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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

VAL signature

You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

www.momofmany.wordpress.comYou’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado was quite good. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s struggling with trials in their life. Too often I’ve seen people quit or make poor decisions on which direction to take while in the midst of trial because they can’t seem to see around the corner, knowing that God is big enough to take care of anything. This book explains how it is that God is able, and encourages the reader to wait just a bit longer than what seems appropriate to see what good things will come after the trial is done.

Since I’ve personally lived through more trials than the average person, I can testify to the fact that God is bigger than any circumstance and that we can trust Him. Lucado was right on when he encouraged the reader to persevere and sit tight. Throughout the book he cited examples to back up his points. He’s easy to read and relate to. His writing style is relaxed and believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with staying faithful or is discouraged.

Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Christian Liberty – Permission to be Free

I made reference a few days ago on my Facebook status that our Pastor, Weng Liew, had “hit one out of the park.” He sent me his notes tonight and I have his points listed below. Make sure you slooowwwlyy read through them. At first glance they appear to be the typical sermon on Christian liberty, ie: do right, do your best, don’t use your liberty to sin, etc. But take the time to read what he has to say. Read each word carefully. If you do, you’ll see why our whole family celebrated last Sunday night by recapping what he said and how he said it. It was surreal. We’ve known pastors who see Christian liberty the same way we do – it’s between us and God, no right to judge, keep your walk with the Spirit and your life will please God, etc. but we’ve never heard a sermon, a pastor, actually give us permission right from the pulpit to live according to our own personal convictions. Wow. WOW.

The sermon was executed with a heart of love from a humble servant who desired to see his people live in freedom – freedom to choose their own path, directed by their own personal relationship with God. There was no condemning judgement, pressure to conform, or self-righteous spirit. Though I agreed 100% and already held the exact same thought process regarding Christian liberty, I experienced a deep peace after that night. It’s a peace I wish for all my friends and family who name the name of Christ and try to serve and please Him with their lives.

Here are the specifics on Pastor Weng’s sermon.  As you read it, pretend it’s being told to you by one who loves you as Christ loves His own. Better yet, pretend as you read that Christ Himself is telling you about the freedom you can enjoy in Him. Jump up into His lap and let Him set you free.  Pay particular attention to the last 5 words – they are key. “God recognizes each as such.

(Romans 14:1-23)

1. We need to remember what we are saved from – the bondage and chains of sin. We are free INDEED (completely, absolutely, forever) through Christ.

2. All things are lawful to the child of God, although not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, while a Christian cannot “break” the law as he is no longer under the law, does not give the right to sin. While we are at liberty to act as the Spirit gives liberty, not all actions are expedient, i.e. prudent. Out of all the things one can do in a given situation, one course of action is best. This is what edifies another brother or sister in Christ, not that which becomes a stumbling block to them.

3. The pinnacle of Christian liberty is to willingly do more (not less) than required by the law to love one another.

4. We must remember we are all servants of Christ. Just as in the secular world we do not judge another man’s servant, we are not to judge each other. We are all accountable ultimately to Christ alone. One who abstains from certain meats does it to glorify God. One who eats all meats in thanksgiving to God does so to glorify God. So both believers glorify God by being true to their own conscience (must be done in faith to please God) and God recognizes each as such.

5. My Christian liberty is not to be flaunted so it becomes an hindrance to another believer. Whenever at a disagreement with another, we need to yield (even if we’re “right”).

6. Charity covers the multitude of sins. When we truly have charity one to another, we don’t even see their faults.

7. Believers need to remember we are on the same team. We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. A brother or sister in Christ is NEVER the enemy. Satan is ALWAYS the enemy.

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare by Thomas B. Clarke

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare is a book written by Thomas B. Clarke. This book is not for the casual reader, and though I found the book a little hard to read, I determined to take my time and weed through it to glean the most important information he had to share. Chiastic structure, the subject of his book, intrigues me. My first experience with chiastic structure was in a Beth Moore Bible study. In Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare, he has focused on the patterns in Joshua and used them to point out what God says about spiritual warfare and how they can be managed by the use of His Scripture.

Mr. Clarke read my post about how Beth Moore pointed out chiastic structure in the book of Esther and offered his book to me for review.  If you are the type of person who likes to study the Word by delving deeper than most, and enjoy dividing the Word of God word by word, thought by thought, then this might be the book for you. I was disappointed that it was not solely KJV, though he did make reference many times to it. He used mostly the NIV, which most don’t consider to be a good translation. That said as my disclaimer, I do believe his comparisons to be very helpful.

One of the most interesting statements he made in the book had to do with anger. Having raised some “interesting” children, I’ve always wondered how to defeat anger. It seemed the more I tried to reason with the angry child, the hotter they got. The only solution seemed to be letting them sit alone until they cooled off. Thought it didn’t seem to be the best solution, it was the only one that worked. Anger is such a controller and can maim relationships in a flash, and over time can alienate and destroy a person and those close to them.

In chapter 10, Clarke discusses the chiasm in verses 1-28. His study pairs (A) verse 1 where Ai was totally destroyed by Joshua’s army with (A) verse 28 where Makkedah is totally destroyed as well by Joshua’s army. Then he pairs (B) verses 2-6 where the five Amorite kings attack Gibeon with (B) verses 16-27 where the five Amorite kings are killed. The center (C) verses 7-10 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by confusion are paired with (C) verses 11-15 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by supernatural events.  The pattern is an A-A, B-B, C-C pattern where you take the first and last together, the second and fifth sets of verses are paired and then lastly the two middle sections are paired, showing the main point to be the center of the group of verses, a C – C combination.

Put simply, the two cities are totally destroyed (A-A) with the focus on the 5 kings (B-B), and the demise of their armies by the Lord (C-C) becomes the main point. I’ve used the same patterning to parse other Scripture myself and find it to be quite enlightening – it’s like finding a hidden treasure.

Now, back to anger. Clarke used the story in Joshua 10:1-28 to demonstrate how anger protects a ruling spirit, a demon. When the kings lost their armies, their only choice was to flee because they were left exposed and unprotected. This is much like how when the demons are a ruling spirit in a person’s life. When their army (a spirit of anger) is extinguished, the ruling spirit (the demon) must flee.  The demon = the king, their army = anger. No army (anger), no protection. Anger actually is the protecting element of a demon who is actually the controlling spirit behind the anger. Hence, when we deal with an angry person, we ought to know that there is a controlling demon behind the anger.

I’ll leave the rest of the book for you to experience if you want to know more. Mr. Clarke sent me the book to give an honest review, as I have so done. Thank you for the book. I will definitely be looking for chiastic structure in future Bible study.

Jesus Leads Us Through the Fog

Last night we were on our way home from Taylor’s graduation in Florida when we encountered a dense fog about 40 minutes from home.  It was about 11PM and we had been traveling since 8AM. First it set in in spots that only took a second to drive through. Then it descended so heavily that I couldn’t seen more than 50 feet ahead of me. I was in one of those situations where if I slowed down to a safe speed, I could be hit from behind by a vehicle traveling 65 mph. If I kept at the speed limit, I could rear end another car that had decided to stop or travel slowly.  I was stuck. I considered stopping at a hotel, but my mom was sick and I felt I needed to get her home. I wasn’t really sure what to do. I could see a 20 car pile up in my head just waiting for car #21.

Then I saw two small tail lights in front of me that I could follow. I immediately knew it was safe to continue as long as they were there. Then they disappeared after a few minutes and I thought, “Oh great, there goes my guide.”

The next second a large vehicle passed me and pulled in front of me – about 6 car lengths ahead of me. It kept steadily there all the way to our exit 30 minutes away.  As long as I kept a few car lengths from my guide, I knew I was safe to continue on. It was a bit nerve wracking but knowing there were two red lights just ahead gave me the confidence to keep going.

It reminded me of how Christ leads me – out in front, leading me all the way.  As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I know the road is safe and He will lead me all the way to my exit.

A Story of God’s Protection

Years ago, when I was a child, our family took a trip out east to visit Washington D.C. We were campers, so when we found our camp ground for the week, the camp ground manager asked my dad where he wanted to camp – on the lower part of the campground near the office and all the amenities, or at one of the higher ground campsites, up the hill a ways away. For the past half hour, my dad had been whistling the tune to Higher Ground, his favorite hymn. Since the Lord had brought that tune into his head, he promptly answered, “Higher ground.”

We made the trek uphill to our campsite, and set up camp. Later that night a terrible storm came. It was so bad that I distinctly remember having to stand up part of the night holding up the sides of our camper for fear it would blow over during the storm.  I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 12 at the time, so this was a very scary night for me. The details of that night have stuck with me these past 40 years. I was not only amazed at how bad the storm was, but was also aware that we could be blown away with it.

Eventually the storm quieted and we were able to go to sleep for the night. The next morning we decided to check out, not ever having been able to see Washington D.C.  We discovered that we had to sit tight for a couple of days while they built a new road for us to travel down. The storm had washed away our road to the lower level of the camp ground. In the meantime we listened to the reports of how the storm had affected the area.

All news reports had confirmed that the storm wreaked havoc on the area and D.C. was pretty much under water. There would be no adventure for our family to our nation’s capital on this vacation. We were very disappointed, but as we gained clearance to take the trek back down into the lower part of the campground on the new road they built, we saw the devastation all around us. The high winds had swept several campers and vehicles into the river adjacent to the campground and many campers and tents had been blown away. In my mind’s eye I can see the floating campers and the rescue vehicles working at pulling them out.

It was obvious to us that our father had been given a song that would be instrumental in his decision to choose “higher ground.” Since that day I gained a new appreciation for my father’s connection to His Savior and realized in a tangible way that God is a God of protection – if we’ll just allow Him to keep us underneath His umbrella. I’ve kept that “umbrella” with me since then and have had many occasions that I’ve based my reaction upon the reflection of those days in D.C.

Here are the words God gave our family that day so long ago:
I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Chorus
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand, By faith, on heaven’s table-land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay, Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world Tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the upmost height, And catch a glimpse of glory-bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Thankful for God’s Protection

3 car pile-upI am very glad to let you know that God protected our family today. Our daughter Jillian was driving back to work after lunch today and was stopped right in front of the daycare where she works when another car stopped right behind her. They both had to wait for a tow truck to pass.

After it had passed, she turned into the daycare parking lot. As she did that, she heard a loud noise, but thought it was just the noise of a nearby truck. As she parked and looked, she witnessed a six car pile up right behind where she had been waiting to turn in.

Apparently someone three cars back wasn’t paying attention and rammed right into the car that was stopped right behind her. At the present time, she’s watching the scene unfold as ambulances and police cars arrive. One of the vehicles received the most attention. The back was smashed in about two feet and it appears that the rescue personnel are trying to extract a car seat from the back of the vehicle.

Thank God that she was saved from a possible fatal accident and please pray for what it appears to be a child that will be air lifted to a hospital. I’ll let you know more as she find out what has happened to those involved in the pile up. I am reminded today that life is fragile and that our lives can be changed in an instant. I am very glad I have a God that is in control.

Thank you God, for protecting my daughter today.

Just a Reminder from a Friend…

“To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

“When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.”

“The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not keep you.”

Thanks Cathy!

Living Our Faith

His name is Tim. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it..

One day Tim decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Tim starts down the aisle looking for a seat.. The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now,people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Tim gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Tim. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Tim and worships with him so he won’t be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion…

When the minister gains control, he says, ‘What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.’ ‘Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!’

Parenting is Your Highest Calling & Eight Other Myths

Have you every had a passionate belief that you couldn’t put into words? You knew it had a Biblical foundation, but for the life of you, you couldn’t nail it down or explain it well enough without making you sound like you were making excuses or justifying yourself? This book, Parenting is Your Hightest Calling & Eight Other Myths by Leslie Leyland Fields does a great job at explaining the ins and outs of parental responsibility and dispels the myths that are so prevalant in Christian society – myths that I ran into in my parenting experience. 

 She outlines 9 myths that many parents buy into that can cause grief and disappointment when their parenting experience doesn’t the bring the results they’d expected. As a mother of 15 children, 13 of whom are special needs adopted, I saw how the blame game is easily entered into by those who have a tendency to judge others, especially Christian leaders who take credit for their own children’s successes. It is my desire to see that parents are encouraged and loved, not expected to be perfect or to take on the responsibility that was only God’s to begin with.

Here are the 9 myths Leslie outlines in her book:

1. Having Children Makes You Happy and Fulfilled.
2. Nurturing Your Children Is Natural
3. Parenting Is your Highest Calling
4. Good Parenting Leads to Happy Children
5. If You Find Parenting Difficult, You Must Not Be Following the Right Plan
6. You Represent Jesus to Your Children
7. You Will Always Feel Unconditional love for Your Children
8. Successful Parents Produce Godly Children
9. God Approves of Only One Family Design

Her basic premise is that we as parents are required by God to be faithful, to follow His basic guidelines for holy living and endeavor to teach the same precepts to our children. That’s it. We are to leave the results up to Him. He is the one who will woo their hearts, call them to repentance and a life of service to Him. We can’t do that. Only God is able to take our children and make them into something He can use.

I have seen and experienced the extreme pressure from others to measure up as the perfect Christian parent – too often reminded that “if we do our job, our kids will turn out right”  and “if they stumble and fall it is ultimately our fault.”  This advice is given without the slightest bit of acknowledgement that God is the One who shapes the believer and determines their path in life.  In her book, Leslie reminds us of parents in the Bible who lived a faithful, godly life only to experience disappointment in their parenting experience. The business of parenting is hard enough. We certainly don’t need to be bogged down by misplaced condemnation. This is a very encouraging book and I recommend it to every parent.

Thank you Leslie, for sending it to me. I wish I’d read it years ago.

You can get this book at Amazon.com for $11.19 and Christianbook.com  for $10.99.

The Myth of the Perfect Parent

Leslie in Christianity TodayAn article in the January Christianity Today is a good read for parents everywhere who struggle with the question, “I’ve done all I know to do, all that God asked of me, but my child just isn’t following what I have taught them. What more could I have done?”  It points out how we as Christian parents may have misunderstood our role of parenting – as being much more powerful than it really is, leaving out the sovereignty and grace of God in the process. There is definitely a trend in modern Christianity to ignore the fact that God is the One who will do the mighty work. We lean way to much on our own faulty abilities and understanding, thinking if we “do it right,” all be well. If we believe it is all up to us, then where does God figure in?  Yes, my parents’ role did influence and teach me toward God, but in the end, God called me and I answered. When that happened, all my parents could do was hope and pray. They were not part of that equation when it was just God and me, alone in that moment. They cannot get the glory in my life, only God can. They will be rewarded for their faithfulness, obviously, but not because I grew up to serve God, but because they fulfilled their role – to be faithful. They will enjoy the fruit of their labor, but God still gets the credit – all the glory for whatever He has done through me.

Who’s In Control?

Excerpt from “The Myth of the Perfect Parent” – Cover story from Christianity Today, January 2010
Why the best parenting techniques don’t produce Christian children
Leslie Leyland Fields | posted 1/08/2010 10:16AM
To read this story in its entirety, go here. Here is an excerpt from the story:

We must assume, then, that there is serious error in our beliefs about parenting. We have made far too much of ourselves and far too little of God, reflecting our sinful bent to see ourselves as more essential and in control than we actually are. It’s also our heritage as good Americans, psychologist Harriet Lerner observed in her 1998 book, The Mother Dance: We believe that we can fix every problem, that we are masters over our fate. The root of much of our pain in parenting, she writes, is “the belief that we should have control over our children when it is hard enough to have control over ourselves.”

The reflex to judge ourselves by our children, and to judge others by their children, has further implications: It reveals a faulty view of spiritual formation. We often expect that the children of believing parents, whether the children claim Christ yet or not, will show the same kind of spiritually mature attitudes and behavior we hope to see in each other: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and obedience, as a beginning list.

When we engage in spiritual determinism and a human view of spiritual formation, we can easily fall into judging others. Jeanine, a friend of mine for years, told me that her sixth-grade daughter, Julia, who was struggling with her identity and making friends, was labeled “demon-possessed” by another family in the church. “Some people—even in church—have already written her off. And she’s only 11 years old,” Jeanine told me. The judgment was not only on her daughter’s spiritual condition but also on her own.

Thoughts on Contentment

I was working on my Sunday school lesson and thought it would be a good thing to communicate to more than my ladies’ Sunday school class. We’ve been talking about contentment, the type of contentment that God gives to those who completely trust Him. Below is part of my lesson for tomorrow.

1. To be gracious is to decide in our heart that we are satisfied with God’s dealings in our life both in judgment and understanding.

If one desires to have a peaceful life, there is no room for bitterness, envy or selfishness. Those who fight for their rights are not content. Those who accuse others, live for paybacks or have a desire to control others cannot be content. If we must live in the past and drag others there because we have unresolved bitterness or resentment, we have closed the door on ever having a gracious spirit, the gracious spirit that God can use to bring us the satisfaction of living in Him. Walking in the Spirit maintaining a gracious spirit toward others is the only way to have the peace we all crave.  (James 3:16)

 2. We need to recognize God’s hand and make a conscious decision to trust and let God rule our own emotions and thoughts—give Him rule.

If I had a nickel for every time I was told, “That’s just the way I am, ” or “I can’t help it,” I’d be out of the financial stress I’m in right now.  Being 50 years old in body and more than 40 in spirit, I’ve been around enough to know that we are as we choose to be. If we live defeated Christian lives, it’s not because God is not able – it is because we enjoy the sins that trip us up enough to revisit them over and over. Granted, some of us have better foundations that enable us to reach toward heaven more successfully than others, but it is our choice as to whether our arms are extended in that direction. Neither God nor man will fault a Christian who grows slowly because they fall easily and often – if they are falling in the direction of the Savior so when they do get up, it’s to walk toward Him. It is he or she who turns toward their sins with a yearning that we ought to identify as unfruitful. Our eyes must be on the Savior to gain His favor, whether it’s while we’re walking toward Him, down on our knees or on our face. (James 1:23-26)

 3. We need to look for contentment—it’s not necessarily a state of mind but a conscious pursuance of God’s grace.

Don’t fool yourself. Those who live a contented, spirit filled life don’t come by it naturally, as if they were born with a silver spoon of spirituality or were anointed from birth as having a supernatural ability to trust God. To trust God is a conscious decision brought on by many a trial and heartache where God has been seen as the Savior and King of all situations. Following God and entrusting your very being in His hands is something to strive for, to prove over and over through the difficult moments of life. Those who strive for peace and contentment brought to them by His hand only are handsomely rewarded with peace in their hearts that cannot be stolen by the craftiest thief. Those who do not strive for His Spirit to control them will always feel alone and defeated.  (Galatians 5:16, 17)

4. The spiritual condition of our hearts will rule our actions—we need to guard our hearts.       

We all have had hardships in our lives. Where one may have lost a loved one, another has lived in poverty or battled a serious illness. We all have our share of pain and heartache, it just comes with different names. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Those who think they deserve better are in for a big disappointment. It’s not about living a cush, easy life free of pain and suffering. It’s about living our lives with God alongside, bringing Him the glory as we travel the road of hardship. To say you love God and then turn around and demonstrate bitter envying in your behavior presents a conundrum that cannot be explained other than one of deceit. You may be able to fool some, but those who truly know what the love of God is can see through the facade. It’s not worth holding onto. In the end, those who fake the abiding life will be brought out into the light.  (James 1:2-8)

5. True contentment comes from within by God’s working—not a temporary fix by circumstances turning in our favor.

The condition of our hearts are revealed by our actions. Too many times I’ve been told that someone loves God or is trying to live a life for Him, and yet their actions speak a different language.  They claim innocence as they place a blade in the hearts of others. We all know people who are kind and gracious when things are going their way and then turn into bitter, spiteful monsters when the light isn’t shining on them just the right way. These are the ones who lie to themselves as they are lying to others.  A quiet reliance on God is the only way toward genuine contentment, in good or bad circumstances. The true believer who’s walking in the Spirit will have a gracious spirit even when their heart has been ripped in two by another. They have discovered that true peace and contentment comes in looking to Christ for their healing not by anything they do or say or how others treat them or perceive their value. We can judge our own level of God-given contentment by our first reaction, thoughts during, and actions throughout a situation that has caused us to be hurt or disappointed. (Proverbs 22:10)

F. B. Meyer

“The men who live the life of separation and devotion towards God, are they who act with most promptness and success when the time for action comes. Lot being in Sodom, could neither elevate its morals nor save it from attack. Abraham being among the hills is alone able to cope successfully with the might of the tyrant king. Oh, do not listen to those who say you must live on the level, and in the midst of worldly men, in order to elevate and save them.”  ~F. B. Meyer

The Obscurest Believer

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

John Wesley Commentary comments on this verse:  See that ye despise not one of these little ones – As if they were beneath your notice.  Be careful to receive and not to offend, the very weakest believer in Christ: for as inconsiderable as some of these may appear to thee, the very angels of God have a peculiar charge over them: even those of the highest order, who continually appear at the throne of the Most High.”

Barnes NT Commentary says:  “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones,” etc. That is, one who has become like little children – or, a Christian. Jesus then proceeds to state the reason why we should not despise his feeblest and obscurest follower. That reason is drawn from the care which God exercises over them. The first instance of that care is, that in heaven their angels do always behold his face. He does not mean, I suppose, to state that every good man has his guardian angel, as many of the Jews believed; but that the angels were, in general, the guards of his followers, and aided them, and watched over them (Heb 1:14). 
 
“Do always behold the face of my Father,” etc. This is taken from the practice of earthly courts. To be admitted to the presence of a king; to be permitted to see his face continually; to have free access at all times, was deemed a mark of peculiar favour, (1Kings 10:8; Es 1:14) and was esteemed a security for his protection. So, says our Saviour, we should not despise the obscurest Christians, for they are ministered to by the highest and noblest of beings; beings who are always enjoying the favour and friendship of God.

C.H. Spurgeon’s Commentary on Matthew says:  Those who are servants to poor saints and little children are allowed free entrance to the King: what must he think of his little ones themselves? Nay, this is not all. Jesus himself cares for the poorest and neediest. Yes, he came to save that which was lost. How dare we then be proud, and despise a child because of its youth, or a man because of his poverty, or his want of intelligence? The angels and the angels’ Lord care for the most despised of our race; shall not we?

Can You Be Counted On?

In June, Pastor Ron used Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of servants who could be counted on. (Philippians 2:19 – 3o)  Use this list to evaluate yourself in the area of Christian service.

The signs of a faithful servant:

1) Have a natural care for other believers.

2) Have a genuine selfless care for the cause of Christ (2:4 & 5).

3) Develop/have a tested proven track record of faithful service.

4) Have a willingness to partner with others in ministry.

5) Have a willingness to stand in the gap.

If you have all the attributes of a faithful servant, what type of a worker are you?

Four Types of Workers

1) A worker that someone has to go find to work

2) A worker that someone has to tell what to do

3) A worker that comes and asks what needs to be done

4) A worker that sees something that needs to be done and goes and does it

Which type are YOU?

Brow Beating Believers

The path I have chosen with God’s direction has been enlightening. I have learned many things, especially the past few years. After 20+ years of dealing with “interesting children,” I’ve seen my share and then some of children tied up in a world of sinfulness. Not only have they sinned in record measures, but they have been sinned against in ways that would cause even the most experienced sinner to blush. I’m talking about the kids who were adopted out of families that did not regard them as precious jewels the way Christ does. They were broken as small children and grew up with that reflected in their behavior and thought processes. Nearly all of my children who were violated as small children by their birth families have fallen into great vast pits upon leaving our home and striking out on their own. Yes, you can sit back and judge them – or you can have great compassion for a fellow human being who experienced the worst the world has to offer and is trying to make sense of it. Sure, they could have leaned on the One who created them and could have trusted and obeyed Him, but for some reason their view was so darkened they were not able to look up at the light at that point in their lives. It is not for me to judge, though I have tried to reason the “why” of it all.

We tried to make up for all the “bad stuff” that they had experienced prior to coming into our home. It was certainly our intention to do so, but for some reason we were not enough. We gave them a safe home that had proper education, both spiritually and mentally, love and concern along with the discipline to train them in the right way to live. Did it “take?” No, not for the ones who were resistant to such things. But it was planted in their heads. That’s the key.  We’re beginning to see that for some of them, when the time is right and they’ve discovered that the world has nothing for them, they know where to look when they decide to seek God and all He has for them.

It’s obvious to everyone what a parent’s stand ought to be in the midst of their children’s life’s journey. They support the good decisions and don’t support the bad ones. They seek the best for the child. When sinned against, they are to be willing to forgive if the child is genuinely repentant. That doesn’t mean the parents have to support them when they aren’t living right, but they pray for them and give godly advice when asked. They don’t brow beat them or slander their name. They sit quietly by and wait for the child to see the light and welcome them back when they do. They do their best to advise them and try to teach them to keep their paths straight. If the child gets off the right path, the parent does not go off with them. They continue on, waiting for their child to return. If the child is living at home, the parent is to grab them and put them back on the right path in any way God directs them to do so. I’ve told my adult children that they have the right to choose whatever path they want to walk down, but to not expect me to go down with them, for I too have a responsibility to walk with God in the way He directs me.

But what is the responsibility of those who are not family, those who the child has sinned against? If they are believers, then their responsibility is the same. The only exception is deferring to the parent for discipline. Compassion ought to rule. We are in God’s family. Too often I have seen my children offend or sin against another believer and receive the same amount of offence right back. If we consider ourselves mature believers, then we ought to return love and compassion, not seek to “make them pay.”  We ought to consider what is the best for that child, not recompense for our offended pride. Brow beating someone into submission out of our so called spiritual standing as authority is not love. The desire to capitalize on their sin is as bad as the original sin we were considering. It is prideful arrogance – showing we care more for our hurt feelings than the offender’s welfare and spiritual needs. To not offer forgiveness and reconcilliation when there has been repentance is to curse the love of God. If the love of God dwells in us, we will love others. If it does not, we will allow our selfish desires to walk all over those we consider less than us. It is then at that point that we become the offender and turn God’s attention off the sinner and on to ourselves. That is not a place I would ever want to be.

John 8:7  “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” 

Galatians 6:1  “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

What is Involved in Forgiveness?

We were greeted recently by a young man who at one time was sinned against by some of our children. He was smiling as he shook our hand! To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by his genuine friendliness. This young man is living his Christianity. This young man was showing the love of Christ by exhibiting genuine forgiveness.

Does “forgive” mean that we no longer hold a grudge or think ill of a person? Does it mean we say, “OK” then turn around and punish them to make ourselves feel better? Is it our responsibility as the offended to make sure they learn from their mistake? Or does it mean that we have compassion on the one who sinned against us and are willing to show mercy to them and help them become more faithful Christians?  Here is a Biblical account of what genuine forgiveness is and what God expects of believers. My comments about the verses are in red:

Matthew 18:21 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. (Please note here that the debtor just asked for an extension, but the king chose to forgive the debt completely. Notice also that the king did not punish the debtor. The king is a type of Christ – an example of heart felt forgiveness born out of compassion.)

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  (This man not only denied an extension, but he also punished the debtor. Though done in a lawful way, he sought revenge for being sinned against.)

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. (This is the result of a unloving and unforgiving attitude. It affects more than just the two involved.) Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (This is a very scary position to be in!)

If we really forgive, I believe it will show in our treatment of the one we have forgiven. I’m not saying they become our best friend or we approve of what they did or that we need to ignore the circumstances. But I am saying that true forgiveness comes when the offender repents of their offense, makes it right, and asks the offended to forgive them. They in turn provide the forgiveness that completes the process of reconcilliation. Forgiveness should bring reconcilliation. After all, when we sinned against God and asked forgiveness, He faithfully granted the forgiveness and opened the gate of Heaven for us. We are reconciled with the Father. There is nothing between us and we can fellowship without resentment or guilt.

Have you ever offended someone, asked forgiveness, but then felt very uncomfortable when you saw them next? Or has someone sinned against you and you avoid them or turn the cold shoulder when  you see them? Do you know of someone who has sinned against someone you know and care about and then you have a hard time looking at them in the eye or feel the need to shun them (or their family members) when you see them in a crowd? Do you have trouble greeting them or someone in their family when you see them next? If you are the offender and you have asked forgiveness, do you feel uncomfortable when you see them next, even though they have said they forgive you? If any of the above is true, then the process of true forgiveness has not been completed.

For you see, having adopted as many special needs kids as we have, we’ve had our “share of shunnings.” Even though we are known for being very strict parents, following through and taking care of each offence when one or more of our kids have sinned against someone, we have often been treated as if we were the offenders, and our kids are “marked off their list” of valued people. When those same kids realize this, more problems come along because they will react to being considered less than worthy of others’ love and friendship. I’ve seen this over and over in my family. When these kids come into adolescence (which by the way lasts way longer than the average kid), in their limited reasoning, they feel they have a right to retaliate because they’ve pent up so much anger. They are angry about their past, present and future.  That’s why you see so many kids get into trouble with the law and make seriously bad choices. They are punishing the world for how they are received – which ultimately turns around and punishes them. It’s the way of the world – a perpetual circle of sin.

I honestly don’t think this is what God intended for His people. After all, He has forgiven all of us who claim the name of Christ, ought we not extend the same complete forgiveness to those who wish to be forgiven? Should not the Christian realm be different from the world?  Besides, if families are willing to step out and take in the children who are considered unwanted in this world, should they not have the support of fellow Christians? If anyone takes in children who have suffered at the hand of this world, there will be serious problems as a result of that decision. If these children are adopted by Christians, ought they not be received as we were received of God at salvation – forgiven and loved?

I would say about 50% of Christians in our world have exhibited this type of forgiveness to our “interesting'” children. The other 50% apparently think they are perfect and don’t feel the need to forgive others. They carry around an obvious disdain for our family because sin has been so very rampant in many of our children – dispite our teaching, training and admonitions to them.  I am hoping the love of the first, forgiving group of Christians, can overcome the bitterness that has been stirred in the hearts of our children by the second, unforgiving group. Considering the weaknesses and fragile emotional state of my kids, I highly doubt it will.  We are all held accountable – the sinner and the one who was sinned against. We can’t expect God to forgive us completely and then turn around and not extend that forgiveness to others. Unfortunately, some of our children have found the world to be much more forgiving than fellow Christians. Why do you think this is so?

Luke 7:41 “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

Are You in Bootcamp?

I’ve been receiving edevotions from Christian Womanhood and ran across one that made me think. You can sign up here if you’re interested in receiving them. Today’s devotion compared the Christian life with bootcamp. Here’s an excerpt:

“He loves us enough to stretch us farther than we think we can grow in wisdom and knowledge, grace and truth. He tests us each and every day, revealing our weaknesses, challenging our decision to live for Christ, testing our sincerity.

 He does all of this out of love, knowing that “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).  He wants us to graduate from boot camp as mature, confident soldiers, able to stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23b).
 
My neighbor knew for a long time that he wanted to be in the Army. He knew when he signed up that boot camp was not going to be fun. He anticipated the fact that the officers were going to be very tough and that life was going to be difficult for a while. He knew all of this, yet he looked forward to joining the Army. He wanted to be a soldier.  If you are serious about serving God, you will pay a price to serve Him. Just like boot camp separates the men from the boys, Jesus Christ will bring trials into your life to make sure you really, really, want to be used by Him.”
 
She went on to say that by choice we are in God’s army and that our trials here on Earth are a sort of bootcamp that prepare us for our service to our Lord in Heaven. Not many make the choice, but the ones that do, stand out as true servants of God. As I look back on the past 20+ years, I see many hard times that some have said we “brought on ourselves.” I guess I have to agree with them. We did bring it on ourselves – by enlisting in God’s army and following our High Commander’s orders. If my son, who’s going to Afghanistan, experiences battle and is injured, would you say to him, “He brought it on himself?” Of course not! You will honor him as someone who put himself in harm’s way for the good of his country. He will have counted the cost. Our personal cost was great in our service for our King, but they were worth it – He was worth it. We didn’t know how much pain and heartache we’d encounter in His service when we signed up, but that doesn’t negate our offering to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. What are you doing that shows you enlisted in His army?  James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Chiastic Structure Isn’t Just in Literature

Occasionally I run into truly amazing people. You know, the ones who just jump out at you as being above and beyond – a person who is truly like Christ. Often we accept as normal the disloyal, unkind behavior of those around us – whether Christian or not. We excuse it as, “Well, they’re having a hard day,” or “You just need to ignore her, she’s always been like that.” While I do believe we need to cut people slack and be forgiving in difficult situations, I think we have turned into a mamby pamby type of Christianity where we can’t tell a difference between the Christian and someone who is lost.

This past 7 weeks has been extremely hard for our family. We’re encountering the same type of attacks on our family from Satan that we’ve seen before. It’s been a no-holds barred type of attack on our children. The other time we experienced the same type of length and intensity was just a few years ago. It was so bad for our family that we ended up leaving the ministry. Of course we’ll not let him win, for we fully intend to re-enter the ministry in the future – after we’ve recovered, but I also know that Satan is alive and well and doing his best to damage families whom he feels is a threat to his agenda. Though he’ll never win the war, he’s doing a pretty good job at trumping the Christians in his little skirmishes. Of course it doesn’t feel like little skirmishes to the Christians who are in the midst of them, but to God they are little and of no consequence because He can take them and turn them over – for His glory and our good. This time I am seeing the attacks differently because I know his agenda from my prior experiences. Apparently he’s extremely threatened by our family and wishes to “take us out.” But I know God is greater than him and will work all this out and give us victory just like he did Daniel, Joseph, Moses, and all the other Bible heroes set up as examples for us. I have learned amazing things about myself and others these past 7 weeks that I would never have learned any other way. I learned more about God and have seen the true worth of many around me – and found some true abiding in the faith believers that I didn’t know were there. It’s been a truly amazing experience – amazingly painful and amazingly enlightening.

I’ve been studying Esther in my ladies’ Bible study (Beth Moore) and have found myself to be living her story. I’m expecting God to do something great through our family – even in the midst of extreme pain and trial where I can’t see Him doing anything miraculous outwardly, but I am seeing miraculous things being done by his people on our behalf. It’s like the chiastic structure that we see in literature. Chiastic structure is a literary term for inverted parallelism. Here’s an example: We don’t live to eat, we eat to live. You take the Greek letter “chi” and it’s an “X.” Put the word live at the left top of the “”X and eat at the right top of the “X.” We should not live to eat, rather, we eat to live. Put the word eat at the bottom left of the “X” and the word live at the bottom right of the “X.” There you have a mirror image (the bottom of the X) only inverted (or switched). The statement “we live to eat” is not a proper statement – we should only have the attitude of “we eat to live.” That is chiastic structure. Here’s another one: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” ~ John F. Kennedy. You take that statement and invert it (inverted parallelism) and it becomes a noble statement rather than a selfish one. Esther is riddled with chiastic structure. God used the greed, pride and corrupted beliefs of a vile man and turned them around to do His will – But he didn’t just wave His hand and make it so, He chose simple, inexperienced believers to save his people – people who love Him enough to risk their own lives to help others.

That is what I am asking God to do for our family. I am asking Him to take our circumstances brought on by sin and to reverse them to bring Him glory and my family’s good. He can do it. He did it for Esther and He will do it for me. I have a Haman and a King, along with a Mordecai and Esther in my story – and God will work through them all to bring us victory. I even have a Hatach! I need a peripety – a sudden change of events that reverse the expected or intended outcome. God is a great God and can take any situation and change it around. He did it for us Wednesday of this week already. We found two men, Jimmie and Jeff, men who we never met before, to bring us our needed peripety (sudden change of events) for one of our sons. These are true men of God. They heard our cry and met our needs – sight unseen. They didn’t know us, but they knew God and that was all that mattered. They are true Christians who let God work a miracle through them. They went out of their way and helped another believer. Wow. That’s pretty amazing. The impact of God’s love freely received by a believer can change another person’s life. I know it has mine.

So, now I’m lookin’ for another miracle because my family needs one. I just don’t know by whom or how it will happen. All I need to do is live my faith and God will take care of the rest.

BTDT!

Here are portions of the Scripture from Luke 24:13-36  “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus … And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?…And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth…how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him…. …And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them… their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon….And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

There are so many overburdened and grief stricken people walking around this world that don’t realize Jesus is walking right there beside them. Sometimes we can’t see anything but the pain. BTDT! We need to step back from our circumstances and remember to meet with God and ask Him for His comfort and peace. If we see others struggling in the same manner, we can pray for this in their stead. After all, isn’t that what bearing one anothers’ burdens is all about?  Once that realization is there, the peace comes and then they will be able to testify of God’s peace to others.

It’s all about others.