Our pastor just finished preaching through the book of John. I love the end of the book – chapter 21 – when Jesus meets His disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He gently restores Peter by reaffirming his call three times – the same number of times which Peter had denied Jesus during the crucifixion. Jesus states His mission for Peter – “feed my lambs” one time, and “feed my sheep” twice.
We know that Jesus was calling Peter to be a leading force in the newly formed New Testament church. The reference to lambs likely refers to new believers. Jesus wanted Peter to gently care for those who were new in the faith. “Sheep” could refer to more mature believers.
As my pastor was preaching through these verses he mentioned how lambs have to be fed more often. Sometimes the shepherd might have to get up in the night to care for these vulnerable little ones. On a recent missionary deputation trip we stayed with a family who has a hobby goat farm. One of the goats died giving birth to twin kids. The family members alternated who got up every four hours during the night to give the goats a bottle of milk.
My mind wandered to mothers of newborns and young babies. We get up in the night to meet the physical needs of our children by nursing them or giving them a bottle. We comfort them when they are sick, hold them when they are teething, and soothe them after a bad dream. We don’t tell them to feed themselves or to go back to sleep – we deal gently with them, even though we are weary.
Though there could be many applications from this passage, one was important to me, and I have meditated on it many times over the last couple of weeks. As mothers, we have an important role to take care of the physical needs of our young children. Sometimes we feel alone, home-bound, weary, lost in the monotony of routine tasks, and even unimportant, unaccomplished, and unappreciated. But our efforts are not lost to the Savior. He recognized that those who are young or immature need more care.
Yet our responsibility to feed our young children extends far beyond the tasks of meals, laundry, cleaning the home, etc. As Christian parents we are responsible to spiritually feed our children. They should hear the Word of God from our lips, and they should see it lived out in our daily choices. It is not the Sunday School teacher’s job to teach our children the truths of God’s Word. Their ministry is reinforcing what our children should be learning at home…from us.
We “feed the lambs” by teaching them God’s Word, living God’s Word, explaining God’s Word, helping them memorize God’s Word, and applying God’s Word to everyday situations in the lives of our children. We feed the lambs when we pray for our children, and refuse to let the enemy get a stronghold in their lives.
Sometimes I get tired of going through the same lecture, the same discipline, the same scenario with my little ones. Are they bickering over that toy AGAIN? Did he just hit his sister AGAIN? I want to say, “I shouldn’t have to tell you this again!” But just as there are times physically when I don’t think I can squeeze another ounce of energy out to pry myself out of bed and nurse the baby, so there are times spiritually when I don’t think I have the strength to shepherd these little lambs and their delicate hearts to the Savior. And do you know what? I don’t have the strength. I can’t do it alone. As He gives me strength to meet the physical needs of my children, so the Lord gives the wisdom and the strength to go over that lesson on kindness with my children one more time.
We just started homeschooling for kindergarten last week, and I am very weary. It seems like things are grating on my nerves more quickly than normal. Each task seems to take more energy that I have. But I have been encouraged from this passage to continue on feeding His lambs. He has entrusted four of them to me, and I don’t want to fail the Savior in my task.
Let us Never Forget!
We see this phrase over and over when September 11th comes around.
Today, on September 11th, I have been praying for the Lord to protect our country and to restrain wickedness. I am praying for God’s continued mercy on us. Oh how merciful He is! As I remember His mercy toward me over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over … again, I stand amazed! It is no wonder that the Psalmist in Chapter 136 repeats this in every verse:
· V1-3 O Give Thanks for His mercy endures forever
· V4-9 God is The Almighty, The All Powerful, The One and Only God, The Deliverer for His mercy endures forever
· V23-25 God remembers us, is mindful of us, redeems us, feeds us, for His mercy endures forever
· V26 He is the God of Heaven – Let us thank Him, for His mercy endures forever
Yes, I will never forget, but will my grandchildren? They really don’t have a clue unless I rehearse these events in their ears. I want them to know all about America and that it was founded on Christian principles. I want them to know God’s multiple blessings on us, and now where our wickedness has brought us. But they won’t know it, if I don’t keep repeating it. They won’t love God if I don’t keep repeating His Word, His love, His redemption, His worthiness, and then living it before them. It is no wonder that God told Israel to teach these things diligently to their children and to beware lest they forget (Deut. 6). And how easily they did forget (and how easily I forget!)
America has forgotten! Praise the Lord that God is still merciful, but for how long? True, I will never forget 9/11 in one sense. I remember it well, where I was, the time of day, watching the horrific event unfold before my very eyes on the television! But if I don’t remind myself of God’s mercy and deliverance over and over, then in one sense I actually do forget.
Often from day to day I go right on living in my own state of worldliness.
May God have mercy on us another day!
· May we remember that He is the God of all gods who delivers us from our enemies.
· May we remember that great USA, that HE made for us and the freedoms that HE gave us.
· May we use those freedoms to proclaim Him, and the name of His Son Jesus to a lost and dying World for those freedoms are quickly being snatched from us.
· May we teach His commandments diligently to our children and grandchildren so that when they ask us “What does all this mean?” we can say, “We were bondmen and the Lord gave our country freedom, but our wickedness is driving us back into bondage. We are bondmen to sin, but the Lord has made a way of redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross.”
Deuteronomy 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
LET US NEVER FORGET!
I am very blessed to come from a Christian home. My parents are Christians, my grandparents are Christians, and even most of my extended family are believers in Jesus Christ. As a third generation Christian, I thank God for my grandparents and their godly influence on my life.
On my mom’s side, my grandmother was saved at a Youth for Christ crusade prior to marrying to my grandpa. After they were married, and she wanted to be baptized, the pastor led my grandfather to the Lord. Shortly after my mom was born (she is #5 of 6 kids), the family moved from Iowa to Denver, Colorado. Since I grew up in Colorado also, I was very close to my grandparents. They were there for every “major” event in my life – from piano recitals, to birthdays, and everything in between.
Now there are 12 grandkids and 14 great-grandchildren on my mom’s side. Many of us are in vocational ministry. I know that my grandparents pray for us all, and they also give financially to the different ministries in which their children and grandchildren are serving.
My Grams and Gramps are on my dad’s side. I didn’t get to see them as often when I was growing up because they lived in Oklahoma. My Gramps had several health issues and went home to be with the Lord in August of 2010. As we sat around the living room sharing memories after the funeral, Grams told us that Gramps prayed for all of his grandchildren by name every morning. Now my Grams keeps a picture of all her “grands” and great-grandkids inside her quiet time briefcase. She often sends us a text as she updates the pictures, reminding us that she is praying for us. Many of her children and grandchildren are in full-time Christian ministry also.
Now that I have children of my own, I am getting to watch my parents and in-laws interact with my children. I see the excitement on Grandma’s face when my kids Skype her to say a new memory verse or sing the Countdown song together. I watch my kids playing in the backyard with Grandma pretending to be scared, and I hear Grandma tell them to pray. These interactions from godly grandparents are re-enforcing what I am teaching my children on a daily basis.
When I think about Grandparent’s Day, I think of the godly heritage that has been passed down to me.
I think of the Scripture readings on Christmas Eve.
I think of sitting on the porch with my grandpa and discussing Bible prophecy and Israel in the End Times.
I think of the prayers – so many countless prayers – that have been offered on my behalf by four praying grandparents.
I think of praying parents and in-laws holding me up as I shepherd my children (their grandchildren) to the Savior.
I think of the spiritual investment in my life and the lives of my children.
And then I think, “That’s the kind of grandparent I want to be.”
I won't wake up one day as a grandmother and decide that I am going to be a godly grandparent. I am making the decision now what kind of grandparent I will be then through my daily choices as I influence my children in their youth. By pouring the Gospel and the Word of God into my children now, I can reap the reward of godly grandchildren later. By giving up my own desires now in order to mother my children, I can rejoice in the future as my children and grandchildren are serving the Lord. By praying for my children and their future spouses, I can influence the next generation for Christ.
Yes – I feel so blessed to be from a Christian home. Maybe you are a first generation Christian. You don’t have that godly heritage to look back on, but you do have the opportunity to start passing it on now to the next generation. Give your grandchildren the gift of a godly heritage. << Click to tweet that!
Happy Grandparent's Day!
Warning: This post is very likely to step on some toes. But please know this — I never post anything here but that my own toes have not been stepped on first. It is my desire to grow every day to be more like the Lord Jesus and to help other Christian ladies to do the same. Sometimes what He teaches me is not going to be popular. But hey, it's not always exactly what I want to hear myself either. We don't always expect our children to like what they're told, but we still expect them to obey. And when God tells us something in His Word, He doesn't ask us to like it; He asks us to obey anyway. But you know what? Obedience brings joy and blessing. So even if we don't like what we hear today, let's obey anyway and expect the blessing that obedience brings!
Ready? Here we go…
What are you doing right now?
Well, yes, I know you're reading this blog post. But why are you on the computer/phone/tablet?
Are you spending your time intentionally today? Is this the time that you're supposed to be relaxing at the computer? Or are you just avoiding other stuff you'd rather not be doing?
What have you eaten today? The things your body needs or the things your taste buds want?
When did you get up this morning? Whenever you felt like it or when you should have? Actually, let's back that up. When did you go to bed last night? Early enough to get enough rest for the day ahead, or did you lollygag on Facebook or Pinterest instead of shutting it down and going to sleep?
I could go on and on with many areas in which you have to make the choice to say no to what you want.
But the truth is, God has told us that we are to practice temperance.
Temperance? Really? You're writing a blog post about an obscure little word in the Bible called temperance?
To some people it may not seem like a big deal, but to the Christian it is a big deal!
Over-indulging in that dessert is typically something we make into a joke. Call me extreme, but I don't think it's a joke to God when he has very specifically told us to practice moderation. (Notice: I didn't say enjoying a dessert is wrong. But enjoying dessert to excess is not practicing temperance and that's when it becomes wrong.)
The ability to say no to our desires when those things are not beneficial to us is part of being a Spirit-controlled Christian.
II Peter 1: 6-9:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Did you catch that? We are to be adding temperance to our faith. According to scripture, practicing temperance is not something to be done lackadaisically. We are supposed to be practicing it diligently! To God it's apparently a big deal if it's something at which we're told to work hard to put into practice.
The 1974 Merriam-Webster dictionary defines temperance as: habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.
Notice the word habitual. Temperance should be something we as Christians practice all the time; not just when we feel like it or when it's convenient.
Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord Jesus? Then you must practice temperance. Another word I could use is self-control.
When your child has committed an offense and you need to speak to him in a firm tone, do you cross the line and allow yourself to lash out in anger? Or do you control your desire to vent your frustration?
When that book is sooo good and you just can't put it down, do you give in to your desire to finish it or do you turn out the light and go to sleep so you can be refreshed in the morning?
But, here's the kicker. Self-control sounds like something we can do ourselves, but it is absolutely not. Controlling yourself can only be done when you are Spirit-controlled.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Temperance is a result of being filled with the Spirit.
So…you're saying if I waste time on the internet when I should be going to bed, I'm not being controlled by the Spirit?
You got it. You're being controlled by your own desires rather than by the Spirit of God.
Now, please let me be 100% clear.
It is not wrong to relax.
It is not wrong to enjoy dessert or soda or any other junk food.
It is not wrong to have fun.
It is not wrong to browse Facebook.
Relaxing, sleeping, eating are normal human desires. But when you enjoy them to the point of excess you are not practicing temperance and are not exhibiting the fruit of being filled with the Spirit.
So…in what area of your life do you need to start saying no to yourself through the power of the Spirit of God?
If you want to grow to be all that God wants you to be, you must not dismiss things as “not a big deal”.
God promises that when “these things” abound in you (see II Peter 1:6-9 above), you will not be unfruitful.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a great incentive to say no to my own desires!
What do I want to leave my children and grandchildren when I leave this present world?
It would be nice to leave them a few riches in material goods, but I don't know how much of that is going to happen. But much more important than that, I want to leave them riches in Christ. I want to leave them a godly legacy.
As I get older, it is more and more clear how little time we have on this earth. I pray that I never take my time with my family for granted for it is the only time I have to show them who Christ is and what He can do for them. I want to live in such a way before them that their desire will be to love and serve Christ whole-heartedly. This is what I read in Psalms 78:1-4: Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
Here are some things I ought to do as a parent, grand parent, or instructor, using the examples in the Bible to teach my children truth:
1. Tell them and read to them from God's Word all that He has done. Teach them the holiness of God so that they learn to reverence Him, love Him, and obey Him.
2. Use object lessons to teach them God's truths. My husband was very good at using travel time, play time, dinner time, etc. to take every day happenings and make lessons out of them to teach the truth of God's Word to our children. We are grateful it paid off. As parents we ought to work hard at practicing Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
3. Don't ever hide these things from my children. Don't be silent about God's goodness by keeping it to myself. Show them from God's Word and through examples in my own life. Show them and tell them of His strength, the works that He has done, and answers to prayer. Praise Him continually before my children and grandchildren. Teach them to teach their children the same. Why? So that generation after generation will know God and who He is and will in turn continue to pass it on to the next generation. Today we see more and more of a generation that does not know God! Is it perhaps that the parents and grandparents neglected to teach it to them? Just suppose that Moses' parents and Daniel's parents and the three Hebrew children's parents had not taught them about God. What might have been different? And what might be different in the future if we faithfully teach our children; one of them may be used of God for “such a time as this”!
(I've recently been reading this story of a woman who left a godly legacy. She was a prayer warrior; she walked by faith, not by sight. She prayed, believed God, and God answered. She was a godly example to her family. You will not be able to put the book down.)
My parents also left us a godly legacy. I saw my mom every morning read her Bible and pray. She was consistent and lived what she learned in front of us. My dad also, if he was not working, was studying his Bible and taking notes. We are privileged to have his Bible notes now and it is just exciting to me to hold them in my hands knowing they are written with his own hand writing. Godly parents are such a treasure and what a treasure to know that we will one day be together again in eternity. Recently, I have been scanning all his notes and putting them into files so they can be shared with all the family. He wrote one study on effectual prayer, which I in turn studied and it was such a blessing to me. It prompted me to write my own notes regarding effectual prayer.
I enjoy writing in journals every day. I keep a daily log of happenings and blessings and thoughts and meditations from God's Word. I do so hoping that one day my children and grandchildren will read about my blessings and the treasures of things God has taught me from His Word; hoping that in turn some of these things will speak to their hearts and help them to grow in grace.
If you have never done so, I encourage you to write down something everyday that is a blessing to you from God's Word, even if it is just a verse. It will keep it in your mind better and who knows but that one day your children or grandchildren will read the things that the Lord has taught you, only to apply them to their own lives.
I am also working on a devotional book in eBook form. You are welcome to sign up to receive the first volume for free! These are just random devotions from my daily time with the Lord; I pray that you will be encouraged with something from God's Word that you can apply to your own life.
My internet is down right now. I had to order a new modem, and when the new one came it didn't work either. So I am patiently waiting until I have internet again to do much online.
I thought this would be a fitting time to republish this post from last year…
While having a computer with internet access is almost a necessity these days, we all get distracted with it sometimes, don't we? We sit there in front of Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, or whatever it is you like to look at, and end up sitting there longer than we intended.
When my computer's modem broke last week, I thought it would be a huge blessing. I would be forced to stay off the crazy computer and focus on more important things. It would be a breath of fresh air to not even sit down in front of that screen. I thought I might even have the chance to see for sure just how evil that computer was and decide to get rid of it for good!
But I learned a different, very important lesson.
Computers and internet are incredible tools. They help us do all sorts of good things, like preparing Sunday School lessons, blogging encouragement to Christian women, and staying in touch with long-distance friends and far-off missionaries to name a few.
But they can be huge time-sucks too. We get on Facebook to say hi to a friend from church that we didn't see on Sunday or to read the latest update about an injured teenager we know, and the next thing we know it's been half an hour. Then we need to hop over to Pinterest to look up that recipe we were planning to make for supper. Another half hour gone. It's so easy to get lost on the internet even when you get on with the best of intentions.
You can see why I thought it would be nice not to even be able to get on.
First, it was terribly annoying not to be able to take care of things that needed to be taken care of – paying bills, sending emails, making a couple purchases, etc. I think having internet is getting to a point where it could actually be considered a necessity.
Second (and this is the part I don't like), I found out that I can find ways to waste time even without getting on the internet!
I am a born procrastinator! I hate it! Without even thinking about it, I find myself doing the least important things possible, instead of doing what I really should be doing.
Furthermore, when I do have some legitimate “down time”, I automatically seek out something entertaining rather than edifying.
I made a promise to the Lord years ago that every day I would not look at any type of media (books, magazines, movies, computer, etc.) unless I had already spent time reading His Word and praying. I haven't kept that promise perfectly, but I can honestly only think of a handful of days where I haven't.
But, here's the thing. Is there anything wrong with reading my Bible two times a day? Three? What kind of a person would I be like if I ran to spend time with the Lord every time I had a moment to sneak off?
As I think back to the days when my husband and I were dating, I can say for sure that I took full advantage of every possible opportunity to be with him. He was a dorm student at a local Bible college, and I was a commuting student, living only about 5 minutes away. I was in that cafeteria sharing every meal that I could with him. We were allowed a certain number of hours of dating every week, and you better believe we used up every minute. If I knew he was going to be somewhere, I would purposely make sure I ended up in the same place at the same time, even if all I had time to do was to say a quick hello.
If I can be that in love with a man, should I not be even more in love with the One who gave His very life because He loved me? And if I'm truly in love with Someone, wouldn't I want to spend time with Him every chance that I had?
Instead I've found the ugly attitude of “Well, I've already read my Bible today, so I shouldn't feel guilty doing something fun right now.”
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with entertainment, as long as it is wholesome. Everyone needs some rest and “down time” occasionally.
But I am wondering what kind of person I would be if I had such a passion for Jesus that I couldn't keep myself away from spending time with Him — if I went apart to spend time with him because I wanted so badly to be with Him. (Psalm 42:1)
No, friends. The computer is not the problem in my home. It's me.
I am begging God to continue to do a work in my heart – to give me more of a desire to be with Him and to be like Him. However, I must also remember that love is an action. With that in mind, I will be making the choice to spend time with the Lord during my down times, even if I feel like I'd rather do something entertaining. I think the results will be better than I could ever hope for.
What about you, my dear readers? What would our nation be like if we all got a passion for Jesus and just couldn't stay away from Him? I believe that's when we'll see revival. And it can happen. But we must make the choice to love him. Our love must be based upon action, not feeling.