Monday, October 29, 2007

Blunders to Blessings

Last week was a comedy of errors. Well maybe it could be better described as simply a week full of personal mistakes. From forgotten responsibilities to missed appointments to getting birthday cards in the mail too late; I would rather not relive last week’s messes. As I lay in bed last night I began reviewing all my short-comings (not a good idea) and finally came to the point of crying out to God (good idea) and asking for His help. I began by confessing my own selfishness. Yes, I admit to you that my own self-centeredness did play a part in some of the disasters of the week. Then I asked for God’s guidance in redeeming several of the situations. Finally I sought God’s help in opening my eyes to areas I need to change as well as alerting me of things I need to remember. I’m so thankful we have a redeeming God who understands our humanity and loves us anyway. Psalm 103 reminds us, “The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.” The Psalmist also said, “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust…But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.” My sweet friend, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has blunder-filled weeks. Aren’t you grateful we have a redeeming God who has mercy on us, and can turn our blunders into blessings? Thanks be to God for His mercy and grace toward us! Let us go to Him for wisdom and strength.

Wonderful Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace. Give us wisdom as we seek to glorify you. Grant us strength to do what you have called us to do. Alert us to areas or responsibilities we tend to forget. Redeem our mistakes and help us to learn from them.
We love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Limitless Love

Have you ever taken in the night sky with wonder and awe and considered how small you are in comparison? It’s overwhelming to think about a vast universe, ever expanding and seemingly limitless. Yet, as small as you and I may feel, there is an eternal God who loves us with a limitless love. Just as it is impossible to grasp the size of the universe, so it is impossible to fathom the height and the depth of God’s redeeming love. Oh we try to get a picture of it, and we begin to relate God’s love to the love we feel from our parents or our spouse or a companion. My friend, God’s love is boundless! It is abundantly more than what we can imagine in human terms. God’s love is satisfying and pure. How do I know? The Bible reveals His compassion, mercy and loving kindness toward us. It reminds us that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. The apostle Paul said there is nothing that can separate us from Christ’s love. Just as an astrologist uses a telescope to learn more about the universe, so the Bible allows us to learn more about God’s love for us. Take some time to read His love letters to you today and know that you are sincerely loved by the God who created you.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are! I John 3:1

Family Fun Time: Using black poster board, create a simple telescope. Cut two rectangles and roll them into tubes, one tube slightly bigger than the other. Secure with tape. Now slide one tube inside the other, allowing you to move them back and forth to help you focus. Use the lens from an inexpensive, little magnifying glass (Dollar store!) to tape to the end of the tube. Now you have a very basic and simple telescope. Go outside and look at the stars. Talk about the vastness of the universe. Read Ephesians 3:17 – 19 and talk about the limitless love God has for each us.

Conversation Starter: How does the knowledge of God’s boundless love begin to transform your life?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Comfort Zone

How comfortable do you feel in you job of being a mom? For me personally, I don’t think I have ever felt completely comfortable. I’m always being stretched, learning patience and finding better ways to handle the multitude of situations that arise on a daily basis. If we ever did grow comfortable as a mom it may mean that we have stopped growing and learning. If it were possible to get to the point where we think we know it all and have this “mother thing” figured out, we may grow to be prideful or lazy. Discomfort has its advantages. Not only can we grow and develop as a mom when we are uncomfortable, but we also are driven to look to God for our strength and help. The apostle Paul struggled with a thorn in his flesh. The Bible doesn’t tell us what that thorn was, but I suppose we could call this a discomfort of some sort. He asked God to remove the thorn three times. Here’s how God responded, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” Paul went on to say, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good. I am quite content with my weaknesses…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” What implication does this have for us as moms? We all feel weak at times in our daily job. We may feel weak physically and emotionally. We may feel as though we lack wisdom and the ability to use wise discipline. Remember God is able to be your strength in your weakness. Look to Him in the midst of your discomfort and ask Him for His Help.

Oh wise and loving Father, thank you for the discomforts you allow in our lives as moms. We don’t have all that it takes to be the mom we want to be, but you are sufficient. You offer us your strength and help. We look to you and we glory in you. Thank you that we are not comfortable, for if we were we may forget you and become prideful and lazy. Our daily struggles remind us of our need for you. Thank you Lord for always being there. I call on you to help me today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Conversation Starter: Where do you feel uncomfortable in your life right now? Talk with you kids about the importance of taking not just our needs, but our weaknesses to God, asking Him to be their strength.

Monday, October 8, 2007

He is With You

Yesterday my husband and I went to a reception for a friend who is leaving today to serve our country in Afghanistan. He was recently called into duty as an officer in the naval reserves, leaving for at least six months and possibly a year. We were honored to be a part of his send-off and to be a participant in praying for him while he is gone. Our friend Bob's call to duty is a reminder that we don't know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. Each of us can look to God for our help. Psalm 34 gives us strength and comfort, "I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant their faces will never be covered in shame. This poor man called and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and he delivers him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." Isn't that beautiful? God wants us to look to Him, to find our refuge in Him and to call on Him. He invites us to taste and see that He is good. Bob is stepping out in courage, with his faith in a God who loves him. We may not be going to Afghanistan, but we can turn our eyes to the Lord and take refuge in Him no matter what life brings. My friends let's look to Him who loves us and call upon Him to be our refuge and strength in every circumstance.

Conversation Starter: Is there a time when you have had to step out in faith and in a very real way look to God as your refuge?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Love is Patient

Today I heard an inspiring message from the authors of a powerful new book entitled Same Kind of Different as Me. If you haven't yet read it, I would encourage you to pick it up at your local bookstore. The book is true story of two men's journeys and how their lives came together through God's providence. I won't tell you more because you must read it for yourself! One of the authors, Denver Moore (a former homeless man), shared a tremendous bit of wisdom which we all need to hear, "Love people for who they are, not for who you want them to be."

We must see the treasure in each person. We must lift them up through our love played out in our words and actions. Our friends and family members will rise to greater heights if we love them as they are and not as what we are trying to make them become. The Bible tells us that "Love is Patient." Don't you want people to be patient with you? I know I do! Aren't you thankful God is patient with us? I know I am continually thankful for His enduring and patient love! So let us offer that patience to others. As we love them completely and encourage them sincerely we will see them rise to a new level of confidence. My heart's desire is for each of us to seek his power to love those around us each day. I'm not very patient in my own strength, but God is my strength. He can give me what I need to love those around me.
Keep shining His Patient Love on others.

Family Tip: Create some one on one time with each of your family members this week. Look them in the eyes and really listen to what they have to say. Ask them questions about their day and find out what made them happy or sad. Care about their life and speak words of love to them, re-assuring them you love them as they are.

Conversation Starter: What makes you feel most sincerely loved? How does it help you to know that God loves you with an abundant, patient and forgiving love?