Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Being the Example Your Children Need

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Guillaume de Germain

"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." ~Luke 6:40

This verse is equal parts terrifying and encouraging, when viewed in light of our mothering. Terrifying if we are being lazy and complacent, failing to truly train our children up in the way that they should go, and encouraging if we are seeking to do our best to walk by the Spirit in our mothering (not perfectly, but with intention and the gospel ever before our eyes).

The truth I’m learning right now is this: whatever it is that I want my children to prioritize when they are adults is what I need to be prioritizing in our home and family life right now. Whatever I want them to grow up believing is normal for the Christian life is what I need to be emulating for them right now.

Do I want my children to grow up thinking part of living a victorious Christian life is cultivating and loving a daily practice of being in the Word? Then that is what they need to see me doing now.

Do I want my children to grow up to be readers, believing it’s important even as busy adults, to still make time to read? Then that is what they need to see me doing now (and not claiming I’m too busy to do so!).

Do I want my children to grow up to never be slaves to their phones, but to instead love and enjoy the real life going on all around them? Then that is how I need to be living myself.

Do I want my children to grow up to love everyone - even the seemingly unlovable, the enemy, the marginalized, the one who sins differently than I do, and the one with different political views than my own? Then that is how I have to be living in front of them now.

Do I want my children to grow up believing it is a normal part of the Christian life to extend hospitality on a regular basis? Then that had better be a part of my monthly calendar now.

Do I want my children to grow up believing Christ has called us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help the destitute? Then that’s what they should see me doing.

The reality is that what my children see me doing, hear me saying, and watch me prioritizing is what they will naturally take on in their own lives. May it be worth emulating!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Second Chances

 By: Joanne Viola

It is often said that God is the God of second chances. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it lately, how amazing His grace is until reading a story in the book of Exodus the other morning.

Moses threw down the tablets of stone in anger upon finding the people worshiping a golden idol. The tablets contained the ten commandments given by God and written by God’s own finger.

Moses, who God talked with face to face just like a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11) was told to resume the journey to the promise land with these people.

Before resuming, God told Moses:

“Cut out for yourself two tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.” (Exodus 34:1, NASB)

Not only did God call Moses back up to Mount Sinai and in His Presence, He passed by in front of him and proclaimed His attributes: 

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgressions and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”  (Exodus 34:6-7a, NASB)

Such grace displayed by God that He would write those words once again on another set of tablets with His own hand. He forgives but He will not leave the guilty and unrepentant unpunished because He is a just God.

The fact that God gave this second set of tablets showed He had forgiven the people their sin of idolatry and was providing them a second chance.

God gave the commandments to set boundaries by which to keep us safe, living within His truths, morally and spiritually in right relationship with Him.

He knew people left on their own, and left to their own devices, would turn to idols once again. He delivers these words to Moses:

“Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst.” (verse 12, NASB)

In His grace and mercy, God forewarned them if they weren’t careful people would become a snare right in their midst. People can still become a snare in our lives if we aren’t careful, if we do not guard our hearts and lives. 

“Our idols are not golden calves or carved statues. Idolatry is not tied to any specific idol; it exists whenever we look to someone or something in the world around us to save and satisfy us.” (Ed Stetzer)

God forgave the people of their idolatry,
giving them a second chance,
to love and worship Him alone.

Photo by Biegun Wschodni on Unsplash






Sunday, February 28, 2021

Honoring Others

It's been ten years since my mama went to heaven and there are still moments when I have an overwhelming sense of missing her. I think of the five grandchildren that have been added to our family since she passed away and how tickled she would be with each one of them. I think of questions I wished I had asked her about her life or how she made some of my favorite dishes. With the missing her, comes the knowledge that, at age 63, there are still times I find myself needing my mama. I don't need her to take care of me or to help me; I don't need her for what she could do for me. I need her for what she was to me. 

Knowing that we're wanted and needed is, I believe, a fundamental key to emotional health. I'm fond of telling my grandkids, "If all of the six year old boys, (insert age and sex of whatever grandchild I happen to be talking to at the moment), in the whole wide world were lined up in a big long line and God said, "Pick whichever boy you want as your grandson" I would always choose you." As we age I think it is still important to know that we are wanted and needed. Obviously, there's an unhealthy type of needing. If my grown/independent kids still need me to pay their bills and clean up after them, that's unhealthy. However, to know that you're a valuable and necessary part of someone's life, in the family circle or in the church, is extremely important in my opinion. My Mama's been in heaven ten years now, so I can no longer tell her that I need her, but there are a lot of people in my life that it's not too late for me to tell that they are a much wanted, much needed, important part of my life.

Friday, February 26, 2021

If You Are Tempted to Stop Praying


Have you been tempted to stop praying? I have, but I've learned WHY God wants me to continue praying. And it's motivated me to keep praying on and on, even for years.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 NIV 

The Bible clearly tells us to be faithful in prayer. Meaning, to do it day after day after day. But if God already knows the answer, why does he call us to do this?

God wants us to persist in prayer. My pastor says that for reasons we cannot fully understand, God chooses to act within his sovereignty to do certain things using our prayers. I have seen this mystery to hold true. So, all our asking, seeking and knocking (Matt. 7:7-12) really does matter in the heavenly realm.

Yet God has another reason for wanting us to be faithful in prayer. I can speak to this from my own experience. The act of faithful prayer changes MY thoughts and attitudes more than it changes the situation. Faithful prayer shapes me to be more like Christ.

In my own years and years of praying for the same things, God has shaped my character. Through faithful prayer, I've become more patient, compassionate, kind, loving, hopeful and joyful. I can see a big difference in these areas compared when I started praying with impatience, hidden doubt and even grudges.

God has softened me through faithful prayer. He's helped me gain spiritual maturity through the process. That's why I'm not tempted to stop praying anymore. I know that God will work in me as I keep praying, and he'll also answer the prayers in his perfect timing. He'll do this for you too, friend!

Want more encouragement for your prayer life? Check out my recent video testimony HERE and my prayer posts collected on one convenient page HERE.

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Have a blessed weekend!

Photo from Canva.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Look for His Power

By: Jenifer Metzger

That day Pharaoh commanded the overseers of the people
as well as their foremen, “Don’t continue to supply the people
with straw for making bricks, as before. They must go and
gather straw for themselves. But require the same quota of
bricks from them as they were making before; do not reduce it.
For they are slackers—that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us
go and sacrifice to our God.’ Impose heavier work on the men.
Then they will be occupied with it and not pay attention to
deceptive words.” Exodus 5:6-9

Today in our Bible reading plan, we are in Exodus 5. God had called on Moses and Aaron to free the Israelites from Pharaoh. However, Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not free the Israelites. Instead, he made life harder for them.

We see in chapter 5 that Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to not be given the supplies they needed to do the job he required of them. My first thought is what a jerk Pharaoh was! While that may be true, we have to remember a couple of things.

First, we have to remember that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Why did He do this? To accomplish His perfect plan. Had Pharaoh just agreed to let the Israelites go in the beginning, the Israelites and Egyptians wouldn't have seen God's power. When we pray, God often answers with wait. In the waiting, we can see His power at work.

Second, the Israelites had to learn to surrender their own plans, thoughts, and desires to the will of God. Then they had to obey. God doesn't promise that everything in life will be easy and simple. Sometimes we will walk through hardship. We have to surrender our own plans, thoughts, and desires to the will of God and we have to obey.

The Israelites didn't see it yet, but their Promised Land was coming and it was going to be glorious. But they had to be patient. They had to obey. They had to go through this hardship.

What hardship are you facing? I want to encourage you to seek God. Put aside your own thoughts and agenda and seek His plan and His will. Remember that God will never harm you, His plans are for good, for His glory. So seek His face and obey His commands.

It's time for Share A Link Wednesday! Each Wednesday we invite you to leave a link to your latest blog post in the comments. We still desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories.