Friday, December 11, 2015

Parenting Through the "Morally Formative Years."

I don't like bullies. I don't like the fear and humiliation they impose on others and I don't like seeing the self esteem of a child crumble under the vengeful eye of a bully. I have been bullied and.....I have bullied. In some instances, it wasn't meant to be taken in that way, but it simply happened because I was careless with my words or actions. Then there were those times when it was a simple matter of revenge, that "I'll get you back" attitude. And oh how sad to see a Mom bully her own children. The one person a child should be able to trust and depend upon, becomes the one whom her child fears and is forced to suffer the humiliation of being bullied.

For some, bullying is hurtful words, embarrassing pranks or being left out of the group. But for some, it means the loss of life, the ultimate extreme of bullying.

Like every Mom who loves her children, my heart broke as news reports gave the details involving the murder of Tyshawn Lee, a 9 year old boy who was lured into a situation that he never returned from. And those details reminded me of the suicide of a young high school student several years ago, Phoebe Prince. Two very different situations; Tyshawn was murdered, Phoebe took her own life, but the result was loss of life before either of them had an opportunity to live it.

I remember where I was when I heard of Phoebe's death; in my car, listening to Break Point with Charles Colson. The nation was shocked when the details revealed that she had been the subject of many lies, pranks, humiliations, most of which involved social media and it had become so intense that this 15 year old girl felt she had no way out. In his commentary, Mr. Colson made this statement that has stuck with me for years and caused me to try and do a better job of influencing the children in my realm of influence to know and understand that morality is important, it matters, and this was his statement;
"Children are no longer trained by loving parents in their morally formative years."

Morally formative years. Those precious short years from birth through 7 or 8 when our value system, our sense of right and wrong, our conscience, our sense of compassion and empathy for others, our value of human life are shaped and developed. It is the time when the foundation of our moral and ethical code is laid down and if that foundation isn't laid by morally strong adults, it will become a crumbling foundation that devalues people and their feelings, their rights, and their very lives.

With all the chaos that invades our lives and our homes, the influence of the media, movies, books and music, how can Moms and Dads shape the ethics and morality of their young children? Well I certainly don't have all the answers, but I'd like to share a few things that I believe are necessary in raising children with good ethics and morals during their morally formative years:

1. Mom and Dad must be on the same team.
Satan is a divider. His agenda is to divide you and your husband on moral and parenting issues so that he can conquer your family. Don't let him. Your husband has a responsibility that you, Mom, will never have; he is the God-appointed leader of your home and your family and God will require an accountability of him that He will not require of you. (our accountability is for another post at another time.) Your husband needs you to be on his side, make sure you have his back. You are the key player in your husband's success as a leader and you'll help him succeed when you let him lead and together you will present a united front to your kids that says, "We love you too much to allow you to "raise yourself." (another post for another time, lol)
When parents communicate with each other, it is so much easier for them to communicate with their kids. There's just something about working together in our marriage that God puts His blessing on and it spills over into our parenting and our kids reap the benefits. Mark 3:25 tells us this: "A house (family) divided against itself cannot stand."

2. It's the day to day living that makes the biggest impression on our kids.
Wouldn't it be so nice if we could do 1 or 2 big parenting things a week and that's all it took to raise kids who possess high standards of right and wrong? But it doesn't work that way. God has given us the 1st 10 or so years of our children's lives to teach them right from wrong, good from evil, the truth from a lie, but we can't wait until they are even 6, 7, or 8; we have to start when they are babies by building trust. As we are building trust, we add to it things like kindness, being polite, helping others, being careful how they speak and respond, insisting on respect and showing them respect, gentleness, being careful with our tone of voice, and a good ole fashioned "yes Ma'am" never goes out of style. Seeing morality in the daily lives of their parents goes a long way in shaping their own morality.

3. Children must be taught right from wrong, good from evil.
And Mom, we have to take it up a step; we have to make a concerted effort to teach our kids right from wrong. We can't expect someone else to do our job. It is not the responsibility of the church or the school to parent our kids. It is our job. A good church, a good school will re-enforce our teaching, but Mom, "the buck stops here." We're the adults and we need to act like it. Teach them to be kind. Show them what it means to show and accept love. Show them compassion for others. Expect them to tell the truth, be honest, not take things that do not belong to them. Teach them by example that it is not ok to make fun of others, call someone a derogatory name, do harm to someone's reputation or to them physically.

Kids need to be held to an accountability for their actions, but the accountability starts with us. Do the Mom thing and train your children in their "morally formative years", those precious, fleeting years when their conscience and morality are formed. Train them to care about people and to see people as created in the image of God. There are no "do overs" when it comes to parenting; it's a one time gig. Love your kids, make sure they feel secure in your love, then put everything you have into teaching them that they are important and valuable to God............... but so is everyone else.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Let's Put it to the "Good" Test.

Ladies, no funny stories or cute little posts, here it is:
James 4:17 says this: "To you who knows to do what is good and right and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Blunt, plain, simple.

This past Sunday our pastor reminded us of this verse then he explained it. Little by little, step by step and for the first time I really understood what James was saying and how to apply it to my life.

Is it good to attend Sunday School and Church? Then not to attend is___________.
Is it good to be honest, kind, compassionate, trustworthy? Then not to be is_______.
Is it good to be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? Then dis-obedience is_____.
Is it good to love our husband and children, work at our marriage and not give up on it, pray for wisdom in raising our kids and give it everything we have? Then not to is_________.
Is it good to dress modestly and appropriately? Then not to is ________.
Is it good to read our Bible regularly, "pray without ceasing", tell others about Jesus? Then not to is _____.

You get the idea, right?

We live in a day when everything we say and do is expected to be politically correct, we aren't to offend and we sure aren't to be offended, we are to be tolerant of all lifestyles, and we are to accept a woman's right to choose as the meter and standard by which all of our decisions are made. And for heaven's sake we better not say that little 3 letter word _______.

Ladies, let's stop making excuses; let's stop trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong and put it to the "good" test and let that be the determining factor in every single issue and circumstance in our lives that comes into question. People are watching. They need to know that there is a standard and it is a high one. But would we want any less for our "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace. Lord of Lords and King of Kings?" He deserves our very best because He is so worthy, so worthy.

Is it good? Then not to is _____.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to His People?

Kids love to ask questions, right? From the time they begin putting 3 or 4 words together, they soon learn to form a question and from that moment on, their lives are a sponge of questions, asking, then soaking in the answers. But.....sometimes they ask a question when the answer is obviously right in front of them.

Recently our son was preaching and I was holding our 2 year old grandson, Isaac. He is a Daddy's boy right now, (and we know that can change quickly at this age) and just before his Daddy had gotten up to preach, he had been sitting in Daddy's lap. Daddy is preaching away and Isaac looked at me and asked, "Where Daddy go?" The answer was obvious, Daddy was right in front of him, but his expression was so sweet, so innocent, all I could do was hug him close and say, "Daddy's right up there, he's preaching."

I've asked God many questions; have you? But only recently did I find the answer to the most obvious question of my life; "Why God?" And it was right there in His word all along.

There are so many things that come into our lives that have us scratching our head and asking, "Why, Lord? Why did that happen to me? Why did that happen to her? Why did I have to endure that experience? Why am I sick? Why did she suffer that loss? They are such good people and they have been through so much, why? Where do I go from here? Who can help me?"

In Deuteronomy 8, the children of Israel are almost home. They are so close they can smell the grapes and taste the milk and honey. I can just imagine being a Hebrew woman who has lived in a tent for 40 plus years and the idea of a real home, real stability and security are just a few short miles away and close enough to smell and taste. I am not a camper and would not fare well as a tent dweller. I can chalk up 2 camping experiences in my life and they were not pleasant, I was not a happy camper. But for the Israelites, the camping out is almost over.

I have been a believer for many years. I have read the book of Deuteronomy many times, taught lessons from it, and read stories of God's deliverance that have built my faith. But only last week, my son shared this scripture with me and answered my often asked question; "Why does God allow bad things to happen to His people?"

If your Bible is close by, I encourage you to open it to Deut. 8:3; you will want to mark or hi-lite this verse and meditate on it, and commit it to memory. The entire chapter is a great read and in that chapter, Moses is looking back at his life and all he and the children of Israel have been through in over 40 years of journeying together. In v3, God says to Moses:

"I humbled you, I allowed you to be hungry, so that "I" could feed you." (emphasis on the word "I" is mine.)

Oh ladies, is that not earth shaking to you? It is to me. God only allows hurtful, terrible things into our lives so that He can be the One to "feed us." He allows those hurts and situations to invade our tightly knit families and perfect little worlds so that He can be the One to take care of us, to teach us, to lead us. God loves us so much that He doesn't want anyone else to feed us, He wants to do that Himself, and the only way He can feed us is to allow us to get hungry.

Food is our most basic need in life. The Israelites got hungry and God gave them manna from heaven. They knew where it came from and from that time forward every generation knew that they were hungry in the wilderness and their Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Who provides all our needs, fed them.

Today you may be hungry. You may be physically hungry with no way to buy food for your family. You may be spiritually hungry and need to hear from God. You may be sick; emotionally, physically or relationally and you need Jehovah Roi, the God Who sees us, to come right to where you are and "feed you."

Until we are in Heaven with Him, we will always ask "Why?" We will wonder and speculate, we'll try to figure it out and still we won't know the whole answer to our question, "Why does God allow bad things to happen to His people?" But today I do know this; He allows me to endure the hardships of this life so that I will know beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Him, my Lord and Savior Who feeds me and meets each and every one of my needs.

The next time you face a situation that threatens your peace of mind and stirs up your fear and causes you to wonder "Why", tell your Omnipotent Father that you are hungry and you are trusting Him to feed you.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

How Do We Fight Fear? With Fear!

Recently some friends and I were having lunch and I was asked about a mutual friend who had suffered for years from depression. She had seen doctors, had light therapy during the winter months, and when I say "suffered" with depression, I mean that literally; she suffered. And my answer surprised me; I said, "She is doing great. Actually, she wasn't depressed so much as she was afraid." I was surprised to hear myself say that because until that moment, I didn't even realize that it was what I had thought for years, but never verbalized it.

Fear is a terrible thing. It robs us of our peace, it sends cold chills down our spine, it weakens us physically and spiritually, is often mistaken for depression and becomes a tool in our enemies' hand to destroy us. Depression is a terrible thing, too, and many, many people suffer in silence. This post is in no way about that debilitating disease. But friend, fear and depression are close kin, and close kin stick together and fight the same fight. One feeds off the other.

Maybe you were raised in a home where fear was the "norm". I call it "growing up under an umbrella of fear." It is an atmosphere in the home that is created by the care givers who are themselves afraid and those fears are "caught" by their children. Without realizing it parents can create a lifestyle of fear with little things like, "Oh, what if Dad looses his job, how will we make it?" "What if I get sick, what will you do?" And then there is the fear of making a mistake, falling down, getting caught, being a disappointment, and our fear list grows longer as we get older.

I have no degree in "fearology", but I have sure logged some college hours in the subject, and one thing I have discovered is this; Satan will use my fearful nature to detour my walk with God more than any other thing in my life. And since there are so many things in our world to legitimately be afraid of, how do we distinguish the "healthy" fear from the debilitating fear?

Healthy fear locks the car doors at night, makes sure the doors and windows are locked, wears our seat belt, doesn't text and drive, uses caution, but not in a fearful way. Fear that is akin to depression is a sense of doom and gloom, waiting for the other shoe to fall, a strong sense of dread for the future, seeing life from a negative point of view.

So ladies, how do we fight fear? With fear. The Bible says in;
Proverbs 9:10; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Proverbs 10;27; Fear of the Lord prolongs our days.
Proverbs 14:26; The fear of the Lord gives us confidence.
Proverbs 14:27; The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
Proverbs 19:23: The fear of the Lord tends to life.

When you and I have the proper "fear" of the Lord, we won't have to fear anything else. To "fear" the Lord means to simply hold Him in deepest respect and admiration. It means to see Him as our Father and to approach Him with honor and in a way that is be-fitting of His Divine holiness. And Moms who have a healthy fear of the Lord influence their children to fear Him, to respect Him with deep honor and reverence.

But what about those times when we just can't help it; we're scared. We're scared of the doctor's report, we're scared about our job or our husband's job, we scared our kids are making poor choices, we're scared about our aging parents, we're scared about our marriage: how do we stop this fear that rises up into our chests and threatens to suffocate us, makes our heart race and we feel sick in the very pit of our stomach?

There are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible. One "fear not" for each day of the year. And here is one of my favorites:
Isaiah 41:10
"Fear not, I am with you, be not dismayed, I am Your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, yes, I will hold you with My right hand of righteousness."

Today, in prayer, say, "Lord, I am afraid that ______________________ will happen." And then say to Him, "But I will fear not because You are with me. I will not loose courage, (be dismayed) because You are my God. I am trusting You to strengthen me, help me, and hold me with Your right hand because You have said You will." Oh dear sister in Christ, fear cannot stand in the middle of that kind of faith, in that kind of power, because God's word prayed back to Him in faith makes demons tremble and releases the supernatural power of God into your fearful situation and things change; God's power brings change.

Choose today to fear Him and no one and nothing else. Fight those fears with.......fear!

Proverbs 3:25,26:
"Don't be afraid of "sudden fear", neither of the desolation of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep your foot from being taken."


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mercy Please

When you hear someone talk about spiritual gifts, what immediately comes to mind? My first thought is the gift of preaching, and where would we be without good, biblically sound preaching of God's Word? Then I think about the gifts of teaching, healing, (doctors, nursing, care givers. And believe me, I do NOT have this special gift and I am SO thankful for those who do) administration, encouragement and all the others listed in 1 Corinthians 12. But in Romans 12:8 there is a gift that every believer has been given, but sadly, many times it is not developed into the the great gift of ministry that can do so much good for so many people. It is a gift that can often make the difference between healthy and unhealthy self-esteem, good parenting, a great marriage, and even life and death: It is the gift of "Mercy."

Talents and spiritual gifts are not the same. Everyone is born with certain talents and abilities and these are often related to the talents of our parents and grandparents. Musical talent, artistic ability, writing, etc. Much of our talent is inherited.

But spiritual gifts are only given to believers by the Holy Spirit and they are given to edify, or build up the body of believers, the church. And a woman with a spiritual gift that she uses for the glory of God is a woman who changes the world around her. For most believers, our spiritual gifts and talents work together to bring glory and honor to our Lord. But I know of many women who claim no particular talent, but are the most spiritually gifted people I know. Not everyone can be a preacher or teacher, doctor, nurse, or great administrator; but with prayer and a tender heart, ALL believers can be believers who show mercy in every situation.

Simply put, mercy is not saying the obvious; mercy knows when to keep silent; mercy knows when to "do" and not say; mercy knows when a hug, a hand warmly clasped, a kiss on the cheek, a look, a softly spoken word is all that is needed to say, "I am so sorry. I love you. I understand. How can I help?"

If you are a Christian, mercy is there. It may be sitting just below the surface, waiting to be nourished and cultivated, but it is there because you see, mercy identifies us with Christ. Mercy "helps" to explain grace. Mercy defines love as well as any one thing can define love.

Do you have the spiritual gift of mercy? Yes Ma'am you do. How do I develop it? You can't. The Holy Spirit gave it and He will develop it as we listen to His voice; as we follow His leadership; as we earnestly pray to be a woman who shows more mercy.

Here is the mercy test; how should mercy respond in each situation?

1. Your friend's husband looses his job and they have 3 children, school is starting, no income.
No mercy responds with; "What are y'all going to do? How will you pay your bills? Glad I'm not in your shoes. What did he do to loose his job?"

Mercy responds:

2. A lady in your Bible Study class just found out she has cancer.
No mercy responds with;  Avoiding her. (Or) Asking her, "Are you still smoking?"

Mercy responds:

3. Your friend's son was arrested for a DUI;
No mercy responds: "I told you he was running with the wrong crowd."
"I knew this would happen when you turned him loose with his own car and those friends."

Mercy responds:

You see ladies, mercy doesn't say the obvious thing in any and every situation. Mercy doesn't judge. Mercy doesn't seek revenge. Mercy doesn't shame or hurt someones self esteem or their feelings. Mercy doesn't take advantage of someone when she is hurting. Mercy isn't hateful, sarcastic........mean.

Do you want mercy? Give it. Mercy is one of those spiritual gifts and disciplines that the more we give mercy, the more mercy we receive.

So today ladies, let's look for opportunities to show a little mercy please.

Love you. Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Wait?

I don't like to wait, do you? Whether it is in a doctor's office, the line at Wal Mart, or an answer to prayer, waiting is not my strongest point. I inwardly fume (and sometimes outwardly) as I stand behind someone in the check out line as she balances her checkbook. And David and I became very upset as we were waiting for our dinner at a restaurant and saw a couple who were seated after us, get their meal before us; can you imagine, the very idea......we were here first.

Is it "the times we live in" with fast food and gadgets for everything, or are we just so caught up in wanting it now, that we have to have it now and we refuse to wait?

Maybe you're like me and there are things that you've been praying for, for a long, long time. You may even be discouraged and have given up, thinking, "what's the use, if God hasn't answered by now, maybe He won't answer at all."

Waiting isn't a new thing. Sarah waited over 75 years. Rebekkah waited 20. Rachael waited, Hannah did too, and Elizabeth knew what it meant to wait on God. And you may waiting. And you may have heard it said many times from well meaning friends, family, pastors and teachers; "Don't stop, don't give up, keep praying, keep believing, keep waiting, God will answer." And I believe He will. I know He will because He has promised. And He keeps His promises.

2 Peter 3:8; "But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day."

Of all the important things we need to remember, Peter tells us to remember this one thing; one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. I've read that verse many times, but today it was as if I read it for the first time and I realized with a new awareness:
God, the Creator of the universe, does not run this world on my timetable. What seems like a long, long time to me, is not a long time at all to God. So why does He make us wait for something we need, something we are desperately seeking?

To deepen my faith, to enlarge my world and expectations, to teach me to trust, to teach me the truth of Luke 1:37;
"For with God nothing is impossible."

While you are waiting, praise Him.
While you are waiting, trust Him.
While you are waiting, forget about time and remember His promise:

1 Peter 3:9; "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It Matters What We Wear

I grew up in a time when kids didn't have a lot of "say-so" about what we wore. Almost everything I wore was hand made, but, many of my friends from school wore clothes their Mom made for them, too, and clothes weren't the issue then like they are today. Yes, they were important, and yes, the girls enjoyed shopping, buying and wearing them, but our Mom was the final authority on what we wore, and she set the example. I have a friend whose Mom was such a skillful seamstress that I, nor anyone else knew but that her clothes came from one of the many retail stores that were prevalent in our town back in the 60's and 70's. Then came the mini-skirt and my great act of rebellion against my Mom's authority was that as soon as I got out of sight of our house, walking to the school bus, I rolled my skirt up at the waist band!! It wasn't a mini by any means, but it was shorter than my Mom would have allowed me to wear it!! Every generation is the same; there is always that "daring" that need to be provocative, to catch the eye of a man and cause him to take a second look. A short skirt, a revealing shirt, a way of presenting ourselves that cries out, "look at me."

Clothes are a big deal for women. Most of us actually love clothes and we love to shop. We feel good when we wear something new, and clothes get us noticed more than our hair, make-up or even jewelry. The Bible tells us in Genesis that clothes are important and God made the first garments for our first parents Adam and Eve. The Bible also tells us that Sarah, Rebekah, Lydia, the woman in Proverbs 31 and others had beautiful clothing. And I believe God has placed within the heart of women a desire to look good. But this post is not about that; this is not a post for women who are unbelievers; this post is not about what we wear to the beach, mowing the yard, or just hanging out at home. This post is about what is appropriate for Christian women to wear to church. Because you see, I believe with deep conviction that when we dress appropriately for church, it will be a natural thing to dress appropriately when we go to Kroger, when we go to our kids soccer game, when we have friends over, when we're at home and when we're on vacation, even at the beach.

Something else I believe with strong conviction is that many women who are new believers simply haven't been taught about modesty and dressing appropriately when they go to church. That's where Titus 2 women come in and lovingly, patiently and with grace mentor her in modesty, discretion, etc.; not ridicule her behind her back or be un-Christ like in what we say, but in a spirit of grace and mercy and by example teach that new believer what is appropriate. But I also believe that if a woman is a Christian, she will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and she will not dress inappropriately for long. She will want to please her Heavenly Father.

So let's start with the basics and it doesn't get any more basic than this; my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God lives within me. I take Him with me everywhere I go and I dress Him every day. Because you see, as Christ lives out His life through me, it means His influence and life are represented by how I dress, by how I present myself. What people see of me, they see of Christ.

It seems that this summer, more than any other, I have heard concerns about the suggestive clothing that women are wearing to church, even women's ministry leaders. And though I am writing this at the risk of being misunderstood and labeled as "old fashioned" and  "out of touch", I still feel it must be said. I cannot control what anyone else may do or wear but me, and there have been times when I, too, have worn something that was inappropriate, but my prayer is that you will read this with an open mind and heart and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking. And as always, I love to hear your responses to the blog. You are always welcome here to express your feelings and concerns, even if they differ from mine.

I believe going to church is a special privilege, not to be taken for granted, and the focal point of our week.. Church is the one place that Christians should be able to gather and not have to worry about the influences of the world, especially in the way women dress. Here are a list of questions that will determine if you are appropriately dressed for church. I'm sure there are others, but this gets us started.

1. Does what I have on say, "I am going to church"? I enjoy dressing for church and as Dr. Charles Stanley often reminds us, "do your best, look your best, be your best." How we dress when we go to church conveys to others how we feel about the house of worship. How we dress for church shows our level of respect for our church, our pastor, our teacher, friends, co-worshippers, but more importantly, ourselves.

2. Before you leave the house ask your husband: Are you comfortable with what I am wearing? Does this draw attention to areas of my body that might cause a man to lust? When husbands love their wives as Christ loves the church, he will not want her (or his daughters) to be the object of other men's comments or lust.

3. Can I bend over in what I am wearing to pick something up without revealing my backside or my front, or.....go to the altar in prayer, on my knees and get up gracefully without displaying anything inappropriately?

4. Is strapless appropriate? If your answer is yes, why?

5. Is a plunging neckline conducive with worshipping in the Spirit?

There is a class, dignity, self-respect, submission to the Holy Spirit that is evident in a woman when she allows God to dress her for church. And that brings me to this question:

6. Why? Why wear to church those things that draw attention away from our face, away from our identity with Christ, away from intimacy with a Holy God Who deserves our best? The answer may not be what we want to hear, because many times the answer is......I like the attention of men; it feeds my ego; I am more concerned with the attention I get than I am in truly worshipping a Holy God. In other words, "It's all about me."

Be brave dear sister in Christ and ask Him if what you are wearing is acceptable to Him, appropriate for His house, and something He is proud of. Trust me, if you ask Him, He will tell you.

Our enemy Satan works tirelessly to place "stumbling blocks" in the path of unbelievers, as well as immature believers. As unbelievers gather in our sanctuaries this Sunday, will they be distracted by how we are dressed and miss the message of the Word? I hope not. God is so good, He is so faithful, He deserves our best. What you wear to church reveals your level of spiritual maturity and submission to the Spirit.

Please check out Life Way women's newest blog post; Teaching Modesty to our Kids. Well worth the time to read it. One more question and I will put this to rest:

7. If you are wearing strapless, short, and sheer, what will your daughter wear? What will she think is appropriate to wear to church? What one generation tolerates, the next generation embraces. We are daughters of the King. We represent His kingdom. We are called to "come out from among them and be ye separate." (2 Corinthians 6:17. Please read this verse)

Ladies we are role models, the younger women in our churches will take their cue on what to wear from us. Be appropriate; be modest; dress for God and your husband.

I am finished and climbing down from my soap box. We may discuss "booty shorts" in another blog. Come on girls, really? Do you think they are appropriate for a Christian lady...especially at church?

Love you!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Do You Believe in Prayer?

Do you believe in prayer?? I recently read about a church that had a "prayer chain" ministry set up through their email, facebook, and text for their church members who had a need for prayer. And what I thought was so great is that when a prayer need goes out, the person in charge of the "prayer chain" always signs it, "Prayer Works!!"

I believe prayer works and I believe in the power of prayer. Whether it be a group of people, all agreeing in prayer (read an earlier post, Agreeing Together in Prayer) or one desperate person, totally humbled and on her knees before God, I believe in the power of prayer. But I also believe there is a difference in believing in the power of prayer and knowing the power of prayer. Most people, whether they are Christians or not, will say they believe in prayer. But only a person who has experienced the power of prayer, knows the power of prayer. And ladies, when we know the power of prayer, we aren't content to just believe it.

I learned many years ago that if I want to know the power of prayer and pray in a more powerful way, then I must do four things;
1. Pray scripture based prayers.
2. Pray in God's will.
3. Pray in submission to my Father.
4. No matter the answer, agree with God.

You may be a new believer and wonder, "And just how do I do that?" Or maybe you've never known there was any other way of praying than those safe, simple prayers at bedtime or mealtime. And oh what you've been missing!!

Hope you have your prayer journal (that's in another post, too) and pen ready; here we go:
Pray scripture based prayers.
There is supernatural power in praying God's word back to Him, but in order to do that, you must be a student of the Word; can't do it any other way. I love to pray Colossians 1: 9-14 for my family. I call each family member by name, (mine, too) and I read each verse and insert a family member's name. Example;
v9; "Lord, I pray that "David" will be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding", then I go through the other verses inserting his name and I do that for all 15 of us. It takes time to pray scripture, but the rewards are worth it. Facing a difficult conversation? Pray Psalm 141:3; "Lord, set a watch before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips." Afraid? Pray Psalm 27:1;
"Lord, You are the Strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid." Use your Bible concordance or get a good Bible program for your computer and when you have a need, look up or type in that word and every scripture you need will pop up in front of your eyes. Ladies I'm telling you, praying the Word is supernatural power!!

Pray in God's will.
All of us have experienced that feeling; Lord, what am I supposed to do?
1 John 5:14, 15; "This is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if (since) we know He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
We get a "yes" each time we pray in His will. But how do we know His will? We ask Him.
"Father, should I take this job? I want to do Your will, and I know that You will give me whatever "petitions" I ask in Your will. What do You want me to do?" And then.......sit quietly. If an answer doesn't come immediately, stay in a "quiet" state of mind before Him, even as you go about your busy life........ listening. I have discovered that noise and "stuff" can drown out His voice. (Psalm 46:10; Be still and know that I Am God.) And I must confess, there have been times I have avoided the quiet and actually enhanced the noise because I didn't want to hear Him. Elijah learned the power of God's still, small voice (1 Kings 19: 12,13) and knowing His will is in the listening. God does not want His will to remain a mystery; He loves us too much for that and He loves us so much that He wants us to naturally come to Him as a child naturally comes to his mother. Answered prayer builds our faith and He is all about building our faith. Seek His will, then pray with confidence. Learn to listen for I have learned that He speaks, just after the stillness.

Pray in submission to the Father.
Rebellion closes down communication. Rebellion erects a wall between me and God. Before we pray it is important to confess any known sin that might be standing in the way to answered prayer. When sin is forgiven, submission comes easily. When submission comes, our heart is soft and pliable in the Father's hand and He can form it any way He chooses. (Romans 9:20,21) And He always chooses what is best.

No matter the answer, agree with God.
There it is in a nutshell; powerful praying comes when we say, "Lord, whatever you choose, You are right. I agree with You." And what, dear sister, do you think God will do when we agree with Him? He will allow us to experience an intimacy with Him that surpasses human thinking and understanding, because you see, to agree with God in prayer expresses an abandoned faith and trust that defies human reasoning and pleases Him in a way that nothing else can. (Hebrews 11:6). As you see God working in your life and the lives of those you love, say those words: "Lord, I agree with You and what You are doing in my life." It changes everything, and gives us life from a spiritual perspective. No matter the answer, agree with God.

When our heart is focused on praying His Word, when our heart is praying for His will in our lives and in the lives of those we love, when our heart is in submission and we agree with whatever answer He provides, we have stepped into that unseen realm of communion with the Creator of the universe, our Creator. And that, my friend, is supernatural prayer. It is a place where absolutely nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37) It is the place where we know the power of prayer because we have experienced it.

I'd love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions.

Have a blest day and listen for the stillness.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What is Most Important?

I am so ready for some real spring weather. This week, in Kentucky, the weather forecast is for highs in the 80's and for me that is simply perfect!! This has been one wet, cold spring. And when it is warm and sunny, I cannot stay inside, I make it my goal for the day to sit in every chair I have in my yard at least once!!

On Memorial Day weekend, my family, brothers, sisters and their families meet at our home place for a family reunion. With 10 children, (one is deceased) many grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, (I think that is as far as it goes), needless to say we have a crowd. My brothers and sisters and I were fortunate to have parents who valued family above all else and they wanted us to keep the home-place and we did. We gather in at Thanksgiving, Christmas, breakfast on Saturday mornings occasionally, (I make the biscuits, almost as well as Mama did) home-comings and when the weather is nice, to just sit on the porch in the swings and talk. Funny, but when I was a kid, I didn't think the home-place was all that impressive, but now, it is where I want to be, it is where I go when I need to truly be alone with God. In those woods I feel His presence like I can no where else, and for me it is my "Bethel". (Genesis 35:1) It is there that my "history" began and it is there that holds my identity.

The older I get, the more I feel drawn to what is most important, and like my parents, family is most important to me. David and I will be married 45 years this week. Where has time gone? On paper, we should not have made it; 17 yr old girl, 19 yr old boy, 2 years later a baby, height of the Viet Nam war, very different backgrounds, job struggles, but by God's grace and His grace alone, we are here today, and at this stage in life I know it is our faith in God, strong family values, and love and commitment to each other that has seen us through tough times and life struggles.

The thing I hear most from my readers is, "I want to hear more about marriage and making it work." So today, let me encourage you to make your marriage the most important thing in your life, after your relationship with the Lord. I tell my Sunday School class on a regular basis that the most important decision anyone can make is to accept Christ as Savior and the 2nd most important decision is who we marry. Those 2 decisions have more impact on our lives than any other decisions we will make in life. The first one has eternal consequences, and the 2nd determines our happiness, joy, fulfillment, and success.

Here are 3 things you can do everyday to make your marriage a priority; there are of course many others, but for me, these are the most important.

1. Pray for your marriage everyday. And get specific!! If you're mad at him, tell God. If you want him to be more demonstrative in showing his feelings for you, tell God. If you're worried about his health, tell God. If you want him to be a better,Dad, tell God. sure to sit quietly before the Lord and allow Him to speak to you about areas in your marriage that you can do better. Pray everyday about specific things in your marriage and ask God to help you and your husband to have a marriage that honors Him and sets a good example for your kids and others.

2. Protect your marriage.
Our #1 enemy, Satan, wants nothing more than to destroy your marriage and he will stop at nothing. He has waged an all out attack and war on the family and as our son Kyle so aptly put it, "We have a generation of victims, casualties of the war on the family. Children are the casualties of that demonic war." Protect your marriage by praying for it, but then don't stop there. We protect our marriage by keeping our heart soft toward our husband. If I allow myself to bring up past hurts, if I "build a case against him in my mind", if I dwell on his faults, Satan will plant seeds of discontent and those little, tiny seeds will eventually take root and grow into a monster that will destroy the very fabric of your marriage. Protect it by how you think about your husband, how you speak to him and about him, how you care for him and your home. As women, our instinct is to protect who and what we love. Love your marriage and protect it. Marriage is more than loving your husband; it's loving your marriage as well. And when we love and protect our marriage, our children will not be casualties of divorce.

3. Spend some quiet time together everyday.
When our boys were small, we put them to bed by 8:30-9:00 so we could watch a tv show together, sit and talk, and just have a little quiet time at the end of the day. Now, our kids didn't like it, they often reminded us that their friends stayed up till 10, but I personally believe children still need a bedtime, (amazing how that improves their school work, their personalities, etc) and we needed some quiet time. There are days it will be hard to do, especially as the kids get older, but as often as you can, have some quiet time together, focus on each other, talk things out, show love and respect, in other words communicate every single day...amazing what genuine communication will do for your marriage.

There are so many other things that we can do to keep the important......important, but maybe these 3 things can be a starting place for you and your marriage. God loves your marriage and He wants you to love it, too. Could it be that more marriages would last a lifetime if we loved our marriage as much as we love each other?

So thankful for spring and all things new; no place like Kentucky in May!!

Love to hear from you!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Women Who Followed Jesus

I am glad I am a woman. I come from a long line of women who were also glad they were born a woman. My great grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth, was married to a Baptist preacher, had 10 children, and worked hard to raise her family on a small dirt farm. She had a knack for making things grow and her daughter, my grandmother, inherited her same spirit and deep convictions. My mother was also a woman of deep convictions and I am thankful for the spiritual principles she taught me as a child. I am so blessed to have sisters, daughters-in-law, granddaughters, sisters-in-law, and women friends who enrich my life every single day and feed my spirit with truth and grace. And maybe that is why the women who faithfully ministered to Jesus during His earthly ministry, and faithfully followed Him to the cross, then to the tomb, are so interesting to me; their lives were dramatically changed when they met Jesus.

As we celebrate Easter, my mind can't help but linger on the women who followed Jesus to the cross.....
and stayed there when the men left. And to those women who fearlessly came in the dark, cold, damp hours of the early morning to His empty tomb to lovingly prepare that precious body for a proper Jewish burial, I am awed by their devotion. And I am awed that in their world where women were de-valued, Christ first revealed His resurrected body to these faithful women and not the disciples.

Jesus was the first Jewish Rabbi to discuss the Law and the Old Testament with women. He drew them into Bible Study and forever changed their status in society. He healed their diseases and gave women dignity and honor that those of that time and era would never even consider. (check out the opinions of the Pharisees and other religious leaders regarding women)

In John 4, Jesus chose the Samaritan woman, a woman who had been married 5 times and was living with a man who was not her husband, to reveal that He was the long awaited Messiah. (v26)
In Luke 8:43, Jesus, full of compassion for her illness, allowed a woman with "an issue of blood" to touch His outer garment. That was definitely not in keeping with the Law, but she was important to Jesus.
In Luke 10: 39, He allowed Mary of Bethany to "sit at His feet and hear Him teach the word" to the men in the room.

And then there was Salome; I love her! She was all about her 2 sons, James and John, who were called by Jesus to be His disciples. (Matt. 4) Not only did her sons become a part of Jesus' "inner circle", but Salome faithfully ministered to Jesus and was at His side during His darkest hour. And she was standing there at the cross when Jesus asked John to care for Mary. As her oldest son, that would have been His job, but Jesus knew He wouldn't be there in the flesh as Mary aged and He asked His dear friend John to see to her needs. And you know what? I don't think Salome minded one bit!

Joanna. She was the wife of Chuza, who was a steward in Herod's palace. Because of  her husband's prominence, she held a place of honor and wealth. Joanna became a believer and faithfully ministered to Jesus from her wealth and abundance. She, too, was among the women who gathered to make their way to the tomb that first Easter morning. Luke 24:10 tells us that other women were there and maybe Susannah, a woman of great wealth was among the group. Several women named Mary came to the tomb, but then there was also Mary Magdalene. So much conjecture has been written about her, and so much fascination surrounds her seemingly sordid past. All I know and all I care about is that she loved Jesus with all her heart and soul. Whatever else she may have been and done does not deter me for one minute from wanting to meet her in heaven and spend time talking with her about what those days were like.

Were there others? The Bible says there were. Unnoticed, forgotten, sad and forlorn to others, but not to Jesus. He knew and loved each one and in Heaven their love and devotion to Him will be displayed for all to see. But sadly, in some parts of our world women are not valued as Jesus valued them. Many times when the news is on our tv, I get up from my seat and leave the room to keep from hearing the atrocities to women and young girls that are taking place in the name of a pagan religion that still sees women and girls as property to be used and abused and cast away. If only, if only, those same women and girls could sit at Jesus' feet as Mary of Bethany; could touch His garment, like the woman with the issue of blood; could be healed of her demons, like Mary of Magdala; could hear His tender pardon of sin like the woman at the well.
What a difference Jesus makes in the lives of women. Are there women and girls in your sphere of influence who need Jesus? Are they waiting for you to introduce them to Him?

Dear friend, you and I, in our warm, safe, loving homes, where most of us have never known abuse, may feel helpless to change the lives of frightened, abused women in another part of the world, but our God can. May I give you a challenge? It will cost you nothing but a broken heart, tears of compassion, a love that reaches around the world, and a small amount of time. As we celebrate our risen Lord this Easter week of Passover, will you join me each day in prayer for our sisters in Christ and those who still do not know Him; will you help me pray for their deliverance from a life of shame and abuse, will you hold fast to the promise in Jeremiah 32:17?
"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heaven and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm, and there is nothing too hard for You."

I can promise you this; as your heart grows more tender, as you see new reports of slave trading, and as you look into the veiled brown eyes of those desperate girls and women, you will find yourself praying for them and their plight with an intensity that surprises you.

Women are important to Jesus. And my heart is so thankful that He set the standard for how women and girls and children are to be treated. You my friend are important to Jesus. There is no situation that is hopeless, no devastation that He is not the Master of.

That same resurrection power that was first displayed on that first Easter morning is available to you and to me to conquer every fear, every doubt, every hurtful situation in our lives.
"Oh death where is thy sting, Oh grave where is your victory?" Nothing is too hard for Him, claim that promise as your very own because, dear sister, it is. And pray; pray that the plight of those precious women and girls enslaved in the name of religion will soon know freedom in Christ.

Happy Easter, Happy Resurrection morning.    Penny

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Don't Hide Your "Talent"!!!

I love the parables of Jesus. Each one is definitely in a class all by itself. The parables make me feel good; they fill me with hope and promise and an awareness that Jesus really does care about me and everything about me is important to Him. People are healed in the parables. Health is restored, troubled minds are freed from demons, relationships restored, and grace and mercy triumph.

As a child sitting beside my mother in church, I vividly remember the first time I heard the story of the Parable of the Talents. As I listened wide eyed to the preacher, I honestly thought a talent was well....a talent, like singing or playing a musical instrument. Growing up in a family of musicians and singers, that was naturally what I thought the parable was about. And I can remember being horrified that Jesus would take the one talent (I thought it was singing)  He had given to a servant and give it to the servant He had already given five! I soon learned that the "talent" in the parable was a term for measuring in ancient times, but I still remember my childish indignation that the person with only one talent had it taken from him and the person with five, was given one more.

Beginning in Matthew 24, the disciples are seated at Jesus' feet, and verse 3 tells us they asked Him "in private" to explain to them what He had preached publicly in the Temple about the "end of the age." And for the next 2 chapters, every single word that Jesus spoke is devoted to teaching His disciples (you and me) deep, rich, life altering spiritual truth about His eternal kingdom. And in verse 14 He teaches them the Parable of the Talents.

v14: "For the kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling into a far country."

The master of the house was preparing to take a long journey and he called 3 of his most trusted servants and gave them explicit instructions as to the overseeing of his affairs while he was gone. To one servant he gave 5 "talents", to one he gave 2, and to another he gave 1. The master knew his servants well, and he knew how much responsibility and wealth each one could handle. He promised he would return and when he did, each servant would give an accounting to the master for the talents he'd been given to invest.

We aren't told what was being measured, but if it was gold, then it was definitely a fortune, especially in their day, because 1 talent of gold would have been $29,374.50. Of course today, a talent of gold would be considerably more, but that's still a lot of money. Multiply that by 5 and the first servant had a small fortune to invest for his master. So for the sake of this post, we'll say each talent was a measure of gold.

In v16, how did the servant with 5 talents oversee his master's gold?
In v17, how did the servant with 2 talents oversee his master's gold?
But in v18, what did the guy with 1 talent do?

His gold may not have been worth as much as the the other 7 talents, but it was worth it to the master. If it wasn't as important to the master, he wouldn't have entrusted it with the servant, he would have simply given it to one of the other servants. Maybe the 3rd servant felt undervalued, not as worthy or important, and maybe he felt that gave him the right to disregard the master's trust in him and just go bury it somewhere and use the excuse that he was afraid of the master.

Do you ever feel that you aren't important? Do you look at other women who seem to have it all together and feel, well, less than......Do you ever wish you looked better, felt better, had more money, had a better marriage, better kids, yada yada yada? I bet (and I don't bet) if every woman was honest, she would admit to feelings of less than.....

Today, your "talents" are every thing the Master has entrusted into your capable hands.
On this cold, snowy, stay in the house and make snow cream kind of day, drying countless wet snowsuits, socks, gloves, hats, and refereeing countless fusses and squabbles, it's easy to dig a hole and hide the talent. But all the Master is asking us to do, is to take what He has given us, invest it wisely, give it back to Him, and watch Him multiply it for our good and His glory.

Marriage is worth our investment, raising kids who love God and serve Him, is a wise investment, serving Him by serving others is worth it. He doesn't expect you, or even ask you, to be like anyone else; He just wants you and me to be who He has created us to be.

Did the servant with one talent feel less valued than the other 2? Maybe. But he was important to the master.
Look at the "talents" the Master has given you; if you start right now investing in those "talents", how much would each of those "talents" be worth when the Master returns? And that is what this parable is saying; the Master will soon return and we will give an accounting of the "talents".

You're the one God has chosen to raise those kids. You are the one God has chosen to be a wife to your husband. You are the one God has chosen to teach that Sunday School Class, take care of sick patients in the ICU, lead a Bible Study on Wednesday night, teach those rowdy kindergartners, prepare those lunches in the school cafeteria, read to those dear elderly saints in the nursing home, and be an intercessor in prayer for those suffering around the world. And nobody can do it like you. Be proud (a God given proud) of those "talents" and invest yourself in each one, refuse to compare your "talents" to any other woman, and watch those "talents" double and multiply!

Revelation 22:12
"Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every person according as his work shall be."

I love the parables of Jesus!!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

MOPS and Snow!!

This has been a very busy week in the Noffsinger household. My mother-in-law, Mayme Nell Noffsinger passed away Monday. She had battled dementia, had a stroke, and recently suffered with pneumonia. But she was a fighter and had been all her life. She raised 5 children, worked hard, and for those who knew her, she was never "still a minute." She left us with many good memories and she will be greatly missed by her family, friends, and church family.

I was blest this week to speak to the MOPS group at 1st Baptist Madisonville. They are great Moms doing a great job. We talked about patience and how to have more of it and that patience is an act of the Holy Spirit in our lives and a Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22,23) We also talked about how we can keep from comparing ourselves to other Moms and we learned a lot from Hannah's example. Here are a few pics of the day and thank you so much Madisonville MOPS for the privilege of being with you and being a part of your day.

This is Haylee, their MOPS coordinator, and me. Thanks Haylee for inviting me to speak to your group!!

One reason I enjoy MOPS so much is all the good food!!

And for our readers in the southern hemisphere who often ask me about our Kentucky weather, we had a beautiful snowy night and are still enjoying it this morning. (hope it's the last one this winter!!)

Hope you have a blest day and a great Lord's Day tomorrow. Look for my next blog post soon.


Friday, January 9, 2015

5 Things Your Husband Needs You to Pray for Him....Right Now

I recently heard a report that marriages in the U S are on the decline. And two of the reasons cited were that women have more career and financial options, and there is less financial stress to live together, than to be married. And then when you add to the mix tv shows like a Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, and other shows that depict single women living together as a family unit, you have an all out attack on traditional moral values and on traditional marriage.

As Christian women we know that our enemy Satan issued an all out attack on the family in the Garden of Eden and He is intensifying his strategy every single day. He knows if he can destroy the family unit of Mom, Dad, and children, he will destroy the church, and if he can destroy the church, he will destroy Christianity. The good news is, in Genesis 2, God performed the first marriage ceremony and marriage is still alive and well today. And in Matthew 16, Jesus Christ established the church and He announced to Satan and the world that "the gates of hell will not prevail" against His church. So as believers, we know that marriage itself is secure until Christ returns for His bride, and that the New Testament, Bible believing church will prevail. But......there is an attack on our moral and ethical fiber and while our enemy may not be able to destroy marriage and the church completely, he can still destroy individual families and local congregations. And all we have to do is look around and see that he is enjoying a measure of success.

If you are reading this and you are married, please do not take your marriage for granted; our enemy is out to destroy your marriage, too. And he uses small stuff to create big havoc in our homes. Your marriage is important to God. As long as you and your husband are living together in the bonds of holy matrimony, all of heaven is fighting for the survival of your marriage. David and I will be married 45 years this May and all of heaven is still fighting for us, because you see, it doesn't matter how long we are married, Satan never gives up trying to destroy us. There is so much more at stake here than David and me; we have 3 grown sons, 8 grandchildren, our sisters, brothers, friends, younger couples that look up to us, and a host of others that could easily be hurt or brought down if he can destroy our marriage. I am still shocked at the destruction of Stephan and Gigi Graham Tchividian's marriage; it hurt me because I admired her so much. I am still shocked at the destruction of the marriage of our friends who were married 40 plus years, and of the destruction of a 60 year marriage we heard of recently.

But praise God He has not left us defenseless. He has armed us with the supernatural power of His Holy Word, our God-given right as His child to pray, and the "gumption" as my Mama used to say, to get in there and fight; not just for ourselves, but we need to fight for our man. And we fight for him each time we go to the throne of grace on his behalf.

Here are 5 simple things your husband needs you to ask God to do in his life; he may not ask you to pray for him and these particular matters, he may not know he needs them, but he does. This is not a complete list by any means, but it will sure get you started. Keep a prayer journal and each time you see God's hand actively working in your husband's life, write it down; it will build your faith and encourage you to keep on keeping on.

Your husband needs you to pray for his:

1. Health and safety.
Men don't like to eat healthy. Please don't tell him I said so, but probably your husband is an all meat and potatoes kind of guy. But guess who does the cooking at my house? Me, unless it's chili. Pray that God will help you and your family to make healthier eating choices, then cook it! A man's work and travel can often be dangerous. Pray each day for his safety, pray that God will keep him healthy, and ask God to grant you many years of marriage to raise your kids and influence their lives.

2. His relationship with God.
Simply pray that your husband will read his Bible and pray. If he doesn't ask the blessing at meal time, suggest he start. If he isn't comfortable, suggest you take turns, including the kids. Ask him to read the kids their Bible story before bedtime. It's amazing how much biblical knowledge is in a child's Bible Story Book. They have some great ones at Life Way. Look for ways you can work in spiritual truth and biblical discussions in your private conversations. Take notes during the pastor's sermons, then share with him some of the things you got from the message. Always be positive about God, the Bible, prayer, church; he needs to know you really believe what you say you believe and he'll know it by how you talk (yes that's #1) and how you live.. Ask him to pray for a specific thing for you or the kids, and be sure and tell him how God is answering his prayer, it will elevate his trust and faith. It's amazing what your prayers for his spirituality will do for him, for you, your marriage, and your family. Everyone will reap the benefits of your prayer.

3. His relationship with you and your kids.
Ladies let's face it; often we're to blame when we don't receive what we need from our husbands. How many times have you heard him say, "I didn't know you wanted/needed that! Why didn't you tell me?" Whether it's a certain piece of jewelry for Valentine's Day or a little time to cry on his shoulder, if he doesn't give it, assume he doesn't know how, and tell him. He needs you, today, to pray for his relationship with you and the kids. Ask God specifically to develop a deeper love and understanding between you and him, and him and your kids. That is a prayer that is God's will and a prayer He has promised to answer.
(1 John:5:14,15) And if he isn't as involved with your children as you had hoped he would be, tell God, He'll listen. He is the One Who will move your husband's heart in that direction.

4. His morality and integrity.
Oh, ladies, you do not have enough time here to read all that is involved in a man's morals and his integrity. Morality and integrity are more a way of thinking than doing, and it is something that must be taught to our little boys during their morally formative years. If you have small sons, please, please, please, instill in their young minds and hearts spiritual principles that will shape how they think. And when our thinking is right, our doing will be right, too. Pray right now that God will draw your husband toward high moral standards of integrity in his thinking, then see to it that you feed those standards by your daily walk and talk. Don't criticize him for watching something on tv that is wrong while you are reading a trashy romance novel. (sorry, I don't mean to be so blunt) Make sure we as wives have the same standards we want for our husbands.

5. His sexuality.
I heard a statistic that men hear or see literally thousands of sexually explicit material every minute. (sorry I don't remember the exact number). Wherever he is, whatever he is doing, he needs you, right now, to pray for his purity; purity in his thoughts and his actions. There are women who are sending an invitation to your husband right now to "look at them", to "fantasize about them" and they don't know him and he doesn't know them. It can be an invitation as simple as passing each other in the Mall or watching a newscast with a female anchor who really needs to be wearing a jacket!!! And as you pray for his purity, pray for yours, as well. And pray that God will bless your intimacy with each other and strengthen your marriage. (it is not easy for me to write about this, I embarrass easily, lol, but I see how simple flirtations and "looks" between a man and woman can escalate to something else.) Protect your marriage, pray for his sexuality.

It may take time to see changes in his choice of tv shows, or his reading material. It may take time to see real spiritual growth, or see him become a more devoted Dad and husband, or the spiritual leader in your home that you need him to be, but please keep praying, God is faithful, He desires your success, He will help you.

My son is a pastor and he recently shared with me that he had been preaching a series of sermons on the home and marriage, and one of the men in his church who had experienced a time of difficulty in his marriage said this: "I decided it was more important to stay with my kids than to leave my wife."

Ladies, with the exception of the abuse of your children or yourself, (and that abuse can take on many forms)
I still believe every marriage can be saved, (call me a starry eyed optimist) every home can be a good home, and every child deserves a Mom and Dad who love God, love each other, love them, and who are committed to stay married to each other for a lifetime, and that includes better or worse, richer or poorer. Old fashioned, maybe. Politically correct, no. Right....with all my heart I believe YES!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year New Hope

Happy New Year! I hope you are excited about 2015, I know I am, and I want to take full advantage of each opportunity God gives me to enter His presence and serve Him in new ways this year.

As Beth Moore so aptly puts it in her study of Esther, "It's tough being a woman" and ladies, it doesn't get any easier, no matter our age. But one way to make it less tough in 2015 is to become more disciplined, especially in our personal habits. Because you see, when we are disciplined in our spiritual growth and physical and emotional health, every other area of our lives, especially our personal relationships, will benefit, too.

A new year brings new hope; hope to do better, look better be better. It only takes a few small changes to bring big results.

Who we are is the sum total of our daily habits. This time of year it is cold here in Kentucky (in the teens last night!!). The sky tends to stay gray, the holidays have come and gone, not much to do in January, stay in our flannel pjs all day, eat, sleep, eat, watch old movies on tv, eat, gossip, (I mean catch up with our friends) eat, sleep some more, in other words, just let ourselves go. And not in the right direction!! Let's get motivated ladies and not become another January statistic!

I'm sure you've heard the news reports pertaining to depression this time of year and one factor is less light. I am fortunate to have a big window in my living room and a wall of glass in my family room, and I enjoy sitting in these rooms on those cloudy January days to do my Bible reading and study, write in my journal, and just look out the window! Yes, it is ok to just sit and look out the window and soak up the light. No one will think you're strange in the least little bit. (lol) Light does amazing things for us and on Day 4 of creation, God created the sun, moon, and stars and they've been right there every single day and night since He placed them in the heavens. But even the bright sunshine, the full moon and starry night are not enough light for us; we need the Light of the World, Jesus Christ to truly bring us out of darkness.

So lets make it personal this year; let's get up, get dressed, PLAN what we will eat today, (because if I don't plan what I eat, food makes a plan for me) get some exercise outside if we can, read our Bible, write in our journal, spend time in prayer, drink lots of water, and I guarantee you that if you will jump start your day with a PLAN, you will be amazed at how different you feel, how different your family will see you, and how much more effective you will be for the kingdom. It is amazing ladies what personal discipline and good daily habits will do for our self-esteem, our marriage, our parenting, and even our housekeeping. (hope you'll keep reading.)

My friend, and pastor's wife, Linda, gives me a new journal each year for Christmas. I start writing in it each Jan. 1. This is one of the prettiest ones I've seen. Not a great pic, but it has some gold "bling" on the left side, which suits me just fine.

Depression and low self-esteem are real, and they plague so many of us from time to time, especially this time of year, and statistics tell us that holidays and the winter months deplete our immune system and can plummet us into bouts of depression or "the blues" as my Mama used to say. Even people who seem to have it all together suffer in silence and the public never knows their depths of despair. Robin Williams was one of the funniest guys of my generation. I did not always like the characters he portrayed or his types of humor, but he sure was funny. Who would ever have known the pain he suffered, or the dark valley he must have been in?

As children of the Most High God, we have all of His power, all of His mighty hosts of heaven (Psalm 103: 19-21), His promises (Romans 4:21) and the authority of His word for every anxious thought we may have about ourselves, our loved ones, our future. At the beginning of each new year I choose a verse of scripture as my "life verse" for the year. It is a verse or verses that I commit to memory, and try to apply it to the situations and circumstances I find myself in. Several years ago when I was going through a difficult time, I chose Phillippians 4: 6,7:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Friend, it you will dissect that verse, word for word, study it, then apply it to your life and believe it in faith,  it will change you; I know it will because I remember exactly where I was when it changed me. This year I have chosen Genesis 18:14; "Is anything too hard for God?" A short verse, but one that will stretch our faith, and build our trust. I'm looking for His activity in every situation that I feel there is no answer for, knowing the thing I feel is too hard or hopeless is not to difficult for Him.

A disciplined woman makes a better wife; just ask her husband. A disciplined woman makes a better Mom; (just ask her kids if their lives and home don't run more smoothly when Mom is disciplined and in charge)
a disciplined woman is prettier and much more pleasant to be around; and a disciplined woman makes a better "you".

Only 3 weeks left in January, 4 weeks in February, then it's March. Soon the Easter flowers will be popping through the ground, the robins will be back, and the days are already getting a little longer: MORE LIGHT!

So let's take advantage of the these next few weeks of winter and use it as our time to grow closer to our Lord, develop some new habits, both physical and spiritual, and get disciplined, all for one reason; we will bring more honor and glory to His precious name.

Thank you all so much for a great year on the blog. We've reached over 40 countries, I've heard from so many of you, and I hope you will continue to read and "endure" this Kentucky girl's way of writing. And I'd love to hear from you again.

My prayer is that God will greatly bless you in this new year, prosper you and your family, and keep you in good health. Invest yourself in His kingdom today by investing yourself in someone else. There is no better life than a life lived for Jesus Christ!!

Love you,