Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Monthly Picks || April 2014

This month, John 15:5 has been up on the board in my kitchen. It says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." As a wife and mom, it is hard to "abide" in Christ when I'm pulled in so many different directions. Having this verse in my view has encouraged me to stop relying on myself and my own strengths and abilities and to focus on resting and abiding in the power of Christ.

The song "Find Rest" by Francesca Battistelli is on her brand new release that came out last week. I instantly loved the lyrics. From one who has a hard time truly resting and trusting each and every move of God, I definitely need the frequent reminder to put my hope in God....and rest. :) You can go buy the song here!

Several years ago, I dear friend gave me the book By Searching by Isobel Kuhn. This book is the story of Isobel and her journey through years of atheism, searching for truth and meaning, that led her to faith in Jesus Christ. She later served as a missionary to China with her husband. This is a beautiful and powerfully written book that was such a blessing to read.

Sermon Index is my favorite source for messages and audio sermons. This message by David Wilkerson is one I can barely listen to as it is so terribly convicting! But the truth and power of it made me bring it back and listen to it again this month. I haven't quite been able to get it out of my head since. It's called A Call to Anguish. You can listen to it here, download it for your iPod or smart phone here, and you can watch a small clip here.

What about you? What has spoken to you this month and has drawn you closer to Jesus Christ? Feel free to share in the comments below! :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What Purity Is and What Purity Isn't

There is a lot of confusion over the term purity. What does it really mean? 

Is it simply being a virgin? 

Is it just a matter of the heart and your good intentions? 

Have you heard of the term
meekness? It’s mentioned several times in Scripture, even in describing the character of Christ. To be meek means to bring yourself and your will under subjection and authority. Simply put: it's power under control. This goes hand-in-hand with purity. Purity is all about bringing your desires and the longings of your flesh into submission and under control. It’s disciplining your mind, heart, and body and training yourself to keep away from whatever has the potential to contaminate you.

There is a new trend that has swept through the Church that tells us that as long as you don’t lose your virginity, you are still pure in God’s eyes. After all, He commanded us to abstain from
sex, not all the other stuff, right? More and more, we hear of youth group get-togethers and outings that are really just a front for a making-out, orgy-style, flesh fest. Because teachings of purity are shoved to the side and never defined, it becomes a matter of whatever seems right to you at the moment. And that's where it gets dangerous.

I remember watching a couple make-out in front of me in the youth room of our Church while the youth leader stepped out for a brief moment. Youth group lock-ins were a fun way to sneak off and explore each other’s body. Playing fun youth group games like “Murder in the Dark” kept the lip-locking out of view. I saw more break-ups and relationship drama inside the Church walls than I cared to see, and all were done by the same group of young people who had signed abstinence cards alongside of me. According to them, they were still pure. Sure, they had offered up their body to be touched, grabbed, squeezed, and fondled, but their clothes had remained more or less on, so they were still on God's good side.

Were they right? Is purity just about retaining your virginity? 
Or is there more to it than that?

Let me just say it loud and clear: Purity isn’t just a physical area, it is also a matter of the heart

If you remain a virgin, but are constantly filling your mind with pornography, lusting after the bodies of celebrities or guys in school, then there is a problem with the content of your heart. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that to look at and lust after someone who is not our spouse is committing adultery with them in their heart. In the eyes of Jesus, simply looking and wanting someone’s body other than the body of our spouse makes us impure.

When I was thirteen I chose to pursue, not a few pure choices, but a pure lifestyle when I gave God the pen of my life. I wanted my body—my entire body—to be untouched and kept under wraps for my husband. I also wanted my heart to be pure. To sit and dwell on sexual fantasies and fill my mind and my heart with ungodly scenes and desires would do nothing but spread a thick layer of filth over my mind and my heart. It would no doubt create a habit that would later be destructive in my marriage. Our mind is a battlefield that we must fight to protect. Satan would love nothing more than to flood us with sludge and stain us with sinful thoughts. Purity is something worth protecting. And like anything of value, it should be preserved and kept clean.
I challenge you to ditch the cultural mindset that says "anything goes as long as you don't go all the way," and to set your feet on the path of righteousness, submitting your entire existence to the holy will of God. As you sow seeds of purity, you will reap the benefits of a beautiful and blessed life and marriage.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #4 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

It's a beautiful day today. Even with pollen an inch thick on nearly everything, it's still a wonderful day to enjoy the nice, spring weather and the soft breeze blowing through the trees. Today, as you head out to work or begin your daily chores around the house, stop and enjoy the beauty of the morning. Find joy in the little things like the brilliant green grass, the birds singing, and the flowers blooming. Go about your day with a song of joy in your heart.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Parenting Without Bullying - plus a Free Printable!

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 that Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. 

Dr. Benjamin Spock said, "Physical punishment certainly plays a role in our acceptance of violence. If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start."

Thanks to Mr. Spock's teachings, an entire generation grew up unacquainted with the thwack of a paddle. In the 1950's, we had Leave it to Beaver, conservative values, and a high regard for morality. In the 1960's, when the new parenting strategy was introduced, society's pendulum swung the other way. We saw an increase in drug use, the sexual revolution, Woodstock, the 1970's Feminist movement, Roe vs. Wade, etc. Am I saying the decline of morality falls on the shoulders on Benjamin Spock? No. But I am saying that it played a part.

My husband and I are striving to raise our children by Biblical principles. We believe in the supremacy of Scripture and its authority over our lives. There have been many questions asked regarding how we discipline our children. Do we spank? Do we use the "time out" method? Do we let them exert their independence and encourage them to express themselves how they choose? In short, we do spank. We discipline based on the offense and sometimes that includes a swat to the bottom. And we believe it is Biblical.

Ken Gallinger said, "The Bible is simply wrong on spanking," (Toronto Star, 2007)

This is a hard quote to swallow for any follower of Jesus Christ because the Bible gives us clear instructions on how to discipline our children. And, yes, that includes spankings.

Proverbs 29:15 says, The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Proverbs 29:17 adds, Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Now, let me be clear. It is vital that we separate spankings from beatings. A "swat" to a child's bottom is in no way the same as a fist to the face. A firm lick with a paddle is not in the same category as bruising and scars. In no way does this post advocate abuse of any kind. We are talking about parental discipline, not bullying or physical harm. And it's important to note that when a parent chooses a spanking to discipline their child, it must be done with an attitude of love, not fiery wrath. Somewhere, the line was blurred and the definition skewed. If the Bible is the authority, then it reigns as absolute truth. Those who do not believe that God's Word is infallible and without flaw will no doubt have a difficult time believing that it is possible to raise children who receive spankings, yet who are secure in the love of their parents and who are all-around good kids!

Since becoming a parent, I have asked myself numerous times (usually on those really hard days) why God instructs parents to discipline their children this way. For me, it hurts. I do not enjoy one minute of disciplining my child. But through much study and prayer and by watching the example of my parents and other families who practice Biblical discipline and parenting, I have discovered three ways that spanking not only rears well-behaved children, but actually plays a major role in bringing them to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

  1. Spankings teach that there is a higher authorityI tire of teenagers who have no regard for any kind of authority, be it government officials or those in Pastoral leadership. This begins at a young age when parents allow their children to rule the roost. This is not Biblical. By Biblically disciplining your child, you are teaching them that you are the parent, the one God placed in authority over them. This gives them a beginners' knowledge of God, who is over all.
  2. Spankings teach that there are consequences. I don't spank my children to prove I'm bigger and stronger than they are. That's not parenting, that's bullying. And it can be a form of emotional abuse when we spank just because we can. I spank my children when they are disobedient, defiant, and when they willfully disregard my words. When we spank our children, it teaches them that there are always consequences for wrong actions, whether you are two years old or two hundred years old. Spiritually, this teaches them about sin and the payment for it. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
  3. Spankings teach grace, love, and forgiveness. Again, we are not talking about abuse. Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." This verse tells us that if we love our children, we will spank them. If we don't, we won't. Simple as that. My Dad was the best at implementing this. When a sin was committed, we were spanked. And no matter what the offense was, I always saw the hurt in his eyes. As soon as the sin was confessed and forgiveness was asked for, it was done and over. Forgotten. There was always an atmosphere of love. This taught me about God's saving grace. His corrects us, disciplines us - not to make us rebellious and angry - but to give us a desire to grow into maturity. When this mindset is demonstrated by God-fearing parents to their children, it will work. And it will fulfill Scripture by delivering their soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:14)

There are other forms of correction we implement, regularly using our Clean Heart sheet
Recently, I put together a correction chart that I am sharing with you today. We have to understand the power of prayer and using Scripture to teach and instruct our children. As I mentioned before, we mustn't bully our kids, we must teach our kids! And our goal as parents should always be to point them to Jesus Christ, and teach them principles of Scripture. For if we train up a child in the way he ought to go, we are promised that he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our 4th Anniversary and some BIG News!

Today, my man and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. It's been a wild and crazy and absolutely amazing four years! Each year has been incredibly different and special; from bringing home our Nathan just four days before our first anniversary to packing up our cozy home and moving boxes as we celebrated our third! I can honestly say that we are more in love with each other now than we ever have been before. We have gone through some pretty uncomfortable changes and have made some big life decisions in the past four years, but the Lord has used it all to strengthen and solidify our relationship. We have traveled together, taught together, fought together, and loved together. I'm very thankful to God for giving me a man that loves me no matter how bad I look in the morning, how grumpy I am in the evening, and how ridiculous I can be in between. :) I am grateful that he covers me in prayer, reads the Bible to our children, and brings us all to Church together. I'm pretty curious how much more in love I will be with him twenty years from now! Happy anniversary, love. :)

"Grow old with me....the best is yet to be."

Oh! I almost forgot, I have some news! ---actually I didn't really forget. That's pretty much impossible! ;) Earlier this month, we were given a very good and very big surprise. And I'm just itching to share it with you!

Our family is growing by two, tiny little baby feet!
That's right, I'm expecting our third child!

There's an old saying that goes, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!" :) Though we had plans to eventually have more children, we were not expecting to see two little pink lines so soon. We are very thrilled and thankful that God has seen fit to touch my womb a third time and create a little life there again. Sometime in early December, we should be holding a very special - and no doubt completely adorable! - gift in our arms.

May you bask in the goodness of Jesus today and may your cup be full-to-the-brim of His joy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #3 and a Link-Up!

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

Marriage is on the brain today because my husband and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary tomorrow.

Do you find joy in your marriage?

Martin Luther said, There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage.

Today, I encourage my fellow wives to find joy in your relationship with your husband. Get out your Bible and read about God's design for marriage and put it into practice. Honor him above all others and be a safe haven for his heart. Delight in him and enjoy him as the gift that he is. Above all else, pray for him, that he will be a man who follows hard after God. Today, see the beauty and joy in your man.

Monday, April 14, 2014

our weekend in pictures + Nathan's 3rd birthday!

My little boy cannot be three years old! How did he go from this....

To this!

Saturday, we invited family and friends to our home for a fun day of fish-frying, flying kites, and jumping in the bouncy house. We played hard. :) Then yesterday, we celebrated three years with our Nathan. He has been such a joy these past three years. Our imaginative, funny, and friendly little boy who loves music and all things "supa-hee-wo!" is swiftly growing up. He has such a sweet personality and we are beginning to see the Lord working in his tender heart. Oh, I am anxious to see all the mighty things God has in store for this little boy. :) I have resolved to hold him a little more and soak up these little years. They are going by too fast.

Here is our weekend in pictures. :)

Flying kites with daddy

It was a perfect day for flying kites! We had about five or six kites going at one time :) 

Little sister and cousin T enjoying the slide

The amazing Superman cake! -- made by my sister.

Our family <3

Stay little, sweet boy. Stop growing up so fast....

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Better "Time Out" Method

The concept of "time out" for kids has never made a whole lot of sense to me. I have watched a lot of parents simply put their child in a chair and expect that to make them obedient and compliant. Very young kids are not developed enough to understand wrong vs. right actions on their own. However, I think there is a redeeming quality of the time out method that can help parents train their child up instead of leaving the child to stew or sit in confusion.

With every offense a child commits, parents are given a golden opportunity to seize the moment and teach their child about the Lord. We are to teach them obedience to the authority of God, and then to the authority of us, their parents. God's Word commands us to instill the principles of Scripture into our children (Deut. 6:6-9), and so it is up to us to show them the way to the cross of Calvary.

Not long ago, I made what I call a Clean Heart Chart for Nathan (which I am sharing today!) and it has been very helpful in teaching him discipline and seeking after true forgiveness and purity of spirit. When a sin has been committed, I will discipline him, and then ask him to go to a quiet room, sit down, and pray. I tell him to ask God to forgive him for behaving wrong and then, when he is ready, to come back to me. After that, we make amends, pray together, and go about our day. I am slowly beginning to see a tenderness in his spirit when he does something wrong that goes beyond him simply "getting caught." He is learning to understand that when we do or say bad things, we hurt others and ultimately hurt God.

I challenge you to make the most of your "time outs" with your little ones. We only have one life and one chance to impact our children for eternity. Let's not be lazy and waste it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #2 and a Link-Up!

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

In her book, Choosing Gratitude, Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote, "I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can't worship without giving thanks. It just isn't possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others. 

Convicting quote, isn't it? Today, I am working to choose worship and gratitude instead of whining and grouchy behavior. I encourage you to join me. :) Have a great Wednesday, sisters! Find joy today.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Quesadillas for Kiddos

Getting vegetables into kids can be a nightmare extremely difficult. Especially if you have a finicky eater....which I do. My two kids are so different when it comes to food. Nathan, who is nearly three, is picky and sometimes it is a long, drawn-out battle to get him to eat his dinner. On the other hand, Selah, our one year old, will eat pretty much anything you put in front of her. I'm learning that if you get creative, you can get veggies in your kids without them ever suspecting a thing.

I have made vegetable quesadillas before and they have been a hit. Recently, I made them again and also created a pizza quesadilla. They were also a hit! Here is what I did:

For the pizza quesadilla, I put one tortilla on my quesadilla maker and topped it with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperonis and, I snuck in some onions and shredded carrots. I placed another tortilla on top and cooked it until it was brown.

For the vegetable quesadilla, I made it similar to the one I'd previous shared. On the tortilla, along with cheese, I added carrots, peppers, onions, and lots of spinach. After it was cooked, we scarfed it down!

My kids loved them. Selah actually ate one of each!

For more ideas of how you can sneak veggies in your kids, check out these posts:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #1 and a Link-Up!

Welcome to the first Where Joy Is link up! 

There are so many things that bring me joy in life. Springtime flowers, a quiet moment with my Bible and a cup of coffee, the giggles of my children, and the tender embrace of my husband are just a few things that I can easily take for granted if I am not intentional to stop and bask in the joy of it.

This morning, I was reading in Philippians and this verse jumped out at me:

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (Phil. 2:2)

Philippians talks about rejoicing a lot! It's obviously something the people of God are called to do. I don't know about you, but I often do not chose to stop and find the joy when I'm wiping runny noses, kissing boo-boos, running errands, cooking meals, and sweeping up crumbled cheerios off the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time. I should though. It's those very moments that make up lasting memories and that will one day be the very things I look back on with a smile.

It is so important to make joy a priority. If we don't, oh gracious we will likely go through life missing the beautiful little fingerprints of God all over our little world. Today you are invited to stop and find the joy in the little moments around you. Today, you are encouraged to choose joy.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...