Monday, September 27, 2010

Grumbling vs. Gratitude

“Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return.” John Wanamaker

Numbers 14:26 – 30
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, How long will this wicked nation complain about me? I have heard everything the Israelites have been saying. Now tell them this: As surely as I live, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. I, the Lord, have spoken! You will all die here in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, none of you who are twenty years old or older and were counted in the census will enter the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb… and Joshua.

Mom’s Reflection:
Complain, complain, complain. It became a habit for the Israelites in the wilderness. God provided food and water for them daily. He gave them victory against their enemies and a miraculous delivery from slavery in Egypt. The Bible even says their shoes did not wear out! Yet they doubted God’s goodness and choose to complain. As you can see by the passage, God wasn’t too pleased with their lack of trust. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith in God’s provision for the Promised Land.
It’s easy to complain about people or circumstances. Have you ever viewed your complaining and whining as a lack of trust in God’s provision? How would your life be different right now if you changed your grumbling into gratitude for God? Take a moment to thank Him for what He has done and will do. Granted, life in the wilderness wasn’t Pleasure Island, but it wasn’t slavery in Egypt either. Your life may not be the dream you always planned in your mind, but God is with you and will provide for you. Let’s keep our eyes on Him instead of our circumstances.

Dear Lord, you are my Provider. Thank you for taking care of my needs. Thank you for always being with me and never leaving me. I’m sorry for the times I have complained and not focused on your goodness and mercy for me. Help me to replace my complaining with thanksgiving for your blessings. Turn my eyes off my problems and on to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

My Choices:
This week I will choose to take my eyes off of what is wrong in my life and look at what is right.
This week I will choose to replace my grumbling with gratitude.
This week I will choose to encourage my kids to see God’s blessings all around us.

This devotional is an excerpt from The Power of a Positive Mom Devotional by Karol Ladd

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Grace Challenge

A little more grace toward others – that’s what I need. How about you? Here’s a positive mom devotional from Leviticus (of all places) which gives us a charge toward being more graceful toward others.

“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. Do not try to get ahead at the cost of your neighbor’s life, for I am the Lord. Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront your neighbors directly so you will not be held guilty for their crimes. Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:16-18

With thousands of Israelites trudging through the wilderness, a plan for civility was necessary. God provided laws for dealing with people and with circumstances in the book of Leviticus. As you can plainly see, those laws of civility and decency were not always easy. If we were to employ even a few of these laws in our relationships today, we would be better for it.
As Christians, we are no longer under the rules of the Levitical law, but rather under grace. Since we are recipients of God’s glorious grace through Christ’s sacrifice for us, we ought to also shower grace on others. What does grace toward others look like? I think it looks quite a bit like the passage we read today. Guarding our mouths from gossip, forgiving, not holding grudges are all practical ways to shed God’s grace on the people around us. As moms, we can encourage our kids to reflect on the goodness of God’s grace and in turn show His beautiful grace to other people.

Personal Prayer:
God of Grace and Mercy, thank you for pouring your grace on me through the sacrifice of your Son. Praise you that through faith in Jesus, I am forgiven. Help me to forgive others. Guard my mouth from gossip and my heart from grudges. Pour your love through me and allow me to truly love my neighbor. Thank you for your Word and the direction it gives. In Jesus name, Amen.

This week I will choose to focus on God’s great love and grace toward me.
This week I will choose to show grace toward others.
This week I will choose to ask God’s help in guarding my heart and mind.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

National Day of Encouragement

Sunday, September 12 is National Day of Encouragement!

Everyone could use a hearty dose of encouragement. Kids coming home from school need it. Busy moms and dads could certainly be strengthened by it. Even grandparents and single adults need a good word now and then. The word “encourage” means to give strength. The root word “cor” comes from the Latin word “heart.” When we sincerely encourage someone we give strength to their heart, and we ourselves are uplifted in the process.

Encouragement must be sincere and specific. Don’t just say, “You’re great!” Instead, honor others by telling them exactly what you appreciate about them. “You are always thinking of others, I really like that about you.” Even more specifically you could say, “I noticed your kindness to the person in the checkout line today, I really appreciate the way you care about other people’s needs.”

Here are some starters:
· You sure know a lot about...
· I’m thankful for the way you…
· I noticed how you…
· Thank you for …..
· You amaze me by the way you….
· I was just thinking how you…

Creative ways to encourage (beyond text and email) include:
· Use erasable markers to write a message on someone’s mirror or window.
· Place fun, colorful note cards with an uplifting message in the car or lunch bag or briefcase.
· Wrap a note of encouragement around a favorite candy bar.
· One flower with a note attached does wonders for any woman.
· Write a note and stick it on a balloon.
· Take the time to send a card through the mail.
· Pick up the phone and call someone just to encourage them.
· Leave a message of encouragement on the answering machine if they are not there.
· Put a little note of encouragement in a small box, with a bow on top.
· Give a cute and inexpensive frame and put a message along with a picture in it.

Never miss an opportunity to give a good word. And Certainly don’t miss your opportunity to celebrate the National Day of Encouragement. A good word cost so little, yet the rewards are long lasting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Will Help You

“Without the assistance of the Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail.” Abraham Lincoln

Exodus 4:10 – 12
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I ‘m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words.”
“Who makes mouths?” The Lord asked him, “Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say.”

Mom’s Reflection:
Like Moses, it’s so easy for us to focus on what we can’t do, or perhaps don’t want to do. Those negatives can grow into large mountains of cares, concern and confinement. We build our own prison with the bars of “I can’t.” For moms, the can’ts come easily. I can’t cope with the kids, I can’t teach them well, I can’t get it all done, and the list goes on and on. What is God calling you to do? He will help you.
A friend of mine always says, “Where God guides, He provides.” Moses needed to heed those words instead of focusing on what he couldn’t do. We need to hear God’s voice saying to us, “You may not be able to do it on your own, but I made you. I know what you need and I can help you.” Whenever you are tempted to think, “I just can’t do it,” remember that as God leads you, He will give you what you need. He made you, and He is able to equip you for the job.

Oh Glorious Lord, you have called me to be a mother. You have given me a monumental and magnificent job, but I can’t do it alone. I don’t have what it takes, but I do know that you made me and you can equip me for the job. Help me to replace my “I can’ts” with “but God can.” I want to follow you and only do what you are calling me to do in your strength. Thank you for creating me and caring for me. May my life glorify you. In Jesus name, Amen.

My Choices:
This week I will choose to focus on what God can do, not what I can’t do.
This week I will choose to seek God’s leadership and guidance.
This week I will choose to ask Him for help in all the tasks that I do.
Further Reading: Exodus 3 & 4