Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Blessings of the Smallest Ones

“Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it…” Psalm 127:1
If you were too look around today you would find that one of the least encouraged areas of our lives would be the area regarding children. In days past having a large family in America was encouraged. Think about it, in the early days of our country children were an asset, a blessing, an important part of a family. The more you had the more help that you were to have on your farm. The more hands you had available to pitch in and hunt, take care of the youngest ones, cook, clean, feed the animals, tend to the garden etc. Years ago working “outside the home” literally meant just that-working OUTSIDE of your home and not in a location other than your home. It’s much different today though.
Children are oftentimes looked at as burdens, money takers, nuisances. I have four children. Not a large family by any means…at least in my opinion…however I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard, “Are all these yours?” I smile and say that they sure are. Without fail the next response is, “You really have your hands full don’t you? “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” Psalm 127:5, I guess I do.
Listen, I’m not trying to be fake here. Sometimes when things have been extra tough I turn my face toward heaven and question why God would give me four children in 8 years. I do, I really do. But the Bible says that unless the Lord is building our house all of our labor is in vain. There are so many options out there today regarding birth control. I’m not judging anyone who does use those methods, that’s not my place, but I am desiring that we all ask ourselves a very important question,  “Who is truly doing our house building?”
Are we giving our trust in this area completely to the God Who created the universe or are we listening more to sinful man? I know that in our day and age it is not always easy having a large family but if that is what the Lord has designed for your family are you fighting that?
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3
If I were to have a birthday party and had the option of receiving 1 or 2 gifts or 6 or 7 which do you think that I would choose? Which would you choose? It’s not often that you would find someone who would pick less over more. Yet when it comes to children it seems like the world is telling us to choose as few of these rewards that God has for us as possible.
Sad isn’t it?
If we put 100% of our trust in the Lord we need to be willing to accept whatever amount of children that He has planned for us. Some of us may have quite a few others may not. I know a couple who just had their 8th  child and they are going to continue to trust in God and have however many that He desires. I know another dear couple who have 2 children, lost their 3rd to a miscarriage and have been trying for years to have another one. God has not allowed it yet. I know yet another couple who have not been able to get pregnant at all. You see, all three of these families have put their trust completely in the Lord and He has designed different things for each of them. 
The Bible says, “Except the LORD build the house…” friend we need to put our complete faith in Him. He can see the “bigger picture” if you will, He knows about tomorrow. There may be circumstances in your life that make it seem like having another child such a crazy idea. But look at what Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know that thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He plans for nothing but what will benefit our lives for His honor and glory. Yes, sometimes it is scary to trust, hard to trust but trust in Him we must! The only thing that we have to look forward to if we do not put our trust in Him is this, “…they labour in vain that build it.”

**Today's challenge**
  • Take the time to get alone with your Lord today and ask for forgiveness for not trusting Him in this area of your life and then give this part of you over to Him. Ask Him to help you to trust Him completely.
  • Pray with your husband about the Lord’s will for your family regarding children. Make this a daily habit.
  • Hug each of the gifts that God has already given you.
  • Take the time to play with and enjoy them.Rejoice in the fruit of your womb.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A right walk

"I want to use that!" "No, I got here first." "Mommy she won't let me..." Sound familiar to you? In a home with four children we unfortunately hear things of this sort much too often. Daddy and I often look at each other with expressions of hopelessness wondering what in the world to do! We love our children and so desperately want each of them to grow up to love each other and the Lord with all their hearts but getting to that point (at least the point of loving each other) seems hopeless.

I came across the following verses in my Bible reading this morning that helped me to gain a little clearer understanding of this situation. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Ephesians 4:15,16

As a family I believe that God desires for us to be fitly joined together so that we may increase in effectiveness in edifying the "body" or in this case our own family. You see it is so common today to see brothers and sisters tearing into each other and causing problems in the family . It is so common for brothers and sisters to lead such seperate lives that they can't even stand to have the other around for even a little while. This is not what God intened for the family. He intended for the family to love each other and be such a blessing to each other that each individual would cause another family member to desire to live better for Christ. This is not our present reality however.

So where does it begin? How do we get to that point of loving and edifying one another? I believe that it begins way back in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. As parents we are to set the example. We are to first of all live a life pleasing to God. We are to model godly love, tolerance, patience, forgiveness, acceptance. Then we are to teach the Word of God to our children. We are not to do this only during "family devotions" but we are to be doing it constantly, from the time we get up to the time we lay our heads down. But how? Does that mean that we are to walk around with our Bibles all day doing nothing else but sharing it with out children? No, although that might not be a bad idea the work around us would be piling up and that would cause havoc in our lives. But we are, however, to be "speaking" to our children about the Word of God at every opportunity through words or deeds. We are to model by actions! Ever heard the saying, "More is caught than taugh." I belive this to be so true in regards to raising children. We can "talk" about what the Bible says all we want but if our children never "catch" it by watching us live then I believe that this will lead to bitterness and maybe even destroyed lives later on.

You see, it matters not what we desire for our family. It matters how purely we live. My desires and intentions will fall flat if I do not back them up with my lifestyle...the one that my children see. I want my children to love each other more than any other person they have or will meet but it begins with Mom and Dad. It begins with our personal walk with the Lord and our walk as we are inside of our own home.

What are your children seeing today? Are they seeing behavior in you that pulls them closer to Christ or are they seeing behavior in you that pulls them closer to the world? Look at what the Lord promises to those who live right, "And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: (talking about the previous verses in Deuteronomy) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers." Deuteronomy 6:18. We have nothing but blessings to look forward to if we strive to teach our children the statutes of the Lord through words and deeds.
**Today's challenge**
1. Pray and ask the Lord for help in whatever area you might be struggling with in regards to your children. Whether it be patience, lack of Bible study, anger-whatever it is seek the Lord for His help in overcoming these dangerous habits.

2. Seek forgiveness from your children if the Lord is leading in that way. It will change their lives!

3. Determine to work on one area in your family today.

*Thank the Lord for the promises of help and direction today!!*

Friday, April 16, 2010

Romans 8:28 is a verse that most Christians can quote without much thought. My fear is however that we quote it so well and with such little effort that we are not truly getting the message, the beauty and truth from this verse.

1. ALL things work together for good!!

Not just 50% or even 99% but 100% of whatever comes our way will work out for good...but for who?

2. To them who love God.

Do you love God today? No, I mean TRULY love God. Not for what He has blessed you with or what He has done in your life but do you TRULY love Him just for WHO HE IS?! A God Who will answer prayer and bless His children but more than that Who gave His ONLY SON to die on a cross for millions who will never deserve it. Do you love Him for that? Do you love Him for the opportunity that we have to spend our lives in eternity with Him?

I love God, but I'm not sure that I love Him as He is worthy of. But I know that ours is a God of mercy and grace that He looks down on our feeble imperfect earthly love and it pleases Him, and He blesses us in return.

Just yesterday my children came running into the house saying, "Mommy we found hundreds of beautiful flowers for you and they are your favorite color!" The excitement in their voices caused me to quickly turn around to investigate this wonderful treasure they had brought to me. But what they had unknowingly done was pull up and pick some pretty yellow weeds from our backyard. Yes, they look like flowers but they are not! The satisfaction on their faces allowed me to do nothing else but to praise their beautiful find and help them find an empty jar to place them in. The jar of weeds is now sitting here on my desk staring at me in the face...and they are all dead. Their beauty didn't last long but I could not turn my little children away because they brought me what they thought to be a treasure out of pure love for their Mommy. Yes, God too will accept our feeble attempt at showing Him our flawed earthly love...but doesn't He deserve the best of the the love that we have to give Him?

So we know that all things in our lives will work out for good if we love God but what else does this verse say?

3. To them who are the called according to his purpose.

You know if the things that we are pursuing are those that God desires for us then THOSE things will turn out for good. You see we can't be living down here "chasing rabbits" so to speak and expect our God to bless everything we are doing. If we have removed ourselves from the path that He has planned for us then a great majority...if not all...of those things that we are chasing after will receive no blessing from Him. He is merciful and in His own discretion He may shower down a few sprinkles of blessings but not the down pour that He had planned for us had we stayed on His path.

You see, we tend to use this verse to vainly comfort ourselves when we are in trials and tribulations. We tend to say, "Oh, I know this is tough right now but God knows that I love Him and so this will work out good somehow." Yet we fail to realize that the last few words of that verse are probably the most important words of the entire verse. We need to be walking in the direction that God is leading!

How will we know this? By prayer and supplication! By daily reading of His word. It takes effort to know the will of God. But it doesn't take as much effort to seek, find and follow the will of God as it does to seek, find and follow your own way and then realize you've been wrong and turn around and seek, find and follow God's will. (Pilgrim's Progress anyone?)

Yes, all things will work together for good to those that love the Lord and are following His will. What are you doing today? Are you living your life for Christ or are you living it for self? The choice is ours to make.

**Today's challenge**
Prayerfully think about a trial that you are experiencing right now. Pray and ask the Lord to show you if you have been following your own will or His. If you find that He shows you that you are on your own path, repent and ask Him to graciously show you the way back to His path. Then you may begin claiming the promises of this verse. If you find that He comforts you with the truth that this trial is part of His will then claim the promise that this trial will also come out for your good because HE has willed it for you!

*But above all else praise Him for being an Almighty God today!*

Monday, April 12, 2010

15 If's by Jesus

I came across this poem on one of the blogs that I follow and the Lord really spoke to me through it. If you're anything like me at all there are times when you question why the Lord allows certain trials to come into your life. Well, imgaine this poem as being our Dear Lord's response to those questions.

THE 15 “IFs”

-author unknown.

If you never felt pain, Then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, How could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to
your rescue?

If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you

If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went

If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?

-Love, Jesus

So sisters, the next time we question God about our trails lets remember what the Bible says, "All things work together for good to them who belive, to those who are called according to his purpose."

When put through the firey trials that God allows we shall come forth as gold!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Thou has obeyed my voice."

We read in Gensis 22:1-18 the Biblical account of Abraham's willingness to offer up his own son to God. We see the great faith and trust in God that Abraham displays in these verses.

You know as I read through this portion of Scripture I'm amazed at how much faith the man had for his God. Enough to willingly offer his son, his only son whose birth was a miracle in itself, up to the Lord. Freely. There are no questions from Abraham recorded for us to see here. Just acts of obedience. Did he question God? Maybe, I would like to think however that this man's faith was just so different from any one person's faith that we've ever witnessed in our day and age that he did not ask any questions. I just believe that he simply feared and trusted God.

I believe this is a possiblilty because when young Isaac asks his father where the offering is Abraham simply states, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb..." How hard it must have been for Abraham to utter those words to the son that he was about to offer to God. Yet he went ahead in obedience and placed his son upon the altar.

Now this begs me to stop and contemplate the faith that young Isaac had in his father. Again Scripture doesn't state whether or not Isaac began to get hysterical when he realized that HE was about to be made the offering, it doesn't state that he began to cry and plead for his father to stop what he was doing, Scripture states nothing.

I believe that the faith of his father Abraham had been "caught" by Isaac. I believe that Isaac had seen how his father trusted God, how his father obeyed and loved his God. I believe that Isaac witnessed this so many times and in so many ways that he knew that whatever Abraham was doing he was doing it out of obedience to God.

(Now I am not a Bible scholar and I could have gotten this all wrong but this is just what I believe.)

In reading through these verse a question begins to arise in my mind. What is it that God would have me to bring to Him today? What "sacrifice or offering" does God require of me today? Is He asking me to give up something very precious to me in order to test my faith in Him? Is He asking me to take a step of faith, get out of my comfort zone to do somthing that requires pure faith? What is it? What is He asking of you in your life?

No doubt Abraham loved Isaac immensely, we know this because in verse 2 God says, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest..." If any One could understand the love of a father for a son I believe it is God Who we know later would eventually offer up His own Son for our sins. How much love there was in Abraham for Isaac yet he had even MORE love for his God!!

What are you holding on to so tightly today that you are afraid of losing? Money, cars, clothes, children, schedules, personal preferences, your own life? What is it that God is asking you to give up that you are afraid to? Maybe He really will take away that thing that you love so much, maybe He won't but the point is FAITH! Try God! Test Him!! Be willing, as Abraham was, to give up for your God what is most precious to you!

In obeying God there is always a blessing to be recieved. Abraham recieved one, will you?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Proverbs 16:16-28
Verse 16 – It’s much more important to have godly wisdom (seeing things as God sees) and understanding (knowing how to apply that wisdom) than it is to be rich, have nice homes, the trendiest clothes, the best foods or the newest toys. Yet how often is it that I focus on the “things” rather than “THE THING!” How much more I work at getting nicer things (even at a cheaper price) than I do seeking after wisdom and understanding…often…and that’s an understatement!

Verse 17 – “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil” Okay, not sure exactly what that means but let me try. A highway is what we drive on to get from one place to the next but it’s a faster way, more convenient and offers less unnecessary stops. So maybe this verse is telling me that the better road for me ,or better way I should say, is departing from evil! It gets me where I want to end up (closer to Christ) quicker, not sure if it’s more convenient but it surely offers less unnecessary stops in the form of missteps in my daily walk with Christ!

Verse 18 – Yes, being prideful is just a precursor to falling flat on my face, I’ve learned that! But what I forget is that it’s actually what comes before DESTRUCTION! That’s a big word! I don’t want destruction in my life! Lord help me to remember that whenever I start to think about how great I am the next step will be disaster so please, remind me before I get there!

Verse 19 – It’s better to be humble and not have much than to have a great many things and share it with prideful people. Help me to teach my children that pride is dangerous to a Christian! Help me to teach them to be humble of heart and spirit!
Verse 20 – Oh this is a great verse! Handling a matter wisely will bring about a good ending; solution. Trusting in the Lord no matter what brings happiness. Lord teach me to trust You! There are plenty of times when I doubt and question at balk but Lord teach me what it is to truly TRUST in YOU!!! I know that no matter what may befall me if I were to simply trust I will find happiness and peace in You! Lord teach me, help me, change me!

Verses 21-23 – So this understanding and wisdom are pretty important to the Lord and very “beneficial” to the Christian. If I could only learn to seek wisdom and understanding, Lord if I could attain even a little bit of that I know that my life would be much different! Lord, again, teach me, show me, change me! Give me wisdom when it comes to being a wife, mother, homeschooler and Pastor’s wife! Help me to be full of YOUR wisdom so that I can be used to bless others! A wise heart will be shown through the mouth, the words that are spoken, Lord help me to be used in that way!

Verse 24 – Pleasant words, oh boy those are hard to come by! It’s so hard for me to be pleasant sometimes! Grow me in this area! Help me to change my tone! Show me what my own ugliness does to those closest to me, those that I love the most!

Verse 25 – Help me not to trust in my own ideas and plans. Show me that even though doing one thing may seem better Your Word tells us that it is the way to death! Give me the wisdom and foresight to see and recognize that!

Verses 26-28 – Help me NOT to be what these verses are talking about; ungodly, froward, sower of strife, or a separator of friends! God, I need You today to show me what I am doing wrong! I know that it is a lot! Help me to stay away from the wrong road and stay on the “highway of the upright!”
Psalm 127

Verse 1 – How vain it is and worthless I might add, to try and raise our children, create family times and family outings without the leading of the Lord. How worthless it is to spend time coming up with our own ideas based on our own desires, wants and beliefs. The only thing that will grow a family into “success” is God doing the building.

Lord help me to remember to turn to you for guidance…no, not guidance but for LEADERSHIP!!! Turn my eyes and my heart up toward You so that I will know what you want for my husband and my children!! Keep me close Lord and when I stray remind me and bring me back so that my “house building” is not done in vain!!

Verse 3 – Children are a gift from You! Well, not even a gift, Your Word calls them an heritage. Another way to define heritage according to the Hebrew in Strong’s Conc. is “heirloom”. How carefully we take care of family heirlooms and how priceless they are! Those items are parts of families and treasured for generations.
Lord are you saying here that our children are Your heirlooms, passed on to us to take care of as priceless treasure?! How much better should I be doing then!

Lord help me to keep that precious truth in the forefront of my thoughts!! Help me to remember that these precious little ones, although time consuming and overwhelming at times, are to be taken special care of. They are to be dealt with as the special items that they are! Lord help the words of my mouth to be kind words! Help the looks on my face to be looks of love and patience! Lord I’m begging you to make me a better mother!! Only YOU can do that work in me! I need you to change me!! I don’t want to cause my children to be angry people!! Lord help me!

Psalm 128: 1-3 – Lord help us to not act as if our four children are burdens! Help us to show them that we are glad that You have given us a big family! I don’t want them to grow up not wanting a big family because they saw how negatively we allowed it to affect us!
You tell us in 127:5 that those with a “quiver” full of children will be happy! Lord help us to be happy with what You have so carefully given to us! Help us not to be ashamed as Your Word says but instead to be proud of the wonderful “heirlooms” you have left in our care!! Help us Lord!!!