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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Colossians 1:11-12

Pin It Have you ever heard this said in church before?
"Don't ever pray for patience because God will send you a trial!"
This is normally said in jest, but there is a little truth behind every joke.  Christians, in general, do not enjoy praying for patience.

In Colossians 1:11-12 Paul prayed for the Colossians to be:
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

He actually prayed for them to be strengthened in the areas of patience and longsuffering with joy.  These are two important requests dealing with our Christian walk.  We need to exercise patience with those around us, gracefully accepting their shortcomings (as they often accept ours!).  Longsuffering is long and patient endurance.  Think about handling trials, and what the Bible teaches in James 1:1-4.  We should "count it all joy" when trials come because the end result of responding joyfully in trials is patience. 

 As our patience and joyful longsuffering are strengthened we become more like Christ...this is our ultimate goal.  The key to it all is the glorious power of God!

I thank God that through the shed blood of Jesus I am counted worthy to be called His child.  I have an inheritance that outshines any riches this world could ever offer.  I ask God to help me to learn the lessons He sends through trials so that I may be "thoroughly furnished unto all good works"! (2 Timothy 3:7)

What lessons in patience and longsuffering is God trying to teach you today?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Colossians 1:9-10

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Colossians1:9-10 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 

  Paul was a prayer warrior!  It amazes me that in the midst of all of the preaching and teaching that he did he still had time to pray unceasingly for others.  In just two short verses Paul lists four spiritual objectives for the Colossians.    Why did he pray? He prayed because of their wonderful testimony for Christ.  What did he pray for?
  • That they would be filled with the knowledge:
    1. of God's will
    2. in all wisdom (which comes from God) Proverbs 2:6
    3. in all spiritual understanding (also from God!)
He wanted them to know God's plan for their lives so they wouldn't be led astray by false teachers.
  •  That they would walk worthy:
    1. Of the Lord
    2. Unto all pleasing 
He further explains this in Colossians 3:17; 23

  • That they would be fruitful in every good work
  • That they would increase in the knowledge of God 
Paul's prayer was specific.  There was no doubt about what he desired for the Colossians.  His desires were God's desires.  he wanted them to know God's will, to align their lives with God's will, to do God's will, and to continually increase their knowledge of God.

I know that there are many times in my life when I have prayed vague prayers for myself and others, or prayers that were only concerned with physical requests, wants, and desperate pleas for help.  Specific prayers for spiritual growth according to God's desires and eternal plan have definitely not topped the list.  Oh there have been times that I have prayed like Paul, but today my prayer life received a much needed overhaul.  I want to pray specifically, not what I want see in others, but what God truly desires to see in them based on His Word.

Visit these sites for more insight into God's Word:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Colossians 1:5-8

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Good Morning!  Isn't it awesome to wake up and run to the Word for spiritual refreshment?  This morning my focus was on Col.1:5-8.

Col 1:5  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col 1:6  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Col 1:7  As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
Col 1:8  Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. 

Paul gives thanks for the hope awaiting them in heaven.  They had heard about this hope through the word of truth - the gospel.  The gospel came to them (through the ministry of Epaphrus) and from the moment it was heard and the grace of God was made known to them, they believed!  The gospel brings forth fruit!  The gospel is POWERFUL!  Epaphrus shared the Word of Truth which, when the heard it and believed, brought forth fruit in their lives.

We need to bear fruit through the True Vine - Jesus.  We will never be fruit bearers if we do not proclaim the gospel in our sphere of influence.  Do those around you know, truly know Who God is?  Do they know that because we have broken God's law a punishment awaits us?  Do they know that the only way to restore our broken fellowship with God is through the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins?  Do they know that their excuses will not be acceptable when they stand before Almighty God?  Do they know that you can tell them about THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE?

This passage really hit home with me, because the fruit that I want to see in other must first be evidenced in my own life.  The Colossians were commended for their: Faith in Christ - Hope in Heaven - and Love in the Spirit.  My faith is firmly placed in the finished work of Christ on Calvary.  My hope for the future is secure in knowing that I have a home in Heaven prepared for me.  My daily task is to be led by the Holy Spirit to show others the love of Christ, the gospel of Truth, which can forever change their lives. 

You see, I am not the vine, He is.  I am just a messenger of His love.  May God help me to use my sphere of influence to proclaim the gospel, the Word of Truth, bringing glory to His name.

The FRUIT is not mine, it belongs to the VINE!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Today's the Day!

Pin It This morning we begin our Good Morning Girls study on the book of Colossians.  I am so excited to dive deeply into the Word of God with other ladies.

Today I studied Colossians 1:1-4, and could envision Paul sitting down with his ink and scroll, Timothy nearby, writing to faithful believers in Colosse who he had heard of.  He wishes them grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  He tells them that he is praying for them.  He gives thanks to God for the their faith in Christ Jesus and for their love to all the saints.  I can only imagine the blessing such a greeting would bring to their hearts!

Our testimony for Christ may seem to us to go unnoticed, but in reality it speaks volumes.  God is pleased when my faith in His Son is manifested in love toward others.  I should also be thanking God for other believers I see around me who are walking in obedience to God's commands.  They are impacting their world for Christ, and in the book of 2 Timothy 3:12-17, Paul encourages Timothy with these words,
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Living godly is not always easy, but it brings great blessings and great rewards.  It is God's Word living in us and through us that gives us the wisdom to live for Christ.  Along with that we need to be on our knees asking God for the strength to live for Him.  We need to be praying for each other.

May it be obvious to others today that Christ lives in me!

If you're interested in joining the study visit the Good Morning Girls website today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

10 days of Homeschool in a Minivan

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Part 2 - Organization for a certified pack rat!

            My organizational mantra has become, “Everything is not worth keeping.”  This is just one phrase that runs through my mind whenever I am faced with organizing our belongings.  There are also other phrases like, “I may need this someday,” “I could definitely make a craft from these”, “Maybe I should save this for…”  These are not necessarily bad thoughts, but they tend to lead to unnecessary hoarding!  I find that if I don’t keep my curriculum and supplies organized I tend to accumulate more than I need just because I don’t know what I have.  After staying in one apartment for five months I gathered all of the bits and pieces together and decided to get organized.
            In one file box I have a set of hanging file folders labeled from A to Z so that I can quickly find the necessary materials needed for each week from the “Letter of the Week” curriculum.  I also have a set of weekly file folders labeled from 1 to 40 for the pages from our A Beka Book 3 year old Nursery curriculum.  Carrying the books around became burdensome as I had them stored in one place and was continually pulling them out of storage to tear out pages.  After one such moment of frustration I tore out the remaining pages and collated them (like any good teacher does…before school begins) and organized them into their respective folders.  Now when I need the materials they are ready at a moment’s notice.  The other file box that I have is used to store some extra workbooks and smaller Tupperware containers of manipulatives.
            The file boxes are great for keeping our curriculum organized, but since they are perfectly boxed shaped; my husband loves to use them for filling in gaps when packing the car.  This produces a dilemma on long trips because we don’t always unpack everything during our stops and I definitely do not want to repack the car just to get to one worksheet!  My solution thus far has been 3-ringed binders with page protectors and folders.   I plan out how much work we need, then load up the binders and slip them into our “school only” backpack.  The backpack contains binders for the boys, a supply box with the basics, a pencil bag with dry erase markers and an eraser, and several small dollar store workbooks to keep little hands busy during non-school times, like during church services when no nursery is provided.
            Two smaller containers (about half the size of the file boxes) contain my teacher supplies.  One is filled with flashcards and manipulatives like magnets, and laminated visuals.  The other container is filled with arts and craft supplies for our various projects.  These four containers have helped me stay organized as we travel.  They have also helped me control my desire to accumulate little things along the way, because if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit!  Therefore "Everything is not worth keeping!  And what you do keep must meet your needs."

Next up...Part 3 - What to Do with Two Under Four 

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Friday, September 14, 2012

10 days of Homeschool in a Minivan...

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Part 1 - Decluttering for Life on the Road
Over the years, the teacher in me has learned that hoarding is dangerous!  What begins as, “Let me keep this because, I might need it someday…” quickly spirals downward into a storage shed full of unorganized junk!  There is no sense in keeping things if you cannot find them when you need them.  Now, as a stay-at-home mom I must constantly remind myself that I do not need twenty-five sets of anything, that everything does not need to be laminated, and that storage space is limited and precious.  In other words, I am constantly purging our hoard of homeschool resources (while simultaneously dreaming about what my school room would look like if it were the size of a double wide trailer!)
              Since we are traveling on deputation right now our storage space for school supplies is severely limited.  My husband does a great job of pulling me away from the teacher and office supply aisles on a regular basis before I lose all self-control and come home with more things than we need!  When everything must fit into the minivan for a long trip every corner becomes a piece of prime real estate, thus making my dreams of hauling around a 3 foot dry erase board a little impractical.  So after much thought (and window shopping in the office supply store) I developed a storage plan that works for us.

Storage necessities

            Right now we are still in the preschool stage of homeschooling so many of my resources come in the form of printable worksheets found on the internet.  For instance, with my oldest son I have been using various “Letter of the Week” curriculum found online here and here to provide him with hands-on activities.  I also use the A Beka Book preschool curriculum.  In order to keep everything organized I use plastic file boxes, 3-ring binders, page protectors, and my laptop.  I also have a “school only” backpack with smaller items stored inside.

Stay tuned for...

Part 2 - Organization for a natural born packrat!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When you can't sleep forget the sheep!

Pin It Ahhh...there's nothing like a good night's sleep!  Too bad I haven't seen one in a long time...or maybe the truth is that when one actually caught up with me I slept through it!

My little Boo-Boo cannot survive without his Amma (code word for Mommy).  This is an important fact to note, because no matter how many other able bodied human beings there are in the house, he prefers that his consolation come from Yours Truly.

Having said that, it was no surprise when at 4 a.m. this morning a shrill piercing cry (ok, that's what it sounded like in the midst of my delicious dream about today's To Do List) accompanied by banging on the door met my ears.  Boo-Boo immediately stopped crying as I reached down and picked him up, and of course he needed an emergency diaper change.  After a new makeshift pair of jammies (it's amazing what you can accomplish with your eyes half open), a fresh cup of milk, a cuddle or two, and another round of the "night-night" cd, he settled down with a contented, "Aah," and went back to sleep.

In my mind I thought, "Well, that's all fine and good for you," because now I was wide awake and knew that if I returned to bed, sleep would be long in coming.

Since this is often the scenario of my life as a mother of young toddlers, I often take these moments as a sign from the Holy Spirit to come apart and pray.  Everyone is asleep (except me), it's quiet, and there are no other distractions or demands for my time.  What better time to meet with the Lord?  Of course, if I tried to schedule in a 4 a.m. Praise and Worship time my body would never allow it to happen!

This morning my I John passage was only one verse long but powerful!

What better truth for a new believer to cling to than "your sins are forgiven for his name's sake"?  What better truth for an old believer to relish in?  And that is exactly what I did!  I rejoiced in the fact that God forgave my sin, not based on my own merit, but for Christ's sake.  It's not because of me, it's because of Him!  My soul soared with words of praise for the One who loved me through the precious gift of His Son. 

I thank God for his reassurance that my sins are forgiven!  The Word of God is my source of Truth!

I thank God that Christ's atonement was enough.  The Son of God is my source of Life!

I thank God for helping me to walk in the light and not in darkness.  The wisdom of God shows me the Way!

I am so thankful that I followed the Holy Spirit's prompting to come apart for awhile and meditate on God's Word.  Thanks also to Boo-Boo for being my 4 a.m. alarm clock!

Let us live in the light of His truth today.

To read more inspirational thoughts today, check out the link-up party over at Women Living Well!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Revive Your Marriage

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Women Living Well is hosting a new series on Reviving Your Marriage on Mondays and I agree whole heartedly with their first challenging of Reviving Your Prayers for Your Husband!  We all know that we need to pray.  We all know that our husbands need our prayers.    We have all prayed for our husbands at one time or another.  The point is not that we haven't prayed.  The point is that our prayers need to be revived.

One definition for revive is "to take up again."  I have prayed for my husband many times (even before he decided that I was the one!), yet I'm sad to say that this is one area of my prayer life that definitely needs some reviving!  In the past I have use a 31-days-to-praying-for-your-husband guide.  I printed out the cards with verses and prayer requests for each day.  I even put them in a cute 4x6 photo holder.  The only problem was that when I went to pray I could never find my "useful" tool!

Recently I've taken to using a simple scratch sheet of paper or 3x5 card.  I asked my husband what things he wanted me to pray for.  He gave me a simple, short list that surprised me because I naturally assumed that I would know everything he would say.  I praise God for a husband who willing shares his heart with me, and am glad that I can take these specific requests to God.

Another way of updating my prayer list for my hubby comes from our times of shared prayer.  When you pray together the things that are closest to your heart are revealed.  I've learned that if something is important enough for my husband to list in our prayer times together then it should be important to me as well.

Because we are on deputation right now, my husband spends a good deal of time on the phone.  Every time I see his cell phone sitting on the table, or walk by the room and see him pacing back and forth sharing with a pastor or waiting to leave yet another message on a church answering machine, I am reminded of the great responsibility he shoulders in our family and am compelled to pray for him.  However, too often I let daily tasks sweep away that key moment when the Holy Spirit prompts me to pray.  It's time to make a change.

As I read in I John this morning I thought of my husband, gone today, substituting for some high school classes.  I flipped to the back cover of my Bible for a scratch sheet of paper (bright orange today!) and scribbled out a list of specific requests just for him.  Then I paused to pray.

Let's be revived.  Let's take it up again.  Let's pray.  Join the challenge today!

Monday, September 3, 2012

There are no "sick" days on the road

Pin It Doesn't it seem like disaster always strikes at the moment you finally have everything together?  There we were all packed up and ready to make our short one hour trip to stay overnight before giving our presentation the next day.  The boys were calmly listening to the Focus on the Family cd of The Magician's Nephew instead of complaining or crying. 

Then to make the trip even sweeter, the youngest fell into a deep sleep which promised a good night's rest for all.  We stopped at McDonald's for a Happy Meal making my older son happy beyond belief at having yet another cheeseburger for dinner.  All was well in Pardineland until we were five minutes away from our destination. 

FIVE MINUTES!  We were so close.  I could almost taste the victory of an uneventful trip with two toddlers in tow.  Alas, my feeling of triumph was short-lived.  As we turned off the highway, our younger son woke up, coughed twice, and became violently ill all over his car seat.  If that wasn't bad enough, the last thing that he had had to drink was bright red Kool-aid!  What happened next would have been hilarious to watch on a sitcom, but in real life it was nothing to laugh about. 

The next hour was a blur as I tried to drive the last few minutes while directing my husband to make sure the baby wasn't choking.  He was perfectly fine, did not cry at all, but just sat there covered head to toe in red yuckiness!  Then we arrived at our overnight location where a loving couple came to our aid with quick access to the prophet's chamber, towels, running a bath, and throwing the car seat cover and clothes into the washing machine.  We were amazed and grateful to see that besides the car seat very little needed cleaning inside the car. 

So Sunday morning our family was divided as I stayed home with one son, and my husband took the other to share Peru in a church about 20 minutes away.  Even though I had the day off from ministry and was in full mommy mode, I used the time to continue my study of God's Word in I John.  As I sat on the sofa with my 22 month old climbing in and out of my lap, Chapter 2 verse 28 was an encouragement to me, "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." 

God knows the ordeals we go through every day and how they literally absorb our time.  He knows how our best laid plans are often interrupted by rambunctious Turbo Tots.  I am thankful for the moments that He slows everything down and my focus is turned to Him.  When I abide in Him, I have confidence to face whatever comes my way, be it a wrench in my perfectly laid plans or a chance to share His goodness with someone else.  What do you do when everything else goes wrong?  Abide!