LOOK BACK ON 2014…OR DON’T…IT JUST DEPENDS

Rear-View-MirrorAs we venture into the New Year many of us are reflecting back on 2014, so before you do just know there’s a time to look back and there’s a time not too.

This morning I was reading in Jeremiah and in two chapters back to back the Bible referred to two men basically as cowards because they didn’t look back.  The bravest of its fighting men run without a backward glance. They are terrorized at every turn,” says the Lord. Terrified fathers run madly, without a backward glance at their helpless children. – Jeremiah 46:5, 47:3

However, there are also times when it was a bad deal if the people did look back.  Lot’s wife for example in Genesis 19:26. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.

And in Luke 9:62  when Jesus was gathering His disciples. But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

So how do we know when we should look back and when we shouldn’t?  Try asking yourself this question…what will draw me closer to God in 2015 and what won’t?

Don’t be afraid to look back at past mistakes and failures, but don’t allow them to bring condemnation on you or fear of repeating them. Instead, look back on them with a boldness in knowing that God can use those failures to make you a powerful witness for Him.

Don’t look back desiring things you gave up for God (that’s what Lot’s wife did).  If God asked you to give it up or walk away from it, don’t even take the memory of it into the New Year.  God’s desires for you are so much better than you could ever fathom.

Do look back on all the blessings in your life, the favor God showed you, and the mercy He extended you throughout the year.  You can’t help but be thankful and go into the New Year with a deeper love for Jesus and a longing to be in His presence.

Lord Jesus, I look forward to every new day you give me and I pray that I seek Your will for each of them.  As I reflect back on the past year of my life, leaving behind anything that was not from You, may it draw me into a closer relationship with Jesus.  I pray that I will seek Your word daily, allowing it to show me who I truly am, who YOU created me to be.  Then may I be a reflection of You Lord Jesus, to others.  In Jesus’ name, I pray….AMEN!!

IT’S A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP

10734035_10203492016325884_1054892349165389116_nOkay so after ten years of marriage, my husband and I both finally agree to get a puppy for our kids.  This was a total Christmas miracle!  People had been on us for years saying that that our son (who is 7) NEEDS a dog.  We, on the other hand, thought differently and were in total agreement with one another.  All we could think about was how we would hate the clean up, the effort it would take to train, the hair, the smell, the way it would change our lives for the worst!  Still…our hearts had been softened and we gave in to our eldest giving our youngest kids a puppy for Christmas.

When this little guy popped out of that box, we had no idea what we were about to step into! (hehe, no pun attended).  I can honestly say I now know the meaning of “puppy dog eyes”.  He had us at “woof!” There was an instant connection from his heart to ours.  He was a rescue dog, so his loyalty started quickly…but so did the clean up! First thing out of the box, he runs down the hallway and leaves us a big pile of “thank you” on the carpet and oh did it stink!  This was followed by three rounds of pee pee.  Ahhhhh!  THIS is why I didn’t want a dog, this is what I HATE about having a dog!

But then again….that loyalty….that companionship….that desire to be with us and by our side all the time.  That gigantic smile on our son’s face the first time Sparky jumped up on his lap to play with him! That’s the LOVE part. The part I hadn’t considered before.  A dog’s devotion, there’s really nothing like it.  Well….except for our Father’s devotion to us.

Is that why God created dogs?  So that we could daily witness an absolutely devoted heart?  A heart that forgives completely and unconditionally?  A heart that loves us no matter what we say or do?A love that isn’t based on how they feel or how we feel about them? A heart so loyal it knows when we’re upset and just wants to bring us joy again?

God thank you for using this abandoned little puppy to show our family an unconditional love like Yours.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – Romans 8:38-39

I DISCOVERED A ONE-OF-A-KIND MASTERPIECE!

lillyYesterday our Proverbs 31 lady group had a Christmas and Canvas party!  It was awesome!  When deciding on what the group should paint, first I was thinking we could all do a step-by-step of the same painting but then thought about how all of our homes are different and I wanted it to be something they could take home and display.

So then I thought we could all decide our own color background and then paint the initial of our last name on it.  However, that would still limit their own creativity.  When it finally came down to it, I said…here’s an idea, but everyone just be free to do whatever!

The results were astounding!

Looking through their paintings made me think of how God created all of us so differently.   Each of them were a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that came from within the hearts of these young women.

The designs were chosen to reflect their their lives, and the colors, to fit perfectly in their homes.

We are all God’s canvas’ and He has handcrafted each and everyone of us from within Him.  We are individually designed for His purpose and His plan for our lives.

We weren’t created to be identical to one another with the same gifts, talents, looks, or even financial status. However, just like these paintings, we were all created with LOVE and to serve a purpose… which is to be a reflection of our Creator!

 

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalms 139:13 
” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

THE DOCTOR SAID I MAY LOSE MY KIDNEY

faith-isFaith isn’t believing for something hard enough until you make it happen.  Faith is believing that you already have what God has promised you.

From the time I was about 16, (I’m 39 now) I was having severe kidney infections at least twice a year.  The last one I had was so bad that they wanted to do an x-ray.  The film showed one of my kidneys was about 75% smaller than the other because of all the infections. The doctor said it was possible that I may lose all function of that kidney.  They gave me some antibiotics and sent me home.

Not long after I had received that report, I was at church and I could feel a kidney infection coming on.  I remember wanting to get out of the sanctuary as soon as the service ended.  However, I stayed in there worshiping instead.  During that time, a lady walked up to the front of the church and said someone was having problems with their kidneys. I knew that’s why I was still there and went straight up to her.  She prayed for my kidney and I had no doubt I was healed. There was no physical sign to show my healing, but I knew in my heart it was finished.  That was 9 years ago and I haven’t had a single kidney infection since! Praise God!

Sometimes when I begin to have a little pain in that area, I’ll think, “uh oh”….then I am instantly reminded that I was healed of that, and the pain goes away.

I’ve finally realized though that my kidneys weren’t healed just 9 years ago.  My healing took place over 2014 years ago.  I just didn’t exercise my faith and believe it until that day.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”Hebrews 11:1
 

IN DEEP DISTRESS AND BOUND IN CHAINS

bound-with-chains-of-the-spirit-and-of-men11Are you investing in your children’s lives by speaking God’s Word into them?  Are you sharing the love of Christ?  Are you planting seeds that will continue to grow long after you’re gone?

I was reading about the life of Hezekiah and how he lived a life pleasing to God.  His son, Manesseh became a king at 12 years old and he co-reigned with His father til he was 22 when Hezekiah died.

Hezekiah loved God and was faithful to Him but the Bible says that his son did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.   So Manesseh was not only raised by a God fearing man, but served right along side him for 10 years! Yet he didn’t do what was pleasing to God.  Matter of fact, he did the total opposite..murdering many innocent people and leading the people of Judah to do evil as well.  In 2 Kings, it basically ends there with his evils ways.

However…in 2 Chronicles 33 it tells more of his story.  He ends up as a prisoner with a ring through his nose bound in chains and then it says, “But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. and when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request.  Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God!”

Parents, we can’t be certain how long we will have in this life to speak wisdom, truth, and love into the hearts of our children.  But we CAN be mindful of what we are speaking into them NOW and rest assured in knowing, if it’s planted it will remain.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”Proverbs 22:6

DO I EVEN WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO BE LIKE ME??

20140814_141305I recently had one of those heart melting moments with my four year old little girl with these words coming out of her mouth, “I have to do what my mommy is doing if I want to be my mommy.”  As with any mommy, I was so touched, blessed and overwhelmed with the fact that my daughter wanted to be ME!  Then those feelings were followed by a great sense of responsibility, along with doubt, insecurity, disbelief and so on.  “Do I even want my daughters to become like ME?  Am I living in such a way that I would be proud to see my daughters turn out the same?  Am I too late?  Have they already picked up on my bad habits, gestures, speech?  Have I ruined them for life???  What have they already seen, heard, experienced that may lead them down the wrong path?  How do I fix this?”

The answer came rather quickly…I don’t have to.  God will take care of that.  All I need to do is make sure my eyes are fixed on Him and that I am walking in His ways from this day forward.  I can’t go back and change anything that has already happened but I can make sure that what I display to my children now is a woman of virtue, integrity, honesty, love and kindness.  A woman who seeks after God with all of her heart making Him the first love of her life, followed by their daddy, and then her children.

I must do what I see my Father doing so that I can be like Jesus to my children…because HE is who I want them to become like.

“So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” – John 5:19

STAND STRONG AND BE SILENT

silenceI’ve recently been reading about King Hezekiah.  What a great King! The Bible says he did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.  Something that really spoke to me while reading about him was this…

When the Assyrian King was mocking him for depending on God and even mocking the Lord Himself, Hezekiah didn’t fight back with sword, fist or even argument.  He took it all to God.  He knew this wasn’t his battle to fight.  He even instructed all of his people not to answer the insults that were being thrown at them.  What a wise King!  Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.  – Proverbs 29:11

After receiving a letter from King Sennacherib, which in short said, “don’t let your God deceive you, all the Kings of Assyria have destroyed everyone who stood in their way, why should you be any different?”  Hezekiah didn’t fear for his life, he didn’t surrender to the threats, he didn’t blame God for putting him in this situation. No. He took it before the Lord whom he trusted and respected and he prayed to Him.

After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. – Isaiah 37:14-17

I believe Hezekiah prayed this in full confidence because he knew who God was.  How do you get to know God?  Read His word, talk to Him, fall in love with Him over and over.  That way when someone comes against you or even worse, your God, you will not waiver, you will not doubt, you will not bow down or run in fear.  You will stand strong in your faith knowing that your God (the God who created the universe) is real, His word is true, and your life matters to Him.

This is how the Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer –

And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria:
“‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem.
They will not even shoot an arrow at it.
They will not march outside its gates with their shields
nor build banks of earth against its walls.
The king will return to his own country
by the same road on which he came.
He will not enter this city,’
says the LORD. For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’” – Isaiah 37:33-35

When people come against your faith, your family,  your character,  or your calling…don’t attack them back.  Take it to God and let Him be your defender.

PROMOTE LOVE, NOT HATE

promoet love not hateChristmas is my favorite time of the year by far! I love everything about it!  Decorating the tree, looking at the lights, the caroling, and the giving…I love it all!  I love that families make plans to get together, sometimes traveling for hours just to join with one another.  And I love that whether they acknowledge it or not, they are coming together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  That’s what Christmas is, there’s no other explanation for this Holyday!  We, as believers can get upset at how other people celebrate it, but the fact is…Christmas will always bare the name of Christ in it.  And in our household, that’s Who and Why we celebrate.

Isaiah 11:2-5 says,
“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
He will delight in obeying the Lord.
He will not judge by appearance
nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of His word,
and one breath from His mouth will destroy the wicked.
He will wear righteousness like a belt
and truth like an undergarment.”

This is someone worth celebrating, don’t ya think?  So rejoice this Christmas in knowing that all around the world, the name of Christ is being spoken.  People are singing about Him, movies are displaying His birth scene, lights representing Christ is the light of the world are being hung, and people are giving gifts that remind us of the FREE GIFT that Jesus gave to each of us.

So don’t let your hearts be hardened. Instead, be at peace and of great joy knowing that Christ can never be taken out of Christmas.  He lives in all of those who believe, and no matter how hard the world tries, they can’t take that away from us.  Celebrate Christ this Christmas, don’t waste your time bashing those who don’t.  Promote your Savior by showing His love to all!

Have a very merry CHRISTmas!