Tag Archives: faith

A Super Special Father’s Day at Our House

Our two youngest daughters got saved during Vacation Bible School this year at our church. We were ecstatic. We were even more excited about what followed-their baptism. Because we have a blended family, it took a little shuffling to make sure everyone’s schedules could accommodate this joyous occasion, but finally, we were able to get them dunked! 🙂

I was thinking about how special baptism is, what it symbolizes in our lives, and then I started thinking about how God has a time and a plan for everything. How cool is it that our girls were baptized on Father’s Day?! A day that is meant to celebrate how important our father is to us and all he does in our lives…our girls got to give themselves to their Holy Father and made an outward confession of faith before the entire congregation to their “Capital F” Father.

How am I feeling about the whole thing? BLESSED!

Advertisements

Valentines Day: A Conspiracy?

No one knows the complete history on Valentines Day because the details are somewhat murky as to how Valentine’s Day has come to be and what we now know and celebrate. The story says that Saint Valentine served in third-century Rome. Emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers. Therefore, Claudius banned soldiers from being married. One version of the story is that Valentine continued to perform the weddings of young soldiers who were in love, and Claudius had Valentine imprisoned. While imprisoned, Valentine reportedly fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Valentine sent her a card and signed it, “Love, your Valentine” just before his execution. Because of this romantic gesture, now we are expected to show love and appreciation for the one(s) we love every February 14th.

Here are my problems with Valentine’s Day:

1. We should be showing those we love how special they are to us EVERY day. Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to do something meaningful. Bring your girl some flowers “just because.” Cook your man a meal because you love him on a random Tuesday; not only on Valentine’s Day.

2. We should be showing love to EVERYONE.

John 13:34-35 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

3. You don’t have to spend money to show someone you care about them.

According to the National Retail Survey, men routinely spend double the amount on Valentine’s Day than women do. “The average man plans to shell out $135.35 to impress the people in his life while women only expect to spend $72.28.”

To me, as long as something is heart-felt and sincere, the cost doesn’t matter. If a man cooked me dinner, rented a movie, and spent the night snuggling on the couch, it would be just as nice, if not better, than going out to a fancy dinner and spending a bunch of money. We have made the “holiday” about what jewelry we’ll be receiving, what restaurant we’ll be dining at, and/or the dreaded “if he buys me a cheap box of chocolates from the drug store, he doesn’t care.” As long as he’s thinking about you, he cares.  Let’s just hope for the kind of person in our lives who shows us how much we mean to them more than one day per year.

4. Valentine’s Day is not about REAL LOVE. People feel mandated to have a “special someone” in their lives and will get into relationships they know will not last or stay in relationships that make them miserable just so they won’t be “that loser” on Valentine’s Day.

This gives many in our society a warped sense of what LOVE really is. It is not sticking it out so you get some jewelry or hooking up with a random guy so you have a story to tell your girlfriends. LOVE is such a special, unique, unexplainable emotion that we all can only hope to experience at some time in our lives.

The Bible Describes Love as the following:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

We are only able to fully love through God’s example because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

vday1

 

Quit Talking About It & Start Praying About It

I’ve heard this saying my whole life. It’s something my youth minister used to say to us when we (the youth) would stand around talking about so-and-so and asking for prayer requests.

The Bible says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

I know this can be a touchy topic because I think all of us have probably prayed for something that didn’t happen. When this situation happens, people tend to say that it just wasn’t God’s will, and apparently they’re right, but why?

I found this article called “Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered?”  (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-dml/dml-y002.html) and it brought up the following points:

  1.  We don’t really believe God can answer them. 

    Jesus said: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

 

James wrote:

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).

Believing is perhaps the best known condition for prayer. But there are other reasons prayer is not answered.

2. We ask with wrong motives.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

3. Unconfessed sin separates us from God, so that He will not hear.

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

4. We set up idols in our hearts that come between us and God.

“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” (Ezekiel 14:3)

5. We don’t answer those who cry to us for help.

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13).

6. We don’t remain in God/God’s Word doesn’t remain in us.

“If you remain in me and my word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you” (John 15:7).

Even still, some of us may feel like we follow God’s law and do our best to follow it and still feel like our prayers aren’t always answered. Maybe it’s a timing issue. Everything happens on God’s watch and not ours so maybe it will happen; we just have to give it some time. And, as the Bible tells us, sometimes He allows us to go through things so we can learn and so we will allow God to be glorified through the situation.

talk

Personal Note: My Daughter, Bella, is having surgery today

For those of you who don’t know, my 7 year old daughter, Isabella, is currently fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was diagnosed on October 3, 2013 and has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since. Because of her chemotherapy, she has had a lot of other issues stem from her weakened immune system.

The day Bella began feeling sick:

10-01-13-1

4 Days After Diagnosis (still in hospital):

diagnosis

Since diagnosis, she has lost her hair:

hairloss

She was in a coma for 5 weeks and because of all of the fluids and the air escaping into her skin (Sub-Q air), she was unrecognizable:

01 unreco 001

She went through 9 weeks of in-patient rehab and 8 weeks of outpatient rehab and then graduated:

walk2 rehab

She was wheelchair bound for several weeks:

wheelchair wheel

She had to use a walker for several weeks:

walk

She then moved on to leg braces (AFOs):

braces

She was hospitalized for a total of 71 days the last stint.

71

She had to have oral surgery from the chemo eating away at two of her teeth

bad

Now she’s battling plantar warts.

wart    wart2

They’re horribly painful and are on both of her heels. This causes her to walk on her tiptoes every day and I have been afraid of long term damage this may cause. We spoke with dermatology, podiatry, and general surgery and our oncology team begged for them to do something. Dermatology tried to freeze them off with no avail and the others rejected our case because they don’t like to operate on people undergoing chemotherapy. We finally, after much begging on our oncologist’s part, were taken on by the plastic surgery team. Dr. Williams has been great and has her surgery scheduled for today, January 30, 2015.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers today. Pray that God guides the surgeon’s hands, pray that Bella has no complications, and pray for a fast healing because we go to Disney World with Bert’s Big Adventure #bba2015 on February 18, 2015! Thank you all for following!

If you’d like her surgery updates and to follow Bella’s story, please check out her page: http://www.facebook.com/isabellavsleukemia

 

Starting to Date in God’s Time

I had an epiphany the other night and I thought I would share it with you because it may help others out there as well.

I have been struggling with being a “newly” single woman (after divorce). I really miss having a man in my life. For all of the feminists out there, yes, I understand that a man is not necessary for happiness. I am perfectly happy. But I miss the passion, the love, the snuggling, etc. I miss having someone with whom to share my life. I’ve been single now for 3 years with not even so much as a prospect. I took this as a sign that I needed to change more about myself. I needed to get to know myself, independent of man since I had never been without one as an adult, and I feel I have done that.

I’ve been praying about it a lot lately-praying that God would send the right man into my life.

One problem I’m discovering is that I never go out. I am a full-time mom and I work a full-time job so never go out and meet new people. I don’t think that is a problem for God though…He would bring the man to my door if necessary. People have recommended internet dating to me, but the concept just seems so foreign. From what I’ve gathered from those sites, everyone lies, most of the men on there are already married or in a relationship, and there are several instances of people being murdered after meeting up from one of those sites. No thank you…it’s just not for me.

The other night, I was thinking about what it is that I truly miss about being with a man and here is what I decided…of course I miss intimacy with a man, but more than that I miss things like:

-having someone to share in the responsibilities (i.e. helping me take the kids to school, drive to doctor appointments, cook dinner, pack lunches, clean the house, do the dishes, do the laundry, walk the dog, etc.)

So in other words, I just need a maid or housekeeper or nanny. The things I miss here are not specific to a “male” role. I just miss having someone help me out because now, on top of working full-time, I have to do all of the chores as well. That’s no reason to marry someone.

-having an extra income [because let’s face it-3 people and a large dog (we have a standard poodle) on one income is tough]

Yes, it’s hard to have myself, two children, and a large dog (we have a standard poodle named Millie) on one income; especially since I miss a lot of work due to my daughter’s regular doctor appointments. But that’s no reason to marry someone. In fact it wouldn’t even be a factor when dating someone (how much they made).

I think I need to find some better reasons before God will bring the right person into my life. I need to stay focused on God because I know He knows what is best and will do what needs to be done in my life that will best glorify Him. I need to focus on making myself as close to perfect as I can be so when the right guy comes along, I’m 100% ready.

Christian author, Sheila Wray Gregoire, wrote an article called:

“Top 10 Ways to Get Ready for Your Future Husband”
You can read the whole article here: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2014/04/get-ready-for-future-husband/

And she says to do the following:

1. Pray–for you and your future husband.

Ask others to pray with you and for you. Are you asking God to bring you a man or a better man but not truly believing (by your actions and self talk) that you are worthy of the best, most gentle, loving and caring man? Are you praying for your future husband but not asking God to open your heart, mind and eyes to the lies you are currently believing and accepting? Are you not asking God to change you, mold you and prepare you for your future husband? If not, it is time to start.

2. Stop having premarital sex.

It does not matter if you are currently in a relationship. Stop and wait until your married. If he leaves you because of this, then you will know without a doubt that this person is not “the one”. It doesn’t matter if you have a child with this man, you have been dating him for 10 years or your relationship is new. This type of sin slowly chips away at your soul, self-worth and separates you from the relationship you were meant to have with God. You should be insulted as a beautiful and worthy woman of God, if he feels it is important to sample you before marrying you. By not waiting, you are the one in control of your life and you are choosing your own path. When you choose your own path over the one God has for you, you are missing out on the opportunities God wants for you–including the opportunity to meet someone who is really right for you.

3. Don’t Define Yourself by Your Boyfriend

If you feel your worth is defined by having a man in your life and having that man stay in your life depends on you giving him your precious body then you need to spend much more alone time with God and His word. Understand these are Satan’s lies you are believing to be true about yourself. These are lies.

4. Learn what real intimacy is.

Understand that sex is really NOT the intimacy and connection you desire and crave. Satan tells us it is readily available to us through sex. This is a huge lie designed to separate us from our Creator, think less of our selves and destroy our self-worth. See the lie for what it’s worth and turn yourself towards Gods truth.

5. Know that sex does not equal love.

Love is not full of lies, cheating eyes, nor cheating bodies. Love is not belittling and degrading comments or gestures. Love is not a strong abusive hand or voice. If you have believed this lie to be true know that you are worth so much more. Read what the bible says love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

6. Get involved in helping others.

Get involved at church, start a singles small group. Take up a hobby. Get yourself healthy – emotionally, spiritually and physically. And do this with your boyfriend, if you have one. His character will be revealed as you help others together. And if he doesn’t want to help? That’s a huge sign, too.

7. Love yourself through God’s eyes.

Believe His truths, speak His truths over and over in your head. Speak them out loud. Wrap yourself in the full armor of God and take captive every negative and sinful thought. Believe that you are worth waiting for and your future husband is worth waiting for. Prepare now for future temptation.

8. Realize that you can not pick and choose which parts of God’s word you choose to believe.

There are many sins which are the result of following with your flesh and not with your faith. Sex before marriage is one of those. Control your thoughts and your flesh will follow.

9. Own the truth that you are not alone.

You may feel alone but if you really dig deep into God’s word you will see that you are not alone. You are beautiful, precious and very much-loved. You are worthy and valuable. So much so that saving yourself for marriage…for your future…would be the ultimate gift to give to him. By not waiting you are in control of your life and choosing your own path. When you choose your path over the one God has for you, you are missing out on opportunities to meet someone who you will be able to serve God with fully.

10. Be patient as you get ready for your future husband.

While it may feel that God is making you wait forever, He is still preparing you. Remember He could still be at work in your future husband too. Even though you may be ready in God’s eyes, your soul mate is not ready yet. Be still while He readies him for you. Maybe your future husband is just as stubborn as you once were! Be patient and have faith.

Being IN The World, but Not OF the World

A question you may be asking yourself is “How do you remain in the world but not of the world?” And it’s a fair question.

To first understand what scripture is saying to us, we need to understand the true definitions of two miniscule words we use every day without even thinking of their meaning or inclination. The Webster’s Dictionary defines “in” as a preposition “used to indicate location or position within something.” The same dictionary defines “of’ as “belonging to, relating to, or connected with (someone or something); used to indicate that someone or something belongs to a group of people or things.”

That being said, we, as Christians, are to live in the world (because it is our location) but are not to live how the nonbelievers live. We are to set ourselves apart because we belong to God and should act accordingly. We need to let Christ speak when we open our mouths and when allow Him to use our hands and feet and bodies to carry out His good and perfect will.

Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Because of Adam & Eve’s sin, man was cursed and we all now are born with evil inside of us. Because of this, we have to cast our old selves away and fight against our flesh every day to strive to be Christ-like.

Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—”

I’ve been quoting this verse below a lot on here lately, but it is just so pertinent to every topic. It states the rules for holy living.

Colossians 3:1-17 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Music Monday-“Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong United

This song is so great. It has me belting it out in my car every time it comes on the radio. It paints such a beautiful picture of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and how we should just submit totally to Him. I want to seek His heart. I fully belong to Him and want Him to lead me in every step of my life. I want to cast away my old self and become completely new in Him.

Here are the lyrics:

“Lead Me To The Cross”

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemption’s hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lostLead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
Human
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you’re risen

Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

Can Secular Songs Be Turned into Praise & Worship Songs?

This is a controversial topic, but there are many different opinions stating why these songs can or can’t be used as praise and worship (of course, some of them require some minor lyric tweaking).

Watch the video below. It’s Christian comedian, J. Orr,  joking about how he entered a church one time and they were playing secular songs with Christian lyrics and it was funny to him, but not worship-ful.

The church he visited was playing the music to “Brick House” by the Commodores, but changed the lyrics to say “We’re in the Lord’s house. He’s mighty, mighty. Stompin’ the devil out…”

It’s cute. It’s witty. It’s silly. But is it worshipful and bringing glory to God? I’m not sure.

After a quick search of the internet, here are some other secular songs people believe could easily be turned Christian (some without any lyric tweaks and some with minor tweaks to the lyrics here and there). I have posted the song titles below. Let me know what you guys think.

Arms Wide Open-Creed
Landslide-Smashing Pumpkins
Come As You Are-Nirvana
Pocket Full of Sunshine-Natasha Beddingfield
Dead & Gone-T.I. & Justin Timberlake
Him-Lily Allen
3 AM-Matchbox Twenty
Better Life-Keith Urban
Snowed Under-Keane
Porcelain-Moby
What I’ve Done-Linkin’ Park
I’ll Stand by You-The Pretenders
Time of Your Life-Green Day
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol (people say it’s equivalent to Paul in Romans 8)
Omaha-Counting Crows
Time After Time-Cindy Lauper
Hallelujah-Jeff Buckley
Redemption Song-Bob Marley
We Are Young-F.U.N.
We Found Love (in a hopeless place)-Rihanna
Make You Feel My Love-Adele

Do you have any to add to the list? What do you think about turning secular songs into Christian songs?

Keep Your Eyes on the Future; Not on Your Past

If you have children in your household, or maybe even if you don’t, I’m sure you’re aware of the “Frozen” takeover-and I’m not talking about the weather…My son, daughter, & all of their friends are mildly obsessed with the new Disney film and with it’s lovable characters, new-ish storyline, and incredibly catchy songs, it’s no wonder.

When I began “researching” and studying this topic, the lyrics to the film’s most notable song, “Let It Go,” kept popping into my head.

For the very few of you who don’t already know the lyrics, I’ll post the specific ones I’m speaking about below:

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small and the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all…I’m never going back; the past is in the past.”

I know this all seems a bit off topic, but visuals tend to help me picture things better in my brain. I am a very visual learner.

Distancing yourself from your old life (before Christ) allows you to gain a better perspective and know that you are where you should be to better yourself. And as I spoke about in yesterday’s post about being courageous, if we give our whole heart to God, cast our old desires away, and pursue His will for our life, we will have courage in all that we do because we have nothing to fear. [See post on being courageous here: https://proverbsmomma.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/being-courageous/%5D.

In the animated film, on the lyric “I’m never going back, the past is in the past,” Queen Elsa takes off the crown that is binding her to her old life and throws it as far as she can. She casts off her “old self” to pursue her new life.

Colossians 3:1-17 says:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

God doesn’t want us dwelling on the past. We should be constantly growing and moving forward. We need to keep our eyes and thoughts on Him always and our actions will follow. If we are constantly looking to the past, we will miss what He is doing in our lives currently and won’t see the blessings that are forthcoming.

Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”

forget

Stop Arguing with One Another!

The quote pictured above really spoke to me “You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.” Such a simple idea, but yet it’s so true and could be so significant in our lives.

2 Timothy 2:23-25 says “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.

Most of the time when people argue, you can look back on that moment later and think about the insignificance of the topic you were even arguing about. If it is something you are truly passionate about and you’re trying to tell someone about it, you should speak calmly and use supportive evidence that shows how awesome it is. When you start off with an aggressive tone, the person/people you are talking to are automatically going to get defensive and an argument will ensue.

Many people will try to provoke you. They will say things that they know will get you “heated” on the topic. You have to be the bigger person though and know when to walk away. Have you ever heard the old playground adages that most people learn in elementary school like “I am rubber and you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you” or “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Well, let them be your mantra. People spitting words at you does not have the power to provoke you to anger. Only you can control your words and actions and make sure everything that comes out of your mouth is glorifying God.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

argue