On days when it is hard for me to choose joy I need to be reminded that joy is not something I can obtain through my own strength, but something that comes from the Lord Himself.
The fruits of the Spirit are not qualities I can decide to add to my spiritual repertoire, but gracious gifts from our kind Father in Heaven. It is so refreshing to study into each "gift" and ask the Lord to pour it out on us in His mercy.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When we seek for joy, we can know that it will always be found in the presence of the Lord!
So the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness;
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
No matter if we are in a hard and sorrowful season of life or in the midst of happiness we can always rest in the fact that God will always bring us joy in His time.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
There is joy to be found simply in the words of Jesus.
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Joy from Jesus is strong and everlasting!
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
God desires to pour His love out on us! He is a God of joy!
What are your favorite verses of joy?
Adoption. What crosses your mind when you hear the word? There are many thoughts and opinions about it everywhere. I have heard many reasons not to adopt and today I would like to discuss a few of them.
Reason: I couldn't love an adopted child as much as a biological child.
Truth: Oh yes you can and you will! If God has called you to adopt you will receive a love as fierce and strong as any mother bear has ever felt. We are only in the waiting stage for adoption and I can tell you that I love our unknown, unborn child as much as I have ever loved my biological children when I was pregnant. I believe the this reason to be a subtle lie from the Devil.
Reason: It costs too much.
Truth: Does it ever really cost too much to give a person a chance to know Jesus? What if you didn't go out to eat for 6 months and put that money aside for an adoption? What if you did fundraisers together as a family or had a garage sale? Yes, adoption is expensive but if it is what God wants you to do then there will be a way. Don't let the first hurdle hold you back from a glorious finish!
Reason: Adoption is great, but we don't feel a calling for it.
Truth: I'm not going to say every family is called to adopt, but I am pretty sure there are a lot more people that God would use in adoption if they would be open to it. The essence of Christianity is to serve, love and spread the gospel. If we are true Christ followers than should we not extend our love to others as He has to us?
To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. -Galatians 4:5-7
Reason: Adopted children don't turn out. We will just get hurt.
Truth: We need to quit saying this! What a slap in the face to adopted children! What a selfish view. This is so opposite from the heart of God. What if God would say this about us? What if God didn't think we were worth the risk of saving? Am I talking too strong, too passionately? I am afraid not! This is a sentiment that should not be once named among those who call themselves Christians and it breaks my heart to hear it. If it were not for adoption, there would be no hope for us and we would spend our eternity in hell, where we deserve to be.
Would you ever tell a parent you don't think their biological children will turn out? Well then don't say it about their adopted children, because they are as loved, as dear and precious and as much their "own" child as ever their biological children were. We must recognize this "reason" for what it is - an ugly, disgusting lie from the Devil.
Let us pray and pray for God to perfect His love in our hearts and chisel out our selfish views no matter what it takes!
Let me close by sharing just a few verses that show God's heart for adoption.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me." - Matthew 18:5
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ - Romans 8:14-17
Why shouldn't Christians adopt? I really couldn't tell you!
The fruit of the Spirit - it's a very well known mini-passage in the Bible. But I have often found myself wondering how exactly to apply it to my life. How does one simply get Love, Joy, Peace and all the rest to become part of your spiritual make-up?
Well it turns out that the Bible is full of verses that are a wonderful guide for the journey. I want to share a few verses about each "fruit" with you over the next several posts. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
The first fruit that is mentioned is Love. Jesus does say that all of the laws and commandments are joined together in the word "Love".
"I will love You, O Lord, my Strength."
Love is a choice!
"A friend loves at all times."
Love should never be based on actions and happenings.
"I will heal them from their backsliding, I will love them freely..."
We should always love freely, without reserve!
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those that hurt you, pray for those that spitefully use you and persecute you...for if you love those that love you, what reward have you?"
Our love should never be confined to those who are nice to us.
"This is My commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you."
Jesus is love, He is perfect love. We should strive to love as He loves!
"Owe no man anything except to love one another, for he who loves has fulfilled the law. For the commandments 'You shall not commit adultery' ' You shall not murder' ' You shall not steal' 'You shall not bear false witness' 'You shall not covet' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
If we put all of our actions through the filter of love then every commandment (and fruit!) will be fulfilled in us.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 &13
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
No study on love is complete without this beautiful chapter. Love truly is the greatest of all things!
What is your favorite verse or passage about love? Please share it with me in the comments! And stay tuned for the rest of the Fruit.
If you feel like every moment is a choice to go on, I understand.
When you hold your friend's new baby and wonder what it would be like if you could be holding your own, I ache for you
When you rejoice in the girlieness of my daughter I wonder if you are wishing to see your own little girl twirl in pink just one more time.
When you see that 12 year old boy doing such a good job protecting his sisters and your eyes well up because you imagine your son doing the same to his little sisters, I just want to give you the biggest hug in the world.
I don't always have the right words to say when you open up your heart a little bit about your angel child, but I feel honored every time you do it. And I wish you would do it more.
And do you know what else?
I think you are so beautiful in your mess.
You are strong in your grief.
You are loved in your tears.
You are respected in your bravery.
You are so loved on this horrible, hard, crushing journey.
And you are my hero.
Oh Monday. Some mornings it feels like our nemesis. After a day or two of relaxing, having fun or vacationing it is just hard to get back into the groove. And of course it's not just an ordinary day - there's always a little extra work yet too. Just enough to make you want to be somewhere else for a while, some days.
I have never liked the thought of Monday being a bad day though, so here are 5 things you can do to make your Monday happy! :)
This is the big one here. Praise and glory in the Lord for at least a little every morning and you simply cannot have a bad morning! Whether you like to sing, play an instrument, listen to worship music, have your quiet time, just do it, first thing. Dedicate your day to the Lord and it will chase away any Monday gloom! :) And don't let your worship end in the morning. Make it an all day thing!
"I will sing of Your power, yes I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning." Psalm 59:16
"Wake up, my heart! Wake up, oh lyre and harp! I will awaken the dawn!" Psalm 57:8
"It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening." Psalm 92:2
Plan out a possible day. Don't try to do your whole week's work in just one day. Just don't. If you can get your list planned out the evening before then that's even better, because you're one more thing ahead!
Get your supper in the crockpot before lunch time. This is a huge one for me! If I don't have to be thinking about supper at 3:00 I feel so relieved! It makes me feel like I can get so much more done, just having that much off my mind. Can you tell I don't actually plan out a weekly menu?
If you're like us your house just gets messy on Sundays. And that's fine, but on Monday morning it can look pretty daunting! One of my favorite things to do on a Monday morning is to clear off my table, put a pretty table cloth on it and light a candle. Every time I walk by it it just sends me a little glow of peace.
Remember the simple to-do list? This is where that comes in. Plan to have the majority of your work done by noon, or at least enough that you feel like you can leave it for a little bit. Then after lunch, just go do something fun! It can be a special craft, playing a game, running through the sprinkler with the kids, read a book, doing a mani/pedi by yourself or with your girlies, or whatever makes you happy. Extra points if it makes you laugh - laughter is like medicine you know! The point is, celebrate your Monday.
There! How does your Monday look now?
"I will exalt You, my God, the King; I will praise Your name forever and ever! Every day I will praise You and extol Your name. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no on can fathom!" Psalm 145:1-3
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We all know what the Armor of God is. We all know there is a battle between good and evil, a war between God and Satan going on. We are ready to defend our marriage, our children and ourselves against the enemy. And we pat ourselves on the back when we shine up our armor a bit every day with the polish of quiet time.
Especially us Moms. If we can fit in some time with God every day we feel like we are really on our way. We are getting there! But we are not even scratching the surface.
What if we are called to do so much more than to ward of the attacks of the enemy. I believe with all my heart that as Mom's we are supposed to be on the front lines of the battle, initiating the attack against Satan and his minions instead of defending whenever we feel we are under attack.
But I believe we are all called to be Prayer Warriors. Especially us as Moms. Our children are the future church of Jesus. And these are scary times. People are leaving the church, especially in America, left and right. Our kids are going to hear so many reasons that Christianity is not for them. They are going to face attack from every side.
We need to be Battlefield Mom's, changing our armor from shiny and perfect to battle-scarred and used.
As Mom's we need to band together as a great army, on the march against the enemy, claiming our children for Christ! We need to be prepared to get on our knees and fight for their souls in wrestling prayer, every day. We need to be Battlefield Mom's, changing our armor from shiny and perfect to battle-scarred and used. Praying for our kids as we work is awesome, but we need to get serious about it. We need to set aside time every day to pray for their future in Jesus. Are you ready to join me?
Would you like to join a group of Mom's committing to pray for our children every day? Click here.
In case you didn't know, there is a little give-away going on here!
I am on a journey to know Jesus better, and be the wife, mommy and friend that God created me to be, all within the walls of my own little home. <3