Monday, March 26, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

In the past two or three years I've experienced some circumstances in my life that definitely have not happened in the way I would have EVER planned!  I've not blogged about them... maybe someday I will.  Have you ever noticed that life can serve you bad deal after bad deal?  Just when you get over one thing something completely different yet disheartening surprises you. 

In those times it's easy to begin to complain.  Things aren't right.  Things aren't fair.  Does God even care?  Complaining.  I think I've been doing some of that.  Not out loud so much, but deep down I've been frustrated. 

I'm so glad God doesn't give up on us when we are frustrated and complaining.  He has reminded me the importance of a thankful heart.  The importance of thanking Him in the trial, even thanking Him FOR the trial!  This could be the very thing He uses to bring about a greater maturity and strength in us as well as something better for our lives than that thing we're so disappointed over.

I read a couple of qoutes yesterday that grabbed my heart and brought me to repentance again.  God's been dealing with me on this for a couple of months now!

"Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts."  "A grateful attitude becomes a grid through which you perceive life."  ~Sarah Young

Wow.  I would much rather perceive my life through a grateful attitude than a cynical, hurt, and broken one.   How much happier my days would be, and how much happier those around me would be! 

What about you?  Has life served you some bad deals?  I hope you find encouragement in this.  It is not natural to be grateful.  I think it's something we have to practice and practice until it becomes natural.  It's something we have to constantly go to God in prayer over asking Him for strength and help.  When our grateful attitude finally overrides the hurt, the questions, and the complaining we begin to find that our joy returns.  That ability to truly smile and laugh return. 

So that's my prayer today.  Here are a few scriptures to ponder.

"And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel." 
1 Corinthians 10:10

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" 
Hebrews 12:28-29

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4

Monday, March 12, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

Today I just want to type a passage of scripture that I hope will be an encouragement to you.  My prayer is that God will help me to be obedient to His ways and His plans in every detail of my life!  Pure obedience.  That's what I'm striving for.  The passage I want to leave you with is a scriptural blessing for obedience.  Though obedience may seem to cost us much from an earthly perspective, it is really the way we gain an abundant and full life!

"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven."
~Deuteronomy 28:1-7

That's just the first seven verses.  There are seven more that follow that.  Walk in obedience today!  The blessing is far greater than the sacrifice!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday.. Final Thoughts on Loving them Better

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6

Over the past week, I've had to hand some anxiety over to God and allow His peace to overwhelm my understanding, or lack thereof.  While I've been in that process, I've thought how valuable of a lesson that is to teach our kids.  Take your concerns to God.  He will guard your hearts and minds

I began a 14 day challenge on ways we can love our kids better, and today I want to give it a few final thoughts.

~ Teach them to take their concerns to God.  A great way to teach that is simply to model that through some of your own siuations and concerns.   Let God's peace be evident in you.

~  Find their interests and encourage them in that.  Kylee wants to be a "pet doctor princess" when she grows up.  She may change her mind several times between now and then, but we encourage it and let her take care of our pets.  Both girls love to read, so we go to the library often so there are always fresh books around the house.

~ I notice my kids get a big sense of accomplishment when I let them accomplish a grown up task.  Kylee loves to help me wash dishes, and even though letting her help doubles the time it takes to finish, I try to let her as often as I can.  It brings her a great sense of accomplishment.  They both love to help cook, so I look for chances to let them pour, stir, etc. 

~ Praise, Praise, Praise!  Speak life over them. 

~ Have a family devotion when you can.  I've learned accomplishing that every night is nearly impossible, but make them meaningful and fun when you do catch that chance.  The other night we made blue jello with swedish fish inside to celebrate Dr. Seuss day.  We read "Red Fish, Blue Fish." After the Dr. Seuss story we talked about a Bible fish story known as Jonah and the Whale.  It turned into a great talk on obedience... and it was FUN!  Devotions can be meaningul and fun.

~ One thing we do as a family is take walks together when we are home.   It gets us away from chores and work life while we catch some fresh air and do something together.  It doesn't have to take long, but is a very intentional way to be together as a family.

Last but not least, trust God in this parenting thing.  We could come up with steps to take to raise 'em right all day long, but without God, it's all meaningless.  He is our source of strength and wisdom.  He gives it generously to those who ask.  (James 1:5)  So, when you are at a loss, turn to the One who brings peace in your anxiety, strength in your weakness, and wisdom along your unsure path.  He loves you. O, how He loves you!  And those sweet babies?  He loves them too.  He loves them enough to partner alongside you in this whole parenting thing. After all, He is the master parent!  I don't know about you, but this mama is far from having it all together.  I'm so glad I can rely on the ONE who does!

Happy Monday!
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