unlearning what is learned so that you are open to learning ‘what is unknown’ and to experience it is a path that interests many people.

It could also be a behavioral pattern or a habit or a mental construct too.


Heart surgery

What comes out of our mouth reflects what is in our heart.

What is in our heart is what we believe and what we believe shows where our faith is.  Faith is what you put your trust in.

We believe what we have learned.   We learn from past experience, reading, interacting with the world around us – listening, seeing, reading etc.

If what we believe and have learned is not based on truth we must UN-learn it.

The beliefs that we hold about life, play a major role in our happiness and our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV / 296 helpful votes

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Matthew 12:36 ESV / 242 helpful votes

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Psalm 19:14 ESV / 228 helpful votes

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Matthew 12:37 ESV / 166 helpful votes

For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Proverbs 18:21 ESV / 165 helpful votes

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Proverbs 17:27 ESV / 134 helpful votes

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Psalm 141:3 ESV / 133 helpful votes

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Colossians 3:8 ESV / 123 helpful votes

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Proverbs 15:1 ESV / 109 helpful votes

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 21:23 ESV / 98 helpful votes

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 16:24 ESV / 93 helpful votes

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Isaiah 55:11 ESV / 81 helpful votes

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Proverbs 15:4 ESV / 77 helpful votes

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Matthew 15:11 ESV / 69 helpful votes

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

James 1:26 ESV / 60 helpful votes

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Joshua 1:8 ESV / 58 helpful votes

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV / 47 helpful votes

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 18:20 ESV / 47 helpful votes

From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.

Our own words frequently shape our good or evil fortune in life

James 3:8 ESV / 46 helpful votes

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

1 John 1:9 ESV / 41 helpful votes

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 10:19 ESV / 40 helpful votes

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

1 Timothy 6:12 ESV / 35 helpful votes

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV / 33 helpful votes

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

Mark 11:23 ESV / 31 helpful votes

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Matthew 12:34 ESV / 29 helpful votes

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV / 27 helpful votes

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Proverbs 13:3 ESV / 27 helpful votes

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

1 John 4:2-3 ESV / 26 helpful votes

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Matthew 12:34-37 ESV / 26 helpful votes

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Beliefs act as lenses


“Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or last time.  Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”
–   Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 


Our beliefs act as lenses. These lenses can help us see things we can’t otherwise see, but they can also block us from seeing parts of reality.”
–   Steve Pavlina


FROM HERE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327528/

It is possible to identify four key, albeit overlapping functions of belief. First and foremost, beliefs provide a consistent and coherent representation of a subject’s world and the subject’s place within it. Such an intuitively coherent and ever-present framework allows subjects to pursue goals, avoid threats, and regulate their behavior in response to changes in their environment. This framework is presupposed by other higher-order cognitive functions, such as planning and decision-making, which require beliefs to conceptualise and evaluate the current situation, actions, and consequences. This framework thus provides the basis of action (Tullett et al., 2011, 2013). As Tullett et al. (2013, p. 401) note:

Every action that we take is grounded in an elaborate web of beliefs and goals. Take the simple act of opening a door. Such an act depends on our beliefs about what lies beyond the door, as well as what is available to us in our current location. At an even more basic level, our attempt to open the door is rooted in a belief that we understand how a door works, and are capable of using it. Furthermore, without the goal of pursuing something beyond the door, the act of opening the door would probably not take place.”

While such a framework may often be assumed, securing a sense of meaning appears particularly critical when defining one’s identity and coping with uncertainty (Inzlicht et al., 2011).

Second, as a stable representation, beliefs provide an explanatory framework for interpreting the world and processing incoming information. When faced with situations that threaten the coherence of the collective framework, subjects typically attempt to resolve inconsistencies by seeking to restore the over-arching sense of meaning. The coherence provided by the subject’s web of beliefs allows the subject to quickly integrate and, if necessary, reconcile new observations with previous observations held in memory. In this way, collective representations can evolve over time in response to new experiences, yet still represent the subject’s pooled understanding based on the past. This adaptive function allows subject’s greater capacity to understand and adjust to their environment. It also allows a subject to quickly interpret ambiguous or incomplete information and respond accordingly. Beliefs thus allow subjects to go beyond the available sensory information and act effectively in their environment.

Third, at a more basic level, the explanatory framework of beliefs helps to configure and calibrate lower-level modular cognitive systems, such as perception, language, memory, and attention. Beliefs provide the interpretive “lens” that shape our experience of the world. Consequently, beliefs are not just the reportable end-product of cognitive processes; they also generate expectations that help define on-line sensory experience through top–down processing. It is well established that phenomenological experience is not simply the registration of sensory inputs through domain specific transducers, but rather the constructive integration of sensory information filtered through pre-existing beliefs. This is nicely illustrated in visual illusions: a large body of research has shown that perception of an object or scene is not determined solely by the empirical sensory information, but rather is subject to top–down processes and expectations (Gregory, 1997). In the same way, our beliefs about the world prefigure our perceptual system. Our perception of the world thus involves the reconstruction of both sensory and pre-existing information about the world. This interpretative filter provides for the meaning, structure, and unity of immediate experience (Gregory, 1997).

Finally, at an interpersonal level, beliefs serve important social functions. In addition to allowing subjects to navigate social relationships and interpret other people’s motivations, beliefs provide a sense of community and security. Shared beliefs help define group norms and values. They provide a common understanding that enables interaction and facilitates social governance. They also help co-ordinate groups of individuals and provide for the development and transmission of cultural representations (see Sperber, 1997). These social functions may be particularly important in the acquisition of knowledge: they allow individuals within the community to acquire knowledge about their environment without necessarily learning this knowledge first hand and being exposed to any accompanying risks. The social functions of beliefs also means that beliefs cannot simply be understood by studying individuals in isolation and instead need to be related to their broader social context, including other beliefs in their milieu.

FROM HERE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327528/



Beliefs are best considered as being multidimensional. Beliefs share a number of common properties but can vary across dimensions within these properties. These include the following:

  • (1)
    Beliefs have different origins. Beliefs, for example, can be formed through direct experience or by accepting information from a trusted or authoritative source (Hughes and Sims, 1997; Langdon, 2013).
  • (2)
    Beliefs vary in terms of the level of evidence and support they command. Some beliefs have high levels of evidence, while others appear to be accepted without requiring much evidential support (Lamont, 2007).
  • (3)
    Beliefs can said to be “held” at different levels of awareness. Whereas some beliefs may involve considerable conscious preoccupation and rumination (susceptible to reflective control), other beliefs may appear implicit, unconscious, and only evident by inference from behavior (not susceptible to reflective control; Young et al., 2003).
  • (4)
    Beliefs vary considerably in generality and scope. Beliefs may refer, for example, to specific objects or individuals, groups of objects and people, or whole classes of objects and people (Freeman, 2007).
  • (5)
    Beliefs vary in their degree of personal reference. A belief can be limited to the specific individual holding the belief (e.g., “I am unique”); extend to friends, relatives and other in-group members; or apply to other groups of people or all people equally (Freeman, 2007).
  • (6)
    Beliefs can be held with different levels of conviction or degrees of confidence. This can range from firmly held (e.g., in the case of basic physical laws) to relative uncertainty (e.g., in the case of unfamiliar topics; Peters et al., 2004). In some beliefs, this conviction may even fluctuate over time or across different contexts (Bisiach et al., 1991; Connors and Coltheart, 2011).
  • (7)
    Beliefs vary in their resistance to change in response to counter-evidence and social pressure. While related to conviction, people can also vary in how open they are to disconfirming evidence toward their belief and to considering alternative points of view.
  • (8)
    Beliefs can vary in their impact on cognition and behavior. This may likewise be influenced by degree of conviction. Whereas people may act on some beliefs, they may fail to act on other beliefs that they verbally endorse (Bortolotti, 2013).
  • (9)
    Beliefs can produce different emotional consequences. Whereas some beliefs may be relatively innocuous or even self-serving, other beliefs may cause considerable distress (Beck, 1976).
  • (10)
    Beliefs vary in the degree to which they are shared by other people. Whereas some beliefs are very common, other beliefs may be comparatively unusual (e.g., in the case of some delusions; David, 1999).


from here:   http://www.mental-health-today.com/bp/art2.htm

Beliefs Vs. Reality

Each of us has our own unique set of beliefs.

The beliefs that we hold about life, play a major role in our happiness and our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others.

It is vital that we examine our belief system.

For example, it has been shown statistically that those who hold strong spiritual beliefs recovery more easily from grief and loss.

I would imagine that those who believe perhaps that there is meaning in suffering, that there is a plan for them, that they will get better, etc. might have a better chance of recovery compared to those that don’t.

Let’s examine where some of our beliefs come from and how accurate they are.

My brother, born a year and a half before me, died in 1974 at the age of 20.

Go through each stage of grief… The first is shock/denial. Then you move on later to anger and depression. You can move back and forth with these two and later to acceptance. Actually you can break these stages down further if you want, but basically those are the stages.

I have reached the stage of acceptance with the loss of my brother a long time ago. However the emotional pain does not stop.

I was young when this happened and many say this permanently changed me. Why do you suppose? What have the losses in your life done to you? What statements do you say about life as a result of your losses?

There are many kinds of losses – loss of jobs, loss of relationships, loss of a lifestyle, etc. These losses teach us about life. What life is for us, depends upon our experiences, our personality and how we were raised in my opinion.

My neighbor does not believe in God because her mother died at a young age due to severe diabetes and did not take care of herself. Apparently her mother suffered miserably and my neighbor felt that if there was a God, He/She would not allow that kind of suffering. You see, if my neighbor would have had a radically different childhood experience, her core beliefs might be very different.

Be careful about what you “learn” due to your experiences.

I learned that I was mortal and that life was not very important. My brother spent all his life in school for nothing. He may as well have stayed home and played because going to school amounted to nothing as he died at age 20. So why was anything I was doing important? What a fool I was to think that I was important and that my life was.

I began as a fresh person with an air of innocence. Each strand of my hair was made by God and was important and had a purpose.

After my brother’s death, really nothing, including myself was important anymore. I was permanently stained with my brother’s death on me so life began to be about emotional pain and I remember wondering why everyone wasn’t an alcoholic. How could anyone stand life otherwise? I have an additive personality but not chemically.

The joke I had heard actually made some sense. “What is the definition of reality? An illusion brought on by the lack of alcohol.”

I remember envying alcoholics because they had a place to escape to and I didn’t.

It is much easier to learn something than it is to UNlearn something. I had to UNlearn all the incorrect absolute nonsense that I told myself about me, other people and life after my brother died. Why? Because it was toxic. It was making me ill and keeping me there. 

I had to learn how to love myself and discover that indeed I am a wondrous and precious human being.

Part of learning to love myself included forgiving myself for all my behavior related to my illness. That was a lot!


from here:   http://www.mental-health-today.com/bp/art2.htm


Lies (aka stories we create that are not aligned with truth)

We create stories for ourselves to help us understand the world.   Sometimes the stories are more based on facts instead of truth.  A book my wife was reading conveniently lists 40 good examples.  Recognizing the lie and replacing it with truth can change a life through the change in heart and world vision.

From here:  http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/relationships/women/40-lies-women-believe

40 Lies Women Believe  (personally… I don’t think this applies only to women….)

A key to experiencing freedom and joy is to replace lies with the truth of God’s Word.


  1. THE LIE: God is not really good.


    • God is good, and everything He does is good.
    • God never makes mistakes.
  1. THE LIE: God doesn’t love me.


    • God’s love for me is infinite and unconditional.
    • I don’t have to perform to earn God’s love or favor.
    • God always has my best interests at heart.
  1. THE LIE: God is just like my father.


    • God is exactly what He has revealed Himself to be in His Word.
    • God is infinitely more wise and loving than any earthly father could ever be.
  1. THE LIE: God is not really enough.


    • God is enough. If I have Him, I have all I need.
  1. THE LIE: God’s ways are too restrictive.


    • God’s ways are best.
    • God’s restrictions are always for my good.
    • Resisting or rebelling against God’s ways brings conflict and heartache.
  1. THE LIE: God should fix my problems.


    • Life is hard.
    • God is more concerned about glorifying Himself and changing me than about solving my problems.
    • God has an eternal purpose He is fulfilling in the midst of my problems.
    • God wants to use my problems as part of His sanctifying process in my life.
    • No matter what problem I am facing, God’s grace is sufficient for me.
  1. THE LIE: I’m not worth anything.


    • My value is not determined by what others think of me or what I think of myself. My value is determined by how God views me.
    • To God, my soul is worth more than the price of the whole world.
    • If I am a child of God, I am God’s cherished possession and treasure.
  1. THE LIE: I need to learn to love myself.


    • By faith, I need to receive God’s love for me.
    • I already love myself. I need to deny myself and let God love others through me.
  1. THE LIE: I can’t help the way I am.


    • If I am a child of God, I can choose to obey God.
    • I am responsible for my own choices.
    • I can be changed through the power of God’s Spirit.
  1. THE LIE: I have my rights.


    • Claiming rights will put me in bondage.
    • Yielding rights will set me free.
  1. THE LIE: Physical beauty matters more than inner beauty.


    • At best, physical beauty is temporal and fleeting.
    • The beauty that matters most to God is that of my inner spirit and character.
  1. THE LIE: I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.


    • I will always have unfulfilled longings this side of heaven.
    • The deepest longings of my heart cannot be filled by any created person or thing.
    • If I will accept them, unfulfilled longings will increase my longing for God and for heaven.
  1. THE LIE: I can sin and get away with it.


    • The choices I make today will have consequences; I will reap what I sow.
    • Sin’s pleasures only last for a season.
    • Sin exacts a devastating toll. There are no exceptions.
    • If I play with fire, I will get burned. I will not escape the consequences of my sin.
  1. THE LIE: My sin isn’t really that bad.


    • Every act of sin is an act of rebellion against God.
    • No sin is small.
  1. THE LIE: God can’t forgive what I have done.


    • The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover any and every sin I have committed.
    • There is no sin too great for God to forgive.
    • God’s grace is greater than the greatest sin anyone could ever commit.
  1. THE LIE: I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.


    • God does not hold me accountable for the actions of others.
    • I am responsible for my own choices.
  1. THE LIE: I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.


    • If I am a child of God, I don’t have to sin.
    • I am not a slave to sin. Through Christ, I have been set free from sin.
    • By God’s grace and through the finished work of Christ on the cross, I can experience victory over sin.
  1. THE LIE: I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do.


    • There is time in every day to do everything that God wants me to do.
  1. THE LIE: I can make it without consistent time in the Word and prayer.


    • It is impossible for me to be the woman God wants me to be apart from spending consistent time cultivating a relationship with Him in the Word and prayer.
  1. THE LIE: A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother.


    • In the will of God, there is no higher, holier calling than to be a wife and mother.
    • God uniquely designed the woman to be a bearer and nurturer of life.
    • There is no greater measure of a woman’s worth or success than the extent to which she serves as the heart of her home.
    • God’s plan is that a woman’s primary attention and efforts should be devoted to ministering to the needs of her husband and children.
  1. THE LIE: I have to have a husband to be happy.


    • Happiness is not found in (or out of) marriage.
    • There is no person who can meet my deepest needs. No one and nothing can make me truly happy, apart from God.
    • God has promised to provide everything I need. If He will receive more glory by my being married, then He will provide a husband for me.
    • Those who wait on the Lord always get His best. Those who insist on getting what they want often end up with heartache.
  1. THE LIE: It is my responsibility to change my mate.


    • A godly life and prayer are a wife’s two greatest means of influencing her husband’s life.
    • It is far more effective for a woman to appeal to the Lord to change her husband than to try to exert pressure on him directly.
  1. THE LIE: My husband is supposed to serve me.


    • If I expect to be served, I will often be disappointed. If I seek to serve others, without expecting anything in return, I will never be disappointed.
    • God made the woman to be a helper to the man.
    • We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others.
  1. THE LIE: If I submit to my husband, I’ll be miserable.


    • Submission places me under the covering and protection of God, who controls the “heart of the king.”
    • When I step out from under authority, I become vulnerable to the attacks of the Enemy.
    • My willingness to place myself under God-ordained authority is the greatest evidence of how big I believe God really is.
    • Reverent submission is a wife’s greatest means of influencing a husband who is not walking with God.
    • A wife’s response to her husband’s authority should determine the way the church is to submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus.
  1. THE LIE: If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative, or nothing will get done.


    • God created the man to be an initiator and the woman to be a responder.
    • If a woman takes the reins rather than waiting on God to move her husband, her husband is likely to be less motivated to fulfill his God-given responsibility.
  1. THE LIE: Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage.


    • Marriage is a lifelong covenant that is intended to reflect the covenant-keeping heart of God. As He is faithful to His covenant, so we must be faithful to keep our marriage covenant.
    • There is no marriage God cannot heal. There is no person God cannot change.
    • God uses the rough edges of each partner in a marriage to conform the other to the image of Christ.
    • God’s grace is sufficient to enable you to be faithful to your mate and to love and forgive without limit.
  1. THE LIE: It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.


    • God is the Creator and Giver of life.
    • Anything that hinders or discourages women from fulfilling their God-given calling to be bearers and nurturers of life furthers Satan’s schemes and aids in his efforts.
    • One of the purposes of marriage is to produce a “godly offspring.”
    • Childbearing is a basic, God-given role for women. Children are to be received as a blessing from God.
  1. THE LIE: Children need to get exposed to the “real world” so that they can learn to function in it.


    • Our task is not to raise up children who can fit into this world or merely survive it but to bring up children who will be used by God to change our world.
    • Like young, tender plants, children need to be protected from worldly influences until they are spiritually mature enough to withstand them.
    • The fear of the Lord and a vital, personal relationship with God are the best means of preparing children to withstand secular culture and to make a difference in our world.
  1. THE LIE: All children will go through a rebellious stage.


    • If parents expect their children to rebel, they increase the likelihood that they will do so.
    • God promises a blessing to parents who keep His covenant and who teach their children to do the same.
    • Parents cannot force their children to walk with God, but they can model godliness and cultivate a climate in the home that creates an appetite for God and is conducive to the spiritual nurture and growth of their children.
  1. THE LIE: I know my child is a Christian because he prayed to receive Christ at an early age.


    • Those who do not have a heart for God or any hunger for things of God and who have a consistent pattern of rejecting the Word and ways of God have no basis for assurance of salvation.
    • Parents who assume their children know the Lord, regardless of their lifestyle, may give their children a false sense of security and may not be praying appropriately for their children.
  1. THE LIE: We are not responsible for how our children turn out.


    • Parents have enormous influence in molding the lives of their children by their example, their teaching, and their leadership.
    • Each generation is responsible to pass on to the next the heritage of a heart that knows and walks with God.
    • Parents will give account to God for the spiritual condition of the lives He has entrusted to their care.
    • Each individual is responsible for his own walk and obedience. Regardless of what kind of parents he had, each person will give account to God for his own choices.
  1. THE LIE: If I feel something, it must be true.


    • My feelings cannot always be trusted. They often have little to do with reality and can easily deceive me into believing things that are not true.
    • I must choose to reject any feelings that are not consistent with the Truth.
  1. THE LIE: I can’t control my emotions.


    • I do not have to be controlled by my emotions.
    • I can choose to fix my mind on the Truth, to take every thought captive to the Truth, and to let God control my emotions.
  1. THE LIE: I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack. (It’s understandable to act like a shrew at certain times.)


    • By God’s grace, I can choose to obey Him regardless of how I feel.
    • There is no excuse for ungodly attitudes, responses, or behavior.
    • My physical and emotional cycles and seasons are under the control of the One who made me, cares for me, and has made provision for each stage of my life.
  1. THE LIE: The answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or psychotherapy.


    • Physical and emotional symptoms of depression may be the fruit of issues in the spirit that need to be addressed.
    • If my depression did not originate as a physical problem, medication will not permanently relieve my depression.
    • I do not have a “right” to “feel good.” Regardless of how I feel, I can choose to give thanks, to obey God, and to reach out to others.
    • God has given us powerful resources—His grace, His Spirit, His Word, His promises, the body of Christ—to minister to our emotional needs.
  1. THE LIE: If my circumstances were different, I would be different.


    • My circumstances do not make me what I am; they merely reveal what I am.
    • If I am not content with my present circumstances, I am not likely to be happy in any other set of circumstances.
    • I may not be able to control my circumstances, but my circumstances do not have to control me.
    • Every circumstance that touches my life has first been filtered through His fingers of love.
  1. THE LIE: I shouldn’t have to suffer.


    • It is impossible to be holy apart from suffering. There is a redemptive fruit that cannot be produced in our lives apart from suffering.
    • We have been called to suffer.
    • True joy is not the absence of pain, but the presence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the pain.
    • Suffering is a pathway to sanctification, a doorway into greater intimacy with God.
  1. THE LIE: My circumstances will never change—this will go on forever.


    • My suffering may last a long time, but it will not last forever.
    • My painful circumstances will not last one moment longer than God knows is necessary to achieve His eternal purposes in and through my life.
    • One day, all pain, suffering, and tears will be removed forever.
  1. THE LIE: I just can’t take any more.


    • Whatever my circumstance, whatever my situation, His grace is sufficient for me.
    • God will never place more on me than He will give me grace to bear.
  1. THE LIE: It’s all about me.


    • God is the beginning and ending and center of all things. All things were created by Him and for Him. It’s all about Him!
    • My life is dispensable. I was created for His pleasure and glory.