Aug 5, 2010

Give Em' Jesus

Tonight I was reading in the Word. I came across a verse that I could not get out of my mind. It is
Acts 3:6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-walk!"
"I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you" is what I keep turning over and over in my head. Here Peter heals a man from being crippled, but more importantly he gives the man a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We know the man becomes a believer because in verse 8 & 9 it says that he began to walk, leap, and praise God. This man gained exceedingly more than his ability to walk again. He gained eternal life which comes with hope, peace, joy, AND A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.
Lately a change has taken place in me. I have started to love people. Now I've never been a hater of people, but I certainly have not been attentive like I should to the hurting. God has opened my eyes wide to see that LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME!! Its not about my wants and needs and plans. The truth about me is that I love comfort. Take me to Wynne camping and I melt down emotionally. It's sad I tell you. I gravitate toward safety! Plus I like all my clan to be right under my wing as I enjoy the air conditioning and a nice glass of iced tea. But somehow God has worked His way into my heart with His grace and truth. I am beginning to see that I was meant for so much more. I was meant to reach out like Peter and offer the hurting the saving power of Jesus Christ. Why would I not want to give that away?
We started our first week of school this week at home. My focus for the year is on training my kids [and myself] to be attentive to the needs of others. It has been neat to see God open doors so that Wil, Maggie, and Trey can practice loving others. The cool thing is that they love to reach out to people whether it be a visit to the sick, a bottle of water for the thirsty, or a card for the mail lady. They get excited about it. It is what Jesus calls "faith like a child". If we don't teach our children to be attentive to the needs of others, they will gravitate toward themselves. Until lately I have not been faithful like I should to help them love people...most importantly people that are different from them. As we get older, we grow cold toward the needs of others. I know I have, but praise God He doesn't leave us in our self-centered state. If we will reach out to Him, He will open our eyes to a world that desperately needs His touch.
II Corinthians 5:15 says He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Father LORD, may we be a light to this world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Let our lives shine out so that people will want You and praise You.

Jun 26, 2010

God Is In Baseball Too

Wow. It has been a busy month. I am not believing June is a step away from behind us. A big part of our month has been baseball. If we are not playing, we are practicing. And as soon as we finished our regular season, we began All Stars. Today is our last tournament for the NEA Central All Star team and as I was looking at some pictures of last weekend's tournament, something came to my mind. It has been a re-occurring lesson for me since Wil could walk. It is that sports is mainly the means to God's glory. "Huh?" you say. Before I explain I will give you a little background information.
My son is very much on the small end in weight and height. He has always been at or below the 40% mark on the growth chart. He isn't a talker and he doesn't stick out in a crowd. But he can hit a ball, throw a ball, catch a ball, dribble and shoot like no body's business. Give him a sport and he'll love it! And he has been doing that since before he could walk. He never has had any other interest but ball. Another thing about Wilson is that he won't branch out from the comfortable. He was born into the right family because his daddy loves sports and is very competitive. Wil's best friend is his daddy. One reason is that Tommy wears himself out playing ball with Wil. They are very close.
So now to why I say Wil's love for sports is for God's glory or should be for God's glory. I say this mainly out of conviction because with all the games and practices, and traveling, It is easy to get caught up in it and put it before what really matters. God says this in His Word: I Corinthians 10:31 "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display His supreme excellence in all the spheres of life NOT just on Sunday mornings and not just when we are around our Christian friends. I could never do enough to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for saving me and putting my feet on the right path. I don't earn my salvation but I want to honor God because of all He has done for me. Last weekend I stunk it up not outwardly but inwardly. I started to care way more about Wil's performance and what others thought of me than of God's glory. I am confessing here as you see. When I got home, I knew that my attitude and heart was way off kilter with the LORD. I was making much of me and not making much of God. And another thing is that by the end of the tournament Trey and Maggie had had enough of baseball and their behavior screamed that for all the fans to see. What was I concerned about? I was concerned about what I looked like as a parent. And I was not looking to good let me tell ya. That should not have been my main concern.
God gives us numerous opportunities to be a light for His glory. We just have to pray and ask for His wisdom, guidance, and courage to love and to speak hope with our lives and our words. God delights in seeing us enjoy what He has created and given us. I believe sports is a blessing for Wil. It is such an outlet for a boy who otherwise is shy and quiet. But as a parent I must point Wil to the One who bestowed that blessing upon him and encourage Wilson to be a light as he plays...to be an encourager to his teammates, to respect his coach, to have self control, to be a good sportsman toward the other team, and at the end of the game to give God honor whether he wins or loses!!!

Apr 28, 2010

Its Never Too Early

It is never too early to start studying God's Word with your children. I realized that this afternoon after I spent some time in the Bible with Maggie my 5 year old. It began as a deal between the two of us. Maggie's friend got her own Bible for her baptism. Of course when Maggie saw her friend's new Bible, she wanted one. She was insistent or should I say nagging about it until finally I made a deal with her. I told her that if everyday for the next 2 weeks she would come and read the Bible with me during the first 15 minutes of Caillou (one of her favorite shows) we would get her a Bible (and a new pink Bible cover....sigh). If today is any indication of her faithfulness and enthusiasm, she will get a Bible by the weekend. I could hardly hold back my excitement as she asked questions and reasoned through what we were reading. It was so much fun especially since my own passion is studying His Word. I decided to read through the first chapter of the book of John. That was already the book I was thinking but this morning at breakfast confirmed it. Maggie and Wil were discussing whether or not Jesus existed before Abraham. Wil and Maggie struggle with grasping the fact that Jesus existed before Mary actually gave birth to him. Anyway I thought the book of John would be a great place to start for us.
I started out by explaining to her about a quiet time. I said, "When momma says she is going to have a quiet time with the LORD it means that I am going to spend time reading the Bible". I told her that momma always starts out with prayer asking God to open my mind so that He can speak to me what He wants me to know. Maggie and I prayed and then read the first several verses of John. At the end, I shared with her the importance of spending time with God in His Bible. I told her that in life when we are scared or hurting or confused that knowing God's Word will help us to be strong and not be afraid.
Honestly I did not expect much of a response from Maggie during this time, but praise God I think she really liked it. Actually just as I am typing this, she come in my room and said, "Can we do that again tomorrow?" III John 4 says, "I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth". Moms, there is no assurance that we can give them except God and His Truth.
Tomorrow her enthusiasm may not be what it was today, but I must press on knowing that the greatest way I can love my children is to give them my love and God's truth.

Feb 20, 2010

Discipleship

I am so exhausted right now. I have been loaded up with information on discipleship this weekend. I attended a Downline Summit Discipleship conference Friday and today in Memphis. The LORD has burdened my heart over the past several months for discipleship. I am living proof that without discipleship, we can get lost trying to find our way to the will of God. The lady that God brought into my life to disciple me has shown me more in 3 years than I have learned in 10. I just needed someone to invest in me and bless her heart for doing so. She has so graciously answered every one of my goofy questions and encouraged me in so many ways. I owe so much to her and my husband (for Tommy has been my #1 mentor, but there is only so far he can go with the mind of a woman--amen?) Anyway this weekend left me with 2 things I know the LORD has laid on my mind and heart. I'm a step by step person so I'm like "LORD, give me a starting point." Step one: Pray for a few women to disciple because it is our calling to do so (Titus 2) even though I feel inadequate. I know my heavenly Father is sufficient to lead me. And before I get to step two I want to say that at the end of today's conference I was feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed by the responsibility and calling to disciple. I long to please God and to obey Him faithfully so when I heard Kay Arthur speak on "taking the book to your tribe" and building on the foundation of Jesus Christ in other's lives (I Corinthians 3:10-15), I was thinking I must get started, I must form a group a.s.a.p, I must throw my whole self into discipling. This is the way I tend to react (one of my many flaws). Praise God I have learned so much from my wonderful husband who "waits on the LORD" for instruction before he acts. So I took a deep breath and told the LORD to slow me down. This is where step 2 came in.
I went to the last breakout session entitled "Discipleship as a Mom". I was excited but a wee bit nervous about the preconceived notion that I was about to be hit again with a wave of information that might cause me some chest pains and labored breathing. Praise God for a dear lady named Nancy Holcomb who listens to the Holy Spirit. She was the speaker and she came in and started with these words: "ladies, i feel like the LORD wants me tell you to not lose heart" She said "I know you feel like you not only must disciple your children, but after today you feel like you must disciple the nations" and with this, we all felt like she understood our hearts. She encouraged us to remember that our children must come first. For the next hour or so she had us rolling in the aisles. Nancy was hysterical, but she loved loved loved the Word of God and trusted It with every fiber of her being. She is a mom of four. Her son died at 14 with Spinal Bifida. And through her trials, the Word was her strength. She waved the banner of God's Love high as she testified and related to us. It was awesome. I want to share just a few things that ministered to me that she said.

"One of the greatest things you can give your child is a smile" (look at them straight in the eye and smile at them...sounds simple but be intentional about it)
"Don't react to them every time they shock you with their behavior unless you know your words are from the LORD"
"Talk to your kids about what God is doing in your life, tell them about your day, let them know you are interesting too"
"Jesus wants your children to be discipled far more than you do so why would He not equip us"
"One word of advice: knees" (we must cry out to God on behalf of our children)
Lamentations 2:19 "Arise, cry aloud in the night. At the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your little ones...." Moms, lets be faithful always to pray for our children. Give them to the One who breathed life into their bodies. Oh how He loves them!
"The days are so long, but the years are so short" (there are some days that I think if I have to fix one more sippy cup or wash more dish or judge one more quarrel...but these days are precious)
"Tribulation has to happen in your children's lives." (This was convicting to me. I always want to shelter my children from pain and suffering and to a degree we do, but pain and trials should draw us nearer to Christ. Momma can't always save them but Jesus can!!!)

These are a few things Nancy Holcomb encouraged us with. Her transparency laced with God's Word lifted me up the most! I want to be a mom that encourages other moms. Don't you? Titus 2 commands us to love our children (and husbands) and to train the younger women to do the same. So step 2 for me was: Disciple your children first!

God, I pray for the dear ladies you have brought into my life. I pray that you would begin to guide their hearts to Your heart so that they may rise up and disciple their children or the children in their lives. I ask that You give them wisdom and grace to light their path. May they get in Your Word and begin to seek Your face on this journey of parenting. Bless them. Help me to follow You in obedience in discipling my children and the women you lay on my heart! I pray this in Jesus name because You told me I could. Amen.

Feb 16, 2010

Gentleness

Well I sure didn't think I would be posting so soon but the LORD was quick to reprove me as I seek His wisdom in parenting. This reproof is one that the LORD speaks to me quite regularly, but now it He seems to be saying to me, "Enough is enough. I want this taken seriously now." With this strong rebuke, came His faithful Word lovingly encouraging me to take action. This is my issue: I do not use gentleness in my words as I train my kids in character and as I confront their bad behavior. My voice is too stern and my volume is too loud when I get frustrated with their bickering or selfishness. I don't scream or even yell but there is little or no gentleness in my correction. I despise this about myself. The more stress I have, the longer my to-do list, my mood, my lack of exercise, and the more we have to stay cooped up with this winter weather....all of this [and more] affects my tone with my children. I expect immediate obedience from them and the daily allowance of grace I give them is far less than anyone including myself could operate out of. But I'm ready. I'm ready to have the LORD train me in gentleness. The first place He begins is His Word. Without His Word, my friends, we are lost in the wilderness without a compass to guide us.



I Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
This is the promise we have that we can overcome our struggles. He has called us to a life of obedience.




Let me start by giving you this scripture: I Cor 2:10-12 But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit. For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us."


From this we understand that apart from the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, I will be forever bound by this struggle (lack of patience and gentleness). But as a child of God I can overcome this struggle with His power and His Word....its called freedom in Christ. Freedom in Christ means we are free from the choke hold of sin!! Praise God.

Even if now I do not see the affect my tone is having with my children, God is very clear we must keep our speech in check!!

Matthew 12:36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgement."

Jesus is very clear! He says every careless word will be judged! I am reminded of a song we have all heard, "oh be careful little mouth what you say, oh be careful little mouth what you say, oh be careful little mouth what you say...because there is a Father up above who is loving down with love so be careful little mouth what you say". Another thing I am reminded of is that this does not only pertain to words we speak to our children. It applies to the words we speak to our husbands, friends, co-workers, and yes my dear sisters, our enemies....."every careless word".

So how do I begin fighting this battle? I fight on my knees in prayer and I fight it with the Word of God. I must commit my ways to the LORD (Proverbs 16:3). Proverbs is full of wisdom on the matter of the tongue. What I am seeing again and again is that my tone needs to be gentle or I need to remain silent.

Prov 15:1 "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." (You wanna see your temper escalate, then speak with harshness, but it you want to put out the fire of anger then speak gently)
Proverbs 15:4 "Gentle words are a tree of life."
Proverbs 16:24 "Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

So this is my first order of business and I am thrilled that I serve a LORD who refuses to leave me alone in my struggles. He has called me to be a light for my children and to teach them His ways. Just as He is gentle and patient with me daily, I must extend that same grace to my wonderful children who I adore.

"Heavenly Father, strengthen these feeble arms of mine to do your will. Let Your grace, love, and mercy flow through us moms today as we nurture our children. Set a passion deep within us to train our children in the paths of righteousness and to love them with Your love. Keep our tone in check. Give us the strength and self-control to walk in the Spirit in the midst of challenges with our children and with all people we encounter. And let it all be done in Your name and for Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen."

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."




Feb 15, 2010

A Call To Pray For Our Children

I haven't blogged in a long while but last night as I listened to a message on parenting I was challenged and moved to take my thoughts to my blog where I can hopefully encourage moms to get on board with me to really start investing time into the relationship our children have with the LORD.
It first starts with us moms [and dads]. We have to be investing time and keeping our #1 priority our relationship with our heavenly Father.
I believe our second step is prayer. This morning I was discouraged as I sat in the floor with my 3 children having our prayer and devotion time. At the start of every week I have Wil and Maggie pick one person to pray for and they pray for that person the entire week. This is based on I Timothy 2:1 ("I urge you , first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them."). Well Maggie was quick to pick hers. Trey is too little so his participation is minimal. I get to Wil (this is where my discouragement begins) and he says "i don't know". Come on, Wil. He is just being difficult and then he just lays in the floor. So I just move on even though I want to force him to pick someone. I don't believe forcing him is going to benefit him but rather turn him off so I continue. We begin our devotion. It is short, but 30 seconds into it Wil begins to express his boredom. We finish 2 minutes later and Wil says, "Yes!!!" and hurries off to play ball. I sit there going, "God, how do I reach Wilson's heart for You." and God, in the quiet of my heart says, "Be patient, let him see you love Me, and pray, pray, pray". So here I sit encouraging you moms to hang in there. Don't weary in doing good for if we don't give up, we will reap a harvest of righteousness. We are not perfect parents so we should not expect to have perfect children but we do serve a Perfect Savior and we must trust Him and seek His wisdom as we raise children to be soldiers for Christ.
Back in September I began to go through a 31 day challenge of praying for my children. I got a print off from a ministry I love (www.Reviveourhearts.com). This print off gave a list of 31 things to pray for our children and I am going to be revisiting them this month and next. If you want join me in this journey. I will hopefully be posting something every few days on what I am praying for that day. You can also go to the revive our hears website and click on "downloads" and print off a list of theses things.
The first one I want to start with is praying for my children to have a "passion for God".
Psalm 63:1-8 "O God you are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of You, meditating on You through the night. Because You are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely."
How I long for my children to love the LORD this passionately!! I wrote this in my journal in October as I was going through this challenge:

"The greatest passion to chase after is You LORD. It is the most rewarding bar-none. For You alone satisfy the hunger in our souls!
Let Wil, Maggie, and Trey have a love for You that David spoke about in Psalm 63:1-8. May they earnestly search for You. May their soul thirst for You. May they love Your unfailing love more than life. May they praise You. May they always lift up their hands to You in prayer. May they find satisfaction in You alone. May their thoughts always be on You God. Be their helper. May they sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. May they cling to You Father. And, Father, may your strong hand hold them.
In Jesus Name,
Amen"
And as we ask the LORD for these things in the lives of our children, let us not be ignorant in the fact that we need to ask them in our own lives as well!
Have a good Monday everyone and hopefully enjoy the snowfall one last time! Spring come quickly!
In the abundance of His grace may we live today!!!

Dec 20, 2009

Wil Losing His First Tooth

I couldn't get facebook to post this video. I had to find another avenue! So here is Wilson getting his first tooth pulled. It was just dangling. I didn't dare want to pull it so I got my mom to do it. She bribed him with money. It worked! His friends have been pulling their teeth left in right so we've been eagerly awaiting this day.
video