How To Make Faith A Natural Part of Everyday Life {Part three}

My final tip in my three part series on how to make faith a natural part of everyday life for your family. This is by no means all that you can do. These are just 3 easy tips for you to start with now. See previous posts for the other tips. 

3. Third, have fun! Nothing makes faith seem more out-of-place and awkward than when it feels forced, contrived, or boring. After over 25 years in ministry, we’ve learned that uncomfortable, scripted sermons or trite, cheeseball lessons are a drag for everyone. 

When you make faith interactive, interesting and imaginative, however, the truths from the Bible really stick. Kids who have fun with faith when they’re young experience rich relationships with Jesus as they get older.

So brainstorm creative ways to retell Bible stories, look for inspiration in the natural world around you, tap into your child’s interests, and have fun!

#Faith #Family #Children #EverydayFaith 

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How To Make Faith A Natural Part Of Your Everyday Life {Part Two}

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately on faith and family. Here is my second post in a three part series of a few tips on how to make faith a natural part of everyday life with your family. 

2. Second, readjust your expectations of what “making faith a natural part of your everyday” looks like. In other words, you don’t have to be perfect. Faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them. 

Your kids don’t need the appearance of perfection. What they need is real authenticity, and a genuine desire to chase after God – especially from you. 

We all make parenting mistakes. You’re going to make several and so am I. But listen, you don’t drown by falling into the water. You drown by staying there. When you mess up, apologize and grow from it together as a family. If you stumble and fall, fall forward, get back up, and keep running the race God has set before you. Let them see you do this with a genuine love for God and a desire to run after Him. 

God didn’t mean for parenting to reflect perfection from us. He meant it to be a clear reflection of His love. Our job as parents is not to put on a perfect show. It’s to point them to the Perfect Savior. 

As always, feel free to share away. You never know who is on the other side of the screen waiting on a word of encouragement. 

#God #Faith #Family #Parenting #EverydayFaith

Two Steps To Begin Using Influence Wisely

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Influence.

We all have it. We are impacting those around us all the time. This is a great thing when we learn to use the influence God has given us wisely. We start by learning the art of speaking and listening with these two steps:

1. We must listen in such a way that others love to speak to us.

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue..(James 1:19-21 MSG


How significant is listening? Listening is the fullness of hearing. It is possible to hear someone talk and not listen. In order to hear and listen, one must be paying attention. It’s so unnerving to talk to someone who isn’t listening. It quickly turns people off and turns them away. People love to talk to good listeners. James 1:19 in the NIV version says it this way: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Don’t make snap judgements. Don’t assume. First, listen well.

The world is in need of a Savior and there is only One. We must carry the Gospel message out to the world. We must hear those who are asking for help, we must listen to them to give them what they need. You have the Source of help. Are you listening?

2. We must speak in such a way that others love to listen to us.

She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 HCSB

Her words are wise, gentle, and dripping with love. Wise words (not a smart mouth), spoken and motivated by the greatest gift of all (Love) is exactly the way Christ teaches us. The best way to do that is through compassion. If we first place ourselves in their shoes for a moment and think of all the ways God is loving and patient with us, how could we be any less with others? After all, it is only by the grace of God that we aren’t struggling in their area……. or that we once were and are no more.

God drove this truth home for me this week in a big way. Let’s word that in another way: God taught me a lesson this week. I was in the middle of several sticky situations and with some people who were dropping the ball in a big way. I was tempted to lose patience with them when I got that Holy tap on the shoulder that reminded me: God meets us ALL where we are. These people aren’t mature enough to handle this well, but they could be one day. Teach. Don’t preach. Once I walked that out, things ran more smoothly, and they walked away encouraged.

She delights to talk of the Word of God and does so motivated by love: the greatest gift. She is careful in WHAT she says and HOW she says it. 

How, when, what, and to whom I speak matters. Truth spoken in the wrong spirit of things can repel people AWAY from God rather than TO Him. Remember Job’s friends? This is where they went wrong. Overwhelmed and in agony with all he was suffering, Job was not comforted but rather condemned by his friends. While there were elements of truth in some of what they said, it was based on wrong assumptions. We must be careful of what we assume to be true in the lives of others. Be very careful of making snap judgments (I know I’ve made this point twice. It’s double important!)

The influence God has gifted us with should always be one that praises God and builds up people for His Kingdom.

POINTS TO PONDER: Influence is a gift. Am I faithful with my influence with those around me? Is my influence being used for HIS glory? Who am I being influenced by? Am I careful in what I say and how I say it…..when I say it, and to whom? Am I speaking words into people’s lives that are wise, gentle, and dripping with Love? Am I also doing this with my family?

May we all listen in such a way that others love to speak to us, and speak in such a way that others love to listen to us. May we be an influence on all those around us as our Jesus is. Let’s make an impact for HIM. Let’s make much of Jesus.

Let’s Get Our Praise On {get your feet dancing and that body moving!}

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Dear child of God, sister, mother, brother, father, son, daughter, friend, family or foe,

Let’s get our praise on…

You are beloved of the most high GOD. The One True GOD. You are bought, paid for, redeemed, restored, re-done, repurposed, and worth it. He is crazy about you, mad about you, obsessed about you, His mind is stayed on you.

You are beautiful. His eye is always in you. All heaven praises and celebrates you. If you falter, He will drop what He’s doing and come running for you. Everything He does is a solution for you. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more. YOU.ARE.SET.FREE!!

The Creator of the sun, moon, stars, day, night, land, air, sea, mountains, trees, seasons, and mankind has you in the palm of His hands. You are the apple of His eye. He created you in His image to reflect His love to this world. You, my friend, my sister, my brother, are His love song to this world. The Word That Became Flesh became you on that cross so that you could become Him in this world.

He is mighty, He is power and He calls you friend. He goes before you, behind you, stands beside you, makes your paths straight, and directs you. He covers you, protects you, and shelters you.

You.Are.His.


He spoke the world into existence, and the sound of your voice turns His head.

He takes the unlikely and makes them the one. He takes the unqualified and gives them power and position. He takes the unworthy and gives them a crown. He takes the humble and gives them a seat of honor; love and acceptance to the unlovable. He takes the sick and makes them whole….hope to the hopeless. Trades sorrow for joy, pain for pleasure, fear for perfect peace. His burden is light.

He.Is.Yours.

Hear that beat? Here that music thumping? Come on, get up! Let’s get our praise ON!

No Ordinary Conversation

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Our Father In Heaven

Hallowed be Your name Matthew 6:9

My favorite way name for God is Daddy. I love to crawl up in His lap, snuggle in and chat a while with Him. He is so warm and inviting. So loving, and comforting. My favorite place to be is in Daddy’s lap. It’s because of my relationship with Jesus that I am able to call Him Daddy.

Although He and I are very familiar with one another, I also know that talking with Him is no ordinary conversation. We come to God as Father, but we need to also know who we’re talking to. Daddy has a name to revere and respect. He indeed is our Father but His name is Hallowed.

Our Daddy God is holy and just and mighty and should be revered. 

In Exodus 19:16-20, we see God coming. The people of Israel hear thunder and lightning. They see a thick cloud, smoke. The earth was trembling; there’s fire, and a trumpet sound. A loud trumpet sound. They. Are. Shuddering.

Not many of us are storm chasers. When there is a storm we usually go in the opposite direction. These people are shuddering as they move closer. And, we see Moses talking to God, and God answering Him in the thunder. How cool is that?! God. Answered. Moses. In. The. Thunder. Wow! What would you think if as you were praying God suddenly started talking to you through thunder? My face would hit the ground, I’m sure.

But, I want you to notice what we see in verse 20: God invited Moses up.

God invites us all into that holiness. Prayer is God inviting you into His space.

Prayer is THE Holy One and His holy ones speaking together. He isn’t content to be holy from a distance. He invites us in. But, we aren’t invited in as a trembling slave to a lord that owns us and is a tyrannical leader. No, we are invited in as holy. Not as sinners, but as saints:

By this will of God, we have been sanctified (made holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. Hebrews 10:10

We are invited in as holy sons and daughters. Beautiful. Thank you, Jesus.

We go to God as sons and daughters, but not like we are the brains and He is the braun. He knows what to do. Trust Him. Leave the plan and solution behind and just bring faith. 

You won’t blow His mind with an awesome solution that He didn’t think of. EVERYTHING GOD DOES IS A SOLUTION. Just. Bring. Faith. He is God, He is Holy. He’s got this.

Remember: prayer is the Holy One and His holy ones speaking together. Because of this, prayer is no ordinary conversation

Our Father in heaven, we know exactly who You are. And, You are holy. Thank You that You don’t just have us standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up. You invite us up….

What Are You Afraid Of?

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Seems that the theme message GOD is giving His people today is to be fearless. Serve Him fearlessly. Don’t let fear stop you, let it motivate you. Sometimes the thing you fear is the very thing GOD is calling you to do.

God does not give us the spirit of fear:

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you……..For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6, 7 NLT).

Fear is irrational. Fear steals your power. You do not think clearly when operating out of fear.

It is said that those who fear the darkness have no idea what light can do

I love this insert and action point by Adrian Rodgers:

What Are You Afraid Of?

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the talents. When the master who had distributed the talents came to see the stewardship of those talents, one man had taken his talent and hidden it in the ground.

You may have a buried talent, but you’ve been covered up by the sinister minister of fear, who keeps you from achieving your dreams. You say, “But what if I fail?” You can be so afraid of making a mistake that your entire life will be a mistake. The fear of failure keeps so many from competing that they never even get in the race. They just lose by default!

ACTION POINT:
Sir Walter Scott was called a “dunce” by his teachers. Napoleon Bonaparte was next to last in his military class. Walt Disney was fired as a cartoonist because the newspaper said he couldn’t draw! It’s not bad to fail. We all will fail. But may God deliver you from the spirit of failure, which is a spirit of fear.

The thing GOD has called you to do is His. It’s His glory. His workings. His Kingdom. His. Not ours. He will equip you.

Feeling unqualified for what you know for sure He’s calling you to do? Great! His power works great in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). You are fearing failure because you’re working like it depends on you. Now, how about working like it depends on God? Remember GOD doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Listen, He will not call you to watch you fail because that would tell the world that He….the very God you’re working for…. is a failure. He’s not. And, neither are you. Have you messed up? We all have when we don’t walk in His wisdom. Ask His forgiveness, learn from it, and move on.

Everyone is dealing with something. It’s what they do with it that makes the difference in people

Feeling paralyzed by fear? Do it anyway. Do it afraid if you have to, just do it. There are so many leaders who have failed at something and been told lies about how worthless they are. Instead of letting that stop them, they allowed it to motivate them. You will regret it if you don’t. Regret causes bitterness, and we all know how ugly bitterness is.

Walk in His power. It’s all available and waiting for you. Fan those flames! Remember, the very thing you fear is often the very thing GOD is calling you to do.

Who Is This God, Anyway?

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Yesterday we talked about being fearless. Immediately God took me to His Word and to a place in my heart asking Who is this God that you would serve Him fearlessly in this crazy life and in seemingly impossible circumstances? And, why??

Immediately He took me to Matthew 6:9; The Lord’s prayer. Specifically the first line: Our Father in heaven.

Who is your Daddy?

Because of Jesus, we come to God as our Father. A child, sitting on our Daddy’s knee chatting….and listening to His wisdom. Trusting in His care over us. We come to Him not as a fearful people to a tyrant lording over us. No, He’s kind. He’s gentle, yet sure and just. He’s your Daddy!

Some of you may have never had that feeling of being a Daddy’s girl. Never sat on your Daddy’s knee and felt that love, care, protection, strength, provision and wisdom. I’m sorry. I truly and deeply am. I know you have an idea or dream of who you wanted your Daddy to be, wished your Daddy to be.

I have some notes on Daddy. Notes on who He’s been to me, will always be to me, and most certainly wants to be for you. This list never ends, and is added to regularly. I’ll never be able to stop describing Him as He meets my every need, my every longing as I go through this life. Some of this list is from teaching notes, and all of it is true.

You are secure and taken care of because of Who you belong to. This is your Daddy. Follow Him fearlessly. Allow me to introduce you:

Your Daddy is…

the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Keeper of creation and Creator of all

Architect of the universe, Manager of all time

He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone

He was bruised, but brought healing

He was pierced, but eased pain

He was persecuted but brought freedom

He was dead and brings life

He has risen to bring power and was raised to bring peace. 

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him

He is Life, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord

He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God

He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure

His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging, and His mind is consumed with US

He’s our Savior, our God, our peace, our comfort, our Lord, and He rules our lives

His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life

He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders

His goal is a relationship with you and He will never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book

When you fall, He will life you up

When you fail, He will forgive you

When you’re weak, He is strong

When you’re lost, He is your way

When you’re afraid, He is your courage

When you stumble, He will steady you

When you’re hurt, He’s going to heal you

When you’re broken, He will mend you

When you’re blind, He will lead you

When you’re hungry, He will feed you

When you face trials, He’s with you

When you face persecution, He shields you

When you face problems, He will comfort you

When you face loss, He will provide for you

When you face death, He will carry you Home to meet Him

He is everything for everybody everywhere every time and in every way. 

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to

You see, with a Daddy like this, we can face anything, anytime fearlessly because we can trust Him. We. Can. Trust. Him. You are His creation. He’s invested and consumed with you. He can’t stop thinking of you, and doesn’t want to. He is the Supreme Ruler. Nothing can defeat Him. He’s your Protector. He never fails. He is madly in love with you. Madly. Crazy. Head over heals. Stalker type love….only not creepy. He is unstoppable and never gives up on you. Never. He is your Provider. When He calls you to a thing, He will carry you through it. He will equip you. He is powerful and majestic.

He’s your Daddy

 

You can do all things through Him who is your strength. In His strength, you are fearless.

 

 

Because They Are, We Go

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Because she is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, we go. Because he is someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, we go. Because they are precious in His sight, we go. Because He died to give them life, we go. Because He died for us, we go. Because the abortion rate is now higher than the birth rate, we go. Because the abuse and severe neglect is something no one should take, we go.

He wraps Himself around every detail our lives. All we have to do is stand in the palm of His hand. Because they mean everything to Him. I mean everything. He wraps Himself around us. He holds us together in His hands. Soak that in. They need to know that He hasn’t forgotten them. How can they know if we don’t tell them? (Romans 10:14)

When I see the blank stares and empty eyes that say they’ve never known love, I am compelled. God breaks my heart for what breaks His. And. I. Must. Act! I cannot sit on my rear end in my air conditioned home, free to go to church whenever I want, or eat what I want, have a glass of water whenever I want anymore! I must be the change I want to see. I must invest in people who are the change I want to see. I must invest in people willing to give up everything they know to go and be His hands and feet.

When I look into the face of my own adopted daughter, I am compelled. I am compelled into thoughts of all the sad things that have happened to her. I am compelled into thoughts of all those people God used to intervene for her. All those hands that were there to care for her. All He did to bring her to me. And, I weep. And, I go. And, I do. I must be the change I want to see. No more waiting for someone else to do something. No more saying no to investing in someone who goes where I can’t. He gives to me so that I can give. He gives it to me so that He can give it through me.

There is a non-profit named Bella Ministries who are the hands and feet of Christ to hurting people everywhere. Their hearts are broken for the things that break His and they are doing something about it! I work for this non-profit and am thrilled to say so! We are part of an organization called A.C.T. Intl and have 260 missionaries with over 200 ministry departments going to over 20 nations! That’s what I call inspired! THAT’S what I’m talking about! They serve. They teach. They build. They lead worship (15 worship sets this month alone!). They do all sorts of media. They staff for churches. They love. They just DO! They are trail blazers and serious about making a real difference in the lives of others for GOD’s glory.

My daughter is a missionary for this organization and is leaving everything known behind and giving her life for a year in Taiwan to care for orphans, love on at-risk women and children, care for children of missionaries. As you know, it takes revenue to operate. I was recently told that if everyone who follows/reads this blog gives $5 this month, and then $5 next month…her goal for the YEAR would be COMPLETELY MET. How’s that for simple? In our 21st Century it is easier than ever to give. A simple click changes lives. You can change a life with a click of your mouse. Crazy that we don’t do it more.

And, because this organization is on FIRE, they are not stopping with this year. No, they will go. And do. And be. And love. This year, and next, and the next. They are glocal, which means they go here in the USA and they go “unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They will not stop and they need you to partner with them. Please consider partnering with them to help as they strap on the boots we call the Great Commission, deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. Every donation is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for your donation. You can be a partner and give monthly, or a one time donation by clicking this link: here or by clicking on the blue “Donate Now” button on the right sidebar.

or by mail:
Bella Ministries
PO Box 1649
Brentwood, TN 37024
615-852-8213

I’m not asking you to do anything that I am not doing myself. I invest in this non-profit ministry with my money and my time.

Know that through this ministry your generosity will result in great thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11b)

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Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children Ephesians 5:1

My daughter and I have a special bond. I don’t play favorites as a parent, but it’s certainly evident to all those around us (even strangers comment on it) that she and I click. I love her dearly, and she loves me dearly too. Others noticed how she sticks right with me as I walk and whatever I am doing, she is mimicking me. In detail. Exactly. We can be talking to someone and she will repeat what I’m saying. Whatever opinion I have about something, she has the same. It’s really sweet. Whether you know us or not…..wherever we are…..you can tell that we are together.

As His dearly loved children, we are to be imitators of God in all that we do. He forgives, we forgive. He loves, we love. His love for us led Him to sacrifice Himself for us, we should self-sacrifice ourselves because of our love for Him. In natural life, children bear the family likeness and should seek to uphold the family name. In spiritual life, we should manifest our Father to the world and seek to walk worthy of our dignity as His beloved children. If Jesus would be doing a thing, then we should do it. If Jesus would be saying a certain thing, we should too. In order to know what He would do, we need to spend time on His knee, and in His Word getting to know Him better.

God will reveal more and more of Himself to us. We will fall more in love with Him and more aware of just who He really is. Keep yourself positioned to have more of Him and an understanding of His power in this world and your life.

I don’t play favorites as a parent, but God sure does. Who is His favorite? You are. I am. Each of His children are His very favorite, and He’s madly and passionately in love with each of us. If you think living this way feels impossible, it’s not. The fact that He says to do  it means we have the ability to do it.