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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What is Worrying You?

As a momma, I am constantly on my toes. If Mason sleeps ten minutes passed his bedtime, I worry he is sick (never mind the fact that he played wide open yesterday and skipped his nap and then spent the evening after dinner playing outside with Daddy!). When I fix his breakfast, lunch or dinner, I worry if he ate enough and I want his snacks to be healthy.
If he is playing, whether inside or out, I stay a step or two behind him so I can be right there if he falls and skins his knee. Yes, I'm a bit of a worry wart. But what does that say about my faith? All this worrying stresses me out and doesn't make me much fun to play with or to play around.

         "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."
                                                                       1 Peter 5:7-8 (NLT)

Trying to keep our children from getting hurt, feeding them healthy foods and making sure they get enough sleep is what being a momma is all about, but turning our normal, everyday responsibilities into everyday, happiness stealing worry is a bad thing. We can't control every single step our children take. If we did it would make for a pretty miserable existence, not only for us but for the kids as well.
It takes an unimaginable amount of faith to keep us from turning our normal parental responsibilities into mountains of worry that will steal our joy and make us generally unhappy people. I don't know about you, but I want to leave my children with a legacy of love and fun and, most importantly, FAITH. I want them to see my faith in action.
I read the Bible daily, sometimes several times a day and sometimes for long periods at one sitting. Because I have the knowledge of God from my time in His Word, I know that worrying isn't "just how moms are", worrying is a sin and a trick of the devil to wear down our faith.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

The devil is a sneaky one! He uses lies and trickery to fool us into believing that it's okay to worry about our kids to the point that we hurt our relationship with God and others. But, I have good news for you! God knows the devil, after all, He created him.

The Bible also details for us the kind of legacy we, as moms, should want to leave for our children and that will make our home a happy and comfortable place for our entire family and for those who come to visit.
   


                 
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these  things!
 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
                   Galatians 5:22-25
So, when you find yourself worrying about these things you can't control, remember that God has us all in the palm of His hand...even the littlest of us, maybe, especially the littlest of us.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.
                                                                    Psalm 13:5

                                                



                                   



  

   
   

    
     


    
         

    
   

Friday, October 28, 2016

God Loves You in the Middle of Your Mess and Blesses You Extravagantly.

As I sit here staring at my computer screen, I realize that I haven't thought about God's blessing in my home for a while. Isn't that how it is for most women? Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets so caught up in running and doing, doctor appointments, grocery stores, chores, and doing for others that I leave my time with God in the dust.
Over the last few days, as I've been readin...g Whispered Grace, I've realized something; God won't shout at us and demand our attention or thump us over the head with the Word. I imagine He sits patiently but sadly as we run, run, run instead of holding out our hand for His and spending time wrapped in His peace that surpasses understanding.
I feel bad when I think of how often I have ignored Him, especially after all He has done to bless me. I was saved at twelve years old and can still remember how amazing I felt. You know the song 'Walking on Sunshine'? Yep, that was totally my theme song. Then, life began to beat against me like waves in an angry ocean. I lost that walking on sunshine feeling.
Without making this post fourteen million pages long, some stuff happened in my family and I ended up in foster care. The people I stayed with were sweet and loving but I felt locked down and like I was being punished for something that wasn't my fault. The devil found a foothold.
When I met my first boyfriend I thought I could help him because his family was in shambles as well. He just brought me down further. By the time I was seventeen I was married and pregnant. By the time I was twenty-five, I was divorced, alone and on meth and drinking over a case of beer a day. I was hanging out with dangerous people, some of whom are now in prison for murder, manufacturing drugs and so on.
I tell you all this to say that, while I may have forgotten God, He never forgot me. He reached down into that mess and pulled me out of it. He loved me in spite of the mess I had become. He gave me an amazing husband and beautiful son and a home where I am protected and safe. He still blesses me daily. Every time my son hugs me or tries to help me put the dishes away or fold clothes, it causes me to slow down and just whisper, "Thank You, Jesus, for saving me." When my husband comes home and tells me he missed me, I whisper, "Thank you for giving me this wonderful man to spend the rest of my life with."
God has been working, even when I can't see it, to help me learn to slow down and look for Him because He is always present and standing right beside me.
No matter what is going on in your life at this moment, slow or stop completely and talk to Jesus. I guarantee you will come away more focused and refreshed and a lot less frazzled. If God blessed me, and He has blessed my socks off!, He will bless you the way only He can do. Just watch for it.
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Friday, September 30, 2016

But Father, I DON'T Want To Forgive!

WARNING!!! This will be a pretty long post, but I hope you will read it through to the end.
So Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, hid Jews during the Nazi invasion. When they were caught, they were sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. They were starved, worked almost to death and, to add insult and humiliation to injury, they were made to walk naked past the male guards. I hate to even imagine what else these women and other prisoners went through.
In the study 'You Are Forgiven' I'm doing through lovegodgreatly.com, this is what they have written in Chapter 5, which is titled "THE CALL OF FORGIVENESS";
"Many years later while speaking on forgiveness, Corrie saw one of the guards from the time of her imprisonment. It's a lot to take in. Her sister [Betsie] had died in prison and she herself had suffered cruelly at the hands of the Nazis."
Corrie was sure that the guard would not remember her because it had been a long time ago and there were thousands of other prisoners there with her. When he stood in front of her, hand outstretched, he said, " A fine message fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!"
Corrie says, " And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand."

***Could you imagine being subjected to such horrible torture as I'm sure that both Corrie and Betsie were subjected to and then having one of the people responsible want to , again, put his hand on you, even if it was in a gesture of peace? Oh, I can tell you right now that I would not be strong enough to do so!***

The guard then went on to explain that he had been a guard there and then he said, "But since that time, I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein," ---again the hand came out----"will you forgive me?"
Corrie says," And I stood there--I whose sins had every day to be forgiven-- and could not. Betsie had died in that place- could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
It could not be many seconds that he stood there, hand held out,but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. For I had to do it--I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.' I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience.
Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that."
Corrie goes on to say that she knew that forgiveness was not an emotion but an act of the will, and "the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. She told God that she COULD lift her hand but He would have to supply the rest...the feeling.
"And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

Jesus came to this world, stepped down from the glories of heaven to bring us the forgiveness we so desperately needed. If we can accept His forgiveness for every single horrible thing we have ever done, then we MUST give it to those who've harmed us, broken our hearts, our spirits and, yes, even our families. As I'm writing this, I am struggling in this area of forgiveness and I have begged, shouted and prayed until my mind has run out of words for God to give me HIS strength to forgive. No, I don't want to forgive for the people who have harmed me sake's, but so that I can be free to pursue my right relationship with my Lord and Savior. You see, we don't forgive to let the other person off the hook or to let them get away with whatever they've done, but because unforgiveness in our hearts hurts no one but us. God wants better for us. Vengeance belongs to God and He sees ALL.

If You are holding on to past hurts, you are only damaging yourself and your closeness to God. I have had people that I love dearly praying for me and, slowly but surely, I am letting go of my own hurts.

If this post helps you at all, please share so that others might read and see how forgiveness is good, a good gift from our Loving Father.


The quotes from Corrie ten Boom were taken fro chapter 5 of You Are Forgiven by the Love God Greatly team. The book is available here for purchase and can be found for Kindle Unlimited subscribers here.

You can also keep up with all of LOVE GOD GREATLY'S studies by signing up at http://www.lovegodgreatly.com .

Saturday, July 16, 2016

No Matter What You Think, You Are Clean.


I'm noticing that a lot of us have something in common...we don't think we are enough. While we may not say it aloud, we think God may be able to forgive HER, but I bet she hasn't done half the awful things I've done!

"The Lord called me before I was born. He named me while I was in my mother’s womb." ~ Isaiah 49:1
God knew you and every single decision, mistake and rebellious act you would commit before you were more than a twinkle in your daddy's eye. God made you to be exactly what and who you are. God doesn't make mistakes. Let me say that one more time; GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES! You were created and put here for a reason, His reason. What that reason is will be between you and God, but trust that God has a plan for you.

 "Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged."~John 19:1

God stands outside of time and sees everything that has, is or ever will happen. He knew that Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. That Jesus, a sweet and precious soul, a man who never sinned, who never hurt a single living thing but only helped the hurting would be tortured, made fun of, plotted against by jealous 'religious' leaders, and finally left alone to die the most horrible death of those times; death by crucifixion.
But first, He was arrested and beaten, betrayed by His disciples, and then flogged. What is flogging? Well, the Hebrew word for flogged is 'mastigoó', which means 'flog, scourge, the victim being strapped to a pole or frame; chastise. The word 'scourge' means, a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.

Did you catch that word torture at the end of the meaning for scourge?  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a man who never did anything but live in peace and help people was tortured. Here is the meaning of the word 'torture' "the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty."


In the case of Jesus, I believe it was for sheer cruelty. They wanted Him to say that He was NOT the Messiah, that He couldn't and wouldn't change the way people lived and believed. Jesus, however, cannot lie. He didn't give them what they wanted, so they tortured Him. Jesus' blood flowed freely that day. This beautiful example of humanity who never hurt but only healed. He actually SAW people and loved them anyway.It flowed for those who were responsible for His death, for those who mocked Him and plotted against Him. His blood flowed for those who cursed Him, beat Him and spit on Him. He actually SAW people and loved them anyway. It flowed for you and for me.  And, girly, He sees you. He sees the tears you cry and catches every single one. He hears your prayers and feels your frustration at the fact that you got it wrong...for the millionth time. He can hear your heart break when you fight with your husband or when you worry about your children. He KNOWS you and He loves you. Our human condition can't comprehend this sort of love because we are incapable of it. The closest we might get is the love we feel for our children, but even that is an imperfect love.


"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."~ John 16:33
Jesus wants you to have peace in the midst of your problems because He has already overcome every single problem you are experiencing. He goes before you into every situation and He loves you more than you could ever possibly imagine or comprehend.
 The devil knows that if we continue to believe we are 'too horrible to be forgiven', not only are we saying that Jesus' death was not enough, but we are also allowing the devil to win. How it must break God's heart to see His children fall victim to the devil who controls our thoughts with lies straight from hell. The devil knows that if all of us women began to believe in the power of Jesus' blood to wash us whiter than snow, and we began to move as one body for Christ, we would be completely unstoppable!

So, what do you say ladies? Do you realize you ARE worthy? After all that Jesus went through to save you from eternal damnation, do you feel loved? Cared for? Cherished? I do! Leave a comment below and tell me how YOU feel about all that has been done by Jesus to get you to this point in your life. Sit down when you have a few minutes alone, pick up your Bible and read about the crucifixion of Christ, then get your prayer journal and worship the God who loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us, tell Him how much you love Him and ask Him to grow your faith to such proportions that the devil is afraid to even look in your direction. I hope you all have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Do You Love Your Enemies?!

Just the other day, I saw someone who tried her hardest to mess up my life several years ago. I thought I was over it, had forgiven her because, after all, I prayed for my heart to let go of the hate I felt for her. Yes, I said "HATE". I had an extreme hate for her. It's a long story, but she almost destroyed my future marriage and my life all because she was just a bored individual who had nothing better to do.
I was doing my evening Bible reading yesterday and the Word convicted me. I hadn't forgiven her so much as just quit thinking about it. I read two verses that brought her instantly to my mind.


"Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer"
Romans 12:12 


"If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head."
Romans 12:18-20

I'm reading the book 5 Minutes in the Bible for Women by Emilie Barnes. The goal of this book is to help the reader develop the habit of reading their Bible first thing in the morning. In section 2, titled 'Get More From Your Bible Reading', Mrs. Barnes lists 8 questions to ask ourselves that will help us understand whatever book we of the Bible we are reading. The one that grabbed my attention was #5, 'What command is there to obey? The Bible doesn't give "maybes" or "suggestions". The writers are usually direct in delivering God's message.' (page 11).
The Bible DOES say in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17,
 "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."

Learning to let go of the hate we hold in our hearts is definitely a 'good work', and the verses I read did rebuke me. Forgetting is not forgiving. I need to pray persistently for God to help me let go of this hate because it is poison to our souls. It will harden our hearts by degrees until we don't know how to let go of the hate. 

We have been offered grace and, as a child of God, I am commanded to also extend that grace to others. Not just those I like, but especially to those who have tried to hurt me. 

Yes, this woman tried to harm me. Yes, she tried her level best to keep God's plan from coming to fruition. Guess what? God's plan for my life was written long before this woman ever existed. My life was planned with care by a loving Father Who knew what I would need at this specific time. He also knew that she would be lonely and bored and jealous of my life and try to cause trouble for me. He took care of it long before either of us knew it would happen. When I think of it in those terms, it's so much easier to forgive her. She wanted what God intended for me but she didn't get it. God has a plan for her life if she is His child. I sincerely hope that she is because if she isn't, God's vengeance is much greater than mine could ever be.
Do you have hate in your heart right now for someone who tried to cause you or someone you love harm? Pray about it, give it to your Father Who loves you and wants your heart to be free. If it takes praying every day for the next however long, continue in prayer.

I hope that this post helps someone who needs to forgive someone else. God forgave us, so we must forgive others. Show the person you can't seem to forgive, God. Give them grace and pray for them. You aren't doing it for the person, but for God. We are human and hate is a human emotion, a fleshly emotion. Isn't that what our lives as God's children are about? Learning to let go of the fleshly desires?
Let me know what you are fighting with right now in the comments below.

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