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Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4: 5-6
Imagine you are getting out the ingredients to bake a batch of cookies, but you have unknowingly mixed up the salt and the sugar. You end up putting in a dash of sugar and a cup of salt.
Now, picture a little child taking a big bite of one of those cookies. How long will it take the child to realize something is wrong? Do you think he or she will ask for another cookie? Of course not!
The art of seasoning is a matter of balance. Just enough salt to notice, but not too much salt to overwhelm. Salt creates a thirst, a desire for more. As Christians, we sprinkle the salt of God’s grace and gospel into our daily conversations. We don’t saturate every conversations in a way that drives others away. The artful seasoning of God’s loving grace into our conversations will create a thirst and a desire in the lives of others. They will long to know more of Jesus. This is how you “make the most of every opportunity.”
A storm is coming. Or you’re in a storm right now. We all know they’re a part of life. We don’t have to be told that. It’s no surprise to us. What it does is catch us off guard sometimes. We have to be ready. We have to be on guard and have a battle plan working and ready when it comes.
A boss that just wont get off our backs.
A spouse that doesn’t seem to be lined up with you at the moment.
A friend that isn’t really a friend.
A family member that seems like a stranger to you.
A competing co-worker.
All these things and more can be a battle for us at any given time. We know this. We are warned about this in the Scriptures, so that isn’t the problem. The problem is in our battle plan.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities and the powers of the unseen dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
We forget that our battle isn’t with people and get sucked into battling each other. We argue with each other, battle our spouses and divide our own households, families, and work places. In other words, we help the devil carry out his very schemes we want to battle!
You see, there is a battle always going on in the spiritual realm. That’s where the fight is. That’s the battlefield and that’s where we need to fight. The enemy is our accuser. It’s always happening and we need a battle plan.
God is strong and He wants you strong and prepared. You’re up against more than you can handle on your own so take everything God has given you, well-made weapons of the best materials – God’s Word and prayer – and put them to use so you will be able to standup to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray first, pray often and about everything. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up that that no one falls behind or drops out.
This is an excellent Battle Plan!
I was invited to a premiere event last week for the movie War Room by the Kendrick Brothers – creators of Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. This movie is coming out tomorrow, Friday, August 28, 2015. Priscilla Shirer stars in it and Beth Moore has a role too. These ladies are two of my favorite Bible Teachers. This movie is so inspiring. If you are a Believer, go see it. If you are alive and breathing, go see it. You’ll see the power of prayer played out on the big screen. You’ll be moved to get active and speak out boldly and loudly against the enemy’s schemes in your life. You’ll come away with a battle plan. It’s what inspired me to write this message today. It inspired me to get back to my war room battle plan. I know it will inspire you to do the same.
#WarRoom #KendrickBrothers #PriscilaShirer #BethMoore #Prayer #Bible
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
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
I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately on faith and family. I’m going to post a tip a day for the next three days on how to make faith a natural part of everyday life with your family.
Here’s the first one:
1. First, as parents we have to model faith. If you’re suddenly picturing someone who can quote the Bible from memory, who prays constantly, and sings in the hills wearing a nun’s habit (a la The Sound of Music), RELAX–faith isn’t always easy, but it can be simple.
You don’t necessarily need to come off like a pastor to your kids. You just need to show them the simple ways you’re practicing your faith. For example, let them see you pray. Let them see you read the Bible. Talk about Jesus. Talk to Jesus, out loud, around them.
Even if your faith hasn’t been a natural part of your family life, start now. No matter how old your kids are. Just start.
As always, feel free to share away. Sharing is caring. You never know who is waiting for a word.
#Faith #Family #EverdayFaith
Chosen is such a powerful word. Especially when you think about it’s opposite: rejected. Rejection is that thing we all fear, and we’ve all experienced at one time or another. I bet just the mention of the word “rejection” hurls you into emotion-filled flashbacks, and a flood of memories wash over you reminding you of all the times you were not chosen.
An audition gone wrong.
A team you never made.
A boyfriend who hurt your heart.
A friend that betrayed you.
A spouse that cheated on you.
A job you didn’t get.
If we’re not careful, we can begin to allow these moments to define us. We begin to call ourselves REJECTED. But God calls us by name, and He calls us CHOSEN.
“BUT YOU ARE A CHOSEN PEOPLE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, GOD’S SPECIAL POSSESSION, THAT YOU MAY DECLARE THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.” 1 PETER 2:9
The enemy to our souls will try and try to tell you that you’re less than who God says you are. He will whisper false labels on you, and try to distract you from your real name: Chosen. Accepted.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. 1 Peter 2:9 MSG. (emphasis mine)
Spend no more time there. Answer no longer to the name the enemy calls you by.
Let me tell you a secret the enemy doesn’t want you to know: we all have a choice in this. We can choose whether we move forward from this point or whether we relive the past for the rest of our lives.
I love the way Christine Caine said it- You could miss the rest of your life, which could be the best of your life by focusing on what was the worse of your life.
Friend, allow me to speak some things over you. Your true identity.
You are HIS.
Never again answer to any other name!
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.
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.
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.
Hear that beat? Here that music thumping? Come on, get up! Let’s get our praise ON!
I’ve been teaching a lot on patterns in school and in ministry lately. Patterns in the world, and the patterns we trace. We’re told in Romans 12:2 to break the patterns of this world in our lives. The renewing of our minds to the mind of Christ transforms our lives as we grow to know what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is for our lives.
In Psalm 127:1-2 it says, Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. The Hebrew word for house in verse one can actually be translated family. That is one reason why the next few verses read like this:
Behold, children are a heritage 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. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
If you have sat up late, worrying about your children or your family, you need to know that God can turn things around.
Trust Him to build and protect your family. Do your part, but look to Him for guidance and strength. And trust Him to do what you cannot do. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live. Be a pattern for them in your love, and your faith. God recently blew our minds and busted our hearts wide open by bringing a sweet little 6 year old into our family. She loves to walk around acting, talking, and teaching like I do. My husband and oldest daughter noticed it before I did. It’s so cute, but it also has me watching her closely. Just as she traces those squares and triangles while I’m teaching her shapes, she is tracing my walk. As I’m watching her closely, she is watching me even more closely! I’ve got to be sure I’m following the pattern Christ gives to us as she is following my pattern.
He can cause your “arrows” to be effective against the enemy instead of wounding your heart. He can turn things around. My little “mini-me” came from a very abusive background. God is healing and restoring her. God can turn our lives around! He’s an expert at renewing, restoring, and resurrecting! He makes all things new, and that includes your family. Trust Him to do what you cannot do.
“House-building” and “city-guarding” cannot succeed apart from God. You are His beloved. Allow Him to give you peace and rest now.
May you be happy with your quiver of “arrows,” and may God be glorified in your family.
I love the feeling I get when I see a box of things from our past. I smile just walking in the direction of the box. Opening them and talking about what each thing represents. The laughter, and love that flow as we remember. Things my kids made, holiday decorations, funny and sweet notes my children wrote, things sweet friends gave me, mementos of my Dad and other loved ones no longer with us. We’re all transported back. It’s cozy there in the kisses from our Heavenly Father.
What a blessing it is to cuddle with each kiss! It’s like getting blessed all over again. Passing to the next generation the moments of joy we have in raising our children, growing and loving in marriage, the awe, fear, wonder, and victories in God. I was talking with a friend the other day who said we don’t remember days, we remember moments. I agree.
I give thanks for remembering. For the remembering brings joy. Joy in giving God the glory and thanks in a life lived well. I add quickly not a life lived perfectly, but with honest passion, desire, love and compassion authored by God Himself. A passionate desire to follow, glorify and honor God. This story of love is authored by Him. A life together made on our own would not have been so great. In our own weak attempts we fail. For we are nothing and have nothing without Him
For you see, God + nothing = everything