I had a post ready for today. It is thoughts on our summer bible reading of Ephesians 5. I can’t post that today.
My heart is heavy.
I can’t post that when planes are shot down. When Hamas is raging war against Israel. When ISIS is persecuting Christians, forcing them from their homeland they have had for the past 2000 years. When girls are kidnapped from schools. When children are dying to cross the border. When war rages in Ukraine.
That’s heavy stuff.
So. What’s a girl to do when it feels like the world is falling apart?
When the chaos of the world crushes my heart.
When injustice reins and hope has been drowned out.
When I feel helpless and hopeless.
When I sit safe at home.
When there is nothing I can do but Tweet information and support for fellow Christians being killed for our faith.
When governments, the U.N. turn a blind eye.
When hashtags don’t help.
When evil runs wild, and good is hard see.
My heart needs protection. I desperately need it.
I need to put on the Armor of God, as Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6.
 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18
Today, I will ‘put on all of God’s armor’.
Today, I will ‘pray for all believers everywhere’.
Today, I will ‘hold up my shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil’.
Today, I will ‘take the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘stand firm against all strategies of the devil‘.
Background photo by StockVault, text added using Ribbet
We all make mistakes.
It’s a pitfall of being human.
There are minor mistakes that we make when we are children and teenagers that we like to call “learning experiences”. The consequences aren’t very high. We learn from those mistakes and move on with our life. No harm done.
Then there are mistakes we make that take a lifetime to get over. Mistakes that have major consequences for ourselves or others. Mistakes that hurt others unintentionally, or intentionally. These mistakes have great impact and we have to live with it for the rest of our lives. And, sometimes we blame ourselves for another’s mistakes. As if we could have prevented their mistake.
Whatever the mistake, great or small, sometimes it takes time to forgive ourselves, even when we have already been forgiven. We may beat ourselves up over the situation. Dwelling on it. Playing the event out in our head, over and over. The mistake consumes us. Before long, we begin to believe that mistake defines us. We continue to punish ourselves for it.
We can’t let it go.
Forgiving others is easier than forgiving ourselves. Why is that?
The big question is how do we accept the mistakes we have made in the past? How do we stop punishing ourselves and let it go already? Where do we find hope and forgiveness?
The answer has been here all along. Forgiveness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ. God’s love is never defined by our past mistakes. He loves us no matter the mistakes. He gave us a way to let it go.
Repent from the heart and the slate is wiped clean. Simple.
Look what He did for a murderer named Moses. He turned Moses into a great and compassionate leader who lead the Israelites out of slavery. Paul, Matthew, David. The Bible is full of people who made mistakes but were forgiven anyway.
If He forgave those guys, He can do the same for you. Oh, wait. He already has.
Paul said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13 (NLT).
Paul let it go.
Have you let it go? Or, have you been manipulated and controlled by your past mistakes?
Take Paul’s advice. Forget the past and look forward to the future. Give it all to God. Confess your sins, wrongdoings, mistakes.
He has already forgiven you. Now, it’s time to forgive yourself.
LINKING UP with Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart, because she rocks! Please click on over and read more ladies who rock with encouragement.
You have 35 days of summer vacation left before school starts. I would suggest you don’t waste it with whining, fighting, and proclaiming, “I am bored!”.
I am bored is not a disease. It is not an affliction that calls for a remedy. It is not a bell you ring and the entertainment director magically appears with a circus. I am also not that entertainment director I speak of.
Bored is what adults call leisure time.
Look, before you know it we will be school supply shopping. I will register you for school next week. We will be meeting your teachers, learning your new schedule, signing up for fall sports, and fighting about math homework.
Summer is not be squandered. It should be relished, adored, relaxed.
With every proclamation of “I am bored” is an opportunity for adventure, creativity and ingeniousness.
Summer is the perfect time to use those little brains of yours to seize the day.
Splash in the rain puddles like the neighbors aren’t looking out the window, shaking their heads.
Grab an arm full of recyclable materials from the recycle bin and create something awesome with glue and glitter.
Pull out the Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Legos from the closet and build. Let your imagination run wild.
Head to the backyard and build a tent, have a picnic, play in the sprinklers, and enjoy the summer sunshine.
Don’t waste this summer. In a few short years you will be leaving behind these carefree days for adulthood. You’ll wish you could have a summer vacation.
Go on…seize the day.
*Pictures by Alexandra
That’s a little encouragement for your weekend from (in)courage.
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Husband and I were talking with our girls about jobs we have had in our lives. I told my 7-year-old I worked for my hometown newspaper when I was 18-years-old.
She asked, “What’s a newspaper?”
After my bewilderment wore off, I explained a newspaper by using an example I thought she might have seen on a TV show.
“Oh,” she said with a questioning look. I can read between the lines. What she really meant was, “Why would anyone read a newspaper when you can get your news online?”
I am sure it happens to every generation. Parents and kids don’t connect on technological levels. This is why my 12- year-old gives her Dad lessons on how to use his iPhone (evidence above).
My kids have never used a phone with a cord, except in a hotel. They will never laid on their bed, gossiping with a friend while twisting the cord around their fingers. We haven’t had a land line in our home for seven years. On a recent trip to the Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida I had to “teach” my girls how to dial on a rotary phone that was on display.
They take for granted instant internet access. Remember dial up? One of our TVs even has wifi for surfing the net. Remember having only four channels to choose from, and if you wanted to channel surf you had to get up and turn the dial on the TV?
They have never watched a movie at the drive-in. That is just sad.
They have never played a cassette tape in a boom box. They have never rushed to the store to buy a new release of an album by their favorite artist. They have never laid on their bed, listening to the entire album while looking at the album art. Instead of buying a single 45 record they download one song at a time. They only own CDs because I have bought them. They will never make a mix tape.
They have never taken pictures of their friends on a film camera…then waited a week to get the pictures back. Instead they use Instagram, digital cameras, an iPod, or phone with a camera. It’s all instant.
They don’t write letters, they text. Come to think of it, they don’t talk on the phone either, they text.
I wonder what technological advances will be different when my kids have kids of their own.
Will they say, “When I was a young we got our news on the Internet.”
And will their kids ask, “What’s the Internet?”
Everyone judges, it’s one of the many down-sides of human nature. Christians are not immune to passing judgement, nor being judged. What about those in a leadership role within the Church? Are they leading the charge?
Recently two teenage girls I know attended church services with a female relative. The girls were told their summer sundresses were “not appropriate for church”. They were asked to cover up or go home.
The girls chose to go home. (And, for the record, the sundresses were not revealing.)
The church member who asked them to leave missed a golden opportunity to deliver a message if grace. Instead they sent a stronger message of nonacceptance. They said, “You’re not good enough to be here. You don’t belong.”
I read somewhere that the number one reason ‘people of faith’ say they don’t “believe in organized religion” or don’t attend church on a regular basis is simply one word: HYPOCRISY.
It’s the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality that turns them away from the church.
Paul wrote in his letter in Ephesians 4:
(11) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. (12) Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church. (13) This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in The Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
(14) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever it sounds like the truth.
(15) Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does it’s own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Thanks for laying it all out there, Paul.
Does the church have all the answers, all the time? I don’t think so.
Aren’t we all “like immature children”? Yes.
Then isn’t the church made up of imperfect people who are still growing in Christ? Absolutely.
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul is yelling at me, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Nobody is perfect.
As Christians, we can’t afford to judge others. It’s not our job. It’s not our right. It’s not in our power.
What do we do when Christians disappoint us? Show grace.
Show grace because they are still growing in faith too. They are on their own faith-walk and imperfect, as we are.
LINKING UP | Holley Gerth Coffee for your Heart
Let’s Talk About Sex (Amazon) Book by Planned Parenthood/Mar Monte A read along for ages 9 to 12 and their parents
Two years ago my oldest daughter was in 5th grade. That is a big year in school for kids. It’s when they start transitioning from “little kids” to “big middle schoolers”. It’s a time to start giving our kids more responsibilities, not just at school, but also at home. They start to take on responsibilities that will prepare them for the future.
It’s also the year across America that schools give the dreaded “sex and puberty talk”. It’s a big deal for our little ones…and it’s a big deal for us. Our precious little kids are growing up! (Sigh) Although “the talk” covers the basics of puberty, menstruation, body hair, etc. there is a lot of information they don’t cover. Parents, I hate to tell you this…you still have to have the “birds and bees” talk with your kids.
Are you freaking out about that? Inhale…exhale…then get this book: Let’s Talk About S-E-X. This book covers all the bases…I mean everything.
Do you ever feel like the internet is full of negativity with people just looking for a fight?
Name calling, misunderstood comments, yelling IN ALL.CAPS.Oh.my.gosh. (There really shouldn’t be a caps lock button on a keyboard.)
That’s why I love Twitter. You can’t comment directly on a tweet. You can either, ‘favorite’ it, or retweet it. That’s it.
In the middle of all the negativity and fighting…there are people in the blogashere committed to the encouragement of others.
There ARE people spreading compassion for humanity and the love of Christ with every tweet. At the very least, their tweets will make you smile, or nod in agreement.
And, to prove it, here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill @AQuotePage
“God loves us. We must not be afraid to love him.” Pope Francis @Unknown
“The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seeds.” Robert Collier @BoatingBonnieC
“If the girl says, ‘I hate drama’, there is a 99% chance she is a huge drama queen.” @JulienneTiarks
“Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire @WordsOfHumans
“Your life is only as chaotic as you allow it to become.” @LindseyBBridges
“Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.” Irvine Welsh @AQuotesPage
“Expect that your friends talk about you in the same way they do about everyone else in their lives.” @incourage
“Your words matter.” @JeffGoins
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” @EpicWomen
I am going to call them my Small Seeds Tribe.
I tweet encouragement @got2havefaithco too.
Free printable of the above is available here. (Right click the jpg to save to your desktop, then print.) The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday in America that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776. Let’s party and set off some fireworks!
To all the service men and women who have served to protect this great nation, and the people of nations who cannot fight for themselves…thank you! We are blessed to live in this great country.
“Thank You” are two simple little words. Almost too simple. It’s an understatement that conveys gratitude to the people who have fought for this country. The ones who lost their lives to protect ours. America is a country of undying hope, an unbridled spirit, at times feverish differences, and a patriotic heart that bleeds red, white and blue.
And, to say we are blessed is also an understatement. We are blessed for a reason. Let us not forget that with great freedom and blessings comes greater responsibilities. Let us not take our freedom for granted. Let us not fight among ourselves and lose sight of what makes this country great. Let us use our advantage to help the disadvantaged. Let us not forget the price that we have paid for that freedom.
“Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” Thomas Jefferson
According to Open Doors World Watch List*, 100 million Believers in Jesus Christ have been persecuted for their faith.
In America, we take religious freedom for granted. We totally do.
Imagine being a Christian but not having a Bible to study the Word of God.
Imagine not having the freedom to walk with your God.
Imagine living in fear of being persecuted for believing differently than the government tells you to believe.
Imagine being beaten, whipped, stoned to death, thrown in jail, or executed for believing in the one true God.
Yet, this is the reality for Christian believers around the world. The top 10 offending nations are in Asia where Christians and missionaries face persecution every day. It’s their way of life.
They risk their life for Christ. Daily.
Can you imagine that? I can’t, because I have never had to live it. Our family owns 6 Bibles. Six.
**Gospel For Asia
Without a Bible, Christians in these countries find it hard to study the Word, walk in the Word, and live in the Word. Their faith-walk is limited.
**Gospel for Asia
Gospel for Asia is helping to change all that. A donation to GFA will give bibles to missionaries to share with believers in Christ and give necessary tools to teach the Word. A donation of $3 buys one Bible, $96 buys 32 Bibles.
Won’t you join me in sharing the Good News with those who have never heard of God’s great love? Learn more about GFA bringing the Gospel to South Asia and donate here.
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I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. I do not get paid for my posts. GFA is a Small Seed. *Source: Open Doors World Watch List 2013. **Top 10 Stats source: Gospel for Asia.
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LINKING UP | Make a Difference Mondays at She Lives Free.
The wonderful Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart. Find encouraging words from wonderful ladies there on Wednesday.
AND, with Faith Barista WhiteSpace on Friday.