Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I Learned From the Hilldale MOPS!

Hilldale MOPS you are an awesome group of Moms!! I came to share the Word with you, but you taught me a thing or 2!

1. God is faithful to bless our efforts. (1 Thess. 5:24)
Your group has grown by more than 20 Moms this year. You were faithful with your efforts and God was faithful with His blessings.

2. You reached out to a Mom with a special need. (Proverbs 31:9) You are women of virtue.
When I arrived, Diane (Hilldale MOPS coordinator) shared with me that a new member, Cherry, was deaf, and asked if I would be comfortable with an interpreter present. She explained that Yvonne, the interpreter, would sit with her back to me and interpret for Cherry as I spoke. My first thought was that I might be distracted, but I was not in the least. Our God is faithful. I met Bro. Larry, the pastor of Hilldale, and he told me how he had encouraged Cherry to join the MOPS group and I am so glad he did. I can only imagine how lonely I would feel if I was deaf, and this group of Moms is doing a great job of making Cherry feel included. (and isn't what we all want and need? Ask any teenage girl!!) Just being with them makes me want to look around my own church and community and see the lonely and include them more in the life of our church family. Great job Bro. Larry and great job Hilldale MOPS Moms. And Yvonne, oh my word, what a great job you did with this fast talking, Kentucky twang of mine. I couldn't even begin to interpret "myself" for "myself", but you did a great job.

Know how I could tell?? By the look on Cherry's face. She looked from you to me the whole time and I am so blessed by this experience. (Cherry has the pony-tail)

Hilldale MOPS has a great group of Mentor Moms who take the commands of Titus 2 seriously. Ladies, let's never forget the words of Paul in Titus 2:3-5: we are to reach out to the young women and girls in our sphere of influence and teach them things like, "holy living, to be more serious about spiritual things, to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, pure, keepers at home, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed!!" (ouch. Not popular in our culture, but biblical truth, without error, just the same.)

I met 2 new mentor Moms this year: Paula did a great job with our devotional, and I enjoyed talking with Mary, a new mentor Mom.

Hannah is one of the newest members of my blog and she shared with me that her husband has recently been deployed to Afghanistan. Oh how thankful I am for the men and women who defend our country and for their precious families who give up so much for our safety. Bless you!

Hilldale MOPS, it was a pleasure to be with you again this year. You are doing a great job encouraging young Moms to be all they can be for Christ, their husbands, and their families. driver picked me up, we had lunch at Chick-fil-a, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.
Thanks again Hilldale MOPS Moms!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Our Heart and Spirit Tender Toward God

Happy New year!! Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for 2013? I've made a few resolutions,
(stay calm, trust more, etc) set a few goals, (the everlasting 10lbs) but what I really want to do is be more "consistent" in my faith. It's easy to have faith and trust God when things are going well, but at the first hint at trouble, the enemy is an expert at setting up a stronghold around my heart, and that stronghold is usually fear.

I jotted down 5 things in my journal today that I want to consistently do throughout the year to keep my heart and spirit tender toward God. I do so want to be more committed to Him this year than last and if you feel the same way, then maybe these 5 things will help you, too, and together we can keep each other accountable.

1. Spend time in the Word each day.
David said in Psalm 119:11, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against Thee." If we aren't reading the Word we can't hide it in our heart. It is the Word that keeps us from sin. And reading the Word everyday keeps my heart in sync with the heart of God. And a heart in sync with God's heart means I'm more aware of the sin in my life and my need for forgiveness.

2. Learn what it means to "pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17)
For me, praying without ceasing means my heart is focused and there is a constant awareness of my relationship with God. I have often been praying, have to deal with an interruption, then my mind and heart goes right back to my prayer. To pray without ceasing means I have an open line of communication with God that I can access at any time during the day or night.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to the surface of my mind any sin that I haven't asked forgiveness. (Oh....this is so not fun.)
Everyone goes through times when we don't feel as close to God as other times. I've discovered in my own life when I feel God is distant, it is because I haven't been honest with Him about some things. James 4:8 says this; "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Unconfessed sin keeps God at a distance. But when I keep "short accounts with God" as I heard a preacher once say, I desire to draw near to Him. Asking Him to help me remember what I haven't confessed keeps us close.

4. When I read a command in the Word, obey it.
The Bible is meant to be obeyed. (ouch) The next time you read a chapter in the New Testament, look closely for any "commands" and write them in your journal. (You do have a prayer journal don't you??)
Things like:
Return good for evil. Romans 12:21
Respond with a soft answer to a hard question. Proverbs 15:1
Be discreet. Titus 2:5
Give cheerfully. 2 Corinthians 9;7
Be a peacemaker. Romans 14:19
Romans 12 has 31 commands in it. (if I've counted correctly.) It's a great place to start. Writing them down makes them more personal and helps us remember to obey. And there definitely is a link between parents who make a conscious effort to be obedient to God, and kids who make a conscious effort to be obedient to their parents. Let's set a good example for them.

5. Forgive those who have hurt me, including me!
For me, it is easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. And I often say things to myself that I would never let someone else say to me. (I'd get fighting mad if someone talked to me the way I talk to myself, know what I mean??)
Sometimes we have to cut ourselves some slack and get over the embarrassing or silly things we say or do. How I feel about myself often dictates how I treat myself (how I talk to myself, eat, exercise, etc) and how I treat others. (with kindness, acceptance, love, or rejection, judgment)
The Bible says in Mark 11:25, if I want to be forgiven, I need to forgive. And that includes forgiving myself for sins and failures that God has already forgiven me for.

I love the beginning of a new year. It holds so much promise and so much hope. But I also love the fact that God doesn't wait for a new year to bring new things into my life. Lamentations 3:3 reminds me that His mercies are new each morning, His compassion never fails, and "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

When you awake in the morning, take a few moments to bask in the knowledge that you have new mercies for the problems of the day, you have new compassion for all your hurts and needs for today, and He will forever be faithful to you.

I'd love to hear your New Year's Resolutions! Leave a comment or send me an email.
Can't wait to be with you again Hilldale Baptist MOPS! See you January 18.