Follow Jesus

Change can sometimes be a painful process. I was thinking back to how I have changed as a Christian over the last 6 years, and what has caused me to change. I have come to realize that I will never reach perfection. Even though I knew that I still tried. I tried to play the part. I tried to do what I saw other Christians do. Dress how they dressed. I went through a stage of wearing mostly skirts and gauchos. Okay, let me tell ya ladies! My short legs and thighs have no place in gauchos. Ever! My husband looked at me one day because I was battling the right and wrong of it for awhile. I sought scripture and the advice of other Christians and he said to me “I like you in jeans. I don’t mind skirts but not every day.” He knew it was not a biblical matter of sin or that I was convicted of God. But I was worried about what others thought was right. That is the wrong reason to do anything. I would listen to only a certain type of Christian music. Looking down on any that I didn’t agree with. As I sat and listened to my secular music as well…I Believed that only a certain type of worship was acceptable to God. It was okay to holler, preach and shout amen. It was okay to get emotional when you sing an old fashioned heartfelt song to God and raise your hand but it’s not okay to raise your hand and get emotional during a contemporary Christian song that is God-honoring.
I tried to live to the standards of other Christians. As Christians, our Bible should be where we go to to find our standards; not the convictions of other Christians, or their judgments. Yes, we should go to others for guidance. Yes, we should listen to the Pastor’s warnings. Yes, we should be strong on our doctrine and what the Bible says. Yes, the preacher should preach on sin. If it lines up with God’s Word then we ought to listen. We better listen because it is coming out of God’s Word from God’s man. But…I am not talking about deep doctrinal issues here. I am talking about the preferences of others in their Christian walk. We cannot live by what others say but what God’s Word teaches us. When we go around looking down on others for doing or not doing a certain thing then we ourselves need to check our hearts! Pride sure can set in real quick. It is an ugly thing that will rear it’s head and deter others from Jesus. We need to have discernment in all things, study the Bible, seek God for answers, go to a credible source for advice. Get guidance from other Christian women who are real!
Don’t be a high and mighty Christian full of pride. I have been there. It is no fun. God will soon knock you down. It hurts. Don’t be on the other end of the spectrum either. A Christian that accepts everything and anything. A “don’t judge me Christian” Sin is okay. Everyone sins. Everyone is a child of God. All religion is of God (that’s a lie as well that satan tricks many with.) If we accept sin in the church and have absolutely no standards or preaching of God’s truth it is no good for us. We can’t lead our children correctly. They won’t take much of a stand on anything because everything goes.
Neither one of these is okay. They are both slippery roads to go down. Find a balance in your Christian walk. I know it is hard. I struggle with it. We need to be women approved in God’s eyes, not mans. As humans, that is difficult because we all want acceptance. I understand that to my conservative Christian friends I will sound weak like I have gone off the deep end to the liberal side. When my liberal Christian friends hear some of the stances I refuse to back down on they will call me old-fashioned and out of touch.
There are things I disagree with on both sides. Some churches are ridden with traditionalism and legalism, and some with emotionalism and humanism. Not all, but some. We should be Bible-believers. Jesus-loving women! Women who want to be real. Leading others to Christ and closer to Christ. Let us take a stand with some kind of fierce love that only Jesus can give us. A love that looks beyond…

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

Focused and Honest

The message our Pastor preached yesterday was on sin. One thing that stuck with me that he said: “If you struggle with continual sin in your life, most likely, you’re not in the Word of God like you should be.”
My goal this week is to be more focused. Focus my thoughts on Jesus Christ. Focus on scripture. Focus on praying. Focus on what matters. Focus on what I need to change in my life. Whatever heart issue we have. Whatever sin it is that makes us stumble it is easier to deal with and resist it when we are close to Christ. Let us not neglect our relationship with God. Let us stay close to Him so when temptations arise we don’t fall for what makes us weak. We are free from eternal damnation when we sin because of the blood of Christ, but this does not mean we are free to sin without consequences. Even God chastises His children read Hebrews 12:7-11. Let us be honest with God, ourselves and our sin so we do not to become complacent to it.

“Sometimes as Christians, we have the wrong response to sin…we never take sin as serious as we should.” Brother Russell Lyle

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Psalm 40:11-12 “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.”
Psalm 103:8-12 “The LORD [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep [his anger] for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
Phillippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Keep it Simple

The best times in life I believe are the most simple. I love simplicity. I was cleaning up yesterday with the doors open because the weather was so great. I stopped to watch my 5-year-old run across the yard so freely and into the woods to play with his siblings. When you look out, there is a makeshift hammock made out of bright curtains that were once used for a teepee after they retired from the windows. I usually stop by my bedroom door to count the heads to make sure they are all staying together and still within my sight. The feeling my heart gets when I see my kids running free and happy is indescribable. They are most content when they are in the woods. I am thankful we have this piece of land for them to explore. We have been blessed.
I know that this short time of being little will pass so quickly. They are growing before my eyes so on some days I let them stay out a little longer. I let their 30-minute break from school turn into an hour because they love nature and outside time so much. They occasionally meet their cousins down at “The Rocks” and play right before dark.
How quickly childhood passes! Education is definitely important. Having chores to teach them responsibility is important. Mine do and have both but play time is just as important. Free time to think, imagine, discover, have childhood adventures and run wild is just as vital. They learn when they play. These will be the only days that our babies have without bills and major responsibilities. Without the adulthood stress. Let’s not flood them with too much to do. Let them be bored so they will use their imagination. Let them be wild while they are young and care not what others think of them! Let us not wish they would hurry and grow up; for those will be the saddest days for us if we rushed them through childhood wanting them out of our hair. These are the days we as parents will miss. Strive to make them count. Slow down, Momma, and take it all in. Our children are not burdens to be pushed aside. I believe they are what makes the world go round. Even Jesus made time for children.

Luke 18:15-16 “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”.

Isaiah 44:3-4 “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses.”

Your Choice

I went to visit my best friend in Alabama. My husband and I had been working out and eating mostly clean for about 3 weeks before my trip. My second day there her momma brought us a homemade chocolate cherry cream cheese cake! What did I do? Well….it had the word chocolate so of course, I ate a piece. I wished not long after that I had not of eaten it. I felt so sick. My body was already not accustomed to all the goodness. After that, it was easier to make better food decisions.
So……..
Whether it be with food or another temptation in our life that is unhealthy for us physically or spiritually it gets easier each time we resist what is not good for us. It is always easier to have others help us along the way and to encourage us to do right as a Christian. When it comes to eating and drinking healthy it is the same thing. I love to have help from others but the thing is you are solely responsible for Y-O-U and the choices you make. Your cheerleaders will not always be there to exercise with you or to stop you from eating what you shouldn’t. Your sisters in Christ. The ones that hold you accountable will not always be there when gossip arises or another activity that is spiritually unhealthy for you comes your way. Sometimes, we just have to take responsibility for our decisions and do what is best.
We need to care enough about ourselves spiritually to pray, read, study our Bible and to stay away from bad influences that will pull us away from God. We need to care enough about ourselves physically to eat, drink, exercise, and to stop any habits that have a harming effect on our bodies. This isn’t always easy. Though, it is always rewarding when we do. We become stronger inside and out when we decide to make changes in our lives with both spiritual and physical matters.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

Proverbs 3:7-8 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

Be Courageous

The other day I thought about how hard it is to live a Christian life. It is hard to walk right. To be a good example. To resist temptations and sin. It takes strength and courage to do right. I think sometimes we should pray “God give me the courage to do.” The courage to live the life that God intends for us as a Christian. The courage to take a stand for what is right, against sin. To lead our children down the correct path. The courage to be different. The courage to step out of our comfort zone. To serve Jesus and others. To share the gospel. To invite someone to church. It also takes courage to use our gifts and talents. Courage doesn’t mean that you aren’t scared or won’t fall it means in spite of those things you will still do. Still, try. The very thing that you are called by God to do no matter how big or small is worth doing. You never know who you will reach by doing that. Don’t let fear take hold of your heart. #doitwithlove #doitforGod #bekindandcourageous#couragedearheart #standfortruth

My 8-year-old was discouraged today with school and his siblings. His attitude was not the best. Instead of lecturing I chose to put him in my lap that he will very soon be too big for and listen to him as his eyes welled up with tears. All it took to turn his day around was me listening, saying a few words he needed to hear, and a hug. Our kids are beginners at dealing with their emotions. It’s our job to teach them and be patient in this area of development as well. This is something that has taken me a bit to learn as a momma. Becoming frustrated with your littles about things they are just learning whether it be with their emotions, academically, or trying out a new passion will most likely only discourage them from trying again. When our babies are just learning to crawl and walk we put a toy within a reachable distance in front of them. Then we get down to their level and encourage them. We don’t ridicule, insult, or become frustrated with their inability to do so. It should be that way as they continue to grow. Of course, the way we encourage will change as they get older. Still, we should be their biggest encouragers along their journey of life and in their Christian walk. #bethesteady #enjoythesemoments #pointthemtoJesus #tryandtryagain#itisworthit