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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Encouragement’ Category

© Karl J. Sneath

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

WOW! This has been a week. An unusual week. Everything from late nights, no sleep, coughing children, a son wheezing and gasping for air, a doctor visit, a scratched nose and blood everywhere, a burdened heart, etc, etc. It seems like the list goes on. The children who usually get along so well, seemed to fight like crazy. The oldest son is asking more questions than I have answers or strength for. The oldest daughter is constantly wanting to eat and struggling with a bad attitude (She kept saying things like, “Mom you are ugly.” “I hate my mom.” “I only love you because God says I have to.” “My mom is stupid.”). The toddler is into EVERYTHING, tearing things off shelves, out of the hands of older siblings, pulling hair and generally just making a mess. The baby has been fussy and starts screaming whenever she hears anyone else screaming. On top of it all my husband has been working out of town almost all week. Thankfully he’s home in time for supper and the kids bed time. Whew – what a week.

Last week had gone so well (relatively speaking. There were still problems but over all we made it). We followed the schedule. We got a lot accomplished. But this week. The schedule never even had a chance to start. I didn’t get anything done. Or did I?

All of the children were dressed in clean clothes each day. They all ate 3 meals a day, plus snacks. They got to play outside. They took naps and slept at least 10 hours each night. Each day we spent time reading the Word of God, singing hymns, and memorizing Scripture. The house is clean. The dishes are done. Laundry is clean.

On top of all of that God stretched my faith and I saw Him answer prayer. And so, even though we didn’t follow the schedule and I didn’t get school done like I had planned. Even though things didn’t happen the way I had planned, God was good.

In the message, Chained to the Chariot, Pastor Ron Dunn says, “Faith is the victory.” It’s not that everything happened perfect, because it rarely ever will. It’s that at the end of all of it, I still believe (in God). I still have faith.

“and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

1 John 5:4

And so I end this week saying, “Faith is the victory and I still believe. God is Good. Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Faith Is The Victory

Lyrics: John H. Yates
Music: Ira D. Sankey

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Refrain:
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ‘neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.

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In January I read a book called, “Managers of Their Homes” by Steve and Terri Maxwell. It was a great book. I hope to someday share what I have learned. For the past few weeks since I finished the book I have been trying to put together a schedule that would work for our family. With 4 different ages/stages, a husband who comes home for lunch, and the needs of the house I just couldn’t get a schedule together that would work. It seemed like there were always one or two pieces of the puzzle that didn’t fit. But I kept trying and praying. My husband would often look at me and laugh when I was surrounded by a pile of lists (BTW – I love making lists!)!

I was trying so hard to put together a schedule so I could take the idea to him and get his counsel on what he would like me to change. He has so much stress in his life with work and things that I try to do as much on my own and not bother him. But I reached a point of complete frustration and Saturday I just poured out my heart and my frustration to him.

As I poured my heart out to him he graciously listened. Then it amazed me – in 10 minutes –  just 10 minutes he put together a schedule that I am so excited about (and I’m running by today!). It’s been PERFECT! I don’t know how he did it. I read the book, I had spent HOURS thinking, writing, planning and still couldn’t get it, and he in 10 minutes had it all figured out. If I would have just asked him weeks ago. . .

As I thought about this throughout the night last night (the baby was all stuffed up and was up twice in the night), I began thinking about how so often that is how I am with the Lord. I try so hard to do things on my own and when I can’t figure things out then I go crawling to the Lord who immediately knows what to do. If I would just learn to run to Jesus first. To cling to Him daily.

This begins (I’ve discovered the hard way) by spending time each day worshiping at His feet. For each of us the timing will be different, but for me if I don’t get up before everyone else it’s most likely NOT going to happen and if it does I’m not able to concentrate very well. When I begin my day by pouring my heart out to Jesus it goes so much smoother. I can handle the difficult things that come. Not that life isn’t difficult, but I’m going through the difficult things sheltered by the everlasting arms of the Lord.

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:

and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”
Deuteronomy 33:27

As I read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) I see over and over again how Jesus spent time early in the morning with His Heavenly Father. Jesus – God the Son – living as a man on earth, gave us the example of the importance of spending time with the Father daily. Jesus’ days were busy. Filled with many people pulling on and needing Him. Jesus never had a moment to Himself (mothers – does this sound familiar???). Yet despite all of the needs of everyone (meeting them probably late into the night), He still got up early in the morning to spend time with His Heavenly Father – getting recharged spiritually.

So I once again have been taught to run to Savior (and my husband) right away instead of trying so hard to do things in my own strength!

Psalm 5

To the choirmaster: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.

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This week I am working on reading a book I have had for a while, but never gotten to read. It is called, “The Mission of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson.

On the back of the book she asks four questions:

  • Do you long for your home to be lifegiving and peaceful?
  • Is it your desire to pass on a legacy of righteousness to your children?
  • Do you struggle to balance the duties of motherhood with a loving relationship with your children?
  • Would you like creative ideas and direction for keeping your child’s heart open to you and to the Lord?

This book looks really exciting. I plan to share tidbits with you as I read through the book this week!

What are you reading this week?

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I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present is meaningful, my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His promises, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must keep going ’til He comes, give ’til I drop, preach ’til all know, and work ’til He stops me. And when He come for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me – for He is my Lord!

Author Unknown

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“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”

Psalm 86:15 NASB

“I will sing of the lovingkindess of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make know Your faithfulness with my mouth.”

Psalm 89:1 NASB

The dictionary definition of lovingkindness is “tenderness and consideration toward others”. About 10 years ago I was challenged each day to look for the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. To look for all the things the Lord had done for me. Ways He was showing me tenderness and consideration. It may be something as simple as I received a letter in the mail from a friend. Or it may be as big as my baby had a heart beat. I was to write down whatever it was that happened that day to remind me of the Lord’s love and care for me.

I am one who gets easily discouraged, especially when I’m tired (and I’m tired most of the time). I often can only see all the bad and how life is “falling apart” around me. Writing in my lovingkindness journal helps me remember and keep my focus on all that the Lord has done for me. I love looking back and seeing all of the lovingkindnesses the Lord has shown to me.

Because our child are little versions of us, my son especially has this problem. We have now added a time when we sit right after prayer, and write all the wonderful things God has done for us. Yesterday he was thankful for the trees, blue sky, grass, flowers, and the Bible. Those were the blessings the Lord gave him. It is fun to look back and see the different things the Lord has done for us. It is a great journal to keep. So in the difficult times, you can remember how gracious, loving and kind our God is.

We serve a God who loves us dearly. May we praise Him everyday for His goodness to us.

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“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

Teaching your children to pray is one of the most important things you will ever teach your children to do. So many Christians do not know how to pray – and so they don’t.

What is prayer? Prayer is simply talking to God. It is how we communicate with God. When I pray I don’t talk to God like I would my children or a stranger. I share my heart with Him, as I do my husband. I pour my heart about before Him. Sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings. There are times when I don’t even know what to say and in those times,

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Romans 8:26 KJV

Sometimes I pray when I am working in the kitchen. Sometimes I pray when I teaching school or potty training. One of my favorite times to pray is in the middle of the night when I cannot go to sleep. When it is dark all around me and the only sound is that of my husband and children sleeping. I feel completely alone with God. In peace.

As an imperfect woman there are many things in my life I regret. But teaching my son how to pray is not one of them. My son (3 years old) is learning how to pray like a man. In the morning we start Morning Worship with prayer to get our hearts right before the Lord (confessing sin), to bless my husband at work, and provide for our daily bread, and to ask the Lord to take our offering of worship and make it pleasing unto Him. I often encourage my son to pray also. He will never learn HOW to pray unless he does.

On Wednesday evenings at church he stays with his father and I in the prayer service. My husband and I feel it is vital for our son to learn how to pray. When we look around the world today at Christians and we see how many of them do not pray, because they don’t feel they know how to pray, we see the importance of teaching our son. Our little 3 year old sits by his father and often the Pastor (or other older men in the church) and he is learning how to pray. He hears these older, wise men of faith praying to God, and he learns how to talk to the Lord. He then is given the opportunity to pray – like a man. Oh how precious his prayers are. Often my husband will share with me what our son has prayer and it will bring tears to my eyes the heart of our son. A heart that would never be like this – unless taught. On the way to Wednesday evening prayer service you will find him in the back seat of our car with his Bible, piece of paper, and a pen. He is making out his prayer list of all the things he wants to pray about. Now to me it is just scribbles but to Him it is his mission for that night.

So often we say, “Oh he’s just a child. He can learn that when he’s older. He needs to have fun time with kids his own age.” But when I look around I see teenagers all across this nation, who’s hearts are not close to the Lord. They don’t want to be in prayer service because “it’s not fun”. They don’t want to pray with the “old” people. They don’t even hardly come to church anymore. It should be a warning to all of us parents – we have a choice how we train our children. We will answer to God one day. Are we teaching our sons and daughters how to pray or are we letting them just hang out with the friends – hoping someday they’ll learn?

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 13:20 NASB

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Thoughts on Family Planning

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Dear God,

I’ve never been wise enough to know what is best for me.

YOU CHOOSE.

Demographic Winter

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