Category: Be Still

Does your pride keep you from loving well?

Does your pride keep you from loving well?

Oh, pride.   The word in itself has so many different meanings.  We take pride in our country.  We pride ourselves on our accomplishments.  I’m proud of my children when they meet their goals.  I’m proud of the hard work I put into that project.  I’m too proud to admit that I let my children’s behavior dictate my feelings toward them sometimes.  I was too proud to admit I was wrong in an argument with my husband.  My pride keeps me from humbling myself and letting God work in my heart.

 

While feeling proud of hard work or an accomplish may seem innocent enough, I have found that many times I let that feeling of being proud turn into arrogant pride.  I took credit for the things that God accomplished.  You see, I now know good and well that I would never have been able to accomplish some of the things I have without Him.

 

Is your pride keeping you from loving others well? Jump into this 30-day Scripture writing plan and let God do His refining work in your heart!

 

My career has been a perfect example of this.  Several years ago, I taught middle school English.  I was a good teacher.  I knew it.  My data proved it.  I received the affirmations from my students and my administration.  Other teachers were sent to my classroom to see how they should be running their classrooms.  Oh gracious me… I found myself in such a heaping pile of pride that I couldn’t see straight.  I can see now how much damage and hurt I caused the teachers around me.  My friends.  I was absolutely not giving God credit for the great things happening in my classroom.  Sure, I acknowledged that He gave me gifts as a teacher, but it was MY doing that increased those students scores.  It was MY doing that the administration applauded my accomplishments.  Those other teachers should be doing things MY way.

 

Thankfully, God has done some bigtime work in changing my heart.  And if I’m brutally honest, it hurt.  I was humbled…. rather, my pride humiliated me.  True humility came later.  And it’s still an area where I’m still being refined.

 

In Luke 18:9-14, we read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Then, Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness ans scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray.  One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank You, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers.  I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give You a tenth of my income.’ 

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed.  Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

Oh how I’ve been that Pharisee.  How I’ve judged and exalted myself above others.  By the grace of God, I can see how He’s working in me.  I hate my pride.  I pray regularly for Him to continue to humble my heart so I can love those around me.  I’m so thankful that God is a redeeming and faithful God.

Is your pride keeping you from loving others well?  Jump into this 30-day Scripture writing plan and let God do His refining work in your heart!

Starting on August 1, I challenge each of you to work through this Scripture-writing plan over pride.  I pray that God will move mountains to remove these hearts of stone that we hold on to.  I pray that we will humble ourselves to see where our pride has damaged relationships.  I pray that we will see where where we can love instead of judge.

 

Please join us.  I’ll be posting over in our Gather & Dwell Facebook group.  We’ll continue the conversation, pray for each other, and encourage each other as God does His refining and redeeming work in our hearts.  I’m so excited to see where He leads us through this next month!

 


 

 

 

20 Psalms for Your Prayer Time

20 Psalms for Your Prayer Time

Happy Thursday!  I’ve received a few messages that some of you are waiting on the Write the Word plan for July.  First, I’d like to say that I am beyond thrilled that you all are enjoying those and that they are blessing you.  They are so fun to write and I love spending that intentional time each morning with the Lord.  I’m glad they are serving you in that same way!  With that being said, the next plan will be published at the end of this month, for a start date of August 1.  For the month of July, I have something else for each of you!

 

A few years ago, a sweet friend of mine made prayer rings for each lady in our small group.  They were simple rings of index cards that she tabbed with each category of prayer.  Many of us use the ACTS model of prayer, so she included Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  Each of us used these rings in our own way, and they were such an incredible impact for our prayer lives.

 

In my prayer ring, I wrote verses for each of the categories.  As I’m in my prayer time, I would pray through a verse or two from each category as I added my own prayers.  I found that praying a verse first helped focus my mind on what exactly it was that I was praying.  I mean, let’s be honest… our minds tend to wander as we pray (at least mine does).  Side note: I’ve been of the mindset that we should not let ourselves feel guilty or shame over a wandering mind.  Often, those are the very things that we should be handing over to God in prayer instead of dwelling on it ourselves.

 

So today I’m starting you off with your own set of verses!  I’m giving you five Psalms for each category.  If you create your own prayer rings, I would encourage you to add to this list as you pray.  As you come across a verse that you love, jot it down and pray over it!  Also, if you would like to share the verses you find, please use #praytheword and we can all bless each other!

 

Looking to be more intentional in your prayer time? #PraytheWord with these Psalms each morning!

 

 

A ~ Adoration 

During a time of adoration, praise God for who He is.  This is not about you, but all about Him.  As I’m praying these, I love to listen to hymns or a favorite worship song.

 

Psalm 52:9 ~ I will praise You forever for what You have done.  In the presence of Your faithful people, I will put my hope in Your name, for it is good.

 

Psalm 63:5 ~ You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth with praise You with joyful lips.

 

Psalm 139:13-14 ~ For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.

 

Psalm 96:1 ~ Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to Yahweh, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day.

 

Psalm 135:3 ~ Praise Yahweh, for Yahweh is good; sing praise to His name, for it is delightful.

 

C ~ Confession

During a time of confession, get humble and be real about where you have fallen short.  I have a series of questions that I ask myself to really dig deep.

 

Psalm 51:10-12 ~ God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore the joy of Your salvation to me and give me a willing spirit.

 

Psalm 32:5 ~ Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You took away the guilt of my sin.

 

Psalm 19:12 ~ Who perceives his unintentional sin?  Cleanse me from my hidden faults.

 

Psalm 25:11 ~ Because of Your name, Yahweh, forgive my sin, for it is great.

 

Psalm 69:5 ~ God, You know my foolishness, and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.

 

T ~ Thanksgiving

During a time of thanksgiving, give sincere thanks for His goodness.  His blessings are abundant, and we should be living with grateful hearts.  There is always, always, always something to be thankful for!

 

Psalm 100:4-5 ~ Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.

 

Psalm 69:30 ~ I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving.

 

Psalm 75:1 ~ We give thanks to You, God; we give thanks to You, for Your name is near.  People tell about Your wonderful works.

 

Psalm 79:13 ~ Then we, Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will thank You forever; we will declare Your praise to generation after generation.

 

Psalm 9:1-2 ~ I will thank Yahweh with all my heart; I will declare all Your wonderful works.  I will rejoice and boast about You; I will sing about Your name, Most High.

 

S ~ Supplication

During a time of supplication, ask God to give you His desires.  Seek His plan and purpose for Your life.  Go boldly before His throne and ask for what you need.  Remember that He already knows what we want, before we even ask… so pray without hesitation!

 

Psalm 5:3 ~ At daybreak, Lord, You hear my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly.

 

Psalm 34:4 ~ I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

 

Psalm 6:9 ~ The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer.

 

Psalm 119:169-170 ~ Let my cry reach You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word. Let my plea reach You; rescue me according to Your promise.

 

Psalm 95:6 ~ Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

 

Throughout various seasons of life, I’ve found that my prayer life and daily time with the Lord looks different in each season.  There was a season when I was able to spend over an hour each morning in silence and solitude.  If I’m honest, I’m not in that same season now.  My quiet time isn’t always so quiet… and sometimes it’s broken up throughout the day.  But one thing remains the same… intentional time spent with the Lord is never wasted.  Praying the Word is something that sparks a deeper, more genuine prayer.  When I go through the intentional acts of worship, confessing my sin, and thanking Him, I find that my time of supplication isn’t as “drive through order” as it has been in the past.  My prayers are no longer just a wish list, but a desperate seeking of Him… and seeking to align my heart with His.

 

I pray that these verses bless you and spark something new in your prayer life.  Please share your #PrayTheWord and #WriteTheWord journals!  Also, if you haven’t joined the Gather & Dwell Facebook group, be sure to come join the conversation!


Why Should We Gather?

Why Should We Gather?

Happy first day of summer!  This warmer weather has me thinking about all of the backyard barbecues, family dinners, impromptu swimming parties down at the pool… all the gatherings.  I can smell the grill now!

 

One of my biggest prayers for our family is that we would be an inviting family.  I want our house to be filled with people gathering in the kitchen or around the grill… seated at the table and sharing a meal.  I want our boys to grow up hearing stories from all different kinds of people.  I want them to know that we are a family that loves ALL people, and that we love to share in their stories.

 

But you know, I don’t want it to just be about food.  While I love to eat, gathering is about so much more.   In fact, Scripture has a lot to say about gathering … both as a body of believers, and as human beings.

 

Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house.  They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.  ~ Acts 2:46-47

 

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2

 

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! ~ Psalm 133:1

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25

 

What then is the conclusion, brothers?  Whenever you come together each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, another language, or an interpretation.  All things must be done for edification.  ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26

 

Gathering together is Biblical for so many reasons….

*We honor God when we act in unity as one body of believers.

*We encourage each other toward good as we do Kingdom work.

*We praise Him with our thanks for His goodness.

*We support each other as we carry the load together.

*We create a larger body as we each bring our own skills, stories, and gifts to the table.

 

What's so important about gathering together?  What should it look like in a media-filled society with so many walls and barriers?

 

When we gather together, we are opening our homes, our hearts, our lives to each other.  In this social media driven society, sitting across the table from each other is almost a foreign concept.  Our garage doors stay closed and porch lights stay off.  How many of us have intentionally rushed inside to avoid being caught by *that* neighbor?

 

What would happen if we started inviting instead of shutting?  What would happen if we listened instead of avoided?  What would happen if we poured coffee instead of judgment?   The answer isn’t scary.  Stories would be shared.  Food would be eaten.   Friendships would be formed.  Seeds of the Gospel would be planted.

 

My friends, I want to be a family that plants seeds.  I want to be part of a community of women that encourages their families to do the same.  Will you join me in that mission?

 

The Gather & Dwell Facebook group is officially live.  I would LOVE for you to join us.  We will share simple tools for gathering around the table with your family.  We will share ideas for gathering with your neighbors and friends.  We will share resources for dwelling in His Word as we intentionally grow as daughters of the King.  Let’s gather together as we live on mission!

 

Are you ready?  If so, hop on over to Gather & Dwell and let’s connect!  I can’t wait to chat over coffee!

 

 

30 Verses to Abide in Christ

30 Verses to Abide in Christ

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Oh… it’s a beautiful day!  I’m sitting in my office with all of the blinds open.  My boys and I set some plants out on the back patio to get some sunlight.  My dog is laying outside basking in the warmth.  On days like today, it’s easy to just rest in His peace.

 

Other days… not so much.  One of the things that God has really been speaking into me lately is the idea of abiding in Him.  Not rushing His plans.  Not trying to check Bible studies off my list.  Not rushing through this season in anticipation of the next.  He’s asking me to remain in Him.

 

Dwell in His presence during this 30-day Scripture-writing plan over abiding in Christ.

 

Sometimes I know the teacher in me wants to read all the books.  I want to learn all the history.  I want to study all the things.  In this season, though, I’m hearing Him loud and clear.  I am to pause.  I am to linger a little longer in my quiet time.  I am to listen attentively to His Words.  I am to dwell in His presence.

 

Revelation 3:14 says, “‘The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creations says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.'”  Yikes!

 

I most definitely do NOT want to be lukewarm.  I remember a song from my middle school youth group years.  I can’t remember most of the lyrics, but I remember the tune and words of two lines.  “I don’t want to be a casual Christian.  I don’t want to live a lukewarm life.”

 

As I’m transitioning into a season of being more present for my family, I’m longing to draw nearer to Him.  As I’m folding laundry and reading picture books… as I’m cooking dinner and gathering around the table… I’m longing to poke and prod that glowing ember in my soul until it becomes a roaring fire.

 

As we are often pulled in many directions during this day-to-day life, I encourage you to pause.   This 30-day Scripture-writing plan is designed to encourage you to linger over His Words, His commands, His love… and to dwell in His presence long after you’ve closed your Bible, gotten up from the table, and are right in the middle of the chaos of the day.  It’s designed to remind you to abide in Him.

 

Dwell in His presence during this 30-day Scripture-writing plan over abiding in Christ.

 

I’m starting today.  Join me on Instagram and use the hashtag #AbideInHim!  Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Bloglovin to never miss a post!

 

 

Our Summer Study {Breakfast with the Bible}

Our Summer Study {Breakfast with the Bible}

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Whew!  It’s the weekend!  I don’t know about you, but this week has definitely got me looking forward to summer!  I’m ready for the pause.  The months of April and May seem to stretch and pull our family in different directions.  I’m looking forward to the chance to breathe and to spend some intentional time connecting as a family.

 

While I’m looking forward to the next few months, I’ve also spent some time reflecting on the past school year.  I’ve watched my boys grow and mature over the past several months.  I’ve watched their friendships go through hills and valleys.  I’ve watched how the changes in this season of life affected them.  I’ve picked up on a few key areas where I’d like to be intentional in shepherding each of them.

 

During this season, I’m excited for the lazy mornings that allow us to spend a little more time gathered around the table.  I’m excited for the conversations that are able to flow and happen naturally… and not interrupted every few minutes with a reminder to pack a lunch, find their shoes, grab their backpacks.

 

Each summer, we spend our breakfast time in something that we call “Breakfast with the Bible.”  During the school year, we tend to find shorter devotionals or stories that are read before bed.  I enjoy those devotionals, and we’ve found a rhythm that has really been great this year.  But during the summer, we get to dig into a more detailed study.  My oldest especially will get to see the difference between a devotional and a full study.  We’ll get to spend more time with our Bibles open and pouring over passages.  I can’t wait.

 

Sit around the table with us as we chat about our summer Bible study selections ... for preschoolers all the way through adults!

 

I’m excited today to be able to share with you our final selections for this summer’s Breakfast with the Bible.  I always get asked what exactly we DO during this time.  It’s nothing super fancy, but here it is!

 

As I’m preparing breakfast, I turn on some sort of worship music.  Last year, we listened to a lot of Cedarmont Kids.  So many of these songs take me back to my childhood and the boys love the modern sound.  The music is a signal that I’m ready for them to come to the kitchen.

 

This year, because each boy will have his own study, we’ll do a bit of flip-flopping.  After we’re all at the table, I’ll start with Buddy Boy’s story.  For his particular Bible time, we’ll be using the Love & Kindness Bible Stories board book.  There are nine different devotions/stories, so we’ll focus on one each week.  We’ll read the story daily and then practice the memory verse.  I’m also planning to incorporate some object lessons and crafts into his time.  Other days, he’ll simply color from a Bible stories coloring book while Little Man and I work through his study.

 

 

Little Man and I will be working through a second Discover 4 Yourself study.  The first one we did, Lord, Teach me to Pray, was excellent.  I’m excited to work through this next one now that he’s a little older.  We’ll be doing Boy, Have I Got Problems.  I’ve noticed this year that self-control seems to be an “area of refinement” for him.  As I previewed this study, I found some excellent examples that directly related to situations I’ve seen him struggle with this year.  This particular study lines up well with the kindness stories in Buddy Boy’s devotional.  Because Little Man is older, I’ll be able to get him started, and then just sit alongside him as he works through the activities.  With both boys, I look forward to the conversations we’ll be able to have about this topic.

 

 

As for me, my Bible time will come a little later (or earlier, depending on the day).  I generally love the quiet and stillness of the early morning hours.  However, my youngest gets up pretty early, so he tends to wake up as soon as he hears movement.  This is real life.  I’m in a season that those perfect early mornings may not happen that often.  I’ll just embrace it.

 

I digress.  For my own time with the Lord, I’ve really been hearing Him ask me to just “dwell” in Him.  I have a stack of studies that I’ve started, but can’t seem to finish.  For this summer, I have said no to all of those studies.  I’ve given myself grace for not finishing them, and I know I’ll return to them when the season is right.  For the month of June, the Scripture-writing plan will be over the word “abide.”  I’ve been drawn to this idea of just resting and remaining in Him.  I’ll be doing this in two ways … well, hopefully more, but two intentional and “listable” ways.  I’ll be reading Sacred Rhythms as one of my non-fiction books in June (more on my nerdy bookish ways in another post).  It’s about practicing the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude.  My dad gave it to me a few years ago, but I have yet to read it.  God must have known that I’d need it in a season like this.

 

As I work through the Scripture-writing plan, I will be using the Inspire Journaling Bible.  I simply love the idea of creative journaling as a method of dwelling in His Word.  I am definitely NOT an artist, so this will be an exercise in relinquishing my need to have Pinterest-worthy journals.  This will also be an exercise in listening for His voice.  I’ve stepped away from my women’s groups and the pre-written studies for this season as I fully pause and let Him steer me where He needs me to go.  I’m considering it a sort of spiritual retreat.  This is new for me.  I’m generally a very Type A, love my outlines and color-coding, let me go hunt for all the correct answers kind of girl.  I feel very certain that God has asked me to stop and listen for a change.

 

So there you have it!  I cannot wait to see how God grows our faith as we step into this new season … of life and of weather!  What will you be studying this summer?

 

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Just Be Still ~ Reflections on Exodus 14:14

Just Be Still ~ Reflections on Exodus 14:14

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Last night, my boys did something they often do.  They were playing with their toys after dinner, and they started to bicker.  My oldest was playing with a train set, and my youngest wanted to use the blocks as roller skates… and he wanted to skate right through the trains.  I’m sure you can imagine the scene.

 

My oldest asked nicely at first, but my youngest can be a toot sometimes and didn’t exactly respond nicely.  The train tracks started to fall apart.  Bridges crumbled.  Trains were scattered.  Blocks were thrown.  Voices were raised.

 

Little Man (my oldest) tried pulling Buddy Boy (my youngest) off the trains… and then the crying started.  Tempers flared quickly and the two boys were soon in a shouting match.  It amazes me how quickly things can go from calm to chaos.

 

I tried to step in and separate the two boys.  In my head, I could easily see the problem and was ready to offer a simple solution.  But here’s where it got interesting.  They kept fighting.  I had the solution available, and I was trying to put them in place to be content.  But they kept fighting.  I tried speaking to both of them with my “mom voice.”  I even told them what the solution was.  But they kept fighting.  They were so determined to solve the problem themselves that they missed hearing the solution.  They were so focused on the problem right in front of them, that they couldn’t see the solution was right next to them.

 

I was left just shaking my head and thinking, “If you would just be still and listen, I can handle this.”

 

Is the noise of the problem keeping you from hearing God's answer? How many times is God shaking His head saying, "If you would just be still..."?

 

Y’all… as a mom, I have begun to understand the relationship with our Heavenly Father in a completely different way.  How many times does He look and us and say, “If you would just be still….”?  How many times are we so determined to solve a problem ourselves, and we miss the “God voice”?  How many times have we missed being put in a place of contentment because we’re trying to handle all the things?

 

In the book of Exodus, God was very clear in speaking to the Israelites.  Exodus 14:10 says, “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them.  Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help.”  Pharaoh had just released the Israelites from slavery, and they were on the move.  Of course, then Pharaoh then changed his mind and set all of his troops after them.  So here are all of these families, standing in front of the Red Sea.  They see Pharaoh’s men coming after them.  I can only imagine the fear they felt.  They asked the Lord for help.  They verbally attacked Moses, accusing him of bringing all of them out into the wilderness to die.  They were so busy being afraid and trying to come up with the solution, that they couldn’t even begin to see a way out.

 

The thing is, they weren’t supposed to.  They weren’t supposed to find a way out on their own.  The Lord brought them out of slavery in Egypt.  The Lord took them through the wilderness.  The Lord would provide the way out of this situation.  And He did.

 

Exodus 14:14 tells us Moses’ response to the Israelites in their moment of fear.  “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

 

Is the noise of the problem keeping you from hearing God's answer? How many times is God shaking His head saying, "If you would just be still..."?

 

The Israelites were commanded to trust.  To be still and trust that God would fight the battle.  Just like my boys were so busy fighting the battle on their own that they missed how easy the solution could be, we tend to get so caught up in trying to solve all the things that we miss the fact that God has commanded that we be still before Him.

 

Are you in a battle right now?  I encourage you to pause.  Still yourself before Him.  For me, that often means I literally stop talking mid-thought.  I retreat away from the situation at hand, and I put my face to the ground (or my prayer journal).  I give the problem to Him… and then I trust.  The Lord will fight for me.  I need only to be still.

 

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Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel?

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel?

Our words. They can build someone up or tear someone down in the same moment.  Our words are so powerful that we can hear what someone else *might* have said to someone else *possibly* about us, and our entire emotional state can go from one end of the spectrum to the other.

 

As moms, our words have the power to encourage our children and affirm who they are in Christ… or our words can break them down little by little until they begin to question their worth and our love for them.  As wives, our words can speak love, support and respect into our husbands… or our words can belittle them into thinking they’re bumbling fools.

 

I read a study once that concluded that women tend to bond over negativity.  Two women meet and are engaged in small talk.  The conversation isn’t going well and it’s hard to really catch a topic… until they discover a common dislike.  Then, they can go on for hours discovering all the hate they have in common.  Confession time… I can think of more than one friendship of mine that started this very way.

 

My current Bible study, Discerning the Voice of God, asked us to name a few areas or behaviors that we would have never thought twice about before deciding to follow Jesus.  There were a few things on my list, but gossip was one of them.  I not only didn’t give it a second thought, I craved it.  I wanted to know how messed up everyone else was.  I wanted to know that “at least I don’t have that problem.”  And I wanted to be the one to heard the latest *news* first.

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel? This 30-day Scripture writing plan will help point your heart (and your words) back to God.

You know, it’s no wonder that many of my friendships during that season didn’t last.

 

But God.  He’s a God of forgiveness.  A God of heart-change.  A God of relationship.

Mark 16:15 tells us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”   So friends, I ask you. are your words spreading gossip… or the gospel?

I’m a big believer in memorizing Scripture.  I believe that when we fill our minds with the Word of God, the lies of the enemy have no room to creep in.  When God’s Word is so firmly written on our hearts, those are the words we turn to in the heat of a moment.

 

Over the next 30 days, I’m writing through the Word.  I’ve selected 30 verses, and I’m praying the Spirit will work in me and sanctify my words, thoughts and actions.  I pray He will renew my mind and that my words will spread only encouragement, Truth, and Love.  I pray that I will flee from spreading the latest “news” and that I will spread only His Good News.

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel? This 30-day Scripture writing plan will help point your heart (and your words) back to God.

 

Join us on Instagram as we write the Word!  Let’s encourage each other as God works to refine each of us in this journey!

 


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Scripture Sunday ~ Ephesians 4:1-6

Scripture Sunday ~ Ephesians 4:1-6

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.  There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope at your calling – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all in all.  

Ephesians 4:1-6

 

As a mom, I like to watch my children sleep.  I  know I’m not the only one.  There’s something about watching your sweet babies at their most peaceful state.  I have a three-year-old and a nine-year-old.  We have a bedtime routine that involves reading aloud stories (picture books for the younger one, a novel for the older one), a Bible story or devotional, and a prayer.  We tuck them tightly into bed and turn off the lights.  My husband and I then have a couple hours to do the things that need to be done to prepare for the next day.  On an ideal night, we’d have some time to connect at the end of a busy day… to talk through the events and conversations that occurred.  I love the nights that I get to curl up with a good book, and I know he loves to relax with a movie or the news.  Usually, it involves prepping lunches or putting away laundry… tidying up backpacks and books that have been strewn about.

 

But I digress.  At the end of the night, the boys are sleeping peacefully.  My husband and I have had a few moments to talk.  The house is tidy and prepared for the next day.  It’s time for me to to go put myself to bed.  Each night, I peek into the boys’ rooms on my way to bed.  I pull up their blankets and gently kiss them on their foreheads.  And as I do, I watch.  Their eyes closed, their breathing steady.  Sleeping peacefully without a worry for the next day.  And then I begin to wonder…. what will their lives be like in the future?  What will they do?  Who will they become?  How will they impact the world for the Kingdom of God?

 

These children… they can be anything!  God has a plan and a purpose for each of them that I can’t even begin to imagine.  Each night I pray that I will help them discover the gifts that God has given them.  I pray that they will have servants’ hearts and be warriors for Christ.  I pray that God will use them in big and mighty ways.

 

This weekend is baptism weekend at our church.  This is one of my favorite weekends.  I’ve recently had the privilege of leading the baptism class for the elementary kiddos.  It’s such a joy to see these kids go from having seeds planted in small group conversations in our children’s programs, to having those conversations with their parents during the class, and then taking that next right step and being immersed into the water and coming back out as a new creation.  When it’s a parent and child taking that step together… y’all, I lose it.  It is simply beautiful.

 

These children are no longer just our kids. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

One of the things we talk about in that baptism class is the idea that these children, as they take this step, they are no longer just these parents’ children.  They are becoming their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Isn’t that amazing?!  Our first ministry is at home.  As we pour into our children, we are planting seeds, helping them discover their gifts, and walking alongside them as they seek after Him to fulfill their calling.  They are not “just kids.”  They are mighty warriors for His Kingdom.  They are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They have a purpose and a calling chosen specifically for them.  They are the sons and daughters of the King… just like you.  They are your brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Y’all, this parenting thing is hard.  It’s a constant exercise in patience, in juggling the busyness of life, in humility and forgiveness.  And there is nothing more humbling than sitting next to your child, looking them in the eye, and admitting you were wrong and asking forgiveness.  But it’s through that humility that we begin to understand that we can’t do this parenting thing alone.  I know that I need Jesus walking with me every step of the way.  I need the Spirit leading me in every moment.  I’m constantly praying that the Spirit will take over and use my words to say what He wants my children to hear.  They are His children first.  I am just the instrument He uses here on Earth to shepherd them and lead them toward Him.

 

They are not just our children.  They are sons and daughters of the King.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  I pray we serve Him well by leading them well.

 

 

 


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When God Calls You to Wait

When God Calls You to Wait

Waiting.  It’s hard.  We live in a culture that is so completely full of instant gratification. If we find that we have to wait for something, we can’t stand the thought of not having something to do while we wait.  While we’re waiting in line, we’re grabbing our phones to scroll through Facebook.  While we’re waiting for the doctor, we’re reading a magazine.  While we’re in a season of waiting, we’re busy trying to control the circumstances.  I’m stuck in this place right now.  Anyone else?  
 
Right now, God has called me to wait.  And goodness gracious I have fought Him on it.  Fought hard.  As women, we often feel a need to be in control over every situation and every detail.  My husband has lovingly told me that I can be “less than patient” at times.  Of course I told him that he was absolutely wrong and that I was excellent at being patient.  I have all the patience in the world because I know that God’s in control and that He’ll reveal everything when the time was right and I will be overflowing with joy at His perfect timing.  I’m obviously very patient and I can definitely wait on God because He knows details that I couldn’t even begin to plan for.  I know I’m patient because that’s what I pray for when I’m feeling stressed about my kids and the Spirit works in me to help me treat them with
kindness when the moments get tense.  Of course I’m patient and excellent at waiting and my husband is 100% wrong…. right?
What about when I find myself having panic attacks for the first time in my life?  What about the fact that I can’t sleep because I’m so overcome with anxiety about not knowing what’s next?  What about my kids who see me crying every day because I’m so stressed that I can’t handle my emotions?  What about the number of times I say, “I’m fine” even though I know that I’m a wreck inside?  What about the physical pain because my body is so tense?  What about the fact that my thoughts are so completely consumed by the things I want that I’m missing what God wants? 
 
Friends, here’s my confession.  I have had no less than 20 tabs open on my computer at all times trying to plan every detail of this next season of life.  Of course, I easily justified it by saying that I was just trying to come up with a “back-up plan” in case God’s timing didn’t match mine.  It didn’t matter that I knew God was telling me to wait.  It didn’t matter that I knew He was telling me to relinquish control and trust Him.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t honoring my husband when he was asking me to just wait a few more months.  It didn’t matter that none of my “plans” were working.  I was just trying to come up with a back-up plan… right?
Ladies, I was wrong. God was asking me to wait.  Not… wait, but control made-up details in the waiting season.  Not… wait, but worry about the timing.  Not… wait, but stop functioning in the day-to-day.  He said wait and trust Him completely.  He said wait and stop worrying.  I have been so anxious about making a back-up plan to fit what I want, that I have missed the sweet intimacy with Christ that comes from complete obedience to what He wants.
I recently came across an Instagram post about viewing waiting as an act of obedience.  It was as if it had been written directly to me.  I have been doing the exact opposite of waiting in obedience.  I was acting along of the lines of a child who is trying their hardest to get away with something while pretending to be obedient… doing “just enough” to technically obey, but not really obeying in my heart. 
 
God has called to me to wait.  And while I’m waiting, I must trust Him.  If I shift my thinking and view waiting as
obedience, I am turning away from the idea that I have to be in control.  This is a true season of refinement and learning what it means to completely surrender.  To actively wait in obedience, I have to recognize when my anxiety and worry about the situation is taking over.  I have to recognize when the enemy’s lies are creeping in.  I have to understand that my emotions don’t tell the truth.  To actively wait in obedience, I must trust that His best for me may not look like what I think it will.  I must listen to His command to not worry.  I must then actually stop worrying.  In those moments of worry, I must turn it over to Him… to draw near to Christ as I place my complete trust in Him as my Lord. 
 
I’ve been missing those moments of intimacy with Him because I was so consumed with my selfish wants.  And I have so needed those moments!  Isn’t it just like Him to know exactly what we need in every season?  Isn’t it just like Him to tell us exactly how to abide in Him while we wait?  And isn’t it just like us to become stubborn little children who fight every step of the way?  
 
To actively wait in obedience, I will draw near to Christ in this season.  I will stop worrying.  His plan may not match mine, but I know His will be better.  I know that He is preparing me for what He has already prepared for me.  These are the verses I’m praying during this season of waiting.  I pray they are an encouragement to you as well (all emphasis added).
Ruth 3:18 ~ Naomi said, “My daughter, wait until you find out how things go, for he won’t rest until he resolves this today”
Habakkuk 2:3 ~ For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and it will not lie.  Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.
Psalm 27:14 ~ Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.
Isaiah 60:22 ~ The least will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am Yahweh; I will accomplish it quickly in its time.
Psalm 62:5 ~ Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.
Galatians 6:9 ~ So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
Isaiah 40:31 ~ But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Psalm 37:7 ~ Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans.
Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ~ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because he cares about you.
Has God called you to a season of waiting? Here are 10 verses to encourage you as you draw near to Christ during this uncomfortable season.

 

I’m praying for you this week, my friend.  If you are in a season of waiting right now, I pray that you will find peace in the season, and that it may be full of sweet moments with Jesus as He refines you and prepares you for what He has in store!