Get Through The Week With A Little Scripture From Romans

Getting through the week can be tough! Between work, shuffling the kids to school and activities, the TRAFFIC (which can be enough to make you want to go back to bed!), people’s attitudes, and all the responsibilities that come with this wonderful thing called adulthood, life has a way of testing you to your limit! So how do we get through the week? Do we have a guideline? How should we act as Christians? Romans 12:12-13 give us some practical advice that I believe give us a little insight that we can carry with us. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Let’s break down this scripture, so that we can apply it to our daily life.

  • Be Joyful in Hope.  Even when the world’s weight is bearing down on us, we can find joy in our hope in Jesus Christ our Savior. It may not be easy to find joy in the midst of our troubles, but if we take our focus away from all that worries us and redirect it on all that Christ did for us, does for us and will do for us you will find joy.  Our circumstances have the potential to continually change but God is constant, he is the same yesterday, today and always and we should find joy in his certainty when everything else in life is so uncertain. We can have joy in our day we remember his love and promise to us.
  • Patient in Affliction-This is a hard one right?I’ll admit that when I’m facing any affliction I immediately want the pain to stop whether it is physical or emotional. Whatever pain you may be going through do you know that God is allowing it to happen? Do you know that he knows your needs and how much you can handle? James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy my brother whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” In our weakest moments is when we rely on God the most, it is then that we find strength in God.What can make affliction so painful is that we aren’t patient while we’re going through it. Instead we want it to hurry up and be over, we want to move and just feel good again and we aren’t understanding the deeper meaning of the affliction and missing the whole point! It is in our afflictions that we learn the most about ourselves and it is in those moments that our relationship with God is deepened and our faith is strengthened.There is growth in affliction, the problem is when we rush through it we often miss the lesson and continue to repeat the same mistakes or have the same issues occur again because of our refusal to rely on God and allow him to help us work through it, sound familiar? During the week we may face small nuances or we may be dealing with some heavy stuff, but each day if we turn to God and ask him to reveal his purpose for this affliction and pray on his guidance we will be able to eventually come out victorious.  Instead of saying, “God stop this now! Walk through your affliction with faith, prayer, and patience. Of course this doesn’t come easy so every day be dependent on him and not yourself for the strength you need.
  • Faithful in Prayer. Prayer is not a quick fix. Prayer is an intimate conversation between you and your heavenly Father. Prayer shouldn’t happen only when we’re sad, desperate or tired, not saying we shouldn’t pray in those times, but prayer needs to be part of our every day life if we are going to be able to clearly hear God when he is speaking to us. Many of us struggle with prayer, I know I do. But, I also know when I spend the quiet time in prayer with God I am in union with him and there is a sense of peacefulness and completeness that comes over me. For example, this morning I was walking and started thinking about how far God has taken me and I literally started crying! I began praying and thanking God for his mercy, grace and forgiveness. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and talking with God in those moments was an unbelievably joyful experience. Now, if I did that every day faithfully just imagine how much richness I’d bring into my life. I’m working on becoming more faithful in prayer, not to be ritualistic, but because prayer is an important part of my walk with Christ. There is a reason we’re told to pray several times in the bible. God knows all the obstacles we face on a daily basis, he knows the devil is always on the prowl and he wants us to walk with him and to talk with him.
  • Share with God’s People in Need. If we begin our week seeking to share with God’s people in need, do you know how much happier we would be? We were made to love one another, this means we should take every opportunity to care for others. One of the the best way to take our focus away from the negative it is to focus it on others in need. Every one of you will do this differently and that’s okay. Maybe sharing with others in need is writing a check to the church for their youth program or buying a homeless person a sandwich, whatever it is don’t pass up the opportunity. Our hearts are the fullest when we are obeying God’ command to love one another.
  • Practice Hospitality. You may be thinking, look I’m busy I don’t have time to invite people over for coffee or tea. I want you to rethink how you can practice hospitality in a way that isn’t a burden, but a blessing. Our homes should be havens, holy ground made to nurture our children, friends, family, and sometimes even strangers. I think so much of our stress, sadness and feelings of isolation comes from us being in a culture that place so much value on individualism and so little value on community and togetherness. Some of my favorite memories are gatherings of my family or friends. I still yearn for the days of Sunday dinner at grandma’s house and now grandma is gone and I’m in a different state from the rest of my family I treasure those memories even more.  Use your home to bless others! Open your heart and use your hands to make invite others in. There are so many ways to practice hospitality that will be a blessing to you and your children as well. Don’t be timid, host a fellowship or a bible study, do Sunday dinners with friends and their kids, or have movie night with the neighbors.  Start each week thinking about how you can practice hospitality, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it just needs to come from you heart and I guarantee your week will be brighter. When you practice hospitality you are also showing your kids the beautiful example of a Christian at their best.

In a world that can be pretty dark it is important for us to stay in God’s word and to apply it our lives. This is just  a few of the ways the scriptures can be practically applied to our own daily grind, but we’re so blessed to have life’s little instruction booklet at our fingertips!

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We All Need This During The Week!

Family Scripture Memorization Tip

I’m obsessed with chalkboards and there are so many ways you can use them. One way to use a chalkboard is for scripture memorization for you and the kids.We have a small chalkboard hanging in our entrance, so each week I’ll write a scripture on the board and we’ll memorize it. This is a good location for us because we’ll see it in the morning which is great because we’ll start our day out with scripture. If you have a chalkboard put it someplace central in your house and try this little tip!

Our Proverbs Scripture for this week
Our Proverbs Scripture for this week

Scripture Inspiration Day 5: Psalms 51:10 Create a Pure Heart In Me

Psalms 51:10
“Create in me a pure heart, O’ God and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”
I believe that before we can actually do the Lord’s work and pursue our dreams we need to make sure our heart is pure. When our heart is pure it pours into every aspect of our life. Including our goals, our purpose and our relationships with family and friends. When our heart is pure we are more focused, disciplined and aware of our opportunities, when it isn’t everything is a bit fuzzier. Think about how difficult it is to finish a task when you are angry, or how hard it is to live authentically when you are harboring anger or resentment. Our sin will entangle us and keep us from fulfilling our purpose because we become so wrapped up into it. Personally speaking this is one of  my prayers for myself that God give me a pure heart and that he renew in me a steadfast spirit. A steadfast spirit will move your forward on the path that God has for you to walk in this life. As children of Christ we should desire a spirit of faith that can’t be shaken when obstacles, disappointments or even failures arise.

Scripture Inspiration Day 4: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

When we’re feeling discouraged or hopeless sometimes talking to a friend just doesn’t help. When we’re in the rut the only one who can give us the strength and encouragement we need is our Father. He can lift us up and give us the will to moved forward. This scripture hits me in the heart because I know the comfort we are in search of when we are disappointed and heartbroken can only come from the Lord. No one loves us like the one who created us. So if you are stumped or at a crossroad start by going to God in prayer and then believe in his mighty power and hand in your life. His encouragement isn’t a ten minute conversation it is eternal encouragement that is never ending. He allows us through his grace to make mistakes, fall, and even sin, but he is there to pick us back up and heal our hearts.  Remember your God WILL help you!

Scripture Inspiration Day 3: 1 Corinthians 9: 24:27 How Are You Running the Race?

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 1 Corinthians 9: 24:27 

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Set before us is a race and to finish this race we must exercise self discipline. There is spiritual training that we need to prepare our mind, body, and spirit. If we are lazy about our spiritual growth  than we will fall behind. If we lack self discipline our thinking and our goals will be scattered and unfocused causing us to be aimless.  God didn’t give us a race we can’t finish, he has quipped with us everything we need, we just have to utilize our resources wisely. If you are trying to accomplish anything you need perseverance, endurance and discipline. A marathon runner doesn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll run 21 miles today.” If they did they’d be pretty sore and most likely they wouldn’t come close to finishing the race. That runner had to train consistently, be diligent and self disciplined to reach their goal. The race isn’t usually easy and that is when we get discouraged, but if we can keep our eye on the prize and not on the obstacle we can stay focused and accomplish what we set out to do.

Scripture Inspiration Day 2: Romans 12:4-8 Are We Using Our Spiritual Gifts

Romans 12:4-8

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have a responsibility as a member of the body of Christ to use our spiritual gifts given to us by the grace of God. We have to ask ourselves, 1) What are my gifts? 2) Am I using them to build up the body of Christ? I know this can be a difficult one, because I think many of us may be unsure of what our spiritual gifts are and how to use them. I think the first thing we need to do is pray and ask God to give us clear guidance on what it is that he has for us to do as a member of the body of Christ. Ask him what your spiritual gift is, but also take time to examine yourself. Think about what you are good at, maybe it is teaching, serving others, or encouraging whatever those qualities that people tend to rely on you for may be a clue to what your spiritual gifts are. 

Once you discover the spiritual gifts you’ve been blessed with, then look for opportunities to serve. Ask the Lord to put you in the place and around the people that you can best serve or work with to accomplish his purpose. Our goals aren’t always his goals so we have to be very cognizant of listening to the Holy Spirit. Never think you do not have a gift because you do! I believe when we don’t use our gifts we are being disobedient and not living up to the potential that God gave us (remember this has nothing to do with man). Let’s not waste what the Lord has given us!

Scripture Inspiration: Day 1: 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 Confidence That Comes from God

1: 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 Confidence That Comes from God
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
When we are working towards a goal or aspiration one of the distractions we come up against is feelings of insecurity or incompetence. We working along and maybe we come up against an obstacle, all of a sudden we are filled with doubt and worry and then we stop. We stop working towards our goal because we don’t want to fail. Our confidence is shaken and halts our ability to move forward. This insecurity is straight from the enemy. Remember that with God there is no fear! If we lean on our understanding we can’t accomplish anything! Our competence and confidence comes through God. Do you think the disciples were able to fulfill their work on their own accord? Do you think that if they depended on their own human ability that they would have the confidence to spread the word of God knowing that they would be persecuted? Absolutely not. The Lord promised them that he would give them the words they needed to do his work, just as he gave the words to Moses to speak in the Old Testament. If confidence is stopping your progress than it is time for you to stop and pray. Ask God to give you the confidence through him and remember that nothing is impossible with him.

Let’s Not Scatter, Let’s Teach Our Kids to Draw Closer to God

Luke 11:25 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

When I read this verse my thoughts went immediately to the importance of giving our children a spiritual foundation. Our walk, relationship and study of the Lord’s word is vital in so many ways personally and for our kids. It is first through us that they experience the scriptures, praying and going to church. In a sense we introduce them to God. I never thought about this until of course I had a daughter. When I was intentional about reading the bible to her, praying with her and taking her to church I sensed that she was developing her own love and curiosity for God. Do I think that God won’t interject even if we don’t introduce our children? No, God IS and that means he can touch anyone’s heart and come into a person’s life whenever he chooses to do so. However, I do think we are his instruments that were made by his own handiwork to spread his word and guide our children to understand what it means to be with him and not against him.

It is a responsibility and honor to raise our children up in his way, so that they can live a fruitful life. When we aren’t in right relationship with God everything in our life is scattered, nothing is whole and can’t be because we are not aligned in him. Being scattered causes lost opportunities, sorrow, voids and so much more we come up against in this world. I’ve been scattered and it is a hopeless feeling that I never want to experience again. The world is scattered and that is what the enemy’s purpose is, to scatter the children of God and lead them away from his word and into the world! Don’t allow it! Dress your children for battle and equip them for what is needed to stand firm in their faith. When we’re intentional about giving our children the spiritual foundation that God intended for us to pass on as parents we are introducing them to his goodness, nurturing their spiritual growth and fostering a love for God that sparks that desire to walk with him. Only they can choose to give their life to Jesus, but we can continue to be our Father’s instrument in our children’s lives both through example and actions.

God Can Calm The Rough Waters in Your Life!

Lately, I’ve been in contact with women who are facing some serious storms in their lives. I have my own rough waters that have been rocking my boat, so I know their pain. When we are in the midst of a storm drowning seems like a very real possibility. These storms leave us gasping, flailing and filled with anxiety. But, we have to remember that God has the power to calm those waters. In Matthew 8:23, Jesus got into a boat and the disciples followed him. There was a furious storm and the waves were sweeping over the boat. But, Jesus was sleeping until the disciples woke him saying, “Lord save us we’re going to drown!” Jesus replied, “You of little faith why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the waves and it was completely calm. This scriptures speaks volumes about the awesome power of God and how we must put our faith in him.

Let’s break it down. as Christians we are disciples and followers of Christ. We follow him, we believe in his word and we have faith in him. We follow him not because it is the cool thing to do, on the contrary being a Christian in a society that doesn’t revere the Lord can be very challenging and counter cultural, but we do it because we love our Lord and rejoice in being his children. We are in the boat with our Savior. Sometimes we rest comfortably in the boat. The waters are calm and reassuring that we are floating right along in life. The horizon appears clear and it is smooth sailing ahead. This is when our faith is strong. We don’t doubt God because our circumstances are good.

Cut to the darkened clouds, the strong winds, the rough waters that suddenly appear out of nowhere and begin swaying us from side to side and threaten to drag us underwater. Jesus is still in the boat with us, but we start to panic, we are afraid that the water will overcome us and we’ll be dragged into the pit of the sea. We start gasping for air, crying and clutching on to the sides of the boat hoping not to meet our demise. “Where is my Lord? Doesn’t he know that our boat is going to overturn and I will be lost?” Suddenly all of the comfort you felt is gone. All the blessed assurance you experienced while sailing toward the horizon has suddenly disappeared and is replaced by stress and fear. Jesus in the meantime is quiet.  He is well aware of your circumstances and is not shaken. Nothing will happen unless it is in his will.

You begin to call him frantically, “Lord, help me, I’m surely going to drown, please listen to my prayer.” Our Father who is immeasurably good rises and rebukes the wind and the violent storm that is raging in your life. It may come rather sudden. One day you are in the eye of the storm and the next day the sun is out and your sailing again toward the horizon. Or maybe he lets the storm last awhile and keeps you clinging on to the sides of your boat, but however he decides to respond he is still in the boat with you. He never forsakes you because he loves you.

“Oh you of little faith, why are you so afraid?” In retrospect, how many times have we asked ourselves this very question when we witnessed the mighty hand of God work in our circumstances? Why are we of such little faith when our Lord has proved to  be faithful to us time and time again. Fear is from the enemy. The enemy’s plan is to plant the seeds of doubt in us so that he can worm his way into our hearts and mind. He schemes to fill us with everything that our Father negates! No storm is too strong for our Father to calm. He will never leave you alone in the boat. He is the captain of your ship and he knows exactly what storms you need to weather through and for how long. All you have to do is trust him, have faith in his promise and allow him to steer you through the waters. Follow him, have faith in him and that he is your Lord.

Matthew 6:7 Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find,

This verse from Matthew 6:7 is one of my favorite verses in the bible. As a single mom we are often times solely responsible for our children. Even if their father is involved in their life (which mine is) it can still be challenging when you think of all of the responsibility that falls on your shoulders. But God is there to ease our anxieties. I have been a single mom for awhile now, and when Anya and I first moved out on our own, I had many apprehensions. Sure I had always lived on my own before, but now I was responisble for this beautiful child, I had to provide a good home for her. I have a decent job, but when you are paying everything on your own, you can’t help but to feel some anxiety. I knew in my heart that moving out was the best option for me, Anya and her dad. But now I had to really rely on God.

I prayed all the time. Sometimes I didn’t trust the lord like I should have. But this passage has made a difference in my life. We need to pray and ask God to give us what we need, we need to go to him, when we do that he can open doors for us that we had only seen as closed. When we begin to knock or pray to God in earnest he hears our prayers, after all he already knows what we need, and he will provide.

When Anya and I first moved out on our own we lived in a spacious two bedroom apartment. It was nice, and it was a good home for us. But, I wanted Anya to live in a home that had a yard, I wanted her to have a playroom, and I wanted to be able to wash my clothes in my own house instead of going to the laundromat. But I was grateful for what I had. When my lease was up I inquired about the townhouses that my real estate company had. There were either none left or they were way out of my budget. I look at single family homes to rent, and I had my heart set on finding one. It seemed that in the area I was looking nothing was available to suit our needs. I prayed that God would let me find a home that would be comfortable and affordable.

One day I happened to call my realty company and a 2 bedroom townhouse that was being completely remodeled was available when my lease was up. It was affordable, completely new with shiny hardwood floors, it had a yard, a basement that was big enough for a playroom and a washer and dryer. I loved it. I had my heart set on a single family home, but I knew that God had answered my prayer and he knew exactly what I needed. It has been a month and Anya and I are very happy in our new home and we thank God for it.

Ask God, for what you need through prayer, and once you do that believe and have faith that God will provide for you. It may not be exactly what you asked for, and it may not be given to you that day or even that month or year, but when it is given it will be exactly what God has in store for you. Don’t be afraid to ask God for what you want, we are his children and he will take care of us and ours.

God Bless