Sunday, July 17, 2005

Our Life Is Our Thoughts

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Song Sparrow
Love is a common theme in the Bible. We are also to walk in FAITH, not fear. These Scriptures come to mind as I ponder the power of God's love for us and in us.

1 John 4:18 - "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

Seems to me the more we know God's love for us, the more we can love others and love will "cast out" fear from our lives. Here are a few Scriptures to

Psalms 91:14a - "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him."

Mark 12:30 - "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

When we love God, we can love others. We see ourselves in a new light when we see God's love for us. To think that God rejoices over you with joy! God commands us to love others:

John 15:17 - "These things I command you, that ye love one another."

John 13:35 - "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

God has a way around fear in our lives. He's made provision for it:

2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Psalms 119:165 - "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

When we love God's law, people will no longer offend us, and we can simply love them right past their imperfections. We lose our defensiveness and focus more on God's work in our own lives which enables us to see others as unfinished works in progress also.

Relationships can create joy in our lives which brings healing --- or they can create bitterness and anger. We're the only ones who can decide for ourselves which way it's going to be.

Here's some excerpts from the book, "Reduce Me to Love," by Joyce Meyer about our thoughts and words toward others:

When God takes charge of us, we cannot think bad things about people {not even ourselves}.

We are not really living the life of the Spirit until we allow the Holy Spirit to control every area of our life. He will certainly never get control of our life until He has control of our thoughts and words.

As long as we think our own thoughts and speak our own words, we will never experience victory!

Our life is a reflection of our thoughts. It is impossible to have a good life unless we have trained ourselves to have good thoughts.

I am sure that many people have been controlled all of their life by wrong thinking. They think all their problems are caused by the devil, other people, the way they were raised as children, etc. but the truth is that in many cases the problem is simply a lack of knowledge or a lazy spirit that refuses to act on the knowledge available.

Thinking right thoughts will often resemble warfare. The mind is the battlefield on which Satan tries to defeat us. In the Bible we are told to "cast down" wrong thoughts, but what does that mean? It means once wrong thoughts present themselves to us, we are to refuse to receive them and turn them over and over in our mind. We are not to give them strength by meditating on them.

The real key to victory is not only to cast down wrong thoughts, but to replace them with right ones: "For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on, and weigh, and take account of these things." (Philippians 4:8 AMP)

It is virtually impossible to think two things at the same time. When a new thought comes in, the old must go.

Go ahead and try it! Start thinking about your name for example. Now begin to think about your address. When you changed to thinking about your address, you stopped thinking about your name.

We get rid of the darkness by turning on the light. In the same way, we rid ourselves of wrong thoughts by deliberately turning our attention to right thoughts.

Be determined to love God, yourself and others with your thoughts. Ask the Lord to reduce you to love. It is the only road to true happiness, and the only way we can be a witness in our world today."

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Thursday, July 7, 2005


by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Pink Rose

Worry is a nice word for fear, but Jesus simplifies a way around worry when He says, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

We look at that statement and it's just too simple, and yet it's just too hard. How do you seek the Kingdom of God? How will that take care of everything else?

If we seek God and His righteousness, our focus is going to have to be one of Faith. If we seek His Word on life and believe what He says, we will have Faith enough to leave every thing (all details of life) in His hands.

Jesus says, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matthew 6:25-26)

Jesus talks about food, drink, and clothes. In America most people don't really have to worry about having these. We generally worry about "how much" (fast food, overeating, binging from emotional worry) of it to have when it comes to food and drink, or the "kind" (stylish/right label) of it to have when it comes to clothing. We also worry about the kind / size / location of our homes. It's more of a competitive thing rather than a necessity. It's hard for us to imagine being grateful for simply having "something" to eat with food stamps and food banks providing for the poor in our country.

Why do we worry? It's of no value. We know that. Most people worry about the past or future. Neither of which can we truly control.

You certainly can't change the past, but it continues to change you if you worry and muse on it. It will continue to take you down if you're thinking about the bad things in the past. You can't change anything, so give God the permission to change you because of it --- into something good! My friend in Atlanta has a favorite saying from Othello: "It makes us, or it mars us, think on that."

We have choices in life to make and one of them is whether we will obey the voice of the Lord when He says, "Fear Not!" It makes a tremendous difference in our health - mentally and physically.

"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" (Matthew 6:26-27)

We add nothing to our lives from worry, but we can take a lot of life away with worry. We can also bring a lot of life to us with faith and belief in God. Most people see God as they saw their earthly father and for most folks that just isn't a correct view. An earthly father will never provide a totally accurate picture of who God is because our earthly fathers are human, and God is GOD!

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)

When we worry we are serving the devil. His desire is to cause us to lose our peace and faith in God and he will use all tactics and evil from his pit. When we have faith we are serving God because we believe His Word and we act upon it.

It's a process! One thought at a time!

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow..." (Matthew 6:24)

Our Lord points out the utter unreasonableness from His standpoint of being so anxious over the means of living. Money worries are the #1 cause of divorce and in my mind, it's a good guess that it's at the root of much depression in our nation also.

The great concern of our lives seems to be how we are to fit ourselves for life on earth. "Seek ye first...." I think our first concern should be how we are to fit ourselves for eternity in Heaven.

I know money concerns can eat you up! When we decided to be debt-free to eliminate that worry, I thought it would take the rest of our lives. But God met us after we only took a few steps of our own and did amazing things.

We lived in the early 90's with the average income of $12,000 with a mortgage to pay and a child to raise, but at the end of those years you couldn't figure it out on paper or in your mind. God really does make up the difference.

To win the battle over worry you will need to have a Scripture to renew your thoughts and you may use that Scripture every five minutes when you begin. You will be surprised how much energy you spend worrying --- I was! And I'm not the proverbial worrying type!

Take your life back from the schemes of the devil - he has come only to steal, kill and destroy. Choose not to be one of his victories. Choose God's Word and LIVE!

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Make Money & Time Last Longer

by Donna L. Watkins

There are so many ways to save money, and the least effective one is finding things on sale. We have to learn how to find and use what we already have. It's a talent lost in our present culture of wanting more. Find a few ideas below to stimulate your own creativity to do what fits for your own family and household.

We have been recycling paper for many years, as many others have, but we've found that many folks don't think about using the paper before recycling it.

Do you realize how much junk mail passes through the home or office that has printing only on one side?

We keep it and use it in our printers. Most of what we print is for ourselves and for our files, so we save having to buy reams of paper. We also do this when we print something for somebody else that we know, so it will be a topic for conversation, which gives us the chance to teach that recycling and concern for the environment is important....and that frugality can be fun and not embarrassing. We set the example and that opens the doorway to teach that it's okay to choose voluntary simplicity instead of 'keeping up with the neighbors.'

While we're discussing paper for printers, you must check out the refill options for those ink's much too expensive to keep buying new ones.

We also save all those envelopes included in junk mail. It costs more for a label than it does for an envelope, so it's not frugal to use them in place of envelopes for mailing and the post office doesn't like it either. However, we've used envelopes for sorting things, dropping off a night deposit at the bank, passing a note or a check payment to somebody. We cross off the address with a squiggly, creative flair and write the name of the person we are going to give it to. You can file canceled checks in them or coupons by different categories. I'm sure you'll think of more uses for them. This also sends a message of "waste not, want not" to our nation of in-debt families.

If you like spiral notebooks because of the hard surface, find a pocket portfolio and put junk mail in it to use. It's actually nicer than the spiral since you can arrange the papers/notes in any order you want and still have them orderly in the portfolio.

We never buy note paper. We have little boxes sitting by the telephones and put any scraps of paper that we find with a clean side up to write on. Some paper isn't the right size for a printer. There are all kinds of different scraps of paper to provide for your note paper box: extra deposit slips, the backs of receipts, small junk mail envelopes, the backing on check pads, etc.

Just begin the process and you'll find many opportunities for free paper and you'll feel good about saving money and trees. You can lay sheets by the phone and while you're on one of those long conversations, you can tear them into note size making good use of your time while listening to a friend. Feel good using some of the junk mail instead of just recycling it!

Do you know that many people have eliminated trash pickup by recycling garbage in a compost pile and recycling almost everything else they use.

You can keep a large trash can outside with a plastic bag inside that will take a month to fill....and then you can haul it off to the community dumpster which is free, thereby eliminating trash pickup fees which have really become high in most towns.

Since we decided Voluntary Simplicity is the way for us, we have also been concerned about being frugal with the environment. That has required some choices where we had to choose between frugalities for conservation reasons or the pocketbook. It's been an interesting journey which began when I read the following:

"If every household in the US replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissues with 100% recycled ones we could save: 297,000 trees, 1.2 million cubic feet of landfill space (equal to 1400 full garbage trucks), and 122 million gallons of water (a year's supply for 3500 families of 4)"

It doesn't take much to make a difference!

We began using recycled toilet paper, tissues, napkins and paper towels. They cost a little more, but somehow they give us a really deep feeling of satisfaction for helping the world God made for us to enjoy. Most recycled papers are not bleached with chlorine which is beneficial to the environment and our health also. I like the absence of dyes and fragrances, yet another elimination of chemicals in our homes. The toxicity of our environment does not go unnoticed by our physical bodies since research has shown that as chemicals increase so does cancer.

We've replaced a shelf full of cleaners by buying one simple laundry/cleaning product: Sunshine Concentrate.

We use it for laundry, hand soap, window and car cleaner, and for disinfectant qualities we make it up in a spray bottle with antibacterial essential oils.

Since we use herbs and vitamins we make sure we recycle those bottles, but first we like to use them for something. We enjoy making snacks from dried fruits and nuts to carry with us or to pack for lunches, so we use the bottles in place of plastic baggies.

You can use them for many things if you get a little creative. Our herb bottles have a 2" wide opening, so they're great to put in drawers to organize paper clips, tacks, rubber bands, buttons, etc. and can be used for pencil holders and flower pots for beginning seeds.

Let's allow our minds to become creative again as they were in older days when 'things' weren't so available and our nation didn't have a disposable mentality. Frugality begins in finding use of the things we already have in our possession, not just saving money on obtaining more things. You not only feel good about doing more with what you have, but you'll be surprised at how much more time and money you have when you don't have to spend gas and time shopping. You'll also find that you can reduce your car insurance if you put less miles on your car each year.

I firmly believe one of the main reasons our ancestors lives were so much more peaceful is because they didn't shop every day or week. Get rid of the "have it now" mentality and make lists of what you need and schedule a time weekly at first and eventually less often to shop. It will happen automatically as you stir your creativity to find things you can substitute that are already in your home.

Make your money last longer --- you can have more fun times with your family, and you can give more to organizations your heart cries for.

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
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