Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trials...Overcome or Overcoming?

While currently studying James at church, we've been discussing trials/tests/temptations and what that all means to the believer. Every human being alive will at some time face trials. If we haven't yet, we will soon. We are always faced with the choice to give into sinful temptations (be overcome) of resentment and unforgiveness during our trial or to praise God (overcoming) for allowing Him to grow our faith. Here's the's not the circumstances or how others treat us that determines how our lives will turn out. It's how I RESPOND to it/them. Circumstances and people do not have the power to control me and make me the victim. Understanding that I allow myself to be a victim helps me to grasp that God's grace is sufficient for all my circumstances. That realization helps me to rise above and move beyond what is happening to me, to let go of those people who are hurting me and to let the power of the Spirit wash over my responses. By choosing grace, I choose freedom! "I do not have to be a victim or a prisoner of circumstances or people that have hurt me. By God's grace, I can walk in peace, wholeness and joy, even in the midst of the tribulations of this world."- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Friday, January 18, 2013


The year 2012 passed by in a blur. A whole year gone without one new blog. It's time to get back to it. So much happened in that year. In January, we moved out of our house of 15 years. Because it sold so fast, we moved into my mom's house in Tipp City while she was wintering in AZ. We lived there for 3 months before moving into a rental house in Pleasant Hill the end of March. We built a new house in Troy and moved into it the middle of August. We love living closer to town and having less outside maintenance. I did not want to enter the latter half of my life with being tied to material things. My goal is to be able to speak into other people's lives and have time for those who need me, (think granddaughters). Speaking of, we had another granddaughter (Baylie Logan) born in August. Sweetness. I love taking care of them 2 days a week while their mother is in school. It is satisfying to be in a place where I can be at home and available. Nicole graduated with her master's degree in social work in May and is living at home until she can find a job in that field. It's exciting to see growth and her passion for those who are victims and need someone to intercede for them. That's Nicole! Colin and Paige got married in November. What fun to have another daughter. She's the sweetest thing ever. Far too sweet for our outspoken, loud family. They are busy being in love and setting up their new home. Brooke...ahhh Brooke. So many years of praying, despair, praying, interceding, praying, begging, get the picture. She was running from God as fast as she could, but we can never outrun God. He finally got a hold of her at True Woman in September. She confessed, repented and submitted to Him as Lord of her heart and life. What a joy it has been to see her growing in holiness. You know, it's times like those that make you question what went wrong as a parent, but just like we can't take credit for their salvation, we can't take blame for their sinful choices. And prayer? It works! She was excited to share her faith publicly by baptism on January 6, 2012. Laina has grown into a young lady overnight. She got rid of her braces and started wearing contacts, all of which dramatically changes her looks. She does her school faithfully and works part time at Culvers. My prayer for the coming year? That my time spent with God would be because I delight in Him and not to get a task crossed off my daily list. That my responses to the inevitable life situations would bring glory to God. That I would be quicker to seek forgiveness and to grant forgiveness. Thankfully...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Give Them Wings

As a mother of adult/semi-adult children, I have already released some of my kids and have more on the verge of flying. When I realize these aren't my children (God has only loaned them to me for a time), it makes it easier to let them go. It is especially encouraging to see them making wise and good choices, to see them bearing fruit. It is also just as devastating to watch when those choices are sinful; I want to protect them from the consequences that are sure to follow.

So, how do I give them wings?

It is a fact; children will face hardships and trials. How can I, as a Mom, help them to face life with strength?

They watch how I deal with difficult circumstances. When I face situations with despair and much hand-wringing, I am teaching them to do the same. Kids are very "in tune" with my reactions. Digging into God's Word on a daily basis, praying and seeking God's wisdom will help me to glorify God even in the hard times and leave a lasting impression on my children.

It is not helping my children to sugar-coat life for them. If there is a situation happening, they can sense something is going on. I need to share with them information that is appropriate to their age and discuss tough times with them. Showing them in a practical way how Godly people deal with life's circumstances will prepare them for the future.

My kids need to learn problem-solving skills. It is my instinct to want to protect them from troubles or to stay in control by making decisions for them, but it is in their best interest to let them go through stress and to learn how to make wise choices. I am not equipping them for the future when I jump in and solve their issues. One very practical aspect of this is when they are having squabbles between themselves. They need to learn how to apply Matthew 18 and to know how Christians solve their issues. My job is to be there reassuring them of my love and support.

When I show my kids how to love and care for other people, it will probably make their problems look less dramatic. There is always someone who is going through more than we are. Those are opportunities to show them that often-times God is seen most clearly in the valleys of life. Learning to cope with adversity in a God-honoring way, will help them grow into mature and capable adults.

I have prayed more in the last several years than all my preceding years put together. Because the truth is, God loves these children more than I can imagine. It is His will that they serve and glorify Him. And so, I turn them over to Him through prayer over and over again.

With the power of the Holy Spirit, I give them wings...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Psalm 77: 1-15

I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and He will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.

You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years long ago.
I said, "Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart."
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
"Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?"

Then I said, "I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High."

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.

The title of this Psalm in my Bible is "In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord". Where else can people go but to the Lord when there is trouble. How hopeless my life would be without Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I found great solace in the Psalms and other portions of Scripture today. I know, because of His Word, that His steadfast love and His promises last forever to those who call upon Him.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

True Repentance

Repent: to feel such sorrow for sin as to be disposed to turn away from it.

In Acts 26:20, Luke is recording Paul's conversion to following Christ and his subsequent call to others "that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance". John the Baptist uses similar words in Matthew 3:8, "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance". (also found in Luke 3:8)

What does "performing deeds in keeping with repentance" mean?

True repentance means that our lives will no longer be dominated by sin. As Christians, we will still sin, but it will not control and direct our lives. As unbelievers, we have no way to repent unless we are chosen and called by God and convicted by the Holy Spirit. As moral beings, we may be sorry for some things we've done and have regrets, but that is not repentance.

The evidence of true repentance will be godly sorrow. A false repentance may very well understand the destruction that sin can cause, but if their happiness depends on continuation of this sin, they will persist in embracing it.

True repentance understands how God views sin, how detestable sin is and how deserving of eternal death. When we view our sin in relation to God, it should cause us to weep and to hate the effects of it. For the believer, it is truly an amazing thing to know God can and does forgive sin. True repentance causes us to dwell, not on the fact that we are saved, but that we are not condemned. Humility is a key component in the truly repentant.

What does genuine repentance look like?

First, there will be a conscious choice to turn away from sin. You will know that "the old has passed away; behold the new has come". The desire to continue in sin will be gone. Not out of fear of punishment, but because you genuinely hate sin.

Second, Godly repentance will produce a change in behavior. It will lead to confession and the desire to make things right. Conviction about wrong behavior is only part of the equation. Seeking restoration and attempting to undo the wrongs that have been done are evidences of true repentance.

Third, true repentance will be evidenced in a changed person. The new person can never go back and be the old person again. Perseverance towards heaven will be assured.

What does false repentance look like?

First, they may sorrow over sin, but only because of the havoc it has caused, only because their happiness has been interrupted. They may be afraid of being found out and being disgraced. They may be sorry for that they have done because of the effects on other people. Feelings of remorse and being sorry are not repentance because those feelings are based on selfish motives.

Second, ungodly repentance leaves the will to sin and the condition of the heart unchanged. They will try to hide their past with lies and excuses, covering up with apologies and trying to smooth things over. There will be a constant attempt to cover up sin. There will not be an open-hearted, unreserved, unashamed, genuine, undisguised honesty. Worldly sorrow will be present, but not a godly sorrow.

Third, there will be an incomplete change in conduct. What has changed will only be temporary.

Back to the question, what are deeds in keeping with repentance?

I believe it is biblical conduct that shows a reformed heart, the evidence of sincerity. Just like we can tell what kind of tree it is by the fruit it produces, so true repentance is evident by Godly conduct. WE cannot say we are sorry for our sins, but do nothing to change our lives. Our life will now confirm the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This visible fruit of the Spirit will be seen in a life that is lived righteous and holy, a life that becomes more and more like Jesus Christ.

Genuine repentance produces change! Genuine repentance produces humility, begs forgiveness, makes up no excuses and rights wrongs. Confession, repentance and bearing fruit are the natural out-pourings of true faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We cannot be transformed into His image until we get real about wanting God to change us and make us like Jesus.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Facebook Fling

I am in a love/hate relationship with facebook. I love certain aspects of it, but hate others.

I love being able to stay in touch and keep up with my friends (which, by the way, is not necessarily everyone who is my "friend"), to see photos of people I love (which, by the way, is not everyone who is my "friend") and reconnecting with high school chums. Those are things I love about facebook.

I hate it that people can (and do) use it as a means of hurting other people. They post veiled comments, "innocent" innuendos as status updates and/or outright provocation. I hate the ease of being able to write the first thing that pops into my head without stopping to examine my heart for motive or realizing the consequences of what I've just said to hundreds of people. Some things can "look" so innocent, but knowing the background changes everything.

I truly wonder if I realize that James 3:5-15 refers to not only what comes out of my mouth, but what also comes out of my fingers. What I write can bless my Lord and Father and it can also curse the people who are made in His likeness. The things I say (in writing) reflect my character and thus my heart.

And so...I'm trying to figure out how to use facebook without a) hurting someone and b) getting hurt.

Thus, my minimal usage in the last couple months.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teens in the Home

I recently read a statistic that said 33% of parents say they sometimes have major disagreements with their kids. 33%? Seriously? I would have expected that number to be a lot higher. I concluded that the remaining 67% are either disconnected from their teenagers (i.e., don't care, no guidelines), or they are super-controlling, or their kids are adept at lying or hiding.

I confess...I hate verbal confrontation and will sometimes ignore things to avoid it. I know that avoidance is not the answer and is not the biblical way to parent. Conflict is a part of life and if I avoid it with my kids, I am not teaching them how to handle issues biblically. Verbal disagreements are one way of telling my kids that it's ok for them to have their own thoughts and feelings and even to express them. It can be a teaching tool for how to do that with respect and honor. And that I will love them no matter what.

There does come a time when the old "because I'm the mom, that's why" is no longer effective. If I can remember a few practical steps for having a disagreement with one of my teenagers, I can avoid some of the minefields of living with teens.

1. Establish boundaries before or after the conflict, not in the middle of it. Assure them that it's normal to feel differently than me about certain issues, but that we both have to honor & respect each other even in disagreements. They need to know that ultimately, I, as the parent, will be held accountable before God.

2. Don't take everything that comes out my kids' mouths personally. They are trying to establish their own identities. Give them some room to do that, keeping in mind the boundary of honor & respect.

3. Remain calm- no matter what! Do NOT holler back at them. *sigh* This is most definitely my biggest area of failure. Many times I've looked back at a conflict and realized the ridiculousness of verbal volleying with one of my kids. My teens really need me to be stable. They WILL try to push my buttons. It's always best if I spend more time listening than talking.

4. Be willing to compromise if the issue is negotiable, but stand my ground if it is not. Think biblical non-negotiables.

5. If the conflict is too heated, it's best to both walk away for a time.

6. Never, ever, EVER react to anything that comes out of their mouths. Sometimes they just want to test me. I'm getting quite good at non-reacting. :)

7. After the conflict, make sure my teenager knows how very much I love them.

8. Don't bring up every issue that annoys me. Stick to the subject at hand.

9. Do not use words such as, "always", "never", etc.

10. Do not ever, EVER compare kids! EVER!

One of the most powerful parenting tools I have is my relationship with my kids. I think deep down inside, my children want me to be their parent not their friend. The friend thing will come later, if I've handled the conflicts in a God-honoring way.

The part of having teens in the home that I really enjoy is being able to have adult conversations with them, to volley ideas back and forth and to discuss biblical ideas and where they are at spiritually. They are a real joy!