Daily Reminders

Parenting Through Transformation

I truly believe parenting is more about parenting the parent rather than the child. If striving to be a godly parent, the Lord uses parenthood to challenge our ways of thinking, how we live and handle life. It exposes our sins and bad habits and weaknesses. We see ourselves, the good and the bad, in our children and are confronted with ugly truths about ourselves. It is in that confrontation, we make the decision to allow God to transform us so that we may teach our children a new way.

Our mind is the gateway for our actions. What we dwell upon is what we will act upon. If we feed our mind with God’s word, We will be more inclined to act in accordance to His Word. However, the same goes for the opposite. If we dwell upon what is of this world we will act like this world. What we hold onto in our mind is where our heart lies.

When we fail to guard our minds we put ourselves at risk. Satan is like a lion ready and waiting for someone to devour. We must stay vigilant and do away with our sinful desires that will entice us to stray away from God. We must continually seek to have our hearts and our minds transformed by the Lord so that we can test and approve His Holy and pleasing will.

We are blind to our enslavement of our sinful mind. We think our understanding and reasoning is wise and good but we are far from truth. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can see clear the path that the Lord has laid ahead. It is only through the spirit that we can gain true wisdom and understanding. He says in proverbs 3:5-6, “trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

As parents, we try to do what is best for our children, but if we ourselves do not have the mind of Christ we cannot do what is best for them. We must first surrender our ideas of good and pick up what is good in Christ. We must lay the template of Christ upon our children in preparation for their minds to be transformed by him. Place Holy and pleasing things before them that will build them up in Christ. Guard hearts from what is evil and share with them the knowledge and wisdom that God has shared with you so when the day comes and He knocks upon the hearts they are prepared to open the door.

We must not allow ourselves to become fooled by the worlds way of doing things. It is easy to see the “logic” behind human reasoning but it is godly understanding we must seek. In all of this, it is impossible to do ourselves. We must first seek Christ and not become wise in our own eyes. Acknowledge our lack of understanding and ask for wisdom and it will be given. Be humble in spirit constantly striving toward the eternal prize. Let everything we do and what we say be a testimony of the power of God that resides inside of us. We were not placed here to live as we wish to live but to live as Christ lives so that we may be witnesses to all. Walk in His grace and peace claiming his name because we have been made new. We are raising the next the generation of believers, servants of Christ. Let us be the example of a transformed life. Living the words we preach so that even we fail, because we will, we will still be pointing them to Christ because it is Christ who restores us.

Supporting Scripture

  • “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21
  • “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:8‬
  • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬
  • “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans‬ ‭8:5-8‬
  • “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬
  • “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭11:18-19‬
  • “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:7‬
Daily Reminders

The Unforgiving Heart

I don’t handle hurt well. In the past, I have made very poor decisions when I have been confronted with pain from family or friends. I have been defensive and attacked back with words. I have cut people off refusing them into my life or withholding affection. I have even committed the same sin and justified it because of the hurt I had.

By the worlds standards, I am totally justified to react that way. If someone hurts me, I don’t have to have that person in my life anymore. I can get even and I am justified because of the pain they have brought me. This is so far from God’s word.

My real problem was not the pain that I had incurred. It was the unforgiving heart that I harbored. My unforgiving heart held on to the pain. I made myself a wide open door for Satan to make a stronghold into my life. The unforgiveness I held on to just fueled the pain and distorted my perspective. I believed I was justified to hurt them however I saw fit because they had hurt me. I held them always at an arms length saying in my mind you have hurt me and I reserve the right to cut you out of my heart.

In reality, the only one who was paying for all of this was me. Bitterness grew in my heart and the unforgiveness led me to hurt the ones I loved. I failed to see those who hurt me positively. I always focused on what they did wrong and how they continually failed me. I lacked joy in my life because my eyes were so fixated on what had been done to me. I didn’t want to let go and forgive because I was terrified of being hurt again.

Finally after being so miserable in my state of unforgiveness, I cried out to Jesus to restore what had been destroyed. He began to repair the brokenness I had felt by reminding me I was his. He reminded me that I needed to forgive because I was forgiven. He then began working deep in my heart cutting away at the sin of bitterness that tried to justify my actions. Although, I had already asked him to forgive me, He humbled my proud heart and I sought forgiveness from the ones I had hurt. The amount of shame I felt for what I had done was beyond words. At the time I had committed it, I was so blind I felt no remorse but now my heart breaks for what I did.

Forgiving someone who has hurt you is very difficult and sometimes impossible. However, holding onto the the pain and not forgiving them will only destroy you from the inside. It will skew your perspective and cause you to justify your actions towards them that are against Gods word. The losing party will be you. You will lose life lost in the pain of what they did. You will constantly be looking for them to screw up next and expecting the next round of hurt.

In Christ alone, can we choose to lay down our hurt and pain and forgive those who hurt us. We can choose to lay down that offense and forgive because we have been forgiven. We are the ultimate offenders against Christ. With our sin, we placed him on the cross and he died there for us. He forgave us when we did not deserve anything but death. He wiped clean our slate and brought us back into right standing with the Father. Let us walk in His grace and extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us so that we can live like Christ.

Supporting Scripture

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

‬ ‭

Matthew‬ ‭5:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬

““You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

‭‭

Daily Reminders

What Happened to Happily Ever After?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

One of the areas that I probably struggle with the most is my marriage. Over the years, God has slowly weeded and pulled back layer after layer of wrong thinking about what it is to be married. I had my ideas at the beginning my hopes and dreams of what it would be like. I had my expectations of what type of husband Steve should be and what type of wife I should be according to scripture. But as the years passed neither of us looked like anything that I had imagined.

My Problem

In my eyes, my marriage was not great. I was frustrated, misunderstood, and felt unloved. I desperately wanted Steve to open up and talk to me like I wanted him to talk to me. I wanted him to help me the way I really wanted to be helped. I wanted him to listen to me and appreciate me. The fact was I wanted him to be God. I wanted to find my fulfillment of love, understanding, help, and security in him. When he didn’t meet these impossible requirements, I would sit him down and make him listen to endless complaints and hurts I felt. In other words, I blamed him for my lack of satisfaction in our marriage.

I hated the feelings of this constant frustration and bitterness that brewed right below the surface. I could talk with about any woman and she could tell me similar stories of her own frustration with her husband as I had felt. Never helping enough, never loving enough, never understanding enough. Ugh, it was maddening!

I prayed for change. The Lord answered and he changed me.

The First Change

The first thing God began to weed out of my mind was my expectations of Steve. I had a long standing saying that I would frequently tell him, “I don’t expect anymore out of you that I wouldn’t do myself.” To the world, that seems totally legitimate but according to scripture that is a total lie. I had placed myself as judge in our marriage. I was always weighing who did what and that everything was even and if it wasn’t and I was a losing party someone was going to hear about it. I left no room for grace, I left no room for mercy and I left no room for love. I had impossible expectations of Steve to be the perfect godly husband and when he failed to meet them I was disappointed. The Lord began to reveal to me that it was only him who was going to meet the expectations of the perfect husband. I had to release Steve from them.

The Second Change

As God slowly removed expectations I had, He began to reveal himself as the perfect husband. As I would study his word, he would remind me of the love he has for me. When I would be tired and needed help, He would breath encouragement into my heart and strength into my arms. When I felt misunderstood and losing my way, with gentleness he would guide me back to him giving me wisdom and understanding. I began to fill satisfied in Christ.

The Third Change

The more I grew closer to Christ the more He asked me to trust and obey him. The day came that he told me to totally offer up my marriage to him. I was scared because what he was really asking me to do was to totally forgive Steve for any hurt I had incurred by him. I was scared because I felt like God was asking me to change so much and nothing was asked of Steve. I felt like I was going to live in a marriage where I give all and I receive nothing. However, I knew I couldn’t live bitter nor did I want to teach my children to live in a bitter marriage. I released it all to God. I was scared of being hurt but I knew God would care for me and for him. I had to forgive because I had been forgiven. The beauty of what Christ was asking of me was exactly what he has already done for me, forgive and love.

The Fruit

After releasing my marriage back to God, everything didn’t magically change over night. Life is still about the same but there has been a radical change in my heart. The fruit bears more and more each day. Where I had impossible expectations for my husband, they have been laid down so I can appreciate what he does do for our family and how he is a blessing to me and our children. Where I desired to have him love me and understand me the way I wanted him to, I now find that fully in Christ and it has allowed me to love him more and understand him better. Where forgiveness has replaced bitterness, there is mercy and there is grace.

During this process, it was never about how God was going to change Steve to become my perfect husband. God was showing me how he is the perfect husband and how by fixing my eyes upon him he would change my heart to become a more godly wife towards Steve. By no means do I have it all figured out. I fail often in being respectful and kind. I have a sharp tongue that does not like to be tamed and a bad attitude along with it. However, it is freeing knowing that my satisfaction in my marriage is not tied up in what I am receiving from my husband but in the relationship I have with Christ. I can surrender those bad attitudes, my sharp tongue and ask for forgiveness. I can humble myself before him not trying to keep a record of who did what. I can love because I am loved by God. I can appreciate because I am appreciated.

Daily Reminders

Tick Tock

Psalm 90

When I take a step back and look at my kids, it amazes me how quickly they grow. With each subsequent child, milestones are met sooner and their growth and maturity are constant reminders of how time quietly ticks by me. Time is a funny thing. In some moments, it seems to drag on forever and at other times it speeds right by but in reality it stays constant and it is just our perspective that changes.

At times, I fall into the trap of trying to be super woman. I want to get it all done and do it well. I want to check off my lists and feel satisfied and accomplished. I want to see the fruit of my labor immediately, BUT raising kids, homeschooling and marriage takes time. Often, I think to myself, “there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done.” It is a true statement. There isn’t enough time to get everything I want to get done along with what God wants.

Since scripture plainly says, ““Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”(Matthew 6:27),”

How are we to maximize this precious commodity we call time? How can we live life well?

Psalm 90, The Prayer of Moses, addresses the brevity of life and the way to utilize time wisely. Psalm 90:12 states “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We must first go to the source, the Lord. When we begin to focus on him, He will begin to show us what truly needs to get done and what needs to be let go.

I still at times struggle with this concept. As a mother and wife, I have a laundry list of things to accomplish each day. There are things that have to get done to simply live (cooking, laundry etc) and the Lord knows this. However, when we are faithfully abiding in Christ, He will show us when we need to lay down the chore list and pick up the baby or answer the phone call. When we allow God to teach us to number our days, He isn’t teaching us how to jam everything on the to do list in a single day or a single life time. He is changing our perspective of time to an eternal mindset. He is teaching us to correctly prioritize time and guides us to make eternal impacts on the lives of those who are so close to us.

Time is one of our greatest gifts but it is often used most foolishly; So gain a heart of wisdom, for when the day comes at the end of life, we can look back and see how we lived wisely and eternally.

Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

‭‭

‭‭

‭‭

Daily Reminders

Loved and Accepted by The Almighty

The lord at times brings back to memory who I was before He brought me out of captivity, so I can give thanks for what he has done. I was saved and baptized at 16 but the years leading up to it were dark and hopeless. Middle school for most people is not exactly an awesome time. It’s mostly filled with awkwardness and a whole new set of hormones that have never been experienced. Unfortunately, the combination of the two and not knowing who I was to Christ led me down a very destructive path. I tried to fill needs for love and acceptance with online chat rooms. I thought I was safe behind a screen but in reality I was destroying myself on the inside. I said things and did things that were disgraceful and I was full of shame. At one point, contemplated suicide. I was always trying hide and trying to stay secretive but the God who sees all saw me.

His first act of love to restore me, was to love me through another. He brought the very tall boy down the street from where I lived, into my life at 15. This guy pursued me relentlessly over the course of a summer. Even after I had turned him down he wouldn’t leave me alone. He would show up at my parents house wanting to hangout and swim in our pool. He goofed around with my mom and aggravated my sisters. He made himself a part of my family and a part of my life. He loved me and cared for me and he shared the joy with me when I was baptized on our 1 year anniversary.

He also introduced me to FCA at school and I made friends with other Christians. I began studying God’s word and seeking after the Lord. The Lord then sent me a wonderful God fearing friend in my life. We would sit in art class and just talk about the Lord and his word. It was my favorite time of day to be with her and listen to the wisdom God gave her. I felt accepted.

After graduating, I went through my period of the prodigal son. I went back to trying to fill holes in my life with the world but since I was the Lord’s I was convicted. I began again seeking after the Lord. He continued his sanctification process in my life. He continues to do it every day. He weeds from my mind wrong ways of thinking. He restores hurt and shame I have incurred. He covers me in grace and love. Where I use to try to satisfy my soul in the things of this world, it is now satisfied in Him alone. I do not try to satisfy the desires of the flesh, they have been put away, because I am a new creation. The Lord pursued me relentlessly as that boy did that summer. He loved me and desired my heart. He made his home in me and never left me. As I married Christ and professed my love to him through baptism. I finally married that tall guy from my neighborhood. When the Lord sent me a friend, he became my friend. As I enjoyed listening to her speak I began to love hearing the Lord speak to me. Where she accepted me, I saw how Christ had accepted me.

I was once a barren desert no life was in me but He who is life brought living water to my soul. He quenched the thirst and brought me back to life.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭107:4-9‬ ‭

“Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

Psalm‬ ‭107:14‬

“He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”

‭‭

Daily Reminders

A Prisoner of Our Own Mind

Sometimes I get trapped inside my own mind. I mull over every detail of an event. I play out alternative scenarios and try to predict outcomes. I scour over every detail and nuance of situations. Before I realize it, I have trapped myself inside my own mind unable to move forward because of the already played out scenarios that have filled my head. My anxiety level sky rockets and I’m paralyzed in this endless loop of fear of what could happen.

When anxious thoughts are allowed to run rampant, we become prisoners of our own minds. We become hopeless because we no longer can see the light for the darkness of our thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts of anxiety that have been unchecked turn into depression. Charles Stanley defines depression as, “disappointment turned inward.” We have taken our anxious thoughts entertained them and cannot move from them that we become so disappointed in ourselves and our situation we become depressed.

Other times our anxiety puts us in a loop of fear. Fear to move forward because we cannot control the outcome. Afraid of the unknowns, we stand still in our place of hurting even to the the point of not reaching out and asking for help. Anxiety can cause us to doubt God’s goodness and his will for us. It can place us in such a precarious position in our mind that we believe that God is somehow trying to hurt us.

How can we guard ourselves from such a devastating mindset?

We must combat it with truth. The Lord brought to mind this morning, what he has done for me and how these times of anxiety have become less frequent and far less severe. He brought me to some of favorite verses:

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

In these verses, Paul is so clear in what to do when we become anxious and how to stop anxious thoughts in their tracks.

Refusal to Entertain

One way we can combat anxious thoughts is by not entraining them. Sometimes thoughts just pop into our minds but it is a decision we make to entertain that thought or to let it pass and combat it with the truth of God’s word. We can prevent ourselves from going down rabbit holes when we identify a thought that could lead us there.

Guarding From Filth

Another way we can combat periods of anxiety, is by what we pour into our minds. Just like our body and food, what we put in is what will come out. If we fill our minds with filth, (certain tv shows, gossip, certain music, sometimes relationships) filth will come out because it has engulfed our minds and permeated our hearts. In Proverbs 4:23, we are urged to guard the heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

The Key

We must pour into our minds the words of Truth and allow it to permeate our heart. We will be able to combat the thoughts that cause anxiety by relying and trusting God’s infallible word. Set aside time to be with him whether in the morning or at night or nap time. Be intentional with meeting Him and placing all of your worries and fears at his feet. Trust him that he will care for you and guide you. Meditate on His word throughout the day. Pick a verse and read it throughout your day or write where you will see if frequently. Ask God to speak to you and get still to listen. He will give you the peace that will transcend all understanding and you will walk freely, no longer a prisoner of your own mind.

‬ ‭

Daily Reminders

A Life of Influence

This morning while spending time with the Lord he reminded me about my sphere of influence. He brought me to two verses:

‭‭Acts‬ ‭1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

‬ ‭‬‬

Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””

‭‭‬

It’s easy as a stay at home mom to think my sphere of influence is very limited. Or to think that I cannot influence others because I am not qualified whether it be education, experience or dare I say it, godly enough. However, that isn’t how God views me or the work he has for me. God is not limited and he qualifies the called. I must only trust and obey allowing the Holy Spirit to do his work through me. It’s his job to bear the fruit.

What does it look like to be a witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth?

I have a nifty diagram (sometimes I need it drawn out to help me understand).

Before we can disciple, teach and witness to anyone, we must be working in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the core. It is THE POWER. He is the one doing the work of influence in your life and the one you testify about. He must be the center of your life.

With His power, you will begin to witness in Jerusalem, your family. Your reliance on Christ will speak volumes to your spouse and to your children. You will begin to bear fruit of the spirit and love them as Christ loves.

His power will move you to witness to Judea, your close friends your extended family. They will see changes in the way you live how you treat your family and speak about your spouse.

He will then have you witness to Samaria, the acquaintances that you see on occasion. The ladies who see you once a week in the grocery store, what you post on social media and what type of work ethic and how you carry yourself at work.

His power then will have you witness to the ends of the earth. It’s when you are out among the strangers living your life you witness. They see how you treat your children or your spouse. They see how you conduct yourself and what you speak about.

You witness in every moment of everyday. The power to influence others for Christ is amazing. When we remain in Christ, he takes what seems impossible and makes it possible. We fulfill the great commission when we first surrender ourselves and our life to Christ and allow what he has done for us to permeate every aspect, every relationship and every situation in our life.