Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Mommy Wars and Our Standing Before God

 By: Rebekah Hargraves



Photo Courtesy Of: CRISTIANO DE ASSUNCAO


"But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness." ~Romans 4:5


"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering we are but dust." ~Psalm 103:12-14


Continuing our chat about the mommy wars, the third problem I saw of how my getting caught up in the mommy wars affected my understanding of the gospel was that the "wars" caused me to forget the truth of my standing before God. I failed to remember that my standing before God and His approval of me are never based on what I do, but on what He did. This was another area in which I was operating from a place of mistaken identity. 

I had completely forgotten the truth that my mothering choices were unable to tarnish my identity as an image bearer of God. I had forgotten that my salvation was in no ways based on my managing to parent in all the "right" ways. Even more than that, I had also forgotten that the Lord’s approval of me and my very standing before Him were in no wise based on what I do, but instead, were entirely based on what He had already done on my behalf.

But that, my friend, is the beauty of the gospel! Once we come to Christ in salvation, you and I are found, from that moment forward, to be fully acceptable, holy, righteous, and perfect in the eyes of God—at all times, no matter what! Not because we dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s along the journey of mothering, but because we have trusted in Christ for salvation. When we are saved and God looks upon us, all He ever sees anymore is the imputed righteousness of Christ. And that is true on the good days as well as on the bad ones!

Friend, your salvation is not a result of your trusting in Christ AND also making sure you breastfeed, co-sleep, vaccinate, and homeschool. Rather, salvation is by faith alone. Acceptance is by faith alone. Approval is by faith alone. When God the Father sees you, He sees the imputed righteousness of Christ the Son, regardless of whether your baby was born at home or in the hospital, vaginally or via cesarean, without pain meds or with an epidural. 

None of those secondary things matter when it comes to you and your relationship with the Lord. Praise God for the beauty of the glorious truths and implications of the gospel on our daily lives as moms! May we walk in light of this beautiful freedom afforded us by Christ's sacrifice! 


Monday, January 25, 2021

Your Greatest Contribution

 By: Joanne Viola


 

I’ve been praying for my children probably since they were born. My guess would be most parents do as well. Tucked away on the pages of 1 Chronicles is a king who also prayed for his family:

“And now it has pleased You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You; for You, O Lord, have blessed, and it is blessed forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:27, NASB)

King David’s family was blessed by God to continue on with not only the work of the building of the Temple, but with a long lasting line. A forever line.

As parents, may we be faithful to pray for a long lasting line of believers to stem from our family. Those who will fix their eyes on Jesus, live according to His Word, and be faithful to Him for all of their days.

But we must do our part to ensure this will happen. David asks a powerful question in 1 Chronicles 29:

“Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (5b, NASB)

I’ve been thinking on this for a few days now. As a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mom, and a Mimi, I must:

  • Be devoted to God.
  • Be giving.
  • Be generous.
  • Set an example others will be willing to follow.

David did not ask of others, what he himself was not willing to do. God blessed him, and through David’s faithfulness came a forever line.

“Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” (Andy Stanley)

 

Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash


 

 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

What Is Faith?


But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

When our second granddaughter, (who will be twelve next month!), was little she loved it when I read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey to her. 

One day that same granddaughter had a playdate with a new little friend named Nora who looked a bit like the illustrations of Sal in the book we'd been reading. My daughter heard my granddaughter calling Nora “Sal”.  She corrected her and told her that her new friend’s name was Nora, whereupon my granddaughter, who had decided that if her friend looked like Sal then her name must be Sal, insisted on continuing to call her little friend Sal.

Faith is not so mysterious and hard to grasp as we make it. Hebrews 11:6 helps us to define it in a simple way that we can grasp and hold on to.  Faith is simply believing God is Who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

Believe God is Who He says He is. My granddaughter insisted that her little friend, Nora, was actually a little girl named Sal based on a book she and I had read together. Similarly, it is very possible for us to mix the God of the Bible up with who we think God is based on our own experiences and feelings as well as things we've read, seen, or been taught that may or may not line up with truth. We may even have bits and pieces of the truth of God's Word mixed in with our other concepts and ideas of god. The problem is that when the one true God doesn’t perform the way we think He should, based on our own misunderstandings of His character, then our faith crumbles because our expectations of God were not based on the truth of Who He is. If our god concepts do not line up with Who God really is, the God self-defined by the Holy Spirit in the Bible, then he isn’t God at all. From Genesis to Revelation, there is enough revealed about God's character and ways in His Word to keep us continually seeking to know Him in all of His greatness and wonder for all of our days on this earth.

Believe that He will do what He says He will do. Sometimes we grasp onto good words that don't line up with the truth of God's Word. Again, they may be things we’ve been told or taught or just our own thoughts and our own understanding. The result is that we end up "standing on the promises" that may not be things God promised at all. We may be leaning on things we want God to do instead of on the things He has said He will do. Then, when our word doesn't come to pass our faith rocks and reels and comes tumbling down. A true word or promise that God will do this or that will never contradict what God has said He will do in His Word. We can stand in confidence on what God Himself says in the Bible  that He will do, (or not do, such as, “I will never, never, never leave you or forsake you.” Hallelujah!) There is enough revelation in His Word about what He says He will do to keep us standing on His promises as long as we live.

God wants us to know Him personally based on the truth He has revealed to us about Himself in His Word. He wants us to learn His ways and to be confident that He does what He says He will do. Of course, because He is God and knows better than we do, He does it in His timing and His way, not always in ours! That is when our faith in His goodness, love and care for us gets tested. But the longer we journey with Him, the more we come to know that our Father God really does know what is best and that He is, indeed, so very good.




Friday, January 22, 2021

When You Feel Surrounded by Enemies

 




Do you feel like you are surrounded by enemies? Whether they are enemies in the physical, mental, emotional, relational or spiritual realms, you may be overwhelmed when you feel surrounded.

Yet, this guided meditation on Psalm 3 can give you encouragement and peace. Let’s pause and carefully think it through today.

Psalm 3 NLT

A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, I have so many enemies;
    so many are against me.
So many are saying,
    “God will never rescue him!” Interlude

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude

I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
    Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
    Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord.
    May you bless your people. Interlude

 

Like many of David's psalms, this psalm was penned about a time David was pursued by his enemies.

This time, the situation was new, different, and painful.

David's son Absalom was at odds with him. He had gathered a following of supporters who wanted to dethrone David.

David's heart was broken--you can read the whole story in 2 Samuel 13-19.

Surely David felt surrounded and overwhelmed in this situation.

But David cried out to God for help. That’s what we need to do as well when we feel overwhelmed.

In this psalm, David calls God his shield, his glory, and the one who lifts his head high. These names of God and their powerful characteristics comforted David. You can find comfort in God’s names too – keep reading to the end of this post to learn more.

He took comfort knowing God was watching over him, even when his enemies were in pursuit. God’s loving presence gave David comfort. Embrace the comfort God gives you as you meditate on his loving gaze over you.

Sleep can be elusive when we feel overwhelmed. Yet David slept in peace, trusting God to care for him. As you lay down to sleep tonight, remember that God is in perfect control, surrounding you with his love.

David knew the powerful name of God mentioned so many times in the Old Testament: Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He knew God surrounded him not only with his loving presence, but with the guard of thousands upon thousands of unseen angels (see a glimpse of this HERE and HERE).

Will you also trust the Lord of Heaven’s Armies to protect you when you feel surrounded and overwhelmed? Will you thank him in advance for the victories he has already won for you?

Want a free printable of the names of God to give you peace? Check them out on my site HERE!


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Have a blessed weekend!


Photo from Canva.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sometimes it's Okay to Not be Okay

  By: Shari A. Miller



I was speaking with my husband the other day about my writing. I told him that sometimes I just don't know what to say. When you're smack dab in the middle of the storm of cancer, sometimes it's hard to be positive and encourage others in their lives. He looked at me and said, "Write about that, write about the tough times and how it's not easy to get through them, be real and write about real life."

When I was growing up I had this image of what my life would be like. You know that Cinderella fairy tale, the home with the white picket fence, 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. Fancy vacations, everything taken care of, everyone healthy, and no problems what so ever. (Insert laugh.) I really think the fairy tales of old and television shows have all done us a disservice. We grow up thinking everything will be like what it is in the movies, and it's obviously not. 

I don't know about you, but the fair tales of old, didn't necessarily happen for me. In many ways my life is better than I could of every dreamed of, I have an amazing, loving husband who works very hard to take care of us, and 2 beautiful/handsome kids that mean the world to me. However times have not been easy. When you fight cancer for 17 years there's a lot that goes along with that. Financial issues because of mounting doctor bills, paying for prescriptions at an astronomical price. Just tonight we went to pick up my pain medicine and found out it was going to be $720! What?? Who can pay for that? We ended going with another medication that is cheaper and will hopefully work just as well. 

There is also the emotional toll that it takes on the whole family. Test after test, PET scan after PET scan, and brain MRI after brain MRI can really get to you. That's where I'm at right now, in the waiting phase of wondering what my test results will say. Monday morning we'll get the answers we've been searching for. Will the cancer be gone? Will it remain stable? Will it be so bad that all my treatment options have been eliminated? My poor family is so supportive, but deep down they suffer as well, as they wait to hear what the test results will be. 

We all have trials that we've gone through or are currently going through. Trials that have caused us to cry out in anger, "Why is this happening? Why God? What have I done wrong?"

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." Job 23:10

God never promised that our lives would be with out trials and suffering. However, He did say that He would be with us every step of the way. I am now thankful when trials come. I am thankful when I'm put through the refiners fire because, I'll come out better on the other side. I'll come out a changed person, who can better serve the Father and others around me. 

So, you see, sometimes it's okay not to be okay. 

And the reason why is because it's all part of God's plan to make us more into His image. It's not an easy process at all, but it sure is worth it. In working through our struggles, two wonderful things happen, we become closer to Christ, and more like him as we seek him through these hard times. We also become a witness to others. When we let our light still sine through times of trouble, were setting an example and showing others who are Father really is.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Don't get discouraged sisters, we are all on this road of life together. Let's support each other when the times are not okay. Let's encourage one another and remind each other that with God we do have the strength to see these hard times through.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.       Romans 5:3