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Heavy duty stuff

Lessons from Sunday school the few past couple of weeks keeps jumping through my mind. Over and over and over….the words and lessons speaking to my heart mind and soul. Words that are hard to hear but must be absorbed. Things that need to be heard again. And again. And again…..  Reminders to push and direct me. To keep me going forward on the narrow path and not sliding backwards downhill in spiritual cruise control as so well said by our pastor during the sermon this past weekend!

—> ARE YOU TRUSTING THE LORD THE WAY HE CALLS US TO???        I’m not, I am guilty of anxiety and worry….

—> WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT? Is it focused on the Lord?…     mine isn’t its normal grumbling about being tired and not wanting to get up and start another busy day

Beware!

‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning’ Luke 12:35. ‘And he said to them “take care and be in your guard against all covetousness for ones life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions’. Luke 12:15

I need to remain in prayer and study of God’s word to be able to beware and prepared for the trials of this world.  The days/weeks I am more obedient with this there is a noticeable difference.  There are so many idols in our lives that it is easy to slip into not making this a habit and a priority in my routine.

Have no fear!

“”I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke‬ 12:4-5

To truly trust the Lord and live fearlessly in Him, I need to be with Him, I cannot do this if I am not studying His word, meditating and learning His word and alive in my prayer life with Him.

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:22-26‬

Who am I to question God and His plan with my worry and anxious heart???  But yet I do.  This is truly my greatest struggle and something I am actively working towards.  In the heat of the moment when fear hits the ceiling and physically overpowered by anxiety is when it is most challenging, again I need to continue to improve in my bible study and prayers to move closer to the Lord and farther from living with constant anxiety.

Be ready!

“”Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”” Luke‬ ‭12:35-36, 40‬

I need to be ready with God’s words constantly in my mind and heart.  I need to be on constant and frequent fellowship with Christ to stay ready, if His word is in my heart and mind then that is what will come out.  If sinful and evil is allowed to be entertained in my mind and heart then that is what will come out.  We must stay in God’s word and know it so intimately that we can distinguish false teaching.    Application of scripture in life may change but the truth of it will remain the same.

Christ must come first!

“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke‬ ‭12:8-10‬

I need to rest in the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all else, first in and above all things in this world and the Holy spirit will be there leading me, convicting me when needed, and preparing me for His return one day.

I am so very thankful for God’s truth, for God’s mercy and grace upon me and my life.  I am so thankful to be in this Sunday school class where I am being challenged, spiritually fed and convicted.  I am so thankful for my salvation in Christ. My heart is so happy to be moving forward in my walk, learning and growing along side sisters and brothers in Christ.  I am so VERY THANKFUL for HEAVY DUTY STUFF to be laid on my mind and heart on Sunday mornings ❤

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Parenting success for 2017!

Towards the end of 2016 my husband and I spent some time discussing and reviewing the amount of time our children were spending on screen time.

Overall we have maintained boundaries around their screen time that we firmly believe in.  With simples things like these…

-No electronics after 8pm.

-No phones or electronics in their bedrooms they must be used downstairs out in the open.

-No using phones or electronics on the morning on the way to school.

However even with our boundaries in place we were feeling that with all time they were spending with these devices they could be putting a little more into reading. (Ok so they could be putting A LOT more into reading 🤦🏼‍♀️)

Tyler Emily Joshua Richard

None of our older thee children, Joshua 14, Tyler 12 and Emily 12 are super avid readers.  They each have gone through phases when they read for pleasure here and there but overall it is not their favorite leisure activity to do.  They have the same habit their parents have to pick out lots of books and start many but finish few books.  So we explored some ways we could help get them reading more regularly some really great books.

We discussed all the different ways we could come up with and implement an enforced reading plan. This is the simple plan that we came up with for each one of our older three children for 2017.

An ENFORCED READING CHALLEGE each child will be;

-Assigned and required to read one book that was chosen by a parent each month.

-After completing their book they were required to answer some simple questions about the book in writing, I had some worksheets I made for them.

-Required to keep a log of the books they read and how many pages were in each book.

To try and make things fun and a little competitive we put a challenge on it.  We told them they could read above what we assigned with parent approved books and the child who read the most books would win a prize and the child who read the most pages would win a prize.  Of course our reading choices were carefully selected to make sure they were reading good books.  This was done on top of what assigned reading they had in school and reading they wanted to do on their own.

At first they grumbled and complained…but they did it.  We were mean parents but our children were reading some great books!

It seemed after a few months in they were even starting to enjoy some of the books.  Some of the books were faith based, some were nonfiction, some were fiction.  We even through in some of the books we had to read as a child like ‘Where the red fern grows.’  Some of the months they were challenged more than others.  Emily did note on several occasions she felt this reading at home was helping her at school with her reading comprehension.  Hopefully it helped the other two as well!

Of course this meant work on our part as parents, following through with it.  Taking the time to select books each month and keep up with them and make sure they were actually reading.  We did let the month of September go by as a free month as they got back into school routine that month.

We sat down one night last week at dinner and pulled out all their reading logs and the questions they answered on the books they read over 2017.  Talked about their favorite books and least favorite.  Added up totals to find the winners of the most read and the most pages read.  Talked about what a successful year of reading they had and how awesome they felt for accomplishing this challenge.  And then came the reward…my husband and I told them that since they did such a great job we would find a weekend before the end of winter and take just the three of them to Great Wolf Lodge for some play and fun!  This is a huge treat for them and they are super excited and looking forward to this.  Our 6 year old who was not part of 2017 reading sat in on our reading discussion and got to see what all the fuss was about.  He will be jumping into our new and improved 2018 ENFORCED READING CHALLENGE.  Now he is excited too!

And of course the OCD nature in me has neatly filed away all the reading logs and questions so next year we can pull them out and compare and see how they have grown in their reading and writing.

We are super pleased with the way this reading challenge progressed however we have learned along the way and have made some adjustments to our plan as we take on 2018.

—–>First: we are adding a book of the bible to be assigned each month as well as their assigned book.  January they are reading 1Timothy.  We the parents of course will be reading the books of the bible as well.  Last year I did read some of the books before giving them to the kids to make sure they would be appropriate and beneficial.

—->Second:  Richard is joining the reading challenge this year so since he is an early reader as a 1st grader he will have some help especially the first few months as he gets the hang of this and his comprehension questions are scaled down to his level.

—->Last: When the 1st of the month rolls around if their reading from the prior month is not done they will lose all electronics and phones until it is complete.  I think after once or twice this will help encourage them to be more aware of having their reading and questions done on time which was a challenge last year we saw.   Hopefully this year they can be completing each month without being reminded.

As in most parenting moments this has been a learning experience for us this past year as well.  As a result I myself have increased the number of books I read and have been reading a wider variety—->Mom win!!!

I know felt super accomplished that we followed through and stuck this out even through all the grumbling and complaining. Even when it was extra work to keep up with during busier seasons.

I do believe the kids and the parents in our home are pleased with the outcome of this 2017 ENFORCED READING CHALLENGE.

Sometimes the parenting successes feel few and far between but this was a big success for us and I am excited to see how the children and parents in our home grow with our 2018 reading!

PS——>We are open to books suggestions for 2018!

Hitting RESET

We have had a whirlwind of the last few months in our home and lives.  I have been taking a step back for over a week now as I reset and refocus.  Started with social media fast, haven’t been on Facebook for over a week.  I have had some things, like my runs,  upload directly to Facebook but have not tapped on the app to look at anything or spent anytime online.

This has been quite refreshing to experience to do this.  I would like to say I have taken all the time saved from looking facebook to something productive like memorizing scripture or catching up on reading  but I haven’t.  I have however have been able to catch my breath emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Not so much from the time I would have been looking online but more from refocusing my thoughts and energy.

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord who walks in His ways.”  Psalm 128:1

Something that I have been focused on during this time is that God is faithful, He is always with us and He is always in control. He promises to be there and provide peace even in the most distressing circumstances however I must LET GO and surrender to Him to receive His promises. I need to trust in His will over all things in my life not just when I feel like it.

This is a tough one for me sometimes (ok a lot of the times). I am your typical ‘type A’ personality, (some may say even OCD!) As a result this causes me have the natural desire to control things. So the surrendering completely part is where I struggle. 

For me surrender is an everyday moment to moment challenge. I have to consciously choose to let things go to God, choose joy, choose to be positive. Some days it is so much harder to make these choices and I fail, fail miserably at times when I need Christ the most. Fear, anger, selfishness all these sinful things pull and direct my emotions and I fall guilty of not being thankful in all circumstances, of not honoring God with my love and obedience.

I make the same mistake over and over in different situations and trials, I don’t turn the situation over to God immediately, I hold onto and try to “fix” it myself and oh boy does this backfire! I have to fall flat on my face from trying to do it my way and then I turn to God for help. And yet I do this over and over. During the more difficult struggles I am human, I am weak and the enemy knows this. This is when he strikes, plants doubt and fear in my mind and heart, sin separating me from God. I know that am most weak when I am not as dedicated or intentional with my scripture reading and prayer life and yet at times I will let day to day life take priority, GUILTY!

Now I don’t do this every trial in my life and I’m certainly a work in progress.  I learn from each mistake and each failure.   Every time I fall and He lifts me up and carries me I am closer to Him.  I am not who I was, and will continue to grow in Christ.  Thank the Lord He doesn’t except me to be perfect, He knows I am human and sinful and yet He loves me and He forgives me.  What an AWESOME God we have!

 

So this week while I am refocusing I am renewed and refreshed by these wonderful reminders and truths.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm‬ ‭25:4-5‬

God’s forgiveness

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. ‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭

God’s grace

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭

His mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans‬ ‭9:18‬ ‭

His love

“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.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬