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Entries in Truth (5)

Tuesday
Apr302019

Memos from Mama

Deb DeArmond writes about relationships and her relationship with her mama has some great lessons for all of us. In this Mother's Day UPLIFT, she writes about communicating truth with "mama-inspired" confidence.

"Laughter," Deb says, "is the shock absorber that softens the blows of life."

I (Dawn) am sure we all have fun sayings and words of advice from parents and grandparents. My grandpa's favorite to me was, "Don't just sit there like a lump on a pickle." But Deb's mama was  especially wise.

Deb continues . . .

My head is filled with memos from mama.

  • "The only person who really likes change is a wet baby."
  • "Don't make me take you to the north forty"—the last warning before a spanking.
  • "If you had everything, where would you put it?"

My mother had an interesting and pragmatic outlook on life. And enough unusual expressions to create her own dictionary.

She’s been gone nearly 20 years, and still, I’m stunned at how often in the midst of a challenge, heartbreak or opportunity, I hear her voice.

  • Usually a soft supportive tone, meant to encourage.
  • Occasionally, a bit sharper, to help redirect my thinking when I might not get it quickly enough to make the best choice.

I can’t count the times her words have echoed in my heart and set me on the right path.

Down-to-earth, practical, and no-nonsense advice is tough to come by these days. Sometimes the facts are inconvenient or uncomfortable to address.

And it seems the older I get, the more political correctness and sensitivity training I’m exposed to. I believe it’s caused us to move further from telling it like it is—with love—and the more watered down our message becomes.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not an advocate for using the truth as a battering ram.

  • I support speaking up when it can advance the cause of Christ.
  • The truth is also essential when we have the opportunity to build up, encourage, or exhort others to live more like Jesus. That is what the word of God asks us to do: “Speak the truth in love...” (Ephesians 4:15a).

Truth is compelling. It has the power to touch the heart and bring our thoughts and actions into alignment with the life Jesus died to redeem.

Facts persuade. Truth transforms.

Here are three practical ways to express truth with mama-inspired confidence.

1. Pray before you speak.

Be certain it’s the truth you’re sharing and not your opinion. It’s a short hop and a skip from expressing our opinion to judgment.

Asking God’s Spirit to help us distinguish between the truth and our opinion fulfills the remainder of the verse in Ephesians 4:15—"let’s grow in every way into Christ.”

The truth is found in Christ, not our version of life as it should be.

2. Truth will set you free, too.

The truth receiver and the truth teller are blessed in the process.

When we walk fully in the truth, we are free—released and confident to share it with others, assured it will convey the message of our heart.

The ability to express our concern comes easily and communicates love, not criticism.

We can’t shame people onto the right path; encouragement and exhortation of God’s word must be the foundation.

3. Don’t over-communicate your message.

Mama’s messages spoke to my heart because they made me think.

Her truth, God’s truth, could become my truth only when communicated with love not lecture.

The battering ram rarely finds an open heart.

Jude 1:20 reminds us to build one another in the faith.

What message is God waiting for you to deliver? What’s holding you back? Fight truth decay and share it—in love—today!

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. Deb’s books help readers create the life God meant marriage and family to be. Read her at: Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Bru-nO at Pixabay.

Thursday
Mar282019

Counsel Your Heart—with Truth Talk

In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, Dawn says we need to be careful what we say to our hearts. While we're surrounded by discouraging worldviews and perspectives, the right kind of counsel can be life-giving.

I appreciate these words by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: "We should not be controlled by our circumstances or by our emotions. We need to counsel our hearts according to truth."

Nancy said those words in 2016 in the midst of a divisive, confusing and polarizing election in America. But she has said the same words many times over in various women's conferences and on the radio; and I've found the concept of "counseling our hearts" powerful and helpful in making wise choices.

"We need to go back to God's Word and remind ourselves of bedrock, solid foundational truth," Nancy says.

With a recent cancer diagnosis, I've found the need to counsel my own heart especially urgent, because I have an enemy who is doing his best to sow lies in my frightened heart.

  • Lies about the goodness of God.
  • Lies about my worth.
  • Lies about the future.

Oh, how I need the truth of God's Word to permeate my mind and soul every day.

In an effort to counter Satan's lies, I began collecting scriptures and faithful Christians' comments about helpful Bible verses. I call my collection "Truth Talk for Hurting Hearts"—but truth talk is important to face every human need and frailty, not just when we're hurting.

The world tries to help.

Some people turn to religion, but religion without the Power Source in our lives—a living relationship with Jesus Christ—doesn't bring lasting change.

Many others turn to psychology for answers, but they may get only half-truths. For example, the sciences of the mind and good mental health promote proper "self-esteem" and "self-worth," and certainly this sounds positive. Who wouldn't want a good sense of personal worth.

But the whole truth is, without God, we are and can do nothing (John 15:4-5; Jeremiah 10:23; Galatians 6:3). Our worth is tied up in who He is, who we are in Him and what He says about us.

I am struck by Peter's words in John 6:68:  

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Peter understood the life-giving words of the Lord regarding his eternal soul. But the Word of God is powerful to speak to us in many other ways—not only about our salvation. We see this throughout Psalm 119.

When I was a younger Christian, I came to believe in the power of self-talk for overcoming bad attitudes, behaviors, habits and addictions.

But with maturity, I realized self-talk per se is not as important as telling ourselves the truth.

We can use self-talk to bolster our own agenda and get our own way. We may even lie to ourselves to accomplish our purposes. Instead—

God wants us to use "truth talk" to remind ourselves what He has said.

Here's how I've been counseling my own heart. Perhaps it will help others navigate the tough, confusing circumstances of life.

1. Discover the truth.

You can't discover—and apply—the truth of God's Word if you aren't reading it. Studying it. Meditating on and memorizing it.

We are to search the scriptures, looking for treasured truth about the Lord. If we seek Him, we will find Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; Matthew 6:33). We will come to know Him as He truly is, not as the culture misquotes and misrepresents Him.

2. Proclaim the truth.

To proclaim something is to announce it officially or publicly, to declare something is important and emphasize it.

Essentially, we act on the truth of God's Word when we respond to it, first by making it known.

We might speak it, write it, or share it in a post or meme. We testify to its power.  We leave a legacy of truth-telling.

3. Counsel with the truth.

To counsel is to share wise advice. But for the Christian it is so much more, because we are handling the Word of God. It is treasured counsel, life-giving truth and hope-filled practical principles.

We're meant to counsel not only our own hearts, but to encourage others' hearts in their times of need as well (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

The scriptures are powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and must dwell in us "richly" (Colossians 3:16). We can trust what God has told us.

Counseling our hearts is one way to LIVE OUT the truth of scripture—to rely on and practice it in our daily lives.

I recently fought a hard battle with Satan about God's goodness. 

"Why would a good God give you cancer?" my enemy said.

My recourse was to study the goodness of the Lord—my Father God's sovereign and awesome providence. I discovered deep truths about God's character, began to speak and write about those truths, and intentionally counseled my heart.

Before long, the ugly accusations ceased. Satan's attempts to make me bitter only turned into praise for God! (In other words, the devil wasn't happy.)

I know the enemy has more strategies to bring me down, but I also know the greatest resource to do battle with Satan's lies is the wonderful Word of God.

I intend to keep on counseling my heart with biblical "truth talk."

How about you? Are you struggling with a tough diagnosis? A frustrating circumstance? A disheartening relationship? An inner war that you feel you're losing? What truth from scripture can you use today to counsel your heart?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts  and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.


Thursday
Jul072016

To Tell the Truth

Deb DeArmond loves to build strong relationships, especially marriage relationshps. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she reminds us how "truth" can strengthen and empower any relationship.

“It’s not always easy to tell the truth," Deb says. "The truth can sting, bruise or even break a heart. And we may worry about the impact it will have on someone we deeply love ... like our spouse.”

This is something I (Dawn) have debated with many people. Truth must always win out, but there's a way to be honest that will honor God.

Deb continues . . .

July 7 is National Tell the Truth Day. I’m sure God expects it to happen more often than just one day each year. And He has a lot to say on the matter of truthfulness—how to do it, why to do it, and the price of failing to do it. 

Telling the truth is a lesson we learned early in life. Mama and Daddy, the Sunday school teacher and every adult we knew reminded us of the importance of truth-telling.

And children are often known for telling the whole truth—sometimes to the chagrin of their parents, who hadn’t counted on a personal family moment being shared with the pastor or the next-door neighbor!

As adults, however, the truth can feel more complicated.

  • “Oh, it’s okay. It’s no big deal.” (He has no idea how it hurt me. Again.)
  • “What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.” (Maybe someone else will tell her.)
  • “I’ll just let it go.” (It’s not worth the effort or thought required.)
  • “Sure. That’s fine with me.” (Forget it. She won’t listen anyway.)

It’s easy to convince ourselves that it would be too uncomfortable for the other person to hear the truth.

More likely, we’re the ones who aren’t comfortable. We may be unsure the relationship is strong enough to withstand honesty. Experience might suggest the truth is not welcome or perhaps it’s has been used as a battering ram in the past.

No wonder we simply let ourselves off the hook—even with our husband or wife. It’s easier.

The Word is clear about the truth:

“But speaking the truth in love, you may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15 NKJV).

And there’s the rub. The truth is to be spoken, no question about that. But it’s always to be done in love.

Without love, it’s just a set of facts, information, data. And data often fails to inspire, encourage, motivate, or move the heart to understanding. And what’s a marriage with out understanding?

In the research for our book on marital conflict, we discovered that many couples have surrendered—no longer telling one another the truth. They’d rather live what was described as “living compatibly” than to trouble the waters in what they feared would be conflict they couldn’t contain.

Conflict isn’t the problem. It’s how we handle conflict that determines whether the end result is discovery or damage.

We often regard confrontation as aggressive. It doesn’t have to be.

Confronting one another in love restores connection. It says, “I love you enough to fight along side you for our marriage.” Your marriage has an enemy, but it’s not your spouse.

Just because there’s quiet in the house doesn’t mean there’s peace. God wants so much more for our marriages and our lives.

So why not make a fresh commitment to the truth today—with yourself and your spouse. No fudging on facts. No little white lies.

Love will make the way.

What truth is overdue today? How can you wrap it in love?

Deb DeArmond’s passion is family—not just her own, but the relationships within families in general. Her books provide tools, tips and biblical perspective to build sound relationships within marriage, as parents, and extended family-including mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Deb and her husband of 41 years, Ron, live in the Fort Worth area. For more about Deb and her books visit her "Family Matters" site.

Tuesday
Jun032014

Are You Telling Yourself the Truth?

Poppy Smith loves to inspire women to thrive. In this UPGRADE post, she encourages us to consider something that may be limiting us ... our self-talk.

Not everything we think is true,” says Poppy. Some women believe they are the best, that they can do anything they set their minds to. More often, though, women think, I can’t do that. I’m not capable. I could never step out and take a risk!” 

Did Poppy just step into my (Dawn's) mind? I struggled with negative self-talk for years, but I am glad the Lord taught me the powerful truth Poppy shares here!

She continues ...

Several years ago I was invited to be the “International Speaker” for a large Christian organization in Australia. The invitation to tour for six-weeks, through seventeen cities, was both a shock and a thrill. However, the night before my first conference in Perth, I was overwhelmed with fear that I’d be the first “International Speaker” to be sent home.

Sobbing, I told myself, They made a terrible mistake inviting me.  I have nothing to give. I can never live up to their expectations. What possessed me to say yes?

After I finally calmed down, I sensed God’s Spirit nudging me:

Poppy, did you seek this invitation for yourself? 

     No, Lord, I had never heard of them. 

Did you prepare faithfully?

     Yes, Lord.

Have you prayed for My power to be evident in your talks?

     Yes, Lord.

Then, go and give out what I’ve given to you and leave the rest in my Hands.

Six weeks later, I marveled at what God accomplished in spite of my human inadequacies.  I also learned a powerful lesson:

What we tell ourselves is pivotal to either staying stuck spiritually and emotionally, or moving forward with a growing, active faith in God.

Here are three reasons every Christian needs to make sure her self-talk lines up with God’s truth.

1. Negative self-talk limits your experience of God’s love and acceptance. When you rehearse your failures, allow shame to crush you, or insist that God couldn’t possibly care about you, your mind is feeding you lies.

Romans 8:1 refutes the lie that you are unacceptable to God: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  

Take Action: Repeat this life-changing fact to yourself. Grasp hold of it—and train yourself to respond to lies with God’s statements.

2. Negative self-talk limits your ability to accept the love and friendship of others. If you tell yourself people don’t like you, are judging you, or have no interest in knowing you—you won’t reach out.

Believing these lies steals your joy and ignores God’s urgings in Hebrews 10:24-25: spur others on, don’t give up meeting together, encourage one another.

Take Action: Refuse to let isolating, misery-inducing self-talk go unchallenged. Start focusing outward. Ask God, Who do You want me to befriend?

3. Negative self-talk limits what God has made you capable of doing. My own experience taught me this truth, but how is your self-talk limiting your availability to God?  Is He laying on your heart to serve in some way that stretches you?

Philippians 2:13 says it is God who gives you the desire and the ability to act according to His good purpose.

Take Action:  Instead of dismissing the Holy Spirit’s nudges, stop and listen.  Then choose to say: By faith, I am going to pursue what God has for my life. I will trust Him. I won’t shrink back.

What nagging inner message holds you back from experiencing God’s love and power in your life? Which biblical truth do you need to believe and act on?

Poppy Smith is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. A former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader with a Masters in Spiritual Formation, she is a multi-published author who speaks widely, challenging women to make their lives count by looking at their choices, attitudes, and relationship with God. For more about Poppy and her helpful resources, including her book, I'm Too Human to Be Like Jesus: Spiritual Growth for the Not-So-Perfect Woman, visit her website.

Graphic in text: adapted, Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday
Jul112013

Finances: Thriving or Surviving?

Janice Thompson, founder and president of Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., says she wants women to thrive when it comes to finances, not simply to survive. In the months ahead, Janice will share some encouraging UPGRADE Your Finances insights. But for now, she simply wants to get us thinking on the right track. She asks:

“Does the topic of money trigger within you feelings of excitement, anticipation and peace of mind, or does it bring forth feelings of fear, dread or even panic?”

Janice continues:

Women often face unique challenges when planning for their financial future. Many women who have never entered the workforce or have interrupted their careers to care for children or aging parents may ultimately earn less income than men in the same age group. As a result, they find their retirement accounts, pensions and Social Security benefits are often lower.

When you add the fact that women generally live longer than men and have to stretch those resources over a longer span of time, it can become a frightening challenge to navigate through the financial maze of life.

I take great comfort in the fact that God is neither surprised nor worried by any economic uncertainties in our world.

It reminds me of when we bought our first home and decided to move our 30-gallon fish aquarium across town without draining the tank. We carefully set the fish tank on the front seat of the moving truck. As cautiously as my husband tried to drive, it did not prevent the water in the tank from sloshing violently and splashing over the sides of the tank.

What was interesting to note, however, was that while the surface of the tank was in mass upheaval, the fish in the tank had all dropped to a water level in the lower part of the tank where they appeared to be suspended in space.

They weren't in a panic; they did not appear dazed or confused. They knew what to do and calmly rode out the turbulence, unfazed by the wild ride.

Good financial principles can help you ride out highs and lows of economic growth or turmoil.

The solution to not just surviving but thriving in any economic environment is understanding and applying God’s timeless truth. As I have often heard financial author and friend Ron Blue say, “The Bible is always relevant, always, right, and will never change.”

And that is the greatest financial principle. Begin with what God says about finances. Always turn to the scriptures, because God’s wisdom principles for managing all aspects of your financial life work!

Have you ever studied what the Bible says about finances? If so, how has God helped you in the area of personal stewardship?

Janice Thompson is the founder and president of Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., a comprehensive wealth management firm focused on biblically-based financial solutions. Janice is a Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Life Stewardship Advisor™, and serves on the Board of Directors of Kingdom Advisors.

As a pastor's wife, Jan also brings a unique professional perspective to those in vocational ministry. She and her husband, Tom, live in San Diego, California, have two grown children, and look forward to becoming grandparents this fall.