10 Things We Can Do While We Are Waiting by Lysa Terkuerst

  

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Three Things People Love to Hear

  
I read an article a few years ago about the top 10 things that people love to hear. One of the things that people love to hear is their own name, if you can remember someone’s name after first meeting them, they will think you’re a genius and/or the nicest person in the history of the world. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it’s hovering around the truth. As an experiment, the next time you talk to someone you just recently met, make a sincere effort to remember their name and watch as their face lights up when you say it. It’s a thing.

 The top 3 things that people love to hear are, I love you, I forgive you, and dinners ready (or supper if you live in the south). It reminds me of John 21: 1-19. This portion of scripture takes place after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, some of the disciples have seen Jesus but I would imagine they were all still in shock, especially Peter. Poor Peter, he had just had the most devastating week of his life, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times, which he did, the third time to a young girl. And then Jesus is crucified and buried in a tomb, the emotions that were swirling around inside of him must have been crippling. So, he gets up and decides he’s going to go back to what he knows which is fishing. He might have thought that he could just disappear into the world of fishing and try to forget all that had taken place, especially his own failings. But then Jesus appears, cooking some fish on the shore. They don’t recognize him at first, no doubt lost in their thoughts of recent events. But then Jesus asks them if they caught any fish, “no” they answered so Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side, something he had said to them before, in fact the day Peter first met Jesus. Then John says “it’s the Lord!”, Peter jumps into the water and gets to Jesus as fast as he can. Now what is Peter feeling? Elation? Fear? Shame? Probably a mixture of the three. So he gets to the shore and Jesus tells him, dinners ready, he has cooked for them. Jesus has served Peter and the other disciples in a very simple but intimate manner. Cooking and eating a meal together is something families do, they come together, they eat, they talk, they reconnect. That’s what Jesus was doing, reconnecting with Peter, reminding Peter that he still loved him and that Peter still had a job to do, feed my lambs. In Mark 16:7, the angel tells Mary Magdalene and the others to tell the disciples “and Peter” that Jesus is risen. God wanted to make sure that Peter knew he was still loved, he was still wanted, that he was forgiven.  

God is so loving toward us. In Romans 5:8 it says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Just like Peter, God still loves us in spite of our failings. Even after our most devastating betrayal and rebellion, God shares with us a message of love, forgiveness and intimacy. He calls us by name, he hasn’t forgotten us. (Isaiah 49:15,16). He offers us his forgiveness (Colossians 1:14), the free gift of eternal life. And shows us that he loves us (John 3:16). 

No matter what you’ve done or where you are in your life today, God is still saying those  things to you. He knows you, he loves you, he forgives you and he invites you to be a part of the family of God. You are just one prayer away from that kind of intimacy with your heavenly Father. It’s as simple as praying this, God forgive my sins, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in my place, and that he rose again. I receive your forgiveness. Thank you that I am a child of God. Amen.

It’s the Little Things

 I miss my dad, he is in heaven now, lucky him! One of the things I miss the most is calling him on the phone and his reaction when he picked up and realized it was me. “Hi Kell” he would say, and I could hear the happiness and pleasure in his voice that I had called to talk. I miss that so much, how good it made me feel that my dad was so happy to hear from me, no hint of disappointment that I hadn’t called earlier or more often just happiness…
James Madison was our 4th US President, and I have read biographies that said his wife, Dolly Madison was more popular in Washington than the president was. Why? Because of her parties, she gave wonderful parties where every guest felt like they were the most important person there. Dolly’s guests always felt accepted, welcomed and honored. When Dolly Madison was asked what her secret was, she said these words, “it’s all in the hi’s and good-byes”. 
In the New Testament Paul and many of the other writers remind us to”greet one another” or to “send my greetings to…” I wonder if sometimes we get so wrapped up in our thoughts, plans and troubles that we forget those around us, someone that might benefit from a smile or friendly greeting. Or we wait fot the “right moment” or a special occasion. I think we need to learn a lesson from my dad and Dolly Madison, it’s not always the grand gestures, the large gifts or the ballads of love that make a difference in relationships, sometimes it’s the “hi’s and goodbye’s” that matter the most.  

 

(Me and my dad)

The Faith of Eunice and Lois 

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(My babies.)

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 2 Timothy 1:5
There is no one that influences children more than their parents. We teach, we lead, we guide and we influence. Our faith is what we want to make the biggest and most lasting impact on our children. So share your stories of answered prayer, share your story of salvation with your kids, because they are listening.
Here are just a few little nuggets of truth I pulled out of this scripture reference:
1. Paul refers to Timothy’s genuine faith. In light of today’s celebrity obsessed society, a lot of times we can become that way about preachers and ministers, putting them on a higher pedestal than God ever intended. We can be guilty of believing something just based on the fact that our favorite preacher said it, which I believe is not genuine faith. Genuine faith must be based on God and His Word alone. We must read and know the scriptures, pray and seek Gods face for ourselves And we believe and accept what our favorite preacher says when we know it is in agreement with Gods word.
2. Mom and Grandma shared their faith. I remember when my kids were young I felt like I talked all day long. I was instructing from sun up to sun down, put that away, clean that up, how was your day, do your homework, dinner is ready, eat your vegetables, you are going to sit there until you eat your vegetables… And I imagine  that is exactly what Mom Lois and Grandma Eunice did with Timothy, talking and teaching him the scripture and how to pray and how to have faith all day long. In the midst of all of our instructing during the day we must remember the most important part is sharing our faith.
3. Mom and Grandma also had a faith that filled them. I love that. I am sure that they had many moments that doubt and/or fear would try to take over their hearts and mind but I believe they continually chose to trade their fear and doubt for faith. They crowded out their fear and doubt with faith until they were filled with it. How do you do that? It’s a choice, choosing to know Gods Word and God’s character, when you know those things it’s easier to allow faith to fill you. I am so impressed and challenged by the life of George Mueller, he was a precious man of faith that took care of over 10,000 orphans in England during the 1800’s. And the remarkable thing was that he never shared with anyone their needs, he would pray and believe that God would provide, and guess what, He did! George Mueller was a man filled with faith.
4. Paul in this scripture reminds Timothy of his strong and continual faith. We must have a strong faith that endures no matter what storm blows through our lives. In Hebrews 10:23 the writer tells us to “hold fast to our confession of faith, for he who promised is faithful.” I read that verse not long after visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium where I saw, among a lot of other amazing things, an exhibit on seaweed, the importance of it and all of its uses. I was reminded that their root system is very different than other plants. Seaweed do not have roots that go down into the sea floor, they get their nutrients through their leaves and at the bottom of the plant is what is called a “holdfast”. That holdfast finds a rock and then secretes a cement type substance that nothing besides either the death of the plant or a violent upheaval of some sort can separate the seaweed from that rock. It is the same with us, even though the storms of life come and can bend us and push us to the point of breaking, as long as we hold fast to the rock Christ Jesus we will be all right! And in those moments of struggle, trial and tribulation, when our children see us immovable in our faith it will influence their faith as well.
So, thank you Moms for all that you do! Thank you for talking to your kids from sun up to sun down! Thank you for sharing your stories of salvation and answered prayer! And thank you for modeling a faith-filled life that holds fast no matter the circumstance.
Happy Mother’s Day! ❤️

Get Over It


The phrase “get over it” always feels so harsh and uncaring. But sometimes it’s the only thing that can be said. Too often we hang on to bad memories, old hurts and unforgiveness like a life preserver in a toxic ocean. Living like this was never Gods intention, we were not built to carry the load of unforgiveness, bitterness or regret, we were built to love and to trust. But circumstances, experiences, disappointments and relationships come along and challenge us, weigh us down and before we know it we are bound and entangled in the bonds of negativity, bitterness and anger. We need a get-over, a do-over, we need a Passover, not in an unleavened bread for dinner kind of way but in a heart-searching, God please bring me out of the bondages that are in my life kind of way.
There are things that have happened to us that cause us great pain, but there does come a point where the only thing left to do is to get over it. I know this might come across as harsh or uncaring but actually the opposite is true because getting over our offenses, our disappointments, our hurts brings us to a life of freedom and a peace we forgot existed. Too many times we carry our offenses and hurts around like a prized possession that we pull out to share with anyone that engages us in conversation for more than 5 minutes. In fact just recently I heard Gods voice gently telling me that I needed to forgive someone and my response was, “No I don’t, I’ve already forgiven them.” “No you haven’t”, he said.  And then he began to show me how many times in conversation the thing that person had done came up, how many times I replayed in my thought life the offending actions by that person.”You’re right lord” (duh). So I forgave and I repented.
I refer to Passover regarding this experience because it reminds me of the story of Moses and Pharoah.

In the books of Genesis and Exodus, God calls Moses to go to Egypt  where the children of Israel had been slaves for 400 years and demand that Pharoah let them go. As we all know Pharoah refuses. So Moses  then informs Pharoah that God is going to unleash some plagues until he sets the children of Israel free. Every time Moses goes to Pharoah and offers to stop the plague if he will just agree to the demand for freedom Pharoah tells Moses to “come back tomorrow”. Pharoah wasn’t the only one affected by the plagues, all the Egyptians were suffering right alongside him, every decision he made affected his people. But each time Moses comes and asks for freedom for his people and offers relief from the plagues Pharoah refuses and hardens his heart. Finally, the worst of the plagues is released in response to pharoahs stubbornness, the spirit of death will visit the first born of every family. The children of Israel were exempt from this as long as they obeyed what God told them which was to sacrifice a lamb, take the blood from the sacrifice and paint it on top of and the sides of the door posts of their homes, cook the lamb and eat it while wearing their traveling clothes. After this last plague Pharoah is beaten, momentarily, he allows the Israelites to leave, there is a final stand off at the Red Sea where God wins and Pharoah and his army are destroyed.
Here are a few points in that story that reminded me of my experience with unforgiveness;

1. We hang on to what happened to us even though it is hurting us and has the potential to ruin our lives, which is exactly what Pharoah did. Moses offered to pray that God would stop the plagues but every time Pharoah would say, “come back tomorrow”. Wait, what?!? Pharoah, you have frogs in your lap, frogs in your cereal and frogs in your bed and you want to put up with that one more day?!?
The spirit of God reminds us to forgive and to let go and just like Pharoah we tell him to come back tomorrow, we choose to stay in our misery instead of freeing ourselves today. The bible reminds us in 2 Corinthians 6:2 that “now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Don’t sleep with frogs one more day! Today is the day to forgive and be forgiven, why carry that load of negative emotions any longer. What has been done cannot be undone and the unforgiveness you harbor affects you more than anyone, let it pass over.
2.It affects those around us. Pharaohs decision to not let the children of Israel go didn’t just affect him but his people as well. The plagues that Pharoah was experiencing all of his people were experiencing. They were also having to live with frogs, boils, lice etc. just like he was.  When we stay in unforgiveness it affects our relationships with others. We become more guarded, cynical and are unable to trust. Not only that but some times we even chase people away by constantly bringing up the past hurts. There comes a point when your friends don’t want to hear the story of how you’ve been done wrong one more time. They’ve tried to help you, encourage you and comfort you but you simply won’t let it go, you will not stop talking about it. And so they stop calling, stop coming around and stop inviting you places and your response to these things happening is just like Pharoahs reaction to each plague, you allow it to let your heart grow harder.
God has been trying to get your attention, he has tried to speak into your life through many ways including sermons, friends, songs and the gentle nudging of his spirit, He wants to bring freedom into your life if you will just respond.
3. We need to recognize that our unforgiveness releases a spirit of destruction not because God wants it but our unforgiveness attracts it.
The way to respond is through Passover, with the emphasis on “over”. Maybe it is words that were spoken that did damage, someone that left you or a business that failed. What is your “it”? Whatever “it” is, let’s get over it through Passover.

The good news is that we don’t need to provide a sacrifice because one has already been provided, Jesus is our sacrifice.  He hung on the cross for our sins, not only that but he also came to heal the broken-hearted.  When we accept the blood that he shed for us we can forgive and be forgiven, God has forgiven us for so much we have no right to hold anything against someone else. When we forgive it doesn’t mean that what the other person did to you was acceptable or even ok, what it means is freedom from the destruction that unforgiveness brings. That is how we apply the blood to the entrance of our life, we repent and we forgive and then the spirit of destruction no longer has access, it will now pass over us.  And with our traveling clothes on we leave this place of unforgiveness never to return.