Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Scripture

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:34 MSG

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Sing Along

I picked a long one today so give yourself a good 10 minutes to stop and listen and offer up this beautiful song.  Give yourself to God......your desires, your plans, your day........and let Him lead you.  Throw away all your fears of the future and the unknowns that lie ahead and just trust.  Tear down all the borders that get in the way of you surrendering fully to God and rest in Him.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Become Authentic

Authentic is defined as 'of undisputed origin-genuine'. Its been the word on my heart for quite some time now and God is showing me why. And over the next weeks we'll be talking more about this.

In the church, all too often we are not real, authentic, with one another. We ask for prayer for our family, our friends, and our coworkers, but we really aren't genuine with our own needs. Oh, surely we would ask for prayer for a medical issue or an obvious need, but when has someone else looked at you and said, "I'm struggling with gossip. Will you please pray for me?" or how about "With all the sexual ads and talk on television, I really need you to pray with me about these temptations." As a collective group of Christians, I'm going to say this doesn't happen enough.

It is the desire of GFF to free Christians to be authentic. To encourage you to open up and be honest first with yourself, but also with God and others (at least with one friend that you can trust). Why? Honesty about our needs and failures breeds intimacy. It opens us up to know one another deeply. Matthew 5:16 says, "By opening up with others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, their generous Father in heaven." And scripture promises more... it promises healing.

"Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed."
 James 5:16

Once we share our faults with one another we are accountable to do something about them. We have also taken away the power of the enemies lies. When a fault is our own secret (or obvious to others yet we refuse to be honest with ourselves about it) then the enemy has the power to lie and deceive us even further. However, once we speak our need aloud, we also gain the power of the Truth being spoken and quenching the fire of the lies. 

Today, give my friends courage to share their needs with a trusted friend. Help them to find a God First Friend, a friend who wants to also live their life sold out for you! Free us to be authentic about our faults and failures. Help us to open up and find your healing! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Be Salty!

"Let me tell you why you are here.  You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You've lost usefulness and will end up in the garbage."
-Matthew 5:13-

Salt is a seasoning used to enhance the taste of food.  If we are to be salt seasoning while here on earth then we should be making life more interesting for others.  But not just any life, a life lived with God as our Father and Jesus as our savior.  We can't keep what we know to ourselves but instead we should share it with others in attempt to enhance their God experiences.  To be this salt we must know God.  We have to spend time with Jesus, and in the Word, to know who God is and be able to recognize the character of Jesus so that we can imitate Him.  If we don't have this personal relationship with Jesus and if we aren't growing in our faith then we will lose our saltiness and will become ineffective for the Kingdom of God.  

Dear God,
I don't want to be thrown in the garbage.  Help me to stay salty.  Keep me in your Word and give me boldness to bring salt into a world that likes to keep things sweet and nice.  Show me the true character of Jesus and let your Spirit strengthen me to share the important God moments in my life and what I have learned as I grow in my faith.  In Jesus' Name......Amen      

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Simple, yet Beautiful Prayer!

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened ignored that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:17-18

This is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, his brothers and sisters in the faith. Take pause today and pray this same prayer for your family and friends! What a blessing it will be to them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Late Night Lesson From God

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
1 John 2:6

My family had a great weekend watching my son and his baseball team play baseball.  They played some good ball and came up just short of winning first place.  I love watching those boys work together towards one goal of winning.  An away tournament means sleeping in a hotel room and this particular weekend it meant sleeping in a hotel room with a newborn baby.  As the baby was up for a very long time God showed me something very important.

The baby was up for a good portion of the night and no one was willing to help him except for me.  As I sat there feeding him at 1:30 am I couldn't help but recognize how quick my sleeping family was to correct this fussy baby.  In the middle of a dead sleep the kids were willing to yell 'shut up' as their sleep was being interrupted.  They all noticed what was outwardly wrong with this baby, he was crying loudly when he and the rest of the world should have been sleeping, but no one was willing to get out of bed to see what was really wrong with him.  No one wanted to leave their comfortable position to see that he was rooting, just searching for something to eat.  They didn't feel like looking at him only to find him drawing his little legs as though his tummy hurt and of course no one was going to check to see if a simple diaper change would have calmed him down.  All they knew was what they could hear, he was crying and it was annoying them.  They had no idea what was the cause nor did they show any concern for finding out.  They clearly wanted the crying to stop but no one was willing to take the time to help him stop.

And now enter God...........He brought to my mind all the times that I complain about someone's attitude or someone's "crying" and then revealed to me the many times I never took the time to find out what was causing it.  I clearly saw the annoying behavior someone presented but I wasn't willing to get out of my comfort zone to see what was truly behind it.  How many times do we all do this?  We get angry because someone is annoying us but we have no intention of showing compassion and trying to help them get through whatever is bothering them?  Many times the outward appearance is only a cry for help and we too often ignore the fact that there is probably something deeper going on. Something that we could help them with and walk them through.  When I think of Jesus I think of a man who walked people through their hurt.  He could see past the outward appearance into the heart and to the pain that was fueling their action and He had compassion.  He didn't just tell them to "suck it up", "shut up", or "get over it".  He walked with them and talked with them and He was interested in how he could ease their pain.  It is always easy to see what's on the outside, the things that bother or annoy us but it takes relationship, love and deep concern to devote our time and energy finding out what is hidden.  It takes a real man like Jesus to walk someone out of a pit of hurt and despair.  Jesus lives in us.......if it is His desire to help those who are hurting then let us stop denying Jesus' power in our lives and start showing concern for the people around us.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Scripture

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭25‬ MSG)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why'd You Do That?

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Romans 15:2 NIV

Check your motives! Why do you do what you do? Do you do nice things for others so they will like you? I believe that years ago that was my motivation for many of things I did or didn't do. Out of fear of rejection and a need for approval, I did things so that others would accept me. At the time I didn't realize why I did what I did or didn't do, but at one time I became so weary and felt unfulfilled within myself. It was then that God revealed the motivation of my heart. I thought I was being kind and loving, but there was a selfish undertone.
This scripture reminds me to be aware of my motives. And, because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we need the Holy Spirit to keep us in check. We need to continually be in communion with the Spirit to keep our motives pure.
The way we treat others needs to be motivated by 'real love'. This is a love that cares more about the other person's good than our own. Sometimes that means doing and sometimes that means refraining, but either way, it is a love motivated for their good. Real love is the way God love us- unselfishly, unconditionally, and knowing that the love may not be returned.
Check your motives!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Praise God For The Little Things!

I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

The newest member of our household has not been on the same page as me when it comes to sleeping.  I have lost a few nights of sleep recently and instead of letting myself complain, which is very easy to do at 3 am when you've been up for the last 2 hours, I have been trying my hardest to praise God for the little things.  No I don't want to be changing this diaper at 4 am, and I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to make the next bottle, but my heart is at ease when I can whisper a thank you to God for this little miracle that is currently screaming for food.  It doesn't come natural, but choosing to praise God for the little things when the big things around me aren't going as planned, gives me peace and brings joy to my heart even when my body has no energy left to stand.  So this morning I am praising God for the little things!  Last night was picture perfect!  The baby was up 3 times but every time he went right back to sleep!  Yes, my sleep was still interrupted but praise God for letting us both go back to sleep right away!  While a full nights sleep would be HUGE, I can be thankful for what I was offered and realize just how big it really was.  I praise God for being in the small things just as much as the big and I don't ever want to miss the small things because I am waiting on the big things.  So next time you are experiencing something not so fun and you want to give up or start complaining turn your eyes to the little blessings around you and focus on those.......they will soon grow in size and seem bigger than you imagined and your heart will be full of thanksgiving and praises.       

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Like Minded

Romans 15:5-6(NIV)

 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord,
Today I pray that you will draw us all, as your dearly loved children, into your word. Help us to grow in our desire to live for you alone. Soften our hearts toward your Word and your will. Change our minds from earthly desires to clarity of thought and understanding so that we are one with you and that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Right With God

He was handed over to die for our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Romans 4:25

Deep down I do know that there is nothing I can do to win my salvation.  I know that Jesus died for me and that is all it took to make me right in God's eyes.  I am so grateful for this, and as I have gotten to know Jesus intimately over the years, I can't stop wanting to do great things for Him.  Is it just me wanting to repay Him or does it go deeper?  Do I still think that I need to be doing good things in order to be seen different by God?  Sometimes I still do.  But this scripture confirms it once again for me.  I don't have to do one thing the rest of my life accept continue believing that Jesus died to give me eternal life in heaven.  God is happy just to know me and love me.  He enjoys being loved by me and likes to watch me live out my faith through my obedience to Him and my love for others.  I don't have to be searching everyday for ways to impress Him or repay Him.  Many years ago Jesus set me free!  So whether I just obey God's nudge to smile at a stranger or listen to Him tell me to write a book, what I do doesn't matter, Jesus did the what.  I need only listen and love.  

Dear God, thank you for your gentle reminder to sit and wait in you.  That I don't have to be worrying about what you want from me next, and I don't have to repay you for my salvation and the many ways you provide for me.  My job isn't to be looking for ways to "help" you or to impress you, but to accept your free love, that I am already made right with you.   Amen   

Monday, May 18, 2015

He is Yours and You are His

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭15-17‬ MSG)

He is yours, and you are his. He's the perfect father! Your identity is found in him. Not in your role as wife or mother. Not as friend or colleague. It's not in your career or waiting to be discovered in your next adventure. You are a child of God; You are holy and dearly loved. He created your life  to spend each day communing with him. He created your life for his glory. Today rest in knowing that he holds tomorrow and today is a day created to dwell expectantly in his presence receiving every good gift that he has for you! Now doesn't that just make you smile? 😀

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Sing Along

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing.  And cultivate thankfulness.  Let the Word of Christ - the Message - have the run of the house.  Give it plenty of room in your lives.  Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.  And sing, sing your hearts out to God!  Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:15-17

There is nothing better than knowing your children are walking with Jesus!  Last night, as I sat in my living room, the music was blaring from the basement as my children and friends were playing baseball (yes, baseball in the basement, on the wrestling have to love them for their creativity).  Anyway, the song they were listening to made me smile from ear to ear and gave me comfort knowing my children were mindful of their God, and the hope and help that comes from knowing Jesus.  They weren't afraid to belt out the words, "Just to know you and to make you known we lift your name on high, shine like the sun may darkness run and hide.  We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives.  It's time for us to more than just survive, we were made to thrive".  These are the lyrics to Thrive by Casting Crowns and it warmed my heart to hear them singing their hearts out to God.  To them it may be just another song they know the words to, but to God it is worship!  To their mom upstairs, it is heartwarming and gives me peace that they are on the right track.  Listening to them as they let every detail of their lives - playing baseball in the basement - be done in the name of the Master, Jesus.  I leave you with this song today, and warn you.......don't keep those songs trapped in your head......belt them out!  Sing your hearts out to God! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Set Free!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

I am so often learning lessons through my children and grandchildren. I don't believe God just gave us children so we could teach and lead them. I believe he uses them to show us his greatness, his truths, and his character. 

Last week our little Emma got a bit sassy with me. So, I put her in time-out on the steps just as her momma would have done. She cried and whined for a few minutes, and then I went in to explain again why she was in time out. Emma told me why she was on the steps, I said my piece about not doing it again, hugged her and affirmed my love for her,  and told her she was free to go. However, she sat on the steps and cried and whined for another 5 minutes.

As I stood in the kitchen listening to the ongoing whine, I thought about her choice. I had forgiven her, set her free from her consequences, yet she didn't get up. I wonder how often I've done the same thing. God convicts me of sin, I repent, he forgives me and says, "Go child and sin no more." But I waller. I cry. I stay stuck in the pain and regret of what I've done. I don't step out and enjoy my freedom.

It's an easy thing to do; It's easy to become comfortable in our pit. But God never intended for us to be in a pit, let alone stay there. Today as you read His word and reflect on your own story, do you need to just get up and go on! You have been set free! His love and grace are enough! 

You are free indeed! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Washed Clean

I have done some really dumb things in my past.  I have made decisions that hurt myself and others.  I have compromised my faith to "fit in" and I have allowed the voice of the world to be my guide.  All of these things I am not proud of but they are over and done.  I can't go back and change them.  A few are easily forgotten, especially the things that others can relate to which gives me company in my repentance.  But for the "big" things that I hid, and the actions that were forbidden in the eyes of so many around me, those I kept to myself, and for the longest time didn't even know how to ask for forgiveness.  I always knew what the bible said about forgiveness, but accepting that was hard for me to do.  I beat myself up over things and would never allow myself to forget what I did or forgive myself for doing it.  I allowed satan's lies to torment me and push me further in a pit of shame.  I was trapped in a place I didn't want to be in, and I was the only one with the key to get out............yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds! 

"No", Peter protested, "you will never wash my feet!"  
Jesus replied, "Unless I wash you, you won't belong to me."
John 13: 

Looking back I see that I waisted so much time living in chains because I didn't understand God's amazing love and mercy in my life.  I didn't know that my forgiveness was just a humble wash away.  You see, so many times I would take my repentance to Jesus' feet, promising with each trip that I was leaving it there for good, but I never stayed long enough to let Jesus into those dark places to wash me clean and set my mind free.  I had kept it inside for so long that no-one, not even Jesus could enter without my acceptance.  All along Jesus was just waiting.......itching to wash my feet, to make me whole again but I refused Him.  I thought I wasn't good enough, or that what I did was unforgivable.  I wanted to be forgiven but deep down I didn't think I deserved forgiveness.  I believed the lies that said Jesus didn't have time for me, and that He was so disgusted with my choices that it would take a long time before He would want to forgive me.  I let the fear of people knowing what I did keep me paralyzed from enjoying the freedom in Jesus' selfless death on the cross. 

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Ephesians 1:4

Friends, God knew I would mess up.  He knew before I was born that I would make poor choices, hang with the wrong crowd, have sex before I was married, yell at my children, gossip, use foul language, get drunk, and the list could go on.  Knowing all of this, He still chose me!  God knew all along that I would fall away from Him in college and do things that can't be undone, but still because of Jesus, I am faultless in His eyes!!  How could I ever for one moment want to hang on to a past that Jesus suffered so much for me to be free from?  God chose me, knowing all of this, and I can still be used by Him!  He has plans that only I can be used for!  He has dreams where I play the lead role!  No matter what my past I am forgiven and loved.  No matter what your past holds......YOU are forgiven and loved so much!!!  Won't you go to Him, barefoot and broken, and accept His washing of your innermost hurt and shame?  Let Him all the way in and once and for all accept that you are pure and beautiful on His eyes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do You See God in the World Around You?

I remember as a young girl reading the Bible and not understanding much, but as I continued to read, I gained factual knowledge. I knew such things as the names of the disciples, the details of Moses' and Noah's lives. I began storing up information for future use. 

As trials came up in my life, I began reading scripture for a new purpose; I read to find out how Christ would act in various situations. I didn't know it at the time, but God was unveiling his character to me. When I sought to understand how Christ would act, I began to know God as well. Scripture says, "...If you knew me (Christ), you would know my Father also." John 8:19b

Being a Christian means more than just knowing the facts of scripture. It involves knowing God. Knowing someone means understanding their values, their personality, and character.
When you really know someone, you understand their likes and dislikes. You see things happen that would make them smile! As you are going about your day, you see things that remind you of the one you know. You know how they will respond to situations. 

That's how it is once you get to know God. I see beautiful scenes in nature and know for sure that God's hand has created the scene. When I'm with my grandchildren I smile at their innocence knowing that God too loves their pure delight and joy of life! My heart breaks when I see violence or injustice because I know how God responds to these things as well. 

I don't know where you are on your journey with God, but I encourage you too keep reading His Word. Continue asking questions and memorizing scripture and Biblical facts. Ask God to unveil his character so that you too can see him in the world around you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Freedom In God's Voice

You may believe there's nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don't feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 
Romans 14:22

I have felt burdened by a thought for the last couple weeks and today it's coming out.  My heart aches for us christian women who think we have to be perfect.  We have this amazing pressure put on us by society, and lies that have been woven into our minds about what the perfect christian, mom, wife, sister, friend, or daughter looks like.  Some of us feel we are never good enough, like we need to explain why we do everything we do, afraid that others will look down at us.  For example I ran into a friend in the grocery store a while back and she was in the liquor aisle.  I thought nothing of it until she proceeded to explain to me why she was shopping for liquor, as if she needed to justify why she was there.  Because without a good excuse she would be less of a christian?  First of all, I hope I don't ever come across as the type of person that would judge her for what she was purchasing at the grocery store.  I did, at first, wonder if it was just me that caused her to quickly have an excuse for why she was in the liquor aisle but the more I thought on this, and prayed for God to reveal my heart, I was never convicted of such judgement.  And since it wasn't me, my next thought was, why do we women, and men, do this to ourselves?  Why are we so unsure of Whose we are?  What makes us worry about what others think and causes us to feel the need to be perfect or put on a perfect persona?  Why do we need excuses for our house being dirty, our being late to bible study, for having a drink, or for missing church on Sunday?  If we are spending time with God daily and living in His will then there is no one else we need to check in with.  There is no one who can convict us of something accept for God........yes, God can use people to help convict us but if it doesn't follow God's loving, patient character then it can't be from Him.  

We are all so different and what God asks of me may not be anything related to what He asks of you.  What is good for me may not be good for you.  We can't keep living like we are all the same with the same convictions!  God may be telling me to never take a drink of alcohol but He may be telling you that one drink here or there is okay.  We look through the bible and see that drunkenness is sin yet nothing is mentioned about having a drink, and so I follow my conviction because I know God's voice, but it isn't my place to make you choose like I do, and it isn't your responsibility to follow everyone else or hold yourself accountable to someone else's standards or convictions.  Yes the 10 commandments apply to all of our lives and the Bible has many other commands for us to follow but outside of those things we must rely on our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We have to know God's voice in our personal lives and be able to recognize when He is asking us to change or make different choices.  He would never make us feel "less than".  God would never condemn us for doing things, but gently redirect us and lovingly wait on us.  If you are hearing a voice of condemnation or a voice of negativity sprinkled with degradation then, my dear friend, you aren't hearing God's voice!  

Friends, it's time we start listening to God's voice instead of the world.  It's time we get to know God's voice and allow Him to lead our lives.  Stop carrying burdens not meant for us to carry and instead become the individuals God wants us to be.  Let's get to know God personally.  Let's be able to recognize His voice over the world's!  Dear God you are ever gracious and full of mercy!  We thank you for being patient with us as we draw closer to You and mature in our understanding of You.  Help us to know Your voice so clearly and to be confident in who we are.........Your children.........Your beloved.  Father God we ask you to convict us of the things you wish to see change in us but remind us that we are unique, that others don't have to live like we do.  Correct us when we judge others and help us all to get along, accepting and loving one another with the same grace and mercy and love that You give to us.  Give us boldness to speak Your Truth in love without condemning each other.  Let us all walk in the freedom of knowing Your truth.  In Jesus' Name  Amen

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  If you serve God with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.
Romans 14:17-18  


Monday, May 11, 2015

Lessons from the Mother's of the Bible

In general, mother’s want what’s best for our children. As mothers of infants and young children we instinctively know their needs. We diaper and feed them often knowing the tone of their cry or anticipating their need before they even let us know they have one! Mom’s become expert fixers. We fix cuts and scrapes with a magical kiss. We fix a world of things with bandaids, duct tape, and superglue. With words of tenderness and encouragement we fix broken hearts and friendships. We guide and direct sibling rivalries and help our children become friends as they grow up. Yes, moms are the great fixers! Lately, our granddaughter, Emma, has started saying, “I just want my mommy!” It’s not that her mother would do anything differently than Jeff or I, it’s just that she’s the mommy and mommy’s have the ability to make things alright!

Mom’s are created by God to be nurturing as he is nurturing. We often make the most of every opportunity and use it as a teachable moment. Each situation our child faces is an opportunity to prepare them for their future. We repeat ourselves time and again so that our children have every chance to internalize the truths that we value and wish to instill in them. I’ve heard from my own children on many occasions, “Mom, I know. You’ve told me that a hundred times.” But as I’ve studied scripture, I find God also repeating himself. If it’s important to our health and welfare, you can be sure that it is repeated throughout the Bible. The more important it is, the more it is repeated. So, moms, keep repeating!

It is also a mom’s job to support, create guidelines and set boundaries for our children, and we take this seriously from the very start. Cribs have sides to protect our infants. Outlets are covered and baby gates in stalled in every doorway and staircase! We put fences in our yards and guardrails on the sides of beds. Mom’s set bedtimes and curfews. We check homework and monitor friendships. We want the best for our children, and we take action to help it happen. 

Scripture is full of mom’s who wanted the best for their children. Some of these mothers are shown for their wisdom, some shown for the mistakes, but all are their for our encouragement and direction.

Moses’ mother set him adrift in a tar-lined basket to save him from certain death. He is found and taken to the palace. By the grace of God, Moses’s mother is called to nurse and care for her son! God had a plan for Moses’ life was not going to be stopped! Moses’ mother grew in faith as she set her son adrift. His mother played a huge role in God’s plan for her son.

Hannah took Samuel at the age of 2 and dedicated him at the temple. She sacrificed life with her son to see that he was trained in the ways and Word of the Lord during his formative years. Her sacrifice lead to the leadership of a nation. Hannah grew in faith as she handed her son over to the Lord!

Sarah could not bear children, yet God promised her a son. 75 years after the promise, she had Isaac. As Isaac grew, he was taunted and mocked by his half brother, Ishmael. Sarah loved Isaac and couldn’t bear the hurt that Ishmael was bringing to her son. (You know how she feels moms! When someone hurts our babies, momma bears come out fighting!) So she had Ishmael and his mother sent away. Yet, wasn’t it Sarah’s idea to have Hagar bear this son in the first place? Sometimes, mom’s want what’s best, but we forget to wait on the Lord and take things into our own hands. Despite Sarah’s mistake, God was faithful to Isaac and Ishmael both. And, Sarah learned the faithfulness of her God!

Rebekah is another mother in scripture that was imperfect.  God had said that her older son would serve the younger son. And when time for the blessing of Isaac’s inheritance came, Rebekah made sure that Jacob received the blessing even though it took deception on her part. Despite his mother’s mistake, God had a plan for Jacob’s life and he was faithful to see it through. And Rebekah learned lessons about favoritism’s damage and watched as God made Jacob the father of 12 sons, the tribes of Israel. She saw the faithfulness of God!

Timothy’s mother and grandmother lived their lives faithfully serving God and instilled within Timothy a love of the Lord. They wanted this son, this grandson to walk closely with the Lord. We aren’t privy to their mistakes or good choices, all we know is that these woman were women of faith and it lead to a ministry of magnitude through Timothy. 

As I thought over this group of women, I saw women who wanted the best for their children. I saw women who sacrificed, took action, made mistakes and were sinful at times as they learned to be moms. 

I noticed 2 themes throughout all of these stories. 
  1. God has a plan and a purpose and that will not be changed. Yes, we can create distractions and delays by rushing ahead of God, but Psalm 139:13 tells us, “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” God has a plan for us and for our children! Regardless if your mother was the best or worst mom of the year, God has a plan for your life and he will not let any circumstance come to you that is not designed to draw you closer to him.
  2. We can teach our children, but God also gives us children to teach us! As these women raised their children they all learned of the faithfulness of God. They learned lessons of patience and perseverance. Being a mom, means letting go and allowing God to work in our children! Yes, we are great fixers, but God is the ultimate fixer. We need to raise our children to need him more than they need us. Which leads me to the last mom in scripture for today:

Mary! She was chosen by God to bear his only son. He knew she was perfect to raise him and allow him to go through all that he had to go through in order to learn to love his father well. In order to save us from our sin he had to learn of submission to his Father. Mary learned lessons too. She learned lessons of God’s love and faithfulness by simply being a mom. Jesus road was not an easy one. It was a road of rejection and mockery. It was a road of pain and death. Which leads me to draw one final conclusion about motherhood and present one challenge that God has put on my heart….. It’s not our job to be the fixer! It’s not our job to rescue our children! It’s our job to be faithful to our God and allow him to use us as an instrument of his love and guidance in raising the children he’s given us. 
Many times we want to save our children from struggles and pain. We feel that the easy road is the best road. We want to rescue them from their own poor choices. When the better option is to allow them to struggle (of course with our guidance and love) and allow them to cry out to God for his healing and his rescue. 

What if Mary had charged into the temple and made excuses for Jesus behavior as he spoke out of turn? What if she had bailed Jesus out of Pilot’s courts because she didn’t want him to suffer?

Moms- we feel our job is to raise happy children, but God wants us to raise holy children and those 2 ideals are often contrary to one another. We must let our children face natural consequences. We must allow failures and disappointments because ultimately we want exactly what David says in Psalm 7:7
“I cried out to God for help; 

I cried out to God to hear me!”

As a mom, I’ve seen failure break a perfectionist into a child of dependence on God’s grace rather than their own self-reliance.
I’ve seen injustice create strength and a need for God to fix what momma couldn’t fix.
I’ve seen brokenness and betrayal create a heart of compassion and tenderness. 
And I’ve seen loss create the gain of a greater God!
and none of these came on the road of comfort and ease!

Moms- you have God's permission to stop rescuing and fixing things for you child!

My challenge to you today is this-
What is your child (or perhaps you) facing today that might not be a crisis, but rather a catalyst to dependence upon and submission to the Lord?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sing Along Saturday

Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with Joy.
Psalms 33:3

It is the most beautiful morning with the birds chirping, the sun shining, blue skies peaking through the white fluffy clouds, and I all I can think to myself is, "God, You are holy and mighty and wonderful"!  I am officially dedicating Saturdays for sharing praise music because His word says to praise Him with song!  I can't think of a better morning to sing praises to our God and Father.  When I hear this song, and allow myself to be touched by it, it sends chills through my body as I raise my head high and with a smile on my face I belt out the words "holy, holy are you Lord God Almighty, worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb.  Occasionally a tear or two will escape my eyes as I allow the Holy Spirit to consume me.

And now it is your turn.  Stop everything you are doing.  Clear your mind of the list of things you want to do today and give God 5 minutes of prayer, praise and worship.  Let the Spirit move you and find yourself close to God.  Keep this song on your heart and in your mind today as you prepare to open your eyes to the Holy all around you this beautiful day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Run to Daddy!

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:20

I saw the sweetest thing the other day. I was driving home from work and in front of me was an Amish van. As the van approached the next house it pulled to the side of the road, and a man exited the van appearing weary from the day. He began walking up his drive; a drive that was nearly a quarter mile lone. I had to wonder if he was exhausted from his day's work. It was beautiful out, but as a carpenter, I'm sure the sun was wearing on him as he worked throughout the day.
About 3/4 the way up the lane, I saw about 5 children come running from the house as fast as they could go. I wondered how the dad would respond. Was his mind racing with chores to do and lists of tasks to accomplish now that he was home? Was he too tired to respond?

Tears came to my eyes as that daddy got down on one knee, set down his lunch pail, and waited for his children to leap into his arms. It was an amazing homecoming! One I can only assume happens day after day at that home! 

That's how I see my heavenly Father! He comes toward me longing to hold me in his arms, then he waits for me to close the distance between us and jump into his arms! Will you run to him today?

Listen to When God Ran by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.  WHEN GOD RAN

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Servant of Christ?

Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant.
Galatians 1:10

To be quite honest with you, I must say that I have not yet mastered this verse.  There are many times that I can overcome this need for approval, especially when it comes to my kids safety.  But as I look on my life, I see so many times where I should have been more concerned with pleasing my Father than pleasing the people I was with.  When the people I am with gossip and I join in who am I really trying to please?  When I see a christian friend do something that I know is wrong, and I turn the other cheek, who am I more afraid of?  I'm not proud of the many times I chose a friend, a child or even complete strangers over pleasing God, but I would be lying if I said I never did it.  The reason behind my doing this is because I am very uncomfortable with confrontation and would much rather stay quiet, and keep the peace.  I don't ever want people to be mad at me and so I will try and do everything to keep them happy.  As I read this scripture yesterday I heard loud and clear that it was time for me to reevaluate the motivation behind why I do the things I do.  I was hit square in the face with an an ordinary person doing things my way and living life as I want or I can choose to do things God's way becoming His servant, working for Him, and with Him.  Unfortunately I cannot do both, there must be a choice involved and it's going to take boldness and confidence and knowing God's will in all things.  I will have to study His word diligently to know what pleases Him.  I will have to understand His character and know that my worth and approval comes from pleasing Him instead of friends and family.  It will take sacrificing my need for peace and approval in order to live up to this great task, but in the end I must believe that God will always have my back and that His approval was more rewarding and satisfying than making someone happy for a moment, because as I write this I realize that a moment is all it really is.  When we are living our lives for the approval of others it is but for a moment that we give ourselves away and then another moment and another until we are left with the realization that we are empty.  When we live to please other's, eventually we run out of steam.  

Friends, this may not be your downfall but I urge you to evaluate your days and weeks.  Pay attention to the conversations you engage in, the compromises you make and the thoughts that lie deep in your heart.  What motivates you?  Serving people or serving Christ?  I would like to say I do both but in those moments I am working to please people I am not serving Christ, I am not serving Christ, and that bothers me.  

Dear God, forgive me for the times I have tried to please people instead of serving You.  I need your help in this area......I need Your strength, Your wisdom, and a boldness and confidence that helps me speak out when things are wrong, and I most importantly need to know that you will keep me safe.  Give me peace in your love and help me to know that serving You gives me abundant life.  In Jesus' Name help me in this area........Amen 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God Is Working In Us

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippeans 2:13

Who do you want to be when you grow up?  Is there a job you wish to have, or a ministry you want to accomplish?  Are there character traits you hope to acquire?  Maybe you wish to gain more patience or self control.  All of us have plans for our future.  We have dreams for our lives and there are things that we must do or accomplish to make these dreams our reality.  Some of us have been working hard for years trying to pursue our dreams and gain the wisdom, strength or characteristics needed to be successful in reaching our goals.  And even more of us haven't begun.  He have thoughts for our future.....things we wish to see or do.  We know the person we dream to be but we give up because it seems to far out of our reach.  Or maybe this dream isn't for ourselves but for another person you love and adore.  Is there a special someone in your life who you dream big dreams for?  Do you know someone who is far from cashing in on the potential you know he or she has to be a success in life?  What about those friends of yours who don't quite understand how God works.  They don't trust that Jesus Christ is their savior and because of something tragic in their past they don't believe they are loved unconditionally.  That cousin or uncle you have that is in a rough spot, making bad decisions because they don't understand Who they belong to, or that child or spouse who is struggling because they don't know Jesus as their savior and friend.  We all know one person who is making bad decisions and is constantly getting himself into trouble.  That special person who has so much potential yet he is so far away that you think he will never get things right.  Friends, as long as we are praying for ourselves striving to make the right decisions and focusing on living in God's will, God will give us the desire and power to do what pleases Him.  And our friends and loved ones who we pray for constantly, this promise is for them too!  Yes, God will give them the power and desire to do what pleases him when we are seeking His help in their lives daily.  This is a true and wonderful promise that brings hope to our dreams of a different future!  God dreams for all of us to be in His will and to be doing the things He has made us for.  We can count on Him never giving up on us as long as we are seeking Him and praying for those who need Him.  Won't you claim this promise in your own life and for the life of that friend who needs God's intervention?  

Dear God you never cease to amaze me with your Word!  You have promised so much to us!  Thank you for never giving up on people, and for hearing our prayers.  Help me to be the person you dream for me.  Give me patience to wait on your dreams and your timing.  Please be with _______________, pursuing him/her daily until he/she knows You and accepts this promise in his/her own life.  Make us both into a person who pleases you.  In Jesus' Name......Amen   

Monday, May 4, 2015

Chin Up, Sweetie!

I read this verse the other evening and couldn't help but smile! It had been a beautiful day. The weather was perfect and my heart was already happy, but this verse made me even more joyful!

     "But you, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." Psalm 3:3

Some days life is just overwhelming. Some days we're just tired and grumpy. Some days are just too much to bear. But if we are wise, we will take our eyes off circumstance and look up to our Lord! He is the 'lifter of my head.' Don't you just love that image? I do and it makes me smile and warms my heart.
Imagine this scene with me.... 
You're having a rough day, maybe even the worst day of your life. You just melt into a puddle on the floor too tired or discouraged to go on. Your head is down as tears warm your cheeks. Just when you lose hope, along comes Jesus. He kneels down on one knee and gently lifts your chin to look up into his loving eyes. He restates the promises he's spoken to you time and again...

      I will never leave you or forsake you... Deut. 31:6
      I have loved you with an everlasting love... Jer. 31:3
      I am working all things for your good... Romans 8:28 
      Do not be afraid or discouraged; I'm aways with you... Joshua 1:9

Your fears fade and your heart warms. A smile slowly comes across your face. He is confident, safe, and strong. He's got this! He knows the pain, fear, and discouragement you face, but he's got it all worked out. You are safe and secure. Hope returns!

Whenever those down days come, just look up. Imagine his tender touch as he lifts your face to meet his gaze. Feel the strength of his hand as he draws you in and assures you that even in the uncertainty you can be certain! He's got you and he won't let go! 

Dear Lord,
You are my glory. You are my strength. You are the lifter of my head! On the rough days, help me to look up and feel your presence. Help me to trust in you and know that I am safe and secure. I love you, LORD and

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Scripture

"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you 
and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3

Friday, May 1, 2015

Urgent vs Important

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone.
James 4:14

I was reading a devotion this morning and I was struck by this phrase: "Don't let the urgent override the important".  I began to think on my life and the times that I often put things off because something "better" comes up, or something "urgent" presents itself right in the middle of an important    moment.  I am especially guilty of this in my marriage.  So often my kids will take first place over my husband and I tend to their needs.  Even though what is needed may be urgent like throw up all over the floor, help with homework put off 'til the last minute, or a "mom I need this now", I will often choose to put off the important (time with my husband) to deal with the urgent (my kids' "crisis").  I am wrong to do this, to assume that tomorrow will come, that I will get this moment with my husband again.    

This doesn't only happen in marriages but is evident in our spiritual, professional, social, and family lives, as well.  We take for granted, tomorrow.  We put off the important things to deal with the new things that get in our way.  I am not saying that taking care of the urgent is always a bad thing......there are many urgent things that trump the important because they are important, and we all know what those things are.  If we each looked at our lives with an honest heart, and we asked God to show us those areas, we could all identify with this problem and we would know exactly where we are guilty of putting off the important.  For example, do you put off a family vacation because work is busy and you can do it when things slow down, do you put off your quiet time with God because you are busy now, but there will be time later in the day (if you're like me that time will never come), do you put off writing or calling a friend because you have something else to tend to and you can always talk to her tomorrow, do you put off intimate evenings or dates with your husband because your too tired, or maybe you are waiting 'til your kids move out.........the list can go on and on.  I have yet to grasp this whole concept in my own life and in no way want to condemn any of you reading this, I just can't keep this thought to myself and wanted to share and give you an opportunity to digest it and think it over in your own lives.        

Dear God, I am not promised tomorrow.  Help me to see where I am guilty of putting off the important for the urgent.  Show me how I can improve in this area and give me boldness to make the important a priority.   Amen