Teaching Our Children To Love God

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One of the biggest blessing in my life has been to homeschool my children.  The Word of God was a major part of our day, starting with quiet devotions in the morning and spilling over into every subject – handwriting, history, and language arts.  We used Deuteronomy 6 as our mission statement and model.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

As parents this is our first responsibility, the Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord, specially created for His pleasure and divine purpose (Psalm 127:3-5; 139:13-16). God has entrusted us with our children for a very short time, during which parents have the responsibility of training, instructing, nurturing, and disciplining them, as well as overseeing their education (Ephesians 6:4). At the same time, I realize home schooling is not for everyone and that’s o.k.  But, it is imperative that Christian parents teach their children the Word of God from a young age, showing them how to incorporate it into their daily lives, trusting continually in God. We are to keep His words on our heart, to think on them, to meditate on them, to reflect on them. Knowing we cannot give our children what we do not possess. We cannot pass along what we do not own. No one else can do it for us. We are to love the Lord with all our heart and to share and model that love with our children.  Our children are watching us and modeling our attitudes and behaviors. They are parroting back our attitudes about Christ and His church.

Every part of the day as a family is an opportunity to spend time in the Word together, whether the Bible is in front of us or not!

Hopefully, Long after you and I are gone our children will have raised their children and have seen their children’s children will come to know you, nothing else will matter but that we here today taught our children to know Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. Nothing else will matter—certainly not the money we saved, the businesses we ran, the houses we lived in, or even the friends and memories we shared—none of that will matter. The only thing that will matter will be the Gospel—the saving Truth of Jesus Christ, which has brought life to us and to our children. That is the greatest gift you can give your child—the gift of life, real life, in Jesus Christ.

I pray Lord that we know in our heart the One in whom we  believe. That You are Lord, our God and that Your word of promise will not fail. Thank you Lord that Your grace has redeemed us to be your own. May our love for you overflow in our hearts as we teach our children your ways, that they may grow to Love you and your Word.  Help them Father to grow in the grace and knowledge of You.

May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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Wounds That Do Not Show

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I grew up in a world where I was afraid all the time. Sexual abuse starting at age 5, stalker and rape at age 15, alcohol and drug abuse permeating my childhood. All of these traumas I kept quiet. For years. I lived under that unwritten, unspoken mandate that to tell was to betray.

It wasn’t until I met Jesus at eighteen that the secrets started to spill.  Although, it would be many years before I had the courage to tell the whole truth. I have been met with very different reactions, from encouragement to well, maybe don’t tell everyone. What I have learned is, that hiding the truth will cause it to fester, which is what I have been doing for many years. Proof being many failed relationships. If we want Jesus to set us free, we need to tell the truth…the whole truth. I would be lying if I said it no longer hurts, but the Lord has allowed me to use my hurts for His glory, which feels amazing.

Unfortunately, the imprint of childhood trauma still shows up in our lives in the smallest ways. In what we see, in what we hear or what we smell… when we least expect it. It can cost us everything if we do not seek help.

Healing is worth it. Sometimes our very existence can be exhausting. Yet, people will want us to heal on their time. They will ask us to hurry up, forgive and move on…and my favorite “get over it.”  However, people don’t understand that it takes a lot of focus, prayer and courage for us to just show up.  I am living testimony that you can heal with Jesus, that you can transform in such a way that people would be shocked that you ever walked that path of pain.

You may be thinking, well that is great for you but you don’t know what I lived through…you’re right. I don’t. But consider this…Instead of seeing your past as a burden, start seeing it as a chance for God to use it for his glory! We actually have an advantage really, because we know our need for Jesus..sometimes, it is all we have. We know we can’t heal on our own. Our weakness is the starting place for the Lord to set us free.

That’s why, I can now thank the Lord for the pain, shame and fear in my childhood.. Because of it I am a better mother to my children. It helps me see my desperate need for Jesus and my unshakeable faith.  It is like a verse in Job where after all the terrible things that happened to him he say’s “I knew of you (God), but know I see you.”  We have seen the worst and we survived, there is freedom in that.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”  Psalm 55:22

If you have found yourself burdened down, anxious, or worried about any area of your life, I believe this message is for you, you are not reading this by accident. God wants you to know that you were never meant to handle everything on your own, which is why you feel weighed down with the cares of this life. If you haven’t already, pray about that thing that you are worrying about, and release it to God, knowing that He has promised to take care of you. Ask Him to show you if there is anything you can do, and leave the rest to Him.

Dear Lord, Please help those struggling with hurts in their life, to be able to accept these issues and heal Lord. To understand that some things take time to process. I pray for encouragement so that we may not tire of waiting or doing good. While these things may take time, slow progress is being made. May the Holy Spirit assist us in doing these things, guiding us and filling us with wisdom. May we feel your love today. Please equip us with the patience we need to endure in Jesus’ name AMEN!

Our Refuge

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“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolation’s he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

When we are still and surrendered to God, we find peace even when the earth gives way, the mountains fall, or the nations go into an uproar and kingdoms fall. When life gets overwhelming and busyness takes over, remember Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Run to Him, lay down your worriess and fall into His arms. Acknowledge that He is God and that He is exalted in the earth. Be still and know that He is God.

Amen

Dear Lord,

I need you.

I am desperate for your help.

I am desperate for your wisdom.

I am desperate for your miracles.

Calm me.

Soothe me.

Refocus me.

I will listen to you.

I will remember that you said, “Be still and know that I am God.”

As I read your words, I will allow you to calm me.

I will remember that –

I am not desperate – I just feel desperate.

I will put on the belt of truth. I will speak tr

A Cheerful Heart

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When I think of this verse, I immediately think of my daughter Jenni.  Jenni was/is the most happy carefree child I have ever known.  Anytime, I made eye contact with her she would ALWAYS break into a big grin, even when she was unhappy with me for disciplining her, try as she might to be unhappy she just could not do it!  There are so many things she did that brought me so much joy!  When she would laugh, it’s the best sound I’ve ever heard (still is), unconditional love, hugs and kisses, snuggling and just watching her learn new things each day, it’s all just priceless and pure joy to behold.

Memories like these will definitely make you smile, maybe even tear up. A warm glow fills you like a candle, burning  deep inside your soul.  Children give us unconditional love, as adults we can learn a lot from children, they have no biases when it comes to love. If you smile at a child, he/she will beam a huge smile back at you for no reason other than your presence. Children do not love with expectation of something better in return, they just love.

Think about it. To everyone, all over the world, a smile is the universal expression of friendliness and goodwill, and even a tiny baby recognizes that a smile is a happy thing.  Smiling is also good for you… it lowers your blood pressure, helps your immune system to work better, and releases natural pain killers, endorphins, and serotonin.

There is no downside to a genuine, warm smile, and for that grumpy or harried someone who is having a really bad day, your friendly smile can be a real mood changer. Try giving the gift of a smile… and giving it freely throughout your day. You may be surprised at what a difference a smile can make!

Nothing reveals more about our hearts than our words and actions. Our heart contains the motivations for what we do and why we do it. We are encouraged through scripture to pay attention to our hearts with due diligence. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ—our hearts will become more convicted about sin and more tender loving towards people especially the lost

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

One of the best blessings in being a believer in Jesus Christ is the peace that rises above every life situation. While others are fretting with worry, believers have the power of the Holy Spirit to guard their hearts and minds with peace and joy that has no human explanation. Having peace and joy allows believers to continue to go through hardships painful situations without regret. The key to having peace in our hearts is surrendering all our prayers to God and trusting in Him to take care of each one.  Just as the body can’t function well without a healthy heart, neither can the Christian with a spiritual heart—we will be sluggish in our work, hard at hearing God’s word, and slow to recognize His presence. The consistent disciplines of the Christian faith of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship will keep our spiritual hearts hearts pumping strong towards our eternal destination.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for not only saving my soul, but for the promise of healing also.  I do appreciate the many times over the years that You have healed me personally.  I also thank you for the gift of healing as I have prayed and You have touched others with Your healing virtue.   You truly are the Great Physician. I do appreciate that about You.  Lord, I do want to always remain in a joyful attitude, no matter what might come my way.  Fill me with Your love, joy and peace daily, so that I might be an example of Your goodness. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

My Daughter And Queen Esther

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For Such A Time As This

I think every little girl dreams of being a princess.  My oldest daughter Summer’s favorite bible story was about Queen Esther.  She always enjoyed reading and learning about this amazing Queen that God chose, not to mention watching the video a million times!  From a very early age Summer was all girl, she loved to dress up like a princess with all the jewelry and crowns.  I wanted her to learn and hear about real-life princesses and queens that were brave, strong and selfless.  The Bible has the ultimate queen heroine Queen Esther!

The book of Esther takes place during exile in Persia and recounts the plot to exterminate the Jewish nation. Since Esther has miraculously become Queen, she was in a unique position to foil the evil plot. Her cousin Mordecai utters this famous quote to Esther regarding her divine destiny: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Chapter 4:14)

As a mom, I was glad that she wanted to emulate Esther and here is why:

Esther is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other woman.

Esther was a queen who knew the power of when to speak and when to remain quiet.

Esther had courage: Remember Queen Esther when she said the words, “If I perish, I perish.” She was undoubtedly a brave queen. She was a remarkable woman who was willing to risk her life to save her people. She was a woman of principle who was willing to put the lives of others ahead of even her own life. She was an outstanding example of serving others even under the most stressful circumstances. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Esther’s beauty came from the inside where the presence of God’s unfailing love lived in her (Esther 2:8) Over and over in Esther’s story, we see she found favor. “Favor” is the word hesed in Hebrew and it means “God’s unfailing love”. Favor was the secret of Esther’s beauty. When the people saw in the palace, including the king, it wasn’t only her physical appearance they were seeing. They were seeing the presence of God inside of her.

Now, my daughter Summer is an adult getting ready to have her own family. If I was asked to describe my daughter; Esther would come to mind why? Because she is fiercely loyal, smart, determined, brave and deeply faithful.  She always carries herself (even as a small child) with grace, modesty and style, she has an inner (as well as outer) beauty.  I like to think that those early years of studying, reading and watching Esther ‘s story are now part of her DNA. That was the beauty of homeschooling, I could do and did a complete curriculum study on Esther.

Like Queen Esther (4:14), we each have been created for His purpose – “for such a time as this.”

We can all use this story in our everyday lives. Most of the time our lives will be pretty routine, but all of us have a few defining moments when we may be called on to put godly principle above personal benefit. What will you do when you encounter those defining moments in your life? What will you do when you face “such a time as this”? Will you choose to do the right thing as opposed to what might give you some personal benefit?

Esther shows all of us the way, and we can be inspired by her example.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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A couple of years ago I was watching Facing The Giants and one of the characters kept saying , “Bloom where you’re planted.”   I automatically began to think about how the Bible instructs us to be “fruitful”. I began to think about how God has placed us in the circumstances that we are in for a reason, and that we can choose to make the best of the situation we are in.  We can’t always live the lives we dreamed of. It’s just not possible. Yet, I’m sure most of us have hopes and dreams that aren’t already realized and maybe, for whatever reason, they won’t be for years to come.  But, this is my new mantra as I guide my life in a new, exciting direction. Sometimes all we need are a few words to spark something, to find motivation.

The word bloom is telling us that we need to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. What does it mean for a person,  to bear fruit?
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The Bible uses the phrase “bear fruit” to refer to the good works we should be performing as believers. When we blossom for Christ, we share the love of Jesus with all those around us.

We need to bloom where ever we are planted. Being content with our circumstances in life is sometimes difficult, but God has placed us right where he wants us to be. No one could have put this into better perspective than Paul did in Philippians chapter 4, verse 12 when he wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” True contentment is found, not in having everything you want, but in not wanting to have everything.

Lastly and most impotantly, we need to bloom where we’re planted.  We need to be rooted and grounded in God’s word. If we are not sure what the word says, Satan will lead us astray using every scheme and tactic he can come up with.

Psalm 1:2-3 says,” But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Sometimes we may not understand why we work where we work, live where we live, shop where we shop, eat where we eat, or worship where we worship. However, rest assured that God has strategically placed you in the precise location on this earth that He wanted you to be. Make the most of every opportunity to “bloom” in God’s garden.

Lord, when life is not what we planned it to be, walk with us. Help us to flourish and grow right where we are, because you are the Author of life. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

We Need Fellowship With Fellow Christians

 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4 :12

As we read this verse we think of the process of rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Likewise, the Word of God is a “double-edged sword”

This verse shows us the need for fellowship with one another. We know that man was not made to be alone, for the Lord God say’s this, even before the Fall (Genesis 2:18)? How much more, then, after the Fall of Man, do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer? Clearly, this was recognized by the saints of the early church Acts 2 42-47, who “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer, all corporate activities that provided opportunities for sharpening one another.

We know that the meeting of two people together in the Lord’s name will always bring blessing. The Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them Matthew 18:20. Also, we also see in Malachi, for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard Malachi 3:16. When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” Psalm 133:1. Therefore, as the author to the Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” Hebrews 10:24–25.