Inspiration, Christianity and My Life, Children

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Delight in God


REXPsalm 37:4 (NASB)

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Why wouldn’t we want to take great pleasure in the One who created us and our world? But just exactly how would that look? To me that would translate into consistently thinking about God and His will and getting excited about all of it. Delighting in the Lord is directly connected to the greatest commandment.

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Loving God with every ounce of strength that we have is what God wants—because we are His people and He is our God. Loving God in the good times and in the bad. Unfortunately, we can all remember the bad times—but that should not stop us from loving God. I believe those times should strengthen our convictions to follow the truth because we made it through them, even if we came through in a different way than we had hoped. Life is about the journey and our reward comes when we endure the hard times to make it to the good times.

Delighting ourselves in the God who created us will bring us through the toughest times and into the best times of our lives on this earth. Paul went through some pretty rough times but he persevered and we have most of the New Testament thanks to Him. In Romans Paul speaks of not being ashamed of the Gospel. He suffered much for the cause of the Gospel and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him from preaching the good news of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16 (NASB)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Why wasn’t Paul intimidated by those who told him not to preach? I believe part of the answer is that he loved God and loved his neighbors as himself. He was also empowered by the Holy Spirit and understood that he must suffer in order to spread the gospel. Paul loved God with all of his being, even before his salvation. Then, at his salvation he came to know the creator of the universe and was not afraid to let everyone know. God’s love was so embedded in his heart nothing could stop him.

We can learn a lot from Paul that is applicable to our lives today. I pray that this week we will all take these scriptures into consideration to see our lives changed. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

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Abortion Who is The Victim?


matt

I have been saddened this week by the State of New York passing a bill legalizing abortion all the way up to birth. The darkness of this decision is incomprehensible.

In Exodus chapter 1:15-2:10 is the story of the brave midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh and did not kill the baby boys of the Hebrews who paved the way for the birth of Moses. Pharaoh wanted the Israelite nation to decrease because he saw them as a threat. The state of New York has a whole different reason for murdering children- women’s rights.

The birth of a child should be a happy time of new life. And I am sure if you ask anyone who has lost a child around the time of birth they would explain the trauma they felt. Their trauma was because they were not thinking of just themselves but of this new life they were a part of creating. They were celebrating life.

Someone getting an abortion is usually overwhelmed by some circumstances and not thinking about the gift of a new life they have been entrusted with. Laws that encourage them to abort a baby to solve their dilemma are contributing to their demise. Women who have had abortions suffer a form of post traumatic stress disorder just like our veterans who have been in a war zone.

An abortion is an event that has no victor only victims. So if the state of New York actually wanted to help women they would work to outlaw abortion and provide services to those victims who have been wrongly served by society by being offered an abortion as a solution rather than helping them make the best of their situation.

It is difficult when you find yourself in a pregnancy before you have the means to take care of a child and/or before you are mentally ready to handle the situation. I know from experience that the season of struggle is worth the results of another person having a chance to live and love and grow up to become someone. I conceived my oldest son when I was young, naive and privately engaged to be married–we were waiting on the purchase of the engagement ring to make it public. I was in college and Bob was working but not earning much. Money was in short supply but our families helped with the essentials–it was a rough start but the little life inside of me made it all worth the tears and struggle to make it work.

Back then they had just come out with an expensive over the counter pregnancy test but I was too embarrassed to go to the pharmacy and try to find one, so I was told by a friend that Planned Parenthood could do a test. Scared and a bit embarrassed I went there and had the test and they gave me the results. I had my guard up because I knew this was the place were abortions happened. When they tried to counsel me I explained that I was getting married and did not need any further help. I never for a moment thought that I could just free myself from my situation by destroying the new life that was in me. And even after around 36 hours of labor, a c-section and nearly a year to get my strength back my little boy was worth the struggle. Now I am happy to say that he will celebrate his 40th birthday this year. He and his wife have said yes to life and have their own family now.

I can’t imagine what life would be like if I had said no to life back in 1979. I know for a fact I would not be the person I am today and I thank God for all the people who educated me on abortion in high school.

Join me in praying for those in our government that they would feel conviction to provide safety for the unborn. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

 

 

Protecting


Protecting the lives of others can prompt you to undergo expenses. On our property there were some dead trees that we had to have pushed over so they would not drop limbs and harm anyone. We had to hire an excavator to knock them over and then buy a chain saw to cut them up and use our tractor to move them to a pile so that anyone on our property would be safe from harm by the trees.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I am amazed by what happens when I take time to write because God always directs me. In my last blog I posted 4 questions to ask myself each day to evaluate each day. I have found this very helpful. This week I would like to consider the first question.

◦ Did I protect those around me from unnecessary words and actions that would harm them rather than drawing them closer to God?

Notice the focus is not on me but on God and other people. If we could all live our lives with that perspective the world would be a better place and God would be glorified in our lives.

Protecting includes removing obstacles from our children so they grow up to be adults who know right from wrong and act accordingly. For example you would not want your child to play under a dead tree that is losing it branches because they could be harmed or lose their lives. In order to protect the child you will remove the dead tree because they do not truly understand the gravity of the situation. Grasping the level of understanding that a person has on life and precarious situations and removing dangerous obstacles from their paths is part of the protection a parent gives a child. Giving a child the word of God is a way to begin to help them understand what is important in life.

Protecting can also be sharing what you know that would help those around you even if they reject what you just say. Sometimes people will not understand the wisdom of God that you share with them, but that does not mean that you should not share it. Jeremiah was a prophet who was given many words that were not accepted by his audience and people were not nice to him, but he kept on sharing because he knew that is what God wanted him to do. Love is patient and kind, even in adversity. Patience and kindness protect those around us.

My main focus when I think about this question has been have I thrown out the thoughts that are not loving so that my words and actions were not harmful to anyone? At times my thoughts are like a dead tree that has to be cut down in order to avoid dead limbs from falling and hurting or killing someone. It takes the right equipment and some time to cut down the tree and clean up the mess it made. The equipment we need to cut out the dead thoughts is of course the Word of God applied to our minds daily to infuse life and love into our hearts.

2 Corinthians 10:5

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

The older I get the more I have come to understand that life is not about me and what I want. It is about God and why He has been gracious enough to allow me to live this life. There are still things I want, but over the years I believe they have merged with a bigger picture of God’s Kingdom and what is best for it. I believe that this perspective is the only way to live a successful life on earth before the eternal life with God.

I praise God this week for His word that sustains me and His thoughts that empower me to successfully traverse this life on earth. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

Love Never Fails


love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

When I was a child in school, I always got nervous about test days. I hoped that I had understood and studied the right stuff and that I would be able to make a good grade. We would learn a chapter at a time and then be tested on what we had learned and everyone hoped to pass these tests, knowing that the next chapter would build on the last in most subjects. If you missed the concept in math and just moved on, it made everything much more difficult and you would just spiral downhill with bad grades.

As I look at my life, I can see that I have been tested daily by the principals by which I should be living. 1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter and I see things that challenge each of us in it. Things like patience, kindness, envy, boasting, pride, dishonor, self-seeking, anger and recording wrongs others have inflicted on us. And the list goes on.

So how do I make sure I am living this scripture out in my everyday life? Well honestly, I fail on this probably daily but I have decided to try to make this scripture a measuring stick of my day. My thought is that at the end of each day I will take some time to think over my day and ask myself these questions:

Did I protect those around me from unnecessary words and actions that would harm them rather than drawing them closer to God?

Did I trust in God, knowing that He is my source of life, and with that trust treat everyone around me with kindness?

Did I hope in God today and by hoping show honor to those around me?

Did I persevere through the challenges today with the understanding that God is with me and I am His witness in this world?

I hope that this daily testing will bring awareness that will help me change my life to be a better witness of God’s Kingdom in my life. Will you join me?

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

 

Right Recipe, Wrong Method


IMG_1005Baking cookies has always been a big part of my Christmas experience. When we were children my mother used to bake dozens of cookies and give them to many people. Cookies were the greatest gift to give friends. All of the children had a part in the cookie making process and that is where I began to have a love of baking cookies.

I have refined some of my mother’s recipes and some other recipes in order to make a cookie that is exactly the right consistency and flavor. However, on Saturday morning I was struggling a bit with making my favorite chocolate chip recipe. My allergies were bothering me and I just wasn’t thinking straight.

Over the years I have written down exactly how to make these cookies. It begins with creaming the butter and sugar then adding egg and vanilla then slowly adding the flour mixture until they are just right. One of the steps in my recipe is to use softened butter. Saturday my butter melted when I was trying to quickly soften it in the microwave. When it came out partially liquid I knew there was going to be a problem but being foggy minded I poured it into the bowl anyway and then decided to put it into the freezer until it got a bit more hardened.  After removing it from the freezer I began to cream it, which was not working so well. Being stubborn I pushed through and began to add the flour but it all seemed to crumble. Just as I was about to give up and throw it all away I thought that maybe adding an extra egg would save the cookie dough by giving it more moisture. As soon as I added the eggs I looked back at the recipe and realized that I had completely forgotten to add the baking soda and salt. So, though it was really late in the process I added them and began mixing again. The mixture was still drier than what I liked but I added the chips and finished the process.

Now the cookies turned out tasting the same as usual because I got all the ingredients into the mix but they turned out more cake like than I am used to. This reminded me that even if we follow the same recipe each time we do something it can come out different because one element is not quite right. This reminded me of a scripture:

1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Living by the recipe only works if we have all the right ingredients. If we are trying to live a life that is pleasing to God and we don’t have love we are just noise. Just like my melted butter made a dryer batter for my cookies that I had to make a substitution in the recipe to make it work, a life without love will have us substituting other things to make up for the missing ingredient.

2nd Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

I believe that if we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to soften our hearts toward people we will begin to live lives that are pleasing to God and will have followed the recipe for a better future. Enjoy your week and have a Merry Christmas.

He’s the Most Important


IMG_2875I love weekends when we have sleepovers with grandchildren. This weekend was the first time I got to have all three of my daughter’s children. Little Grace was a welcome addition to our sleepover time. It is great to see how they play and interact with each other. Watching Jack and Rex interact with their little sister was so sweet.

I especially enjoy teaching the boys things like how to bake cookies or make fast paper airplanes. We watch movies, play, eat lots of food and eventually wind down to go to bed with a bedtime story.

Reading them stories from a variety of books but especially at least one story from the Bible is a great intimate time with them. As we sat on the bed getting ready to read our story Jack looked down at the book and asked, “Grandma why do you always read about God?” My answer to him was “Because He is the most important.”

We went on to read the story about Mary and the angel and then the story about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and the shepherds and the angels and the three wise men. As I read about the angel talking to Mary, Jack said “I would believe an angel if it talked to me.” He also remembered hearing about the three wise men.

On Sunday as I helped the boys get dressed for church Rex got really excited because he knew his mom was coming and she was going to take him to church. He told me that “Church is fun” and he was excited to go there. I am so glad at his young age he is enjoying his time with other children learning about God–and having fun.

I want to leave a legacy with my children and grandchildren of following God with my whole heart. I hope that someday they will come to understand that, “God is the most important.”  After all as Christians shouldn’t we encourage them to seek God in their lives and live a life that brings Glory to God?

I hope that this week as we all prepare for Christmas that we all take time to think about what is most important in our lives. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

About, To and In Him


Romans 10 17

Yesterday Bob and I spent time working on our future home. We are in demolition stages. The house has many gaps right now which makes it a shelter for wasps. When we first arrived I did not notice any wasps moving and I assumed after the cold weather we had they all died. But they did not. I soon began to see them slowly coming to life.

As the sun started shining on the windows more wasps began to perk up and congregate on the windows. They were moving slow but  gaining strength from the the sun. I saw the parallel between this and our need to be close to Jesus in order to live out our Christianity. Without Him we are in slumber but with Him we come alive.

How does this happen? Well in my life, I read and heard ABOUT God and gained knowledge of Him and His creation, His will and His ways.

The knowledge I received made me curious enough to want to engage in truly following God. So I earnestly prayed TO Him.

I heard and felt Him answer my prayers and began the process of living by faith IN Him.

We must all first know ABOUT Him before we come TO Him and live IN Him through faith.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I pray that where ever you are in this journey you will continue through eternity.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

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