Posts

May 31, 2021

Ep.1180: Am I My Own Worst Enemy?

Unlocking the solutions to seven truth-distorting reactions

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:42]
How do I keep from making bad things even worse?


[00:31:09]
How do we manage self-defeating thoughts when it comes to comparing ourselves to others?


[00:46:32]
How do we stop blaming others for what goes on in our life?


Theme Scripture: Romans 7:15

Life can be difficult. We are surrounded with issues, events, opinions, politics and posts that continuously bring us stress and strain. As if this isn’t enough, we add to the frenzy by putting up self-designed roadblocks to block our own way! Why would we do that? Why would we make things harder for ourselves? Turns out that this is a common thing.  The imperfect human mind can create all kinds of coping mechanisms that keep us from dealing with perceived trouble. While this sounds good, the problem is that our avoidance of perceived trouble often leads us directly into the path of real trouble. Essentially, we can at times become our own worst enemy. The bad news is we easily and often sabotage ourselves. The good news is, because we do this to ourselves we can also learn how to change that behavior.

Continue Reading

Automatic Thoughts and Distortions

In a book entitled The Self-Esteem Workbook, by Glen R. Schiraldi, PhD, we found the self-damaging thought processes we often cling to are called “Automatic Thoughts and Distortions.” “Making Feelings Facts," “Rejecting the Positive” and “Catastrophizing” are examples of the several thoughts and distortions we can face each day without even realizing it. Why are these things so insidious? First, it is because they are thoughts. Our everactive minds produce thoughts at an unfathomable rate. We are in a constant state of determining which of these numerous thoughts are worthy of our attention. Automatic thoughts – those that occur without conscious effort - usually are most powerful.

Being continually influenced by automatic thoughts is one thing, but when you add distortion to those thoughts the frustration party begins. How can we expect to cope with the hard realities of life when our mind is automatically feeding us seriously distorted interpretations of the truth? What’s worse is these automated distortions come in all shapes and sizes!

The answers!

Fortunately, answers are available if we look for them. To help us understand how “Rejecting the Positive” works, we look at the Apostle Peter in his dramatic experience with Jesus and walking on the water. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, off of the source of his stability, he began to sink. What Peter focused on determined what his outcome would be! There is much we can learn here, not only form Peter’s fears but also from the stability of Jesus as well. The bottom line is that most of us have choices regarding the automatic thoughts we struggle with. We end up being our own worst enemy.

Check out our May 31, 2021 podcast, “Am I My Own Worst Enemy?” for more. We address seven of these automatic thoughts and distortions one at a time with Bible in hand. As each of these distorted views of our lives has its own unique challenge, so each answer has its own unique suggestion. This conversation can be a real eye-opener. It can help us to see what is driving our reactions and responses and compare that answer with the facts of our Christian walk. Please join us on the pathway to more clearly understanding our personal thoughts.

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October 18, 2021

Ep.1200: Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?

Learning to identify and manage compulsive and addictive behavior

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:15:31]
How can we recognize the difference between compulsive thoughts and addiction?


[00:32:43]
What's it like when you finally start to turn the corner to getting healthy?


[00:47:50]
How can we make overcoming an addiction a permanent change?


Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6

Life can be difficult and unpredictable. It can be full of insecurity, unexpected disappointments, and events that press and overwhelm our coping skills. All of this can bring us to places that make us want to run from our reality. We instead engage in a pseudo-reality that makes us feel better - at least for the moment. Enter the pathway to potential addictive behavior. It often begins as a subtle escape, or a convenient distraction, or a thrilling experience. Destructive addictions always end in several layers of disaster. At the top of the addiction casualty list is our character, integrity, family, friends, work associates, and often our financial standing as well. What should we look for and do to avoid or remedy the destructiveness of addiction?

Continue Reading

Party City

Nobody sets out in life with the goal of becoming some kind of addict. At least, that's what our guest Merrily said about her own life. Merrily is a dedicated Christian woman who painfully worked through her own addictions to drugs and alcohol many years ago. In telling her story, she shared how the road towards addiction looked more like a road to excitement and acceptance. Even though this road seemed to be continually headed towards “Party City,” it was littered with warnings and caution signs. The problem is, when you are traveling so fast you don’t have time to think about those signs along the way.

A perceived need or desire

Just because we are Christians we cannot relax when it comes to awareness about and protection against these kinds of things. Addictions always begin with a perceived need or desire. They are fed by compulsive behavior, which in and of itself is not always a bad thing. A compulsion can be an irresistible urge and if those urges are to righteously act in the direct service of God, then let’s go! However, we all know that such an urge is much more the exception than the rule. The bottom line is that we need to be painfully aware of the direction our compulsions are pointing us towards.

As Christians, there is much we can do to identify and destroy addictive behavior. One simple and powerful key in this fight is perspective. We need to go through each action of each day remembering who we are and what we are called to. Being a disciple of Jesus is a whole mind, whole heart and whole body commitment. Anything and everything we focus our attention on must fit within that description.

Check out our October 18, 2021 podcast, “Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?” for more. We follow Merrily’s inspirational story of being trapped by addiction, falling, bottoming out and recovery. Several scriptural principles are laid out to help us whether we are heading into trouble, in trouble or broken. We learn about the power of accountability and the transformational properties of contentment. Addiction is a serious and sometimes deadly issue. Join us for a stark look at its nature and the relief that is found in recovery!

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May 31, 2021

Ep.1180: Am I My Own Worst Enemy?

Unlocking the solutions to seven truth-distorting reactions

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:42]
How do I keep from making bad things even worse?


[00:31:09]
How do we manage self-defeating thoughts when it comes to comparing ourselves to others?


[00:46:32]
How do we stop blaming others for what goes on in our life?


Theme Scripture: Romans 7:15

Life can be difficult. We are surrounded with issues, events, opinions, politics and posts that continuously bring us stress and strain. As if this isn’t enough, we add to the frenzy by putting up self-designed roadblocks to block our own way! Why would we do that? Why would we make things harder for ourselves? Turns out that this is a common thing.  The imperfect human mind can create all kinds of coping mechanisms that keep us from dealing with perceived trouble. While this sounds good, the problem is that our avoidance of perceived trouble often leads us directly into the path of real trouble. Essentially, we can at times become our own worst enemy. The bad news is we easily and often sabotage ourselves. The good news is, because we do this to ourselves we can also learn how to change that behavior.

Continue Reading

Automatic Thoughts and Distortions

In a book entitled The Self-Esteem Workbook, by Glen R. Schiraldi, PhD, we found the self-damaging thought processes we often cling to are called “Automatic Thoughts and Distortions.” “Making Feelings Facts," “Rejecting the Positive” and “Catastrophizing” are examples of the several thoughts and distortions we can face each day without even realizing it. Why are these things so insidious? First, it is because they are thoughts. Our everactive minds produce thoughts at an unfathomable rate. We are in a constant state of determining which of these numerous thoughts are worthy of our attention. Automatic thoughts – those that occur without conscious effort - usually are most powerful.

Being continually influenced by automatic thoughts is one thing, but when you add distortion to those thoughts the frustration party begins. How can we expect to cope with the hard realities of life when our mind is automatically feeding us seriously distorted interpretations of the truth? What’s worse is these automated distortions come in all shapes and sizes!

The answers!

Fortunately, answers are available if we look for them. To help us understand how “Rejecting the Positive” works, we look at the Apostle Peter in his dramatic experience with Jesus and walking on the water. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, off of the source of his stability, he began to sink. What Peter focused on determined what his outcome would be! There is much we can learn here, not only form Peter’s fears but also from the stability of Jesus as well. The bottom line is that most of us have choices regarding the automatic thoughts we struggle with. We end up being our own worst enemy.

Check out our May 31, 2021 podcast, “Am I My Own Worst Enemy?” for more. We address seven of these automatic thoughts and distortions one at a time with Bible in hand. As each of these distorted views of our lives has its own unique challenge, so each answer has its own unique suggestion. This conversation can be a real eye-opener. It can help us to see what is driving our reactions and responses and compare that answer with the facts of our Christian walk. Please join us on the pathway to more clearly understanding our personal thoughts.

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March 22, 2021

VIDEO: Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?

Modern Christianity is a far cry from original discipleship. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

(1)

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March 22, 2021

Ep.1170: Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?

Examining what discipleship is and what it is not

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:24]
What does it mean when Jesus told us to deny ourselves?


[00:30:21]
Was Jesus trying to scare people away when he told us to take up our cross?


[00:45:42]
What are the benefits to being a lifetime follower of Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Luke 9:23

21st century Christianity can be confusing. With all of the denominations and interpretations and approaches to Scripture it is hard to fathom they all claim to represent the same thing. So, what is the bottom line? Is being a Christian - a true Christian - a difficult way of life, or is it a privileged way of life? Does following Jesus place demands on you that are unreasonable to the average person? Or does it promise and deliver some kind of abundance that the average person would notice? Does Christianity fundamentally change you? Or does it help you be the best person you think you can be? Is following Jesus an exclusive calling of those who would do the hard work? Or does it work by way of general knowledge and discovery? Let’s see how Jesus describes what following him looks like and what it produces.

Continue Reading

Compare

As we look at Christian life here in the 21st century, it is easy to notice a significant difference in how it works when compared to 1st century Christianity. Now we have sweeping individuality available in our churches. Now we are encouraged to find a church that suits us, that we are comfortable with. Back then, you became a Christian because you became a believer in Jesus and his sacrifice, and it was all about truth and salvation. Now our Christianity is easily focused on fitting into our comfort zone of service or praise or worship or giving. Back then, Christianity was focused on fitting the varied disciples into the mold of living for Christ. In short, modern Christianity is a far cry from original discipleship.

Does this mean that Christianity, which we will call discipleship, is a hard and unyielding mold we are forced into? Not at all! Make no mistake, there are difficult mountains to climb and challenging changes in character to accomplish. But these formidable tasks should not be allowed to overshadow the magnitude of blessing opportunity and growth that discipleship floods us with.

Peace, joy and overcoming

When Jesus tells all who are weary and heavy laden to come to him for rest, he means it. His promise is to show us how to navigate our world by leaning on him for grace, strength and inspiration. The Bible promises peace, joy and overcoming to those who become Jesus’ disciples. There are Scriptures that promise our highest needs being met and being led through our crises. Who wouldn’t want all that? Still, discipleship is a steep and narrow pathway.

How do we put these two seeming extremes together and make sense of following Christ? Check out our March 22, 2021 podcast, “Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?” for answers. We walk through the hardships of discipleship and match them with its blessings and privileges. What we end up with is a clarity of purpose and a straightforward understanding of the why behind it all. Following Christ is not for the faint of heart, but it is the most blessed decision you can ever make!

 

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February 22, 2021

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January 11, 2021

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January 11, 2021

Ep.1160: How Can I Persevere When Life Gets Tough? (Part II)

Applying perseverance in persecutions and as a test of loyalty

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CHAPTERS

[00:22:04]
What makes us give up and how do we deal with them?


[00:38:38]
How do you persevere with a lifelong illness or problem?


[00:54:05]
How do you persevere through the death of a loved one?


Theme Scripture: Luke 21:19

Last week we talked about perseverance as an essential aspect of our Christian lives. We saw that persevering means much more than simply hanging on when things are tough. It means we set our hearts and minds on moving forward, no matter how small the steps might be. We examined some Isaiah scriptures that gave us a glimpse of what Jesus’ own focus - what his “game face" - looked like. And we established that we need perseverance in many areas of life and discussed it in the context of our trials and afflictions. We heard the story of Jonathan, a 14-year-old young man who is persevering through a serious case of Scoliosis. Today, we expand the scope of our perseverance conversation as we look at the persecutions and tests of loyalty every Christian must endure. We do this both scripturally and through the stories of Lorain and Fred, two mature Christians whose life experiences pressed them to persevere in ways they never saw coming.

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Lorain's story

Lorain was a dedicated Christian whose focus was always on serving God. Several years ago at age 36, she was struck with Multiple Sclerosis and her life’s trajectory dramatically changed. We recently caught up with her and observed her experiences and growth. What we found was an amazing story of perseverance. She helped us to understand that sometimes our life requires us to approach it like a soldier who is always preparing for or facing battle.

As Christians, we are sometimes called upon to persevere through persecution.  Often this persecution comes from those who are close to us, from friends, associates and even family. This is difficult, as there is usually no place to hide when this happens. How do we handle it? Like Lorain, we soldier up. We fight these battles by wearing the armor of God as instructed in Ephesians chapter 6. Here’s the thing - our mission may not be to vanquish someone persecuting us. It may be to instead witness our Christian character to them. Our mission as soldiers is to do what God would have us to do and not what we feel like doing. This can only happen when we apply Christian perseverance to this fight.

Fred's story

Fred was a happily married, dedicated Christian when nine years ago his wife died suddenly and without warning. This experience broke many parts of him, but it didn’t break his faith. Fred shared with us how over years he picked up the pieces and reset his life’s direction. His perseverance was and is like that of a farmer. Slowly, methodically and according to Scripture, he did the work to cultivate Christian growth and maturity. His story is one that helps us understand how our perseverance should be solely focused on our loyalty to God through Christ.

Check out our January 11, 2021 podcast, “How Can I Persevere When Life Gets Tough? (Part II)" for more. Not only is this journey thoroughly inspiring, it is deeply educational as well. Mastering Christian perseverance is one of the secrets to living a fulfilled life. Join us and get on the path to victory!

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March 02, 2020

Ep.1115: I Don’t Think I Love My Spouse Anymore. What Now?

Finding solutions to the hard issues in a troubled marriage

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:42]
How can you still love your spouse when you don't love them anymore?


[00:29:20]
What do you do when you discover a dark side to your spouse?


[00:45:06]
How do we keep our thoughts and actions righteous when things aren't going well?


[01:01:00]
How do we accept the challenges of marriage as a tool to being faithful to God?


Theme Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

…And they lived happily ever after!  While this fairy tale ending makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, it doesn’t help us to prepare for reality.  The fact is, marriage is hard.  Having a bad marriage is much easier.  Think about why. Two people make a promise to one another before God to be - for the rest of their lives - completely faithful to each other.  Theoretically, we think this is not unreasonable because when we marry, the bonds of love are powerful.  Then life happens.  Stress, jobs, children, changes, finances, likes, dislikes, opinions, moods - all of the human things that life is made of show themselves.  You wake up one day and that bond of love that once looked impervious has faded into the shadows of everyday experience.

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One of the basic questions we as Christians need to ask ourselves is, upon what are our marriages based? While the gut reaction answer would be things like love, compatibility and common goals, the real answer has a deeper basis.  Marriage is a promise...but not just any promise.  For a Christian, marriage is a covenant of God, which makes it a promise agreed to with God as witness.  This simply means we are committing ourselves to a life-long contract of fidelity in the most sacred environment possible.  Christian marriage is therefore based on commitment and not compatibility.

While this might sound limiting and even scary, it is actually really good news.  It provokes us to work hard when things become challenging, to not throw it the towel when we may feel like giving up.  A promise made in the presence of God is always worth fighting for!  Keeping a promise made in the presence of God always brings ultimate spiritual blessing, even when our personal lives are challenged.

Now let’s get practical.  How do you fight for something you don’t feel is worth it?  What would make you want to protect something that seems to not only be causing you pain, but suffering as well?  The answer, which may sound corny at first, is LOVE.  The fact is, it is possible to love your spouse even when you DON'T love them!  We need to get our heads around this unlikely approach. Once we do, we can begin to make a significant difference in the quality of our daily married lives.

Check out our March 2, 2020 podcast, “I Don’t Think I Love My Spouse Anymore. What Now?” for more.  We lay out answers, but not from the viewpoint of being idealistic.  That would be far too easy.  On the contrary, we walk through the true story of a Christian woman who is currently in a difficult marriage.  She honestly explains her daily challenges, the development of her thinking, and the conclusions and solutions she is finding.  This difficult story helps us be realistic while also seeking God’s higher ways to manage these hard circumstances.  There are answers when life gets difficult.  Join us to find them!

 

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November 25, 2019

Ep.1101: How Can We Be Thankful When Life is So Hard?

Learning how to keep gratitude vital in the face of suffering

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:11]
How can we be thankful when things don't work out?


[00:27:49]
How can we see value in roadblocks on our path?


[00:44:47]
How can we find peace when we regularly suffer?


[01:00:23]
How can our attitude of thanksgiving be a blessing to even unbelievers?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 4:6

This of the most basic manners we teach our kids. We generally start by instructing them how to appropriately make a request for something and how to graciously receive it.  How do you ask?  “Please!”  What do you say?  “Thank you!”  These two simple communication tools (which incidentally seem to have been misplaced in our social media world) are not merely expressions of good manners, they are declarations of good character!  As we approach the American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to focus on being thankful in a way that goes beyond typical platitudes.  How can we be truly and deeply thankful - even when our life experiences are difficult and harsh?  How can we make true thankfulness a way of life and not just words of praise?

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We often think of gratitude as an act of reciprocity – someone does something that has positive benefit and we show appreciation by being thankful.  While this is a good place to start, true gratitude can be expressed for many wider and deeper reasons.  Take loyalty for example, the ongoing experience of having someone exhibit life-long loyalty towards us. True gratitude is not expressed in a simple gesture of thanks to them. It is expressed in our transformedlife actionsthat their loyalty affords us. This kind of thanksgiving makes us better, as it continually draws us up to a higher standard and quality of life.

As we begin to understand the broad application gratitude can have, we need to pause and consider its role in our hard life experiences. Pain and thanksgiving are not bvious partners. As a matter of fact, some of our greatest gratitude experiences are driven by pain and suffering leaving us. This is the gratitude of relief, and it is important and appropriate. As Christians, it is our charge to rise to higher levels of thanksgiving. A verse in 1 Thessalonians instructs us, “In everything give thanks.” The obvious implication here is to grow into an attitude of life that is able to express thanksgiving not only when a bad experience ends, but as we are going through it as well.

How do we do this?  Being thankful in the midst of pain and suffering is not natural, it is not easy and it is, frankly, not even expected by our peers. Yet, this is our goal. Check out our November 25, 2019 podcast, “How Can We Be Thankful When Life is So Hard?” We not only walk through biblical principles of gratitude and its application, we also share a dramatic personal testimony from a Christian woman. This woman lives with chronic and severe pain daily and has for years. It has completely changed her life and essentially taken away many of her previous opportunities. In her testimony she recounts how she has learned to accept this hard way of life. She also shares the new-found power and privilege she has been given because of this trial.  Do not miss this inspiring view of gratitude!

 

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November 25, 2019

VIDEO: How Can We Be Thankful When Life is So Hard?

How can we be truly and deeply thankful – even when our life experiences are difficult and harsh?  Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

(1)

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October 07, 2019

VIDEO: How Do You Handle Being Uprooted in Your Life?

How do we change a difficult, uprooting kind of circumstance into a tool for growth? What examples are there in the scriptures of individuals being uprooted and what can we learn from them? How can we make uprooting work for instead of against us? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

(2)

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