a gift

I’m up late. I can’t stop thinking. My youngest boy has decided that he is ready to be baptized. We looked at some scriptures today and we talked. What a joy to know that my son will be making the most important step of his life in a week. This mama’s heart is so proud!

But that isn’t what has me up. It is the gift that Christ has offered to us. Some of us reach out and take it so willingly and yet some of hold back, unsure.

Roman 6:23, our wages for this life is death but God is extending a gift for everyone. His son, Jesus Christ. Freely. For all of us, not just a select few, but to everyone who believes.

And I don’t have to do anything for this gift. I can’t work hard enough, say enough prayers, be a better mom, a better wife, repent more, nothing. Nothing I do will every earn me this gift. Jesus’ perfect love is being extended to me, my husband, my sons, friends, and people I have never met. I am so blown away by this. I feel like a girl in love all over again!

Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

#thanksbetoGod  #Jesus #Christ

Raising Boys

“Raising Boys” I pray this encourages us moms whose relationships with our sons are moving into a new phase and emotionally we are adjusting to their needs. I am reading through 1 Samuel and my heart jumped for joy for Hannah (and myself) this morning. Yesterday my heart ached when I thought of Hannah, desperately wanting a child so much that from the bitterness of her soul (1:10) she prayed for a child and she made a vow to the Lord. She physically gave her son to God after he was weened and visited yearly with a new robe. I’ve read this before and thought this was it. Decided that this could not be me. Thinking that this was pretty much the relationship she had with him. I know after Samuel she had 3 more sons and 2 more daughters but Come On! Samuel was her first born baby. Her answer to prayer.

Then I read 1 Samuel 7:17 this morning. “But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was”. No matter where God lead Samuel, no matter how many business trips he had to take, he always came home. Hannah had a deeper relationship with her son. She was able to develop a relationship with her daughter-in-law, hold her grandchildren, watch Samuel grow as a leader.

Just because we let go of our sons, encouraging them to be a part of the bigger “tribe”, dedicating them to God, this doesn’t mean the relationship is not as important, that we aren’t important, or even over. They will always come back to where home is. Our relationship with our boys will change, more than we want it to, but none the less, that relationship with us will be something they need for the rest of their lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Idols

1 Samuel 5:1-5  “…When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained….”

I really do love food.  I can’t help it.  I love food.  I love to eat.  I love to eat when I’m happy, sad, mad, bored and every other emotion that is out there.  I also love my children, my husband, flowers, and coffee.  I love God too.

But do I love God more than anything else.  Do I put God before everything else.  Do I love God so much that Luke 14:26 doesn’t bother me?   I would love to say yes but  I’ve struggled with food for so long that it’s creating insecurities.  I want to love God more.  I don’t want this issue with food.  I want food to be put in its proper perspective and not allow it to be my idol.  But I struggle.  I struggle with always wanting that second helping, eating when I’m not hungry, eating when I should be praying, when I should be fixed on God.

Grief!  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Part of me is really looking forward to the food!  I’m looking forward to memory making with my family as well but I’m looking forward to the food!  I’m also dreading it.  Dreading, fear, that I’m going to stand before an idol and worship it.  Fear that I’m going to push God to the side.  My heart is divided.

As I read on in chapter 5:8 it says that The Lord’s hand was heavy upon the people.  I don’t want God’s hand against me!  I fear that as well.  Why am I making this so darn complicated?!  Why is this so hard?!  Satan has my number on this issue and I’m praying that I have the strength to not pick up the phone.  Because……

God will not share space with any idol.  Our God is a jealous God.  Every knee shall bow before Him.

Father, please forgive me for all the times I have chosen food over you God.  Please forgive me for all times I have celebrated not by looking at you but by going to food.  Please forgive me for when I’ve allowed food to calm me, comfort me, instead of turning to you God.  How great is your joy, Lord, in the victories you give.  Please give me victory in this area Lord.

Diet

1 Samuel 4:3 “When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, Why did the Lord bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save  us from the hand of our enemies.”

I feel like I have been on a diet forever.  Ever since my first child was born I have remained at that same weight.  I’ve read all the books, I’ve joined the support groups, I’ve gotten advice.  My knowledge on weight loss could be enough to write a book!

My problem is that I keep putting the ark of the Lord’s covenant in front of me but I have not gone before God.  I have not poured my heart out to him, asking for forgiveness, repenting.  I am not using the power that God wants to give me and I find myself frustrated and emotional.

The thing is, God has been working on my heart all these years.  I need to let him.  God wants me.  God wants my heart.  God isn’t satisfied with me just holding onto his Word every morning, storing up all this knowledge, putting it in front of me in an attempt to win but not using it the way in which it was meant to be used so that I can have victory.

The way in which I am seeking help is not the way that God approves of.  I am only caring if these books and diet plans will work.  But my heart isn’t focused on God and how God wants my heart to change.  That needs to happen before any of these ‘plans’ will succeed.

I need God, God needs to be in the forefront of this battle but without a repentant heart all I am doing is holding out this knowledge, holding out the ark in front and hoping ‘that it may go well with me and save me’.   That is not how God works.

1 Samuel 7:6  I have got to come before God and confess.  I am a sinful woman.  I have sinned against God.  I have to be willing to sacrifice, fast.  Allow God to lead me.  My eyes are upon all this diet plans, all this nutritional knowledge.  God has a diet plan.  It’s within the pages of His Bible.  I need to trust that God will provide and allow Him to lead me without making a big deal of anything, without seeking anymore advice.  Just do what He says.  My heart knows.

God’s will

1 Samuel 3:19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. (NIV) In the Message version it say that God was with him and Samuel’s prophetic record was flawless.

There have been moments when I’ve been listening to a woman or man of God preaching God’s Word and I’m hanging in anticipation for the next word. I am just feeling emotional, excited, and feeling God’s hand upon me and I can’t wait to soak it all in. Those are moments I know that God was there, I was listening, and changes are going to be happening.

We all have our favorite speakers from Beth Moore to Christine Caine to Priscilla Shirer. We find opportunities to listen to them speak, read their books, share their messages with other women. When someone is walking in the will of God it’s just exciting to hear them talk.

Samuel was growing up in a time very similar to ours. The leaders, the authorities or lack there of, the religious people around him, they all did as they saw fit. Israel had no king and no one was looking to step up and lead God’s people back to God so all the people did as they saw fit. We know what that can look like. Greed creeps in, selfishness, idolatry, dissentions, corruption, and the like.

Samuel is even surrounded by priests, born into the ministry, who should be his example of godly men and we are told in verse 12 of chapter 3 that they were wicked men and had no regard for the Lord. Eli, their father, even knew of their behavior and failed to restrain them (v.13).

God notice that Samuel is different. Samuel is ministering before the Lord and the Lord is taking notice. In a time when the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions (v.1). God sees and when God is ready He makes sure that not one of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. Changes were going to happen.

Like Samuel I want to make sure that I am in God’s will and doing His will and not just what I see fit. (John 6:38) Jesus tells me “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” because (Mark 3:35) “Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother”.

That is a great lesson for learning to keep your faith even when it seems like no one else is and it seems like God is not answering prayers for a while.  Stay in God’s will.

Post on FB

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

I’ve seen so many posts, on Facebook, in the past few days that represent fear. Fear of Muslims. Fear of Terrorists. Fear of allowing Syrian refugees of coming to the United States. Fear of those in Muslim attire.

We’ve seen this before. This isn’t new. History is full of horrible events fueled by fear.  Jews, Irish, German, Japanese, Blacks, Whites, Catholic, Protestants, Italians, Muslims and Christians. Fear, and fear leads us to hateful actions towards each other. 

I have to be honest. As I type this out I see my three beautiful sons sitting at the table acting like little goof balls. I love them and because of that love I too am a little afraid. I don’t want them to ever feel pain. I couldn’t imagine the horrors some mothers are facing. I also know that I cannot live my life in that fear.

I must trust God and He gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pray

Deuteronomy 4:7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him?

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

I am so grateful to be able to teach my children about prayer. After watching “War Room” we made a prayer wall in our home. There is a box of pencils and post-it-notes near the wall so that we can write out our prayer requests and post them on our wall. There are a few posts where we wrote scripture out to remind us of how to pray, how to treat each other, and how great our God is.

Every night we stand or kneel in front of our prayer requests. Some of those requests have been there for a while, reminding us to remain faithful in those prayers. However, some of those prayers have been answered, reminding us to praise God. I’m so grateful for those reminders. I need to be reminded of how God has been near us, near me when we pray. We need to be reminded.

Father, thank you so for being near me when I pray.