Tag Archives: Bible

Time Out=New Perspective

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Let’s just be really honest here. Being a Mom is oftentimes hard. Who am I kidding? I mean really hard. Yes, there are plenty of (thank goodness!) good days as a parent but somehow when the days turn angry like the clouds in the sky, those days tend to overshadow the good ones, if we’re not careful.

I’m not one of those gals who paints a rosy, Christmas-letter type picture of my life on social media. As a matter of fact, I tend to scroll right on by the “fake family news” as I call it because it’s just that: FAKE. No one lives a life of glory and joy-filled moments day after day after day. That simply does not exist. People are people and let’s face it, people are people, so there’s that. Imperfect people cannot be perfect no matter how you slice it.

Laying myself out there as bare as I care to dare, today was an ugly, angry cloud day in my house. Yes, there I said it! It started, I don’t know, like by 8:30 this morning, to be exact. There were a few golden moments offering peace, giggles, and fun mind you, before it quickly gave way to disrespect, a sassy attitude, ungratefulness, and downright unkind words. Before I knew it, those angry clouds brewing in our home started to leak. That’s right, I lost it and the tears started falling like a rainstorm. And of all days, FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week had gone south on a bullet.

clouds-194840_640.jpgIt wasn’t long before negative thoughts began ruling my mind. True, I hadn’t had my time in the Word to transform those negative thoughts, which was my first mistake. Nor had I offered my day to the Lord asking Him to fill me with His spirit, power, grace, and love equating to my second mistake. Not being a morning person per se, means I tend to bump into the devil before my feet leave the bed, if you know what I mean. It’s no wonder why Jesus got away with the Lord first thing in the morning. I believe there is something to that. Duh!

Sadly, the sports camp my son was in all week, affording me some much-needed peaceful moments, ended yesterday (Thursday), to my shock and dismay. Yeah, that nightmare hit me like a fast-moving train in the middle of the night! So much so, I jumped out of my bed to verify it on my computer only to discover that my bad dream was indeed true. In my effort to get back to ‘La La Land’, I managed to come up with some alternate plans for our day: hunting down some fresh peaches, a Costco run, followed by a trip to the pool. Sadly, none of those things took place. Instead, I found myself driving around our neighborhood in search of my son who chose naughty behavior by sneaking out of our house without my knowing. The results: a prolonged time-out on his part back at the house so I could take a shower (yeah, I was driving around in my nightgown for heavens’ sake!) and try again, only to be met with more shenanigans contributing to the downward spiral of our day.

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Before I knew it, I put myself in my own time-out, giving my brain a chance to cool off, re-focus, and gain a better perspective. I’ve learned “Mommy time-outs” are the best medicine when you find yourself home bound with a child who successfully manages to push all your buttons at one time, multiple times throughout the day. You can better believe I’ll be setting my alarm extra early to get up, have a little coffee, spend some time with the Lord and His Word from this day forward. I’ve learned my lesson!

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Not even 9:00

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Not even 9:00

You know how some days just start off on the wrong foot? Like your two feet barely hit the floor from last night’s sleep, when “it” all starts. Next thing you know, you meet yourself coming and going! Exactly, one of THOSE kinds of days! You wish you could just run and crawl back in your nice, warm, cozy bed and pull the covers over your head, escaping to “La La land,” where ignorance is bliss.

“Those days” don’t allow you to have a cup of coffee, much less sip one. A shower may not even be in your day’s future. The pound in your head isn’t someone at your door relentlessly demanding your attention. Non-stop barking from your dog who’s upset for no apparent reason will not subside. Demands weighing on your shoulders, begging for your full attention with no time to process. It’s not more hours in the day you’re after, it’s less hours and more P&Q.

Thankfully, these days don’t happen often. Sadly, however, one of them landed right smack dab in the midst of an already trying week for me. Not being a morning person, it takes me just a few minutes (who am I kidding, an hour!) to operate on all cylinders.  Before I swept sleep from my eye, I was scouring the internet in desperate search for a new smart phone as one of the two of ours was on death’s door. In the midst of  trying to score a deal, faint sounds of my 6 yr old stirring in his room could be heard. Suddenly I remember it’s trash pick-up day, meaning I need to kick it into high gear to empty and scoot the cans out to the curb. Once inside, the thought hits me like a 2X4 that I haven’t made my husband’s lunch and he’s 10 minutes from heading out the door! Whining from our empty-stomached dog reminds me he’s out of dog food. Before I can scribble the words on my To Do list, my son’s squalling that the TV remote is lost. Tearing into the sofa cushions in search of that, only to hear the familiar ring of our only working cell phone. Hanging up from the Dr’s office to make a quick run to the bathroom, I hear the feet of my son hitting the kitchen floor as he’s hurriedly scavenging through the cabinets like a mouse on a mission for food. Once again the barking dog starts up, wind whipped trash cans need to be brought in before the downpour starts, my kid is screaming for his oatmeal, and……..it’s not even 9AM!

All I really wanted to do was get up, splash water on my face, run a comb through my short-cropped hair, sip a hot cup of coffee while reading my Bible. Instead, as my blood pressure is edging up from the morning’s chaos, I take a deep breath and quietly ask the Lord for a do-over. Settling down into the soft cushion of my sofa, I pull out my Bible and began to take in the Lord’s truth. His Words are like honey to my  weary soul (Proverbs 24:14, Psalm 119:28, Proverbs 2:10).  I ask Him to transform and renew my mind (Romans 12:2). I ask Him to redeem my day and to restore peace to my frazzled mind (Philippians 4:7). He reminds me I’m the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8), and that He is rejoicing over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). His Spirit reminds me to dress myself in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Donning each piece, I slowly and steadily find myself ready to take on the day while remembering that it is He who fights for me (Exodus 14:14).

 

 

Last days

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Last days

It should come as no surprise to followers of Jesus Christ that we will encounter more false teaching, doctrine, so-called believers including pastors of mega churches, authors, music, and the like who proclaim false doctrine according to the Word of God.

My husband is probably the first to ever challenge me on this very topic. I’ve written about it before, but I believe it needs to be repeated. As someone who worked in a Christian bookstore for years as a teenager, I thought I was pretty well versed on what should be classified as ‘correct theology’. The bookstore I worked in was a “mom and pop” bookstore that exercised discernment in what they would supply in their store. I specifically recall a very popular book at the time I worked there that was one of those so called ‘bandwagon books’, meaning a large community of believers was endorsing, purchasing, and ‘buying into’ its teaching. I recall how even as a young impressionable teenager, I so admired the owners’ conviction to not carry said book, even though it would have been profitable financially to do so.

Fast-forward some twenty or so years later, my husband and I had a conversation once about a particular, rather popular “Christian” author in which I had a few of this author’s books on my bookshelf. In a loving, yet direct way, my husband challenged me to consider this author’s beliefs. As he did some research and lovingly shared his findings with me, I was shocked to learn this author with a large following, selling out stadiums for speaking engagements, had huge discrepancies in major key points of doctrine. Of course, I was embarrassed that I’d been duped into believing this author was one to be trusted. I recall when my husband first brought his suspicion to me, I was a bit defensive of the author as someone I respected on our church staff quoted this author often in a women’s group she led that I’d been a part of for some time. We even watched some of this author’s teachings during our meetings. In my defense, I’d never heard her speak or read anything she had written that contradicted my beliefs or noticed any red flags of the person’s theology. However, it was from this person’s twisted and false doctrine that they wrote and spoke from. It can be very subtle and even sneaky so as not to unveil the lies.

It was then that my husband educated me to be discerning about everything we allow into our minds, especially when it comes to teaching and music from a “follower of Christ”. He gave me pointers such as checking into the endorsements of an author’s books. Are those endorsing this author someone you can trust biblically and theologically? Is their doctrine sound? Where was the author educated? He pointed me to a couple trusted websites where I could search a particular author and their beliefs. He also cautioned me that just because a particular author or book is sold in a so-called Christian bookstore or even marketed as a Christian book, doesn’t mean the book/author is reputable, or even a Christian. Most importantly though, my husband encouraged me to pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask the Lord to help me rightly identify anything I come across that does not align properly with God’s Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to heighten my senses by being in God’s Word regularly so that I can recognize counterfeit from truth, remembering that the two are closely intertwined.

Now, as a long-time follower of Christ, I was astonished and quite embarrassed that I didn’t recognize such false teaching for myself. How was it possible I could be duped? I believed I was well-versed on truth. It was then that I realized how critical it was for me to ask the Lord for wisdom, understanding, and discernment. God’s Word is clear to believers, warning us of what we allow into our minds and what is to come in the last days. We have to remember that our enemy seeks to confuse us and our beliefs; while God is not a God of confusion. We must be careful what we allow in our thought life and what we put before our eyes, even if it seems that everyone else is reading it. Just because a book is a top seller, doesn’t mean it’s meant to be read. Being in God’s Word with our minds saturated in His truth will give us reason to check everything against His Word.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”  (2 Peter 2:1)

“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. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.                                         (2 Timothy 3, full chapter)

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. (Proverbs 18:15)

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5)

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pearls of wisdom

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Pearls of wisdom

Before I was a SAHM, I would listen to Christian talk radio during my commute to and from work, and occasionally when I’d leave the office for my lunch break. I cherished this time alone, in my car, gleaning so much wisdom from teachers I enjoy, and respect because they teach sound doctrine from God’s Word. Now that I’m home, I truly thought I’d be able to take advantage of this teaching via radio even more. I don’t know what I was thinking; it’s not been the case.

This morning, however, as I was leaving my son’s school, I turned on Moody radio, which is my favorite Christian broadcast network. Not being familiar with the programming guide, I wasn’t sure who I might be listening to. I was happy when I recognized the voice of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, formerly Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Her radio program, Revive Our Hearts, has been a lifeline to me on many occasions. Today was no exception. She, along with her guests, were talking about the ministry of motherhood. Think about that with me: the ministry of motherhood.

One of Nancy’s guests said she receives letters from many young Moms saying, “God has really put it on my heart to write books, to teach, to have a ministry.” Her reply, “What you are doing as a wife, as a mom—what I’m doing pales in significance, except that it’s what God has called me to do. But in terms of impact and longevity and multiple generations and the kingdom of God being furthered, as you love your husband, as you love and train your children, as you train younger women, you are furthering the kingdom of God. She goes on to say “I think sometimes we want “ministry,” but we forget that we already have ministry. If God has given us children, if God has given us a husband, we have built-in ministry already. Those things are not an obstacle to me doing ministry. They are my ministry. That has to be my first ministry. If I can love my husband successfully according to God’s Word, if I can love my children and nurture them in the admonition of the Lord as Scripture says, then I believe God will bring ministry out of the platform of the diligence that I’ve given to those primary areas God has already called me to.”

Whoa! I have to tell you, this conversation really whet my appetite for more. How many times have I myself questioned “am I doing all I can?” or “is there not more for me?” I have heard Moms talking to each other complaining that there is much more to life than being a Mom; I need something for myself, something to call my own. It may seem like your desires for a career, even your hard-earned rather expensive degree is taking a backseat to the season you’re in as a Mother. Motherhood is a gift, a calling. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to forget that. Believe me, I need reminding often myself!

It (motherhood) takes sacrifice. It takes diligence. It takes that self-control that we’ve been talking about. It cannot come from inside us. It has to come from God living out His life in and through us. The tool He uses especially in my life happens to be motherhood. Motherhood actually becomes one of the tools God uses to shape and mold me; as one author said, “to chisel me for eternity.” So if we recognize that motherhood is part of God’s process . . . it’s not an obstacle to God’s process in my life; it is God’s process in my life. It’s that sanctifying, making you into the image of Christ. Again, that’s as we embrace whatever the calling is in the role God has for our lives; there’s purpose to that, and it is through that that we are sanctified.

The interview continued, “We do have to be very, very intentional about getting time to hear God even in the midst of all the stuff that’s going on in our life. It’s hard sometimes. It takes a lot of intentional focus for that to happen. I think that’s probably the most important aspect of mothering, is that our children see and recognize how important the Word is to their mom—that we’re in the Word, that we’re praying for them. They recognize that. They see it. It’s foundational. And hopefully, that gives them a desire to put that as a priority in their own lives.”

What this radio show taught me today is that my calling is ultimately to be a wife and a mom. That doesn’t translate as “I’m only a wife” or “I’m just a mom”. Marriage and parenting are two of the highest callings in God’s economy. To heed this calling is a huge undertaking and will keep us plenty busy. Caring for the home, or managing the household, is a machine. Organizational skills, communication skills, leadership are all required for this job description. It is not for the faint of heart. I feel like there is always a heap to be done around the house. Laundry, errands, groceries, cooking, cleaning, making meals, etc., etc. is no small task. In fact, when littles are around, It can be a real challenge to accomplish even the most minute of details. It’s okay. Patterning and modeling these roles to our children of what a godly Mom and wife look like is time consuming and it’s not a race, rather a marathon. After all, our children are on loan to us from God. We have them for such a short time and our role is to groom them into responsible young adults to live on their own one day. That’s a challenge, folks!

Mothering is like ditch digging. As mothers we can do nothing to persuade or convince our children to love God. We can dig the ditches, but we can’t fill them. We can teach our children about God, pray for them, live the Christian life before them, and expose them to others who love and serve God. But only God can give them spiritual life. God doesn’t need our help, but in His sovereign plan He invites us to take part actively, to co-labor with Him as He works in their lives.

Christmas is just around the corner!

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Christmas is just around the corner!

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Are you one of those who loves a big countdown to Christmas? You know, “only 10 days until Christmas!” Or, are you one of the many who love to go out in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping? Perhaps you are like me and rather despise the anxiety that can be brought upon us with all the marketing, countdowns, and crowds of people everywhere, fighting for the perfect gift at the perfect price.

Regardless of where you stand on the rush brought on by the holidays, one thing remains common to us all: the heart. If you’re reading this, you are living and breathing and your heart is beating. I can’t really take credit for the point I’m about to make because it isn’t original to me. A gal and I were chatting about whether or not we’d decorated our homes for Christmas. It was her goal to put her tree up that day. Since my family and I had just returned from a long car trip, my focus needed to be unpacking suitcases, doing laundry, unpacking our car & buying groceries, all the things that go with being out of town. We both agreed that the house has to be clean before we can decorate. This added some stress to our otherwise fun plans! She shared how her 5 year old loves to decorate the tree and help her put all the decor out around the house. What a lovely thought; I however, imagined doing my decorating while my son was at school.

Our conversation quickly turned to the heart. My friend simply said “if your heart isn’t in to the joy of setting out the decor and preparing your home for Christmas, it is being done with the wrong intent and motive“. This resonated with me in the season of life I’m in as I have debated whether or not to even put up a tree. Lest you think I’m the Grinch over here, let me assure you that Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I used to look forward to getting all the decor out, unwrapping all the precious and memorable ornaments to flock my tree. I loved setting out my beautiful nativity scene, wrapping the garland around the banister, hanging our stockings and sitting back to enjoy the warm glow of the lit tree.

Where is my joy? It’s there. Down deep. I feel as if it’s yet another chore to add to my never-ending “to do” list. Sad, isn’t it? Remember, I told you I’m not the Grinch. This is where the heart comes in! Just as you would prepare your home for the Christmas holiday, so should you prepare your heart. I’ve been pondering what that means. I want to be “all in” and celebrate. What does this look like for me? I want to usher Christmas in by being in the moment. I want to put myself and my thoughts into that day so many ions ago when Christ Jesus came to earth as a babe, born of a virgin to bring joy and hope to a dying and sinful world. Jesus would live here with us as a human being before the plan was fulfilled in which Jesus would die a horrifying and tortuous death upon a cross, taking on our sin (yours and mine), yet 3 days later raise from the dead! It is during the Easter season that we celebrate the hope there is beyond the grave for those who believe and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Whew! What a humbling thought. What amazing love was displayed for you and me!

Slow down your busyness. Be intentional with your time. Take time for yourself to read the Christmas story in the book of Luke. Set out your nativity. Ponder what that day must have looked like on that day so long ago when Jesus was born. Listen to Christmas carols with meaning to help prepare your heart for the reason, the true reason, we celebrate Christmas. Quiet yourself before Him and thank Him for the gift of His Son. Share these truths with your children, as you pray for ordained moments. Help them to understand the season isn’t about Santa or presents, parties or candy. Give them a glimpse into your heart. Christ is alive and well and waiting for us to meet with Him, if we’ll give Him some time.

Merry Christmas!