Archive for July, 2010

Gazing on the Son!

Ever stared at someone because you thought they were so beautiful?

Here’s today sip of God.  Psalm 27:4  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in His presence all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty (the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness) of the Lord….

I hope you’ll take a moment and drink in the presence of God.  Nothing satisfies more.  His beauty is all around you.

What about the Lord do you find beautiful?

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Summer Sips

Funny title, huh?   These were the words that dropped in my head after asking God what was next for the blog.

Summer is a time of refreshing.   Nothing says summer like a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade,brewed sun tea, or water from a mountain spring.

Jesus says, “Whoever takes a drink of the water I will give him shall never be thirsty anymore.”  John 4:14

The human body is made up of about 70% water.  We need to replenish that water on a regular basis for optimal health.

I wonder what happens on the spiritual level when we go without the living water that God offers us.

Just think about the qualities of water.  Water cleanses.  Water quenches thirst.  Water softens.  Water erodes rocks.  Water can carry something away.   What other effects can you think of?

Isn’t that what we desire as Christians?  A clean  and soft heart.  A filled cup that never runs dry.  A life free of obstacles or worries.

I hope you’ll take a moment each day to take a daily sip of God’s goodness and share how it has helped you.

Today’s sip:  Psalm 34:8(Amplified) “O, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.

What are you thirsty for today?  What good thing does God offer you for that thirst?  Where are you trusting and taking refuge in God?

Share with Moms what GOODNESS of God you are celebrating today.

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My brother and I were having a discussion recently about the importance of knowing history.   We talked about how the record is passed down both orally and in written form.

Many cultures, tribes, families, and religions pass down from one generation to the next historical records.  We learn and gain understanding by studying  the lessons of the past. Knowing our history can help us appreciate who we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going.

A parent is charged with training up their children with the promise that when they are old they will not depart from the right way.

Psalms 102:18 says:  “Let this be recorded for the generation yet unborn, that a people yet to be created shall praise the Lord.”

One thing I have learned through parenting is, it never works to shove God down your children’s throats.  Like any other area of life they eventually have to decide for themselves.   We must give them tools to make a good decision.

Here are a few.

1.  Live It. Actions speak louder than words.  You won’t be perfect but you can have a perfect heart.  I believe a perfect heart is one that stays focused and open to God, desiring Him above everything else.

2.  Speak blessing. Many years ago I read a book about family blessing.   I love the idea of speaking the word of God or some type of blessing over your children.  At the end of each letter to the churches (Ephesians, Galations, Corinthians, etc.) there is always a blessing.  Substitute your childs name in any scripture and pray it over them.

In a world where there is so much cursing, blessing is the thing that brings life.

3.  Keep a record. My friend Lynn Donovan, talked about a faith record for your family.  I love that. Write down as much as you know about your family faith history. How far back does Christianity go?  What are the things God has done in your family?   What are the faith lessons you have learned?   By the way, you can find Lynn at http://www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com.

Just imagine how difficult life would be without the Bible or a historical record of faith.  History gives us a foundation to build and improve our lives.

I believe God loves history because history is His Story. And He loves it even more when His story is told through our story.  Everyone has a story and everyone leaves some legacy, great or small to the next generation.

What will you leave?

What are some ways you pass down His story to your children?

What tips can you share for influencing your children spiritually?

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If You Could Google God

No teaching blog today, ladies.   I’ve drawn a blank.  So today we are discussing what we would ask God if we could google Him.   (Stole it from my pastor’s series title for next week.) Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bozeman-MT/Moms-On-Mission/121000761252383 and join the discussion.

Here’s some of what I’d want to know.

1.  Why are relationships so difficult?

2.  Why does it take us so long for Christians (of which I am one) to grow up?

3.  Am I running the race well?

4.  Why do churches fight over “doctrine”?   Why are we afraid of one another?  When it comes to a united church,  if  Jesus and Him crucified was enough for the apostles, why is it not enough for us?

Please share your questions.   Let’s connect!

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We are hearing a lot about social justice these days.   There is quite a debate on whether that is the responsibility of the church or the government.   One thing I’m certain about is it’s an individual responsibility.

God is just.  The Bible tells us justice and mercy are the foundation of His throne.  The book of Micah tells us it’s our role to live justly, have mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Justice is not an easy concept to teach to young children.  It’s not an easy one to live out ourselves.  Several years ago my family experienced injustice at the hands of our legal system.  There was a gift in that.  I realize more than ever the importance of fighting injustice–standing up for someone who is victimized, falsely accused, etc.

So where do we begin?   Proverbs 16:11 (Amplified) tells us:  “A just balance and scales are the Lord’s;  all the weights of the bag are His work (established on His principles.)

How does God weigh things?  Here are a few thoughts.

A.  He weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart). God is much more concerned about our intent then our mistakes.

B.  He weighs us by our mercy, love, truth, and fidelity(to God and man). Proverbs 16:6 tells us these things are more important than our sacrificial offerings.  It is by walking in these qualities that iniquity is purged from our hearts according to this verse.

C.  He weighs us by our words and deeds. What we say and do is far more important than what we say we believe.  What we really believe determines how we act. True justice is talking care of the widows and orphans, the poor and the sick, the prisoner, the disadvantaged, the victims of injustice.

The Bible is very clear that faith without works is dead.  Justice is very important to God.  Justice is not the same as judgment.  Justice is setting things right again.   Our life work should include bringing justice.

Where would you like to see justice?

What could you do to help bring justice to that area?

How do you or could you help your children understand justice?

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When God created us in His image, He gave us authority over the earth. In Gen. 1:28 (Amplified) He instructed man to be fruitful and multiply, using the vast resources in service of God and man.

Our God is brilliant!   He designed us to make a difference!  Whatever your individual calling, it starts with this premise.  You are called to influence. And as a mom, you have more influence than anyone because you instill values and character in your children.

Proverbs 11:11(Amplified) says:  “By the blessing of influence of the upright and God’s favor(because of them) the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”

Influence belongs in the hands of believers.  I wonder if we really understand.   Think about all the problems the world faces.  There is not one that can’t be traced back to mans heart.  Greed, corruption, poor leadership, rebellion, mistrust, self-centeredness…..the list is endless.

The church as a whole often gets blamed for problems, yet throughout time we have been a source of influence.   Looking back, abolition of slavery and woman’s rights, education, taking care of the poor were all part of the influence of the church. Where we have abdicated our responsibility, we can see problems multiplying.

Since we have the ability to tap into the wisdom of God, shouldn’t we be able to solve problems?  Isn’t that what men and women like Solomon, David, Daniel, Joseph, Moses, and Esther did?

When you read these Bible stories, they did not just run around “preaching”.   They worked and served from their relationship with God.  They were the “best of the best.”  They lived their faith!

Look around.  You can begin to understand your circle of influence when you consider what brings you the greatest joy or breaks your heart. Once you know where you would like to make a difference:

1.  Learn all you can about the issue.

2.  Ask God how you can influence the area.

3.  Act out of a heart to serve.

If things are falling apart around us, it seems to me we can either blame the sinful world or bring God’s light and wisdom into the situation.  Where we can’t influence we can pray for solutions.

It’s never too early to begin teaching your children about influence.  The best way to teach them is to be a person of influence yourself.

If you there were no obstacles, what would you like to influence?

If you had a blank check from God, where would you invest it? What problem would you help solve?

If you had the ear of a leader in government, education, religion, sports, business, or entertainment what insight or solutions would you bring them?

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Dollar Sense

I really admire my husband.  About 10 years ago he lost his job of 28 years because of some political shenanigans of co-workers.  Overnight, we went from making about $45,000 a year to barely being able to find work.

I’m not against accepting help from the government when it’s needed. It would have been much easier and probably better for us to go on public assistance.  Instead he went to work at a convenience store for minimum wage.   Unlike the young college age workers there, he never complained and worked as if it paid $20 an hour.

In doing some reading on the “postmodern” era, I found that many of them have a sense of entitlement and are far more interested in playing than working.  Playing is an essential part of life and I wholeheartedly support working at something you love if you can make a living out of it.  But, we need to work.  God has given us principles for wealth building and work.  Proverbs is full of them.

1.  Earn money honestly.  (Proverbs 11:18) This not only includes making sure what you do is legal and above board.  It also includes working hard and with integrity.   An honest  worker is one who gives their best while at work.  They don’t take advantage of their employer.

2.  Gather little by little. (Proverbs 13:11) A wise person saves.  They don’t depend on winning the lottery, some big inheritance, or windfall.  Even if you only have a penny bank, you are still saving.  Just start somewhere.

3.  Don’t waste what you earn.  (Proverbs 12:27) A wise person spends money wisely.  They buy things of value instead of just accumulating stuff.  Some tips:  comparison shop, don’t buy on impulse–plan your purchase,  consider how often you’ll use your purchase, consider it’s quality.

4.  Give generously. (Proverbs 11:17) What you give returns to bless you.  When you hold on to what you have, your hand is in a closed fist.  When you give your hand is open to receive the blessings of God in return.

Proverbs 11:18 says:  (my paraphrase)  He who sows right living in every area of life will have a certain reward.

Money is one of those areas.  I haven’t always been good at it.  I haven’t always taught my children correctly.  But I have learned, it’s never too early to start or to late to begin.

If you are feeling stuck, get some coaching or take a class.

Begin teaching your children how to handle money now.  Use the guidelines above to teach them to work, save, and give.  Set goals and rewards for saving.   Find places to give that will be interesting for them and also help them realize how fortunate they are.

One important thing to remember when you are dealing with money.

God is the ultimate provider, Jehovah-jireh.

He owns all the wealth of heaven and their is an unlimited supply.  When we are living in right relationship with our money and our work habits, we can trust him to supply all our needs. That’s a comfort in these tough economic times.

What are your favorite ways to teach your children about money?

What could you do to improve your dollar sense?

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The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom passed on to a son. As a mom of three boys, I tried hard to instill in them good principles for life.  I wish that someone would have taught me more from the book of Proverbs on parenting.

As I contemplated some of the instruction in this book, the word power came to mind again.  We’ve already established that knowledge and wisdom is a source of power.  So what  could happen if we used the words of Proverbs to instruct and instill principles in our children as well as ourselves?

Part of being a Mom On Mission is putting into practice the principles, promises, possibilities, and purposes of God. Our commitment to those things in our own life will set an example for our children.

For the next several days,  I’ll highlight a principle found in Proverbs.  I hope these principles will create interest and a discussion about why they are important.   I’m encouraging to share your thoughts on how you teach about them or apply them.   You can comment on the blog directly or on the facebook page after reading the blog.

So we’ll start with one that addresses a prominent issue of today.   Proverbs 11:12 says: “He who belittles and despises his neighbor lacks sense….” Sounds like bullying to me.  How about you?

Ever since the Columbine tragedy, bullying has been an upfront and center social issue.   We are seeing more and more instances that have sometimes harsh consequences.

Here’s a few of my thoughts on teaching kids about  the subject.

1.  Everyone is a neighbor. It’s much easier to bully someone if you don’t have a connection to them.   Teaching our children that  we are all connected to one another  is necessary.  We must remind them if we speak hurtfully to someone we are also hurting ourselves.

2.  Everyone is significant. Whether a child is the bully or the one being picked on, this point is important.  A child who is loved and made to feel significant will not be a bully.   Helping your child understand that the bully is not feeling loved or significant can help your child process and also more easily forgive.  Teaching them to guard and honor every person’s uniqueness will go a long way to foster understanding in relationships.

3.  Praise and affirmation is an anecdote. If your child is being bullied, make sure you replace the negative with praise and affirmation of your child.  Celebrate their strengths, talents, and ability.  Praise their attitudes in spite of negativity.   Help them  find something good to say about the person who is doing the bullying.  Help them understand that the bully needs to feel God’s love  and that we can pray for them and try to find something kind to do or say. Loving our enemies can often turn them into friends.

Satan is the biggest bully of all.  God  tells us that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. Our kids need to understand that they don’t have to be afraid because God is in them.

Bullying is a difficult issue.   If you’ve been belittled you understand the consequences.  What could or have you done to help your child understand this issue?  What solutions or thoughts do you have about bullying?

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Power Up

“The way of the Lord is strength and a stronghold to the upright…”  Proverbs 10:29 (Amplified)

A person who has God’s wisdom is a person of power.   The pillar of power is an important one to consider.    I’ve had some interesting revelations as I have pondered what makes a wise person powerful.   Here’s what I’ve discovered.

A wise person uses words wisely!  It’s about the tongue!

Proverbs has a lot to say about the tongue.   In fact, Proverbs 18:21 states very clearly that Life and Death are in the power of the tongue.

The Bible has many verses and examples of how powerful the tongue is. What would have happened if David had said: “I can’t kill this giant!”  Or Joshua, “Marching around the wall seven times is not going to work!”

I find it interesting that on the Day of Pentecost, the tongue was the sign of what God was doing.  Today, “speaking in tongues” can be a divisive topic in the church.  But the power present on that day was manifested through the tongues of the people.  Is it possible that is part of the message?

Proverbs describes the tongue of the righteous as choice silver, the well of life. It tells us words of the wise are skillful and Godly, feed and guide many, and bring deliverance.

Just think for a moment about the negative words that have been spoken in your life.  Someone calls  us stupid, or lazy, or fat and the words can scar us for a lifetime.   When we are told we can’t, or must, should, or shouldn’t do something we absorb those words and often are paralyzed by them.

Humor me.   Pick something you feel about yourself.   (I’ll choose my weight).  Now say something like:  I am so fat.  I can’t lose weight.  I will always be this way. Notice how you feel in your gut when you say that.  Now reverse that and say:  I was made to be healthy.   I can make good choices.   I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. How do you feel in your gut this time? Which make you feel strong?

If you want to have power here are some keys.

1.  Be filled with the Spirit. Power comes from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  In Eph. 5:17-18 we are told to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to ourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord.   In other words, fill your mouth with worship!

2.  Agree with and speak His Words. When you speak or hear something your brain records it.  It doesn’t know the difference between truth and a lie.  If you want to renew your mind it’s critical to begin speaking God’s word over your life.   It’s a powerful tool to speak those words over someone else as well.   They bring blessings instead of cursings.

3. Listen more and think before you speak. Hard for me but I’m finding it so true!  When I don’t talk so much, or ask for the Holy Spirit’s help before I speak, things are better.   Words are powerful.  They can cause trouble or bring peace.   Silence is sometimes stronger than any word.

What negative words do you speak over yourself or your family?

What could happen if you began to choose God’s words instead?

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Ever needed to put something together and get frustrated reading the instructions?

I learn visually.  Reading instructions for me is usually like trying to translate some strange language when you don’t know any words.  I just don’t get it!

No matter what you know, if you don’t have the understanding of how to apply it or make it work, it’s of no use.  Understanding is one of the seven pillars of wisdom.  It’s what helps us turn our knowledge into action.

Proverbs 24:2-4 tells us that it’s through wisdom and knowledge a foundation is laid but through understanding the house is established.  So here’s some things to think about:

1. When you have understanding you have a strategy or plan to carry out your knowledge. God is a God of order.  He doesn’t just drop tidbits of wisdom in our heads.  He has a plan to apply them.  Don’t just ask to know, ask how to apply what He tells you!

2. Rely on the true understanding which comes from God. The Bible tells us to “lean not on our own understanding.”  Since God’s wisdom is infinite and deep, His plans and understanding of the big picture is too.  Whatever issue concerns you, ask for and rely on His understanding and strategy, not just what you think would be best.

3.  A wise person applies what they know. If you really understand, you’ll apply the principles or wisdom of God to your life.  Have you ever known someone who knows “everything” but has no common sense application in their life?  If you don’t apply what you know you might as well not know it.  It is also sobering to think that we are accountable for what we know and how we apply it.  To whom much is given, much is required!

Where in your life has God showed you a strategy to change something?

What strategy or understanding do you need today for life?

What could happen if you applied the knowledge you have to your current situation or life?

Let Moms know what wisdom God has given you and what happens when you “get it!”

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