My January Memoir

Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.

The past days, as I have cleaned out clutter, reorganized spaces, and rid myself of the seldom used things; I find these hours are much more than utilitarian.  I love January.  I love fresh starts and new beginnings.  I actually love to clean out what has become rubbish and organize my stuff for easy access and streamlined appearances. Call me crazy, but these tasks give me a great deal of pleasure.

Memories flit through my mind as I clean out the “boy’s room”. These boys are now in their 30’s.  A photo, a book, a card takes me to a former time when they ran around my knees, climbed into my lap and generated fun chaos in my now quiet home.  As I perform these practical tasks, my heart moves to the spiritual lessons amidst these activities.  I believe God speaks to us often during our days and we in turn can converse with HIM. (What  a privilege to share thoughts with the Creator of this universe, Who is my Father!)

The first of these lessons is the one of thankfulness that comes forth as I glean the blessings of those days.  I am thankful for who these young men are today and that they were loaned to me to train and love.  I am also reminded that life is not in our stuff. As I discard different items, I hold on to the memories associated with them and store them in my heart. Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.  Did I always know what I was doing as a young mom? No!  Did I do it all right?  NO!  But nevertheless, God used me in those places during those days to teach and develop my sons, (and also me) to become the people He intended us to be.  He was in control all the while and I never was.  Yes, I did have responsibility to help clear out the rubble, to bring some order and discipline to their lives as I now bring to their former room.  But all along God was in control and now at my stage of life, I see His hand and heart guiding me all through  those days.

I pull aside some of the toys, (30 year old Stars Wars figures), books (Hardy Boys and a picture Bible) and a steel drum from a long ago trip.  I will give these to their sons to play with and am reminded that along with these retro toys I can share with this next generation of boys the truth I shared with their dads.  God reaches down through the generations with the same Truth.  May I take time to share these important things with this next set of boys. May I not attempt to “win them over ” with stuff, but invest my love and time and prayers to contribute to their growth spiritually… to invest in the eternal.

So clean out that attic, organize those kitchen cabinets, but search for your own lessons.  Let God speak the miraculous among the mundane.  Listen with a heart of praise and gratitude to a Father who has redeemed you from the chaos and rubble of sin to give you abundant life,  joy unspeakable and His very own peace.  Allow Him to clear and clean out the attics of your wrong thinking, the closets of your fears, and the cabinets of your worries and settle down and abide in the clean, orderly, home of His Heart…

Don’t Miss the Message of the Manger

God laying in a wooden trough, born to die on a wooden cross,

Though it is good to look upon the face of the  Babe,

The One Who came down from His throne,

But remember the story did not begin there

Nor does it end there…

So look into the past and then see beyond,

And don’t miss the message of the manger.

God swaddled in flesh on a journey prescribed long ago,

In earth bound dress, like us in every way,

Except never by sin swayed.

God laying in a wooden trough, born to die on a wooden cross,

To be both the Lamb and the Priest,

Victoriously battling death, He gave us peaceful relief.

And though the angels sang and the shepherds knelt nearby,

The moment was a somber one,

For this baby was born to die.

To die for sins He had not done, to end the curse as God’s own Son,

To bear the bruise but crush the head,

To take my sin and shame instead.

That Bethlehem night so long ago,

Shines through the ages to us all,

The manger was not where it all began,

But in the heart of God, long beforehand.

When Eden’s gates closed, the plan was in place,

To open them again in the name of grace.

So when we look at the manger and consider its’ babe,

Do not miss the message that brought us the WAY.

Jesus opened the door, He brought us peace,

At a great, great price, He put salvation in our reach.

The wood of the manger, the wood of the cross ,

The nails in His Hands, the nails in the trough,

It all is the picture, the whole story must be seen,

Don’t miss the message, it must be received.

                                                             JL

Hebrews 2:17- Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Grateful Children

Grateful children are not born. They come here demanding us to meet their needs, as we should.

Grateful children are not born. They come here demanding us to meet their needs, as we should.  As these children grow older, they can grow more demanding rather than less. How can we raise grateful children? Should our children learn to be grateful?

When we look around us these days and listen, we hear the words, thank you, far too seldom. We live in a world that is increasingly of the mind set that others owe me, that I am entitled, that I deserve everything. I believe that one of the greatest lessons we teach as parents is that of teaching gratitude. Psalm 107: 7 simply says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” Teach your child this scripture along with so many others you can choose from in the Bible. God commands that we give thanks. In order to learn to be grateful to Him, our children must be trained, yes, I said trained, to be grateful for all that is given to them. It would be desirable for our children to run to us expressing their gratitude and at times this can happen. Just as God loves it when we run to Him daily to thank Him for His abundant gifts and blessings.   More often though, He hears us asking for more and more, just as our child may continue asking, not satisfied with what she already has been given.

When our children were small, we made a concentrated effort to train towards gratefulness. When given something, they would have to respond with  a “thank you”. After they had eaten a meal around our table, they would have to say, “Thank you for the good meal. May I be excused?” (Sometime they would leave out good, but would still have to say thank you.) It even became a sing-song response. They were required to write thank you notes as soon as they could print. Were these thank yous coming from their hearts?  Not most of the time, but it was building the habit in them until their hearts could know true gratitude.

Hopefully as they responded with gratitude to their parents and others, they would learn to respond the same way to their Father God one day. The value to not take gifts of any kind for granted, no matter how great or small and to see all of life as a gift from a good God is priceless.

Now I do see gratitude in the hearts of our grown children. They often say thank you and express appreciation. That does not just happen. For a number of years it was mostly something they had to say, but gradually it sinks in and they become grateful people and grateful people are more joyful. We would often say to them, “Gratitude affects the attitude!” And it does…..

see also; An Arrow in the Hand of a Warrior….

A Wise Woman Builds

Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with he own hands.

Proverbs 14:1 tells us … “Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with he own hands.”

We wives and mothers have great power. We play a major part in building our homes.  The question that we must ask ourselves very honestly is, “Do I build up or do I tear down?”

I build up or I tear down with my words.

I build up or I tear down with my attitude.

I build up or I tear down with my actions.

I hold the ability to set the daily tone for my home.  The saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” is often truer than we would want to believe. How do I send my husband off to work each day? How do I greet my children as they wake up or as they return home? Is the tone of my home one of peace (though it may not be quiet)? Is there tension and strife cutting through the air? Is it an atmosphere of laughter rather than complaining?  Are kind words heard more than whining (maybe even my whining)?

If your first thoughts after reading this is …” This is just too much responsibility. I am not perfect! I am not going to get it right all the time… I know that I often tear down rather than build up”. Well, I agree. But you know, this verse begins with words of hope and the answer to our dilemma. It begins with …every wise woman.. We can build our homes when we are being wise women. Jesus is Wisdom personified, and when He dwells within us we can have His wisdom because we have HIM. His WORD (the Bible) gives wise instruction in every page and as His Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers the application of His Word to my every day life, I can become that wise woman who builds her home and thus blesses all who live there.

I do not want splinters in my hands or splinters in the hearts around me. I do not want to tear down my home  with my own hands. I do not want to be a foolish woman.  Lord, teach me to be a wise woman so I may build in my home, Your Kingdom. May my home speak of Jesus and bring You Glory…

 

Farsighted Vision in Parenting

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This verse may be familiar to you.  Each part of it could be looked into at length. What does it mean to train?  What is the way he should go?  How old is old?  Today I want us to look at the phrase; “even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  As we look into this verse I want to encourage you as a parent to have long-range plans for your child, to have far sighted vision rather than nearsighted vision. Keep in mind who you want your child to look like when he is 30 years old.  What character do you want him to have then.

This farsighted view will affect how you parent day to day while your child is still young.  If you want him to look more like Christ than the world when he is older, your emphasis in parenting will take on a different mind set.  As parents and families we are in the world, but are not to be of the world.  As we train our child, we are to constantly  be guided by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  He knows our child much better than we do.

There are so many activities to be involved in; sports, music, school, church, clubs. The list is long.  It is good for your child to be involved in a variety of activities, though not so hurried that there is no balance in his life or the life of your family.  Nearsighted vision or short term goals tend to be ones for the next few years. Some may be that your child is a good student, a winning athlete, or an accomplished musician.  These goals sound good but in and of themselves they can become idols in yours and your child’s hearts.

God tells us that whatsoever we do, do it for the glory of God.  All the activities are to be vehicles for life lessons to travel on.  Training comes in the midst of life’s daily activities.  For example, sports is not just about winning, but about discipline, teamwork, losing with grace, not quitting, patience in sitting on the bench, and encouraging others.  God’s Word can be applied over and over to bring out the Godly good, those eternal qualities. And when this is not happening and the activity is more important that the lessons in it, then it will be time to lay it down.

So look further down the road.  What are you building now in your child that will form in him the character of Christ when he is 30 or 40 years old. Is your focus on straight A’s or study skills? Is it on winning at all cost or being an team player?  Very few become star athletes or the top student, but what pleases our Lord is a woman or man with a heart to love and serve Him.  What is your focus???? Keep it sharply in view daily…..

Yet, this I call to mind…

         Do you ever feel like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet?  Seems like life is full of hard things with no change on the horizon?  You may have found yourself in a place you never wanted to be and certainly never asked for.  All around you is discouragement and distress.  Well, take courage!  Just as God spoke to Jeremiah, in the midst of his lament,so He also speaks to you in the place that you are in right now.

         In the center of the book of Lamentations we find the apex of the entire book.  The writer seems to pause and say these very strategic words in verse 21 of chapter 3…

       “Yet this I call to mind and therefore, I have hope!”

         What follows are statements of faith that the writer chooses to remember. He makes a will choice to call Truth to his mind. And just what is it that he calls to mind?

Verse 22– Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail.

Verse 23– They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Verse 24– I say to myself,  the Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for HIM.

Verse 25– The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.

Verse 26– It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

     Did this writer’s situation change? (no, just keep on reading). Did he continue to have difficult days? (yes) So the same may be true of us, but I encourage you (while in the midst of the mayhem) to say… YET THIS I CALL TO MIND…

        Make a will choice to remember God and what is true about His love for you.  Do this whether you feel like it or not. Act on faith and not on sight.  All changes in our difficult place when we remember and believe that God is in the midst of it with us .  He is closer than our very breath.  So, say to yourself these verses, speak. cry, or shout them aloud.  And you will relize God was there all the while… And you will have HOPE.