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When our Travel Companions are Children

19 Jun

Yesterday I began sharing how I have learned several truths from our “reality break”.  I would like to continue on that journey by looking at how our travel companions bless us.  First, lets look at children.  Now keep in mind I have 5 children, four of which are teenagers.  I can tell you there have been times when I didn’t feel blessed as well as times that my heart felt like it was going to burst wide open because of how blessed I felt.  Let’s break it down:

HOW ARE CHILDREN BLESSINGS?

It seems clear that God declares all children to be blessings from Him to us.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Ps 127:3-5 (NAS)

We can take this by faith, but it may be helpful to contemplate just how children bless us. Following are few of the ways children often are, or should be, blessings to their parents.

1. Enjoyment and entertainment. When they are small, they are so cute, so fun to play with, so gratifying to watch as they grow and learn. They can provide endless hours of enjoyment if we are willing to take the time.  As they grow and mature, we find entertainment in their personalities – in the “child-like” questions/statements that result in their trying to process their knowledge/experience.

2. Teaching us love, self-sacrifice, discipline, self-control, gentleness, and patience. God can use children so effectively to mature us and help us to develop godly character. God wants to share His attributes & character with us.  What better classroom does God have to teach these things than a home with children to be raised? We can and will appreciate Him as our “Father” (Parent) when we accept the challenge of seeing our children as a gift and blessing.  This is another opportunity for us to learn and demonstrate God’s character within us.

3. The blessing of the love and trust of a child. The love and trust of a small child is so precious and can have such an effect in softening and keeping our hearts softened. When after a long day or trying event, your teenage son or daughter gives you a hug and kiss on the cheek – nothing moves your heart like that.  Unconditional love – how cool is that?

4. Assistance with our work. Children properly taught can be a big help around the household as young as 6 or 7 years of age. And as they get older, their abilities multiply, making their help even more valuable. Older children can handle nearly all household tasks, can be a big help in caring for younger siblings and can help with animals, a garden, etc.  Teaching your children to work alongside you aids greatly in their instruction and discipleship. Children should have the opportunity to become contributing members of the household, both for their sakes and yours.

5. Assistance in later life. When we are old and less capable of doing for ourselves, our children (and grandchildren) can and should be a huge help in a great many ways (just as we should also be to our parents and grandparents). Sometimes just having a grown child who sometimes visits or calls or writes makes all the difference in the life of an elderly person. When one becomes old and feeble, ones children, grandchildren and great grand children may become the primary reason for continuing to live.

6. Enlarging our impact on this world. Even as God associated being fruitful with the ability to subdue and rule over the earth (Gen 1:28), so our children, grandchildren, and later descendents extend our reach far beyond what we in ourselves could accomplish. With each child we have the priceless opportunity to teach and train that child for about 20 years. And even afterwards we can continue to influence and instruct and assist our children in some things through the rest of our lives. Even one child well raised can have a mighty impact for God.

Children are a blessing from God period.  God intends children to be blessings but sometimes we parents may not receive the child as such and may raise the child in a way that prevents the child from being much of a blessing to them or anyone else. It is your choice whether to accept the child as the blessing God intended.

How do you choose to view your travel companion?

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Repeat That Again…

21 Mar

During the time of one of our breaks, I wandered off in search of….I don’t know what.  Have you ever been like that?  Like you go into the kitchen and you open the refrigerator and look.  You don’t know what you are looking for but you just know, that you know, that you know that you are looking for something.  You will know what it is when you find it.  Can you relate?

Well, I’m walking around, my thought closet is pretty full from the water fountain and low and below THERE IT IS!  A group of boulders – they were huge!  This is one of the things that freak me out about California.  These absolutely HUGE rocks!  Nowhere in my life have I ever seen such huge, gi-normous rocks.  Some are bigger than houses! 

Now mind you, I did study geography in school.  It just never occurred to me that the Rocky Mountains were called that because of THE ROCKS!!  (Let’s just keep that to ourselves – shall we??)

Well, I’m standing face to face with these boulders and I’m in awe.  This southern belle is at a loss for words – CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!?!?!?!?  Then I see Ezekiel 11:19 written on a sign nearby, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Do you ever wonder why God repeats things?  I do – IT’s ME!!  You see there are times when I don’t get it – I don’t hear it right the first time – or I completely miss it all together.  Our God is so faithful that He knows this about all of us, so He allows us to hear it again and again.  He allows us to grow a little bit at a time.  This was one of those moments.

You see, God knew that I was impressed with the fountain.  I saw my hardness and coldness for what it was.  None, we needed to dig deeper – to the heart of the matter.  What is the condition of my heart?  Is it as hard and as unmoving as this stone?  I stood there and took inventory.  I reflected on Ezekiel 11:19 again.  Fleshing it out, God shares that He will give THEM an undivided heart and put a new spirit in THEM.  He will remove from ALL the hardness of heart.

That’s what I needed.  That is what I still need.  Friend, it is what you need too.  God does not want us divided.  He does not want our hearts to be divided.  For those of you that have children, think about how much it pains you when your children are divided – not speaking – having hurt one another.  Now, see yourself and those that you are divided with as God’s children.  Do you feel his hurt?

I then understand that I can’t hide from those that hurt me in the past.  I now regret that my past church didn’t attend this weekend.  It really doesn’t matter what was said in the past – yes it hurt – but more importantly, we need not to remain divided.

God wants to remove that heart of stone FROM ALL OF US.  He wants us undivided.  Let’s grab our sledgehammers and start pounding away!  Let’s cherish the heart of flesh within us.

I’m willing – are you?

Tomorrow, more truth about the water – the trickle, the moving and the overflowing.

Ready to become drenched???

 

White as Snow…

7 Mar

Last Saturday it snowed in Ramona.  If you have heard lyrics to the song “It never rains in Southern California” then you know having it snow is a REALLY big deal!  My children were so excited!  The last time it snowed at our house was when we lived in North Carolina in 2001.  It was midnight and they were outside making snowmen and having snowball fights.  Yes, I joined in the fun too!

The next morning I awoke to a peaceful serene snow covered view.  Our yard, cars, and trees – everything was picturesque.  The mountains in the distant were snowcapped – it was breathtaking.  Then I looked over to our trash cans and refuge area.  It was not the ugly stinky area that it normally was.  The area that is and has been an eye sore (because when is trash EVER pretty!?) didn’t look the same.  It was not an embarrassment to me.  It looked just like everything around it and unless you knew what it was before the snow, you would not even know what it was now.  In fact, it was beautiful!  As I stood there, reveling in its beauty, I thought back on my life.  There were times when I chose to put myself in stinky situations.  There were times when I hung out with the trash.  There were events in my life that were indeed an eyesore and reason for embarrassment.

Then I met someone who changed all of that.  I am happy to report that He came into my life and covered all of that nastiness with beauty.  In fact, unless you knew me during that time in my life, you wouldn’t even know who I was then.  I am beautiful.  Not because of any external change.  Not because of anything that I have done.  But because of the One that I found that made me and all that I had done “White as Snow”

Are there things in your life that need to be covered up?  Are there decisions and/or choices that you have made that are in need of being made beautiful?  You do not need to spend another moment feeling like an eyesore and or being embarrassed.  My friend wants to do for you what He did for me.  Even if you don’t think YOU CAN, maybe even too bad to be covered up.  He says to you today, “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

He wants to discuss your decisions, choices and past with you.

He wants to settle this matter today!

Go ahead; let him make you white as snow!

What Are You Focused On?

23 Feb

I had a conversation with someone who shared with me that there were people in their life that verbally tore them down.  Earlier this week I had a friend who shared that her child was experiencing the same thing in school.  At times we have all had someone in our life that has tried to convince us that we were something that we were not.  As a result our “identity” may have been accepted as: stupid, a bitch, slow, klutz, dumb, slut, being a player, idiot…the list could go on and on.

I would like to share with you a truth that I discovered when I had to overcome the challenges of the “identity” that began for me as a teenager.  My looks were a constant cause for teasing as a teen.  There was this one boy that several times a day picked on a certain aspect of my looks – as a young, impressionable teen – my self-esteem plummeted.  I made very poor choices as a result.

As a young adult I still carried with me that “identity” of low self esteem, thinking that I was only as important as what others thought of me.  Then one day, I discovered Philippians 4:8 which reads, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Talk about a revelation! I remember looking in the mirror and saying to myself, “That is NOT true” and in that moment, I began to change.  When negative thoughts about myself whispered in my ear or even if someone around me said something “off” then I took the scripture above and dissected it.

Using Philippians 4:8 above, it reads we are to think about what is:

True – Conforming to reality or fact

Noble –Of High Rank or Magnificent

Right–Correct or in good position

Pure–Being that and nothing else; absolute

Lovely–Charming

Admirable–Worthy of Admiration

Excellent– Remarkably good

Praiseworthy–Deserving of Praise

If someone would call you an “idiot” or “bitch” don’t automatically accept it as true or part of your “identity”.  The definition of an “idiot” is one who is incapable of learning.  The definition of a “bitch” is a female dog.  Using Philippians, Is this “true”?  Are you incapable of learning?  Are you literally a female dog?  NO!!  You are not.  So is it “Right”?  Is it “Lovely”? Again, the answer is NO!!  Mediating on it, thinking about it or accepting it as your identity is false – it’s a lie.

So, what do we do next? “If anything is _______, think about such things.”

Therefore the answer is: Do not dwell on it.  Don’t think about it.  Don’t open it up.  Instead focus on these things: What IS true, right, lovely, and worthy to be praised about you?  Once you answer that, you will be amazed at how quickly the “real” you will be revealed.