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Fathers Rename Your Children

Category : Encouragement

I cannot begin to grasp the emotions that filled that space when Rachel uttered her last words. Another son…but one that she would never hold…never cradle in her arms…or kiss it’s sweet cheeks…so mustering her last ebb of strength she uttered the baby’s name Ben-oni. And it was true…he was the son of her sorrow.

I can almost see Jacob, shaking his head no as he announced firmly, “His name is Benjamin…”son of my right hand.” A name close to the original…but entirely different. Not Ben-oni, but Benjamin.

His actions speak volumes to me. In the horror of that event, his father gave him a new name! Jacob refused to allow this crushing event to label his son…to dictate his destiny. He renamed him.

With the new name, Jacob was declaring his son’s destiny. He will be my indispensible helper. He will be my most valued personal assistant.

Culture wants to label your sons and your daughters.

It’s easy to buy into our culture’s ideology. It can help us understand them, teach them and develop them. But the problem lies in the fact that circumstances can also define and limit your sons and daughters destiny! God has a higher plan for your children.

Fathers, get a faith vision of your child.

It’s easy to settle for what you see with your natural eye, but as believers we must believe God to fulfill His plan in our children’s lives. Don’t let culture, or circumstances or even fear define your child’s identity! Step up with courage and faith to declare over them what God says about them.

I had to include fear, because Jacob’s consuming fear; fear that something would happen to Benjamin caused him to be overprotective. Is fear influencing your parenting?

Fathers have a huge job!

There is no perfect dad. And no two children are the same.

 

That’s why the strongest dads …

  • are praying dads.
  • strong enough to admit their mistakes when they make them.
  • strong enough to humble themselves before God and ask for His strength.
  • strong enough to seek God’s wisdom.

Loving dads are listening dads…

they listen to their children…

they listen to God.

Both the written Word and the discerning prompting of Precious Holy Spirit.

Loving dads…speak life and not death over their children.

Whether their children are young or old… they use words to build up and not destroy.

Your words have the power to destroy hopes and dreams and destiny.

What does God’s Word say about them? Declare God’s promises over them. It’s not enough to simply not say negative things.

Your words are seeds. What do you want to grow in their hearts? Don’t call them stupid or loser or any of those other names you hear people call their children in public places.

Loving dads see their kids faults differently than everyone else.

He doesn’t deny their faults or excuse them. He simply gives them insight and tools to overcome them. Don’t see them as lazy! Teach them to work and make them accountable for their actions.

Rename your kids.

Today is a good day to do that. Whether you are reading this on Father’s Day or in the weeks afterward! I celebrate all of you dads. I thank you and honor you for all you’ve done to invest in your children.

Rename them in your heart.

It’s easy when you are holding that tiny newborn in your arms to call them sweet things.

It can be a totally different thing when they are glaring and/or screaming at you from across the room. But that’s why we run to Jesus for help and wisdom and love!

Don’t let someone else’s opinion of them define who they become…even in tough circumstances….

Dads…please…

  • Fight for your kids…on your knees…with God’s Word…with faith…with weak faith sometimes….
  • And keep fighting…believing…trusting…
  • Because this is a battle that is winnable!
  • And victory is sweet!

So thank you Dads!

Thank you to my dad whose gentleness and kindness shaped my life. And thank you to my husband whose wisdom and love has shaped our children’s lives. Happy Father’s Day!


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Without Faith It is Impossible to Please God!

Category : Encouragement , Faith

“And without faith it is impossible to please God,”

My mind seems to always stop there as if the comma were a period. It’s just that the thought of pleasing God is such a delightful thought!

It is hard for me to imagine that MY faith actually pleases God…but, then there’s the alarming realization that without faith there is absolutely NO WAY to please Him.

And that reality propels me to get faith.

Gotta get faith… and I did, with almost the same frenzy that I used to can tomatoes in the summertime; bushels of ruby red tomatoes that would spoil and fill my kitchen with a horrible stench very quickly. So I scrambled to get them cleaned, blanched and in scalding hot jars.  I filled jars and jars and jars that I would use in spaghetti and soups and stews all year long. But, somehow they never made it to my table like I thought they would. Not what I intended.

Collecting Faith?

And, I have realized it’s not collecting faith to be stored like canned tomatoes in fat Mason jars with lids screwed tightly in place. It’s not storing jar, after jar of faith on a shelf that gives me bragging rights; as if the more I have of it, the better it is. So, every time faith is mentioned, I can brag, “Whew! I got faith! I got jars and jars of faith! Wow!”

It’s not collecting faith or storing faith that pleases God. It’s not the act of memorizing facts that pleases God. It’s not the mere accumulation of knowledge that pleases God.

Valuable

Don’t miss understand me. Faith is valuable…priceless actually! And I want more of it.
But faith is worthless if I lock it in a vault, or hide in a closet so it’s not stolen or broken.

Pleases God

But the kind of faith that pleases God is the kind that is used.
USED, not saved like a commodity!

Faith that is lived out!

  • Walked out…when it’s so dark you can’t see the next step much less the road again.
  • Trusted when everything in you screams…there’s no use. It’s hopeless.
  • Obeyed when it doesn’t make a lick of sense!!!
    • Then repeated…
      Walk it out. Take that baby step. Crawling is ok too!…Trust…Obey… And repeat it again and again until the reward comes.

Simply because you know God is GOOD and you TRUST Him!

Simply because you know the Devil is evil and He lies. God doesn’t!

Are you using your faith!

That’s what pleases God! The active kind. Not the fragile kind that is never touched.

The kind of faith that pleases God …

causes us to trust when we want to panic.
enables us to love when we want to retaliate.
hears His voice above the roar of the crowd…
and obeys…
even when obedience is costly.
Hopes, when it seems hopeless.
Trusts, when its dark.

The kind of faith that pleases God is planted like a seed.

Seeds always have maturation timelines. And, because we don’t know the maturation timeline of God’s promises, we must use our faith to simply…
Wait
Hope
Persist
Reach
Endure

And yes there’s more to the verse.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV

What are you believing God for?

Revival to come to your community?

A lost loved one?

A sick friend?

Your healing?


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When It Gets Dark

Category : Faith , Spiritual Growth

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT

It’s so easy to get this backwards. I find my default can be to trust my opinion, what I can see and understand. But rest and peace comes from trusting God!!

That requires that I spend time in God’s presence and Word to discover His will and His path!

God bless you! Praying that today you will trust Him and walk in His peace and joy!

 


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Never Alone

Tags :

Category : Encouragement , Faith

Never Alone

Hello! I want to take you on a picture walk  in Glacier National Park. I tried to make the pictures small enough so they will load quickly. But, if you want only the devotion without the pictures, then you can click here.

 Our goal was Glacier Lake in Glacier National Park.

It was a glorious trail through a thick canopy of red cedars. Some of my favorite trees on the planet.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

The light that filtered through the trees kissed the tiny emerald mosses that regally carpeted fat boulders all along the trail.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National ParkOur path wound past and sometimes beside a swift, thundering mountain stream that created background music for our 3 mile mountain hike. Our chatter silenced the birds, but as we grew winded from the climb the sounds of song birds and chirps filled our silence.

A young moose deer foraged fearlessly in the thick bushes that grew beside the swift waters. We all grabbed our camera and snapped pictures furiously. I know that deer was thinking, “What’s wrong with you guys? Never seen a deer before?”

surely I am with you always

Gurgling waters of tiny streams and the roaring white water announced their presence long before we could see their spectacular beauty.

 

 

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

And yes, I include the tiny streams deliberately in my description of spectacular beauty because I stopped to enjoy the beauty of the white fungus and ferns that grew there.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

 

The return trip was mostly downhill so the group moved swiftly along the trail. Everyone except Wayne and I.

Maybe those frequents stops is why Lee slowed his pace to walk with us.

We were older than most of the group, so he wanted to be sure we were ok. Lee is that kind of man. It didn’t take him long to realize that my frequent stops were the the cause for the delay. But he didn’t rush us. He didn’t grow inpatient.

 

 

He stopped with us. Again and again, he waited for me to take a picture or look at the texture of a stump or a red something growing on a tree.

He walked with us.

He didn’t hurry us. He just walked with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

Let’s stop while I tell you why I took you with me on this walk through the thick forest to Glacier Lake.
Yes, it is a beautiful walk and the teacher in me always wants to share my acquired knowledge with people.

 

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

I’m so child-like when I’m walking through the woods. I want to see every little thing. The texture of the trees, the boulders, the smells, the sounds.

But I stopped at this crook in our walk together to point out…a truth that I have missed again and again as I have studied The Great Commission. I memorized it as a child in Girl’s Ministries. It’s all about the “Go!” “Make!” Or at least that’s what I’ve always seen. But there’s more to that commission.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

 

When Jesus commissioned His followers in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus closed “His Great Commission” with a powerful truth that we need to grasp!

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20 Berean Study Bible

 

glacier-lake-matthew-28-20b

He said, “I am with you.” He wasn’t sending them to do life or ministry alone.

He emphasized “Surely, I am with you.” I hear Him saying, “I want you to know  with certainty  that I am with you!”

He wants to walk with us…you and me.
Through beautiful places…
though hard places.

Jesus is not a fair weather friend.

He doesn’t run off when we cry.
Or when we sin.
or when we stumble.

Oh yes, that’s the best part of walking with Him; when I stumble He gives me the grace and strength to get back up. He doesn’t laugh at my silliness or ineptness. He loves me too much for that.

  • He corrects.
  • He guides.
  • He comforts.
  • He heals.

I’ve discovered if I walk with Him through beautiful places, I’m quicker to recognize and respond to His presence in difficult places.

The timeless one. The Great I Am. The all sufficient one walks with us because He wants to be with us!

He was telling them what to do, but not the how. The how would come from walking with Him.
The how would come out of relationship with Him.

I get it! I really do.

God had a big, big job for His disciples to accomplish. He still does.

But if we believe the commission part,

don’t we need to believe and embrace the “I am with you” part too?

We can’t afford to miss this part!

That’s the critical part. Because without Him, we can’t do anything. He’s the one that enables us to be and do and live.

Yes! There are great things that God wants us to do and we need to be diligent to use our talents…
But everything…everything we do…

needs to flow out of our relationship with Him.

 

God bless you dear friend! Never forget…you are not alone! God is with you!

If you were encouraged by this post, will you please share it!


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Whatever you plant…you’ll reap

Whatever you plant…you’ll reap.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7It’s not rocket science!

Even the youngest child understands if they plant birdseed they’ll grow birds…ahh! Just teasing!

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV

   We get it.

If you want corn to grow, then you plant corn.
Or cantaloupes, plant cantaloup seed.

And we understand that if we sow bad actions, they have bad consequences! Right?

Why is it so much easier…

to believe that this law works in the negative realm than it is to believe it works in the positive?

I talked with a pastor recently that answered my generic, “How are things going?” with “Great. I’ve sowed good things and I’m reaping good things.”

His reply was so much more than an empty mantra. It was an honest, unemotional reply to my question.

That one sentence has hounded me!

I’ve used that verse like a goad to encourage and sometimes manipulate my children into doing what they need to do! But why couldn’t I see that the verse works in the positive equally as well.

Why haven’t I believed God that when I plant good things I will reap good things?
Sometimes I am better at it than other times.

I’ve noticed everywhere I go I see smiling faces.
One day I realized that people are simply responding to my smile. I’m receiving what I gave. That’s God’s law working in the positive!

I plant kindness and thoughtfulness and I look for it in other people. And the wonderful thing is…I find exactly what I am looking for…almost every time!

I know. I know!

Some people’s face looks like it will crack into a million pieces, if they actually smile.
And those are the ones that I love to walk past.

That’s my signal to pray!

No, it’s not a loud, overt prayer. But, it’s a deep whisper, “Father, you know their need. Minster to them Father. Encourage their heart. If they don’t know you, open their eyes to the truth of your love. Give them peace through Jesus. Give them joy!”

As believer’s, aren’t we on assignment from Almighty God?

to care…
to love…
to serve..

But, it’s important to realize our assignment has benefits.

We get to lick the bowl and the beaters…and God always makes sure there’s plenty left in the bowl. (Please tell me you lick the icing off the beaters!)

 I can enjoy the benefits of sowing and reaping.

Let me give an example. As I love people, God wants me to receive love as well. He will provide loving people in my life.

I hear your protests…I know exactly what you’re thinking, “But I loved people that didn’t love me back.
So have I. Actually too many times to count.
But, because I believe in God’s law of sowing and reaping AND I lean in to receive the love that I need to nourish my emotions, He, not me, meets that need!
And believe me, that love comes in all kinds of unusual places.

What are you growing in your life?

Weeds? Fruit?

Those Pesky Weeds

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIVThey seem to come from nowhere and they seem to thrive.
In drought. In searing heat. They still thrive.

Weeds are automatic, but the good things that we want to grow in our lives must be planted and

nurtured.
Fertilized.
Watered.
Weeded.

We don’t want weeds. We want good seeds of good things growing in our lives.

So what are you planting?

 

Maybe a better question would be, “What are you nurturing?”

Are you nurturing and cultivating kindness (or whatever else you want to see grow in your life) in both your mind and heart?
Are you cultivating it by renewing your mind, planting Scriptures in your heart?
Are you aligning your choices with Scriptures so you walk in the truth that produces the fruit you want?Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV

 

So why am I spending all this time talking about planting when the signs of Fall Harvest are all around us?

Because there can be no harvest without planting. Strategic planting. And, I want a good Harvest.

For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Zechariah 8:12 NLT

 

Here’s one I’m going after!

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2 NLT

 

And here Paul throws out a clear challenge.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

So let me ask you again…What are you nurturing?


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