If Demons Could Talk…What Would They Say About Godly Mothers?

So much to do...

Demons love it when we’re “too busy…”

 

Taken after the pattern of The Screwtape Letters, this post may be what some demon is saying about you. I know I’ve fallen prey to Satan’s wiles in the past, but by God’s Grace I am striving to not just be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, but a crazy one at that! One who truly gives myself to God daily and takes up my cross and follows Him in a life of sacrifice and service for others.

 

Dear Fellow-Demon,

 

I hear you’ve been having some trouble with your assignment. While you’ve been doing your best to keep that Christian mother from her primary responsibility of training her children, she still insists on trying to teach them “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” as she’s so fond of saying. (Yes, I know she persists in using that old Book, that Holy Bible, even though we’ve sent people her way to laugh at her.)

 

It’s horrible when a Christian mother gets it in her head to take the responsibility for training her kids. First she starts by – of all things – Praying for them! That in itself is enough to cause all of us demons to quiver and run to hide! But then when the little ones come, she takes her own spare time and teaches them all sorts of foolishness from the Bible: Scripture songs, Bible stories, and even teaches them to memorize Scripture! It’s an awful thing, and it must be stopped.

 

You know, of course, what happens if she’s allowed to continue? It will mean your ruin as well as mine. She may raise up a whole bunch of good young people, and that in itself is scary. But if they truly get a hold of God, become born-again, then they may just turn the world upside-down, like all those silly apostles! And we can’t have that!

 

First, may I suggest that you begin by shaming her into thinking that she’s really not accomplishing anything by being a stay-at-home mom. After all, she’s not contributing to society by working a job. In fact, try to sell her on the line that she needs time away from her kids. After all, it’s just such a waste of time to change diapers all day! She can really fulfill her potential by getting a job, I think, instead of all that menial work of laundry, diapers, and meals. Remind her that any moron can do THAT work…she needs to be important, to really do something worthwhile.

 

Those lies are very important, and I think you’ve got a lot of support from the media and Hollywood. And don’t forget to remind her that all her friends are working, too, even the other Christians. That way, she’ll  be ashamed to stay at home with her children.

 

I’ve seen those lies work just about every time. It’s just a few tenacious mothers that will stand up to that sort of assault on their character and continue to train their children for God.

 

But if those lies don’t work, I have another plan. This one is so sneaky, so cunning; I think maybe even Satan himself may have come up with it. I guess that’s why it’s so effective. Here it is:

 

If you can’t get the Christian mother out of the home, just find a convenient way to distract her while she’s in the home. There are a number of avenues you have at your disposal: TV (which has worked for ages,) movies, and of course Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few. These are great ways to make a Christian mother feel like she’s part of a group of friends who care for each other, and give each other all sorts of fun ideas of things to bake, decorate the house, and do with all their “spare” time. Especially for creative mothers, it’s the Death Knell for their child-training.

 

Distraction works every time…except with the very most dedicated of all Christian mothers – those crazy moms who gave themselves body and soul to God and seek to serve Him daily.

 

When those moms get with God and rely on the Holy Spirit, there’s no power from our beloved underworld, not even Satan himself, can stop them.

 

Let’s hope your Christian mama isn’t one of the crazy ones.

 

Your fellow-demon for the Love of Death,

 

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Are you one of those crazy mothers? What would a demon say about you, if you could hear him talk?

 

The Beauty of the Scars

Life is Precious, but is comes at a great cost...

Life is Precious, but is comes at a great cost…

 

If you read this post, you will know that I very stupidly accelerated over a hump on my bike and had an awful wreck, resulting in 22 stitches above my right eye. But what you probably don’t know is that my scar is virtually invisible. In fact, the only time I notice my old injury is when I tweeze my eyebrows!

 

Somehow Dr. Yates did a splendid job with his plastic surgery, putting my eyebrow back together with a very minimum of scarring. Which is good – my eyebrow is right on my face! No one wants a large scar on their face, if they can help it.

 

Of course, scars are Not Pretty.

 

They’re so ugly in fact that people will spend many billions of dollars a year on cosmetics, some of which is to cover up scars. We use concealer, foundation, and – get this – *Primer* before the concealer to make sure our scars don’t show.

 

But in God’s sight, there’s nothing more beautiful than scars or even stretch marks created through the giving of life to another person.

 

God is a Creator. He fashioned the world with His Words, made man out of the dust of the earth, created woman from a rib, and breathed into his nostrils the Breath of Life. In His Infinite Wisdom, He granted to the woman the ability to partner with His in the Creation of Life, and Eve became the Mother of All Living.

 

Now, we know nothing about any of her pregnancies, labors, or deliveries, but because she had a perfectly created body, I doubt she had scars or stretch marks. Me? I have all of it! Far from having a perfect body, I tear every single time I deliver a baby, create stretch marks on top of stretch marks, and will for the rest of my life bear the 10-centimeter vertical scar from the one caesarian I had.

 

Pregnancy and childbearing are full of hardships, trouble, and trials. But the result is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

Here is the principle: LIFE SPRINGS FROM DEATH

 

John 12:24-26

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

 

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

 

26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

 

One earthly example of this principle is the seasons. The bright colored fall leaves give way to death of winter. All is covered with the snow of frozen silence…until the first bud of spring appears, and life pushes up from the earth, filling the world with the beauty and fragrance of spring.

 

Another example is the pain of childbirth. The labor contractions are preparation for the inevitable death of dignity and calm – until the baby’s first cry sounds, and life is brought into the world.

Still another example is the Cross of Calvary. The thorny crown and painful whip led the way to two rough timbers and cold sharp nails, and Jesus allowed Himself to be subjected to the indignity of a painful, naked death….to bring us new life.

 

THESE SCARS ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

After Jesus’ resurrection, when He appeared to Thomas, He showed him His Hands and His Side. Thomas responded, gazing at the scars made just for him, “My Lord, and My God!”

 

DEATH IS REQUIRED FOR NEW LIFE.

 

A missionary lady named Ruth Stull once said, “If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.”

 

I read a story once about a young girl who was embarrassed when her friends came to visit because of her mother’s hands. Her mom’s hands were horribly twisted and disfigured, and the little girl was somewhat ashamed of them.

 

As she grew older, however, she discovered what had happened to disfigure her mother’s hands. It had taken place when the young girl was just a baby and her pajamas had caught fire. The dear mother was horrified to see the flames leaping up her daughter’s pajamas, and quickly smothered the fire with her own hands, burning them badly in the process. When the girl heard this, her mother’s disfigured hands took on a great beauty. They were no longer a cause of shame – they were a sign of her mother’s love and sacrifice.

 

When Jesus rose from the dead, “He showed them His hands.” He was proving who he was, of course, but more, He was teaching them what He had done.

And further still, He was sharing with them why He had done it.

Paul said “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17) He was probably talking about the scars from various acts of torture that he had went through. But what about us? What are the marks of our love for Jesus? Where are the signs of our affection and devotion toward Him? In what way has our life changed?

So don’t fret over the hardships. Don’t chafe because you have scars or stretch marks. Be thankful that God is using you to bring LIFE to someone.

Do not fret over the sufferings of life, the trials of financial struggles, physical limitations, or just unfair “stuff.” God is using them to bring LIFE to someone.

Someone is watching you, to see how you do this thing called Life. If they see joy and peace, they will want what you have.

How can your hard times be an encouragement to someone else? Has there ever been a time when someone told you, “I thank God for you. You’ve been a real example to me of Christ.”

Mother, the Unseen Powerhouse of the Home

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Have you ever lost power? I’m sure you have, just like we did earlier this year.

 

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, ok, it was day. And it wasn’t dark…but it WAS stormy!

 

The weather got colder and colder, and the freezing rain became thick crystal-blankets on all the branches, bushes, trees, and (of course) the power lines. Some of the myrtle branches were bent almost to the ground!

 

Trees and branches are flexible, but power lines are not, and that day something somewhere snapped, and we were suddenly out of electricity.

 

Now, it’s never a convenient time to lose power. As it always seems to happen, I was in the absolute middle of a load of laundry, and the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. In fact, there were very few clean dishes left in the cupboards! Several of us hadn’t yet showered for the day, and it seemed the air even in the house was getting colder by the minute.

 

Maybe in the past, electricity was unnecessary, but it’s not just a convenient nicety in life anymore…without it, life stops so fast it leaves skid marks!

 

And lately I’ve been thinking about motherhood, and how much like electricity a mother is.

 

Mother is the unseen powerhouse of the home. She is the one who works quietly behind the scenes, making sure the home runs smoothly and things get done like they’re supposed to.

 

Mother is the often-taken-for-granted light of the home. She greets her children with a smile in the morning, kisses the boo-boos and calms turbulent waters.

 

Mother is the spotlight of the home. She senses discontent and unrest, and shines the light on squabbles and quibbles, patiently listening to each sigh and helping to point out what the problem is.

 

But without mother, a home is sad.

 

A home is dark.

 

A home is cold and unforgiving.

 

Remember, mom, you are needed. You are wanted. You are important.

 

You may not be appreciated like you should be, but what could possibly compensate for sleepless nights, tiring days, and the thousand deaths that go into giving your life? No, there is no compensation on this earth, no appreciation enough for the price we pay, and no earthly benefits that pad our wallets and give a comfortable retirement.

 

So why do we do it? Why do we give ourselves so fully, so completely, and so thoroughly? Why do we toil day and night for our families?

 

Is it so that we can be appreciated?

 

So we could get a pat on the back from our children?

 

So others can look on us with wonder and admiration?

 

No, these things cannot be enough. To daily give one’s life for a pat on the back or a momentary glance of admiration is a short-lived and shallow payback. Why do we do what we do?

 

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “This job [of motherhood] has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

 

Because we follow our Lord, and walk in His footsteps. His steps trod the path of Calvary, of laying down His life, and of giving of Himself. He took up His cross, obeyed His Father, and paved the way for our salvation.

 

And He calls us to follow Him.

 

We mothers are the unseen powerhouses of our homes. But remember, all we are is a conduit, through which the death and life of Christ are made evident.

 

Live for Him. Obey Him. And the powerhouse of His Spirit will strengthen you for the great unseen work He has called you to.

What are some ways mothers are important? And what are some of the eternal benefits?

My Courageous Journey

 

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I’ve been bumbling around for years on this blog, trying to find what they call my “niche” in writing. I’ve come to the conclusion I may just never find it…I may just have to “write,” and see what comes out. It’s a bold and daring endeavor – bleeding my heart all over a page and putting it out for all to see. It’s just another Courageous Journey I need to take.

 

I’ve taken many trips over the years, and each one of them is full of inconveniences, difficulties, and sometimes heartaches. There is not a time I jump into the van without some amount of fear of the future. After all, the roadways seem littered with wrecks anytime I venture out of my normal circle of routine.

 

Each trip requires a bit of reckless abandon – that inner faith in the Lord, knowing that this is His Will for me, and that these miles ahead will be full of His service, and hopefully ultimately His glory. And every time I get in the van for another thousand-mile-journey, my thoughts are the same: I have no idea what this trip will be like, or where I’ll end up, but, Lord, I’m holding Your Hand through this.

 

But no journey in my life has been so courageous as that of being a wife and mother.

 

I entered marriage with the silliness of a 19-year-old, the seriousness of an elderly woman, and the fear of a patient heading for surgery. I had no idea what the future would hold – I only knew that the One who held my future could be trusted.

 

I entered motherhood a bit wiser, but still scared as a baby bunny hiding from a hungry hound. Of course, I had no clue what trials and hardships awaited me through this journey…how could I, at only 21? But I strongly felt that the One who knew all things would guide me as I sought His Will and Word in training my little ones, and I knew He wouldn’t let me down.

 

I now enter into what they call the “mature years” of my life, eyes wide at the prospect of a body which refuses to cooperate and a mind that no longer thinks as clearly as it once did. I tremble at the possibility of future limitations and ailments, all of which come with the passing of time. And I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt…that He who has everlasting strength and lives forever can come under me with His Everlasting Arms of strength and escort me into His Presence with the feathery echo of celestial wings.

 

All along the path of this Courageous Journey, I find myself nestled deep into the arms of the Wonderful God who can do all things. I have learned, all the way from the very beginning, that He is Able!

 

May the Courageous Journey of my life bring even just a pinch of glory to my Wonderful Saviour, who is All in All to me.

 

What sort of things have you learned on your Courageous Journey??

 

My Necessary Death

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This is a bit of a knock-off from the Bible Study I’ve been having with the military wives here. Technically, the subject is parenting, but I’ve found that I can’t talk about true Biblical parenting without bringing out one important concept – death, and how it is necessary! Sounds weird, but I think you’ll see what I mean…

It was a bittersweet moment, and I knew it would be. When I said goodbye to my daughter and she turned to go into the airport, I knew it would be for a long time – perhaps for good. I smiled on the outside, but cried like a baby on the inside.

Since then, she’s had her struggles, her ups and downs, and I strain at the temptation to jump into the van and drive the thousand miles to comfort her, to hold her hand, to pray with her. But I can’t now. All I can do is try to give comforting words over the phone, and pray…and pray, and pray.

Every time a child leaves home, a part of me dies.

When I began having children, I knew it would be this way eventually…but I didn’t know it would be THIS way. I knew that having a family would require death to myself, but I didn’t expect a thousand deaths. I didn’t expect the daily internal turmoil that I face with every sunrise. And having a large family simply amplifies the pain.

Jesus spoke time after time of the necessity for death to occur, to give place to new life.

Luke 9:22-24 23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

I’ve spent many a sleepless night, wondering why it seems death must be so dramatic, so final. But when the Lord kindly gives me a glimpse of the new life that comes forth, I realize that without this death, there would be no life, and life is what I want. Yes, life is what I NEED.

My mind goes back to the labor room, the delivery, and the bleary-eyed first months of my daughter’s introduction to our home, and I realize that it’s been death all along that’s given birth to new life. The endless hours of potty training, the struggle to learn phonics and the never-ending task of learning times tables sap my mental energy, weary the body, and dull the emotions. A few insistent gray hairs raise their flag to memorialize my struggle.

But it is necessary that a part of me die, that she could grow and have the fulness of her life.

Death is always dogging my heels, but life is right behind. And life, like a precious waterfall, comes down from the Lord in His gracious kindness, His wonderful mercy.

And so I embrace death, as it is the necessary path to life. Like Christ’s death for me provided new life, my personal death to myself and to my own control of my life brings ever-widening blissful goodness from the Hand of God. He shows me His Heart, and I see His own personal death on the Cross as a means of new life. To embrace His cross, to embrace His death, and to take up my own cross and die my own living sacrificial death is to embrace life, love, and eternity.

Lord, help me learn to die well…daily… so that I can live well, and glorify You.

Maybe you know what it’s like to die to yourself, and you’ve seen the new love that comes as a result. Tell us about it! We’d love to hear your stories!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

5 Must-Read Books!

I love to read, and lately I’ve read some really good books! God has allowed me to rub shoulders with some very wonderful people via their stories, and I’m so thankful to be able to pass along to you some of my very favorites!! (Side note: This post contains links to products that I have read, enjoy, and recommend, but they are not affiliate links. I get nothing from recommending them.)

 

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When I was younger, I read every single book on parenting I could find. Some were helpful. In fact, some were very helpful! But some were not. I remember particularly one book that made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I liked the cover, and the description looked like it would be very helpful. But reading the book made me feel as though I had not only made a ton of mistakes, but I my children would be ruined completely unless I did everything the book said! Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as that, but at the time, it sure seemed that way. After that, it was awhile before I picked up another parenting book.

I found that discouraging books cause me to expect more out of my husband and children than they are able to give. Friction ensues, and the whole family unit is put out of whack. I remember one book that said that a father should start a business, so he could teach his boys to work. Well, my husband is a missionary and we travel a lot, and he was unable to start his own business. I became frustrated with my husband, until I learned to accept him and his calling the way it is.

Contrast that book with an encouraging one.

An Encouraging book:

A) Gives you hope – You’re not alone, and you CAN do it! The author doesn’t come off as a know-it-all, someone who is “imparting his vast store of wisdom” to you – he is a human being, just like you, who has gone through the same things and has come out on the other side SUCCESSFUL! He tells us, not how we should do it and why we’re not doing it right, but how he did it, and how we can do it too!

B) The message from the author is not, “I’ve always been awesome,” but “I was born with certain weaknesses in these areas, and this is how I was able to overcome them.” He does what he does in spite of all his learning problems, communication difficulties, and financial setbacks.

C) Points you toward a definite, reachable goal. It may even break those goals down into smaller, even more manageable parts. Many How-to books fit into this category.

Here are some of my faves:

1. Success despite setbacks – Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is the result of his filing for bankruptcy, and then learning a huge lesson on how to really handle money before it goes and handles him. It’s a boy-meets-money, boy-loses-money, boy-gets-money again story, with Dave owing his ultimate success to things he’s learned from simple folks and their common sense.

2. Survival against all odds – Marcus Lutrell’s Lone Survivor. (we downloaded in and used the “replace with” key to change they cuss words into more acceptable alternatives, since we read it out loud as a family.) The book follows his training all the way from his childhood to the incredible mission, in which he alone survives. The character of these men is inspiring and amazing!

3. Learning to Succeed Despite Flaws in Your Character – Frank Bettger’s How I Went From Failure to Success in Selling. This is my husband’s favorite book, because he can identify with Frank’s failures, and, although we are in the ministry, we are showing Christ to a hungry world, and we can’t afford to fail because of our own character flaws.

4. Losing Weight By Eating – Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene and Pearl. Their book describes how people have used their program to lose weight while not feeling deprived one bit! I’ve been using their program since January myself. I’ve wanted to shed the stubborn last ten pounds, and gain control over my hypoglycemia, which seems to dictate everything I do. Their book, and the program they use (and now I use!) has helped me tremendously! In fact, I am finally down to the same weight I was when I got married, and I get to eat chocolate cake every night! (If you want to know the recipe, ask in the comments section!)

5. And my personal favorite: Learning to Parent Despite the Way I was Raised. OK, so this is my own book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children From the Claws of the Devil. Many of the folks I interviewed did not come from ideal homes, and yet they still are serving The Lord today, and are raising their own children to love and serve The Lord. These young people understood that their parents were not perfect, but they were able to sort through the bad to find the good, and then clung to the good.

I remember speaking to one parent of a godly second generation Christian. I knew she had had a very rough childhood, and struggled with confidence regularly. I asked, “What did you do that pointed your children in the direction of serving The Lord?” She looked puzzled, thought a minute, and replied, “I don’t know. Prayed??” But when I talked to her adult son, he was able to point to his mom and tell me, “Yeah, I know she’s not perfect. But she was real. She loves God with all her heart, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.”

Don’t read books that make you feel like a maggot. Read encouraging books that will lift you up and give you hope.
And if you haven’t gotten your copy of Lionproof yet, you can get it today!

Question: What good books have you read lately? Why?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum
 

The Truth About Building Relationships

Building relationships is like opening Dad’s workroom. Messy? Oh, yeah. But as a kid, all I could see were possibilities!

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When I was a kid, there was a room in the basement which always drew my attention. One day I was wandering around without anything to do (I could NEVER imagine that now!) and I happened to open the door to my Dad’s workroom.

Opening the door just a crack revealed a glorious mess, and the brown smell of wood shavings mixed with the musty smell of damp cinderblock walls. I glanced around the room and my eyes beheld many wondrous things: tools of all shapes and sizes – hammers, saws, chisels, files, and many electric tools as well, stacks of planks, 2x4s, and smaller blocks of wood, and on the ceiling were baby food jars holding various screws, nails, and bolts of every type. The two worktables were strewn with various projects in different stages of done-ness – a fan that had been taken apart because the switch didn’t work, a vacuum cleaner that needed its belt replaced, and several broken toys waited for my Dad’s attention.

I slowly entered the room and flicked on the light, making the whole mess appear even more awesome. Soon, I was pulling a plank out of the woodstack, and I cleared myself a spot on the worktable and began to make my very own creation.

Building relationships is a little like opening up Dad’s old workroom. Everything looks scattered, broken, and messy – complete with sawdust and wood shavings! But, oh, the potential that is there in that workroom! As a young person, I could easily envision the many wonderful things I could build. Birdhouses, go-carts, tables, and shelves were among my ideas, and some of them even made it to fruition. But none would have been built at all without me opening up the door, seeing the awesome room, and getting to work.

Building Relationships takes time. I never built a go-cart overnight, although I tried really hard. Well, I take it back – I DID build a go-cart in just a few hours once, but it only got about 100 feet down the road before it collapsed. (Lesson #453: what goes together quickly comes apart even quicklier!) But building relationships takes time. Whether you want to reach out to a co-worker, or have a better marriage, or build a bridge to your children, it takes time. A truly good go-cart never gets built in a day, and neither will a good marriage or relationship.

Building Relationships take work. Of course, when I was building go-carts, my work was so mixed with play that it was hard to tell the difference. Perhaps that’s the key. Perhaps there should be so much play mixed in with our relationship building, that it hardly seems like work at all. We attack the project with so much gusto and enjoy the process that it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Building Relationships is a process. It takes time to build a go-cart that will take you flying down the hill to the envy of your friends, and it takes work to do it. But the whole process can be enjoyable, not just the end result. Which brings me to my next point:
Relationship building is actually the goal. If we take the time and work on our relationships, playing and enjoying the relationships as we build them, we will find that the process is the goal. We may never reach the goal – having the coolest go-cart in the neighborhood, because your friends down the street may be building one at the same time. And in my case, my friends always had better raw materials to work with, because our large family never allowed for really nice stuff. But in reality, it didn’t matter if I had the best go-cart or not – I had a lot of fun (and learned a lot) in the process. Enjoy the process of building relationships, because the process really is the goal.

Building Relationships is a continuing process. Once I had my beloved go-cart “finished,” there were always little tweaks that needed done – oiling the wheels, re-tying the ropes when they come off (remember those ropes you would tie onto a 2×4 that would steer? Lesson #454: Always make sure your knots are tied TIGHT before you ride down the steep hill!) and perhaps even painting the name “Cruiser” on the side! That just means that the fun just keeps on going! In relationship building, there are always little things we can do to improve, both ourselves and out relationships. The fun just goes on and on.

I had seen the potential, when I opened the door to Dad’s workroom. I had hammered, sawed, and bled in that workroom for my creation. After days and days of work, I finally closed the door to Dad’s workroom, lugging my newest g-cart up the basement steps carefully. I was thrilled. Oh yeah, I was smiling. And when I rode down the hill on my very own go-cart, the wind never felt so good.

Question: Can you think of something you build when you were young? How did you feel after you built it?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Choose to be Real

The choices we make in our lives impact our future happiness. One of the most important choice, the choice to be real, is by far the most far-reaching decision we can make, impacting generations to come. In a world of pretenders, let’s choose to be real.

The ancient tradition of the Olympic Flame became the longest and most popular relay in the world in the early 1900’s. Lit from a concave mirror in Olympia, Greece, the flame is carried to the host city and is used to light the Olympic Caldron. The final torchbearer, who often sumbolizes Olympic ideals, is kept a secret until the very last minute. Bt the time the flame reaches the stadium, excitement and fervor has reached a fever pitch. But in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, something very supriseing occurred.

On its way from Cairnes to Melbourne, the torch had already gone through several mishaps. Runners battled heat exheaustion, thunderous downpours, and a finicky flame. But it was in Sydney that the flame made Olympic history.

Harry Dillon, a cross-country titleholder, was suppposed to take the flame to the mayor, Pat Hills, who was prepared to make a speech before passing the torch along to its next runner. Excitement ran high in Sydney, with 30,000 people lining the streets waiting for the torch to arrive. Police escorts, reporters, and multitudes of anxious onlookers fidgeted in the tense moments.

Finally the runner emerged, carrying his flame with a proud, light step. Applause and cheers rippled through the crowd as they surged forward with cameras blazing to catch this momentous event. In an effort to protect the runner, the police surrounded him and escorted him as he lightly ran through the streets.

With the confidence of an athlete, the runner bounded up the steps and handed the flame to the waiting mayor. Mr. Hills smiled, thanked the runner and turned toward the rowd, clearning his throat to make his speech. Before he could oen his mouth, however, someonw stepped up to him and whispered something startling:

“That’s not the torch!”

The mayor looked startled and stared at the object in his hand. Suddenly it dawned on him that what he was holding was nothing but a chair leg topped with a plum-pudding can, with the “mighty Olympic flame” coming from a pair of kerosene-soaked underwear!

What everyone thought was the real thing, was NOT the real thing. As a matter of fact, the prankster was so concinceing that the police, the crowd, and even the mayor were all fooled!

Our Christian life can be a lot like that false Olympic torch. We can have lots of people convinced that we are really Christians, at least for a time. We may have cameras clicking, the applause of the crowd, and even a police escort, but someday SOMEONE will realize that we don’t have the real thing. Time reveals the truth. (excerpt from Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil)

Being a real live authentic Christian is the first and foremost way to pass down our faith to our children.

What are some of the marks of a true Christian?

1. Righteous Living (See Acts 4:34-35, Acts 5:1-10)
2. A Heart for Souls (see Mark 16:15)
3. An Abiding Walk (see John 15:1-8)
4. A Loving Spirit (see John 13:34,35, John 15:12)

One day I listened as Joanne, a 23-year old graduate from home school, told me, “My parents were REAL. Christianity was their life, and more than anything else that stood out to me.”

Herein lies perhsp one of the greatest challenges of parenting: that of really, truly, honestly believing what we say we believe as parents. If we are to change the world, it must begin at home. If we are to bring up young people who are passionate about living daily in the presence of the Almighty God, then we mst ourselves experience that same burnign passion.

It is realness, it is true transparency, and it is life.

In a world full of pretenders, let’s choose realness – let’s choose life.

What are some other marks of a Christian you can think of?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word,  Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Use What You’ve Got

Becoming All God Wants You to Be

God is doing some tremendous things in my life lately, and some of that overflow is going to end up on this blog. While it’s very easy to become mired in the cancer of “can’t, sir,” it takes a special courage to use what you’ve got and watch God make it into something wonderful. I pray we all have even just a little ember of that courage.

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One day, God gave a huge responsability to a very reluctant man. “Go and speak to my people,” He told the him. The man was confused. “What if they won’t listen to me? What if they don’t believe me?” he questioned. God’s response is absolutely striking: “What is that in thing hand?” Moses looked in his hand and saw nothing unusual, nothing worth mentioning. But God saw differently. He saw something He could use, if only Moses would use it. Moses’ simple staff became his mighty tool throughout the decades as he led the Israelites out of slavery and to the brink of the Promised Land. His common staff – that weathered, worn, piece of wood – became the centerpiece of the miracles of God.

It’s easy to neglect what we have and concentrate on what we DON’T have. How do I know? I’ve been there, done that. Sometimes I even think I write the blog about it!

But life is full of opportunities, and people are full of needs. How can we help folks? How can we be everything God want us to be? Even more, how can we help our own families?

By using what we have.

Right now, I have 3 teenage girls at home (and of course the Rocket Boy is 10) and I want to find ways for them to earn money, especially without having to go get a job. Funny thing…I’ve been telling them for years that they need to find something they love to do and start their own business, and I’ve been praying for The Lord to open some doors.

Well, I realized the other day that I need to put some feet to those prayers and help them.

I thought to myself, How can I help my girls so they can earn some money? I wondered what I had that could inspire them to launch out to start getting business on their own. I may not have much, I reasoned, but I do have time, and I can get behind them so that they will feel confident in trying. It may not be much, but at least it’s something.

So the other day we sat down last week at Starbucks and had a brainstorming session. It wasn’t long, but it was long enough and encouraging enough for one of my girls to go ahead and courageously post her new photography business online. And wouldn’t you know, she’s been swamped with requests! Now she’s got folks booked for the next few weeks, and she’ll be busy doing something she loves, making money at the same time. Isn’t God good?

The moral of the story? If we just use what we have, and work with our own assets, we can be what God wants us to be, and bless our families tremendously.

Using what we have means that we don’t waste the talent God has given us. Have you ever given someone a Christmas present, only to find out later that they stuck it in their closet and never even used it once? Your thought is, Well, that didn’t go over well. Guess they don’t care. And sometimes we’re tempted to think, Apparently they don’t think very much of ME. God has given us many tremendous gifts, and it shows our gratefulness to Him when we use what He has given us.

Using what we have means we’re willing to obey. How many of us are tempted to think, Well, because I don’t have such-and-such a talent, I can’t do anything useful. I’ll just sit here like a lump. It’s easy to get into that mindset, especially when we’re not stellar in an area, we’re more like Average Janes. But if God wanted us to use out talents, would we? Would we be willing to obey, even if we’re not the best? Our simple obedience is more important to The Lord than blasting fireworks.

Using what we have guarentees that we’ll have more! It’s almost as though The Lord says, If you’re going to use what I give you, I’ll go ahead and bless you even more! In fact, He even says in His Word, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will put thee over many things!”

We’ve seen that work in our lives. As a family, we’re working on getting out of debt. It’s no small task, and especially requires diligence in even the smallest expenditures. It’s been difficult to sometimes say No when we’d much rather say Yes, but I’ve noticed that as we’ve been faithful with our pennies, we’ve been blessed with little bits more here and there. What a blessing!

I could give many examples of this: we’re not a talented family, but we love to sing together. As we sing more and more, it sounds better and better, and, though we’ll never be “rich and famous” (who wants that?!?) we can glorify The Lord with the voices He’s given us.

Today, God is asking you and me a question, “What is that in thine hand?” Is it just an ordinary staff? Is it a common everyday piece of equipment? God can use it as a mighty tool in His Hand, if we’re willing to let it be used.

So, I’m going to work more on using what I have, even here on this blog. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy research, so I can use what I have and do what I love, and bless others at the same time.

Question: What has God given you that you can use for His glory? Or, have you ever seen The Lord bless you in a special way because you used a talent He has given you?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word,  Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Getting Along with Others

We all need help in getting along with others! This is a lesson which I’ve been teaching to my children, as The Lord allows. It’s been a great study so far, and I think has been a help to us in gettng along with each other as a family, and getting along with others in our daily contacts.

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The other day, I was gone for a few hours, and the hubby and kids were left to themselves for awhile. When it was time to get dinner ready, my man organized a big cleanup, and, with everyone working together, got the place neat as a library in just a few minutes! Teamwork was the key!

Getting along is extremely important in life. If we understood the necessity of learning to get along, it will help us realize how good it really can be. Here are some of my thoughts about why we should learn to get along:

1. No man is an island – we are in constant contact with others, and need others to help us go through life

2. The lost world is watching us as Christians, looking to see if we get along better than the rest of humanity.

3. The Lord taught us to “live at peace with one another,” and to “love one another.”

4. We get many benefits by learning to get along with others. Here are just a few: fewer fights, less arguments, more friends, get included in activities more often, more fun, have better relationships, enjoy life more, etc. etc. etc.

Like I said, I’ve been working with my family about these things, and it has helped us get along better. If you take a few minutes to share them with your family, I’d love to know how it goes!

Question: Can you think of any more benefits of learning to get along with others? Have you taught your children any lessons on getting along? What did you tell them?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word,  Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum