Archive for June, 2010

That’s the ultimate parenting joy!  To see their kids make good decisions based on sound judgments.  It’s God’s too!

If a mom carried her baby everywhere, never put the baby down on the floor, never allowed the baby to move on it’s own and did everything for the child, the baby would never learn to function properly.

God is a good parent and He loves watching us take those first steps and then growing up into all He planned for us.   He has given us every resource we need to make good decisions.   If we grab hold of His wisdom, and impart this pillar to our children, we can influence the world!

So here’s some things to think about.

1.  Always go to God first and ask for direction. He is the source of wisdom and will guide your next steps.

2.  Be Prepared. Good boy scout motto!   Preparing yourself before you have to make a decision makes for better decision making.  Here are a few points of preparation:  Be in constant communication with God. (Pray without ceasing).  Study God’s Character.  (Study to show yourself approved).  Know what God says. (Hide His words in your heart).  Deal with your stuff.  (Be transformed).  Stay Filled. (Be filled with the Spirit)These things will help us keep a clear focus and renewed mind.

3.  Act don’t react. Sometimes situations leave us time to decide over a period of time.  Others are emotional or life threatening and require instant action.   If, you are prepared you will find it easier to make even quick sound decisions.  I usually react poorly when I haven’t dealt with my own wounds or stuff as I call it.   A wise person makes decisions outside emotions.  Sound judgments are based on knowledge of the situation, a set of guiding principles,  and a clear end result in mind.

With all that in mind:  Don’t be afraid to make a mistake! Here’s a joke about it.

“Sir, What is the secret of your success?” a reporter asked a bank president.
“Two words.”
“And, sir, what are they?”
Good decisions.
“And how do you make good decisions?”
“One word.”
“And sir, what is that?”
“And how do you get Experience?”
“Two words.”
“And, sir, what are they?”
“Bad decisions.”


What steps could you take to make better decisions?

What ideas do you have for teaching your children how to make good decisions?

Hope you’ll share them with us!

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I Digress!

Seen that commercial?  Today I’m digressing from our seven pillars with an important thought.

God showed me something yesterday.   Psalms 119:165 says, “Great Peace have those who love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”

Key word:  Offend.

Don’t know about you but I’ve always heard this taught as if you really love God and His ways, nothing will hurt your feelings or take more than two seconds to get over!   Like so many other things we have been taught, it’s untrue!

I found myself asking God, “How is it possible to not be hurt or offended?”  I found myself looking up the Hebrew translation of that word.   The word is mikshoi and it comes from the word kashal, which means totter or waver(weakness through the legs, especially the ankle.)  Mikshoi means stumbling block (fall, enticement).

So here’s what I think.   To not be offended means:

1.  Not letting anything hold you back or keep you from walking with God.

2.  Not letting anything entice(draw) us away from Him.

3.  Not letting anything knock us off our feet permanently.

Whether you are hurt by someone has nothing to do with it.   You are going to be hurt in life.  What you do with hurt or any other emotion, thought, event, action, thing is the issue.

When we truly know God’s laws and His love, nothing will hold us back.  We may be processing, we may be struggling.  There is no time limit for how long that takes.   What is important is that we are not stuck and we are moving forward.

It was a freedom moment for me when I realized this.  I no longer have to deny hurt feelings because it is the Christian thing to do.  I no longer have to worry about being hurt.   I can accept it, deal with it, and move on!  I don’t have to beat myself up because I’m hurt or upset in relationships.   YEA GOD.

What do you think about offense?

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Correction!  Not exactly a food we’d choose on the banquet table that Wisdom has prepared for us.  It goes hand in hand with counsel and is one of the seven pillars we’re discussing.

Good parents establish unconditional love with their children.  When we have to correct their behavior they don’t feel cast aside.  Our motives and attitudes are pure.

God is such a perfect example.  He corrects because he loves, not because he is disappointed.  All the laws of the Bible were intended for protection.

I’m not rebellious.   Criticism and correction, even if it is good can leave me feeling humiliated.  Why?  I’ve asked that over and over again.   Here’s what I think I’ve learned.

True correction comes from a place of relationship. There’s an old saying, “People don’t care how much you know, ’til they know how much you care.”    There’s a different response when correction comes from someone who loves me and that I trust. If I’m secure in their love, I understand they’d never say anything to hold me back or hurt me.  They want the best for me.

God always corrects us out of love. Sometimes, I’m afraid to accept God’s correction because I don’t trust that His answer will  be good for me or have lost sight of how much He loves us.  At some point He will judge the rebellious and wicked, but He did not come and does not come to condemn us in our failures.

Correction is a good thing. Even when criticism and correction comes from an unkind person it can be good.  If I take the nugget of truth and spit out the rest, I’m better for it.  One can allow correction make them feel like a failure or turn it into a stepping stone to more wisdom.

A wise person becomes wiser with instruction and is always increasing his learning.   One of the ways we learn is by accepting and acting on good counsel.

Here’s some steps to gaining good counsel.

1.  Always go to God first. God’s counsel is the best!  Whatever situation you need guidance for  tell God. For me He usually answers with a impression or idea in my mind,or a passage of scripture.  He can speak through anything;  Dreams, people, nature, signs, or as in the Bible–even donkeys and whales.

2.  If you’re unsure, go to a trusted source for counsel. Make sure the person you go to is able to keep confidences, has exhibited wisdom in their own life, and also listens to God.  If someone tells you something that is contrary to God’s word, their counsel is not from God.

3.  Research or study. Sometimes we just need more information.  Research and study can be good counsel.  In this internet age, it’s fairly easy to Google some problem or situation and find many resources that deal with an issue.  Make sure that any information you obtain comes from reliable, trusted sources. Always ask yourself if what you learned is consistent with God’s character.

In what ways could you use these three steps in instructing your children?   What issue are you dealing with that could benefit from these steps?

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Good insight require looking ahead.   Proverbs 10:13 talks about this in terms of discernment (Amplified) and short-sightedness (Message).

There are people who:

a. Live in the past. They are stuck in past experiences and can’t or won’t look forward to see a better or different way or future.  Change requires us to let go of the past beliefs, ideas, and habits.

b.  Live without thinking. A good example of this type of person is one who never considers consequences, period!  They live for themselves, and just let life happen.   When they make a decision, it’s based solely on what they want with no insight as to what it might bring to them or anyone else.

c.  Live with foresight. A person who lives with foresight has carefully considered truth, options, possibilities, and consequences.  They have an end result in mind and set their goals in line with that.   They see problems that could develop before they start.  They only look at the past for lessons learned, for what worked and didn’t work.

If we want our children to be successful, thriving, contributing adults we have to help them learn to think ahead.

That is one of the gifts of true wisdom.    Here’s somethings you might try in your life and consider how they could work in raising your kids.

1.  Learn the lessons of the past. Instead of living from the past, review the significant events of the past, examining what worked and what didn’t.  There is a saying, “History repeats itself.”  It is so true.  If we want a different result we have to do something different.  Apply the principles that worked to whatever situation you are in now.

2.  Think! Consider the consequences. I had to stop a moment because I had the Aretha Franklin song playing in my head!   Good advice though.   Before you make a decision, take your eyes off of yourself.   Whatever issue you are dealing with think through the consequences.  I love pros and cons lists.   What could happen if ……? is a valuable question.

3.  Consider the truth, options, and possibilities. Wisdom requires that we replace false beliefs with truth.   Since you behave like you believe, knowing what you believe and why you believe can be very important to your future.  One of the first truths you have to find is:  Is this something I can do something about? Sometimes it’s not in our control.

After you have the truth, consider the options and possibilities in the situation or issue you want to change.   Think about how you would advise someone else to solve this problem.   Think about the outcome you want and all the ways to get there.   Get advice from a trusted source.

Thinking is an absolute necessity.  What we think about effects our lives.

If you were about to take a test, you’d feel good if you studied hard.  If you were about to perform something, you’d feel confident because you practiced hard.   If you were about to change the world with something you invented, you would understand it all started with a thought and exploring the possibilities.

Confidence, security, freedom, and a world of possibilities!  Life is bigger and better when we THINK!

So, what’s on your mind today?

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Real Knowledge

Education is valuable but you can be very educated and know nothing about life or the real world.   Worldly knowledge can change with the wind.  It can be based on unfounded opinion or faulty evidence.  Books and news reports can be manipulated to look like truth yet be based on someone’s bias or an absolute lie.  It’s hard to recognize real truth in today’s world.

Real knowledge is a recognition, awareness, discernment of what is true and right. There is only one foundation for truth.  According to Proverbs 9, life would work so much better if we knew one thing–The Holy God.

What does that mean?   It means we recognize that He is above everything else.  We discern that what He says is true.  We are aware of the sacredness of all He has made and given.  We know His character.

How can we get the knowledge that wisdom offers us?  It takes thinking.  It takes studying.  It takes practice.  Here are  a few things we need to know.

1.  Know who God is. Study the character of God.  This all starts with the premise that God is a good God, all the time.  If you believe that truth, you will look at life through those eyes.

2.  Know who God says you are. Learn what God says about you.   This starts with the premise that He loves you unconditionally and believes what He has made is good.   When you understand that, you can begin to unravel the lies you have believed about yourself and others.

3.  Know what He has given to you. God loves to give.  2 Peter 1:3 tells us He has given us all we need for life and godliness.  He understands every need and has made provision for it to be met.  He has given us gifts from His Holy Spirit to help us and help others.

4.  Know where He has called you to serve. Knowledge is of little worth if it is not applied and used to make a difference somewhere.   God knows the plans He has for you and is wanting to reveal them to you.

When we take steps to gain knowledge, through study, prayer, and practice, wisdom will be there in every situation.

What part of God’s character addresses the issue you are concerned about?

What has God said about you that is in contrast with how you are feeling about yourself right now?

What gift or tool has God given you to handle the situation you are dealing with?

How could you use the knowledge you  already have to serve or make a difference for someone else?

One thing I know for sure!  My God lives and reigns forever and ever and that means He lives and reigns in me.  Therefore, I rule and reign with Christ.  Nothing can stop Him!  Nothing can stop me!  He’s in me and I’m in Him!

Same goes for you!!!!!!

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If wisdom built her house, she must know something about helping us build ours.  Don’t you love that wisdom is talked about in the feminine?   She, her, etc.   We always knew we were the wise ones– right ladies?  LOL!

Proverbs 9 talks about wisdom throwing a banquet at her house.  She goes into the street inviting anyone who is confused about life and doesn’t know what is going on to come and eat with her.  Now that’s a worthwhile dinner party, don’t you think?

I don’t know about you, but when I go to someone’s house for dinner, I love to look at their house.  Proverbs 9:1 tells us wisdom has built and furnished her house and supports it with seven pillars.   I was fascinated as I looked into what those pillars were.   Over the next seven blogs, I’ll share what I found out with you.

The seven pillars are:  The fear of the Lord, knowledge, discretion, counsel, sound judgment, understanding, and power.

PILLAR #1  The Fear of the Lord

Wisdom starts with your view of God.   The word fear is often misunderstood.  Ever think of God as an ‘angry’ parent or authority, ready and willing to spank us or cast us aside if He disapproved of something?  I did!

In this scripture fear actually means a reverence or awe, a deep sense of respect.   When someone is wise or does something you admire, don’t you want to learn from them?   Wouldn’t you love to be around them?

That’s the beginning of wisdom.

A.  Acknowledge God and His wisdom. Sometimes we try to figure life out on our own.   When we understand that God knows better than us, and turn to Him for help, life will go better.

B.  Go to God–I see two very different pictures.   Awe, respect, reverence requires seriousness.   Imagine Esther as she came before the king.   She knew this moment could affect her very life.   Her approach was confident, yet humble, honoring.  She knew what she was about to ask was important.

On the other hand, I see a little child who thinks his daddy has the answers to everything.   Envision the little one running up to daddy, tapping furiously on his leg to gain attention.  Looking directly into his father’s eyes, he speaks what’s on his mind.  Doesn’t matter if might seem silly, might not make sense, or is just an expression of his feelings.  Daddy loves him, daddy knows the answers.

The fear of God requires both seriousness and child-likeness.

C.  Honor God.  Expression of your love is part of the fear of God.  Praise, worship, and acting on his instruction are all ways we honor Him.  No one’s loved us more deeply, more unconditionally.  Sending Jesus to pay the price to reconnect us to God was the ultimate sacrifice.   Don’t you love it when your children give you a hug?  Isn’t it awesome when you see them do the right thing?   God thinks so too!

What issue concerns you today?   What do you want to say to God about it?   What is God saying to you?  What is your response?

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“out of the abundance of the heart…..” If we are going to live from the heart, looking at what our hearts are filled with is important.

Our hearts are like soil.  In order for dirt to grow something, it has to have the right composition, nourishment, and be free of rocks and weeds that can choke out the seed.

Once Christ came, the Bible is clear that the law of God is written on our hearts rather than stone tablets.   Checking our heart condition and focus is part of staying connected with God.  Here’s some  ABC’s to help with that process.

A. Make a list of what you value. We all have core values and principles.  They are the things that are most important to us and not everyone’s are the same. Honesty, frugality, humor, encouragement are just a few examples.  These tenets can guide us and protect us as we walk through life.   They are a big part of who we are.   Living a life that reflects what is important to us is the first step to being authentic.

B. Compare your principles with God’s character. Since God has put sacred principles inside of us, our principles (the things we want to live our life by) should match His character.  Sometimes our principles can become skewed or twisted.  When we live outside our core principles and God’s character,  it causes an internal struggle.  We find ourselves confused and without peace.  We might do things for selfish reasons.  We will lack real happiness and joy.  We lose sight of who we are and/or cover up the “real” us with masks because we don’t like what we see.

C.  Search your heart for things that block your growth. In the garden of life, fruitful living requires regular weeding.   Check your heart for weeds like unforgiveness, bitterness, greed, etc.  Check for rocks like unconfessed sin,  places you’ve been wounded, lies you’ve believed about God, yourself, and others.  These are just a few of the things that can stop living from a pure heart.

“Principles are like soil that receives the seed we will sow in life.

Sacred principles provide the soil for deep, secure roots,helping us become like unmovable trees.

Living by our sacred principles will cultivate and produce a harvest of good things in us, and in those around us.

Understanding the sacredness of our principles will compel us to make a difference in our world.”–Marian Struble fromMoms on Mission, Digging Up Your Destiny

    It’s important to focus on God’s principles, His promises, and His  possibilities.  That moves us into a place of peace, clarity, and adventure!

    Where in your life do you need to re-establish sacred principles?

    As a parent, what can you do to teach your children principles to live by?

    Moms would love to hear about some of your principles and how they help you live your life.

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    From The Heart

    I’m a heart kind of person.  I really believe life is lived best when it comes from a God-centered, passionate, free heart.  Proverbs 4:23  (NKJV) says: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

    If we want a full, free, life it starts with the heart.  If you want to know your heart you have to take time to examine it. This week we will do that.

    Grab your journal or a piece of paper, pen, and sit down for just a minute.  Work through these questions and see what you discover about your heart.

    1.  What do I want my relationship with God to look like?

    2.  What is standing in the way?

    God loves our feelings.  He loves to hear our hearts and wants us to hear His.

    1.  What do I want to tell God today? What am I afraid to tell Him?

    2.  What do I want to give God? What am I afraid to give Him?

    3.  What love words is God speaking to me today?

    4.  What is He asking me to do?

    A pure heart before God requires open two-way communication and a desire to act on what He tells us.

    Jesus knew His Father and was about His business.   Because He did, He accomplished His purpose and we are the benefactors of that inheritance!

    As you live in His presence and work from His presence you will know His heartbeat and your rhythm will follow its cadence.

    Listen to His heart.   What do you hear Him saying today for you, your family, your community, the world?

    I want to march to His rhythm not my own.  Will you join me?

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    Kind of silly, but I never imagined myself as one of the older people.  It seems like just yesterday I questioned why some of things that bothered my parents and grandparents about our generation were important.   Some of them weren’t.  Looking through my bifocals,  I recognize most things they tried to teach us were very wise.

    Each generation has its own flavor, perspective, causes, strengths, and weaknesses.  They speak their own truth in their own voice.  Whether for good or bad, part of the current culture will carry over and be built upon by the next generation. Other parts will be tossed aside or re-invented, couched in some new language or ideology.

    Today the word being bantered around is post-modernism.  There is quite a discussion going on about what this really is, especially in the church.  Depending on what you think, it can be exciting or frightening.

    I’m not sure what it is…..kind of seems like a rehash or new version of the 60’s and 70’s to me.  But this is what I do know.

    1.  There is nothing new under the sun. God has seen it all and is not surprised by any of it.

    2. God’s wisdom has been tested through time, from generation to generation. God’s principles for life transcend race, creed, gender, age, religious affiliation, believer, non-believer, or any other category you can think of .

    His wisdom works in business, in church, in government, education, family, relationships, etc.

    3. Wisdom is important. Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV) says it is the principal thing.  In the Message it reads, “Above all, and before all, do this:  Get Wisdom.”

    4.  Wisdom is taught. We don’t get wisdom by accident. We have to seek it.  As we said yesterday, we have to pay attention to it.  God is the source of wisdom.  He instructs us.  Moms and dads have a responsibility to  instruct their children as God instructed them.

    5.  God’s wisdom protects us and brings life. Applied to any situation, wisdom will bring a good result.

    As I think about today’s world–the wars, the sex trade, broken relationships, immigration, politics, government, education, the arts, the church, addictions, crime, poverty, injustice,  the economy and almost any problem or situation that Godly wisdom and common sense couldn’t impact positively. Supernatural interventions are sometimes required but I honestly think God empowers us through His wisdom to solve problems and show His love.    What do you think?

    Where have you seen Godly wisdom at work?

    What wisdom is God speaking to you about the current concern of your life?

    What wise things  do you think most important to teach your children?

    If you had a platform, what wise instruction would you share with the world?

    Final thought:  Since the beginning, outside of God, moms have always had the greatest influence on each generation.  Think about it! Every tyrant, every king, every president, every teacher, every religious leader, every politician, every person of influence–good or bad has a mom.  A mom is the first to nurture, feed, love, and teach her children.

    I hope  you realize how important you are.  You have the power to change the world by putting God’s wisdom into practice in your life, and passing it on to your children.  A mom who listens to and applies wisdom and teaches her children to do the same is a Mom on Mission.

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    Pay Attention!

    Ok.  I admit it!  Because I’m a teacher, I see a lesson in everything.   I’m sure I drive my non-teacher friends crazy.   I see lessons in words, thoughts, ideas, animals, art, music, events, relationships, objects, nature,…….everything means something to me.

    Part of being a mom is being a teacher.  And wouldn’t you know it, I think God is a teacher too!   A good teacher loves to watch her students explore, discover new things, learn to follow instructions, solve problems, and understand concepts.   I think God is a good teacher!

    The first step to learning or gaining wisdom according to Proverbs chapter 4 is to pay attention.  Whether you are contemplating a situation, relationship, or life over all, paying attention is the beginning to finding a solution or  understanding.

    The word attention is mental act.   In order to pay attention to something you have to focus on it.

    When we are in the middle of raising kids,  business ventures, a crisis, etc.  it is easy to just get focused on the thing in front of us.   Paying attention requires us to think, ponder, question, explore, study, and seek out God’s wisdom.  It requires a conscious decision to listen and be aware of what He is saying–His instruction.

    When we tell our kids to pay attention, we are asking them to look at us, focus on what we are saying, or what we have told them in the past.  For at least a moment that requires them to be still.   The same is true with us.  We can’t pay attention if we aren’t still.

    So just for a moment Pay Attention! Whatever situation or concern you have today:  What can you do to focus on God and listen for His instruction?(examples:  pray, journal, study, ask someone, go for a walk, etc.)

    What has God told you in the past that will help you understand or solve the issue?

    Now that you have paid attention, what is your next step?

    I’d love to hear what insight you gained from paying attention.   I hope you will share so we all can take advantage of the wisdom God gave you.

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