Banish Negative Thinking

20 02 2014


I love ‘but.’  It’s a powerful word to declare moving day on worries and cares.

The Psalmist loved using it. It helped him focus on Someone bigger than his problems. He deliberately shifted his focus to God. No small accomplishment given his problems. I can’t begin to understand what it’s like to flee from approaching armies. I can, however, relate to the writer’s raw emotions. His difficulties: affliction, rejection, sorrow, loneliness…

Read the following list of verses from Psalms. It just might become your personal pep talk to shove out all anxieties. And fill your mind with thoughts of God’s greatness and love.

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ Selah But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”  Psalm 3:1-3

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support.”  Psalm 18:18

“For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me, I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’”  Psalm 31:10-14

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”  Psalm 34:19

“A11 who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt. ‘An evil disease,’ they say, ‘clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.’ Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.”  Psalm 41:7-10

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, the God of my mercy.”  Psalm 59:1-4, 16

“Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me. O God of Israel. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach: shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.  When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach. I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them.   Those who sit in the gate speak against me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.”  Psalm 69:1-13

“Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”  Psalm 71:13-16

“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah. And I said, ‘This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.’  I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.”   Psalm 77:1-14

“O God, the proud have risen against me, and a mob of violent men have sought my life, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.”  Psalm 86:14-16

“For my soul is full of trouble, and my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”  Psalm 88:3-4, 13

“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin. My enemies reproach me all day long, and those who deride me swear an oath against me. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.”  Psalm 102:4-5, 8, 11-12

“They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.”  Psalm 109:3-4

“Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”  Psalm 119:23-24

“The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,because of Your righteous judgments. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.”  Psalm 119:61-64

“The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”  Psalm 119:69

“Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.”  Psalm 119:70

“Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:78

“My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:81

“They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:87

“The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.”  Psalm 119:95

“I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:113-114

“Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.”  Psalm 119:161-162

“I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law, seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments. Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  Psalm 119:163-165

“Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, as when one plows and breaks up the earth. But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute.”  Psalm 141:7-8

Enough is enough!!!

7 02 2014

StressedOUT message

What are most people saying this winter? Enough!!! Count me in that chorus. We just had another storm here in the Northeast. A whopper. Heavy, wet snow weighed down branches. Countless trees toppled, taking down wires as they fell. Leading to massive outages.

During literal storms or the storms of life we know how to pray. We ask for protection, provision, and peace. The recent storm revealed to me additional types of prayers—those we may not consider praying during a trial. In the midst of a trial we may not offer prayers:

  • Of thanks: We were grateful we didn’t lose power. No matter how bad the storm, there’s always reason to be grateful.
  • For others: The ice storm left over half a million customers in Pennsylvania without power. Thousands of linemen in our area worked to restore power. Wires, coated with ice, presented a risk. Water and electricity created a deadly combination. Those men and women risked their lives to reconnect wires. When turbulence sweeps through our lives, we’re consumed with our needs. Praying for others helps us realize we’re not alone in suffering.
  • Of praise for His sovereignty: His ways are not like ours. Storms He allows into our lives have a way of stopping us in our tracks. Only then do we notice things around us. With the rush of life halted, our eyes are opened to the beauty of God’s creation. The storms of life cause us reorganize priorities. We suddenly realize who and what’s important.
  • Of praise for spiritual growth: Our evergreens, bent under the weight of snow, revealed a picture of burdens. Drooping limbs resembled depressed individuals with despair and discouragement. When the weight was brushed away, the branches floated heavenward. Just like our praises, once we cast off our worries. Similarly, God uses the storms of life to teach us spiritual lessons. If He allows it, He’ll use it for His glory.
  • Of adoration: Everything was shut down. Roads were impassable. There was more time to read the Bible. More time to worship Him in prayer.

Enjoy this slideshow I created using photographs taken after the storm.

What a winter!!!

Pressing VS Important

14 10 2012

Photo shoot in Kutztown, PA
on Oct. 13, 2012

Do pressing responsibilities crowd out important activities in your life? Things that demand our attention smother our opportunities to stop and chat with our child, drink in God’s awesome creation, and reflect on His Word.

The fireworks-painted leaves beckoned me, “Come bask in our beauty.” Unable to resist their cry, I dropped everything and did a photo shoot. Got some good pictures, but none could capture the breathtaking beauty that stopped me in my tracks. All I could do was stop and stare. Wishing the moment could last forever.

It was like a massage for my mind. So relaxing.

But it wiped me out to walk from one rainbow-splashed tree to another God-painted panorama. I knew I’d pay for it. Anyone like me, with MS, would know there’s a limit to energy. We can’t walk for hours without ending up exhausted.

I knew I’d pay for it, but it was so worth it.

I recently wrote a devotional about the need for rest. It’s kind of ironic that my devotional was posted just today…as if I’m chastising myself. Vicki, you still haven’t learned to slow down. You should know better. Now, it’s time to stop and rest.

As I argue with myself, I rationalize, “Yeah, but doesn’t everybody overdo it? Wouldn’t everyone wish they could stop and smell the roses? Just once?”

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “Help Wanted: One Who Will Need to Rest” and was posted October 13th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

‘Want world-class endurance?

7 08 2012

Need more endurance? I do.


I love the Olympics. The stories of the athletes are impressive. Stories of sacrifice, discipline, and determination. I can only dream of such qualities. But those athletes teach me how to deal with day-to-day struggles. They inspire me to continue on through my MS. But, it’s God’s Word which tells me how to endure.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Keeping my eyes on Jesus one day at a time. That’s the key.

I recently wrote a devotional about how I endure my constant pain.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “Endure the Pain with an Eye on the Gold” and was posted July 12th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

☞Free list of Bible verses.

When I taught second graders, I had a year-long theme called “God’s Athletes.” I compiled a list of verses related to that theme. They can be yours by clicking on this link:

athletes verses

What’s on your to-do list?

12 07 2012

If I didn’t write myself a to-do list, I’m not sure I’d accomplish anything. Without a plan, it’s possible I’d spend hours doing nothing constructive. Absolutely nothing useful. My activity wouldn’t translate into productivity.

Special education teachers have a phrase for doing things other than what should be done: avoidance behaviors. Doing anything to keep from doing something unpleasant or at least something less fun.

Reading a cookbook instead of doing laundry. Organizing photos into a memory book instead of filing important papers. Calling a friend instead of cleaning out the refrigerator. Watching a TV show instead of studying.

My engaging in avoidance behaviors usually leads to procrastinator guilt.

I recently wrote a devotional about a heavenly to-do list.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “When You Have a Chronic Illness, List . . .Your Accomplishments?”  ” and was posted July 12th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

Doing Your Best

11 07 2012

Writing is my passion. It’s also a ministry. That’s why I write devotionals for Rest Ministries.

I started a memoire for mothers who have children with special needs. With a desire to come alongside those traveling a similar journey. To share mutual hurts, challenges, and joys. And celebrate the constant care we receive from our loving Father.

Lately I’ve been going through a period of discouragement.

Spending more time in prayer seeking direction, rather than writing.

Soon I’ll be attending a local writers’ conference. With the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference quickly approaching, I started working on a one-page proposal for my memoire.

Shaky confidence prevented me from giving it my all.

My husband did his best to encourage me. Hugging me he said, “Don’t leave anything on the field.”

Loving advice given by a former football coach.

Except, I’m not a former football player. So I asked, “What does that mean?”

“Do your best.”

Then he added, “You do your best. Then this weekend I’ll take you out so we can celebrate your best. The results are in God’s hands.”

He was keeping up the family tradition. Celebrate the effort of doing our best before the Lord. The results are up to Him.

Our motto: “Do your best and trust God for the rest.”

Isn’t it nice to know God doesn’t expect us to do the impossible? That’s up to Him.

A little pep talk works wonders. I’m back to writing. With renewed determination to do my best.

How do you encourage your children when they’re discouraged?

Fighting a Battle

3 07 2012

Do you feel like you’re in the midst of a war? Between loved ones. Within your own body. At work.

I recently wrote a devotional about the secret to winning the war.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled  “Accepting Help to ‘Raise Your Arms’ When Weak From Illness” and was posted July 3rd.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

Do you have trouble sleeping?

12 04 2012

Apparently many of us are sleep deprived. A new parent trying to get a baby to sleep. A young child worrying about an upcoming test. A teenager texting instead of sleeping. A professional still trying to figure out the solution to a business problem. A teacher reflecting on her lessons into the wee hours of the night. Parents waiting past midnight for their young adult daughter to come home. Parents agonizing through the night wondering where their prodigal teen has gone.

Some of us struggle because of chronic pain or illness.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “Enduring Those Painful, Sleepless Nights When Chronically Ill.”

What do you do when you lie awake at night?

Withstanding Life’s Difficulties

19 02 2012

You wonder: Does anyone know what I’m enduring? Who really knows what I face each day? Can anybody understand my frustrations and sorrow? How can I survive these problems?

Minor difficulties irritate us. Challenges confront our resolve. Failures shake our confidence. Unrealized expectations rob us of hope.  Betrayal angers us. Disappointments shred our trust in God. Tragedies shatter all joy.

Turbulence surrounds us. Where can we find security? Who can we depend on?

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “Withstanding Disease.”

Are you currently being swallowed up in tribulation? As if quick sand is sucking you into despair? How do you withstand your life’s difficulties?

Who likes to wait?

30 12 2011

Not me. It seems like we’re born waiting. “Are we there yet? When can I go out to play? How long ‘till Christmas?”

When we get older, we call it anticipation, as if that makes waiting any easier.

When I was dating my husband, we had a countdown calendar so we could click off the days until our wedding date. It seemed like an eternity. He’d say, “Someday we’ll be together.”

Once married, he’d say, “Someday we’ll have a child.”

After I became a mother, I heard that dreaded word again: someday.

“Someday we’ll have a house of our own.”

When I worked on my master’s degree, my husband encouraged me to keep studying.

“Someday you’ll finish all the course work and graduate.”

Currently it’s, “Someday you’ll get that picture book published.”

When faced with a new year, we contemplate plans for the future. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time waiting for God’s answers to my prayers.

“Please dear Father, find me a publisher and send him/her quick!”

If I don’t like waiting for an editor to offer me a contract to publish my picture book, I’ll just self-publish it. Right? Wrong. Taking things into my own hands would be foolish. Attempting to speed up a heavenly clock is futile.

That would be kind of like flapping my way through life. Expending unnecessary energy.

Consider the eagle. The eagle soars. This bird with a massive wingspan waits for thermals – rising currents of warm air and up-drafts. When a warm current of air rises, the eagle steps off its perch and soars. No flapping necessary.

Similarly, if I wait for God’s perfect timing in the coming year, I will soar.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Dear Father, teach me to trust You for the precise timing in your perfect plan for my book.

What are you waiting for?