Living in My Father’s House

Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s House

Luke 2:49 

“Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands? Is the eternal Child in you living in His Father’s house? Is the grace of his ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances?  In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life.

You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him. The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you.”

Oswald Chambers

When we live this way we do not have to struggle to find– our purpose; we walk in it; our ministry, we just do it; our strength, it is His. His fruit is ours, His peace is ours, His strength is ours.  It is in us because we are in Him; abiding, resting, waiting, listening… simply living in His House, living out from His House , living in His Grace.       But we do not do this daily, do we? I take up my own purposes, I build my own kingdom, I live in my own strength, I rebel against His providential circumstances that He sovereignly brings my way. And oh, what problems this brings to me, when I live outside of Him, outside His Word, outside His power.  I must turn from my flesh, my pride, my selfishness, my sin.  I must humble myself and enter His House, abide there, take up residence again in Him, just settle down and make Him my home. In truth He never really left, but I closed myself to His life in me, choosing to go my own way, live in my own house, with my own ideas, in my own strength. And that does not work!    May I simple humble myself to His Love, His goodness, and enjoy Him.  May I walk with Him and live in Him and Jesus promises that out of me will flow living waters….

Teach Your Children the Proverbs

Hear my son; hear my daughter the instruction of the Lord.

In a previous post, I pointed out the benefits and blessings of seeking wisdom as we are instructed to do in the book of Proverbs. I continue now to look at the value of teaching the wisdom of this book to your children.  Children are likened to little sponges.  They are going to soak up whatever you pour over them.  Your three year old can use technology as well as you can, or at least as well as his grandparent can. He can sing songs, repeat commercials and many of your own comments.  And.. he can also learn God’s Word!  Do not neglect teaching him verses beginning at a young age.

When our children were elementary school age my husband began reading Proverbs with each of them.  He chose the month of their salvation to be the month that he would read through Proverbs with them. Of course, we had other times of verse memory and Bible stories, but this was each child’s special time with their daddy to read Proverbs.  Each day 1 chapter would be read and discussed, so by the end of the month they had finished the 31 chapters. Year after year this was their practice through high school.

We saw how, over time, these words really sunk into their lives and hearts. For example, Proverbs was a platform for teaching sex education for one son as “rejoice in the wife of your youth” and “have nothing to do with the prostitute who awaits in the street.” were read and discussed.  Our daughter commented on why she had turned down a date with a certain young man because…”she was to have nothing to do with an angry man”. There were numerous such applications that could be seen in their lives.

So I encourage you to teach your children Proverbs. Use whatever method God leads you to use. Be consistent and do it when they may not be all in… It will definitely be worth your time. God’s Word will not return void. Prayerfully trust God to work these truths into their hearts. An added benefit will be that you will come to know this book really well.

After writing this, I asked each of our now grown children how studying Proverbs in this way affected their lives…  Their responses to this question will be in my next post.     So stay tuned….

 

A Wise Woman

Wisdom is life to my inner self…   Wisdom is  a gracious ornament to my outer self…

Our world today does not put much store in wisdom.  Knowledge, education, power, success, prestige and independence are some  of the qualities today’s woman pursues. But, I say above all these pursue wisdom.  The book of Proverbs is filled with  instructions and lessons of wisdom.  We do well to read its’ words, soak in its’ truth and give life application to it. Join me as we look at just one chapter in the book of wisdom.  We will see the many blessings of being a wise woman. Look with me now in Proverbs 3.

Personalize these words to your own heart, as you hear your Father speak them to you. “My daughter… forget not my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.” (verse 1) AND THE BLESSINGS WILL BE; “My days and years will be worth living. Inward and outward tranquility will continue through old age.” (verse 2)    “I will find favor, good understanding and high esteem in the sight of God and man.” (verse 4) “It will be health to me physically.” (verse 8)

“Happy (blessed) is the woman who finds skillful and Godly wisdom.  She gets understanding as she draws it forth from God’s Word and life experiences.” (verse 13) “Her ways are highways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.” (verse 17) “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.  Blessed is everyone who holds her fast.” (verse 18)

Wisdom is life to my inward self. Wisdom is a gracious ornament to my outer self.” (verse 22) “(In wisdom) I will walk my way securely and in confident truth and not stumble.” (verse 23) “The Lord shall be my confidence, firm, and strong and keeps me from being caught in a trap.” (verse 26) “I will not be afraid when storms come.” (verse 25)

” God’s very own confidential communion and sweet counsel are with those who are upright and right standing with Him.” (verse 32)  “He declares our home joyful and favored with blessings.”  (verse 33) So… why don’t we pursue wisdom if all these blessings can be ours as a result of apprehending it?  Proverbs 3 also includes our problems in the pursuit of wisdom.  I “lean on my own understanding instead of acknowledging Him and letting Him direct  me”. (verse 5-6)      I am often “wise in my own eyes.” (verse 7) and  “I forget God’s law.” (verse 1)

In order for these problems to not keep me from becoming a wise woman, I must hold….”Godly wisdom as more precious than rubies and nothing I can wish for can compare with Her.” (verse 15)

Question:  Do you value God’s wisdom like this? Is wisdom more important than that new dress, piece of jewelry, or new home?  Do you shop for and seek wisdom more than anything else?

As we read Proverbs, we find not only wise sayings, but we also come to see Jesus in it’s pages, for He is Wisdom personified.  His Life in us gives us the grace, the power, and the strength to become a wise woman. “And a woman who is wise inherits glory.” (verse 35)

Teach J O Y to Your Children

Teach your children the priority of Jesus, Others, and You…. so one day God will put this way of living into their hearts.

In Matthew 22:36-39, Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment.  He answers by quoting both Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.  Matthew 22:37 says “And He replied to him. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Deut. 6:5) and verse 38…this is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18

Jesus clearly gives this commandment to us to pursue. It is  one of the most important teachings of Jesus that we should come to live out more fully each day..  Recently I was spending some time with my daughter and her family.  Numerous times I heard her speak to one of her 4 preschoolers these words… “Remember J O Y (spelling out the letters) and what does that mean?” She would question him or her. Then the child would respond, “Jesus, others, and you.”  My daughter would say, “Yes, Jesus first, others second, and you third.”. She was beginning early to teach her children these great commandments. As they would tousle over a toy or want to be first, they would be reminded of J O Y.

We all come into this world selfish and continue in that mode sometimes for a long time.  It is a sin we constantly deal with; so to begin teaching this early to your children is so very wise.  You will have to remind them often but then that is what training is, but awareness is given and truth is taught.  Like all, your children will struggle with obeying this command but at times, hopefully and increasingly so , they will get it and will obey. It will be planted into their minds so one day God may plant it into their hearts.

It will also testify to those around who hear this mother teach her children a code that few in this world really ascribe to.  It will also be a reminder to this young mom and to a grandmother who listens in, that we too must practice J O Y; Jesus, first… others, second… and you third.

 

Strengthen Others

What has Jesus brought you through that He wants  to use so you may “turn and strengthen others”?

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that Your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.    Luke 22: 31-32

When life sifts you, Jesus prays for you.  Jesus knew Peter and knew what Peter would do in the coming days.  Yet He still loved him and prayed for him, even in Peter’s betrayal.  It is the same with us.  Like Peter, we must turn back to Jesus.  We must repent.  Or if the trial is not caused by sin, we must run to Jesus in the midst of it. We come through the sifting of Satan only by the prayers of Jesus which give us the grace and power we need to move beyond these places of sifting. This truth gives us much hope in our daily struggles.

But notice this verse does not leave us there.  Verse 32 ends in this way, “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. John Piper says about this verse: “Jesus provided for the ten by providing for Peter.”  As the Lord strengthens us in our life’s siftings so may we, in turn, strengthen others. As He builds our faith, we can be used to encourage and build up each other.  It is never only about us individually.  God wants to use every  sifting, every failure, every blessing, each trial for His glory.  This is done by sharing with others the work of God in our lives so others may be strengthened.

How does this walk out in your life today?  What has Jesus Christ brought you through or is now bringing you through that He wants you to use to “turn and strengthen your brothers and sisters”?  We each have a place in this, so obey and be a part of the process of God’s plan.  Nothing is wasted!  God is glorified and we all grow!

Feeling Invisible?

You are not invisible to Him. He sees. He knows and He loves you. And when all is said and done, He is the Only One who really matters.

Do you ever feel invisible?  Maybe you are a stay at home mom with your baby or toddler or several little ones. Maybe you are homeschooling your older kids.  You change diapers, wipe noses, settle quarrels, and clean spills.  Many days may go by without hearing a thank you, you do not get to punch a time clock or get that pay check…  Or perhaps you are an empty nester and just not quite sure what to do with yourself at this new place in life. Maybe you are working at your job day in and day out, but no one seems to notice and promotions pass you by.  Who sees, who cares, who notices, who knows?

In Genesis 16 we find God revealing Himself to an unlikely woman. Hagar has been banished by Sarai after it was found out that she had conceived a baby by Abram. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness. She is given instructions by him and also promises, but the part I want you to see is the truth that God saw her. He knew where she was and what was happening with her. One of God’s descriptive names is revealed to Hagar; El Roi, the God Who Sees. Hagar says in verse 13,”You are a God of seeing. Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.”

You are not invisible to God. He sees. He sees you right where you are at this moment in whatever place that may be. Whether in your wilderness, your emptiness or your pain. When you feel invisible, you are not invisible to your Father God.  And who better to see us, to meet us, to know us than the One who loves us. He sees what you do; the way you love and teach your child, the lullabies you sing to them at night, the thankless jobs you do day in and day out. He sees the kingdom work you do in your own home and He sees the Kingdom work He is accomplishing in your own heart as you go through these days.

You are not invisible to Him. He sees.  He knows and He loves you. And when all is said and done, He is the Only One who really matters.