“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Our kids talk about feeling judged. It makes them react in fear and to hold back. Trying to get the truth in their minds and heart, that as believers in Jesus their verdict is not guilty, takes time. It took time for me to get that and to respond accordingly. I think I kinda started backwards actually. Knowing the word of truth without deep down believing you are approved, creates an arrogance that is painful to look back upon. Time goes on, growth happens and that prideful arrogance is worked out. What remains is extravagant love, quick forgiveness, peace, grace and mercy. Not perfection mind you, but a quiet contentment, man cannot steal. My prayer is that our children absorb this freedom much sooner than I did. And each time we need a reminder, I’ll say do your best as one approved of by the King of kings.
Watching our kids navigate the first few weeks of school, I noticed a common thread with them all. If they had a friend in class, it made all the difference because they knew they were not alone. We can apply this simple observation to our lives as well. We know that we are never alone. We are never without the Presence of our Father. Good days, hard days, sick days, first days, uncertain days and routine days, He never walks away from us. And when the days have added up a bit, we look back and see such evidence of Him. There is no way we could have kept walking if not for His nearness. Makes me so thankful for His company and my love for Him grows deeper.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
This verse came up on my phone today and a short teaching with it. Tim Keller explained “fear” in this verse and I found it so helpful. He said, “Fear in the Bible means to be overwhelmed, to be controlled by something.” Looking back I can give plenty of evidence of being foolish, years spent not allowing the Lord to be in control of my words and actions. It is His grace that rescues you from your own foolishness and draws you towards wisdom, instruction and obedience. He draws you to Himself. A desire burns inside to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and overwhelming love is stirred. This becomes a way of life, not without making mistakes, but quicker to align back with Him. As I parent, one of my prayers is for each of our children to live in this fear much sooner than I did. Listening to them and watching them I think they are well on their way.
The kids are back in school and we are welcoming the weekend slowness. It takes time to sort through the week. There are some things I have noticed that needed attention and I handled them wrong. I needed to listen, not fix or offer advice. There are emotions, change and unknowns with each new school year, but this year seems more intense. The reminder came quick of an opportunity for grace for myself and them. Around the table we talked about all the hard things. We read scripture and wrote down what we were thankful for today. And then their dad prayed, asking the Lord to make our home a place of peace. So much rages on the outside, but here can be different. We begin again, accepting and appreciating His grace and the peace that only He can give.
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness.” 2 Peter 1:3
School starts tomorrow for our kids. There is this sense of excitement, mixed with nervousness, running through our home. Shoes are shiny new and first day outfits have been chosen, but many unknowns remain. What will calm their hearts? What will instill confidence as they walk through the doors of school? “His divine power” is the answer that comes. It is who lives inside that will empower each of them and us to live in this world with godliness. This includes the school hallways and classrooms.
So tomorrow when the new school year takes off, I know they are not alone and have power that is supernatural. They also have a mama who will be praying continually on their behalf and waiting to see their sweet faces at the days end.
“The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
I was reminded of this verse recently and felt so encouraged. On the heels of encouragement, I had to ask myself a question. Is my heart completely His? Another question, do I want or need His strong support? The answers are both yes! Sometimes I waver when there are many unknowns and misery soon follows. The choice must be made again to trust my heart to Him. Peace settles in and the unknowns are only unknown to me, but not to Him. Maybe some days we just need the reminder that we are seen by the Lord and that is almost too much to take in, isn’t it?
“The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded – and there’s still room.” Luke 14:22
That phrase got me this morning, “there’s still room”. There is still room at the table in God’s kingdom. There is still a place for anyone and everyone who will accept the invitation. Why would we not accept? Perhaps it is because of being hurt by a person who claimed to be a Christian. Maybe something happened at church and now you want nothing to do with God. All are totally understandable, but do not miss the opportunity that will not only make a difference today, but for eternity. Please say yes if you have not already. Do not give a person the power to continue to keep you separated from your Heavenly Father. He is waiting….
Our family has been sick over the last few weeks. Some worse than others, but nobody escaped. We have watched a lot of movies and slept more hours than we were awake it seems. One of the best gifts has been seeing how much people genuinely care and want to serve us. People have plenty on their plates, but want to help and it means so much. Another gift has been resting and able to do nothing but trust the Lord. Resting is trusting and that is a good thing. Such a wonderful break from the normal, self-sufficient temptation or lie that we need to be busy. Sometimes that is physically impossible and for that I am thankful.