Okay, so I know I’m a little late to the game in writing something about New Year goals. I’m not really one to make a list of goals or resolutions each year, however I do find that as each year draws to a close I find myself reflecting on the past year. It normally begins as I’m writing my Christmas letters to family. If you’re new to the blog, you can read all about them here. This year, they were encouraging, beautiful and the highlight of my Christmas…as they always are.…continue reading
Today was the first day of school for many in our city. I know many of you have begun your new school year as well. My little ones have all flown the nest but I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts on starting your school year right. Many times it’s hard to find a place in our busy family schedules for family devotions or time in the Word together. But it’s so vitally important! Not that I want to add one.more.thing to your “to do” list this fall, but this is the perfect time to begin a habit of getting into God’s Word with your children.
I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that our family used during our kids’ growing-up years. Don’t make it complicated. Don’t feel pressured. Perhaps you can incorporate it as part of your morning routine with breakfast. Or perhaps in the evening after dinner. The point is to be intentional. If you will commit to this discipline as a family, God will provide a way.
So here are three of my favorites:…continue reading
I love it when God sheds light on an area of my heart hidden in darkness. Well actually, most of the time, my initial reaction to the light is the same as when my husband turns on the bathroom light that blasts a glaring ray interrupting my peaceful, wonderfully blissful sleep. (I’m not the morning person in our relationship). He calls me dramatic…whatever! I actually love early mornings…the peace, the calm, the newness, a fresh beginning…I just have a hard time getting there. This same scenario plays out when God hits my heart with His Truth.
I read this verse one morning and it stuck with me all day long. It quickly became like that glaring bathroom light!
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your Name forever. —Psalm 44:8
I couldn’t get it off my mind. I kept asking myself, what is your “all-day long boast”?
Webster’s Dictionary defines boasting: to show off; to wear or display in an ostentatious (to attract attention) manner.
In the original Hebrew of Psalm 44:8 the word for boast is “halal” – to be bright, shine, to be splendid, to boast, to praise, to celebrate, to glorify; at the heart of this root word is the idea of radiance.
So I pondered and paused throughout my day asking myself, what are you wearing, showing off, radiating? I quickly became painfully aware of my boastings and was not really thrilled with my conclusions.…continue reading
We were doing some purging and cleaning this weekend at our home. As I was sorting through stacks of papers in my desk drawer, I ran across some handouts from a marriage study my husband and I led last year (Stay Married for Life by Dan Seaborn). In one of the lessons the author described four levels of friendship and encouraged us to evaluate where we were in our relationship with our spouse. The goal of course being Confidants. Here’s the list:
- Chums — friends whose interests overlap yours in certain areas; you have conversations because they are convenient. You get to know surface details like name, age, education, job, etc. (i.e. like same music, gym membership, kids same age, work in same building).
- Companions — friends who spend time together on semi-regular basis. Not just bumping into each other but you make time for each other, committed to friendship so you plan activities together, conversation aren’t merely facts and friendship is strong enough to share opinions on important issues, not afraid to disagree, don’t disclose everything and moved beyond surface but friendship is still shallow.
- Comrades — friends who want to talk even on an off day, relationship enjoyable but it’s not limited to fun only, typically you’ve walked through meaningful circumstances together, seen the good and bad in each other and still like each other, enjoy being around and can be yourself with them, trust enough to share fears and concerns, beliefs and pursuits, problems and pain, ask for advice and often take it.
- Confidants — friends who know you to the core. More than only details and specifics, they KNOW you! Know your dreams, history, successes, disappointments, sources of joy and grief, strengths and weaknesses. Feel comfortable telling them everything, nothing off limits, seek them out when you need someone to celebrate with or cry with. Their opinions matter, spent enough time with you to recognize your emotions and pinpoint behavior patterns. They understand why you react and behave the way you do. They get you and the closeness of your relationship is the proof.
This got me thinking about other relationships in my life, and who fit where in this list of 4 C’s. …continue reading
It’s been quite a week in our little town! Augusta was hit by a huge ice storm. It took down trees and took out power—for several days for many of its residents. For me, the most unsettling hours were during the evening when the ice had settled in on everything and the limbs of trees were beginning to snap, crackle, pop and then the thundering booms as trees and limbs came down. It was like the sound of constant gunfire and explosions.
Our home backs up to the woods, so I was just waiting for that 60-foot hardwood to come crashing through our roof! Thankfully, it did not and we sustained very minor damages. But then, just as things were beginning to thaw and melt, we experienced an earthquake! Things were quite shaken up this past week, to say the least! …continue reading
I recently experienced one of those situations when I really wanted “fix” a situation that was out of my control. A loved one was in a difficult situation and there was nothing anyone could do to help or alleviate the problem. My hands were tied! I wanted to be where they were and fix the problem! But I was miles apart with no way to get to them or to remedy the situation. I was overwhelmed and concerned and began to fret. But then I thought…I CAN pray. I can pray! That’s huge! But often it’s our last resort and not our first thought. So I began to pray and intercede for my loved one. I prayed for the situation to resolve immediately…it did not. I prayed for protection and provision for my loved one…it was granted! I prayed for peace and comfort…it was supplied in abundance! As I was praying, the Lord brought a verse of Scripture to mind and it became my prayer back to the Lord throughout the many hours that followed and as we waited for the situation to resolve itself.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
A very present help —that’s what I needed for my loved one. That’s what I need for myself in that moment. I needed someone who would be present in the situation and help!
This word, very present, in the original language of the Bible is…continue reading
Expectations. We all have them. Often they rule and reign in our lives creating stress, frustration and discontent. They can ruin relationships. They can sour our attitudes. But we all have them. So what’s a girl to do? I’ve been mulling this idea over quite a bit in the last year. It’s not necessarily the expectations that are the problem, but rather “expectality”. Don’t bother looking it up. It’s a made up word. When I find myself stressed, frustrated and discontent because my expectations have been thwarted, dashed or unmet, this is the state known as “expectality”. It’s when my expectations collide with my reality. For me (and perhaps you), it’s really a control issue. I want to control situations and outcomes. I want to be comfortable, happy and content. I want my way. But…that’s not life. Jesus said it perfectly before He left earth, “…in the world you WILL have trouble…”. It’s a truth none of us will argue with, to be sure! The answer to dealing with “expectality” in life lies in the “BUT” statement that follows in this verse. I think we often overlook and forget this……continue reading
Have you ever had one of those days when you just wake up in a “mood”? You know, a foul, stinky mood and for no apparent reason. That’s how my day started on Friday. Before my feet even hit the floor, I could feel it coming on. It reminded me of when my children were toddlers and would wake up from a nap whiny, crying and unconsolable with no clue as to the problem. That was me! I laid in bed for a moment running through my day and week trying to ascertain why I was in such a state. Nothing. So I asked the Lord to just go before me that day. As I dressed for my day, every little thing got on my very.last.nerve. This was not getting better. I snapped at my husband. I ranted at drivers as I drove to work. And I realized that I didn’t really want to do anything to improve my mood. I just wanted to be in a bad mood. Crazy! But there deep down somewhere was that nagging (irritating) voice telling me I could NOT go through my day with this attitude. Then the Lord brought to mind what I’d been learning, writing about and teaching to other women lately —having a rejoicing attitude…DESPITE circumstances or feelings (or foul moods). Ugh! I really didn’t want this to apply to me today. And I just couldn’t seem to shake it and didn’t really have the energy to put much effort into it either. But I knew that something needed to be done. This attitude was just selfish and not honoring to Jesus at all! So I went through the list of what I normally do when I’m in a mood or feeling depressed. Mind you, I didn’t “feel” like doing any of this. But part of rejoicing always is determining with your will even when your feelings aren’t following suit.
I put on the praise music. I was driving at the time and I keep an NGU Joyful Sound CD in my car at all times. Having three children who attended North Greenville University and two who were part of the praise ensemble there, I knew their music always lifted my spirit and focused my eyes on things above. It was beginning to work. Then I began rehearsing Scripture in my mind and praying for the Lord to infuse it into every fiber of my being. I mean the Word IS living and active! (Hebrews 4:12). By the time I reached work, I wasn’t feeling quite as much like punching something or someone. (I told you, it was a foul mood!). At lunch I had scheduled a work out session with my husband and our trainer. Lunch approached and I considered bailing on it. But reluctantly I pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers and headed to the gym. Cardio, weights, stretching…I was beginning to feel better. My mood was lifting. By the time my day ended I had won the battle with those crazy, female hormones that had been wreaking havoc all day!…continue reading
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in this verse is the word eucharisteo in the original language of Scripture. It means to be thankful; to express one’s gratitude; give thanks.
Give thanks in this verse is a word in the present tense, imperative mood and active voice, which means a continuous, repeated action, a command that the subject accomplishes. In other words: Do it ! Over and over and over again.
Some of the other words for giving thanks and thanksgiving in the New Testament are:
thanksgiving —eucharistia—gratitude; active, grateful language; thanks to God as an act of worship
be thankful —eucharistos—(used only in Colossians 3:15) — thankful, mindful of favors, grateful
In the midst of each of these words is the Greek word charis which means grace……continue reading
A Rejoicing Attitude!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Voice)
It all begins with our focus, our perspective, which in turn affects our attitude.
In the original language of the Bible, rejoice is the word chairo.
rejoice – chairo – to be cheerful, calmly happy, to rejoice exceedingly, be well and thrive.
Rejoice or celebrate always is the command. I love this! I’m always up for a celebration. I love gathering with friends and family to fellowship together. At our house it usually involves food, lots of conversation, laughter, singing and sharing of stories. But we all know that life isn’t always a celebration.
- Sometimes life is hard.
- Sometimes life hurts.
- Sometimes life is harried.
But we are still called to rejoice and celebrate! So how do we do that in the hard, hurting and harried times of life?
“Rejoicing is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, releasing its grip on anything else it thinks it needs.” —Tim Keller
How do we change our perspective & attitude to rejoice always?