Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From One Mom To Another

Friend, as a Mom I know life is busy and it can get real crazy. I have 5 kids, I get it. We are constantly hearing, "Mom" and being pulled in countless different directions. When they are asleep we still have work to do and even when my head hits the pillow my mind keeps working. Some days it (the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the praying, the refereeing, the teaching, the practices, the mothering...) never ends.

I'm about to admit one of my brain dead moments - tonight as I prepared supper, I remembered to fill the salt shaker...but I forgot that when you turn it upside down the salt comes out as fast as you put it in. I'm sorry to say it took longer for me to realize this than it should have. Honestly, I was quite disappointed in myself, but as I watched the salt run out it was as if God spoke to my heart.

Sometimes life drains me faster than the salt ran through my shaker. As I thought about this, I found myself reflecting on my recent quiet times. Once again I'm sorry to admit this - these times haven't been as productive as they could and should be. I've been reading my Bible and praying, but just like I was distracted tonight when I filled the salt shaker, I haven't been completely focused.

Distractions are a given in a home with 5 kids under the age of 12, but that's no excuse. God created me to have a relationship with Him and if I want that relationship to grow, I need to invest in it. I need to be intentional. I need to make time to be still. (Psalms 46:10) I need to practice self-discipline (something God has given - see 2 Timothy 1:7) and get up earlier than I already do.

If something doesn't change, I'll keep doing to my heart what I did to my salt shaker. Everything I pour in will come out as fast as it goes in. If I'm going to serve my family, and the others God brings across my path, I need to have something to give. I must drink of the living water. (John 4:14) I must live out John 15:5 - "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

Friend, abiding takes time, effort and sacrifice. Abiding comes with a price, but it also brings a profit. As a Mom I know my work never ends, but often my energy does. I also know my work is important, but I've been reminded the most important job I have is to fill myself up so that God can pour me out.

I don't want my life to look like the salt I saw flowing through the shaker earlier this evening. Do you? If your answer is no, join me in finding a way to plug the holes...let's fight through the distractions, die to our self and feed our spirit. Now as my family sleeps, I see my salt shaker on the table...it's no longer empty, but full, ready to be used tomorrow. May it be the same for me. And you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thoughts on Waiting

Hello Friends! If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here! It's a joy to share a bit of my heart there today! If you'd like to read my devotion, "What To Do In The Wait" click HERE

As I reflected on the words I wrote about waiting, I had a new thought...better yet revisited an old one. There are times I, and you, must wait on God, but I know there are times I've used that as an excuse. So I pray if you're in the waiting room of life my Encouragement Cafe devotion encourages you, but if God is calling you to action may the words below motivate you to take a step of faith. 

From August 2014 - 
A few months back we were in the midst of potty training with our 5th child and there were moments I wondered if it would ever be over! Now that it's behind me, God has been reminding me of a frustrating phrase my little guy used all the time.

For the longest time, Jesse wanted NOTHING to do with potty training. So much so that anytime we mentioned going to the bathroom, he'd simply respond with 2 year old confidence, "I do that tomorrow." After awhile, even Jed, our 4 year old would say, "Today is tomorrow!!"

We've had a child, sometimes two, in diapers for 11 years and I was ready to be done, so my little Jesse man was trying my patience and again proving he is a unique individual. One night in the midst of my frustration, God simply whispered to my heart, "You do that too."

Friend, I didn't even have to ask, "What?" I knew, I'd been telling God the same thing. He'd been leading me to do something and now as that leading, and a few new ones, continue, He's reminding me of progress. Jesse's, not mine. I haven't changed a diaper in over 3 months...once my little guy was ready and made up his mind, potty training really was a breeze.

God has been encouraging me to learn a lesson from my little man...He's telling me I'm ready, now I need to just make up my mind, decide to obey and discipline myself to do it. Friend, we are told to wait upon the Lord - Isaiah 40:31 says, "But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength..."and Psalm 27:14 says, "Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." I know waiting can be hard, but I'll be honest and admit sometimes I use that for an excuse.

Two of these "things" God is leading me to do have been confirmed time and again, but yet I wait...not for Him, but me and that philosophy is backwards. I am not to make God wait on me!! And neither are you!

Is there something God is asking you to do? A step He's leading you to take? Please don't respond like me or my son and say, "I'll do that tomorrow." Like my other little guy says, "Today is tomorrow!!" Friend, will you join me in taking action now! Walking in obedience can be scary and hard, but it is good and right and something God always blesses!!

Today let's think about this - "Now listen you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city and spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:13-14

Friend, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so do what you need to do today!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Feeding Lambs

My children are the proud owners of 3 orphan lambs, which we have been bottle feeding for nearly 3 weeks. Typically the kids take care of all the chores, but the other day I mixed up the milk replacer and a thought hit me. These lambs drink the same thing everyday...morning and night. (Oh wouldn't life be easier if my kids did the same!?!) As that thought ran through my mind the story of Jesus talking to Peter about feeding lambs and caring for sheep entered my mind.

Now God has never had this conversation with me, but I believe He created you and me to do the same...care for His people, love them and guide them. You may not be a Sunday School teacher or Bible study leader, but friend I pray you still take a few minutes to read these words because regardless of our titles, we still impact others and can share Truth. You may not live on a farm, but you can feed sheep!!

So how do we feed sheep? That's a good question! There are countless things we can do for people and numerous words we can share with them, but today let's focus on the thing that feeds our faith...God's Word. Friends, "the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The milk our little lambs drink day after day, seems simple, maybe even insignificant, but yet it is vital. Without this milk replacer our lambs would not survive. Friend, when the one you love is hurting or in need do you feel like simply sharing the Word isn't enough? Like it's too simple? Read the verses above to be reminded of the power it holds. With His Word, God spoke the world into creation, with that same Word He can transform hearts, minds and lives. It has power. It is enough.

As I mixed up the powder and water, my mind raced and my heart was convicted. All too often I forget and downplay the spiritual, nutritious value of the Scriptures. Day after day it's what I need and my loved ones do too. Every feeding our little lambs eagerly approach the gate for the meal that never changes, but always sustains...oh to do the same!

Over the last couple of weeks I've found myself thinking about this and my thoughts center around two different situations...first of all let's think about when we are sharing the Word. Like I said earlier, you don't need a special, important title to think about this...any and all followers of Christ can and should share God's Word. Friend, sharing God's holy, powerful Word is not something we should take lightly. We must remember a few key Scriptures ourselves -

"Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar." (Proverbs 30:6)

"And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll." (Revelation 22:19)

"And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." (1 Corinthians 2:4)

"For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty." (2 Peter 1:16)

"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void." (1 Corinthians 1:17)

On the flip side, it's also important to think about those who feed us the Word. Who do you count on to feed you in a spiritual sense? Do they provide you with what you need? Do they present you with the pure Word of God? The whole Truth? What are their motives? Do they tickle your ears?

I am grateful for a pastor and Bible teacher/friend who take the job of feeding lambs seriously and do it well. I pray I won't just be nourished by their actions, but can learn from them and follow their example too.

Friend, the Word of God, is something we must handle with care. As we use it to feed the ones we love, may we remember one last lesson from my lambs...a shepherd never worries about entertaining his sheep. He feeds them, cares for them and loves them, but doesn't focus on keeping them amused. At times it seems that is a danger in our society today, but it's not something God, our shepherd, ever discusses. Though we may be tempted to please or even charm others, let us not forget it's God's Word that holds the power, not our delivery.

Today, as the Lord's lamb, I pray you are fed the most nourishing meal there is! And today as a "shepherd" yourself, I pray you are able to feed the ones you love!