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Month: June 2015

Two encouragements for the fearful at heart

Two encouragements for the fearful at heart

The past two weeks our family has been on vacation.  It was a wonderful and relaxing time away and it was just what the Dr. ordered.

On our way home my husband shared with me two different political decisions that were made by people who simply abused their power to make decisions that were not theirs to make.  Social media, news outlets, magazine covers, and newspapers exploded with the news of one of those decisions made late last week.

Anger, fear, judgement, horror, and many more emotions and thoughts raced through many minds.  Questions of, “Where is our country headed?” were passed around the dinner table and coffee shops.

As a mama my heart could easily become crippled with fear, wondering what kind of a country my now small children will have to live in as they grow into adults.  Can you relate?  Fearful hearts and the feeling of hopelessness is exactly where our enemy wants us.

Can I share some encouragement with you?

First, fear and hopelessness are not from Christ.  1 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  When fear threatens to overwhelm your very being, stop and pray!  Our enemy delights when we feel crippled by fear because if we are crippled, we are no longer doing what God has called His children to do.  We stand like a deer in the headlights, eyes blinded by our greatest fears {and imagined fears as well}, not doing a thing for Christ.  If we have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation there is HOPE dwelling in us!  There is PEACE that is accessible! Christ fills us with courage to share HIS LIGHT and HOPE!  Christ has called us to not fear but to be filled with courage!  Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”  Remember friends, Christ has already won the victory!

Second, you are not the only one desiring to live for Christ!  Yesterday my husband preached a message from 1 Kings and in that passage we read not one verse, but two how Elijah told the Lord he was the only one who was righteous in all the land.  God reminded him though, he was not truly alone.  God had a remnant of 7,000 people who were righteous and longed to live holy lives.  Friends, I know our country has been compared to Sodom and Gomorrah and I know the same sins that were in those cities are here in America, but hear this.  In those two cities, there was only one righteous man.  In our country there are still thousands of God-fearing believers!  They take on the forms of missionaries, Pastors, Evangelists, Camp Workers, Christian school teachers, Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, and yes, even children.  There are still godly believers in our nation and they are burdened and praying for our nation, you and I are not alone!  I found the events of last week burdening my heart to make sure I am living a life right before God.  I felt burdened to make sure my husband and I are doing our best to raise our children up to be God-fearing, God-following adults filled with courage to stand up for Christ, no matter the cost.

We have lived in a nation that was founded on godly principles and full of freedoms, but our freedoms have made many become complacent.  Apathy oozes from God’s House.  Many claiming to be Christian but no evidences of true salvation are in their lives.  Take it or leave it church members leave God’s House half full.  Sports, parties, bitterness, blame, judgement, excuses and more keep people from even giving God one full day of worship.

Friends, I say this with a heart full of desire to see God’s people growing and thriving, now more than ever, we need to be a people of prayer, of righteous living!  Believers not crippled by fear but indwelt with a burning passion to hear from God and to share Him with others!  Not so bogged down with our own agendas, but realizing we were placed here at this very time in history, for such a time as this!

Hope in Christ!  Live as a victorious Christian!  Share Christ with others!  Take the light of Christ and let it SHINE!  When darkness is at its darkest, that is when the light shines brightest!

Two truths of forgiveness

Two truths of forgiveness

We have a two year old in our house.  I can only imagine what thoughts just ran through your mind hearing those words!  Let me be straight with you though, I don’t hate the two year old year.  I really don’t. They are full of adventure, discovery, cute new words they learn, smiles, laughter, and joy!

All that being said, we all know, if you have spent any amount of time with a two year old, that year is chock full of training!  Our two year old is inquisitive, an aspiring wall artist (which thankfully we are finally making progress in that arena!  She has limited her artistic hand to paper! Praise Jesus!), she thinks she can keep up with the big kids, she is learning every day how to be more independent than she was the day before.  The two year old year is a busy but great year!

Two year old’s (and even older children) can teach us a tremendous life lesson though.

There was a scuffle between our two year old and one of our other children and after figuring out what went wrong, we worked to make it right.  The kids apologized to each other, hugged, said they loved each other, and then went on playing like it had never even happened!  Children are amazing, their hearts so tender and loving!

It got me thinking, it is amazing how quickly children are to forgive and then move on.  When did it stop being so easy to forgive?  When did our thinking shift from forgiving instantly to believing it was easier to not forgive and instead cling to that wrongdoing like it was our life support?

We have all faced hurts in our lifetime, every single one of us.  At just the mere mention of the offenders name, it can hurl memories at us that slam us once again back into the situation that initially caused the hurt.  When did it become so hard to forgive?

The longer I am a parent the more I see how Christ uses my children to teach me more about Him.  Christ, my Savior, saw everything I would ever do, and He forgave me for it before I was even born!  Talk about tremendous love and forgiveness!

I’d love to share two simple truths about forgiveness with you today.

First, refusing to forgive breeds bitterness, but forgiveness brings blessing!  If we hang on to the wrong done to us it will begin to strangle us with all of it’s might.  When we clench our fists and refuse to forgive we begin to plant deep roots of bitterness, that will eventually result in not only hurting us, but many others around us.  {Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;“}  Also, if we withhold forgiveness Scripture plainly tells us in Matthew 6:15, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Learning to forgive will bring about freedom!  Forgiveness means we can move forward instead of getting stuck in the muck of bitterness.  Forgiveness brings relief, and joy!  Though the one who wronged us may never seek forgiveness from us, it is vital that we choose in our hearts to forgive them anyway.

Second, keep on forgiving, refuse to hang on to past hurts.  In the book of Matthew Peter and Jesus have an interesting conversation.  Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”  In this passage Christ was not tell Peter to go home and begin a tally system and every time he forgave someone he should tick off one tally.  “Alright, you only have 253 more times until I am through with forgiving you!”  No, that is not at all what Christ was saying.  In reality, He was telling us to forgive, and forgive, and forgive, and forgive etc… Get the idea?  Just keep at it because that is the example Christ has set for us!  He continuously forgives us without limitation.  None of us are perfect, all of us are going to make mistakes, all of us will end up hurting someone whether intentional or not.  We all need to actively pursue forgiveness when we have done something and we all need to forgive when others have wronged us.  Keep on forgiving because the alternative of bitterness and anger is no way to live!

Friends, we can learn so much from children.  With a sincere heart be quick to forgive and receive forgiveness from Christ!

Ps: if you have found this blog post helpful and encouraging, please feel free to share it with others!

Two Truths for Mama’s

Two Truths for Mama’s

As a mother my job is to care for and raise my children well.  Like most parents, my husband and I have taught our children to treat each other kindly, to not talk to strangers, as we walk across parking lots we look similar to a mother duck with all her ducklings in tow.  We have taught our children to stop before crossing the street, always tell the truth, chew their food before swallowing and on the list can go!  The typical parental guidance takes place often as we train and care for our children.  But what do we do, when the unexpected happens?  Things that happen so far outside of our control that can quickly escalate to an emergency type of situation, what then?

Over the weekend our family was outside enjoying the beautiful weather….. okay, let’s be honest, we live in the heart of the south, it was muggy outside!  Our older two children were playing in the pool having a splashing good time and our youngest was playing with the sand in the sandbox.  My husband and I were outside keeping an eye on all three when our youngest came up and said in her cute little 2 year old voice, “Mama, a ant bite me!”  I examined her foot that she was holding up to me but she was squirmy and really wanted to get back to playing so I walked with her back over to her sandbox.

We live in fire ant country.  Those nasty critters can build ant beds faster than you can blink your eye!  They are ready and waiting to chomp at anything that gets to close for their comfort, including the tender toes of a toddler.  Upon a close examination we found no ant beds near the sand box and our youngest wanted to keep playing.  I kept an eye on her though and not 30 seconds later she came to me saying once again an ant had bit her toe.  At that point I decided to take her inside and before I could even get to the latch on our fence her toes began to swell up something awful.  By the time we got inside her foot was swollen.  I laid her on the couch and gave her some Benadryl and her water.

Just a few minutes later I looked at her face and it was swelling up and covered in hives.  Upon further examination, hives were covering her entire body, head to toe.  A quick call to urgent care later we piled everyone in the car and took off for the ER.  Her voice had become raspy and her lips and even her eyes were swelling right up.

Friends, this mama was scared!  As we sped down the road I frantically prayed over and over, “Please God, don’t take her!  Please spare her life!”

As a mother my job is to protect my children and at that point in time I felt completely helpless.  There was nothing I could do to help her take deep breaths, nothing I could do for her itchy hives in her ears, I did the only thing I really could do in that moment and I prayed!

As I think about all of us as mothers working hard caring for and loving our children, there are two simple truths I want to encourage us with.

First of all, remember that God loves our children even more than we do.  As a mama, you know how much love is in your heart for your child!  Though some have tried, no mama has ever been capable of truly explaining the depth of love she has for her children because there just are not words in our language to describe it!  As we ponder on the depth of love we have for our children, think about how much more love God has for them!  After all, He created them!!  He knit them together in the womb, He knows everything there is to know about them!  His love far surpasses our love for them!     Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” and I John 3:1,”Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”  When we stop to think about God’s love for us and for our children, it is truly an outrageous amount of love!

Second, because of God’s deep love for our children, we can trust their life in His hands.  Now that can be a scary thing, right?  Entrusting the lives of our precious children in God’s hands takes a lot of faith!  Trusting that His plans for their lives are far better than our own means relinquishing control we do not so easily want to give up.  Sometimes I think we hold onto our children so tightly because we fear what God may have in store.  However, as mothers we need to remember that God can be trusted with the lives of our children.  He has amazing plans for their lives and He allows us to be a part of those plans!  Jeremiah 29:11 is a great promise! “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.
The lives of our children can be placed in God’s hands because He loves them so much and because He is worthy of our trust!  I have been the Mama who has had healthy beautiful children and I have been the Mama who has wept over a child who has died and still from the depths of my heart I honestly say, I trust their lives in Gods hands.  His capable, infallible, gracious, loving hands.

On Saturday I did plead with God to spare my baby’s life, just as any other loving parent would do.  Saturday God saw fit to spare her life and we are so thankful He did!  As we rushed into the ER the dr on call was able to give her medicine right away and within a short while the swelling was beginning to go down and her voice was back to normal.  We praise Him for His love and goodness!

Be comforted and encouraged, Mama!

Ps: If this post has been a blessing to you, please feel free to share it!

Three Lessons from Lot’s Wife

Three Lessons from Lot’s Wife

This morning in my personal Bible study I was reading about the wife of Lot in Genesis 19.  I read about how the angels were telling Lot and his family to get out of Sodom and Gomorrah because God was ready to destroy it!  From what I was reading, Lot and his family literally were dragging their feet in leaving.

Lot had grown to love the cities he lived in and he planted his roots so deep there he just could not bring himself to put his hand on the door handle and walk out!  In fact, he never did!  As Genesis 19:16 says,

“And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.”

The only reason they got out was because the angels forced them out.

They were told where to go and given strict instructions, “Do not look back, no matter what, do not look back.”

If you are familiar with the story then you know what happened next.  Fire and brimstone fell from heaven, consuming the two cities.  Burning to a crisp the home Lot and his family shared, along with all of their earthly belongings.

As I try and put myself in the shoes of Lot and his family I can only imagine what they must have been hearing, or even feeling.  Could they feel the heat from the raging fire?  Could they hear the screams coming form the inhabitants?  Lots wife just couldn’t take it anymore, she turned back.  She disobeyed God, and looked back and as a result was turned into a pillar of salt.

I can’t imagine the thoughts of Lot and his daughters.  They too were not allowed to look back, not even when their wife and mother became a pillar of salt.  They had to just keep moving forward, heading to where the angels sent them.  There they were, running for their lives, suddenly homeless, and without a wife and mother.

Here are a few applications I see from this true story recorded for us in Genesis.

1. When God says go, we ought to obey instantly and without hesitation!  If we have received God’s gift of salvation, then this world is truly not our home!  Our roots should not be so deeply planted that if God calls us to move on, we are unwilling to budge.  The things of this world should not have such a choke-hold on us that we have such a difficult time saying “yes” to God and “no” to everything the world offers.  Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

2. Don’t look back!  The past is just that, the past!  Remember when we were learning to drive?  Yes, that scary and wonderful feeling of hanging onto a steering wheel for the first time was an exciting experience!  What was it our driving instructor taught us though?  Where your eyes are focused is where you will steer your vehicle!  If you are constantly looking out the rear view mirror instead of keeping your eyes on the road in front of you, constantly looking to the right or left, the car will veer off the road or into another vehicle!  Our eyes have to stay focused on where we are going.  The same thing is true of our Christian walk.  We cannot rely on past victories, we cannot rely on yesterdays prayers and Bible reading, we cannot keep looking back to “the good ole’ days”.  We have to keep our eyes looking forward, keep pressing toward the mark!  Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

3.  Even though we may not understand why God is asking us to step out on faith right then remember, He sees the bigger picture!  He wants only the best for us and He is worthy of our trust.  If we have accepted His gift of salvation that means we are trusting in Him for our eternity.  If we trust Him for our eternity, how much more should we be able to trust Him for our day to day life!  Trust His plans for your life!  Is. 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

These are three simple and yet powerful truths!  Be comforted and encouraged!

Ten Years and Still Going Strong!

Ten Years and Still Going Strong!

To my dearest Husband,

Years ago in my home in northern California, I began to pray for you.  As a young teenager, I remember God began to prod my heart to really begin praying for my future husband, wherever he may be.  Little did I know he was a teenager as well, growing up in the middle of corn fields in a small Michigan town.

My prayers for you were filled with prayers of protection over you, purity in your heart, mind, and body, prayers for God to build your character and that you would be a man after God’s own heart.  A man who only desired to do God’s will, for as long as God gave him breath.  I had no idea your parents were simultaneously praying similar prayers for me.

When we met, all those years ago in college, I knew right away you were the one.  There was never a doubt in my mind.  How incredible it was to see God bring us together and grow our relationship.

Now, ten years of marriage later, here we are.  Man and wife, hand in hand, deeper in love than we ever imagined possible.  Three children running around our home with faces that resemble our own when we were young.  Symbols of our love for each other, gifts from God granted to us to raise for Him.

You have seen my good days, my hard days, my ugly days, and you still love me and pursue 884352-R1-197-1me, just as Christ pursues His own bride.  You have seen the best and worst of me, and you are still loving me even more than ever before.  In a society where it seems there is an epidemic of men walking out on their families, you have stayed and stand proudly as a husband and father.  You have shown what it truly means to be a man of your vows, both to me and to God.  You have shown what a truly godly man looks like, and I am forever thankful for your faithfulness to me and our children.

We have climbed to mountain tops together and we have lived in the valleys together.  We have lived through the stress of busy days and the calm of ordinary days, hand in hand.  Countless hours we have spent praying over our marriage and children, open Bibles have been on our laps as we soak in the truths of God’s Word, together.

God answered my prayers, and even went above what I could have ever asked or thought, when He gave me you.  He took those prayers of a young teenage girl and multiplied and blessed them again and again.  You are such a priceless treasure God has given me.

Ten years ago we said “I Do”, and I am forever grateful to our God for gifting you to me!  I am SO proud to be your wife, for as long as we both shall live, and I am so thankful I get to spend an eternity together with you!

I love you, my sweet man!

Yours Forever,

Me