Do you know what stops me in my tracks? A pout on one of my grandkids faces. When they’ve unsuccessfully got what they want from Mama, they come pouting to Grandma. They know I’m an easy target. They know I have such a hard time saying “no” to my kids (especially grandkids). And it doesn’t stop with my family, I love blessing friends, family, total strangers, the dog… Don’t we all enjoy making others happy?
One of the toughest lessons in life is learning to accept the fact we cannot ever make everyone happy all of the time. First of all, we are all sinners. Try as we may, we all make many mistakes every single day. We say the wrong things; do (or not do) the wrong things. If it wasn’t for God’s amazing grace, many of us would crawl into a corner of shame and cry. Thank God, Jesus loves us and gives countless chances to learn and grow. If you are beating yourself today for failing once again, turn and fall into God’s arms. He will dust you off; stand you back up on your feet; graciously give you a fresh start, free from shame.
Secondly, even though we love making others happy, we need to live to please God and God alone. That means, we won’t always live up to others expectations. On many occasions Jesus said “no” to the needs & desires of others. “No, Mom, I can’t stop what I’m doing and come outside to chat with you and my brothers. No, Mary and Martha, I can’t come right this minute to heal Lazuras.” When the crowds pulled and prodded on Jesus to meet “their” needs and wants, He remained focused on His Father. Pleasing God steered His days. May the same be said of our lives. Dear friends, it is a deeply satisfying feeling to lay your head on your pillow at the end of the day and know you have made God smile.
So in the wise words of Taylor Swift (LOL), shake it off. When others pout because you let them down, shake it off. When shame and regret hang over you like a dark cloud, shake it off. Set your gaze on Jesus. Live to please Him!
About 7 years ago, I stepped back into the field of education and immediately recognized a radical change in this generation of children. Many sound like “little adults” speaking the jargon of Oprah philosophy…sorting through deep emotions, such as depression, anxiety, and fear. They are tech savvy, extremely busy, and exhausted in this fast paced world. In a word, they are so SERIOUS.
As a parent, grandparent, and educator, I implore you to guard your child’s innocence.
- Keep life simple.
- Lavish them with praise, encouragement, and love.
- Guide them through struggles by taking the extra time to help them learn empathy, respect, honesty, honor,…
- Take them to church on a regular basis.
- Don’t rescue them from challenges and hard work — but be present to advise, aid, and encourage them along when times get tough.
- Pray for them AND with them.
- Laugh & play together.
- Set boundaries – learn to say “no” and mean it.
- Be their parent, not their friend.
I’m not saying anything new — but these truths need to be shouted from the rooftops. Our children have been born at a difficult, yet privledged time in history. We can stop the trend of raising a generation of emotional & spiritual anemics. Slow down and make the most of every day opportunities. LOVE your children the way God (not the world) intends you to.
Kevin jokes that he’s like a cactus. He only needs a little water and care. Funny guy! Truth is…he’s more like a succulent plant that needs gentle misting and constant care. He’s worth it though. After all, he’s God’s boy and deserves all the love and help I have to share. He’s my #1 ministry – above kids, church, work.
Well, this morning I woke up with an urgency to pray more FOR Kevin, not just WITH Kevin. God reminding me how I can get so busy doing things for Kevin, that I neglect what will help him most. And, so, I prayed that he would…
- Grow in his love and revelation for Jesus
- Live in God’s plan – full of faith, obedient.
- Cooperate with the Holy Spirit – humble, teachable, discerning.
- Lead with wisdom, grace, integrity.
- Be fruitful in all his labor
- Trust God enough to dream bigger dreams.
- Be healthy, strong, youthful, and energitic.
- Enjoy fulfilling relationships – marriage, family, friends.
- Have fun! Laugh. Be happy.
If you aren’t praying for your husband, who will? Cover him with God’s presence. Speak God’s word over his life. Fight the good fight of faith with the prophetic words God has given him. Your prayers will have a huge impact on your man. God will move his insurmountable mountains. And, God will answer the smallest needs with pin point accuracy.
Pray about everything. With grateful hearts, offer up your prayers and requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Have you ever been unfairly mistreated, misunderstood, or misjudged? When this happens, it can really take the wind out of your sail. The Bible gives us a number of examples to help us rise above the hurt and live healed & free. Take Joseph — who after a life of mistreatment by family, friends, and bosses — reached his destiny free from bitterness and regret. His father, Jacob described Joseph in Genesis 49:23-24. “Archers attacked him savagely; they shot at him and harassed him. Yet (through it all), Joseph kept his bow taut and his arms strengthened by the hands of God.”
David, too, had lots of experience being misjudged & mistreated by those closest to him. Though innocent, David was on the run like a fugitive when he penned Psalm 26. In that Psalm, he makes an number of wise resolutions that helped him remain calm through it all. In the closing verse 12, I can almost hear David take big breath, sigh and announce, “I now stand on solid ground! I will publicly praise the Lord.” “Solid ground” comes from a Hebrew word mishore. The term conveys the idea of a place where one has a high, commanding view. Because David chose to look at his circumstances through God’s broad perspective, he was able to remain as calm as a cucumber. Not a care in the world!
The majority of people on planet earth, when hurt unfairly, view life from a deep gorge where they are shut in on all sides. Many live with ulcers, anxiety, sleepless nights, and inner turmoil. If that describes you, dear friend, try doing what David, Joseph, and even, Jesus did when they were mistreated. Step up to God’s level place and take a gander at the bigger picture. Prayerfully hand over the hurt to Him and let His peace flood your soul today.
How could anyone say the Bible is an old, out-of-date, boring book? From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is chock-a-block full of adventure, love stories, poems, mystery, history, and real life wisdom. I still sit on the edge of my seat in suspense when I read how the Israelites got trapped between the sea and the the Egyptian army. My heart sings when I read David’s songs. I cry reading how Jesus, the Darling of heaven, prayed alone in the garden on the eve of His death. I laugh at how God used a little boy to kill a big giant. I could go one all day because the Bible is simply that amazing!
I trace my love for God’s word back to when I was little girl, when I observed my Nana’s life. It wasn’t a religious thing for her — it was a relationship. She talked about God’s word every chance I gave her. And, even though it wasn’t until years later, in my early 20’s, the seeds Nana planted in my heart remained and produced fruit. From the moment I gave my life to Jesus, God’s word came alive to me. It changes me; challenges me; comforts me. There is but 1 thing it doesn’t do — bore me. Never!
How blessed is the man who delights in God’s Word, meditating on it day & night. He will be like a tree planted by the waters, producing fruit in every season. His leaves never wither and he prospers in all he does. Psalm 1:2-3
If you are having a difficult time understanding God’s word, I recommend getting a new “readable” translation and attending a lively local church Bible study. Start by reading a Bible story, then pondering it’s meaning for your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and help you understand God’s truth. While it may take a little effort to open up the pages and get started — you will never be disappointed. I believe, that you too, will fall in love with it’s words and it’s Author.
When I was in college, I got the crazy idea to join a long bicycle trip across eastern Oklahoma. Being in the best physical shape of my life, I started out with loads of confidence. But, by day 2, in the cold, freezing rain, I began to question the sanity of my decision. Falling to the back of the pack, I started crying (frozen tears), “God, help me.” To my utter surprise, I immediately felt a boost of energy and strength. It felt like someone had grabbed the back of my bike and pushed me up the longest hill ever known to man. Really! This was my first of what would be countless moments of infusions of God’s power in my life.
No feeling begins to compare to the moment when I come to end of my striving, and lean on Him for the power to keep going. His strength is most notable when I am at my weakest. His strength thrusts my life forward — like taking a giant step in a game of Simeon Says. His strength is liberating — I don’t have to get the job done in MY puny strength. His strength is exhilarating — like a gust of wind into my sails on a motionless day.
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
Whether you are struggling in your marriage; your health; your job; your finances; your relationships – you name the need & God’s strength is available to help you. Just ask Him.
Today’s news headline really pierced my heart – “Four Teens Torture Disabled Boy”. To top it off, they did this heynis act on the internet live! Really? Where does such hate come from? How can any human inflict such harm on another person? It’s more than my heart can bear.
In the last days, there will come times of great difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying it’s power. II Timothy 3:1-17
The world is in cardiac arrest. So many hearts have become callous toward God — Who is our One & only solution for all that ails us. Parents do the best they can. Police bravely serve our communities. Teachers work tirelessly to help this generation. Unfortunately, all our efforts will never be enough. Sin has led this world spiraling downward for centuries. The Bible tells us that as time ticks on, the problems will continue to increase in frequency and size, much like woman in labor. (I Thes. 5:2-3)
So, instead of watching more depressing news on TV tonight, will you join me in praying for our land? (II Chronicles 7:14). These four teens in the news (and countless others like them) need a new heart, that only God, their Creator, can provide. I know prayer can seem like your throwing a frisbee up in the air and watching it drop right back to the ground. But, the truth is — GOD does hear our prayers. And, God is faithful to respond.