Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Thoughts Matter

When doing training for Good News Clubs we were taught this definition of sin:

Anything you think, say, or do that is against God.

I'm not sure why, but it has taken me 5 years since learning that definition to realize that the first thing in that definition is anything we think

Our thoughts matter!

During lent I spent a lot of time reflecting on sin and asking God to rid me of it. He is continuing to do that and teach me more and more about sin and how deep it goes. I'm learning to echo with Paul, "I am the chief of sinners." But in the last couple of month God has really been showing me that our sin begins with our thoughts and our thoughts can be sinful. 

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 we see that even our thoughts are sinful.

"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court." (v.22a)

"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (v.28)

In 1 John 3:15 it says "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer."

Our thoughts matter!

We are sinful human beings who sin on a daily basis, and much of that sin is in our minds. Have you checked your thoughts today? Are you taking every thought captive to obey Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Deceitful Hearts

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
Jeremiah 17:9

During Lent I asked God to show me my sin. He did not disappoint. In fact He continues to show me how wicked, sick and deceitful my heart is. Your heart is wicked, sick and deceitful too. I know this because Jesus tells us over and over throughout His Word! 

"And He was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23

Our hearts are deceitful!

Because we are born sinners we have a sinful heart that leads us to sin. Sin is anything that goes against God and His ways whether only in our hearts and minds or physically saying or doing something. It is all sin and it begins inside of our wicked hearts. 

Our hearts make sin look good. It says "I can make myself look better by cutting them down." "I want what they have." "That has to be better than what I already have." "They wronged me, I need to seek vengeance." I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Our hearts tell us that what we think and feel is right and we have the right to serve ourselves. 

Our hearts are deceitful!

Have you checked your heart today? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

4 Years in Louisville

I'm a little late on this post this year. July 16th marked 4 years of our family being in Louisville. The reason I'm late is because life has been hard. We came up here as a family of 4. Today we are a family of 7 plus my sister living with us. School has continued. Life has happened. Jim's worked. I've done ministry here and there. We have been stretched and grown. Right now there is a lot of stretching and growing. We are learning who God is. We are learning more about the Bible. We are learning how to raise a family. We are learning that God is always good. We are learning God is sovereign. We are learning that God's glory is to be our chief aim. We are learning God can be trusted even when we don't understand what He is doing and why. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads us beside quiet waters and through the valleys.

It has been quite a journey the last 4 years. God has moved in so many ways. Even with the difficulties and challenges, I would not want to be anywhere else. God has used Louisville to make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. We have wrestled with God and continue to wrestle with Him as He leads us, guides us and molds us into His image.

Thank You, Father, for bringing our family to Louisville. Thank You, for loving us enough to save us and make us more like Jesus. Please continue to show us Your way.

Friday, July 4, 2014

True Freedom (Why I'm Not A Patriot)

On July 4, 2001, I was standing in a train station in Amsterdam waiting for a train in about 50 degree weather. It was freezing and hard to believe it was summer, but I was thankful to be in another country. On July 4, 2003 I was in a blazing sun eating at an outdoor restaurant in Oradea, Romania. It felt like it usually did in metro Atlanta that time of year. Again I was thankful to be in another country.

Why was I thankful to be somewhere other than America on our Independence Day? Because I was sharing the love of Christ with those who had yet to hear the Good News of Salvation from our Lord. The day I said "Yes" to Christ my citizenship and loyalty went to God and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Don't get me wrong, I am so blessed and thankful to live in America that still has religious freedom, but that is a gift from God that has been given to me. My true freedom comes from Christ and Christ alone.

"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." 
~John 8:31b-32

Because I know the truth of Christ and trust in Him alone for my salvation, my life, I am free. Free from sin. Free from death. Free to live as God created me to live. Free to know God and His glory. I am free indeed.

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ... For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." 
~Galatians 5:1 & 13

This is freedom: to live for God, not ourselves, serving Him and others in love.

Will you seek to live in true freedom today?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Blessings

June has been a roller coaster. As God continues to move in our family we are learning so much and I am learning to see blessings in many different things. Sadly, my first draft ended up deleted, so here is what I can remember.

  1. Taking family pictures
  2. Celebrating 10 years of marriage

  3. Getting a night away with Jim
  4. God growing us in Christ-likeness
  5. Reading "When Sinners Say 'I Do'" with Jim
  6. Jamey asking Gabriel to take a picture with him
  7. Having a wonderful CG family
  8. An evening out with Laura
  9. Great conversations with Jim
  10. Learning about what God has done for me and understanding more personally
  11. Journaling a lot
  12. Being more present with my family
  13. Reuben asking to pray
  14. Jamey beginning to pray at meal times
  15. Taking all 5 kids to the park by myself for a little bit
  16. Taking all 5 kids to the library by myself
  17. Meeting Mrs. Gwendolyn
  18. God using strangers to speak Truth into my life
  19. The power of prayer
  20. Sam's growth spurt only lasting a couple of days
  21. My body responding to Sam's growth spurt
  22. Jim giving me the day out to work on my book
  23. Learning new songs at Sojourn and on the radio
  24. Learning more of God's grace and forgiveness
  25. Gabriel beginning to hold hands and say "Amen" when we pray
  26. Gabriel learning to eat with a spoon
  27. Learning more of the depths of Christ's love for me
  28. Music
  29. Pumps
  30. The ability to write

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Evaluation

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Yes! God has given me a passion to devour the Word!
  • Memorize verses with the kids - We are not learning anything new currently
  • Memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 and Romans 1 (I hope to add more to it, but this is where I want to start)- I read over Proverbs 31:10-31 and have 10-14 down, Have not even worked on this in June
  • Go out for a date once a month- We have been on at least 1 a week! 
  • Go on a night away once this year- Yes, went overnight to Lexington for our 10th anniversary
  • Read 3 books together this year- This month we read "When Sinners Say 'I Do'" together
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Sort of, getting better at it
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Some, but not a lot. Right now Jim and I are working on making our marriage 1st priority, so this will come later
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Yes
  • Take kids to Science Center or Zoo at least once a month- Don't think this happened this month
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Wrote in a couple
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- Did nothing with this during June
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Did not do this 
  • Keep up with my calendar- Did fairly well with this overall, still room for improvement
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this. God has been really working on me and helping me to do better in this area
  • Continue to host Women's Prayer once a month- Yes
  • Have at least 4 Childbirth Conversation classes this year- This may have been too, lofty of a goal. As of right now I might get 1 more in this year
  • Start Childbirth Conversation blog- Yes! It is finally launched. You can check it out here
  • Read a book a month aside from Class material- Yes! This month I read "A Novel Idea" and "Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God"
  • Journal 5 days a week- Yes! I've done this and more
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- Nope
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- Did a little editing one day
  • Complete Childbirth Conversation book- Did not work on this at all
  • Plan for next novel and write in November- Did not get any planning done this month
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 and begin Level 2- Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- Yes! Had a nice meeting with Marie
  • Blog 3 days a week- Not at all. I've wanted to, but my thoughts are really scattered in the busyness. Hoping to get some down time soon
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- Unable to do this this month, hoping to start back soon
  • Maintain weight until birth- Gained more than I wanted, but less than previous pregnancies!
  • Lose weight after giving birth- Beginning to lose the weight, but not being super active about it at the moment
June has been back and forth. Some days have been wonderful and others hard. We are learning together to trust God and His word completely and fully, His design for marriage and family and how to walk faithfully. I'm thankful to be excelling in the goals that are the most important priorities, by God's grace. I pray that will continue and that I will be able to add the others back in as God allows or completely toss those that need to go. I'm thankful to be learning so much and hope next month to share more of what God is teaching me with you.

What was June like for you?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Devouring Scripture

Recently, God has greatly increased my hunger for wanting to know Him and His word so much. Having 5 kids who demand a lot of my attention, I was trying to figure out how to read a lot of Bible and still do what I need to do. Enter pumping. I've always had issues with my milk starting at 6 months, but this time my body seemed to be decreasing early so I decided to pump and feed to see what my body was doing. This has been the best thing for me right now because while I pump I can read at least a chapter.

To make sure I'm learning a lot I'm reading a little bit of everywhere. I was already working through the Old Testament so first pump of the day I start there, currently in 2 Kings. (I'm learning so much about God in these books. If you have not read the Old Testament recently, I recommend you go do it!) During my second pump time I read the Psalm of the day. The formula is the day of the month and then add 30. On the 31st read Psalm 119. I only read one a day working through systematically, so today I am on 58. For round 3 I am working through Romans. That is a great book right there! The 4th time I'm working through the Gospels, right now in Matthew.

So that's my way of devouring Scripture right now. I know most people are in a different place and one day I don't have this time, so how do you devour Scripture?