The Circle

My mornings start early and are routine. I wake up, get my coffee and settle in my chair for a long stay in God’s word. This is what fills me up to pour out during my day. I have tried only taking a few minutes and reading a quick devotional. That resulted in little to give and me relying on my own strength. I found myself with some patience, some kindness, easy judgement, selfishness, pride and insecurity. Sounds delightful, huh?Simply put, I need Jesus to remind me of who He is and therefore who I am. My family and those I encounter during the day count on it. I need the daily reminder of the Holy Spirit living inside of me that gives me power, love, wisdom and strength for the day. I can look back over the years and know that it was the Holy Spirit alive and active in me that carried me through some unbearable heartaches. I am so thankful.

IMG_0523Back to the morning times. Today started the same and it is always exciting to see what the Lord will reveal. I started in Nehemiah and immediately read, “So I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall…” (2:17). This book always gets me thinking about families today. Everywhere you look, ruins can be seen. Divorce, affairs, the redefining of marriage, kids in foster care, child abuse, abortion, abandonment and the list could go on and on. All of this can of course be traced back to the selfishness of sin, ultimately worshipping oneself over God. We are in trouble.

I then turned to 1 John 4 and began to read. (Once you start spending time with your Bible open, it is amazing how He directs you. Try it.) I read these words, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” (4:18). When something isn’t complete, like a circle, there is an opening, a gap. If a wall goes around a city and a gate is missing, anything can come in. All that enters may not be good. How can we be complete and our “gates” closed? Love would be the answer. It does away with fear and punishment. Are you afraid? Then read the next verse, “We love because He first loved us.” (4:19). You see, He loved you first. Let that take some pressure off. You do not have to fear if He will love you. However, if you do not accept this gift of love, then by all means, you need to be fearful. What is waiting for you is not anything you can imagine. I love you too much not to warn you.

“The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). When Adam and Eve chose to sin, an opening in a sense was created and the evil one has been highly active ever since. There isn’t a person alive that has not been the victim of his sway. Because of the internet and social media, this is extremely evident. Evil has waltzed in and claimed so many victims. Broken people are everywhere and are trying to repair themselves in anyway possible. Sin is on display and all are invited to join in. The entrance is wide open and appears to be getting wider by the minute. Walk on in if you wish, but what satan will neglect to tell you is you will be trapped for all eternity if you have not accepted the gift of salvation, the gift of love.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12) Remain dead in your sin or come to life, it is up to you. “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved…” (Joel 2:32). The greatest act of love ever, was God sending His only Son to die on a cross to pay the price for the sin of the world. We have all heard John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” However, you need to keep reading. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” (John 3:17-18).

I recently listened to a teaching and heard the question being asked if we believe if Jesus died for me, not just the whole world, but for me. Do you? It will make all the difference in your life, your family and eternity. Everything is not always easy, but you are never alone and can trust the One who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

It is your choice. We are in a state of ruin and there is only one answer. There is only one Savior who can close the gate and make us complete. You can say yes to the greatest love of your life today! Simply believe in the God who created you and gave you the freedom to chose life or death. You are free to remain dead in your sin or alive in Christ. Love and peace or fear. Confess that you are caught in the sway of the devil and sin reins in your life. Ask the God who loves you to forgive you. Now open your Bible and read the best love story ever written. He loves you so much! Your Heavenly Father is longing to have you home. You are safe in His arms.

*I took this picture today of Viv and Damon watching the football game.

 

Vivian

And now it is Vivian’s turn to be celebrated! She turned 5 this week and I find it unbelievable that we are here already. Time has passed quickly and she has grown up. There isn’t much she cannot do by herself and she even helps the older kids. She is very much into all things girly, but can hold her own in a sword fight. It is very rare for her to leave home without lipgloss and I love it. She is very vocal on not liking to be rushed and expects me to plan my time better so this will not be the case. It has actually helped me manage my time more efficiently.

IMG_0450She lived out a lesson this week and I will share it with you. While I was applying my own lipgloss and more, she wanted to watch a cute cartoon called “Fancy Nancy”. I see lots of similarities between the two. After it was over, she brought me 3 options for her to wear. Each was more suited for a ball than Walmart. I thought this, but then just as quickly wondered why it mattered. The days of dress up are fleeting, so I think they need to be enjoyed now. She wore her fancy dress and literally twirled her way through most of Walmart, receiving numerous compliments. I do not think the thought has ever crossed her mind that this is not normal.

What occurred to me was that she put fancy images before her eyes for 30 minutes and then reflected this in her appearance and behavior. We might be way older than 5 years old, but do we not do the same? We spend our time on pure truth in God’s word or we get our “truth” from say the news. Does this have a direct impact on our thoughts, words and actions? You bet it does. It is my conviction, as a parent, to guard what goes before my kids eyes and in their ears. It has a direct impact on their hearts, minds and actions. In fact, Proverbs 62:8 says, “…he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.” One of my main jobs as a parent is to teach my kids God’s word and His commandments. This takes time, being present and knowing the word for myself. However, they know and are shown that they are loved by us and by God, so that makes learning, trusting and obeying a bit easier.

This is just one example from the life of Vivian. She is brave, kind and often shy. She laughs easy and has an incredible vocabulary. She has a temper that flares and a heart that loves to serve. She gives hugs and kisses in abundance. She is independent and determined. She has style and grace. Her ballet moves are quite impressive and she can run extremely fast. She is being molded into who God designed her to be and it is beautiful.

Vivian, I love you and am amazed by you!

Paxton

Another child was celebrated this past week and it was so much fun! We give the kids a few options in how they want their birthdays to go and Paxton chose my favorite. We take them out all by themselves. They pick the restaurant and stores to spend their money. To just have one on one time is rare in our family, so that makes it special. They have our undivided attention and this kid took full advantage. He really is a lot of fun.

IMG_0307So much could be written about Paxton. The things he says and does are remarkable. When he disobeys, it actually is a bit shocking. His heart just seems to be bent towards obedience and others. He is the kid that forgave a bully, multiple times and then wanted to include him. He is the kid who wanted to take his brothers place when he was going to be punished. He is the kid that holds the door for ladies. He is the kid who does not hesitate to stand in front of a crowd and pray. His heart will be burdened for someone and will not stop praying until an answer comes.

His favorite stories in the Bible are when David fought Goliath and the end stories in Revelation. He is pretty excited about a new Heaven and a new Earth. It is in these choices that I see even more of his heart. I see him a bit like David, “of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22). It is when this started coming to light, that I started searching for books on how people who lived mighty lives for God were raised. Specifically, I looked mainly at Billy Graham. His mother played a huge role in shaping the obedient and available person he became.

You just never know who sits around your table. Any parent might be the one raising the next President of the United States. Another, the one who leads a nation to repentance. Maybe even one who does incredible military exploits, that saves the masses from destruction. Who knows? I have no idea what this child will become, but I trust the One who created him. It is my job to raise him to teach him this. It is my conviction that he needs to be pointed to truth. He needs to read and hear scripture that backs this up. He needs to know, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him for Him.” (Colossians 1:16). Also, read in Isaiah 43:7 “…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” That is who we are and the reason we were made. And I will spend all my days showing, telling and teaching him that is who he is – made by God for His glory.

Happy Birthday Paxton! I love you so much!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11