as he is, so are we in this world. - 1 John 4:17
A common theme among the letters Paul writes to the early church is that we must be careful about one mistake, and we are still making it today. We are consistently and constantly confusing the world with the Church and confusing the world by the Church.
We hear it all the time that the Church looks more and more like the world, like a big rock concert or social club. Regardless, that is just the surface. The problem lies deeper in that we are also trying to get the world to buck up and do as Christians should do. Even though, we can barely get Christians to it. What is it anyway?
We can count on the Church in most cases to preach the Word , to write devotions, and to sing praise. It's when we try to equalize these things with what is going on in the world today that the world get's confused about who we are.
It cannot be done. We are to be set apart.
Nehemiah is an unlikely read for most of us looking for encouragement. We tend to turn to the classic favorites like Psalms or Proverbs. When I opened my Bible to Nehemiah 4, I prayed right then that God teach me something new that day that I did not know when I woke up that morning. I knew from the moment my Bible opened that He had a great message for us there....
I have uploaded a few of my favorite Lock Screen photos. Grab a few that you love too. Simply hold your finger on the image and then save to your photo album to add to your Lock Screen whenever you need encouragement. Enjoy.
I saw your heart last night. I don't always get to see it, but I saw it.
We were all tired from a long days work and it was my birthday. You've never made a huge deal out of birthdays. I get that some how this is because of how you grew up, how your birthdays were treated. Still, your small efforts to show me love were seen. Your kids saw it too.
I saw the joy in your face when the Mariachi band came over to sing to me but startled me first. I saw you light up at my expression of surprise. I saw you skip over the dessert they brought because. you saw me sharing it with the kids and wanted us to enjoy it first. I saw your smile when I teased you before opening my birthday card. I had guessed it would be a comical card as usual, but it wasn't. Its as absolutely the perfect card that made me fall in love with you again.
When there is a theme that keeps rising up around you, pay attention, the Lord has something He needs you to notice.
The last few weeks, the Lord has been speaking to me in subtle, yet obvious ways on prayer. It's subtle because His speaking comes in soft waves, a little at a time. Still, I notice them as being obvious and take mental notes about what was revealed. I imagine all of these small waves that catch my attention are gathering towards the shore for something more mighty. Like a tsunami, you can't even see the rise until it reaches the shore.
For months now my heart has been convicted on prayer. On social media I would see comment after comment of people saying "praying" at the prayer request of a friend. I'm guilty of doing the same thing and not always actually praying, but there is more to just saying you will pray, it is praying and more specifically, spending time in the His Presence during prayer.
If one of your babies was lost out in the world you wouldn't stop looking for them. Ever. Right?
In this throw away world, it’s uncommon that you hear of someone going after something they’ve lost because of the abundance they have. I bet you we don't even notice most things we've lost. We typically keep moving forward in a world where losing one thing compared to the other ninety-nine things we have is okay. We have so much that we value that in reality, we value very little. If you had $100 would you really miss $1 of that if it were lost? It’s just 1%, right? No big deal. When we have fewer of something, we tend to value it more. If you have 3 cars and one is wrecked or out of commission you notice. It probably bothers you or upsets your daily plans. What if one of those things you were missing was one of your children?
Yesterday, I saw a post regarding “new” research on spanking children. Quite often I roll my eyes at “new research” because, well, it’s new and fresh and probably will be disproved with newer research. This new research, it goes against God’s word and much of what people start throwing out in support of the new research is not reality. For example, I don’t lose my mind and beat my children when they need discipline. If a swat on the seat of their pants is going to keep them from running into the streets, that’s what they’ll get. If that’s not how you would handle it, it doesn’t make me wrong.
I am not writing this to argue for or against spanking children. I’m writing this because when I responded to the article by simply quoting Psalm 13: 24 (“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”) and saying that I believe my God over any new research. Such a statement doesn’t make me backwards or ignorant. It means that I have been taught different, believe different, and am secure in those things. I don’t fly by the seat of my parenting pants with every new study that comes out. I simply trust thousands of years of expert advice.
As I have sat many times before, I sit at my computer with my prayer journal to one side, my Bible open, and various other books I am reading (or need to be reading).
The littlest Larsen's are sound asleep for probably only just a few more minutes.
All the windows are open to the camper.
The breeze can be heard in the tree tops and occasionally felt moving through this space.
Sleepaholics music is playing softly to help encourage a restful nap time,
but I find it's dreamy tones and watery sounds clear my
mind and evoke a sense of peace.
Restlessness doesn't sound that complicated now does it? Momma is tired. I know you're feeling me, I know you know this feeling well, Momma. Some days it's hard and you just want to pull the covers up over your head, close your eyes, and dream a little longer simply because you were the last one in the bed the night before, the one who got up with the needy child, the one who remember the clothes were still in the wash, the one who everyone depends on to handle their desperate needs.
You feel it. You feel the calling to be still; to make your world stop spinning for a moment so you can just process all that's going on. You feel the need to press pause on life; to slow down the growing up of your babies, to drink in the moments that are flying by, to try again with the love that you sprinkled when it should have been drenched.
Truth is, you feel that if you could just get a moments peace...
Not to long ago I attended one of our foster/adoptive mom support group sessions. Let's be real, these meetings are held in a corner booth of the best Mexican restaurant in town and conversations happen over cheese dip, tons of chips, and margaritas. I've had the privilege of getting to connect with some amazing women during these meetings. Since we have moved, I'd happily drive over an hour to sit with them and spill my guts. During our last group session one of the seasoned foster moms who has been an amazing voice in the foster care community said something profound... that, let's face it, shouldn't be so profound.