Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I Needed to Read

I wanted to share with you all a post I read that I really needed to read. It is on a topic that I have been praying about for some time and have felt like I haven't made the progress I had hoped to, but haven't given up. I hope you enjoy this post on speaking gently.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;[a]
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The destructive influence of foolish women. . .

The destructive influence of foolish women is readily apparent in the secular world. In recent years we have seen the power of foolish women to tear down and destroy the moral sensitivities and fiber of an entire nation. We can all think of high profile women, entertainers, politicians, wives of public figures--whose philosophies and lifestyles have wielded an enormous, negative influence on our entire culture.

However, what should trouble us even more is the extent to which foolishness among women has permeated the evangelical church. We have followed the world in redefining what it means to be a woman, as well as what is means to be a man. We have blurred, if not eradicated, the distinctions between feminine and masculine character, behavior and roles.

We have lost our moorings, our sense of what is pure and good, true and right. We have little comprehension of the meaning or importance of such old-fashioned words such as wholesome, modest, discreet and chaste.

--Nancy Leigh Demoss, Biblical Womanhood in the Home

Disciple Like Jesus For Parents

One of the blogs I follow is giving away the book Disciple Like Jesus for Parents. It sounds like a great book and a good addition to any Christian Parent's library. Head over to God Made, Home Grown to read more about the book and to enter to win a copy of the book for yourself!

Hear and Now

This devotional spoke to my heart. I have been struggling on hearing God's purpose for my life in the coming days, months, and years. We need to listen to Him in all things--even the "small" things. I hope you visit the link and are encouraged as I was.

The Frog in the Pot

I have heard before that the way to boil a frog is to put it in cold water and slowly heat it up to boiling. The frog doesn't notice the small changes in temperature and doesn't jump out. If you try to put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out.

I have seen the same thing happening to America since the 60s. I was lead to a link on an article about a similar topic and wanted to share it with everyone. "[T]he church (according to Mr. Wolf's observation) is sliding into debauchery along with the world, just at a slower rate."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Never Again

Never again will I confess "I can't" for "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

Never again will I confess lack, for "my God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Never again will I confess fear, for "God hath not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7

Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for "God hath given to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3

Never again will I confess weakness for "The Lord is the strength of my life." Psalm 27:1

Never again will I confess defeat, for "God always causeth me to triumph in Christ Jesus." II Corinthians 2:14

Never again will I confess lack of wisdom, for "Christ Jesus is made unto me wisdom from God." I Corinthians 1:30

Never again will I confess worries and frustrations, for I am "casting all my cares upon Him who careth for me." I Peter 5;7

Never again will I confess condemnation, for "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The African King

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!"

To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they
noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off. And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad of me to do this."

"No" his friend replied, "This is good!"

"What do you mean, "This is good?" How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

"If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you when you were captured."

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them, but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives according to His precepts, even that which seems to be bleak and hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit.

-- Author Unknown

(Shared by a friend on Christian Parents Form)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The True Cost

Often, we don't think about the true cost of our decisions. We live in the moment and how things are going to affect us "now". I read a devotional today reminding me to think about those future costs before making decisions. I wanted to share it with you.

True Cost

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Humble Me, O Lord

Wow, it is amazing how God will see a weakness in our character and bring us to our needs about it. He uses the most unlikely (to us anyways!) ways to accomplish this as well.

Just last night (into this morning), God humbled me. I thought I had been living a pretty good life for Him, but He opened my eyes to a sin that I had been "hiding". It is something that I was thinking wasn't actually a sin. The world told me it was right for me to feel the way I did about the issue at hand. I've had numerous people tell me I was justified with my feelings (and some that told me I wasn't "angry" enough). But God opened my eyes to the fact that I'm called to be different from this world and in this instance ("And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."--Romans 12:2), I needed to change my thinking.

We had an answer to prayer (and even beyond our prayer) from an unlikely source. I was ecstatic about the abundant blessing until I discovered who God used to provide us with the blessing. My first thought was that I didn't want it anymore, but God immediately chastised me. How was I to turn down a blessing from the Lord?! It is up to Him to use whomever He desires to bless us. It was just after having this thought that Chad asked me if it was because I "hated" the person. I immediately said, "I don't "hate" __________!" But in reality, I think I did. I was holding a grudge for things that happened 13 years ago, 10 years ago, and the most recent was 4 years ago. Who am I to hold a grudge for even 4 years?! What happened should have been forgiven a long time ago and I was just letting bitterness grow in my heart to the point where I almost gave up an immense blessing from the Lord because of it.

I was brought to my knees during my quiet time with God this morning. I asked for forgiveness from Him and I feel Him telling me that I need to apologize to the person in question and ask for forgiveness for myself.

I read Deuteronomy 8:2 this morning, "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not." I began wondering if the hardships we had been encountering which opened the door to receive this blessing was all because God was humbling me and testing me. Would I keep His commandments to forgive as I had been forgiven? Would I love my neighbor as myself? I can't believe it took me this long to see how wrong I have been, but I am thankful that my eyes were opened!

I Peter 5:6 says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." This is a promise from God! If we are obedient and open to His discipline, He will exalt us! It may not be fun or easy to endure, but we will be rewarded if we are faithful to allow Him to mold us. The nice thing is that He doesn't give us a time limit either. "In due time" tells us that it doesn't have to happen at a specific time, but when it comes "due" in our lives.

Thank you, O Lord, for humbling me and showing me the error of my ways. Please continue to prune me and mold me into the woman of Christ You would have me be. Open my eyes to any other "hidden" sin in my life. Show me how to truly live for You and show others Your love, grace, and mercy. Grant me the strength to humble myself before those I need to ask forgiveness from and not let my pride get in the way. Use me for Your honor and glory today. Amen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My ABC's of Thankfulness

A friend posted on her blog her ABC's of Thankfulness and I was so encouraged by reading her list, that I wanted to make my own and share with everyone here. It isn't very easy because there are a number of things I wanted to put for each letter. Please know that this list is not exhaustive of what I am thankful for but only a glimpse into my blessings.

A--Almighty and Awesome God! I serve and Almighty and Awesome God!
B--Beauty! I am surrounded by God's beauty every day as I look at His creation and the children He has blessed me with.
C--Children! Growing up I never imagined having a large family, but the Lord knows better than I and has blessed me abundantly with children!
D--Deliverance! Christ's shed blood has delivered me from the bondage of sin and allows me to live a life of freedom.
E--Everlasting love! Christ loves me with an everlasting love!
F--Forgiveness! I am thankful that not only does my Lord forgive my sins, but I am surrounded by a husband and girls that also forgive me when I mess up.
G--God! I can't say enough that I'm thankful that I serve a loving, caring, and forgiving God!
H--Husband! The Lord has blessed me with an amazing husband who not only loves me and my girls, but works very hard to provide us with what we need and is a great spiritual leader in our home.
I--Immanuel! God is truly with me each and every day.
J--Jehovah Jireh! My Lord has shown me He is Jehovah Jireh (the Lord who Provides) over and over in my life.
K--Kindness! I am blessed to not only be on the receiving end of kindness from those in my life and even those I meet for the first time, but am blessed to be able to show kindness to those around me.
L--Love! The love of my Heavenly Father and of my family gets me through each and every day.
M--Marriage! I'm thankful that God created the institute of marriage and has blessed my marriage so abundantly.
N--Natural Healing! I'm so thankful that God created everything we would need in nature and has given us the wisdom to know what and how to use those remedies.
O--Oneness! Not only do I serve the One true God, but He made my husband and I, one.
P--Parents! I've been blessed with parents who love me and my family even though they don't always agree with decisions we make. They support us with words of encouragement and continue to be spiritual guides in our lives.
Q--Quiet! It doesn't occur much in my household, but I am thankful for those quiet moments in which I am able to abide in my Father.
R--Redeeming love! Christ redeemed me with His precious blood.
S--Scripture! I'm thankful the Lord has given us His Word to help guide us through this life.
T--Trials and tribulations! I know it might sound weird, but I am thankful for the trials and tribulations because it allows me to grow and always draws me closer to the Lord.
U--Unity! Not only unity with God, but with my husband and within the body of Christ.
V--Victory! Victory in Jesus, My Savior forever. . .
W--Womb! I am thankful that not only has God blessed my womb abundantly, but also that I am able to experience having a child grow in my womb. My heart goes out to those who long for a child in their womb.
X--"X"! The Greek letter for Christ.
Y--Yesterdays! I'm thankful for my yesterdays. They may not have always been pleasant, but they made me the person I am today and God used those experiences to draw me closer to Him.
Z--Zero! The number of things that can separate me from the Love of God.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't Convince--Live It!

I wanted to share a post that came through today that really speaks to my heart as I've seen so many people trying to convince themselves and others about their spiritual life instead of just living it. I've been there myself before so maybe that is why I'm more sensitive to seeing it in others. That being said, I know the true difference it can make to actually have roots in Christ instead of just acting like you do. Check it out.

Don't Hang Fruit on a Dead Tree

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Persecution is Alive and Well in This Day and Age

Anyone who thinks that Americans do not suffer from persecution for their beliefs live in a fantasy world. Enduring persecution is alive and well for many Christians in America today.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I have a large family. We currently have 8 daughters and another blessing on the way. I never thought it would matter to anyone else how many children we have, but we are under attack because of our choice to leave our family size up to God.

We have faith that if God grants us a blessing, He will provide for that blessing. We have never had a need go unanswered. Do we live the "American Dream"? No, but we don't want to either. We don't feel the need to go on fancy vacations, drive fancy vehicles or live in a house that is way too big. We don't see the benefit of not giving children any responsibilities within the family because we can pay someone to do the job instead (in fact, I see it as a major detriment to not teach responsibility). We don't see the need to have more clothes in the closet than they could possibly wear.

We have never gone hungry (Do we always have our favorite foods? No, but food is to provide nutrients and if it delicious, then that is just a benefit.) We have always had a roof over our head. We have always had heat in our home. We have always had clothes on our backs (and weather appropriate clothes at that) and shoes on our feet. Our bills have always been paid. And to top it all off, He even blesses us with extras like camping trips, special toys, and the such.

Why is it then, that people feel they have to right to criticize us and tell us how "unwise" we are living? Doesn't the bible tell us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7, NKJV)? Doesn't it say that, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV)? We can not always fathom the ways of God. We can not always understand why He allows some things to happen and other things to not happen. We may not "agree" with His will, but in the end, if we truly trust in Him, we know that His ways are best.

His Word says, "I am a laughingstock to my friends, by calling on God, who answers me. The righteous and upright man is a laughingstock" (Job 12:4, NASB). I know we shouldn't be surprised at persecution, but knowing that it will happen and enduring it are two different things. I'm thankful that my faith in the Lord is strong enough to get me through even persecution. I'm joyful in my tribulations because as James wrote, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (1:2-4, NKJV). God is working in my life. He is molding me to what He wants me to be. I am clay in the hands of the Potter.

Another way to look at it is that we must be living how God has called us to live because if we weren't, then the devil wouldn't be using his tricks to try to turn us from God. If we are not living for God, then we aren't a "threat" to Satan and he will leave us alone. He might think he is going to destroy our faith, but he is only working to strengthen it and draw us closer to God!

I guess the point of this post is to encourage anyone who is also enduring persecution to keep the faith! We may not understand exactly what God is doing in our lives, but we can have peace in knowing that it will all work out for the good (Romans 8:28, NKJV--"And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.").

If you would like prayer for a trying situation in your life, please leave a comment letting me know and I will add you to my daily prayer list.