Monday, July 25, 2011

Teach me to love my children...

If there is one thing I have learned since I decided to follow Christ it's this LOVE IS... AN ACTION. Love is often not love if it is not a sacrifice.

Titus 2:4 says that the older woman should "teach the younger woman to love their husbands and to love their children."

I don't know shouldn't loving our children be a no brainer??? Why should someone have to teach us how to love our children??? Why would God inspire the writer of Titus to include this? I think for the same reason He had to inspire the writer of I Cor 13 to explain what LOVE IS...

Love is Patient, Love is Kind
Love does not envy;
Love does not puff itself up,
Love does not behave its rudely,
Love does not seek it's own way, it is
not easily angered.

Using these verses we can gauge our Love.

I'm thinking about this verse today because it was "one of those days". We had a LONG busy weekend. Late nights and early mornings. And my children have been wild and crazy today. They are on overdrive and I am tired and grumpy. I want to lock them all in a padded room and go find a quiet place to take a nap. Since I can't do that my next impulse is to yell and scream and make everyone as miserable as I am. It was in one of those moments that this verse came into my mind. Praise God for his precious spirit for saving them from "me". Without the Word of God I am NOT the same person. I am a selfish, self-indulgent, self-worshipping person. So, I NEED God's word to show me what Love is. I need the Spirit of God to help me love that way.

We get a glimpse of this kind of love in Matthew 14:14 "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them and He healed their sick."

What happens before this verse is really important. At this point Jesus is weary. He has just learned that his cousin John the baptist has been beheaded and he is mourning. He wants to go to a quiet place and get away. He wants to cry and be left alone. He has been healing people and raising the dead, giving sight to the blind. He is exhausted and all he wants to do is REST. BUT, as He is going to get away people begin to follow him. Hordes of people looking for Jesus. Wanting something from Jesus. Right at the time HE DID NOT FEEL LIKE BEING WANTED. What did Jesus do in that moment? He GAVE more. He had compassion on them. He saw their need and he felt their pain and He responded by healing all their sickness and then He fed the 5,000. Verse 18 says "Bring them to me." and He fed them. THAT is WHY God told the older woman to teach the younger woman to love their children. Because Love is a VERB. Love does what we don't want to do. Love puts others first and ourselves (our needs, our wants, our desires) LAST. Jesus is our example. God put these little people in my life to teach me what love is. Since the day I knew I had a life growing inside of me I have had great affection and emotion towards each of my children. Love goes past affection and devotion and emotion to a place of sacrifice for another person. Most mothers if they are worth anything would sacrifice her life in place of her child, but would you sacrifice your time, wants, needs for your child? What about that few minutes after you lay them to bed and all you want to do is chill out. You know what I mean you don't want to see or hear another thing. You don't want to be needed... What if they came looking for you. What if they had a real need. What if they just wanted to talk?! Would you sacrifice then?

Love is a sacrifice and it's inconvenient and that's why we have to be taught how to love.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No time for crying...

This is just a developing thought that comes from a conversation with a friend the other day, but I think that we have too much self-reflection in the church. I know in the world it's all about finding oneself and becoming a better you, but in the church it's supposed to be about (J)esus first, (O)thers, and (Y)ourself LAST!!!

It's amazing to me how many depressed Christians there are out there. I mean down in the dumps and worried about tomorrow. I know please don't think I'm judging you if you deal with this. I just think it's a simply/complicated issue. Back to what I was saying. NO JOY, none, nada, zip, zilch, nothing!!!

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice IN THE LORD ALWAYS: and again I say, Rejoice." This sounds to me like he is commanding EVERYONE IN CHRIST to REJOICE... not in their circumstances, but IN THE LORD. IF we are heavenly minded how can we do anything other than rejoice. I could develop this point more, but I'm sure you know that IN HEAVEN there will be no more crying, pain, sickness... That is something to rejoice about.

However, IF you are like most (myself included) heavenly things don't get me rejoicing very often. So, where does that leave us? With another command... Jesus said "come and follow me". What did He mean? To a place, of course not. Do what HE did. What did HE do? Healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the 5,000. You know what I mean. WELL, where does that leave you and me? I haven't healed any sick lately, but I CAN help take care of some. I haven't raised the dead, but I CAN minister to the elderly, the sick, and the mourning. I haven't fed 5,000, but I CAN open my house and feed a few.

There is SO MUCH we can do for the Kingdom in our everyday life that IF we were busy following after Jesus WE WOULD HAVE NO TIME FOR CRYING. If we were putting Jesus first and others above ourselves we would have no time to reflect on how depressed we are. IF we were seeking to follow after Jesus we would be surrounded by those that are truly in need and we would be overwhelmed with gratitude for our blessings. WE WOULD BE REJOICING IN THE LORD. How could we do anything else.

In no time in history have people ever had so much idle time on their hands and the result is a whole multitude of depressed people. Is the key to healing from depression as simple as giving our lives to others for the cause of CHRIST? Can we find contentment, fulfillment, and purpose in giving away our lives? Laying them down for others. In James it says true religion and undefiled is to take care of the widows and the orphans. THE FOUNDATION of the GOSPEL is LOVING OTHERS IN ANY WAY YOU CAN.

It's amazing to me that in studies people report they get a high from serving others and giving of themselves to others. GOD made us and he KNOWS what we need. He knows that we can not find purpose for ourlives by self-reflection. We can only find purpose in being used by him to serve those who are in need. What the world needs now is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Not a feeling, but an action. What have you done for HIM/THEM lately???

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keepers

I received this in an email and thought it was worth sharing!!!


I grew up in the 40's/50's with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it..... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away....never to return. So... While we have it..... it's best we love it.... And care for it... And fix it when it's broken........ And heal it when it's sick.

This is true. For marriage....... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards...... And dogs with bad hips...... And aging parents.........And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special........ And so, we keep them close!


8 THINGS GOD WON'T ASK ON THAT DAY.

1... God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2... God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3... God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet. He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4... God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5... God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6... God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7... God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived. He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8... God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your character.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proactive Parenting...

Something AMAZING happened today. It was really an ordinary amazing. You know the kind you just might miss if you aren't paying attention. I've been praying for God to give me WISDOM in raising my children. You know "training a child in the way they should go". I really need to do this post in parts. This will be one small part. ANYWAY, like I said praying for wisdom, because WELL, I'm finding out I can't rely on my own understanding. My way just ain't working. The wonderful thing is that God makes us a promise in James that if we ask for wisdom HE will lavish it on us. WOOHOO. I could use a wisdom flood.

Ok... Part 1. "train up a child".... Well, I have been pretty reactive about this command. You know what I mean. Only dealing with a discipline problem when it arises... which come to find out IS NOT the best way to do it. We are supposed to be PROACTIVE. Hence the TRAINING. Teaching what we know, when we get up, sit down, walk by the way and lay down. You know all this. We are supposed to be passing down the precepts and commands all the time. Which brings up a very good point... you have to be in the Word to pass down the Word.

OK... back to the amazing thing. My niece and nephew spent the night last night. My 7 yr old daughter and my 8 yr old niece are constantly fighting and I really have tried everything to help the situation with some success, but they still fight. So, we are sitting at the table eating breakfast and about to do devotional. I opened up to Proverbs 20 and saw verse 3. I thought wow that will be a good verse for today. It says "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." After I had the girls read the verse we began to talk about what this means. Just then my daughter gets very serious and says "Wow, we must be fools." I said, "well, why do you say that?". To which she replied "because we fuss and fight all the time." That was AMAZING to me. God's word had spoken to her heart and shown her something about herself and she didn't want to be a fool. I LOVE THAT!!!

The Bible says that the word of God is sharper than any 2 edged sword able to penetrate our hearts and change us from within. We NEED God's word. Our children NEED God's word. The Bible says that the Word of God is ALIVE and ACTIVE. It says that it NEVER returns VOID. We don't need more discipline and lectures. We NEED more of the WORD!!!

So, Part 1 is I need to rely on the Word of God to give me Wisdom so that I can pass it on to my children and be proactive about revealing sin to them so that they will seek a heart change. God's Word is soooooo much better at this than I am. Being imperfect they see my sin. God is perfect and so when they hear something from the Word of God they respect it.

I praise God for his patience and kindness. In Psalms David say the gentleness of God had made him great. Isn't that so true. God is so good to us that we want to live for him. We have to be so good to our children that they want to live for HIM!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laundry

Do you have a laundry day or do you do one or two loads a day? I know crazy ??? Why does it matter how you do your laundry? It won't help me get mine done. Which brings up another good point. Why am I on the computer asking random people how they do their laundry which is wasting my time!!! I guess so I don't have to think about my laundry.

Well, since you are interested, I have a laundry day. I "try" to get all of mine done in one day... Which NEVER happens. With a house full of littles it's never caught up. Besides someone is always using a towel or spilling something or changing for the 3rd time since breakfast. Anyway, part of the reason I have a laundry day is because I don't want to think about it for the rest of the week. I have one day each week where I wake up ready to tackle the small mountain of clothes that is waiting for me. Washing, drying, folding, putting up... It seems to go on forever that day or at least until about noon when I stop doing it and never get it finished. With small piles of folded clothes all over the place and baskets of still dirty clothes. OH, yeah don't even get me started about socks... WHY IN THE WORLD can I never find matches to socks??? Where do all the lonely socks go??? I've started a sock basket. I just folded 20 pairs of socks and it's summer time so we're not even wearing socks... that tells you just how long they have been sitting there.

What about this... IF you are like me and you have a laundry day then you work hard all that day to get the laundry done... washing, drying, folding, putting up... only to look around the rest of your house and it's a total nightmare. You haven't done one thing around the house because you've been washing, drying, folding, putting up. So, there are dishes all over the kitchen, food all over the floor, toys ALL OVER the house. You get my drift. Nothing gets done, except some of the laundry.

What about this... You work hard all day doing the laundry only to be asked by the hubs "where's that white shirt (his favorite shirt, that you have to wash every other day)?" OH YEAH that's part of the not been washed yet pile.... ALWAYS!!!

OR your daughter comes in to tell you that she has NOTHING to wear... You walk up to the closet becuase YOU KNOW you just washed all her clothes. What do you find in the closet??? A closet full of NEVER worn clothes that are SUPER CUTE. You say what about this or this or this or this only to find out that none of this will do BECAUSE she wants her favorite outfit that is still in the to be washed pile. I know the people in our neighborhood think well they don't need anymore kids they can't afford to get those poor kids any clothes. Not that we're rich, but if they could see all the clothes they don't wear...

Well, enough about my laundry drama... Tell me some of yours...

Couponing...

I'm sure everybody is doing it now?! If it's not you it's probably someone close to you. I just started a couple months ago... I'm not an extreme couponer, but I've gotten some good deals for sure. It's been a rush to get some stuff for free. It's been like a puzzle (which is enjoyable to me) to match up coupons with the deals that are in the paper. I love getting more for my money. After watching prices for a couple of months I know what IS a good price or sale and what IS NOT. We are not running out of everything like we were before.

Some of the things I've gotten for free are: baby wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bbq sauce, deodorant, body wash, contact solution, marinades.

Things that I've gotten for 30 cents and less are: Condiments (mustard, mayo, salad dressing...), pasta sides, brownies and cake mixes, taco season, pasta, more toothpaste, soap, body wash, deodorant, dish soap.

Things that have been 2-3 dollar cheaper because of coupons: dish soap, detergents, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, boxed meals, cereals, eggs, lunch meat, frozen pizzas, sliced, shredded, stick cheese...

These are just a few of the things that we've been able to save money on. We buy 8 papers each week... that costs us $20. I know what you're thinking... We can't be saving that much money, but I have found each week that just one coupon from each paper has paid for the paper. This week for example Kroger was having a really great sale. If you buy 10 of a certain item you get $5 off. It was mix/match so you don't have to buy 10 of the same item.

Dish soap regular price $2.49 on sale 2.19 with 10/5 sale it was 1.69... I had a coupon for .25 that tripled... final price .94. That's a total savings of $1.55 each.

$1.55 X 6= $9.30. I bought 6 at the best possible price and saved 9.30.

I know that's a lot of math just to say with coupons and matching them to great store sales we are getting alot more for our money. One week I was able to get 8 packages of wipes for $4.00 total. They were regularly priced $2.50x 8= 20. I saved $16 on that deal and even got 4 more for FREE!!!

Saving money has been awesome... Getting stuff for free has been a lot of fun. BUT, one benefit of using coupons has been that we have been able to give away excess. We couldn't use all the stuff we are getting for free or cheap. So, we have been able to share with others. This has been such a huge blessing for me. Sometimes it's people that come over who need something, other times we as a family have taken food and other stuff to the food bank. I have also been able to share with family members who are struggling financially. You should see their face when you come in with bags full of goodies. We also have a lot of people in and out of the house all the time. So we have had a fully stocked pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to throw something together and people don't have to feel like they are being a burden. We have get togethers and parties all the time that we can just whip up some 10 cent brownies for desert and it doesn't cost as much as it use to to have people over.

Really that's what it's all about. Hospitality and Giving to others. Coupons are helping our family fulfill those commands!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joseph and Brooke

I've had 2 friends lose children lately. One of them had an 11 yr old son who had bravely battled cancer for the last few years. The other friend had just given birth to a long awaited baby girl and she passed away that same day. My Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer around Christmas time... she has been completely healed. This all leaves me to wonder WHY? WHY??? I know all the "christian" answers. I know that sometimes children die. It's just hard to fathom how these Moms get up the next day while the world is going about it's "normal" and they have to function. How do Mothers and Fathers function after the loss of a child? I know God's grace is sufficient... not because I know first hand, but because His Word says so. His Peace passes understanding when we need peace. I know at a time like this when the worst possible thing in the world has happened you have to cling to the promises of God. I don't know how they do it?! I don't know WHY this has happened?? BUT, what I do know is that this has made me think about how I have my children and I need to cherish them they way these mothers would if they could. I need to hold them close and be patient with them. I need to sit down and talk to them. I need to think before I speak. I need to put aside things that don't matter. I need to hug them and hold them when they will let me. Life is precious and we have no guarentee that tomorrow will come. We have NO Promises from God that tomorrow will be the same as it was today. We have ONLY now. As far as the Moms that I mentioned they are forever changed and an empty place will always be there. A sadness we can't really understand unless we have been there, but we can show them our love and let them cry on our shoulders. We can make them food. We can run errands for them. We can do anything to help them with the day to day. AND we can remember their children and cherish our own. So, for Joseph and Brooke I will do my best to honor what God has shown me through your lives and WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN!!! Rest in Peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Between dinner and breakfast....

I'm not sure how it happened... One thing I am sure of is this house was clean yesterday. We were having guests over so we cleaned and I must say I was pretty proud. It even spelled good. Somewhere between then and now things changed. It's not like there was a moment that it happened. I would have remembered that. I know I cooked in a fairly clean kitchen last night and this morning we had cereal, but NOW...

IT'S a DISASTER and I don't know how it happened. How do they do this amount of damage in that short time? Well, enough surfing it's time to do it again. As I am sweeping pops up for the 4,000 time I have to remember that they are really precious little creatures. Blessings from the Lord REALLY and worth every moment of sweat and tears that goes into raising them. Thank You Lord that you clean up my messes. Thank you, Lord for beautiful, messy, little children that fill this place!!!

The Golden Rule...

Sometime instead of teaching my kids the Golden Rule I want to teach them an Eye for an Eye. It seems that I can overlook rejection from others if it's only done to me, but I bristle when it comes to the way people treat my kids. It's a sad day when the parents are worse about playing favorites or popularity than the kids.

We live in Reality TV reality. We form "alliances with the like minded" and formulate plots against those we want to eliminate. My family just moved to a new neighborhood (recently built) so everybody is getting to know each other. I knew from the start that we would not fit in, but I just assumed that we (the kids) would still make friends. And, I knew that God had place us here to witness and minister to others. What I did not know is that it would be this hard for me or them. I didn't know that moving here would be training ground for learning how to deal with rejection and loving people in spite of the way they treat you. One example of this happened this morning. Our neighbors came to the door and asked if the kids could come out and play. Sure we'll be right out, but before we could get outside the kids who had asked us to play were invited to someone else house and were allowed to go. This kind of thing happens alot and my 5 year old son doesn't even want to play with the boys because he gets left out all the time.

Like I said though this has given me lots of teaching moments about loving people like Jesus loved them. He was rejected and mistreated and unpopular. But, He was loving and kind and forgiving. It's hard to watch your children be hurt time and again, but God is the healer of all wounds and I'm glad that they know Jesus. So, I am trying to teach them that they should treat others the way they want to be treated. Hopefully, this will help them to be kinder and more courteous people. I'm still very sad that as adults we are bombarded with this popularity message so much that we have become like the reality shows we watch and we're passing it on to our children. I'm telling you it's time to turn the TV off and get the book out and let the Word transform our hearts and change our lives. We have sold out to the message of the world too long, and we are becoming a society of mean people.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charles Spurgeon on Motherhood.

This is a wonderful excerpt from taken from Charles Spurgeon's book Spurgeon’s Practical Wisdom {or Plain Advice for Plain People} about the influence of mothers.

MOST men are what their mothers made them. The father is away from home all day, and has not half the influence over the children that the mother has. The cow has most to do with the calf. If a ragged colt grows into a good horse, we know who it is that combed him. A mother is therefore a very responsible woman, even though she may be the poorest in the land, for the bad or the good of her boys and girls very much depends upon her. As is the gardener such is the garden, as is the wife such is the family. Samuel’s mother made him a little coat every year, but she had done a deal for him before that : Samuel would not have been Samuel if Hannah had not been Hannah. We shall never see a better set of men till the mothers are better. We must have Sarahs and Rebekahs before we shall see Isaacs and Jacobs. Grace does not run in the blood, but we generally find that the Timothies have mothers of a godly sort.
Little children give their mother the headache, but if she lets them have their own way, when they grow up to be great children they will give her the heartache. Foolish fondness spoils many, and letting faults alone spoils more. Gardens that are never weeded will grow very little worth gathering ; all watering and no hoeing will make a bad crop. A child may have too much of its mother’s love, and in the long run it may turn out that it had too little. Soft-hearted mothers rear soft-headed children ; they hurt them for life because they are afraid of hurting them when they are young. Coddle your children, and they will turn out noodles. You may sugar a child till everybody is sick of it. Boys’ jackets need a little dusting every now and then, and girls’ dresses are all the better for occasional trimming. Children without chastisement are fields without ploughing. The very best colts want breaking in. Not that we like severity; cruel mothers are not mothers, and those who are always flogging and fault-finding ought to be flogged themselves. There is reason in all things, as the madman said when he cut off his nose.
Good mothers are very dear to their children. There’s no mother in the world like our own mother. My friend Sanders, from Glasgow, says, “The mither’s breath is aye sweet.” Every woman is a handsome woman to her own son. That man is not worth hanging who does not love his mother. When good women lead their little ones to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus blesses not only the children, but their mothers as well. Happy are they among women who see their sons and their daughters walking in the truth.
He who thinks it easy to bring up a family never had one of his own. A mother who trains her children aright had need be wiser than Solomon, for his son turned out a fool. Some children are perverse from their infancy ; none are born perfect, but some have a double share of imperfections. Do what you will with some children, they don’t improve. Wash a dog, comb a dog, still a dog is but a dog : trouble seems thrown away on some children. Such cases are meant to drive us to God, for he can turn blackamoors white, and cleanse out the leopard’s spots. It is clear that whatever faults our children have, we are their parents, and we cannot find fault with the stock they came of. Wild geese do not lay tame eggs. That which is born of a hen will be sure to scratch in the dust. The child of a cat will hunt after mice. Every creature follows its kind. If we are black, we cannot blame our offspring if they are dark too. Let us do our best with them, and pray the Mighty Lord to put his hand to the work. Children of prayer will grow up to be children of praise; mothers who have wept before God for their sons, will one day sing a new song over them. Some colts often break the halter, and yet become quiet in harness. God can make those new whom we cannot mend, therefore let mothers never despair of their children as long as they live. Are they away from you across the sea? Remember, the Lord is there as well as here. Prodigals may wander, but they are never out of sight of the Great Father, even though they may be ” a great way off/’
Let mothers labor to make home the happiest place in the world. If they are always nagging and grumbling they will lose their hold of their children, and the boys will be tempted to spend their evenings away from home. Home is the best place for boys and men, and a good mother is the soul of home. The smile of a mother’s face has enticed many into the right path, and the fear of bringing a tear into her eye has called off many a man from evil ways. The boy may have a heart of iron, but his mother can hold him like a magnet. The devil never reckons a man to be lost so long as he has a good mother alive. O woman, great is thy power! See to it that it be used for him who thought of his mother even in the agonies of death.