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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

On humility.

Who Me?

Written by Colette Magoon (Excerpted from the Collegiate Devotional Bible NIV)

In a world of cynics on every part,

Lord, take the pessimism from my heart–

The part of me that tends to say,

“You are wrong.  That’s not the way.”

The part that chooses to distrust,

assuming they’re filled with lust,

with egotism, greed and pride,

Lord, show me I too have that side–

the arrogance that hides within,

a subtle, sly and devious sin.

Replace it with humility

that serves and loves and dies to me.

I am not so good at being a servant.  If I had my preference, I would be the one being served.  That’s horrible.  How can I sit here and write this to you if that is how my heart really feels?  But it is the truth.

Sometimes, when I have been home all day with the kids my pride seems to take over right when my husband enters the door.  This thought that, “I deserve a break” strangles my judgement and I start to perseverate on that.  Before I realize whats happened, I’m yelling at my husband and my kids, or I’m locking myself into my bedroom and spending my “much needed” break playing on my phone, wasting good time.

Please don’t misunderstand my point here.  I probably do need that break.  You know who also needed that break?  My husband probably did as well.  This week, I have decided to give myself this challenge:  Every day, no matter how tired or exhausted I am, my goal is to greet my husband at the door with a spirit of humility.

Maybe I will have coffee waiting for him when he comes home or a drawing the kids made just for him.  Then after he has had a moment to decompress I can calmly ask for my half hour to do the same.  I know I will need that break at the end of the day, but I also know that God requires that I am humble about it.

Bible verses for the week:

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark9:35

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11 (NIV)

For the little ones in your life:

Walk humbly, and do what is right.

P.S. If you like the featured artwork at the top of this page you can find more here at LoveInk Day’s Blog.