Friday, October 31, 2014

The truth about sex

This topic has been on my heart for a very long time.  When I say long time, I mean years.

***Before I get started, please hear me when I say that I am in no way condemning anyone.  I have been in the pit of sexual sins.  I could write the book on it.  My heart aches for men and women-boys and girls-who are trapped in sexual sin.  I wish I could look each of you in the eyes and tell you that you matter.  My heart aches for anyone who doesn't see the pure beauty in real sex.  Sex between a husband and a wife.***

Have you noticed that sex is everywhere? 

It is on magazine covers.  Just this week at the grocery store, a magazine claimed they had discovered the secret to great sex.  This statement was posted next to a woman who had her shirt fully unbuttoned with half of her breasts showing.

Many TV shows display men and women rolling around in bed together engaged in sexual activity.  Most of these characters are not even married.  They are just hooking up.

Sex is in books, movies, commercials, name it and it's probably there.

Sex is everywhere - except where it should be.

The truth is that God created sex.  Sex is supposed to be a good thing.  When sex is part of a healthy marriage, it brings spouses closer together.  They share an intimate experience that no one else truly knows about.  God created sex to be pleasurable and fun.  He created it as a way for spouses to show they truly trust and love each other.  God created sex in order that humans could multiply and fill the earth.  These are all wonderful things with no shame attached to them.

The problem is that sex is no longer between spouses only.  Even when there is a marriage, sex is often found outside the marriage.  I'm not just talking affairs.  Although, that is a huge problem in our society.  Sex is in the "entertainment" that we choose to engage in.  Society has become so used to seeing sex everywhere that people have become immune to the sacredness of it.

Pornography is a HUGE problem.  Nothing ever good comes out of it.  Many people think pornography is only x rated movies. 

Let me share with you the full definition of pornography...

1.  the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

2.  material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement

3.  the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

***This definition is taken straight from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  I did not add nor delete any part of the definition.***

So you see, it is not just  x rated movies.  Pornography is in the TV shows, movies, and books we choose for "entertainment".

Someone actually told me onetime that she recently read a popular book that was filled with sex.  She claimed it was fantastic.  She then stopped,  embarrassed, and said, "you probably shouldn't read it".  Why?  Because I'm a loud mouthed Christian?  God's standards apply to all of His children.  Not just the ones who choose to stand up and speak about them.

Here is a staggering fact - Pornography generates $10-14 BILLION annually.  Can you imagine taking that money and feeding hungry people around the world??  That money could fill so many bellies....

Anytime sex is in a marriage and it is not between a husband and a wife, there are negative consequences.  The compare game starts, self satisfaction happens, and lust creeps in.  All of these things keep spouses from fully enjoying each other.

Consider this Scripture from Hebrews 13:4-Marriage should be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.

The Greek word for undefiled is defined as pure or unsoiled.

Our marriage bed is not pure when we bring anything other than our love and enjoyment of our spouse to it.  Yes, God allows for spouses to have fun and be creative.  But that is to be based on the enjoyment and connection of each other, not ideas seen or read in pornography.  If the ideas are from pornography, then they are not pure {undefiled}.

Let me say this with an open and honest heart - If you need any type of pornography to "get you in the mood" then something is not right in your marriage.

***As a woman, I can tell you that women do not want to be seen as objects.  We want to be seen for our minds, hearts, creativity, passions, etc.  However, when we are engaged in any type of pornography that is exactly what we are deducing ourselves to.***

Lastly, let me pour my heart out into our children.  My heart aches for children who are not afforded purity.  Please, please, please monitor what your children are watching, reading, and listening to.  Be an example to them.  Allow them to honestly ask questions about sex and then tell them the truth...that God created it and it is absolutely wonderful BUT it is only for a husband and a wife.  Tell them the truth about pornography.  A pure heart set right with God is a heart full of peace and joy.

Sex wasn't created for entertainment.  God created it to be more than beautiful and in the confines of a marital relationship only.

It is not too late to create sexual purity in your marriage and in your home. 

Praying for hearts and marriages to return to purity and joy-

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book recommendation to refocus a heart

A few months ago, I registered to run a half marathon in January.  I have run one before so I was aware of the amount of training that was involved.  I was excited to take on the challenge because I am two years past 40 and wanted to show myself that I could still do it.  I'm a bit competitive with myself!

Prior to beginning my training, I noticed that my knee would feel weird after a workout.  I ignored it {because that's what I do} and started my running training.  After runs, my knee would ache and feel tight, but after walking it out it would feel better. 

Almost two weeks ago as I was cooking dinner, I had a stabbing pain that stopped me in my tracks.  I had no choice but to listen to it.  Thankfully, my husband is a Physician Assistant and specializes in orthopedics.  When he came home, he examined it and told me I was slowly breaking my bone and I had to stop ALL activity for at least two to three weeks.  Not what these training for a half marathon ears wanted to hear!

I walked around that night focused on my knee.  I was silently feeling sorry for myself and wondering how in the world I was going to keep my training on course. 

As I layed in bed that night, I picked up a book I had ordered and began reading it.  God knew I was going to need that book that very day!

Product Details
To order this book, please click here.
The author of this book is a beautiful child of God.  She is battling terminal cancer, a mama to 4, a cherished wife, and a lover and truster of Jesus.  She had much to teach my inwardly focused heart. 
I could not put this book down.  In fact, I read it in a day and a half.  My heart aches for her, but I did not walk away in despair.  She approaches life and God in a way that brings hope and healing.  While her life story is not one she would choose, she embraces it and uses it to share the love of Jesus.  Yes, she cries and wishes she could raise her babies until her head is full of gray hair and she has spent many years on this earth.  But she knows that God's plans are perfect and she is confident that He will hold her loves as she relocates to her eternal home.
This book reminded me that it is not my knee, training for a half marathon, or anything else that brings pleasure that is important.  What matters is the love that we share with others, the time we spend with our loves, and the glory we bring to our Creator each and every minute we breathe on this earth.
When our focus is on Jesus, everything else falls perfectly in place.  We no longer look to people or things to shape our lives, we look to Him.  No diagnoses, messy house, unkind person, overall bad day, etc. can change who we are in Him and the promises He has for us.
I am grateful to Kara Tippitts for sharing her story and love for Jesus.  She is definitely a faithful servant.
It no longer matters if I run the half or not.  What matters is that I'm a child of Jesus.  He has given me a beautiful life to live.  It is not defined by anything but His love and my ability to share it openly and live life in abundance.  None of us knows how many breathes we have left, but we can be confident that Jesus is faithful and will take care of everything. 
May we be purposeful and leave our worries and fears at His feet.  May our trust in Him outweigh any fears or disappointments that we carry.
Wherever life finds you, may you always find yourself wrapped in His perfect love.
Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold on to the confession of hope without wavering.  For He that has promised is faithful.
Sending my love to all -

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Letters from my heart

Dear parents,

Our children are wonderful gifts from God.  {Psalm 127:3-Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.}  He entrusted us to raise them well, protect them, and teach them about His love and His ways.  All too often, I see you throwing your children to the wolves of the world.  Turning a blind eye to things so that you will not go against the grain or so your children will "fit in" only causes them harm.  Please teach them that their worth comes from JESUS alone.  It is not found in their clothes, acceptance from others, or if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Allowing them to go to parties where alcohol and people whom you know {or should know} are not good peers only sets them up for trouble.  Please open your eyes and cherish their futures.  Is it really worth sacrificing their sweet hearts to feel like the cool parent or the parent friend??  {Mark 9:42-Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.}

Dear people who look at the socioeconomic status of people rather than their hearts,

{1 Samuel 16:7-But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him.  Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.}  My heart breaks and becomes angry when I see you judge someone on what they possess materially.  Recently, you hurt a dear friend of mine because she didn't live in the neighborhood with the humongous houses.  How shallow.  My friend's heart is so big that I don't know how it stays in her sweet body.  You know what, it actually doesn't.  The love she shares with everyone around her is endless.  She can't help but give the love of Jesus away.  When you judge someone based on material possessions, you are losing out on wonderful people.  Does it really matter the car someone drives, their address, or what brand of clothes they wear??  I pray for you.  I don't pray in a way that causes anger to rise up out of me.  Rather I pray that you will soon know what true love feels like.  It must be so painful and lonely to live and only see the outside.  {Matthew 6:19-20 - Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal.}

Dear children of God who are striving daily to truly walk with Him and honor Him-

Truly walking with Jesus can completely change your life.  It is thrilling, refreshing, and so peaceful to trust in Him with all that you have every single day.  Yes, it can get lonely when you feel you are the only one truly trying to honor Him but don't give up.  He sees your faithfulness and obedience.  He looks at you and says, "Well done my good and faithful servant."   Continue to grow towards Him by reading your Bible daily, talking with Him throughout the day {prayer}, and honoring Him in all that you do, say, think, and choose for entertainment.  Each night when you lay your head down, may you know that you fought the good fight, finished your daily race honoring Him, and kept the faith {2 Timothy 4:7}.  Stand strong, dear friend!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scripture Study Printable-Week Three

To print the above card, click here.

Oh how I am loving memorizing and going deeper into Scripture with all of you.  I look so forward to Monday mornings when I begin placing a new love note from God in my heart.  I am so strengthened knowing that His Word is being etched on my heart and our relationship is growing even deeper.  I hope you are feeling as blessed as I am.

This week's Scripture deals with standing firm in our faith.  Standing firm takes action.  We must be proactive daily in our walk with Jesus.  This Scripture is not meant to discourage us, but rather encourage us.  We should be encouraged that when we stand firm in Jesus, He guarantees that we will not fall no matter what situation we are in.

To print the Scripture worksheet, please click here.

I hope you are encouraged this week as we learn to stand even taller with our sweet Jesus.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Facts About Me

I really enjoy reading posts that let me know the blogger a bit better.  So here are five facts about me that you may not know.  :)

1.}  During the week, my alarm goes off at 5:30am.  I love waking up before anyone else in my home and having quiet time.  I am an early bird for sure!

2.}  I really enjoy doing laundry and have set days that I get to do it.  I am not sure why I love it so much.  Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment?  Or maybe I'm just a weirdo! :)

3.}  I have tried numerous shampoos and conditioners over the years and I have FINALLY found the ones!  My hair has never looked more healthy and I have had lots of good hair days.  My true loves are Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner.

4.}  I love, love, love almond butter.  If it weren't for the calories, I could eat a whole jar in one sitting.  {Oops...I think I'm drooling!!}  I have a tablespoon on Ezekiel toast each morning and never grow tired of it.

5.}  My favorite city is New York City.  Ahh....just typing it makes me smile!!  I love the sights, the busy, the restaurants, the subway, the people, the shows, the shopping....I could go on and on!! :)

And my P.S. is .... I enjoy laughing and finding funnies in my day.  I get a kick out of making my husband laugh, especially when he's trying to fall asleep.  Is that mischievous of me?? ;)

I hope you all feel like you know me a bit better now-

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Phew...It's not about us

I have people in my life that just aren't very nice.  One minute they are friendly, and the next minute they are ouchy.  I refer to them in this way because when I walk away from them, I feel like I've been a big angry horse.

Can you relate??

Unfortunately, I can't extinguish these people from my life.  My family and I would have to move far, far away. 

Does anyone come to mind as you read this?  It's not a nice warm fuzzy feeling, is it?

When I think about these people, I can get grumpy.  My mood can literally be affected. 

I've been thinking about this a great deal lately.  My husband and I were talking about it the other night and discussing how people that are mean, passive aggressive, and selfish make those around them feel so dirty.  The people on the receiving end can walk away feeling so wounded and frustrated. 

We also discussed that the people are just not joyful people. How truly sad-

A dear friend and I got onto the subject today and really dug deep into it.  We decided that those people, and people like them, aren't really being mean to us.  Their hearts are suffocating in pain.  Nobody chooses to be mean.  They become that way because they have held on to hurts, insecurities, worth issues, traumas, etc. 

So often, people {me included!} look in a mirror rather than looking at the other person.  We feel the rejection and the sting and take it personally.  We focus on how it makes us feel rather than how the other person feels.

I am not saying we should ever allow ourselves to be treated badly.  I fully believe we should take up for ourselves.  Often times, that means stepping away from the situation.  If we must be around the person, we can excuse ourselves to a different area. 

As my friend and I were talking, I felt a big weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  While it doesn't feel nice to be around mean or passive aggressive people, it is not about ME or YOU.  It is totally about the people acting out.  It is about their feelings of pain, unworthiness, loneliness, etc.

This totally changed the game for me.  Yes, I have heard this many, many, many times before.  However, I had let my heart forget.  I held up a mirror and only recognized my hurts.  Shame on me.

When I consider the pain that weighs hearts down, it makes me ache for the people that often cause me to want to kick a wall.  My focus has changed and I can now realize that they need a good dose of Jesus.  They need to be reminded {or shown for the first time} that they are loved by a King.  He longs to carry their burdens and fill their hearts with His love.  He longs to show them the freedom that comes with His worth, not the world's hurts.

So....I am committing to pray for my ouchies.  The next time I have an ugly thought about them or cringe when I see them, I will immediately go to God.  I will pray for them to experience His peace and redemption.  I will pray that they fully trust in Him to take their hurts and live lives that honor Him.

I'm certain - because I'm human - that I will not be perfect at this.  Thankfully, Jesus doesn't want perfection.  He wants effort and He wants my heart to be focused on Him.  May He convict me every time my thoughts are negative and inwardly focused.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scripture Study Printables-Week Two

{To print this memory card, click here}

Our Scripture study this week is John 10:10.  I believe this verse is so important, especially with all of the scary things going on in our world and country.  Satan would love nothing more than to get us in such a tizzy that we fail to look to Jesus.  Jesus has promised us a life of abundance when we place our eyes and hearts on Him.

Jesus guarantees His loves a life full of abundance when we rid our hearts of lies and walk fully with Him.  I'm excited to see what God does to our hearts this week as we gather at His throne and become more confident of the lives He longs for us to have.

Won't you join me this week in memorizing this verse and integrating it fully in to our lives?  Oh the joy that comes from studying God's Word!

The printable study sheet involves a series of heart questions that will cause you to rid your heart of the thief's lies and grab fully on to the life Jesus desires for you.

{To print the worksheet, click here}

I hope you have started a folder for the worksheets so that you can easily refer to them.  Remember to keep the memory verse printable with you at all times.  The more you repeat it, the faster it will attach itself to your heart and mind.

Praying for all you to feel Christ's abundance this week.

In love-

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Standing up for Jesus

Something has been weighing on my heart so heavily lately but I haven't spoken or written much about it.  Honestly, I was afraid of offending people.  I pray each morning for Jesus to break my heart for what breaks His and I can tell you with confidence that He certainly has.

I have decided to take a stand for Jesus.  I am choosing to stand firm in my faith and my love for Him.  It's time to care more about offending Him than offending people. 

My stand is against the practice of homosexuality.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God's kingdom?  Do not be deceived:  No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom.

That's a pretty hefty list of sins, don't you think?

If you read through them, you will only find one that society celebrates and tells us we should tolerate.

In all of the sins listed I have only heard of parades, flags, Disney days, etc. for homosexuality. 

The definition of tolerance is "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own" {}

I have searched and searched the Bible and cannot find one single Scripture that tells me to have a permissive attitude towards a sin.  In all honesty, I don't think we are suppose to be ok with sin.  Doesn't that take away from Jesus dying for us?  Isn't it a slap in His face to sweep sin under the rug and tell Him to chill out about it? 

{Click here to read an article from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association about tolerance.}

I have, however, found numerous Scriptures that instruct me to love EVERYBODY. God has given me a heart filled with love for people.  If you know me personally, then you know I speak the truth.  I am the kind of person who will compliment (not flatter), help, and love all over someone regardless of color, socioeconomic class, etc.  In no way whatsoever am I calling for a rise up against people.  I am calling for a rise up against sin.  Those are two totally separate things.

Honestly, I completely believe those who call themselves Christians should be loving all over people who identify with homosexuality.  Aren't we suppose to be living lives that mirror Jesus?  We are suppose to be stepping out in society sharing His love with ALL people.  When we throw hate, we turn people away from Jesus. 

Recently I was asked, "You are a sinner.  Don't you want people to be tolerant of you?"  My answer was a definite NO.  I don't want people to be tolerant of my sins.  I want people to speak to me in love.  Love is not always fluffy and feel good.  Love is about truth and wanting what is best for a person.  If I am walking in sin, I want those around me to talk with me about it.  If I get mad, then the nasty sin of pride has reared it's ugly head.

I live in Houston, Texas and our mayor is openly gay.  In the past week, she has called for various pastors around our city to hand over any sermon notes/sermons that speak out against homosexuality or her.  If they do not, she will hold them in contempt of court.  {You can read about it here.}  Thankfully the pastors are not hiding behind closed doors, they are standing up knowing Jesus is right with them.  One in particular said that he has been called to speak the truths of Scripture, not cower to intimidation.  Good for him.

I'm standing up for Jesus and calling for prayer for those who are living in homosexuality.  As  Christians, it is time to get back to openly and honestly serving and loving Jesus.  We have to stand firm in our faith and our belief in the Scriptures.  If we truly believe the Bible is the Word of God, then we have to take Him at His word.  We can't treat the Bible like trail mix and pick and choose what feels good to us. 

Stand firm in love for Jesus and all people.  Are you willing to love Jesus and people enough to speak truths and not hide behind political correctness? 

How sure are you??

{To print this card, click here}
Are you confident that Jesus loves you?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt sure?

Lately I have heard more than a few people state that it is easy to pray for others, but when it comes to praying for themselves it is awkward and just doesn't feel right.

When I first heard people stating their trouble, I was troubled.  You see, I talk to Jesus all of the time.  I certainly don't think I'm better in any way-please hear me say that.  My heart aches for anyone who feels unworthy to be transparent with Jesus.

I began to ponder this because it was so heavy on my heart.  What causes someone to doubt their worth so much that he/she feels so uncomfortable asking his/her Maker for guidance, help, or just a shoulder to cry on?

What traumas have hearts received that have caused them to hide from the One who sees their beauty, potential, and worth?

I know exactly what traumas - they are called life.  Life can be paired with rejections, harsh words, loneliness, betrayals, etc.  These things lead straight to feelings of unworthiness.

We begin to walk with less spring in our step and put on protective gear.  We may smile and appear to have it all together, but our insides are crumbling. 

I can write all of this because this used to be me.  I can identify with feelings of great unworthiness and loneliness.  I can relate to feeling like Jesus doesn't see me with my head hung low and tears streaming down my face.

We believe the lie - You aren't worthy.  We buy into the if only statements.
  • If only I were a size_____.
  • If only my parents would have loved me.
  • If only I hadn't repeated the same sin over and over.
  • If only I didn't fall to sexual sin when I was younger.
  • If only my marriage hadn't ended in divorce.
  • If only I were able to have children.
  • If only my spouse loved me.
  • If only my spouse wouldn't have had an affair.
  • If only I hadn't lost my job.
I could keep this list going and going, but you get the picture.

So here's the thing -
God does NOT see us the way we see us.  He sees a beautiful person whom He planned before He created the world.  He loves you with a heart bigger than our human minds can imagine.  He turns His back on sin, but please hear me when I say -HE DOESN'T TURN OFF HIS LOVE.

Below I have listed Scriptures for you to think upon, pray upon, and store in your heart as truths.  If you struggle with your worth, please copy these and speak them over yourself often.  Jesus gives you His words to wash you in His love.  Take them in and become what they promise.

Isaiah 43:1 - Do not fear, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; You are Mine.

Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us {you}.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 46:5 - God is within her; she will not be toppled-

Hebrews 4:15-16 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

Lastly, I heard something from a Beth Moore teaching session that has changed my heart towards God's love for me.  She stated that when she talks to Jesus, she no longer says, "I love you" to Him.  She now says, "I love you too" because He first loved her.  Isn't that beautiful??  It has changed the way I know He sees me.  It confirms to me that He does love me. 

Look around at all He has placed before you and know that He did it just for YOU.

Sending you all my love through this post-

Monday, October 13, 2014

Printable Scripture Study-Week One

If you read my post earlier today, you saw that I am starting a Scripture study on my blog.  Each Monday I will provide a worksheet to help in the memorization of a particular verse.  You can click here to see that post.  I'm pretty excited about it!! :)

Click here to get the printable worksheet for week one. 

Here is what it looks like:

Scripture Study Printable-Week One

I think it is so important to study and memorize Scripture.  It helps us grow in our relationship with Christ.  Also, as we experience life, various Scriptures that we've attached to our hearts will come to mind.  They help us celebrate joys, encourage others, and walk through valleys. Scriptures have become so precious to me.

I want to share my love of Scriptures and provide a worksheet each Monday to help in the memorization and study of God's Word.  The worksheet will provide a Scripture and a series of questions so you can dig deeper into your heart and application of the verse.  I would suggest that you create a notebook so you can easily refer to the worksheets. I will also provide a printable with just the verse on it so you can keep it with you at all times. You can practice reciting the Scripture throughout the day until it has attached itself to memory.

The more we dig into God's Word and crave to know Him deeper, the more blessed our hearts are.  I am excited to begin this journey and I pray that our hearts move towards Him every week.

****I was so determined to get this posted today, yet I am having a ton of trouble trying to figure out how to turn it into a printable for you guys.  If you'll bear with me, I promise to get it right.  For this week, you will have to copy and paste it and then print it.  I apologize for the trouble, but I am beyond anxious to get this started!****

Scripture Study


Philippians 1:27 – Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Write it…


Pray it…{Ask Jesus to give you wisdom to live for Him completely.  Confess that you want Him to convict your heart of things in your life that aren’t worthy of Him.}


What ways can you apply this Scripture to your life?


What does it mean to live a life worthy of Jesus?


What things do you need to get rid of in order to fully live in a manner worthy of Jesus?


****END OF WEEK****

How did you feel Jesus speaking to you this week in regards to this verse?


This verse is meant to bring freedom, not condemnation.  As you move to a new week, continue to grow in freedom and walk in joy with Christ.


Write it from memory…


Write out a prayer…

Friday, October 10, 2014

I'm stepping out-

Our children look up to us to teach them how to do life.  Their little minds are grasping everything we do and say.  They are watching the world and watching what we do with it.  It is up to us to teach them about Jesus, not with words but with our lives.  These two things can be so contradictory.

It's not just our children who look to us.  If we refer to ourselves as Christians, there are many people who notice our every action, reaction, and words. 

Titus 2:3-5...Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and love their children, to be self controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered.

I often pray for Jesus to break my heart for what breaks His.  I want to be fully aware of the world I live in.  I don't want to just do this life easy, I want to do it right.  I want my children to rise up and call me blessed {Proverbs 31:28} and I want Jesus to look at me each day and say, "Well done my good and faithful servant" {Matthew 25:21}.

As I have prayed this prayer, I have noticed my heart opening to realities and tragedies that I once just glanced at.  As I have become more aware of life, I have become more aware of my children and those around me really watching me. 

Jesus has entrusted much to our hearts.  What will we do with the knowledge and wisdom? 

Many, many, many things of Jesus are not politically correct.  It's time to decide if we want to be politically correct or Jesus correct.

Yesterday I heard a radio talk show host discussing the fallout of Christians.  He stated that numerous people would rather fall in line with the norm rather than speak out for Jesus.  Sadly, I believe him and even more sadly I can say that I, too, have been a bystander in that line at times. Convict my heart Jesus-

The talk show host asked a question to his listeners that really struck a cord with me.  He asked, "If you knew you would die tomorrow, how would you truly honor Jesus today?"

Wow-that question caused me to dig deep and examine my day to day life.

So I'm stepping out.  I no longer want to live life safely.  I'm making a conscious decision to stand for Jesus in all that I do.  I no longer want to be quiet when I should be loud.

May my children and all those around me see the fire in me placed there by Jesus - always and forever. 

Won't you join me?  It's a wild and crazy ride, but so worth it to fully and truly know Jesus and live for Him.

Hebrews 10:22...Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith-



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In Defense of Beth Moore & Others

Zecharaih 7:9, 10b - Make fair decisions.  Show faithful love and compassion to one another.  Do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.

When our daughter was little, she would look up at us with her beautiful brown eyes and say, "I don't get it."  I loved those moments of innocence and trust.  She felt she could truly tell us when she didn't understand something.  There was no need for her to mask her confusion. 

I feel a bit like my daughter right now.  I just don't get ugliness, unkind words, and the joy some people get from hurting others.  It baffles me-

I certainly don't claim to never have hurt people.  I feel awful when I do and think about it for days. 

The thing that troubles me is when people hurt others knowingly.  Or when people use unkind words without regard to how it will cause others to feel.  I just don't get it-

I am currently involved in a Beth Moore Bible study.  As I was reading through my homework, I had a question that I wanted to research on the internet.  I typed in my question and was astounded at what appeared on my screen.

There were a number of websites speaking ugly about Beth Moore, her beliefs, and her overall style.  I was horrified and immediately my heart felt badly for her.  Many of the articles, blogs, etc. were written by people who claimed to be Christians.  {I have no way of knowing someone's true heart.  That, thankfully, is between the person and God.  However, I used the word "claimed" because someone who is truly trying with all of their might to live for Christ does not purposely use spiteful, mean words.}

Here's the thing - I do get a great deal from Beth Moore studies.  I can relate to her passion and love.  However, that is not why I am so extremely bothered by this.  I am bothered because when did it become ok to trash another person??

I get not agreeing with someone.  That is a personal opinion.  What I don't get is the crude manner in which these words were written.  There are a number of Christian teachers I do not relate with.  I am not a fan of their teaching styles, etc.  But why on earth would I write about it??  What purpose would that serve??

Isn't it just internet gossip??

This whole thing started my brain on a journey of thinking how common this can be.  So many examples popped in to my mind. 

Recently, I was checking Facebook and came across a post of someone bashing someone in our community.  The name was not used, but the exact moment was shared.  Sadly, there were many comments in support of the post-er.  I couldn't help but think how mean it was.  What purpose did it serve??

Just this morning I was looking on Pinterest for a recipe I had pinned.  I was going to throw it in my crockpot and began reading through the recipe.  It was pinned from a blog and the woman that wrote the blog had edited the post and added that she was horrified at all of the nasty comments that came in over the recipe.  It was for Jambalaya for goodness sakes!!  Apparently, people were bashing her because the recipe was too watery and true Jambalaya is not.  Seriously!?  What purpose did the rude comments serve??

One year, someone I know received a birthday card in the mail.  The family that received it had  recently begun eating even healthier than usual.  The card was so rude and passive aggressive that it was unreal.  It had Jesus on the front and His disciples making fun of various forms of healthy food.  On the inside it stated, "Stay away from haters" or something to that effect.  Again...what purpose did it serve??

Words, whether written or spoken, can really hurt someone.  I think we must think before we speak or write something.  The basic question we must ask ourselves is - Does this help or hurt?

If there is ANY chance at all that it will harm someone don't say it, write it, or send it in a card. 

We have to examine our hearts and our purpose.  If our purpose is not lined up with Jesus, we should not do it.  Period!

Matthew 15:18 - But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart -

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rules of Dating

***In no way do I mean to offend anyone with this post.  My husband and I are adamant about the rules of dating in our home and I wanted to share them with you all.  We have seen them work in very positive ways.  If your rules are different than ours, I respect that and I hope you will respect ours too.  :)***

Homecoming season is upon us.  This means themed school days, mums galore, and the homecoming dance. 

It seems the biggest question facing the kids is, "Who are you going with to the homecoming dance?"

Our daughter is a freshman and 14 years old.  She is going with friends to the dance per her wishes and, more importantly, our rules of dating.

You see, she is not allowed to have a date...period.  My husband has set rules in regards to dating and I stand behind him 100%.

My husband believes that our daughter is a gift from God and he is to honor God in raising her.  As her father he is to love her, protect her, teach her how to be treated, set boundaries, and teach her where her worth comes from.

She is worthy because she is a child of God.  Her dad has taught her this from a very young age.  He has treated me with respect and loved me as a woman should be loved.  He has set boundaries and led our children in the ways of the Lord.  He has never been concerned with what is right in the world, but rather what is right in God's eyes.  I have never seen him falter from that. 

We truly believe that children must learn who they are in Jesus before dating.  They must learn that they are funny, smart, gifted, talented, and exactly who God created them to be.  They need to learn to live for God and please Him before they date.  They need to be confident in themselves.  When a person is fully confident in who he or she is, he or she will be less likely to compromise the values learned.  They will be less likely to go along with something to please someone else.  Confident people are more likely to stand their ground and be leaders rather than following the crowd just to fit in. 

Our children are not allowed to date until they are at least 16 (or older if we feel they still are not ready).  Once they are 16, they are not to be alone with the date.  Our view is why set them up for temptation? 

Our children have never argued or fussed about our rules.  As a matter of fact, our daughter feels so loved and protected by her father.  She knows that she is loved greatly.  She is one of the most secure girls I have ever known.  She is sure of who she is and is not afraid to be who God created her to be.  Her worth is not defined by boys, friends, successes, or failures.  Her worth is defined by Jesus.

Sadly, I have heard some girls her age say they have to have a date.  I know firsthand of a couple who actually pursued boys to get them to ask them to the dance.  My heart aches for these girls.  It is so sad to me that they feel they have to have dates.  Why is that??  Is this where it all begins?  The girls who have to have dates grow up to be women who will do whatever it takes to get a man to notice them.  The girls whose worth comes from male attention grow up to be lonely women.  I can't help but wonder, where are their parents??  Are they so concerned with keeping up with the world's standards that they will sacrifice the spiritual and emotional health of their child?  I'm not judging, I'm hurting for these kids.  When I hear these girls, I want to pull them aside and tell them they are worthy because they belong to Jesus...period.

Our son, who just started college, lived with the same rules.  He never once complained.  He, too, knew he was loved and protected.  He is so secure in who he is.  He is involved in 2 Christian clubs at his University.  He is actually a leader in one of the clubs.  He is also very involved in the student Republicans club.  He doesn't define himself by if he has a girlfriend or a date.  He defines himself by Jesus.  He strives to live a life that honors God.  Because of the rules we have set, his standards are extremely high.  The girls he has taken on dates have been wonderful girls.  They have come from families like ours.  It is wonderful to see him attracted to girls who have dads who love and protect them too. 

Proverbs 22:6 - Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

May we answer to God in all of our parenting choices.  The verse my husband and I are memorizing this week comes from Philippians and it is fitting for this post.

Philippians 1:27 - Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Happy parenting my friends-

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Are you forgiven by you?

A couple of weeks ago, I had to have a medical test done.  I was really nervous about it.  I had noticed some changes with my body and was prepared for bad news.  I know that I am getting older and my body is no longer 20ish, but I was concerned that my changes weren't normal. 

My husband and I talked about the possibility of bad news and I knew he would stand by me no matter what.  More importantly, I knew Jesus would hold my hand no matter what.

After the test was finished, I called my mom and started to cry.  We talked about my fear and what it meant. 

We got down to the heart of the matter...

As I voiced what was holding me in chains, my mom said something I hadn't really given much thought to.

You see, I told my mom that so many people get sick and what made me not get sick.  I haven't always been a Jesus following girl and I realized that deep down I thought I deserved an illness.  I thought because of bad choices, I should get sick. 

The funny thing is, when others get sick I NEVER think they brought it on themselves.  And I NEVER think that God is punishing them.  However, I thought deep down that I should be punished by being struck with an illness.

My mom quietly said, "You know that Jesus has forgiven you. You live like He has.  However, you haven't forgiven yourself."

Oh, my goodness....she was so right.  The thing is, I didn't even realize I hadn't forgiven myself.  I still quietly believed I deserved something bad to happen.  I guess it was my normal-

I started to really think and pray about it. 

How could my Savior totally forget and forgive me for ALL of my sins, yet I couldn't forgive myself??

Why was I still punishing myself when He was loving all over me??

I realized that I was putting myself and my judgement above Jesus's.  As I thought about it I heard, "Are your ways higher than my ways?"

No Lord, they are not.

It's amazing that I was still hanging onto the junk that Jesus threw out long ago.  How many times has He tried to pry it from my hands and I hung on??

I've decided to open my palms and hand it over.  It may take more than once, but I am confident that every time I try to dig it up, He will grab it from me and toss it over His shoulder.  He's like that you know.  He's patient beyond anything we can wrap our minds around.  He won't ever say, "Well that's it!  I have tried and tried to show this girl I forgive her.  Never mind if she's going to be that way!"

Jesus stands beside us and lovingly shows us His faithfulness again - and again - and again - and again. 

Are there things in your life that you are holding on to?  Are you finding it hard to forgive yourself? 

I completely get it and understand.  But way more importantly, Jesus totally gets it, understands, and is standing beside you waiting for you to hand it to Him so He can dispose of it for good. 

Open your palms and give it to Him.  Rest in His love for you and know that He wants you to look ahead to a life of freedom and peace.

 Oh and by the way - my test came back clear.  My husband brought home cake balls that night to celebrate.