Blessings Await

My husband is a leader with an ever growing men’s ministry. These men have committed themselves to following Jesus and to each other. It is their desire to minister to as many men as possible, spreading the good news of salvation and reconciliation with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

One of the weekly groups is growing so much it has recently been split into two now meeting at separate locations. This has been difficult for the men. They have made very close knit friendships but need more room for new guys to join. Even though growing the groups is exactly what is suppose to happen, it does not mean it is easy for them.

It is hard to suffer even in small ways. Leaving people behind is a sacrifice. Jesus knows the heartache of leaving behind others. He promised great blessings to those who do leave behind people for the sake of His name.

Jesus said to them… And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:27, 29

What a wonderful promise! Lets pray the men are encouraged by the growth of their groups. Pray they remember Jesus’ promised blessings to those who endure suffering for Him no matter how little that suffering may be.

I pray we all remember this and some day we will all hear the reward that awaits us.

‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21

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Love is a Sacrifice

True love is a sacrifice. I can love when it is easy to, but what about if it costs me something? If it hurts a little?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

I wish I could say I have nailed these verses on the head with an A+, I have not. I have to remind myself, as difficult as it can be for me to love others like this at times, I too can be hard to love. I need to show others this grace because I need it as well, in my ugly places.

God’s love is this very thing. He loves us in our mess.

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (John 4:9-12).

Since I have understood God’s love for me through His sacrifice of His Son, even when I was not too lovable towards Him, I understand what true love is. It is a sacrifice.

Perfect Peace

Perfect

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all who’s thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3

What words come to mind when you hear the word “Peace”? I think of words such as calm, relaxing, easy, content, at ease, and restful. But, often our lives are anything but these. Peace as the world sees it is very different than God given peace. Peace is not about freedom from the interruptions, but rather it is about the freedom to rest in them.

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I am a foster mom to a sweet little baby who doesn’t sleep, a homeschooling mom of 4 precious little girls, a home maker, friend, and wife. Add to that basket two cancer diagnosis’s in my immediate family, blogging, and church. If it weren’t for baby cuddles, I don’t think I’d ever sit down! There are some days when I fall into bed. There are days where I feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed, overworked, and over spent. But the remarkable thing I’ve come to discover is that I always have enough to keep going and I am always full of peace despite whatever is touching my life.

I find that when I walk in obedience through hard places, I always come through the other side blessed and encouraged. I’m not saying that things don’t hurt. They do. I’ve cried many tears. But, none of my tears have been wasted. God has set perfect plans in place that only He knows. I can rest in knowing that His plans are good and can be trusted. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

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So, when I stare down cancer, broken homes, home-school tantrums, crying babies, laundry piles that touch the ceiling, and every other bit and piece that may enter my life, I can know without a doubt that God is there. In confidence I trust that God will use all of it for His glory and my good. There is no other feeling I love more than knowing that God is doing His work through me. It fills me with peace, purpose, and such encouragement! It’s truly a gift.

So, let me encourage you to keep your eyes firmly set on Christ. Remember that nothing in this life rests on your shoulders alone. Ultimately, it is God who holds it all in the palm of His hand. If He allows hard things to touch us, we can trust that God will not leave us or forsake us. His plans are good. He is good. He is giving you an opportunity to shine His love. So shine sweet friends and stay focused on Him. Watch as His peace in you moves the mountains in your life and changes hearts.

We have a Comforter

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With the tragedy that happened in Florida last week, it is hard to feel any peace living in this world. It is hard to imagine anyone being that evil and carrying out such an act of hatred.

Ephesians 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There is a greater evil at work. There is an evil spiritual world that we cannot even see. It is such a scary prospect! Evil that is dark and in the high places. But, take heart because “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

The Holy Spirit living in us has great and mighty power. We can depend on him and feel peace because he has been sent by God to be our helper. The Holy Spirit is our comforter in this dark world.

John 14:16-18

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

I forget while I worry about the evil in this world, that God has not left us on our own. He has left us the Holy Spirit, God living within us. This is our protection from the dark world and our comforter from the sadness that we face.

It is still so hard living in this world with the evil and sin. God knew that it would be hard for us and comforts us with these words:

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Today’s America

The whirring around me of this country’s turmoil is heightening as the years go on. When we were kids, we dreamed of a safe America, full of hope and security. I know my future seemed to be cacooned in a cozy, safe place to get married in, to raise a family in, and to flourish in. Today, that kind of hope isn’t reality. It was actually a false hope because God told us all along it is going to get worse before it gets better.

“But realize this, in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;…” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Sounds like the way people live today. Some might question if we are in fact living in the end times, as historically other times have also been full of despair. But, today things are in place like never before.

And look around…

While everyone thinks about how our great country is sinking, about mental illness and gun laws, I hope we are spending more time dwelling on God’s laws. It’s time to get serious about God and His Word.

He told us it’s coming. He told us to put on the full armor, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

It is so important to be getting in God’s Word each day, so that we can know His character, stand on His promises, and be ready. As the world continues in chaos, in the Bible we will find the strength to get through. We really have no idea what we are in for before it gets better.

Help Carry Burdens

The other day I overheard a conversation. Two people were discussing how you “just never know what skeletons are in the closets of some people.” What little slander I heard, saddened me because I realized I am guilty of doing the same type of talk. The truth is, we all have skeletons. If we think for even a second we don’t, boy are we deceived.

It does not matter who we are, everyone of us are quick to recognize the weaknesses in others. It’s not the recognizing of someones weakness that’s wrong, it’s what we do with it after that makes all the difference.

God expects us to see and He expects us to respond.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).

Did you notice that this passage is not about the one who sins. It is a beautiful reminder of how Christ expects His body to respond to those who have buckled under the weight of temptation. We are to respond with a spirit of gentleness, with an attitude that is completely absent of any and all self aggrandizement.

The word restore is a picture of a broken bone carefully being placed back into its correct position. The pain and agony of the break should always be in the thoughts of the “spiritual” one helping with the restoration.

Temptation is an extremely heavy burden for everyone of us. We all experience the weight of it and we all have buckled under that weight.

Jesus is our example to look to. He took temptation head on in the wilderness and met that temptation perfectly. He never buckled. Jesus did not puff up with pride at His perfection, instead He knowing the weight of temptation, recognized our weaknesses and carried our burdens all the way to the cross.

Let’s remember that as the body of Christ we are to fulfill the law of Christ. We are to bear one another’s burdens. The mess involved, the time involved, all of it. In doing so, we imitate the love that our Savior Jesus has for sinners like us and we bring glory to Him.

To Be Never Forgotten

Our neighbors are very dear to us. We often chuckle and say that we could not handpick a better place for our family right now. God gave these people to us. He has remembered us, even in our dwelling place.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion for the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15)

Our home reminds me of the faithfulness of God. Three households link up to our property and all three have intimate ties to us, other than being neighbors. When I think of all of the awesome people on our road, I have no doubt God’s words are true when He says,

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)

How impossible it would be to forget an engraving on our palms! God wants us to know the complete security of this kind of love. We gain this when we have a relationship with Him, when we let Him be our God.

As I spend time and think upon my dear neighbors, I can confidently encourage you that God’s children are to be never forgotten by Him.