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Strong children

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

It has been a long school year. But at the same time, it has flown. It has been a process of encouraging my children to succeed and guiding them through trying times. 

Yet through all of it, it has been the goal of our family to grow strong children. And I think we are. They face so many situations at school and in their “recreational” time that sometimes life seems overwhelming. 

My son is the strong, silent type. You know what a first child typically looks like? Flip it around, shake it up and cover it with a cloak and you have my son. My husband and I laugh that he is an enigma. But he is courageous. He always has been. His speech was delayed as a child and that made him shy. So overcoming is almost second nature to him. 

Now my daughter, on the other hand, well…there are very few words to accurately describe her. She is definitely strong. She is courageous – she rarely lets things keep her from speaking her mind. (Not sure where she gets that from!)   But she is joyful. She is fun. She is determined. She is mighty and fierce. 

They both are such strong and amazing children. I hear of other people worrying about their children and their future. Not me, I know God has placed these two on this planet for amazing things. I’m excited to see what it is!

But we need to encourage all of our children, whether we have them given birth to them or not, to thrive. Be successful. Be brave. Be courageous. They have a Mighty God who will NEVER leave them and He has something in store for them that we can’t imagine. 

Monday night, I heard a speaker challenge a group of students in this way – What was the promise that God made to the world when He brought you into it? Live every day with that in mind and see what God will do. 

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Promise from on High

Deuteronomy 26:15-19 – “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey. This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.”


I rode a really, really, really tall Ferris wheel the other night. I’m not too fond of heights but it was pretty cool to see the city all lite up and pretty. 

But as I stepped onto this giant wheel, I needed a promise – the promise that I wouldn’t plummet to the ground but rather would be brought safely down 23 minutes later. And I was. The Ferris wheel operators kept their promise. 

Sometimes I think that we take for granted that God is watching us from somewhere beyond the reaches of a Ferris wheel or airplane or space shuttle. We take for granted that even though He is right beside us, He is also way far above us. 

He has made us promises as well. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised to provide all that we need (not necessarily what we want). He has promised that if we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we have an eternal home in Heaven. 

And just like He always kept His promises (and consequences for forgetting His promises) to the children of Israel, so He does for us today. 

He may be way far above us and right beside us at the same time however, there is one thing we can always count on – God keeps His promises. And He has promised that one day, He is coming back for me and all the rest of y’all who have accepted Him as your Savior. (Yes, I did just use “y’all” – it’s in my blood!)   Any way, it’s going to be an amazing day – that day when we see all His promises fulfilled!

Free to choose

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 – “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

Joshua 24:15 – “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

The other day is saw a meme – “You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.”

So very true. Too often, I think, we feel that we have the right to choose whatever way and desire and action to engage in that we want. We should be free to make those choice – regardless of what anyone else may say, think or do. And we are free to make those choices. But the one making the choice better be ready to accept the consequences. 

Consequences are often overlooked. They are pesky little things that no one wants to deal with. Yet, like a bad penny, they keep turning up. And they must be dealt with. 

Consequences can sometimes be good and sometimes they are not so good. They may seem bad at the time but turn out for the good. Regardless of how they turn out, consequences are the direct result of a choice. 

God gives us choices. He doesn’t want an army of robots to serve Him. He wants followers who love Him and choose to serve Him because of that love. And because He loves us and gives us that choice, He also gives us the opportunity to make the most out of consequences – good and bad. 

Today, you WILL have choices to make. You WILL experience consequences- good and bad. But one of the greatest things about these opportunities is that God has the ability to teach you in each choice and in each consequence. You (and I) need to be willing to learn in both situations. 

So, stretch those muscles, breathe deep and get ready for the challenge – He wants you to choose to serve Him today and He wants you to be ready for the consequences of that choice. Happy Wednesday!

The Encourager

Deuteronomy 3:28 – “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”

Encouragement. We all need a good, hefty dose now and then. We need someone to come alongside of us, wrap their arm around our shoulder and hear those words, “It’s okay. You got this.”

Too often, however, sometimes I find myself looking at that encourager and laughing at them. I want to say, “Seriously? Do you SEE what I’m up against?”  I don’t allow the one trying to lift me up to do so. Whatever good they are trying to build up within me, I’m tearing down just as fast as they build. 

Why? Why is that? Why do we reject emotional and spiritual and, sometimes, physical encouragement? 

Pride. “I don’t need no body’s help!” (Yes, I know it’s horrible grammar but it paints a more realistic picture. Work with me here!)

Pride is a horrible, ugly monster that creeps out of us at the most yucky of times. Here we are, wallowing in the mud and someone offers a hand to help and we push it away by trying to convince them it’s a spa treatment and we like it. When in truth, we are bawling our eyes out on the inside. We want their help but pride keeps us from accepting it. 

In these verses, God is telling Moses to go and have a few words with Joshua to build him up. He needs to be encouraged. He’s about to take over as leader of the children of Israel. I underlined “children” because that’s how they acted most of the time. You know, kinda like us…..

Joshua needed all the encouragement he could get. And know what? He took it. He gobbled it up like a Thanksgiving turkey! He knew he needed all the wisdom and encouragement Moses was willing to offer. 

We can learn a lot for Joshua. When someone tries to encourage you, take it. Gobble it up! Don’t be stubborn about it. Don’t try to be all cool about it. Take it in! God knows something you don’t know and He is using that encourager to get to you and build you up. 

Listen. Listen well. God is speaking. He wants you to hear. 

Why?

Deuteronomy 8:2 – “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”

Why? 

It’s a hard question. 

Why did my dad have to die before he met all his grandchildren? Why do people choose to not go to church? Why does it feel like the book of Jonah ends abruptly? Why do teenagers have more cups in their bathroom than washcloths? 

Deep, deep questions. 

The children of Israel had to be asking themselves this same question after spending forty years wondering around in the wilderness -why? God tells them why right here – to humble you, to prove you, to know your heart and to see if y’all would do what I tell you to. 

We often wonder why difficult things come into our life. We wonder why people die so young. We wonder why people make the choices they do. We wonder why people act like they do. 

Yesterday, we remembered a tragic and terrible time in our nation’s history. And many will ask why? Why did it happen? And I don’t know the answer. But when I look at what God told the children of Israel all those years ago about the reason behind their trials and tribulations, I wonder. I wonder if our trials are to prove us and humble us and see what’s really in our heart. But most importantly, I wonder if He wants to see if we will follow Him through it all. Will we choose Him? 

I’m not sure that this post has any real direction but rather more of a pondering. 

We need to remember. We need to consider. I think the time has passed from asking “why” but rather  we should be asking”what are we doing now?” Do we still need to be humbled? Do we still need to be proved? Do we know where our heart is? And are we doing what God is telling us to do?

Lest thou forget

Deuteronomy 4:9 – “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons”

If you are wondering where I have been and why I haven’t been posting, my family and I went to Washington DC for spring break. We had a great time, good laughs and really tired feet! I’m sure we walked an average of 8-10 miles per day. Lots to see and do in that great city. 

But our main focus, as is most who visit DC, was history. We went to several museums, monuments and buildings. We saw plaques proclaiming everything from George Washington’s gavel to lay the cornerstone for the Capitol to a box car used to carry people to concentration camps. It was all very moving. 

It called to rememberance great highs in our nations history and deep valleys in our world’s history. We were reminded of triumphs and challenges. We saw beautiful specticals of natural and great works of human hands. 

Just like so many of the others who walked beside us, we took our children to educate them. We want them to know and understand who we are as a nation, where we came from and why it is so important to preserve what our forefathers achieved. 

So many outside forces are working against our great nation. People want to tear down and destroy freedom and the pursuit of happiness. They think that the pursuit should be more of a handout. Some want to surpress freedom to keep from offending others. 

The founders of our country wanted nothing more than to live their lives apart from someone else’s control. They believed that only One should have control – God. They believed He founded and blessed this nation. I believe that as well. I believe that we must remember our past and honor our future by preserving and adhering to the principles set forth all those years ago. 

History is not just something to skim over and get through in school. It is the basis for everything that we do each and every day. And not only is our nation’s history important, but so is our spiritual history. His story is important. The founders of our country knew it and we would do well to take it to heart as well. 

Cooking with my son

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.”

My son is 14. The time has come to start teaching him to cook. He wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of cooking, but he is a good kid and did it any way. And guess what? I think he actually enjoyed it. He followed the recipe and made a few blunders, but all in all, he did a very good job and was very proud of himself. 

This whole experience caused me to remember that I need to be diligently teaching my children the principles of the Lord as well. They need to see me studying, praying, applying God’s principles and doing whatever else God has called me to do. They need to see. 

I need to be encouraging their walk with Him. They need to know, understand and appreciate that He is the only One that can be with them throughout everything in their life. 

Educating our children is vitally important. I have been reading in the Old Testament lately about one generation serving God and the next one has straying far from Him. And part of me doesn’t get it. I try very hard not to judge but rather to understand how that can happen. It is hard for me since I grew up in a home that loved the Lord, as did my parents. I can’t imagine my life without Him in it. 

But that is because my family was faithful. They taught me about God, about Jesus and His sacrifice. They taught me right from wrong based on the Word of God. But here is how it keeps on going – I chose to follow Him. 

I can teach my son all day long how to cook and clean and do laundry and any other task necessary for domestic survival, but until he decides he is going to do it, it means nothing. 

The same is true for the teachings of God. I can guide him and teach him and instruct him in the principles of the Lord, but until he takes them and applies them to his own life, they are just hanging out there in the air. 

But regardless of how things may or may not turn out, it is my responsibility to be diligently doing what I know God wants me to do. All I can do is teach and pray. And so, that’s what I do. 

A fourteen year old cooking breakfast for dinner is a big deal. But a fourteen year old living out the principles of God is an even bigger deal. 

Let me encourage you today to be an educator in someone’s life. You may or may not have children, but I can guarantee that there is someone in your life that needs educating. And God put you in their life to teach them about Him.