Monday, December 28, 2009

This Can be a Great Week!!

Do you enjoy this week as much as I do? The pressure of all that mom must do to make the Holidays special is past and the lull of expectations and places to be are a current (albeit short-lived) welcome relief. The kids are hopefully playing happily with their new toys and there is the slight possibility that mom may be able to relax just a little bit before the regular routine rolls back into full throttle.

As we look forward to the new year, let’s consider some of the things we may want to do differently from last year. As a mom, prayerfully think about what went well in your home last year and what you want to change from the past year. Sometimes we need to do a little closet clean out and recognize some things we want to do differently. There may be a routine you want to change, or a way of disciplining you may want to rethink or an activity you may want to rearrange.

This is a good time to make positive changes and move in a new direction. I like the turning of the new year as it can offer the opportunity to make a fresh start. Here are a few gentle questions to ask yourself as a mom in looking toward the new year. No self-condemnation, just some things to consider:
· Am I disciplining wisely? Remember every time you discipline your kids it is an opportunity to teach and train and show them that you love them.
· Am I being a positive example to my kids through my words, attitudes and actions?
· Am I making our family dinner time a priority? Studies now show the powerful and positive benefits of family dinner.
· Am I looking at the good in my kids or am I focused on the challenges?

As you ponder each of these questions, ask the Lord to show you how to make positive changes. Seek His power and strength as you glorify Him in your home in 2010. Post the following verses on your refrigerator as a reminder of His power at work within you for the coming year.

II Peter 1:3 – 8
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tis the Week

It’s the big week! It’s the week that we have all been working toward with anticipation and excitement mixed in with a slight dose of exhaustion and anxiety. This is the final stretch where the rubber meets the road and the wrappings meet the receiver.

As you put the final touches on all the gifts, I want to encourage you to sincerely pray for each person for whom you are preparing a gift. Ask the Lord to show you how to love the recipient and show him or her kindness. Think about it? What good is a gift if it is given with frustration, hurt or unkind thoughts? What does a carefully wrapped package mean to someone when it is simply given out of duty or obligation and not with love?

Let’s add true, sincere, Christ-like love to our gift giving this year. As we reflect on God’s gracious love for us, may we in turn pour out that kind of gracious love toward others. I’m reminded of I Corinthians 13:1-3:

"1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

The passage goes on to remind us what true love (a Christlike love) looks like:

"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "

This week invite the kids to help you wrap gifts and prepare the Christmas dinner, and as you work together pray together for the people you are serving. Talk about the most significant part of any gift or most important ingredient of any casserole is the love that goes into it. Read I Corinthian 13 together. Have a Merry Christmas my friend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Often I am asked about some of my favorite Christmas traditions with my own family. I have several that are unique and special just to us. One tradition is that I give my daughters a gift of a new set of pajamas and slippers, which they open on Christmas Eve. We also have tamales and chili every Christmas Eve after going to the candlelight service together. On Christmas morning we enjoy (or maybe tolerate) green eggs, and Curt reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 before opening presents.

During the month of December we look for ways we can serve. One tradition I have started just recently is going downtown to help out with Operation Care. This is a giant Christmas party for the homeless in downtown Dallas. It is an incredibly beautiful gift of love to the people in our community. Hundreds of volunteers help literally thousands of homeless people, some who are bused in from surrounding cities. If you live in the Dallas area consider helping out on Saturday, Dec 19 at the Dallas Convention Center. Go to www.operationcaredallas.org to sign up as a volunteer and for more information.


One last tradition I want to mention is that of buying a Christmas book for the family. When the kids were little I bought children’s books which we read over and over again. As they grew I bought lovely coffee table books, and lately I’ve bought some wonderful Christmas novels and story books. This year I purchased Mike Huckabee’s A Simple Christmas, filled with touching stories that remind us of the true reason for the season. Another book I recommend is, William J. Bennet’s The True Saint Nicholas. The reason I like this book is because I think it is important that we teach our kids about the real Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) and the heart of giving which he displayed in his life. He was a true hero of the faith.

This week we celebrate the Advent week of Joy. As Christians, we find our joy in the Lord and in the fact that He sent Jesus to this world as a gift to pay the penalty for our sin. Joy to the World! May we proclaim it as we experience a joy that no one can take from us. I hope you have a wonderful week of enjoying family and pointing to Christ continually during this season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Recipe for Fun

One of the best ways to enjoy the Christmas season with the kids is to spend time with them doing something that is both fun and productive. Baking goodies to give as gifts is a great opportunity to encourage our kids hearts toward giving to others as well as enjoy some good family time together. Here’s a recipe from my friend Jane Jarrell (www.JaneJarrell.net). It’s easy to do with the kids and makes a great snack or gift. Jane presents this recipe on our Fresh Start Holiday show. Go to www.webtv4women.tv

Chocolate Cookie Crunch
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate morsels 2 tablespoons peanut butter10 chocolate sandwich cookies
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Place semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate medium microwaveable bowls. Microwave 1 cup morsels in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl on medium-high power for one minute. Stir to combine. Some morsels may retain their original shape. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 – 15 second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.Add peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Crumble half the cookies over chocolate in each bowl; mix well. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto wax paper-covered baking sheet, alternating the colors of the chocolates. Cut through chocolate mixtures several times with knife for marble effect. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Makes 1 ½ pound

The second Sunday of Advent was this Sunday as we lit the candle of Love. This is a wonderful time to dwell on God’s great love toward us. Memorize the following verse with your kids as you celebrate God’s love this Advent season. “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” I John 3:1

Monday, November 30, 2009

How many days 'til Christmas?

Thanksgiving is over (hope you had a good one) and now we are in an all out sprint toward Christmas. Do you have your shopping done? Are your Christmas cards finished? Surely you have your decorations up by now! As moms, there is never a shortage of activities for the holidays.

For our kids there's just one thing on their minds, “How many more days until Christmas gets here?” All the while we are thinking in our minds, "How many more days do I have to accomplish all I need to do before Christmas arrives?" Honestly it is a simple and precious thing to see our kid’s hearts and minds centered on one thing – the big day! Often I wish I had that same type of simple anticipation, hope and fervor toward the Lord himself and knowing Him more fully.

It is tempting to brush aside spiritual growth during this time of the year, yet seeking the Lord in the quiet place may be just what we need to calm our anxious thoughts and our overwhelmed minds. His word can help us focus on the bigger picture and the beauty of the hope we have in Him. Looking to Him for direction for our day can bring order to our normally chaotic schedule.
Casting our cares on Him can help us realize we are not alone in our struggles.

This past Sunday we celebrated the first week of Advent as we anticipate and look forward to Christmas day. We lit the candle of hope, signifying Christ as the hope of the world. May we find our hope in Christ as we look to Him throughout this holiday season. He lovingly welcomes you with arms open wide. Enjoy His warm embrace.

“You are my portion, O Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to your promise.” Psalm 119:57,58

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No More Replays

“Mommy, mommy can I watch the Princess movie again?”

As you plug in the movie again, you mentally say to yourself,Not again! How can one child watch the same movie so many times? When if comes to favorite videos, it never seems like once is enough. In my house, we must have watched Anne of Green Gables fifty million times. Repetition of a good movie is not necessarily a bad thing, but somethings are not so great to repeat. One thing we do not want to continue to replay in our thought life is our own sin and mistakes. I am glad as believers in Christ, God doesn’t repeatedly glare at our past sins.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 103:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

I’m thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning and that he is not holding onto what we did in the past. Now we may experience very real consequences to our sin, but as believers in Christ God has removed the penalty of our sin from us. In I Peter 1:22 we read, “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. “

Since we have been cleansed from our sin through faith in Christ, we must not replay our sin constantly in our minds – God doesn’t do it and neither should we. But let’s take it a step further, we also must be careful not to keep replaying other people’s sin against us. We must forgive, as we have been forgiven. We need to stop replaying in our minds how someone hurt us.

Just as our sin is done, gone, and removed from us through the blood of Christ, we must demonstrate this same type of forgiveness toward others. So this Thanksgiving as you are watching the replays in a football game or reruns of an old movie, remind yourself that God does not replay your sin and neither should you. Don’t replay the sin of others either. Give thanks this week for God’s mercy toward you as a follower of Christ, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Anything and Everything

Worrying and whining seem to be two challenging attitudes moms face on a daily basis. Worrying on the mom’s part and whining on the kid’s part, although to be quite honest both attitudes may apply to both moms and kids! The book of Philippians deals with worrying and whining in an all or nothing type way. Typically, I don’t look at life with an all or nothing attitude, but there are some “anything” and “everything” verses here that I can’t ignore. For instance:

· “Do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14).” Well that seems to leave no room for grumbling, bickering or whining in our lives. Why would Paul say such a thing? Perhaps it is because when we complain and argue, we are revealing a lack of faith in a God who cares about our needs and will help us through them. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t thoughtfully take a stand for what is right as times, but I am saying that whining and grumbling should have no place in a faith-filled, thankful person’s life.

· “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 4:6,7).” Hmmmm….. not anxious about anything and pray about everything? The Bible says we will experience an inner peace when we give our cares to God in prayer along with thanksgiving. Now there’s an anything and everything that can change your life!

· “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12,13).” Herein is the key to not complaining, to not being anxious and to being content in every situation; it is Christ who strengthens us. When we are following Him and seeking His help, and desiring His will for our lives; He will strengthen us in every situation.

My fellow mom, are you finding your strength in Him? As you face the challenges in your life right now, and as you move into the holiday season, do not complain or be anxious about anything, but instead pray about everything, with thanksgiving. And most importantly find your strength from Christ to live a life filled with contentment no matter what happens.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:29,31

Monday, November 9, 2009

In the Midst of Difficulties

Several years ago our precious Great Pyrenees dog named Bear died on Christmas day from a flipped stomach. It was terrible and one of my daughters said to me, “Mom, why would God allow Bear to die on Christmas day. Now we are always going to remember this sad day when we celebrate Christmas.” I didn’t know what to say or do, so I said lets pray that God would bring some sort of redeeming factor from this tragedy.


Now of course I had no idea what God may do, and I didn’t think it was in God’s plan to raise Bear from the dead, but we trusted that God could bring something good from this loss. After the holidays we began searching the internet for a dog. We wanted a mastiff this time, since we already had another mastiff. We finally found a dog who had been rescued just a few days before Christmas. The shelter named the dog Angel , and she seemed to be the perfect fit for our family. I quickly filled out all the paperwork to adopt the dog, but received no reply.


Finally I approached them again and they said they need to have someone come down from Oklahoma to do a house visit. Well we were four hours away and they were having trouble finding someone, but I had a solution! Our house was on the market so I just sent the pictures on line of our house, and I included my website (which has a picture of me with my other mastiff). I immediately heard a response! The woman in charge of adoption had just been searching for some books to encourage her as a mom and kept coming across my books on the internet. Now here I was – the author- emailing her personally.


As you can imagine, we were immediately approved for adoption, but what is more important is that I had the opportunity to make a connection with a precious mom who needed to know God cared about her. God cared about the details of her life so much that he had the author of the book contact her. Of course I sent her several books right away! She emailed later that this was a tremendous coincidence. I emailed her back saying this was God’s work and that He loves and cares for her.


God did bring redemption from a sad situation! See picture of Angel below.


As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I know that for some people it is difficult to celebrate and be thankful. We can’t ignore the fact that many people have lost their jobs and are struggling financial. Others are struggling in difficult relationships or with a wayward child, and some are dealing with the loss of a loved one.


This past week, here in Texas, we had the terrible and senseless loss of 13 lives at Fort Hood. Our hearts go out to the families of those who were slain and our prayers are with those who are still struggling with injuries. At times like these it is easy to think there is nothing to be thankful for, and yet even in the midst of difficulty, tragedy and loss there are some things for which we can give thanks.


In my own life, my dear mother was sadly killed at the young age of 55 during this time of year. Certainly we do not give thanks for the terrible loss, but we can be thankful for God’s comfort and care. The Bible says, “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them and delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17,18)


In our situation, we thanked God for providing wonderful people to come to our side and comfort us. We thanked God for the blessing that my mother’s life was to all of us, and how she blessed so many people with her godly heart. We thanked God that many people turned back to God as a result of my mother’s sudden death, because they too saw the brevity of life.


God’s Word offers us strength and comfort in times of difficulty. Just this morning I read Psalm 107. I encourage you to read it to your kids:


1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”


We may not understand why the Lord has allowed trials in our lives, but we can trust His unfailing love. He is our provider. Look to him and seek His help through your pain and struggles. Like the Psalmist, we can thank the Lord for His unfailing love in our life and thank Him for His care for us each day.
Here's a picture of the girls with Angel on the Christmas after we lost Bear.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thankless Job - Thankful People

As a mom you may feel as though you have a pretty thankless job at times. Caring for others needs and getting whining in return. Cooking dinner and receiving grumbles and complaints. Shopping for groceries and yet getting repaid with screams or temper tantrums. Typically there’s not a thank you in the mix. It’s tough being a mom, and I for one want to tell you thank you for investing in the next generation. Your job is a highly valuable role and you are a hero. I’m thankful for what you do day in and day out. Keep up the great work.

In a small way we can imagine how God must feel when His people go day in day out and fail to thank Him for His care and blessings through the day. Out of His kindness and love He cares for us and blesses us each day. He answers prayers, He meets our needs, He comforts us, He strengthens us, and He forgives us even when we don’t deserve it. Yet how often do we take the time to sincerely thank Him? It’s interesting how we may be busy doing all sorts of good things for Him, but one thing He desires more than our sacrifice is our gratitude.

Listen to what He says in Psalm 50:7-15
7 “O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel: I am God, your God! 8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. 9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. 10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. 13 Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? 14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. 15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”And later in verse 23 He says again, “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.”

Why is thankfulness so important? Gratitude keeps us humble as we continue to recognize all we have is from Him. Gratitude makes us more joyful as we focus on the good things in our lives. Most importantly gratitude builds a deeper love relationship between us and God. It points our eyes toward Him and helps us reflect on His presence with us and care for us.

May I encourage you each day in the month of November to spend some quiet time alone with the Lord, and as you do begin by praising God for who he is and thanking him for what he has done in your life. I like to keep a prayer journal and write down my requests to the Lord each day, but before I write any requests, I take time to write out my thanks to God for how he took care of me the day before. Let’s honor God this month by allowing our daily prayers to be filled with gratitude for our loving God.

Each night as you say prayers with the kids, encourage them to thank the Lord for His care during the day. Let’s encourage our little ones to be great in the area of gratitude!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Positive Changes

Several weeks ago I met a wonderful woman named Avis Lafrance (Lafranceimage.com). She is a professional image consultant and more importantly a godly woman who desires to serve God through her life, her words and her career. She consulted with me several times to help give me a bit of an update look – new hairstyle and makeup. She even helped me refresh my wardrobe. When it comes to physical appearance, a positive change now and then is not a bad idea.

There are many things we can change about ourselves. We can change the way we look. We can change the way we take care of our bodies. We can change the way we think. We can change our attitude, actions and words. We may not be able to change our circumstances, and we may not be able to change the people around us, but we can change the way we respond to situations and people.

We can choose to think about what is good in our lives and dwell on our blessings, or we can continue to rehash the same old things that make us angry and bitter. We can choose to pray and seek God’s help through difficult circumstances or we can become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.

Changing the way we think has a monumental effect on what we say and how we act. If I dwell on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, then my grumbling tends to change to gratitude. If I think about other people as beautiful creations of God, then it changes the way I treat them and talk to them (and talk about them).
What changes do you need to make? Perhaps you need to make a change in the way you are looking at your situation at work or at home. Perhaps you need to make a change in the way you eat or the way you spend your money. You may need to make a change in the area of forgiveness and release the right to hold something over another person. This week I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider some of the changes you need to make.
Positive change usually begins in your thinking and pours out from there into our actions and words. In the Autumn season we see many changes taking place in the foliage around us. Why not allow the beauty of Fall to serve as a reminder that we can always make positive changes in our lives.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Lessons Learned By the Sea


This weekend I had the blessing and privilege to be in Destin, Florida with my family. It is absolutely beautiful here! A little cold, but wonderful white sand beaches and an amazing view of the vast ocean make up for that. There are several life principles which come to mind as I look out into the great blue abyss and I want to share them with you today. Three words describe the life lessons learned by the sea: vast, deep, changing.


Vast - The vastness of the ocean makes me think of the abundance of God’s love for us. His unfailing love cannot be measured. He is gracious and kind, abounding in love. His resources are vast. We can come to Him through prayer and our gracious Lord is able to meet our needs. Oh how great the love of the Father! How amazing is his love! How abundant are His blessings!


Deep – When I think about all the life and activity that is going on under the surface of the ocean I am reminded of the depth of God’s justice. Psalm 36 reminds us that “His justice is like the great deep.” Often I can’t understand why the wicked go unpunished or why the Lord allows the evil to prosper, but God is at work. His justice is like the great deep. I cannot begin to know His ways or His workings. And so I trust Him, that He knows what He is doing. I may not be able to see it, but I can trust His faithfulness and His justice.


Changing – Just as the tide ebbs and flows, so the circumstances in our lives are ever changing. We have happy situations and we have loss, we have joy and we have sorrow. This weekend we celebrated our daughter Joy’s engagement to a wonderful young man. Such a great, great blessing! Yet this morning I am in continual prayer for a dear friend of mine who is undergoing major back surgery. The ebb and flow of life. Life brings a variety of joys and sorrow, but God is constant. His love can be trusted.


As we reflect on these principles, let us continually turn our hearts and mind toward God and seek His strength through the changes, trust His justice beyond what we can see and praise Him for His vast love and care for us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glorious Differences

This weekend my husband and I went to the State Fair of Texas. Yes, I talked him into going. He doesn’t necessarily like to go to the fair, but I love it! I’m not exactly sure why I love it so much. Maybe it’s the corny dogs and funnel cakes. It could be the exhibits and the animals, but I’m pretty sure what I love the most is watching all the people.

Honestly, the State Fair is truly a bouillabaisse of humanity. The people converge from all different walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, occupations and ages. It is a joy to me to be observe God’s creative handiwork in the variety he has designed within the human species. Variety is the spice of life, don’t you agree?

Because we are quite varied and different, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the personalities or ideas of the people in our lives. One person’s way of doing things may look different than ours, and so we become annoyed. A person does something that we don’t like or we don’t think is fair, and we become angry. Another person’s viewpoint differs from our own, and we bicker and argue with them. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to get along with people who are not exactly like us. If only everyone else were exactly like me, then I would get along perfectly well with everyone. Right?

Thank the Lord for the differences He has created! We don’t need a world full of a billion people just like me (Heaven help us). We need variety to get things done, to make businesses run, to grow and mature, to bring in a new perspective. This week I want to challenge you to appreciate the differences in the people around you. Take time to thank the Lord for the way each of your family members is different from you because they bring a variety of strengths to your family. Do the same for the people in your workplace. Build on each other’s strengths, manage around the weaknesses, and appreciate the differences instead of allowing them to frustrate you.

My dear friend, author Jody Capehart says, “God makes us different from one another so that we can rightly fulfill our own distinctive function. God consistently demonstrates to us that He creates us to be the garden variety, not canned green beans.”

We are continually reminded in scripture to “bear with each other.” In I Thessalonians 5 we read, “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

To be quite honest, it is not always easy to encourage the timid and help the weak and be patient with everyone. It takes perseverance and it certainly takes a God-sized love. Maybe that’s why Paul adds that we are to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances! Look to the God of Love to give you what you need in loving those who are different from you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Press On








We did it! We showed up for the race, we ran and we finished. Of course my daughter finished quite a bit earlier than I did, but we both experienced the joy of accomplishing the race and had a great time in the process.
Here’s a picture of us before we began.


And here’s our picture right after we finished the race.






Just kidding! Really here’s a picture of us after the race.



Now I’m not saying the race was easy. In fact I was really hurting on some of those hills. Personally I wish the organizers of the race could have made the route only on flat terrain. Why hills? To tell you honestly I’d like for life to be on an even path as well. No difficulties, no mountains to climb, no valleys to crawl through. I wish life was one smooth sailing journey.

Hebrews reminds u s to keep our eyes on Christ through the challenging journey of life. Here’s what Hebrews 12:1 – 3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Don’t lose heart. Press on. Whatever your race looks like, run with perseverance with your eyes on Christ. Get rid of the sin that so easily gets you off course and remember you have a Savior who loves you and is with you through your struggles.

This past week I had the privilege of hearing Dr. John Townsend (www.drjohntownsend.com) speak on the topic of leadership. In his talk he mentioned some of the life lessons he taught his kids. He said it was important for them to learn that things will get harder before they get easier and to take one day at a time. Yes, life is tough, and we must persevere at times, even when the going gets tough. One day at a time with our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Running in the Right Direction

Several weeks ago my daughter and I made a decision to train for a local 5K (3.1 mile)race together. It sounded good at the time we talked about it, but then when I put on my running shoes and started hitting the pavement, I realized how out of shape I was for running. I used to be a big runner – 20 something years ago. Well I’m not quite in the shape I was back in college!
The first day I went for a run, I do believe every muscle in my legs ached all day long. But I was determined to get back in the swing of things, so I could join my daughter for the race and not embarrass myself in the process. Every day, bit by bit I got out there and went a little further each day, even when it was painful.

The Bible reminds us of a few things we need to run toward and a few things we need to run away from in our lives. David said, “I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your laws. I cling to your decrees. Lord, don’t’ let me be put to shame! If you will help me, I will run to follow your commands. “(Psalm 119:30 – 32) What a beautiful picture of where we should run – to God’s commands!
Isaiah described those who have turned away from God by saying, “Their feet run to do evil.” (Isaiah 59:7)

What kind of runner are you? I’m not talking about physically, but I’m talking about spiritually. Do you run toward God’s loving arms and toward His commands? Or do your run away from Him, living as you want to live, running toward evil? We have a choice as to which direction we will go.

I like how David said, “If you will help me, I will run and follow your commands.” So if you are feeling weak and unable to run toward Him, or if you feel like you don’t know how, ask for his help and then Just Do It! One step at a time you will begin to run with strength and confidence in His direction.

Moms, take your kids on a short little run in your neighborhood. Come on, give it a try, you can do it! When you come to a crossroad or fork in the road, stop and talk with the kids about the choice you have in which way you will go. Then tell them that in the same way the Bible talks about where we can run. We have the choice to run toward God’s commands or we can run toward evil. One choice brings life, the other destruction.
Remember, run to God for help, strength, wisdom and comfort. Run to help others in need. Run away from sin, bitterness and self-centeredness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Most of us have experienced those times when we feel as though we just don’t have the strength, energy or ability to go to accomplish the tasks ahead of us. It may be an overloaded schedule or responsibilities with an aging parent or chasing several preschoolers around the house. Perhaps a tragedy or trial in your life has gripped you with anxiety and fear. I want to reassure you and encourage you that you are not alone. Take one day at a time and begin to turn your eyes off of the overwhelming circumstances and onto the God who loves you.

God will not leave you in your darkest hour, although you may feel as though He is far away. As a believer in Christ we have the reassurance that His spirit dwells within us and will net leave. Jesus said to his followers, “I am with you always.” There is a peaceful reassurance in knowing that God is with us. Look to Him for strength and wisdom as you face your challenges. Day by day, give your anxieties to Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life.

You are not alone, because others have walked similar paths. You are not the only one who has gone down this road. Find comfort in the fact that others have made it through and you can too. You can find strength and comfort in connecting with people who have journeyed down these similar roads through support groups and friends.

Take steps forward. Don’t stay in a rut, and don’t allow yourself to be gripped with fear. Move forward asking God to lead you, guide you and equip you. You may not be able to conquer everything, but you can do something. One step at a time. You remember how to eat an elephant don’t you? One bite at a time!

Day by day, one step at a time with eyes on the Lord (not on your circumstances) you will get through this. David said, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62

Teach your kids at an early age to take their cares to God. When they have a test at school or difficulty with a friend or fear about a piano recital, pray with them and continually remind them to turn their eyes upward. As moms, we are a living lesson book helping our kids see how to handle difficulties. Let’s show them by our example, the importance to relying on God and living in His peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Listening More, Talking Less

In my line of work, my voice is quite important. For example this last week, I spoke to a moms group on Wednesday, a Bible study on Thursday and a MOPS group on Friday. Normally my voice is delightful and soothing, but by Wednesday evening my voice became terribly course and raspy. By the time I went to teach Bible study on Thursday, my voice was almost gone.
Several precious women (Sandie and Linda) prayed with me that my voice would hold up through the lesson, and it did! By God’s grace His message from Philippians was powerfully presented. I went to a board meeting for Women in Christian Media after Bible Study and the precious women there prayed over me for God’s healing touch. They put me on complete vocal rest until Friday when I was to speak again.

On Friday, my friend Christy sent a note to all the leaders at Friday’s group to pray for me and again, God allowed me to speak boldly during the meeting. But my voice was not healed. Crumb! I wanted to be all better because I was going down to Waco on Friday to hear Anne Graham Lotz speak at her “Just Give Me Jesus” conference. Of course I was going with some friends, and I wanted to be able to talk and laugh with them, but I couldn’t. I just had to listen.

Why wasn’t my voice completely healed, especially when my Godly friends prayed that it would be? Perhaps God wanted to teach me something through being silent. I heard His voice saying, “Just listen.” Sometimes the chatter of life, keeps me from listening to His still yet penetrating voice. I needed to listen to my wise friends as we spent the weekend in Waco. I needed to listen to what God was teaching me through the “Just Give Me Jesus” conference. I needed to be quiet even today as I write this and just listen to his voice.

Reflection. Taking time to Listen. Contemplating His Word, His love and His presence through being silent. I don’t do it often enough. Sometimes God just needs to grab me and stop me. I need to be still and know that He is God. How about you? When are you quiet?

My friend Jody Capehart says, “God does not take us through the deep waters to drown us, but to cleanse us.” What challenges are you facing right now in your life? Stop and listen to His still, quiet voice saying, “I love you. I am with you. I will be your strength.”

A simple game you can play with your kids is called, “Lay Down and Listen.” Tell the kids to lay down on the floor on their backs. As they do tell them to use their ears, not their mouths and listen to the noises around them. It’s amazing what you will hear when you are completely quiet. Often you hear sounds you have never noticed before, the wind, the air conditioner, the refrigerator , the dog snoring. What a great reminder for us all, to lay down and listen to God’s voice, which we so often overlook because of our noisy lives.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's all about Choices

“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Barbara Johnson.
Life is tough, but we do have choices. We have a choice about our attitude. We have a choice to make positive changes and do things differently. We have a choice to trust God and believe he will give us strength. We also have the choice to despair and wallow in self-pity or fear.
What are you choosing to hold onto right now in your life? Are you holding onto the right to grumble and complain because things aren’t going well? Decide today to release that right to rehearse your hurts and instead begin to pray and thank God for the glimpse of hope.
Are you choosing to only see the faults in someone around you? Decide today to stop dwelling on his or her bad qualities and instead look for a treasure or blessing that person brings to this world. And yes they do bring something.

Are you angry right now at a person or at God? Choose to forgive and let it go. Choose to move on and stop replaying past hurts. Choose to be happy once again, instead of bitter and miserable.

Now I’m not saying these choices are easy. In fact they are not at all easy, yet we have a God who loves us and wants to help us make wise choices. Do you lack strength and the ability to make wise choices? Pour your heart out to God and seek His help. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Watch my show Fresh Start at Webtv4women.tv

Monday, August 31, 2009

Never Ending Classroom

Possibly one of the most positive words in the English language is “Learn.” Yes, if we are to grow and mature we must be continual students of life. We learn from our mistakes, our challenges and our life experiences. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by discouraging situations, we can turn them around by saying to ourselves, “How can I learn and grow and become a better person because of this?”

As the kids head back to school in the month of September, let’s remember that we never stop going to school. Every day brings its own set of lessons. We learn about people, we learn to be flexible, we learn a new skill, we learn to be patient, we learn new ways to be thankful. Observe, listen, grow. A teachable spirit is a great asset.

The Psalmist said, “Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.” Our greatest teacher is the Lord himself as we look to Him to lead us and guide us each day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Precious Rest

Rest from the Heat
For the last few days I have had the privilege of spending some time in beautiful San Diego, California. Now for those of you who have been to San Diego, you know that the weather there is pretty much perfect all year long. It remains a consistent 65 to 75 degrees; a glorious reprieve from the Texas heat. Just as it is good to take a little break from the hot summer weather in Dallas, it is also good to take a little intentional break from the heat of our busy and overloaded lives.

In the Old Testament we read that God designed a plan for the Israelites to rejuvenate themselves each week, and it is a plan which can still strengthen us today. God told his people, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. (Exodus.” 20:8-10). God wanted his people to be set apart from the rest of the nations by having a Sabbath day – a day of rest from their normal activities. It was for their own good so they wouldn’t become “burned out” or live in a constant state of stress.

Do you take time to refresh and rejuvenate from the hustle bustle of your week?
Our loving and caring Father knows we need a time of regular refreshment. But we must be deliberate about setting aside a time of Sabbath. The word “Sabbath” in the original Hebrew literally means “to rest.” Ask yourself, what is work to you and what is rest to you? Do you have a time when you stop and rest each week? Personally, I began setting aside Sunday afternoon as a time of rest and reflection, praying for God’s help and guidance for the coming week. I decided to step away from answering emails, returning phone calls and running a lot of errands on Sunday – as those represent work to me. In it’s place I read, rest and pray which brings refreshment to my spirit and helps me start off my week feeling renewed.

Stop and think, what can you do differently to create a time of rest at least once a week. It may be small changes, yet deliberate ones which open up the possibility to experience more calm in your weekly routine. As moms, encourage your children to do the same. In our overly active and involved culture, it is hard to carve out a time for solitude and rejuvenation, but I believe this is why we have so many stressed out families and kids.

Charles H. Spurgeon spoke of the Sabbath not as a form of legalism, but as a blessing. He said the Lord’s day for the Christian, “is to him a joy, a day of rest, of peace and of thanksgiving. And if the Christian can earnestly drive away all distractions, so that you can really rest today, it will be good for your bodies, good for your souls, good mentally, good spiritually, good temporally, and good eternally.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thanks for the Memories

This past weekend I participated in a glorious reunion of the Chapel Choir from First Baptist Church in Dallas. Hundreds of choir members from over the past 50 years converged in the sanctuary in downtown Dallas for this historic event. Personally, my life has truly been enriched by the friends I made and the lessons I learned from being a part of this amazing and unique group. We traveled to Europe together and sang in the cathedral of Notre Dame, then on to London and Vienna and several military bases in Germany. From California to Washington D.C. we faithfully sang with the joy of the Lord and had a great time doing it.


It is good to reflect on the blessings God has brought us throughout our lives. In fact it is important for us to remember God’s goodness and never forget His faithfulness and kindness to us. I think about how God challenged the Israelites as they approached the Promised Land. We read his words in Deuteronomy 8:10 – 11, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.”

God warned his people to continue to turn their eyes on Him because He knew that once they became comfortable in the land, they could easily forget what God had done for them and they would become proud in their hearts. Isn’t it the same for you and me? Sometimes we become so caught up in our life activities that we forget to thank the Lord for all He has done and will continue to do in our lives.

Certainly we should not live in the past. And we must be careful not to continually replay hurts, mistakes and bad memories from the past. Yet remembering God’s goodness ought to be a vibrant part of our lives. As you consider God’s faithfulness in your own life, what can you thank Him for right now. I want to encourage you to rejoice in God’s loving-kindness. Thank Him for the people He has brought into your life over the years, thank Him for some of the ways He strengthened you through difficult circumstances, and of course thank Him for some of the wonderful situations He has allowed you to experience as well.

As a parent, I want to encourage you to reflect with your kids on the goodness of the Lord. As you reflect back over your summer together, take some time to thank God for the people He allowed you to encounter and the experiences He allowed you to have. Take some time to create a summer scrapbook of family memories. And remember Paul’s words, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:17

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lukewarm - Yuk!

As a child, I remember running up to a drinking fountain while playing in the park, putting my lips to the water and expecting cold refreshing water to relieve my parched lips and throat. But instead of refreshment, I got yucky warm water! Yes those were the olden days before they had refrigerated drinking fountains (oops, I just dated myself). There were times when I would simply spew the lukewarm water out of my mouth because it was so very unappetizing.
It’s interesting, but in the Bible we read that God talks about spewing lukewarm water out of His mouth as well. In the book of Revelation we see God’s messages to the early churches. He told the church at Laodicea,

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:15 - 22

Think about it; both cold water and hot water are useful. Cold water is useful for drinking, and hot water for bathing ourselves or boiling food. God wants his people to be useful in the kingdom, not just sitting there warming up to our environment. Yet the real lesson to the church at Laodicea was actually the message of how to be useful in God’s kingdom. God urges them to stop being self-sufficient, self-centered and self-indulgent. Instead he invites them to depend on Him. That same invitation is open to us today to abide with Christ, dwell with Him, and find our sufficiency in Him.

Let’s consider in our own lives, are we leaning on Christ or are we depending on ourselves in our own self-sufficiency. Are we useless like lukewarm water, or are we refreshing like cold water? Are we simply just warming up to our environment or do we offer the traits of hot water springs which are cleansing and healing to the body? Let’s listen to Jesus’ message as He stands knocking at the door of our hearts. Let’s invite Him in and abide with Him every day.

Use the water analogy with your kids this week. Place an ice cold glass of water in front of them as well as a lukewarm glass of water. Ask your kids if they want the cold water on a hot day or lukewarm water. Talk to them about the different uses of both cold and hot water, and then talk about how we can be useful in God’s kingdom as far as using our different gifts and talents to encourage the body of Christ. Read to them the beautiful words of God approaching us and knocking on the door of our heart, as he desires to come in and eat with us and abide with us (Revelation 3:20). How do we abide in Christ? We dwell with Him by spending time in His word and in prayer; walking with Him throughout our day, praying and being thankful for His presence in our lives.

If you want to see and hear me give this message then go to webtv4women.tv.
Today’s blog was inspired by a sermon I heard this Sunday given by Stephen Bramer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

In Pursuit of Wisdom

John Bunyan had only a few years of formal education, yet he penned the timeless classic Pilgrim’s Progress in 1666, a book which is still widely read today. Bunyan wrote this masterpiece from his prison cell - imprisoned in England for preaching the gospel without a license. How is it possible that this man of humble beginnings and very sparse education could write such a profound work? My answer in one word would be Wisdom. Wisdom goes beyond what we simply learn it books. It is a profound insight and deeper understanding into matters of life. Discernment, good judgment and prudence are encompassed in wisdom.

The Bible says that wisdom comes from God and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Solomon said “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I’m not saying we should ever neglect intellectual pursuits and education, but I am saying we begin our pursuit with a humble recognition of our source of wisdom. The foundation of wisdom begins by acknowledging God as our creator and Father. The opposite of wisdom is obviously foolishness. The fool says in his heart there is no God.

God’s word encourages us to pursuit wisdom. We are also told to ask for wisdom. In the book of James we read, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Isn’t it easy to go about our day, doing things our own way and going our own direction? Yet the voice of wisdom calls out. God is saying, “Draw near my child and listen to my voice. I will lead you. I will guide you. I am the God of all wisdom and I invite you to come to me.”
As a parent, we must seek God’s wisdom in matters of discipline and raising our kids. A business person would do well to seek God’s wisdom and direction as he or she faces decisions at work. As a writer, I recognize my need for God’s help and guidance to lead me along the path I am to go and to encourage others as well.

Let’s take time right now to seek God and ask for His wisdom to direct our lives. Oh Lord, we are open to you. We desire you. We love you. We need you. We ask for wisdom to live our daily lives and honor you in what we say and do.

This week talk with your kids about wisdom and how it goes beyond what we read in books. Wisdom extends into how we live life with discernment and prudence. Start each day by reading several proverbs from the Bible, and then be on the lookout for ways you all can implement the truth that you learn. Memorize Proverbs 2:6 together. This week especially be aware of when your child does something or says something wise. Take the opportunity to notice it and point out their wise actions or words. Each night as you tuck your kids in bed, pray with them thanking God for the wisdom He gives and then pray for wisdom for tomorrow.

Visit my show and see an interview with my daughter on the topic of wisdom. www.webtv4women.tv

Monday, July 27, 2009

Precious Child

Thomas Watson (17th century English preacher and author) wrote, “The name Jehovah carries majesty in it; the name Father carries mercy in it.”

It is an amazing thought to me that the Sovereign God, the High King of Heaven calls us His children. As believers in Christ we are His beloved children. John put it this way, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!” I John 3:1


The apostle Paul reminded believers, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:14 – 16

What a glorious privilege to call God our Abba Father, which is a tender term like “daddy.” It means we are loved. We are forgiven. We are free to go before His throne and pour out our hearts to Him. Psalms reminds us, “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion toward those who fear him.” Psalm 103

My friend, I don’t know what your life is like right now, but I do know if you are a follower of Christ, you have a Heavenly Father who tenderly and dearly loves you. Enjoy the blessing of being a part of His family and the strength that comes from knowing you are passionately loved by Him. If you have never taken that step of faith in Jesus, I hope you will recognize God’s loving arms open wide ready to welcome all who believe. Out of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. He rose again giving promise of eternal life to those who believe.

Just as the father ran and embraced the repentant son in the well-known parable of the Prodigal Son, so our Heavenly Father runs to us with arms open wide. His embrace is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in love.

If you are continuing with me on the theme week idea for younger kids, I would encourage you to have a Family Week. You can put together a scrapbook with pictures of your family and extended family. Call, write or email family members to say hello and let them know you are thinking about them. Draw pictures of your family tree. Make a special time this week to visit any members of the family who live in the area. Ask them to tell you stories of their childhood (you may want to add some of those stories to the scrapbook). Pray together and take pictures together. As a devotional talk about the wonderful privilege it is to be a part of God’s family. Read Romans 8 and reflect on the fact that nothing can separate you from His love.

Watch my weekly broadcast on www.webtv4women.tv

Monday, July 20, 2009

Holding on to Hope

Hope is a powerful word, especially in these troubled times. Often we use the word so flippantly: “I hope you have a good day.” “I hope the shoes I want are on sale.” “I hope you feel better.” For the Christian, hope is much more than simply wishful thinking. We know that God is a God of hope. We have Christ within us, the hope of glory. The definition of “Faith” is being sure of what we Hope for and certain of the things we do not see. If we do not have hope we can become consumed with fear, despair and anger.

The weeping prophet Jeremiah spoke often about hope. Hope shines most brightly in times of difficulty and we see this clearly with Jeremiah. Listen to his lamenting:

Lamentations 3:
17 “Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, ‘My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!’
19 “The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.”

Certainly Jeremiah is down and out. Perhaps you can relate to his words of grief in your own life right now, or perhaps you will. We all go through low points, difficulties and yes sometimes tragedies. But what I love about Jeremiah is that he was honest about his grief, but then he always turned to hope.
He continues,
21 “Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”


My friend, let us remember the faithful love of the Lord everyday. Because He loves us, He will care for us. He will not leave us. Reflect on His mercies which are new every morning. Maintain hope one day at a time. Dwell on God’s great love for you and remember that He is a God of hope and can redeem any situation. Don’t place your hope in circumstances or people. Hope in the Lord!

Hope is sometimes a tough concept for our kids to grasp. But hope can be contagious. If your kids see you are a mom who puts her hope in God, they will grow and learn from your example and become hope-filled men and women. A quick suggestion for a theme week for younger kids is a Prince and Princess week. Make crowns, play dress up, make scepters (use empty paper towel tube with Styrofoam ball glued to the top, spray paint and decorate), create treasure boxes and go on treasure hunts (just like an Easter egg hunt). Read fairy tales and watch movies which include royalty. Teach your kids about Esther and David, both had royal positions and place d their hope in God. Psalms 62:5 – 7 is a tremendous passage revealing David’s hope in God. Or read the story of Esther. As Christians, we know that we will live happily ever after in God’s kingdom. Our life on earth may not turn out happily ever after, but our loving Father (King of Kings and Lord of Lords) has great plans for us in His Heavenly Kingdom.

If you do not know Christ, and want the assurance of knowing you too will live “happily ever after” in Heaven, I want to encourage you to call 1-888-Need Him today. Someone will be on the other end of the line who can offer you words of eternal hope.

You can listen to me share this message on Fresh Start. www.webtv4women.tv

Monday, July 13, 2009

Living Water

You must agree as we continue through these hot summer days, water is not only refreshing but it is life-giving. Dehydration is a real threat to those who work outside or spend a lot of time in the heat. Spiritually speaking, when we face the heat of difficult circumstances or perhaps annoying people, we need the refreshment of God’s living water to replenish our thirsty souls.

In John 4 we read the story of Jesus encountering the woman at the well. She was drawing water in the heat of the day most likely because she had should we say a sordid past and was not accepted by the rest of the women of her city. Jesus crossed cultural and societal barriers to reach out and accept this woman and bring her the Good News that God loves her.

He offered her “living water.” Later in John 7 we see Jesus talks about living water referring to God’s Spirit which is given to everyone who believes in Him. God’s spirit quenches the thirst we have our in souls for God. He comforts us, convicts us and helps us in our daily struggles. My friend, as you experience a physical thirst during the summer heat, remember that just as water refreshes your body, so God’s Spirit refreshes the soul. Let us find our strength and hope in Him.

As we continue with “theme week” ideas for the kids, this would be the perfect time to declare Water Week. Your devotionals can center around the reverences in the Bible about living water (John 4:10, John 7:38, Psalm 42:1, Psalm 36:9, Jeremiah 17:13). Water activities can range from playing in the sprinklers to visiting a water park. Water gun fights, spray bottles filled with water or water balloons can also be a fun extra. Crafts can include water color paintings or drawing pictures of the ocean, decorating water bottles or painting water glasses for each of the members of the family.

Hope you have a swimmingly great week. Be sure to watch my web TV show. I have a special guest on the program, my friend Jane Jarrell who talks about quick easy ways to refresh the look of your home each day. www.Webtv4women.tv

Monday, July 6, 2009

Amazing Animals

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July with family and friends. Isn’t it wonderful to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation? Remember to pray often for our nation and our leaders. Pray for God’s protection, guidance and blessing. May we be diligent this entire month of July to encourage our kids to pray daily for America and also to thank the Lord for the ways He has already guarded, blessed and cared for us.

As we continue with theme week ideas this would be a great time during the summer to declare Animal week! Each day choose a different animal to study and explore. You can read books about the animals, dress up like the animals, watch videos, play animal games and do animal crafts. A visit to the zoo or local pet shops would add a great adventure to the week. Here are some activities to consider for younger kids.

Rabbit Day – Make bunny ears out of poster board and attach them to a headband, put white socks on hands and feet and make a little cotton tail too. Draw nose and whiskers using make-up pencil. Eat rabbit food (fruits and vegetables), do the bunny hop and visit rabbits at the pet store. By the way, this is a nice quiet day, because bunnies don’t make a lot of noise. Lovely!

Lion Day – Practice roaring (okay just for a little while), make a lion’s mane using a brown paper sack, cutting into strips or use yarn or mop. Add a tail using a long tube sock. Watch Narnia videos. Find interesting facts about lions on line. Visit lions at the zoo.

Dog Day – Make doggy ears using felt attached to a visor or headband. Watch a dog show video and 101 Dalmatians, play fetch, eat trail mix out of pretend dog bowls. If you do not have a dog, visit a friend who has one.

You get the idea. Think about a Crocodile Day, Elephant Day, Zebra Day or Horse Day.

Animal devotionals can include a study of God creating the animals in Genesis 1, or Noah’s ark in Genesis 6, Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22, or God talking to Job about creating the animals in Job 39 – 41.

No matter what the age of your kids, you can enjoy a week of exploring God’s creative work in the animal kingdom. Be sure to watch my message on freedom in Christ at: www.webtv4women.tv. By the way, my dog Angel is included in this one in honor of the animal theme. Have a great week!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Star Spangled Week

It’s the week of July 4th and the perfect week to celebrate our country, our heritage and our freedom. If your neighborhood doesn’t already have a 4th of July Parade, I would encourage you to generate one. It’s easy. When we moved into a new neighborhood many years ago, we recognized that if a parade was going to happen it was up to us to get the ball rolling. We printed up simple fliers on special decorative paper, and invited all our neighbors to join in a neighborhood parade starting at our house on the morning of July 4th.

The response was tremendous! Kids, grandkids, parents and grandparents all gathered at our front driveway. We decorated our bicycles, played with sidewalk chalk and bubbles, enjoyed cookies and lemonade. When it was time to start the parade, I piped in some Star-Spangled music from a portable stereo. We slowly made our way down the street and back to our house again. Cooling off by running through the sprinklers is a great way to cap off the event. The parade was a great success as it brought together neighbors and allowed us to celebrate our nation’s independence. The parade became a tradition every year. Such joy and so easy to do!

As a family you can also build the week of 4th of July fun by serving red, white and blue food throughout the week. Consider colorful pancakes for breakfast (just add food coloring to the batter), enjoy blueberry, strawberry, and banana fruit salad, and make a red, white and blue cake using colored icing. I’m sure you can think of even more fun ways to eat red, white and blue.

Be sure to check out books at the library for the kids which teach about our country’s heritage. One of my favorite books is The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea both by Marshall and Manuel. Excellent books which teach about our true beginnings as a nation.

Of course there are also wonderful riches about freedom found in God’s word. Read in Exodus about the freedom the Israelites experienced from Egypt. More importantly teach your kids about the freedom from sin which we experience through Christ. If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.
Happy 4th!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow

Last week I gave you some ideas for traveling around the world with your kids with an International theme week. This week I want to give you another plan; a plant plan. Yes, this week’s theme idea centers around planting and gardening. Here are some fun, summer ideas to make the week fly by with smiles on your faces as well as your kids’.

Good activities to do at home include planting seeds or flowers in your garden together. Never underestimate the joy of working with dirt. I know the kids will get a little messy, but every once in while we need to get down and dirty as we build summer memories. You may want to run through the sprinklers when you are finished. Another home idea is to decorate clay flower pots. Paint them on the outside and once they are dry, plant some herbs or flowers in them. Your kids will feel a sense of accomplishment and learn to care for plants as well.

Field trips for the week can include the local arboretum, nursery, farmers market or farm. Encourage your kids to observe the different kinds of leaves and blooms on the flowers and talk about the beauty of God’s creative work and His divine provision for our needs. Visit the library and check out books which feature flowers, gardening and farming.

Your devotionals for the week can center around stories in the Bible which deal with seeds and plants. Here are a few to consider:
Jonah and the leafy plant – Jonah 4
Parable of the Soils – Matthew 13:3 – 8, Mark 4:4-8, Luke 8:5 – 8
Jesus is the Vine we are the Branches – John 15:1 – 5
Those who delight in the Lord are like a tree planted by the riverbank Psalm 1
Those who put their hope in the Lord are like trees planted on the riverbank Jeremiah 17:5 – 8

I hope it is a plentiful week for you. And moms, the scriptures listed above are for your benefit as well as you put your hope in Christ and abide in Him. If you want to hear my commentary on Jeremiah 17 (the tree by the river bank) visit my web television show called Fresh Start at www.webtv4women.tv

Monday, June 15, 2009

Around the World Theme

Weekly themes can make the summer memorable and meaningful. What do I mean by themes? Actually a weekly theme is simply a fun concept or idea on which to build your activities and interests around for the week. Theme ideas can make the summer fly by with a variety of enjoyable activities. In the coming weeks I want to give you some theme ideas to fill your summer with delightful memories and doable activities.

I am especially fond of is the “Around the World” idea. Make the week a fun adventure of traveling to different countries around the world while never leaving your own home town. Choose several countries or cultures you would like to help your kids learn more about. You could adventure to Russia, France, Mexico, China and some countries in Africa.

On the first day of your Around the World Theme week, pull out a world map and show the kids where you plan to visit. As an art activity, make your own suit case out of paper grocery bags. Simply cut away the top portion to make a handle and a small pouch and decorate using markers and stickers. You can also make airline tickets for your adventure. Pretend you are boarding the plane by setting chairs in a row and instruct the kids as if you are a flight attendant. You may want to read a book about the country the kids are about to visit as they sit on the plane.

At your destination for each day, do some sort of activity, game or craft that relates to the country you are visiting. You can try to learn simple dances from the different cultures, listen to music, do art activities that reflect each destination. Try different cultural games like a piƱata from Mexico. You can find more games as you google on line. Talk about the different languages and try to write some words in foreign alphabets. Oh yes and think about the clothing and hats from different cultures.

For lunch, experience simple foods from different cultures. Consider foods like egg rolls, tacos, mangoes, French bread and cheese, or Russian goulash! If you have some international stores or restaurants in your area it may be fun to visit and help your kids feel the cultural experience and meet people from other countries.

Most importantly, use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about the beauty of God’s creation and the wonderful people around the world. Even if you don’t do all the theme activities mentioned above, you can still actively pray with your kids for the people around the world. Pray for the missionaries in different countries too. Help your kids develop and love and appreciation for all God’s people around the world and in every culture.

Precious and Positive moms, keep shining God’s light in your home as you lovingly interact with your kids each day. Pray for God’s strength and wisdom in your important role as a mom. If you want further encouragement go to: www.thrivedontsimplysurvive.wordpress.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Do's and Don'ts

Summer can be the best of times, and it can also be the worst of times. Much of your summer success depends on your own attitude. I’ve put together a little list of do’s and don’ts to help you make it through the summer with an attitude of delight instead of simple survival. I hope you find this list is an uplifting boost and a gentle nudge to look toward the positive during the summer months.

Do:
Thank the Lord each morning for at least three blessings.
Look for opportunities to speak a word of encouragement into your kids.
Give them a loving look and a smile often throughout your day.
Listen to them.
Discipline in love.
Invite friends and fun into your home.
Encourage creativity, laughter and expression.
Read often with and to your kids.
Play outside with them.
Pray continually.
Remember God loves you.
Tell your kids you love them and God loves them each day.


Don’t:
Worry about the mess in the house more than the heart of the child.
Scream to get your point across.
Over-schedule your family with too many activities.
Try to do everything on your own.
Only look for what your family members are doing wrong.
Waste time grumbling and complaining.
Neglect your spiritual, emotional and/or physical well-being.

Do practice these principles throughout the summer, and you will not only see a change in your own attitude, but in your kids as well. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” Let’s commit our summer plans to the Lord and walk in His joy each day.

Visit my new blog at www.ThriveDontSimplySurvive.wordpress.com
And watch my web TV show called “Fresh Start” at www.webtv4women.tv

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is Here

Summer is here, so let’s make it a summer with a smile! Celebrate the beginning of summer with a party. I’m not talking about a big bash; I’m just talking about a fun breakfast with the kids to help them get excited about all they have to look forward to during the summer. Prepare the kid’s favorite breakfast and make several posters introducing the season. Here is my suggestion for possible posters you can make using fun colors, stickers and markers:

Boredom Busters - Ask the kids to think of activities they can do if they ever begin to feel bored. Teach them that Boredom is in the eye of the beholder and no one ever needs to be bored, they just need to think a little more creatively. Talk about all things someone can do when they are feel like there is nothing to do. You will all be amazed at the possibilities. Tell the kids that the B word (Boredom) is not allowed to be used in your house during the summer. If the kids don’t have anything to do, tell them to go to the poster and check out their own creative ideas.

Super Summer Schedule – You can use this poster to write out summer daily, weekly and/or monthly schedules. You may want to have a summer monthly calendar marking the weeks when the kids are at camp or you are all on family vacation. For a weekly schedule, you may want to plot the plans for everyone as they are taking art classes or swim team, etc. You can also plan a loose daily routine with activities in the morning, nap or rest time (we always called it FOB flat on back time) in the early afternoon and craft and computer time in the late afternoon.

Loving Limits - During the summer you may want to put a few limits on what the kids do. There may need to be a limit to the amount of time spent on computer games or television or phone. Talk about what is reasonable and work through some loving limits for the summer.

The most important thing you can do to make this summer one of the best summers ever, is to keep up a great attitude. Stay flexible. Remember what Solomon said, “We can make our plans, but the final result is up to God.” Determine within your own heart that you will enjoy your kids, even if the house isn’t perfect or you don’t get to go on a dream vacation. Summer offers a unique time to have a more relaxed schedule and to spend more time together as a family. There are simple ways to enjoy your kids and make it a fun-filled summer. Each week during the summer I will give you some inexpensive, creative ideas to make your summer fly by with a smile. By the way, be sure to give your kids the gift of your smile throughout the summer days ahead.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day - Don't Forget

Today we reflect with gratitude upon the brave men and women who gave their lives in service for this country. Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to stop, remember and be thankful. It is good for us to stop and remember. In the Old Testament we see that God told the Israelites to stop and remember His blessings. In Joshua 4 we read the story of Joshua as he led the Israelites across the Jordan. God miraculously parted the waters of the Jordan River so the Israelites could walk across as they made their way to Jericho and the Promised Land.

The Lord instructed the Israelites to get twelve stones from the river bed and set them up at camp as a memorial for them to remember what God had done. Joshua said, “In the future, your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you will tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel.”

God not only wanted His people to remember what He had done, but He also wanted them to remind their children over and over again. Just as we should never forget the sacrifice our veterans gave for this country, so we should never forget the blessings God has given us each day. In Deuteronomy 8 God warned the Israelites, “When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations and laws.”

Let us be faithful to remember God’s goodness, mercy and care. Most importantly may we remember the sacrifice He made in sending His only Son to pay the penalty for our sin. Take some time today to stop and remember as you teach your kids about the significance of Memorial Day. And take time every day to stop and remember God’s goodness and mercy toward us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

True Comfort in an Uncomfortable World

When you think about comfort, what comes to mind? A comfy couch, a bowl of ice cream, a warm bath or maybe a healing word of encouragement from a friend? God talks quite a bit about comfort in the Bible. God provides comfort to His people through His presence. In fact the Holy Spirit is referred to as the comforter. In John 14:26 – 27 we read Jesus’ words, ”The Counselor [Comforter, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby – Amplified Bible], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Commentator Matthew Henry said, “The peace God gives is of such a nature that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away.”We are not promised a comfortable life, but we are promised God’s comfort. When we are going through difficulties, God brings comfort in the knowledge of His presence, and He also brings us comfort from the strength of His Word and the help and encouragement of other people. Most importantly comfort comes in the hope of Heaven.

Receive God’s comfort in your struggles. Don’t push it away. God invites us to come to Him. He offers His Spirit to be our strengthener, our helper, our counselor. Those who believe in Him have the comfort of knowing He loves us and works all things together for the good. God may send people into your life to lift your spirits, or He may send you to others to lift theirs. We find comfort in both.

Read the following verses about comfort to your kids and remind them that God gives His Comforter in the form of His Spirit to His people.


Matthew 11:28
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Psalm 94:19
19 When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

Isaiah 40:1
1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.

Matthew 5:4
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psalm 23:4
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

John 16:33
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers and Cares

It’s the day after Mother’s Day, and I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Not only is Mother’s day a nice day to honor our service as a mom, but it is also an opportunity for us moms to reflect on the blessing and privilege of our role. We have a high calling and an important job in this world. I want to encourage you to take time today to thank the Lord for the joy of serving Him as a mom, and also thank the Lord for your children. Thank the Lord for several qualities in each of your children, and go ahead and thank the Lord for qualities in your husband as well.

Now I want to encourage you to write your kids a note, telling them specifically what you thanked the Lord for in each of them. Mother’s day doesn’t just need to be about us; it can also be a celebration of our kids as well!

This weekend I had the blessing of speaking at a retreat for the women of Ridgeview Church in Rockwall, Texas. I was blessed by their open hearts and love for the Lord. They sincerely received a message of joy which the Lord led me to bring to their retreat. Thank you ladies of Ridgeview!

After sharing with the ladies at the Ridgeview retreat, I journeyed on to Cottonwood Creek church in Allen, Texas for a joy-filled dinner. The Lord placed on my heart to speak about anxiety and fear. Not quite a delightful after dinner topic! I honestly prayed and asked God if I was hearing Him right. As I spoke that night, His words of comfort flowed from my lips as I shared with the women the peace that God can bring through any circumstances.

In Philippians we are encouraged to stop being anxious and pray about everything with thanksgiving. Yes, thank the Lord in the middle of your concerns. Thank you Lord for your love and care. Thank you Lord that you can use whatever happens to me to help me grow in grace and patience. Thank you Lord for never leaving me. I ended the talk with my own story of my mother’s death and how God cared and comforted all of us through the tragedy. You can read the story in several of my books.

My friend if you are struggling with fear, I want you to hear God’s message of love, “Do not be afraid for I am with you.” As you walk in His ways, though difficulties may come, He will not leave you. Keep your eyes on Him. Pray with thanksgiving about every care. Have a peaceful week my friends!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conversations of the Mind

What does your self-talk sound like? Isn’t it amazing how easily self defeating talk can dominate our thought-life? Just as it is important to steer clear of hurtful or corrupt communication in our conversations with others, we must also guard against it in our conversations with ourselves. In His second letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We need to recognize negative and unkind self-talk and replace it with truth – God’s truth. We would never dream of speaking to other people the way we speak to ourselves sometimes. I want you to begin identifying some of the unkind (and usually untrue) things you are saying to yourself. Our first step toward fighting the enemy is to recognize it. Often we grow accustomed to saying cruel things to ourselves, and we don’t even recognize the destructive thoughts.

The Bible tells us that Satan is an accuser and destroyer. God’s Spirit offers living water to refresh our souls with a message of His gracious love. This week, let’s begin to recognize some of the self talk we are doing. Let’s ask God to fill our minds with truth and get rid of mud-slinging. Next week we will look at a practical approach to changing some of our defeating self-talk into truth talk and a reassurance of God’s mercy and love.

Talk with your kids this week about some of the self-talk they may do. Talk about healthy words we can tell ourselves and compare them to some of the damaging words we can tend to say at times. You may want to give them a visual picture by setting some healthy food on one side of the kitchen table and a bowl of mud on the other. Ask them which one would be good for them to eat and benefit their body. Then tell them our self talk can nourish our soul or damage it. Just as we do not want to sling mud and hurt others, we also don’t want to sling mud on ourselves in the form of discouraging thoughts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are your Words Water or Mud?

Last week we talked about the Power of our words and this week we are going to continue that discussion with some practical thoughts about using our words to bless other people rather than distressing them.

Solomon said: “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain.” That’s how I want my words to be, and I’m sure you do too.

Three things I want to encourage you to recognize:
1. Recognize that your words can be like life giving water. They can refresh and renew a tired or hurting soul. See yourself as a cup-filler with healing and uplifting words.
2. Recognize that everyone is a lovely treasure, a creation of God. There is something special about each person. We can fill their hearts with good words or we can muddy their lives with complaining, anger, bitterness and filth.
3. Finally, let’s Recognize our need for God to clean up our heart. Unless He does a transforming work in our hearts, our words will not change. Remember what we talked about last week as we learned that our words are an overflow from our hearts.

Spend some time this week sharing with your kids about the importance of using their words to refresh and lift up others. You may want to show them a lovely tea cup and tell them just as this is a precious and delicate cup, so people are precious and delicate souls. All people are thirsty to know if they are loved and worthwhile. Now pour water into the cup and tell them we can bring life-giving water to others through our words.

Ask your kids if it would be appropriate to put mud in the lovely tea cup. If you put mud in the cup, it will harden and become very difficult to clean. Our unkind words can stick in people’s hearts and muddy their lives. As cup fillers, let’s be givers of good words and offer refreshment to thirsty souls.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Power of our Words

Today I want to visit about the Power of our Words. What comes out of our mouth represents who we are. I’m reminded of the little girl who named her dog Aunt Agnus. When a kind adult asked why she named her dog such a peculiar name, the girl replied, “I named her Aunt Agnus because just like my aunt she growls at people and barks about anything that upsets her.”
Well now, I wouldn’t want to be known as a growler and a barker -- would you? But it is true that we are what we say. If we speak kind and uplifting words we are known as an encourager. If we talk about our fears and worries all the time we are a worry wart, and if we complain continually we can be known as a whiner.

How do your words define you? J. C. Ryle said, “Our words are the evidence of the state of our hearts as surely as the taste of the water is an evidence of the state of the spring.” Jesus used a tree analogy to describe the root cause of the words that come out of our mouth. He said, “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” He went on to say, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” Matthew 12:33 – 35.

So what kind of tree (or talker should I say) are you? The real question is what is in your heart. Do you have a growing faith in a loving, forgiving and sovereign God? Does the peace of Christ rule your heart? When our heart’s focus is on the Lord, worries, complaints and fears are less likely to fly out of our mouths. If we have thankful hearts for God’s grace toward us, and love and mercy are at the center of our being, then we are less likely to allow criticism and gossip to flow out of our mouths. . This week ask the Lord to help you identify some words that you need to weed out, and replace those weeds with good words and praise toward God and encouragement toward others.

To help your kids grasp this lesson, ask them to draw several different kinds of trees. Invite them to draw different fruit on the different trees. Talk about just as a tree is known by its fruit, so we are known by what comes out of our mouths. Talk about the different kinds of words that can come out of our mouths. Always remember as moms, our kids learn best from our example. Ask God to help you be a good tree example in your home.

For the next few weeks we will be talking about filling our hearts and minds with good things and guarding our mouths from damaging words.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Can God be Trusted?

In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him as he had been a noble and upright man. Job’s not-so-helpful friends tried to give him answers, leaning on what they thought was a logical premise. They thought suffering was simply a result of sin. God eventually let them know they did not speak accurately about him.

God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions of the heart. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” (Job 38:4) God led Job to a deeper understanding of his almighty power and omniscience. Job finally declared to God, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. . . . I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:2 – 3, 5)

We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand his ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we draw close to God, we begin to get to know who he is and what he is about. We develop a trust for the God who loves us. In this passage about Job, notice he said he had heard about God, but now he has seen him with his eyes. Job moved from a point of knowing about God to a place of truly experiencing him.
Job was able to put his trust in a God he knew, not just in one he had heard about. The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know him for ourselves. A search for the truth about God will lead us to an understanding of his trustworthiness. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience him up close and personal. As we get to know him, our heart is drawn into a love relationship with him.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.” We can fall into the arms of a God who we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.

As Job learned, we cannot understand all of God’s ways, but there are certain qualities we can know about him. Where do we begin our journey of knowing him? The Bible gives us glimpses of the High King of heaven and his marvelous attributes. Here are a few of the numerous qualities we learn about God as we see them revealed in the Bible. I have provided just one biblical reference for each attribute, although there are numerous others.
He is:

Almighty (Genesis 17:1)
Everlasting (Genesis 21:33)
All-Powerful (2 Chronicles 20:6)
Abundant in Strength (Psalm 147:5)
Abounding in Love (Psalm 103:8)
Sovereign (Deuteronomy 3:24)
Merciful (Psalm 62:12)
Trustworthy (2 Samuel 22:3)
Our Keeper (Psalm 121:2)
Our Provider (Matthew 6:26)
Our Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
Able—nothing is too difficult for him (Genesis 18:14)

I want to get to know a God like this, don’t you? Certainly if God is who the Bible says he is, then he is worthy of our respect, obedience, and yes, trust. Consider where you are with God right now in your life. What do you believe about him? We don’t want to make assumptions about God; rather, we want to explore who he claims to be. As we get to know the God of the Bible, we begin to recognize his abiding love for us. He is worthy of our trust. I encourage you to continue your journey of engagement with God.

Based on what I have learned from the Bible, here’s what I personally believe about God. I believe he is a loving, compassionate, merciful God. I believe he sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the payment for my sins. I believe Jesus rose again, offering us the promise of eternal life in heaven one day with him. I believe he has provided his Spirit to live in my life to help us, comfort us, and guide us in truth. I believe he will never leave us. I believe he is a sovereign God who can do all things, knows all things, and sees all things.

What do you believe? Take a moment to write out your statement of belief. Consider why you believe what you believe. Don’t just let what you see on television or hear from friends determine your own personal belief system. If you believe there is a God, then he rightfully deserves to be investigated. Get to know him. Search the Bible and see what it has to say about him. If we ultimately want to be able to trust him, we need to get to know who he is. How can you trust someone you don’t know?

John Calvin said, “Our inklings of the realities of God will be vague and smudged until we learn from Scripture to think correctly about the realities of which we are already aware.” He added, “Unless God’s Word illumine the way, the whole life of men is wrapped in darkness and mist, so that they cannot but miserably stray.” We don’t want to wander aimlessly in our misery or stumble in the dark without hope, simply because we haven’t taken the time to get to know the God of the Bible. He is worthy of our trust and welcomes us into a loving relationship with him.

Today’s blog is an excerpt from my new book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive. It is my hope that this week you and your family will consider what believe about God and talk about your statements of belief together as a family.