Perspective Of Praise

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As I was reading and studying Psalm 33 last month in preparation to speak at our one day women’s conference, I was reminded of how the book of Psalms was known as the book of praises.  We can see right away in Psalm 33 how David calls us out as believers.  In verses 1 he calls us to shout for joy & give thanks to God, vs. 1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.  Praise should absolutely be a quality or characteristic of the people of God.  It suits us to praise Him.

Did you know that the word “thanks/thanksgiving” is mentioned over 50 times throughout the book of Psalms? Why is THAT?  If you are like me, I need to be reminded over and over as I personally find that it just doesn’t always come so naturally.  I feel like sometimes it’s easier said than done.  There are days that it is an all-out FIGHT for joy & gratitude.

Some days, from the moment I wake up in the mornings I literally have horns coming out of my head and my eye brows just can’t seem to unfurrow. I don’t wake up chipper and with a little song in my heart and I feel the pull to grumpiness as I quickly shuffle my way to the kitchen to make a strong cup of coffee. (And those were the days before having children!) Now it is still the same, but then having four little mouths that need to be fed immediately, diapers that need to be changed, soiled bedding that needs changed, all while stepping on Legos! I’m sure you can relate whether you have children or not as you deal with rude drivers, uncooperative coworkers, terrible customer service or even family disputes. It’s amazing how quickly the heavy grey cloud can come over us, and yet as we just read, praise is what suits the body of Christ.

How can we get out of that haze into a perspective of praise? 

I’d love to tell you to just think positive, work out for those “feel good” endorphins, put chia seeds in your Kombucha (whatever that is), or have another cup of coffee…. But in all honesty those things (though all good things) won’t bring you the joy, peace or contentment like knowing our God.

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active… discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It filters our questions, doubts and fears and gives us clarity of heart and mind.

Believer, today I want to show you how establishing and knowing God’s authority results in an amazing outlook or attitude change as we realize our hope and ultimate joy lies solely in the sovereignty of the great I Am.

In verses 4-9 the Psalmist clearly establishes God’s Authority:

In Verse 4 “The Word of the Lord is upright.”   We can know that what God says is truth and that He keeps His promises. Hebrews 10:23 reminds us “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Deuteronomy 7:9 also says “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” We can believe in who He is and know His word is truth, as the earth is filled with His steadfast love.

As we see fully the authority of the uncreated creator and His power, we can’t help but stand in awe of the one who gives us life. Verse 8 says Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! It truly gives us such a perspective change as to why we are here, what we are entitled to, and who we are living this life for. Ps. 33:9 goes on to say “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”  Do we have confidence and know who our Creator is and what He is capable of?  I encourage you to dig in the Word friends and get to know our King, and remember that His word always stands firm.

I’m sure some of you are like “Well that’s great Janell, It’s nice to know we can have confidence in the creator, but how does that help us in the day to day, or mundane as we feel like we have to fight for joy?”

I’m glad you asked…

I want to tell you how Our Hope lies in the sovereignty of the I Am

Check out Psalm 33:10-11 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.  

He frustrates the plans of the people… this made me giggle as I read it as I thought about when we were first married and I had huge plans of babies right away.  Four and a half years later and still no baby brought me to a place of doubt and frustration as I thought my plan was perfect and would bring me joy.  Time and again I continue to learn and relearn this lesson of God’s sovereignty, perfect timing and goodness in the bitter and the sweet.  Today we find ourselves expecting our fifth precious little one and thanking God for hindsight as His ways TRULY are perfect in ALL things.

I love how God’s plan and purpose always triumphs.  He IS GOD as we saw in the previous verses.  He frustrates the plans of the people because HIS plan overcomes & stands forever, the plans of God’s heart prevails through ALL generations.  He IS GOD!  We can have hope in His unshakable security and ultimate plan, for He shall NEVER be moved.  Job knew this when he confessed and repented to God in Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

We have this false sense of control as we plan out our days and lives with short term goals, long term goals and financial goals.  We then get discouraged or miffed if someone or something thwarts our plan, yet we so quickly forget that our King has a bigger and a better plan for our good and for His glory.  His purpose and will for you WILL be accomplished.  Our perspective and lack of trust brings us only to a place of discouragement and despair and reveals our selfishness as we hoped to find joy in other things instead of resting in the goodness of our King.

 

So what about that perspective of Praise?

Sometimes we find ourselves in the haze for DAYS!  I love how as you read the entirety of this Psalm, it full circles!  David tells us that praise suits us.  As we continue to behold our King and nourish our souls in His Word, we can have hope in Christ.  He is our lifeline!  Our circumstances can still look messy, still broken and still ugly all around us, but He has NOT forsaken us!  We can be at rest in Him as we are confident in Who He is and what He promises because today we have clearly established God’s Authority & we see that our hope lies in the sovereignty of the I AM.  It can only then be natural that our hearts come out of that haze right into a song and perspective of Praise!

As Charles Spurgeon puts it,

“The root of faith in due time bears the flower of rejoicing”

And then the last few Verses of 33:20-22 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.


The Perfect Standard

When I was in my mid-twenties and a new mom I had this idea that a “good Christian” wife & mom stayed home, schooled her children, and made everything from scratch. Not that those are bad things at ALL, but there was this holy formula that I felt I must conform to to succeed as a godly wife and mother and be in Gods “perfect will”. God would definitely be pleased if I could just get it together, right!? Sadly I continued to listen to others, compare to others, and try and mold my parenting/home/cooking like or around others. I just didn’t have peace and I was so discouraged when I couldn’t be that perfect godly mom who “had it all together”! The weight of it was crushing! I so easily forgot that it wasn’t truly for me to carry, but my Lords. I had come across an old quote from a wise sister that held so much truth!

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” Corrie ten Boom

I felt so convicted and yet God was also so gracious to show me a well-loved verse in a whole new way. I finally started looking up instead of out.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I learned how important it is to renew my mind in scripture daily and get my eyes solely on Christ and what He would specifically have for me and our unique family.  That was most important. The truth is, we just needed to seek God to direct our steps.  We can then reap the joys of obedience for our days without comparing to others, or looking at the big picture and putting ourselves into a full panic attack. I’ve realized as I seek Him and obey for today there is a balance of living intentionally but also knowing and trusting Gods leading.  I can tell you that I’ve NEVER been more thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads us and promises to be with us.  We don’t walk this journey alone.

I realized that being out of the “will” of God was not being out of the “formula” others expected you to conform to. You see, our God is so creative! He has designed each of us with not only different finger prints but personalities, talents & gifts! We each contribute so differently to not only the church body, but to other relationships, as well as our own homes. Your life, parenting, friendships, relationships, and gifts will look and be tailored specifically to and for you by our King. We can learn great tips and ideas from friends and others who are well intentioned, but at the end of the day what matters most is our personal obedience to The Lord as we follow His leading in loving our families well. And I’ll tell you, sometimes the choices we make won’t be the popular ones.

I know soooo many godly women who work or stay home, Adopt or don’t, who get an epidural or who have a natural birth, who breast feed or bottle feed, who immunize or who don’t, who homeschool or public school, who have their own business or who solely oversee the home, who love to cook or who hire it out, who have a housekeeper or who get the yellow gloves out, who is super organized or who has organized mess, who dyes her hair or who doesn’t. You see, ALL these women I know love our very same God and truly seek Him on their own personal journeys. They ALL want to love their husbands, families and friends well but how it gets accomplished looks SO different from one to the next. And you know what? Obedience for one could be total disobedience for the other if she is truly seeking the Lord and He is directing her differently.

I LOVE how Sally Clarkson compares our role to crafting a family recipe:

“every family will have a different flavor–a different recipe that, when cultivated and fine-tuned will be their own unique blend of a Family Culture. I fear that many women, in attempts to find the perfect formula or right rules of what is takes to make a great family, are subject to destroying the unique aroma and flavor their family was designed to enjoy. Trying to copy someone else’s ways or preferences or exact practices just thwarts and denies the unique design, flavor, essence that will make your own family happy, robust and productive and can produce a tasteless mess.”  –Sally Clarkson

Over these years God has been so good to show me that there is NO formula! You know, I think that was His plan all along… To show us that living up to that perfect standard was impossible, to keep us close and to keep us seeking Him. He was the ONLY Perfect One who lived this life perfectly in our place, died in our place and rose again. May we rest in that truth! When we go to bed at night, we don’t need to believe the lies that we should do _______ because so and so does. Or we would be a better wife/mom if we would just do _______. We can know that as we behold Him daily in every decision, He is changing us from one degree of glory to the next.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

He is also lovingly equipping us for every good work He calls us to according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says…

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

May we faithfully encourage and nourish one another in the Word of God and in the good news of the gospel. May we support and love one another along our journeys as we all seek to live this out well and honor our King. What FREEDOM to obey and love one another well.

Psalm 30:10-12

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

                    you have loosed my sackcloth

                    and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

                    O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!


The Gardening Of Motherhood

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When Dave and I were in our second home I was so excited about the possibilities of the cute little flowerbed that was already set up out front.  The only bummer was I knew NOTHING about gardening.  There were a few established bushes and some greens, but I wanted pretty flowers.  So that fall I was clearing out the flowerbed unsupervised.  I was throwing out rocks, bark chips, and trash from this neglected little area.  I came across these ball-shaped roots that were all tangled together in the soil.  There were many of them and they were all over the place.  I figured if I was going to plant anything pretty in there, these needed to go.  So I proceeded to pull them out and dispose of them so that I could have nice prepared soil ready for my pretty flowers.  I was so proud of all my hard work!  Well, if you know anything about gardening then you probably figured it out.  I had ended up pulling out all the tulip & Daffodil bulbs that the previous home owner had so sweetly planted.  If I had only known what kind of purpose, planning and intent went into this little flowerbed, I could have enjoyed the beautiful bounty of gorgeous flowers when spring came.

In Mark chapter four you hear the popular parable of the Sower.  It is such a common and well-known parable among believers.  The sower who sowed his seeds.  He went out to sow seeds and at first, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up.  Then other seeds fell on rocky ground without much soil, they immediately showed signs of new life and sprang up but they were not rooted deep in rich soil and after time withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns and those thorns choked out any life that would produce fruit.  But then the others fell into good rich soil and produced not just an abundant harvest, but produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
{Mark 4:3-8}

I’ve heard many sermons that have been taught on this parable in light of evangelism or witnessing, but never have I thought about it in light of child rearing until recently.  A few weeks back, my Mama heart was weary and tired and God brought this scripture to life.  For days I couldn’t stop thinking about how as mothers or as parents we should be intentionally cultivating the soil of our home in preparation of sowing seeds of scripture and the gospel into our children’s hearts & lives.  As you look down further in Mark 4:14 “the sower sows the Word” John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Mamas, THIS is our calling!!! To be gardeners in our home, sowers of the word, sowing the scripture & good news of the gospel into these little hearts that are in our care.  Remember what Deuteronomy 11 says about teaching our little’s?

Deuteronomy 11:19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

I can’t help but continue to think on the soil in Mark 3.  What kind of soil are we cultivating in our homes?  There are things that need to be cleared from the soil of our home. Things that will only suck life out of our crops. There is already so much tending that needs to be done, why would we start out with soil that isn’t ready to produce life?   Is our soil full of Rocks?  Do harsh tones and lack of self-control abound? Or is it full of weeds?  Life suckers that don’t nourish the souls & only want to take life?  If left unattended they will only result in temporary life or no life at all.

As we tend to our gardens with intention & care, we ought to be taking time to lovingly remove each rock as well as each weed as they come up.  It gives us such GREAT opportunities to then plant seeds of truth into our children’s little hearts so that it may grow and bring forth life in abundance!  Lord KNOWS there will always be rocks & weeds but a lot of times we have neglected to prepare the soil. As uncomfortable as it may be to remove those things, it is necessary for growth!  Psalm 119:11 says “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Only the Holy Spirit and His word can penetrate and change a heart.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” {Jer. 17:9}

I was so convicted as I saw that the sowers seed seemed to be all over the place.  It was thrown on the path, it fell on rocks, some among thorns, and then some on good soil.  As a mother we must be intentional about every seed we plant in our children’s hearts.  We can’t lazily toss the seeds of truth here and there, or in the wind hoping that they land on the good rich soil and produce an incredible harvest.  I know I have had days that I have halfheartedly tended and nurtured their hearts.  Not really being intentional or (gasp) ignore it all together.  With repentance, my prayer is that God would clearly reveal the weeds and that by His strength I can learn to be thankful for them and to continue to plant all for His glory and with an eternal purpose daily!

 Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

It is true however that we do reap what we sow,
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  {2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV}

Are we freely giving of our time to nourish, teach & train our little ones?  Are you giving time but giving it reluctantly and in a sour spirit?  Or are you too busy to even take the time to garden?  Lord knows I have, and it’s still a battle at times.  It is so easy for our comforts or ideals to become these little idols that our hearts long to hold onto.  God provides ample opportunities for us parents to give generously & cheerfully.  The giving of our time, intentionally investing and sowing little seeds for eternity. Those who sow generously will also reap bountifully, we will bear fruit for God’s kingdom.  Remember in Galatians 6:7 we are reminded: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, forwhatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

I can tell you that there are days you wonder if you are even making a difference or if it is even worth it?  Ps. 126:5 says “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”  As a Mama there are LOTS of tears on this journey….theirs as well as yours!  But when we reap our abundant harvest we will reap with shouts of JOY, even if it’s not the kind of flowers you thought you planted!!!!  Thank you Jesus!!!

Don’t be discourage or be tempted to quit gardening all together because you don’t have a green thumb!  Or like me, you were pulling out what you thought were weeds in your soil only to learn that they were actually beautiful flowers waiting to sprout in the spring.  We have HOPE!  Our hope is in the perfect gardener Christ Jesus!  A holy God came down to earth to be born of a man and dwelt among us PERFECTLY, He lived the perfect life we cannot live and then died and bore our shame & died the perfect death.  All for what? So that when God looks at us He sees His SON (not the imperfect mama who yelled at her kids again) and says that it is in Him whom He is well pleased for our sake! PRAISE the LORD!

I’m sooooo thankful it is truly finished and not contingent on my abilities in my own strength. Because let me tell you friend…I fail.  Often.  So very thankful for His perfect righteousness, His unfailing love & Infinite grace.  We can endure through Christ.  Though we won’t parent perfectly & we may miss opportunities to sow a seed of truth or whatever it may be, He is alive and working out His perfect rescue plan.  Continue to be steadfast & intentional my friend.  We are so blessed to even share a part in this journey.  You have been given the children God ordained for you, and you are the parents God has perfectly ordained for them.  Love them well…teach them well.


Mercy & Truth

The email read “The summer is almost at an end and you still haven’t come over for a visit yet.”  I sat there half tempted to send it to the trash bin.  This neighbor woman I randomly met on a walk one day a few months back wants to connect again.  It wasn’t like we really had a lot in common, plus I have four little ones and it is so difficult to have a good heart to heart when I’m being called on between potty trips, drinks, disciplining, etc.

A week later I found myself in a two story house that was painted BRIGHT ORANGE only about a quarter mile from our home, we were sipping on coffee.  Her fifteen year old son was on the floor building a “bad guy” castle out of over sized legos that were clearly from his own childhood with my two oldest boys.  My 20 month old daughter kept climbing in and out of the huge washing machine box turned fort in the joining living room & my 6 month old napped upstairs.

She was passionately talking about her beliefs, her 25 year arranged marriage from this religion, her five children, and how the “true” messiah Rev. Moon had just passed away the week before.  I could see in my neighbor’s eyes the sorrow she felt from this great loss.  She continued “If he truly was the messiah then we will know in time, but if not then I guess it was just something we chose to believe in for all of these years.”  My throat swelled up and there was a knot in the pit of my stomach….for ALL these years!?  These two verses came to mind.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “ …Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day…”

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.”

I knew that God had brought her into my life for a reason.  How many stay at home Christian Mom’s who live in the middle of nowhere with the nearest store being 30 minutes away get the opportunity to minister to not only one who is lost, but one who is so entrenched in a cult who’s main leader,/god/messiah had just died?!  “Oh Lord, help me!” I prayed.

I’d LOVE to tell you that I was super courageous and bold and shared the most amazing gift that anyone could receive.  But truth be told, I was so scared and distracted….or maybe just scared.  I have this amazing news, news that could change her life forever.  The news that this perfect man/God came and took our imperfectness and sin and paid the price for us.  That His atonement for our sin happened on the cross so that whoever believes on Him can HAVE eternal life!!!  But it didn’t come…I felt like a failure.

I went home and stewed over my response for days.  Praying and asking God “Why didn’t I just lay it out there?  Was it because of my fear?”  In God’s good and gracious way he reminded me of how His son Jesus evangelized when he was on this earth.  Now, there were times that He just said “follow me!” and they did!  But He was also relational & showed mercy to the sinners.  He spent time with the sinners & just loved on the unlovable.

The Lord showed me that I need to just show her mercy, to love her as Christ loves us.  It is the Holy Spirit who draws the sinner in his perfect time. 

John 6:44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:65 “And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Well, what does that look like in my season of life?   I have four kids, three under three and I just started homeschooling my oldest in kindergarten.  I don’t have to time for this…do I?

  Mercy:  compassionate or kindly forbearance shown; an act of kindness. 

Just be kind?  Show compassion?  I can do that.  Have her over for coffee, make her a special treat, give her a call or shoot her a kind and thoughtful email.  I CAN show the love of Christ even in the trenches of Motherhood and in time there will be an opportunity to proclaim my Savior & His amazing gift and plant a seed that only God can grow.

I love how Jerram Barrs put it in Learning Evangelism from Jesus:

“giving ourselves to the task of showing mercy to the needy is uncomfortable.  Trying to be genuinely merciful tends to reveal the selfishness and sinfulness of our hearts.  Mercy disrupts our lives; but this again is what the law is all about—an uncomfortable turning upside-down of our lives (think of the parable of the Good Samaritan).  However, just as with the actions of the Good Samaritan, living a life of mercy does start to produce true beauty, and we begin, in some small way, to look like Jesus.  Mercy is full of good fruits and is deeply attractive to the unbeliever around us.”

  My prayer is that the Holy Spirit draws her and she sees a need for mercy & forgiveness.  It is amazing when and how God chooses to work.  Who can you show mercy to today and share the love of Jesus with?  You might be surprised at where God works & how He works.  It may not look as you would have thought, but take it and run with it.  Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  You never know by what means the Lord may draw one of His children to Him.  YOU may be the instrument He uses.  Don’t get distracted by the daily grind that you miss out on what God is doing! 

Hos. 6:6 “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice”


Peace, Coffee & Dry Socks

“Mom, he hit me!!”  The phone rings and I let it go to voicemail.  As I finish changing the two youngest ones diapers I’m thinking about how I need to get the baby a bottle and also prep lunch.  I then head toward the older boys room to find out what is going on.  I walk down the hall and find myself wading through a huge puddle of water from an abandoned Sippy cup, my socks are soaked… the baby cries.  I stop defeated and ready to hold up my surrender flag.  It seems like all I can think about is how badly I desire for it to be peaceful.  I just want peace!  I want to be untroubled & content.  I want to be free from distractions and annoyances.   I want there to be no noise or quarreling, just peace.  I would give anything for just five minutes to myself to sit down with my feet up (in dry socks might I add), sip on my coffee and enjoy a book without any noise.  Don’t I DESERVE that!?

I walk into the boys room as I raise my voice “how many times have I told you not to hit your brother!?!!?”  UGH!  And there you have it folks…the ugly truth, the way I dealt with the kids just revealed exactly where my worship was.  At that very moment I was idolizing and worshipping the “peace & quiet” that I longed for and I definitely wasn’t trying to be a peacemaker (Matt 5:9) or even show the love of Christ to my children. (1 John 4:7-8)

It is in times like these that God is so gracious to reveal to me and convict me of these fleshly idols that I have put before Him…my King.   Exodus 20:3 says “You shall have no other gods before me.”  As a Christian, our worship of the one true God is the only acceptable belief and practice, anything other is sin.  Here I am with my idols of peace, rest, coffee, dry socks and leisure activity thinking that I deserve them and I want them more than anything.  I was even willing to break fellowship with my children over it…with my God.  My heart hurts.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8: 5-6 ESV)

 During my quiet time the Lord brought me this verse in Romans.  Now obviously I was setting my mind on (or worshipping in my case) the earthly things that I thought would bring me joy and pleasure.  They may have been in the form of peace, coffee and dry socks for this stay at home Mama but they were STILL the things of the flesh that I was idolizing.  According to Romans, that way of thinking only leads to death but here is the promise though!!!  (I love this part ;)  To set our minds on the things of the spirit is life and PEACE that only God can give!  Thank you Jesus!

 Peace?  Life & PEACE!?!?!  That is exactly what I was after, but how do I set my mind on the things of the spirit and get them off of my Idols?  Ephesians tells us as Christians to put off our old self, because it is corrupt through deceitful desires and be renewed in the spirit of our mind.  (Eph 4:22-23

 My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would do a great work in me in this area specifically.  That by hiding His living word in my heart, I might not sin against Him.  That He will renew my mind and that I will have an eternal perspective.  That even in the diaper changes, the training of my children, and the wading through over turned sippy cups I may do it ALL to Gods glory.  I think only then as I continue to repent and lay it down at His feet each moment of each day will I TRULY have life and the everlasting PEACE that I long for in my King.  I pray that I will be able to extend the love and true PEACE of Christ to my children and my family as Christ has done for me.  For my joy will not be found in my ideas idols of peace, coffee and dry socks but only in my Jesus and the infinite grace that He gives.

Blessings,

Janell


Purest of Milk

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I was a month or so postpartum with our third son and fourth precious child.  I was up three to four times a night nursing him on top of nursing every two and a half to three hours during the day.  Good grief, how often does this little guy need to eat?  In those early weeks I seriously felt like all I did was nurse him, burp him, change him, nap, repeat…  Now granted, it was like that with every newborn baby, but somehow I forgot so quickly.  As they grow, I adjust their feeding schedules and push their feedings out to make it more “comfortable” for me and my schedule.

One morning after his early feeding I came across this verse in my 1 Peter study.

 “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
(1 Peter 2:2-3 ESV)

Oh how this resonated with me, especially at this VERY moment when all I seemed to be doing these days was quenching my newborns thirst for milk, and VERY frequently might I add.  I could hardly get in another chore, responsibility, or project let alone eat a meal myself before It was time to feed him again.

In this verse God is telling us that WE should be longing for the pure spiritual milk (Gods Word, verses, scripture) as a newborn longs for his Mothers milk that we may grow! 

So, there I sat convicted.  How could I think that I was doing “enough” by just reading a few verses in the morning.  What I was truly doing was STARVING!  My newborn was getting milk about 8-9 times in a twenty four hour period.  I was MAYBE eating the “pure spiritual milk” once a day…at most!  Now let me just say, I know and you know that there are weeks, even MONTHS that we go with out the word.  Heart breaking.  Would you EVER let your newborn go without milk like that?  God doesn’t want His child to go with out either.

So where does that put us?  Do we push out our “feedings” of the purest of milk or limit them because it keeps us comfortable & gives us more time for other things?  It is stunting our growth in Christ if we are.  We truly should be eating  His Bread and drinking from the Living Waters as often as we can.  Think, pray, meditate….and chew!  Be nourished & quenched spiritually. 

When a Mother nurses her babe, those intimate moments together create such an incredible bond.  Have you tasted the pure spiritual milk of Christ?  Do you LONG for the purest of milk?  Have you bonded to our Lord like a Mother with her newborn? That ache of emptiness and that cry can only be filled by our King.  I beg you to taste…that the Lord is GOOD! 

Janell


Struck down, but not destroyed!

Where do you find yourself today friend? Amidst trials? Adversity? Are you in the trenches of life?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV)

I am in the trenches of Motherhood. Diaper bombs, late nights, sippy cups, whiney kids, and sticky fingers. There are days that Most days I feel afflicted, crushed, perplexed and driven to despair…persecuted, forsaken & struck down. How can I keep up with three kids in diapers? How can I effectively train my five-year old & teach him truth? When will the terrible two’s be over? I just don’t have enough energy or strength to get through…

It’s mucky, it’s hard, and it’s down right NASTY as times…and that is JUST where He wants me. Weak, tired, and at the end of myself to finally see that I am NOT destroyed and that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us!!!

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV)

Paul continues to show us that God triumphs amid our human weaknesses, which in turn reflects the principle of Christ’s crucifixion. Christ died for our human weakness which is a result of sin, and He TRIUMPHED!!! Thank you Jesus! So if God was able to overcome the whole worlds sin and triumph, then His grace TRULY is SUFFICIENT!!! His power is PERFECTED in our weakness! Did you see that? That Christs POWER rests on US for His sake. And THEN I can be CONTENT with weakness, insults, hardship, persecution & calamities. (Easier said then done…contentment. But just lay it down as Jesus feet every time you are tempted.)

So, I know that my “hardships or calamities” may be nothing compared to a Father who has lost his child, a Mother who has broken fellowship with her sister, or a daughter who has been abused. But I am SO THANKFUL that Gods promises for believers can carry us through, no matter how BIG or small our trials are.

So whatever trench you find yourself in this season of life, may you rest & trust in this promise that the surpassing power belongs to God, BUT that the POWER of Christ may rest upon US! So go boast in your weakness & to God be the glory, for when we are weak…He is STRONG!

Janell


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