Fearless

Its been a difficult month and  half for me.  I had some awful stomach issues with my gallbladder back in December which led me to get my gallbladder removed in early January.  The recovery took longer than I had expected it to take.  I felt like I had moved past the surgery and was getting back to “normal” and then my 2 year old broke his elbow last Thursday.  Sadly, my focus has not been on God or studying the bible or even prayer.

One of the ways I have tried to refocus my attention back onto God and off of the circumstances has been through the Focus on the Family podcasts.  I’ve always enjoyed their programming and now I can access it on my phone while I tackle the house chores.

Recently, I listened to a podcast titled, “Using Kindness to Open Doors in Culture“.  This message really resonated in my heart and I knew I wanted to share it here.

Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”.  

To love kindness…what does that even mean?  It is very easy to love when people are kind to us.  It is very easy to do nice things for others when they reciprocate.  But to be kind even when you don’t agree with someones lifestyle, daily choices, religion, money habits, choice of foul language…the list goes on…that is the true test isn’t it?

Luke 6:32 says, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!”.

The speaker in the podcast said, “The opposite of kindness is FEAR.”.  I had never heard that said before, but if you think about it, its true.  Instead of being kind, we fear those who are different than us.  But that fear accomplishes nothing for the kingdom of God.  Maybe that is why “do not fear” is mentioned so many times in the bible?

The speaker continued by saying that God’s kindness to us is what leads to repentance.  I know for me especially, I have been loved into Gods kingdom.  He has shown me grace upon grace upon grace.  And I haven’t deserved any of it.  Yet he pours it down on me. That is what He wants from us too.  He wants us to show mercy and grace to others over and over again. Especially when they do not deserve it.

We want to be thanked.  We want those we help to praise us.  We want to be acknowledged.  But that doesn’t matter.  It isn’t about us.  Kindness isn’t about being thanked, its about being obedient to God.

This world is a crazy, wonderful blessing.  But it is full of lies.  We hear it all the time that “we should do something for ourselves” or “you deserve it”…these slogans leave us to believe that we should not be doing anything that causes us frustration or goes against what our instinct says.  But that isn’t how God works, is it?  Love others, even when they don’t love you?

 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.  Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” -Luke 6:27-31

That’s a huge difficult list.  Its not your job to be received well by others.  It is your job to make yourself receivable.  In my opinion, this is such an important piece to the message of Christ.  No one wants to be pushed into the kingdom of God.  It takes real effort to put aside our fears.  We can’t do it alone but we can do it with the help of Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I pray that you will show us how to be merciful.  How to be kind, even when it doesn’t come naturally.  Help us to put away our fears and keep our focus on being obedient to you.  Shine through us Lord so that we may show the world You.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Verse for this week.    “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

While searching, I came across this cute hand print craft from Proverbs and Pacifiers for the kiddos. 🙂  If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a link for the print out.

***If you want to listen to the podcast, you will have to click on the link above and then hit the back button next to the recent podcasts until you get to January 20th.

 

 

 

 

 

Praying for Family

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I’m up late and it’s officially Monday here now.  I missed the deadline I try to give myself to post on here.  God has been stirring a few ideas in my heart and I plan to get at least one of them up later this week.

In the mean time, I came across a prayer challenge (it’s from 2014), to pray the scriptures over your family for 30 days.  It resonated with me and I plan to do it.  I started the first prayer today.

Here’s the link if you’d like to join along with me.

I also found another wonderful article, Four Principals of Praying for Your Family. It is really encouraging.

Please let me know if you take up the 30 day challenge with me- we can do it together! I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer. Let’s watch God work.

Blessings-

Stephanie

 

God is Good

Source: God is Good

I’m not sure if you noticed but I didn’t put my weekly devotional out on Sunday.  I had surgery.  I’m safe, home, healthy and healing.  But, I am being forced to have a lazy week.  I came across this picture on pinterest. After clicking on it and reading the post, I knew I wanted to share it here on my own blog.

If you click on the little blue link above that says “God is Good” you can read it too.

I hope everyone is having a good week, and if you’re not just remember: God is still good.  No matter what the circumstances.

-Stephanie

 

Living word.

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Even if you don’t pick up your bible often, you probably would recognize this verse.  Although it is extremely popular, it is still one of my favorites.  I’m not sure if I have mentioned it here or not, but I struggle with anxiety.  After I had my first born son, my anxiety became even worse and the thoughts in my head spiraled into an unmanageable chaos of constant fear. Along with medication, I remember this verse helped me to remember God has an ultimate goal in mind to prosper me and not harm me.

Recently, I came across another blog.  The writer posted a very interesting article about misusing common popular bible verses and Jeremiah 29:11 was listed.  He went on to say that this verse is talking about when the Isrealites were in exile.  He also pointed out that attention should be payed to the verses leading up to Jeremiah 29:11 and also those after.  I fully agree that it is important to know the context from where the verses we hold on to come from.  That is one of the reasons I started writing this blog, so that I can have some accountability and delve deeper into my bible studies.

However, I want to offer this personal view as well…Here goes:  I believe that the bible is the living word of God.  I believe and have witnessed it to mean different things to me at different parts of my life.  The truths that it reveals to me are personal and pertain to the events going on within my life at that time.  The same holds true for others.  Someone else can be praying and Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind, and that verse can mean something completely different to them than what it does to me.  In my opinion, that is what it means when scripture says that the bible is alive.

 Hebrews 4:12-“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

So yes, I think using Jeremiah 29:11 as a motivational poster slogan might not be exactly what Jeremiah had intended as he said those words all those years ago, but is it wrong? I don’t think so.  Any time you get the living word of God out there (into the world), it is a good thing.  If you have a reason for someone to look at a verse and memorize it repeatedly, even better.  Because it isn’t about us, in the end the Lord will breathe life into the words exactly as He wants them interpreted.

We still have to do our parts.  We need to be in the word, we need to be around those that we can look up to spiritually, we need to have and nurture our relationship with Christ through prayer.  If we are doing these things the Lord does speak to us through His holy text.

My prayer as we go forward into the new year is that the Living God will share His words with you.  I pray that He will apply them into your lives and continue to apply them to mine when and how He chooses.  I pray you are filled with hope for the future and not dispair.  Rely on Jesus this year, He will guide you and keep you.  In His name I pray…Amen.

 

For the little ones this week:

“God’s word is alive.” -Hebrews 4:12

Prince of Peace

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The past few months have been stressful for me.  I have struggled with my thoughts on what the future holds.  I get nervous when I turn on the television and see the latest happenings in the news. It has, at times made me sad and uneasy because I just do not know what kind of world my boys will be living in years from now.

As I was searching through some bible verses related to the Christmas season, I came across these words quoted from Isaiah 9:6.  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This part of the verse, “…The government will rest on his shoulders…”, has really resonated within my heart.

Again, I have been reminded that regardless of what I thought the plan should be or what I have dreamed of for the future: the Lord has already known about it. He has a plan for it and He is in control.

Isaiah 9:7 goes on to say, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all of eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”.

What an amazing and assuring promise-“His government and peace will NEVER end…”.  It is always a good idea to look ahead at what’s to come.  It is good to have a forward thinking mind.  But no amount of planning can change the Lords ultimate plan.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”-Proverbs 19:21

It further says, “He will rule with fairness and justice..for eternity…”.  So even if here on earth fairness has not been given, even if the people of this world choose to not seek justice, the Lord has promised that He will.  How assuring. How exciting and relieving to know that the Lord of all, the one who placed the heavens into existence is already in control of the events of eternity.

As we celebrate the gift of Jesus this Christmas season and look ahead at what the New Year will bring, it is my prayer that the  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Emmanuel, Christ Jesus…will make His presence and peace known to each and every one of us.  When the future feels uncertain I pray God will remind us of His promises and purposes and envelop us in his unsurpassed peace.

Merry Christmas–

 

Bible Verse for the little ones:

“The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” -John 1:14