Engage - Encourage - Empower
Have you ever been told you look just like your mother? Or maybe you act like your mom? As I grew up, I remember hearing my mom always say things like, “Because I said so,” and “Look don't touch,” and “Don’t make that face or it will stick.” Has your mom ever said any of those things? I always said when I grew up and became a mom, I would never say those things! Well, guess what? I DO say them! I never thought I would, but I did! I am turning out a lot like my mom. (That’s a good thing, by the way.)
As I grew up, people would tell me that I had my mom’s eyes, or my mom’s smile, or her sunny disposition. Because I spent so much time with her, everyone knew she was my mom and I was her daughter. Everyone would tell my mom, “There is no denying her. She is definitely your daughter!” Because we were so close, everyone just knew without us even saying it, that we were mother and daughter.
Our relationship with God should be no different. As Christians we should spend time with God every single day and develop that relationship. We should be so close with Him that when people see us they say, “Wow! You must be a child of God! There is no denying that!” In fact, Galatians 5 tells us that our life is evident by the fruit we produce. This means our actions. It is obvious that we are a child of God or not, by they way we act. When we follow the Holy Spirit, and walk in a relationship with Him, His fruit is evident in our life. What does that look like? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. Look at your life and see if you are showing these things, or the things of the world…jealousy, anger, selfishness, envy, etc. Who do you look and act most like? The world, or the Lord? Are you walking in the flesh, as the Bible says, or the Spirit?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control..." - Galatians 5:22-23
Everyone can appreciate a cute baby/toddler story. So, I dedicate this post to sharing two lessons I have recently learned from young children.
Cute Kid Lesson 1: - Pray any time, anywhere
We have now had a month of warm weather here, however, before this beautiful Spring weather arrived, we had more snow than I remember having in years. My sweet nephew Andrew (5 years old) asked me one day when he would be able to come over and play outside with Jaelyn on the trampoline, playhouse, and other outdoor toys. I told him that as soon as the weather was warmer he could come over and play any time. "In fact," I said, kneeling down next to him "Next time you pray you should ask Jesus to send warm weather. You know, Jesus likes it when children pray to Him. He always answers your prayers." I then stood back up and cotinued the conversation I was having with his mom, not thinking any more about what I had told him. Andrew then came up and said, "Ssshhh...Can everyone please be quiet! I need to pray." He then got down on his knees right beside the couch and started, "Dear Jesus, please make it warm so we can go to Jaelyn's house and play with the outside toys."
This single moment has spoken to me several times since then. When I told Andrew to pray for warm weather, I thought he would pray about it before bed, it never occurred to me that he would stop everything and pray at that very moment. Wow! What a lesson to learn from a 5 year old! God is always ready to listen, not just at bed time or before meals. Whenever a need arises, stop what you are doing and go to the Lord. You can pray to Him any time, anywhere. Thank you, Andrew, for this great reminder!
Cute Kid Lesson 2: Jesus, our Healer, ever faithful, ever true
My daughter Jaelyn, now 2 years old, was getting ready for bed last week and bumped her head. She came up to me crying and said, "Mommy, my eye broken." I asked, "Your eye is broken?" To which she replied, "Yes, pray." So I placed my hand over her eye and asked the Lord to touch and heal her boo-boo. She then quickly jumped up and asked enthusiastically, "Jesus heal it?" I nodded and said, "Yes, Jesus healed it." Full of joy and excitement, she said, "Yay! Woo-hoo boo-boo gone! Thank you Jesus!"
That quick and unquestioned faith astounded me. She had no doubt in her heart, her faith was simple and pure, as all of ours should be. Just a few days later we had to go to the doctor to get labwork done for some test that are being run on Jaelyn. Having been to the doctors office several times in the past few months, she knew as soon as she saw the chair, what was about to happen. She had her blood drawn, despite begging for no boo-boos and the nurses wrapped her arm up, gave her suckers and stickers, and sent her on her way. Jaelyn waved by to all the nurses, blew them kisses and skipped out of the office. After getting in the car and pulling out of the parking lot, Jaelyn handed me her bandage. When I told her she needed to keep it on she said, "No, boo-boo gone. Jesus heal it!"
I can't tell you how much joy it brought to my heart to hear her little voice say those sweet words. As we go through testing and doctors appointments with this precious little girl, it is a helpful reminder to hear even from her two year old mouth such words of encouragement and faith. Jaelyn doesn't know the things that may or may not be wrong with her, she only knows to give it to God and He will take care of it. There is no questioning it for her. God promises to never leave or forsake us. He is always faithful and always present. He is true to His word. Praise God! Thank you, Lord for the reminder from this sweet girl.
As I recall these stories, I am reminded of Matthew 18:3-4 when Jesus shows His heart toward children. "Unless you change and become as little children..." How diffferent would our lives be if we had the faith of a child, without question or doubt, stopping whatever we are doing to bring our thoughts to the Lord? Make it a point this week, to walk in faith no matter the circumstances and to present your needs (and praises) to the Lord as they arise, rather than putting them off until later.
I am so thankful for these big lessons I learned from such little children and hope you can enjoy them as well!
As a chocolate lover, I would say that adding chocolate to most anything enhances it. This being said, I began to wonder how chocolate could relate to purity. Seeing as how they are both passions of mine, I had to connect the two. So here goes...According to Websters, Pure means, "Containing nothing that does not properly belong."
It would be my opinion that chocolate properly belongs on most things: pretzels, peanut butter, bananas, cakes, and even in my coffee. Yet, I have to admit there are some things it just does not belong with, like clothes, plants, furniture. That would simply not make sense.
There are many things in life that are very much like chocolate. Clothes, music, movies, even friends. Example: I love music, but there are some kinds of music that just don't belong properly in my life. Ephesians 5:12 says that, "It is shameful even to talk about the things ungodly people do in secret." (NLT) A lot of songs not only talk about these things, they glorify them. That sort of music does not properly belong in my life. While it may permissible, it is just not beneficial. (1 Cor. 10:23) Clothes are another passion of mine, but if a skirt is too short, or too tight, it is not going to properly belong on my body.
While there are a lot of examples of the chocolate things of this world, I simply write this illustration to remind you that just because something looks good, feels good, or even sounds good, does not mean it is a proper fit to your life. Remaining pure is more than a sexual thing, it is an overall lifestyle beginning in your heart. Consider the things you are allowing into your life and ask yourself if they properly belong. Are they enhancing you as a woman of worth or are they weakening you? What about those around you, are your actions helping or hurting them?
Living a life of purity is not always easy. Ask God to search your heart and to point out anything that offends Him. Ask God to help you weed out the things that do not properly belong in your life, and the things that are not beneficial.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
May God be with you and give you strength as you walk in His ways.
I remember one time being challenged to look in a mirror and say things such as, “I am beautiful,” or “I am special.” This was very hard to do. I would break eye contact with myself, as though I were lying to myself. It took several years to be able to say these things confidently, knowing that it was not by someone else’s standards, or even mine own that I was beautiful or special.
Having grown up in a Christian home, I was very aware of all the verses about worth/identity. I am made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). However, I had still turned to other people to define my person. I was a social outcast. I was a nerd. I was (fill in the blank). It was too hard to separate my true worth from the reputation I let others give me. I began calling myself by what others said I was, rather than what I knew God said I was.
This led to me continually trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I would change my wardrobe, my personality, my likes and dislikes, just to be wanted by a certain group of people. Sadly, this method continually let me down, got me in trouble, and eventually left me badly hurt. After feeling abandoned by the world, I found that God still, somehow, saw me as special. He still said I was valuable, wanted, important, and best of all I fit in with His plan. Unconditionally! – That’s what grace is for.
So now, despite what others say around me, or where I live, what job I work, or what car I drive, I can confidently look in the mirror and say, “I am beautiful, loved, and wanted. I was created for a unique purpose that only I can fulfill. I am important.”
I would like to challenge you to make this same proclamation every day over yourself. Don’t let anyone else define you, because their opinions will change with the wind. There is only One who has the authority to say who you are what you were created to do. His opinion of you does not change. His love for you will never fail. Turn to Him, the One and only creator of the universe, let Him tell you who He designed you to be.
“I am beautiful, loved, and wanted. I was created for a unique purpose that only I can fulfill. I am important.”
We are now a week past Easter. The Easter Bunny is gone, the candy is slowly disappearing from the pantry and the gifts from Easter are already losing their spark. So, we return to life as normal. But wait, is something missing? Did we overlook something in the midst of all this celebrating? We stopped for a day, or maybe a weekend, to hunt for candy-filled eggs, get a pretty new dress and sing a song about resurrection. Churches were packed for one of the two days out of the year when people make sure they go to church, but what about the other fifty Sundays in the year?
There are so many great songs we sing throughout the year, and especially on Easter regarding the resurrection of our Lord. We love to sing about Him conquering the grave, and defeating sin, but are those merely words you are singing or do you live them? He has beaten sin so that you can walk in victory over it. So as you face each day, ask God for the grace to get past each temptation that faces you and be sure to take time to thank Him for the victory He gives you over sin every day. 1 Corinthians 15:57
As my daughter is learning to walk, I enjoy the moments when she holds my hand and walks alongside me. She is not yet a confident walker, so she still stumbles on occasion but as long as she is holding my hand I will not let her fall. Your Father delights in the moments you are walking with Him. He wants to hold your hand and keep you from falling. You don't have the ability to walk this life without Him, so learn to walk with the Lord and let Him lead you. He doesn't promise you won't stumble, but he does say you will never fall.
Psalm 37:23-24 - The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
I love sitting here in front of the fireplace listening to the storms just outside my window. Something about this weather is so soothing to me. I find it relaxing. It is so easy to sit here and write during these moments. I will admit, sometimes the rainy weather can be a bit much, especially on the days I have to be out in it. So when I know bad weather is in store, I will do what I can to stay inside. My opinion of the storm changes greatly when I am out running errands and getting drenched! But it’s a lot easier to enjoy the storm as I’m sitting here in the shelter of my own home, by a nice warm fire and sipping a fresh cup of coffee.
The same is true in life. We all go through the storms of this life. Sometimes I feel like they are more like tornadoes than little thunderstorms. This is when I am reminded of the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Though the storms can be less than enjoyable, we need them in order for the grass and flowers to grow. Without the showers there would be no flowers. Look beyond the storm in anticipation for the beautiful things it will produce. In the meantime, whatever the storm you are in, abide in the shelter of the Almighty. You will find it easier to enjoy the storm when you are not getting drenched. Find time for a warm beverage in front of the fire with the Lord, let Him bring refreshing and comfort during the storm.
Check out Psalms 91, it's great stormy weather reading!
Love and Blessings,
While working with people of all ages, races, and genders, I have found that there is one common thing we all seek: Love. There is a desire, no there is a need in each one of us that is so deep, so desperate, that we will go to any lengths to fill it. When you are hungry, you will go the fridge to find food. If you are thirsty, you know to get a drink of water or a soda. When you are tired, you know to go to sleep. When we are able to pinpoint the exact need, it is very easy to fulfill it. This is the problem we so often encounter with the desperate desire I am speaking of. You would not quench your thirst with salty pretzels. However, that is only because you have diagnosed the problem and know the right solution. When you realize that the hole in your heart, the desperate desire you have, is to love and to be loved, you will no longer need to go to clubs to fill that hole. There will no longer be a need to drink the sorrows away. Recognize the need and go to the proper solution. Quit quenching your thirst with pretzels when the Living Water is right in front of you. I John 4:19 says that “We love Him because He first loved us.” You are already loved! Pour out your love in return to the One who loved you first and watch everything else fall into place. Matthew 6:33 promises that when you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness that all these things will be added to you! Thank you Jehovah Jireh, for providing all of our needs according to your glorious riches! (Phil. 4:19)
Everytime I speak of this ministry, the question comes up, "Well, what is virtue?" Virtue has been defined as a beneficial quality, a commendable trait, and conformity to a standard of right. All of these are great definitions, but my favorite is, as Webster's dictionary puts it, "a particular moral excellence." Ahhh...excellence...I love this word (and not just because I am a perfectionist) There is something to be said of someone with a spirit of excellence. What does it really mean to have moral excellence though?
Philippians 4:8 says, "...whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things." Pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praiseworthy. What are such things? To live a life of moral excellence, we should live by this very guidline set forth in this verse, but how do we do that? Think about every minute of your life. Those cozy moments on the couch with your boyfriend, or at the theater watching that scary movie, are those moments pure and praiseworthy? That cute skirt that you keep tugging at everytime you step one leg in front of the other...is it causing pure thoughts in those around you? Oh yes, that matters too. It's not just what you think or do, it's what you are causing others to think as well.
I know what you are thinking now too, girl, "it's not my fault if he keeps looking! It is not fair that I can't wear what I want, just because he can't control himself!" I have been there, thought that, not going back! Let me put this into perspective for you if you get a gorgeous 2 karat diamond ring, are you going to go hang it from your locker and just leave it there? It's not your fault if everyone else is jealous of your beautiful ring and can't stop looking at it! It's not fair that you can't hang your ring on the locker because everyone else can't control themselves! NO! That's ridiculous, anyone with any amount of brains knows that if you put something valuable and beautiful out like that, it will get stolen! You are beautiful and your purity is priceless! Don't hang it out there for someone to steal!
When getting dressed in the morning, try that skirt on with a cute ruffle underneath it to add some length. You will be surprised just how adorable it will make your outfit, while adding a trendy new style that others haven't rocked yet and still keeping it modest. Don't forget, before leaving, bend over in front of the mirror to make sure that nothing is showing (you might need to add some more ruffles).
Love and Blessings!