Wednesday, July 31, 2013

LYING

For many of you, the following scene is familiar:

The kids are in another room playing.  You're cleaning up the kitchen.  All of the sudden, you hear shrieking screams followed by tears.  You drop what you are doing and run to where your children are.  One child is visibly hurting (but thankfully not bleeding) and crying.  The other is standing a few feet away, paralyzed...by guilt.  It's written all over his face. 

You begin by comforting the hurt child, checking his body for cuts, bruises, or broken bones, and then you ask "What happened?"  But you find that his tears are too intense at the moment to articulate how he was hurt, so you turn to the guilty-looking one.  You ask him the same question and he shrugs his shoulders and says those infamous, cowardly words, "I don't know."

For a second you consider believing him because there are times the other child has hurt himself on his own accord.  But your mom instincts tell you that this isn't one of those times.  So you ask him again, "What happened?"  The guilty and now nervous looking one refuses to look you in the eye and repeats himself, "I don't know mom." 

The hurt child has now calmed down enough that he is able to speak.  So, you direct the question at him and ask it for the fourth, and final time.  Still sniffling (and with a now visible bump growing on his forehead) he tells you what happened.  "He stuck his leg out and tripped me while I was running."   

You turn to the guilty, nervous, and now defensive looking one and ask, "Is this true?  Did you stick your leg out and trip him."

"Well, I put my leg out and he just tripped over it," he says.

You stare firmly into his eyes and probe him further, "Did you purposely stick your leg out to trip him?"

The guilt is too much to handle now and he looks down and whispers, "Yes."

Friends if you're like me, when this scenario happens you are more angry that the guilty one lied to you than you are that he tripped his brother.  Had he been honest from the beginning the discipline would have been much less severe, but now that he's heaped sin upon sin by lying...he's in BIG TROUBLE.

This exact scenario happened in my household yesterday and so it's fresh and heavy on my heart.  I know that my children will lie, every child does.  But I do not want them to become habitual liars in which their hearts are completely calloused to any wrongdoing and they have no qualms with heaping sin upon sin.  

Lying once, twice, or habitually is a sin no matter how one looks at it.  For, "The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful." [Proverbs 12:22]

Speaking the truth is God's way.

"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices." [Colossians 3:9] 

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." [Ephesians 4:25]

So, let's pray that our children don't take up the habit of lying.

God, I pray that you would protect my children by exposing their lies; may they never get away with speaking falsehood.  I pray they would have godly sorrow toward lying...hearts of repentance.  I pray that their hearts would not become calloused to the sin of lying and that they would not turn into habitual liars who heap sin upon sin.  I pray they would put off falsehood and speak truthfully.  May they know in their hearts that You destest lying lips but delight in the truth. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Power of Music

 A few weeks ago I shared that I went on a little mini-road trip to visit some old friends and let God break through in a few areas of my life.  While driving I was able to do one of my most favorite things (second to dance parties): Jam to Music.  It was the roll the window down, crank the volume up, and belt out each song like Whitney Houston kind of jam session.
 
Since having children, my personal jam sessions have become a lot less frequent.  I used to drive around in high school (back when gas was nearly a buck a gallon) all over town just so I could jam to some tunes.  I remember sitting in my bedroom for hours listening to the radio and frantically trying to record my favorites songs on a cassette tape so that I had the perfect mix of songs for the road. 

The truth is, I L*O*V*E music.

I always have.  I'm not particularly gifted as a musician.  I can carry a tune, but nothing remarkable.  I can tickle the ivories at an amateur level.  Regardless, I very much appreciate music.

FOR...

Music inspires.  The tired, the weary, the discouraged receive strength and hope from its sound.

Music motivates change.  Traditions are challenged.  Injustice is brought to light. 

Music soothes.  The stressed find rest.  The hurting find healing, or at least distraction.

Music pays tribute.  It honors heroes of the past, present, and future.

Music give voice to anguish and heartache.  The desolate and hearbroken find refuge in its song.

Music fuels the art of dance.  It sparks physical movement and drives the beautiful art of rhythmic motion.  This, my friends, is what I probably appreciate most about music.

Music holds the key to our past.  For every season of life, there is a song we remember it by.  We hear a song from years ago and we remember the past like it was yesterday.  It's tune and lyrics take us back; back to good times and bad. 

Music has great influence.  Its lyrics, communicated through poetics and rhyme, always have a message.  Some speak a message of hope, others of despair.  Some of love, others of hate.  Some of life, others of death.  Some of truth, others of lies.  Some of respect, others of dishonor.  Some of praise, others of blasphemy.

Just imagine life without music.  It would be lacking in creativity, inspiration, and beauty.  More specifically, imagine TV & Movies without music.  Friends without "I'll be there for you," Rocky without "Eye of the Tiger," Titanic without "My Heart Will Go On," and Mr. Rogers without "Won't you be my neighbor."

With all the truths we have come to know about the music in our lives, the greatest truth is that God created it.

His created natural earth displays a symphony of songs.
We, His children, are drawn to the beautiful sound music gives AND we long to create it ourselves.

And I believe that He gave us music so we might enjoy and praise Him in and through itMusic communicates PRAISE to our God in a remarkable fashion.

There are countless Scriptures about music and its source in giving praise to God.  May I share with you some of my personal favorites:

Psalm 150:3-6
"Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of symbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD."

And Psalm 95:2
"Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."

And Psalm 96:1
"Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth."

God loves to hear the praises of His people through music!  But with all its sources of good, there is still danger surrounding music because that which God intends for good, the enemy intends for evil.

When it comes to the music we listen to, we must be on the alert.  For the enemy is prowling around looking for someone to devour.  And why wouldn't he try to use the power of music to devour us.

We can mindlessly listen with little regard for its lyrical content or message.

My husband Keith often tells the story of when he went up with some friends to Karaoke to a song he grew up listening to.  After only a few lines in, his face was beat red and he was shocked by what he was reading.  He'd listened to the song countless times but had never really heard the message. 

He isn't alone though.  How many of us have listened to songs in our youth only to discover in our older, more mature (wink, wink) years that the lyrics were innapropriate, crude, blasphemous, or just downright evil?   

We can also fully understand the songs content and message yet still continue to listen cause its catchy or just plain good music. 

We play dumb to its effects on our heart and mind.  We ignore warning signs and scoot questionable lyrics under the rug ALL IN THE NAME OF FUN.  We know the music is morally dangerous, but we feel strong enough to avoid its evil grasp.

Either way we open the door to trouble.

Am I advocating burning all "secular" cd's and eliminating music from your life all together?  Goodness, no. 

But music does have power and influence over us..for good and for bad.

 
And if it has this kind of power and influence over us, then it surely can have an even greater power and influence over our children.  Their little ears are like sponges.  They hear and believe.  They acquire so much of what they understand about life, love, and people through song. 


Grayden, Cole, Allie and I listen to a lot of different music together.  We have mom & kid jam sessions.  We sing and dance to lots of different tunes.  Already certain songs remind them of past experiences and memories.  Yet, I admit that I am ON FULL ALERT as to what I allow them to hear.   I don't need Cole hopping around singing, "I'm bringing sexy back." Cause he would, bring sexy back that is.  No but seriously, I won't put a deaf ear to music and expect that it won't influence their little hearts and minds.


My favorite songs to listen to with them and to hear them singing and see the dancing to are those with a message of God's Truth and those that give Praise to God.

As we drove home yesterday, I smiled listening to Grayden & Cole sing (and Allie rock-out with flailing arms and bouncy feet) the lyrics to the following song entitled, "Counting on God."

Read the lyrics (or sing along if you know the tune) and let their truth regarding God and who He is strengthen your soul.

I'm in a fight not physical
I'm in a war but not of this world
You are the light that's beautiful
I want more I want all that's Yours

[Chorus:]
Joy unspeakable that won't go away
Just enough strength to live for the day
So I never have to worry what tomorrow will bring
'Cause my faith's on solid rock and I'm counting on God
I'm counting on, I'm counting on God

The miracle of Christ in me
The mystery that sets me free
I'm nothing like I used to be
Just open up your eyes
And you'll see...[back to Chorus]

This is the type of message I want my children to hear through music.  A life-giving message!

Will my kids listen to music that isn't about God?  Yes.  And will I freak out?  No. 

But I do want to pray that they would be drawn first, and foremost, to music that brings Him glory and speaks His truth.


Join me today in prayer for our kids,

God, I thank you for the gift of music.  As my children grow, my prayer is that they follow Your Spirit's counsel with regard to what music they allow their ears to attend to.  Keep their ears on alert as the enemy schemes to devour them through musical messages that are full lies and have little regard for You.  I pray they would be drawn first, and foremost, to good music that brings You glory and speaks Your truth.  And may they experience the benefits of music daily; those benefits that You created and intended for good.  




Monday, July 29, 2013

Called to Christian Community

Over the past several weeks, I have had a handful of very dear friends reach out to me for prayer regarding tough circumstances:  infertility, unfaithfulness in marriage, sickness, indecision, and heartbreak.

My heart has been heavy for these women.

As often as the Spirit reminds me I am beseeching the throne of God for them asking Him to bring relief, to grant mercy, to heal, to impart wisdom, to do a miracle, AND to be their comfort.

In the past year I've had a few tough circumstances of my own where I was desperate for God to break through.  In those moments, I reached out for prayer to many of these same dear friends who are now experiencing difficulty. 

I firmly believe that God used them as His ambassadors to bring comfort to my despaired heart & mind.  And the comfort I received was grounded in God's truth and administered through faithful prayers lifted up with and for me. 

Last night my heart was especially heavy for a few of these dear friends. And I was drawn to the verses in 2 Corinthians 1 entitled, The God of All Comfort:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

I received so much comfort from God through these dear friends and so my prayer is that my comfort will overflow into their lives now.  I long for God to use me in their lives, just as He used them in mine.

Friends, as followers of Jesus we need each other

We are NOT called into isolation when we chose to follow Christ.
We are called into community.
A community whose source of hope and life is found in Jesus.
A community who deeply cares for each other.
A community who longs to comfort each other with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

As I ask God to use me to comfort my friends, I have also been drawn to pray that my children would be blessed with a community of believers who strive to comfort each other in difficult times. 

I long for them to have dear friends with whom they can reach out to when times are tough AND with whom reach out to my children when they themselves are experiencing difficulty. 

I long for them to understand that walking with Jesus shouldn't be a lonely walk.  Rather, Christians should walk together toward Him, picking each other up along the way when the road gets difficult.

Join me in prayer,

God, You are the God of ALL comfort.  True, lasting, and life-giving comfort is found in You and You alone.  You are its only source.  Today I pray that as my children experience difficulty in life they would receive Your comfort through dear friends.  I pray you would bless them with dear friends who have hearts centered upon You; I pray their friendship would be rooted in the truth of Your Word.  I pray they would long for Christian community.  And I pray they would give and receive Your comfort within this community. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

GUEST BLOG: God is My Refuge

GUEST BLOG FRIDAY!
by Natalie

Natalie is a new friend of mine.  We attended a Bible Study together this past year.  There is a lot I have to learn about her, but one thing I do know is that she has a very real love for Jesus and a sincere desire to serve Him daily.

I pray you are uplifted and strengthened today by her words, particularly those of you who are feeling especially weary.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today is the day.

Today is the day that I lost it. It happened at breakfast. I put my head down on the table and started bawling. And bawling. And bawling. And my barely 2 year old little Jasper, bless his heart, kept patting my shoulder and saying,


"Mommy sad? Mommy sad. Baber (aka Jasper) happy!! Mommy happy??" 
He kept trying to cheer me up. Such a sweet boy.

There's nothing major that's wrong. Just lots of little things that stress me out that are piling up on each other. The house is a complete wreck. I mean an absolute wreck. Every single room is a disaster and in some state of disrepair; that majorly stresses me out. I always prefer to have my house clean and orderly and for it to be an absolute disaster is very stressful.

I'm in the middle of a HUGE painting project that takes every spare second of my life.

Jasper is being "ornery" and requiring tons of (super-human) patience and loving discipline.

All the toilets are having issues.

It's rained for 18 months straight.

I'm pregnant and every moment of every day I'm so sick and vomiting constantly and oh so exhausted.

The front porch is crumbling.

The living room is crumbling.

The gutter outside the garage fell off yesterday.

Then this morn, I walked into the office to find water and what looks like blood seeping through the ceiling.

We have no food, no clean clothes, no menu, no fitness or exercise. I have no ability to grocery shop, menu plan, or cook meals for my family.

I take an average of 2 showers a week (due to exhaustion and sickness) and consequently feel gross and unattractive to my husband.

Nothing major. Just lots of little things that have been piling

up and, due to the water coming through the office ceiling this morn, today is the day I broke down.

After bfast, I scooped Jasper up in my arms, headed upstairs to my bed with him, snuggled under the covers with him, and watched an hour and half of Elmo (hey, whatever it takes :o)).

Now that he's in bed for his morning quiet time, I've dug into the bible. I've just been reading and reading the Psalms and they're such a balm to my discouraged and overwhelmed heart. Emotionally, I'm at the bottom and I have nowhere else to look except to God and it's actually a good place to be.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:8

I've been reading that verse over and over for the last hour and it's been so encouraging to me! I'm not to take refuge (or boast) in a clean house or a tidy property or a perfect child or amazing meals or a trim and fit body. I'm to take refuge in God. Alone. My soul is to make its boast in God. Nothing else. What a perfect reminder from God on this hard day.

As I was sitting in my cozy chair with my new ottoman, reading Psalm 34 and reflecting that I'm to take refuge in God and boast in Him alone, I was reminded of Job from the Bible. I get goose bumps and am brought to humble tears every time I read the first chapter of Job.

He lost his entire property.

His children were killed.

He lost his livelihood and income.

His servants were killed.

And all of that happened in the very same day. Then in verses 20-22, it says that when Job heard all this, he fell down and worshiped God and in all of it, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Oh, what a challenge to my heart.

My problems are so small and piddly compared to what many people face today. So small compared to what Job went through. Yet he fell down and worshiped God and did not sin. How easily I sin and wallow in self pity when something happens. The other day, I was teaching Jasper about sin and was reading to him from Gen. 4:7 where God is saying to Cain, "sin is crouching at the door. It's desire is for you and you must rule over it." That verse came flooding back to me this morning as I was pondering Job and taking refuge in God vs. giving into the sin that is crouching at my door.

My deep, deep heartfelt prayer for today is that I will not give in to the sin that is "crouching at my door" but that I will find refuge in God and make my boast in Him.

And as I pray this for myself, I so sincerely pray this for my little Jasper, also. That he would grow to be a little boy who does not give into the sin "crouching at his door" but that he would be a boy who, even at a young age, would find refuge in the Lord.
God is so gracious to give such perfect reminders to my heart at the exact time I need them.

"My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad!" Psalm 34:2

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Face of Love

The Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case is a devastating tragedy.

A mother has lost her young son.  Forever.  She will never hug or kiss him again.

Another mother fears for her son's life.

And it has caused Americans all over the country great heartache and concern regarding longstanding prejudices against people simply for the color of their skin.

Regardless of one's opinion of the verdict itself, we cannot ignore the reality that prejudices absolutely exist in this world.  And, I believe, that as a follower of Jesus it is my duty to examine my own heart for prejudices.

For, Jesus came and "died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him.." [2 Corinthians 5:15]

ALL are one in Christ Jesus and belong to Him.  There are no dividing differences: "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female."  [Galatians 3:28]

And Jesus is the face of the Father's love for the whole world. [John 3:16]

Thus any prejudices that draw divisions in my heart regarding any of God's children, must be honestly examined, confessed, and transformed into His Face of Love

I spent a great deal of time this past week examining my own heart.  Asking God to expose those dark areas of prejudice.

Scripture encourages us to do this.   

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." [2 Corinthians 13:5]

Many of us are familiar with the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 11 where we are taught to first, "examine" ourselves for sin before taking communion.

Mine became like the prayer of Job 13:23 where he says to the Lord, "How many are my iniquities and my sins?  Make me know my transgression and my sin."

The solution to the very real problem of prejudice is LOVE.  And not just any love, but the unconditional love of Jesus.

As I've thought about Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman and as I've examined my own heart for prejudice,  I have been drawn to Romans 12 where I get a clear picture of how The Lord wants to transform my face into His love for ALL people.

Starting in verse 9 it reads,

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.  Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.  Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.  Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”  Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Friends, our children are growing up in a world where prejudices exist.  But my prayer is that they will continually examine their own hearts for prejudices AND that they can be the Face of Love to the world around them by seeing all people as God's dearly loved.

Join me in prayer through song and word:



Jesus,
Would you protect my children's hearts from prejudice?  I pray they would run from this evil and cling to what is good.  May the evils of prejudice never get the best of them, rather may they get the best of this evil by doing good to all people, regardless of race.  I pray they would regularly examine their own hearts and as they do, would you make them know their transgression and sin. And may they be the face of Your love to the world around them; a love that is sincere, unconditional, and full of grace.
 






Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gloating

I cringe when I see one of my boys smirk or smile slightly when they have gotten the other one in trouble.

I am greatly concerned when they seem to delight in each others failures or mistakes.

I can't stand to see them gloat or rejoice when the other is caught in sin.

In these despicable moments, there is this ugly, ugly mountain of pride that is impossible not to see. 

Scripture teaches,
"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him." [Proverbs 24:17-18]

Wait, what? 

Based on these verses, God is MORE disgusted with prideful gloating than the other man's sin. 

That says something...God completely disapproves when we savor and delight in another's downfall.

My boys aren't enemies.  I know they care for and love each other.  But, they still fall prey to prideful gloating when the other stumbles or makes mistakes.  

So, join me in prayer today and let's ask the Lord to change our children's gloating hearts to hearts of humility and compassion.

Jesus, I pray that my children would NOT find pleasure in another's downfall, but rather that they would humbly recognize that they too are sinners and are in desperate need of Jesus' forgiveness and grace.  I pray You would change their gloating heart into a heart full of humility and compassion.  I pray they would spur one another on toward righteousness and only rejoice when the other is faithful to obey God. 





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Handling Disappointment

Often it is how we handle disappointment when our true colors come out.

Our sincere trust in God can be measured through disappointment.

If our level of hope depletes in disappointment, a shaky faith is exposed.

For the past few weeks, the kids fought through a cruddy virus involving two days of fever and a subsequent rash for a few more days.  The virus hit us like a domino effect.  First, Grayden.  Then, Allie.  And finally, Cole-Man.


Cole happened to have it the week he and Grayden were suppose to attend Vacation Bible School.

So, for several days he had to watch Grayden drive away to VBS with my neighbor and her kids (her son happens to be one of Cole's best friends). 

The first day he stood at a distance and watched an excited Grayden hop in their van and say hello to his friends.  As they drove away I saw the tears forming in his eyes

He was so sad. 

And with his little four year old voice he whimpered,
"I want to go to VBS too."

I held him close, let him cry, and told him I understood his disappointment.

Every day he watched Grayden go to VBS.
And every day he was disappointed.

BUT, he showed strength.

Each day he had his moment of disappointment be it tears or general sadness...but he never allowed those moments to taint the rest of his day.  He still laughed (when medicated and not fevering), he still joyfully enjoyed his trains, and he still wanted to hear about Grayden's time at VBS.

I was so proud of how he handled his disappointment.
He responded with honest emotions but always had hope for a good day regardless of his missing VBS.

Friends, I don't always handle disappointment well.
It can shatter my joy and expose a shaky hope & trust in God.

And disappointment that is not handled well can effect all areas of my life...especially my relationship with God.

A verse I have often prayed for myself or given to someone who is experiencing disappointment is in Romans 15:13

It reads,

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

As I apply this verse to disappointment I hear that my God is a God of hope who can fill my disappointed heart with ALL joy and peace. All I need to do is put my trust in Him...fall into His loving arms and let Him be God in my circumstance.  He then fills me with joy and peace so that my hope is never depleted, but rather overflowing.  And this is all accomplished by His Spirit who empowers me. 

On this particular occasion, Cole handled disappointment well.  But he is only 4.  There will undoubtedly be countless disappointments in his life.

And so I feel led to pray this verse over him and all my children as they experience disappointment. 

Won't you join me because there is NO question that your children will be faced with disappointment as well.

Jesus,
As my children face disappointment in life I pray they will trust you to be God over all their circumstances.  May disappointment never shatter their joy or deplete their hope in You. I pray they would fall into your loving, comforting, and safe arms.  And may You, the God of hope, fill them with all joy and peace as they trust You in disappointment, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of Your Spirit working in and through them. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Heed The Spirit's Warnings

Have you ever seen or heard warning signs and disregarded them?

Have you ever ignored common sense?

And as a result, that bad thing which you KNEW could happen, did happen.

This describes my evening yesterday in a nutshell.

Keith and I attended his work's 10th anniversary party.  The party was held at a metropark inside a beautiful building looking out onto the city skyline.

We parked our car at the front of the parking lot entrance where we had the furthest to walk (we were a little late).

In a hurry to leave the house, I had taken a second (smaller) purse in the car with me and transferred to it a few of the things from my everyday (and much bigger) purse. 


I didn't want to carry around my bulky everyday purse the whole evening...would've cramped my style.  However my wallet wouldn't fit into the small, and rather impractical, purse so I left it in my everyday one.   

Before exiting the car I looked down at my everyday purse and the warning signs started flashing:

Renee, you are parked on the end of the row...easy access for a quick getaway.  Find a way to take your wallet in.  Or put your everyday purse in the trunk..OUT OF SIGHT.

I even said to Keith,
"Should I bring my wallet in or do you think it's okay to leave it here."

And being the trusting, obviously naive, people that we are, we both concluded I could leave my everyday purse on the passenger seat floor WITH MY WALLET IN IT, in plain sight, and all would be fine.

Stupid.
So incredibly, STUPID.

And I imagine you can guess the rest of the story. 
As we left the party three hours later we arrived at a busted passenger's side window with my everyday purse still sitting on the floor but WITH NO WALLET IN IT.

Oh I was so mad at myself.
I knew better.
I had disregarded the warning signs that went off in my head.
I had ignored what I know to be common sense.
And what I KNEW could happen, DID HAPPEN.
Stupid, Renee....STUPID.

We spent several hours canceling credit cards, filling out police reports, calling insurance companies, cleaning up glass...you know the drill.

And as we drove home and I sat in the back seat with the wind blowing on me from the broken window, I prayed.
I prayed a lot of things.

And like He always does in my life, God used my stupidity to teach me a spiritual lesson

Renee,
just like in this case where the warning signs were there...
so it is with SIN. 
Lately, you've disregarded the Spirit's warning signs against sin in your life. 
You've ignored spiritual common sense.
You've sinned with FULL KNOWLEDGE of its harmful consequences. 
And what you KNEW could happen, DID happen.

And then He plainly reminded me of the Holy Spirit's role in my life,

The Spirit is my "Counselor." [John 16:7]
The Spirit guides me "into all truth." [John 16:13]

When I disregard the warning signs of sin and foolishly ignore my spiritual common sense...I am disregarding and ignorning the Spirit of Jesus in my life. 

And when I ignore The One given to me with the purpose of counseling and guiding me toward that which is truth...I am being REALLY STUPID.

So, I laid in bed last night well aware of two lessons learned...

1. Heed warnings and listen to common sense when it comes to personal safety.

2. Heed The Spirit's warnings and listen to His counsel when it comes to sin in my life.

Join me today and let's pray our children learn these lessons as well...and maybe before they make a stupid mistake.

Jesus,
I pray my children will have common sense in this world.  I pray they will heed warnings for their safety and for the safety of their possessions.  And more importantly, I pray they will have spiritual commons sense.  I pray they will heed the Holy Spirit's warnings and listen to His counsel when it comes to sin in their lives.  Help them to follow His guiding into all truth.  Help them to avoid sin's consequences by doing what they know to be right in the first place.







Friday, July 19, 2013

GUEST BLOG: More Than Enough

GUEST BLOG FRIDAY
 
My faithful friend Erin has guest blogged with us before:  Freedom from Fear.
 
Let's hear her praying heart again!
 
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by Erin
 
Because the battle between pride and humility is waged so openly and deeply in my life, I find myself begging the Lord,
 
"Let my beautiful children have obedient hearts."
 
I am learning more about Gideon in the book of Judges and am at the part where God karate chops his troops down from 32,000 to 300. Yikes
 
But the reason God gives Gideon is so that his people wouldn’t try to take credit for the success in battle that would come directly from the Lord. Gulp
 
How easy it is for us to take credit. 
 
How easy it is for my 2 year old son to take credit when his big sister worked her tail off to clean up. 
“Yup mommy, I did it.” 
 
The study I am going through on Gideon points out that it is when the odds are against us and we pull it off, that humility reigns supreme
 
The Psalmist says it well when he says, paraphrased, “don’t let me forget what you’ve done for me God!” (Psalm 103:2).

Join me in prayer today:
 
God we thank you because you are always enough. Help us tell your story to our kids. Like we are reminded in Deuteronomy, let us write it and speak it over and over again so our precious little ones know you and know the importance of putting you first. God we pray that they would bless you and not forget your benefits. We pray that when they are up against something bigger than they can handle on their own, their focus would be on you and not on them. May you reign and rule in their lives.  And with humility, may they KNOW that you are more than enough.
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Limitless God

You know the saying, "I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today."

Meaning...
I'm just not myself today.
I'm off.
I'm tired. confused. frustrated.
I'm sort of a ticking time bomb.

As limited human beings it is incredibly easy to feel this way, even within minutes of waking up.

Our tanks get empty. 
Our flesh wins battles. 
Our minds need answers. 
And our hearts lack love.

We are limited.

But God has no limits

His tank overflows.
His wisdom is complete.
There are no bounds to His love. 
He is forever pure and holy.
He has no kryptonite.
He never wakes up on the wrong side of the bed AND never has an off day.

My kids know within the first hour of the morning whether mom woke up on the right or wrong side of the bed.  It is usually hard not to notice.  And for me, it is usually hard to hide it.

Years ago I went to a women's event at church and one of the speakers shared with us her daily, morning prayer.  It was a combination of words she put together for the exact purpose of avoiding a "wrong side of the bed" kind-of day.

The essence of the prayer was rooted in the truth that every morning we are limited AND that every morning we need help from our limitless God.

1 Peter 1:3 speaks to this:

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

When our day begins and we are well aware of our limitations, God can give us ALL that we need to not just endure our day, but to thrive and fulfill His will for it.

I memorized the speakers prayer and often pray her exact words first thing in the morning...especially on those "wrong side of the bed" days

I was inspired a few days ago that I need to teach my children the words to this prayer because they need my limitless God just as much as I do. 

They have "wrong side of the bed" days in which they wake up cranky, irritable, defiant, argumentative, frustrated, confused, and just plain tired. 

And I know and understand the exact struggle they are having...they are limited and they NEED a little, no a BIG, dose of their limitless God.



Join me and memorize the words to the following prayer and let's teach our children its words as well:

Almighty and Eternal God,
so draw my heart to you,
so guide my mind,
so fill my imagination,
so control my will,
that I might be completely devoted to you. 
Then, use me as you will,
and always to Your glory
and to the welfare of Your people. 
Through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.