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Oh, middle school…

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Middle school girls. Know any? With all the hormones and sudden interest in boys, it can be a terrifying and heart wrenching and just plain stupid experience. It is all drama, drama, drama. 

Right now, my thirteen year old daughter is experiencing friend troubles over a boy – an eighth grade boy. Now, I have had an eighth grade boy, so I can say this – rarely is a female friendship is worth destroying over an eighth grade boy. But this is something these girls are going to have to figure out. My advice seems futile and until someone gives, they are all at a stalemate. It is sad. 

But one thing this whole bit of drama is doing for our precious girls is teaching them valuable life lessons. They probably don’t understand, but they are sharpening one another. They are teaching one another. They are learning how to live in a world where things don’t always go your way and people don’t always behave like you think they should. They are learning that they are going to have to put on their big girl panties and deal with things instead of turning away from the situation. 

Friends are beautiful treasures that can decorate your life like nothing else but can also weigh heavy on your heart at times. But a true friend is one that walks with you through all the heartaches you face – even when that heartache is from another friend. 

Friends sharpen one another. 

So, let me encourage you to be a friend. Be a friend that walks the walk and talks the talk. Be a friend that is life long and precious no matter the situation. 

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Know who you fight

Ephesians 6:10-12 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .”

We depend so much on our sight. We want to see the beauty of God’s creation. We want to see the smiling faces of our loved ones. We want to be able to read. Our sight is vitally important to us. 

So, how are we supposed to fight someone we can’t see? We can see the ground before us and look to where the holes might be in the grass, but sometimes we miss one and fall in. We can watch the traffic out on the road, but sometimes someone does something that causes an accident that we never saw coming. 

As a follower of Christ, we do not battle against things we can see and touch. We battle against principles and ideas. And at times, it gets really dark because we find ourself in a battle with “rulers of darkness” and “spiritual wickedness”. Serious stuff. 

We like to joke that the devil is this dumb little demon with horns and a pitchfork. But in reality, we are facing a fallen angelic being who is a maniac with destruction in his heart. This isn’t some little red being snearing in the corner, rubbing his hands together and giggling mischievously. No, 1 Peter 5:8 says this – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A lion. There is nothing sweet and innocent about a full grown lion. I don’t believe that Peter was speaking of a cub here. 

Sometimes, we all need a reminder of who it is we are dealing with in our daily life. We need to be vigilant in remembering that this devil is no cute and mischievous little demon. He is a full grown, mean and nasty, ready to tear you apart kind of being. You need to be prepared. 

The great thing about all this is God doesn’t leave us without protection. We have the armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:13-18. It’s all right there in black and white. It is ready for you to check out and apply. 

Through His eyes

Ezekiel 14:23 – “And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.”

At some point or another, we have all wished to see things through someone else’s eyes. We were watching a movie the other day where adults were able to see what this child was seeing to try and discern what he was thinking. Scary concept, great idea. But we can’t see or know what someone else is seeing and thinking. 

But God can. He knows what is going on in that brain of yours right now. He knows what you are seeing. He knows what you are feeling. He knows why you are feeling the way you do and why you are thinking the things you are thinking. It’s not an invasion of privacy, but rather it is the privilege of the Creator. And it’s helpful to boot! 

Because He sees and knows all that we think and do, He doesn’t act randomly in our life. Everything has purpose and meaning. God calls us to do certain things in our life for a reason. We may never know it, but He does. 

It’s VBS time and I have been reading our lessons. There are some really good lessons this year! 

One line that I read in relation to this verse was this – “God always calls is to do what we would want to do if we could see what God sees.” You have to read that line a few times to get it to sink in – it’s deep, but man, is it good! 

We can’t see what God sees. We just have to trust Him and trust what He says through His word. We have to trust that He has a plan and we are blessed enough to be involved. That, my friend, is the basis of courage. You can’t have it without knowing that there is plan even if you don’t know it. 

We are afraid of the unknown. But we can face the unknown if we know that Someone can see it and He has a plan for it. There is comfort in knowing that God sees all. There is courage in knowing that He has a plan. There are blessings in accepting that He has chosen to involve us in it. 

So even though we will never be able to see things through God’s eyes, we can have confidence that because He sees through our eyes, He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. And we know that He has a plan. We just need to pray for the courage to play it out. 

Numbering the days

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Well, it’s official – I now have a child in high school. I’m not lamenting, I’m just sayin’….

As I dropped the kids off for their last day of seventh and eighth grade yesterday, I have to admit, I was a little sad. It seems only yesterday, we were going to preschool and wondering if they would ever learn to read. Now, algebra is their main concern – their mixing letters AND numbers together. 

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are great kids. They are loving kids. They are obedient and respectful. 

However, I can also remember the days when I was younger. I remember planning what I would do and expect from my spouse. I remember dreaming about the man I would marry. All the dreams of a young girl’s heart were mine. And that was yesterday, wasn’t it?

My point is – time is flying. Some days it flies out the window and some days it flies down the toilet – depends on the day. Most of my days are out the window, which is a good thing. 

Yet, here we have Moses asking God to teach us to number our days so that we can seek out and apply wisdom. The other night in Discovery, we talked about wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is knowing information. Understanding is learning a lesson from the knowledge. Wisdom is applying knowledge and understanding to an outside situation. 

Think of all those years you have spent learning knowledge and understanding. Now that you have some years under your belt, you should have some wisdom to mete out. Notice I said “should”. Some people can live a really long time without an ounce of wisdom. It’s sad. Now, I’m not saying we should be a bunch of old owls looking down on everyone. Goodness no! I want to be the crazy, fun lady that every one wants to talk to because she has a way of applying things that just makes sense. No hidden messages. No confusion. Just good, down to earth advice that makes you stop and say, “oh, yeah..” while you scratch your head. You know what I mean. 

Number your days. I’m trying not to lament and be sad. Instead, I want to rejoice and be glad at the growth physically, emotionally and spiritually of my children. I want to help them reflect and learn from this year. And when they think of me and our car rides to and from school, I want them to smile and remember the crazy way that mom had of making them see things. I want to beautifully number my days. 

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. 

The Milk Story

1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”

I have a thirteen year old son and I love him to death. He makes me laugh so hard sometimes. But like any thirteen year old boy, I can’t keep him full. On any given day, I usually have 1-2 gallons of milk in my refrigerator. The other day, I had two gallons from two different places – one from the grocery store and the other from Target. The gallon that was open was from the grocery store. Well, he had finished off the open one but needed more milk. Now in my mind, you open the one that has the closest date on it – use it before it expires. In this case, it was the gallon from Target that should have been opened next.  My son, however, did not see it that way. He opened the one from the grocery store. When I asked him why he would open the one from the grocery store instead of the one from Target, he simply said this, “Well mom, I was afraid the one from Target would taste different and I didn’t want to have two different kinds of milk in my glass!” And he said this quickly. He didn’t have to stop and think about it. He already had it planned out in his mind what he would say if asked about the milk. In his mind, it was a straight forward thing. No body wants to have two different kinds of tastes in their mouth when they are enjoying a glass of milk, right?

Yes, I know it is a silly story, but it’s a good one to show this spiritual truth – Be ready to give an answer, always. My son did not hesitate when asked about the milk. I’m not sure if he had been sitting on the couch just waiting for me to ask him about it or what. But he was ready. 

You are going to be out in the world every single day in same why shape or form. People are going to see you doing your job, getting groceries and spending time with people who mean a lot to you. Are they going to see you behaving differently or are they going to see the same thing that they see in everybody else? Hopefully, they are going to see something different. And when they do, they are going to ask questions. Will you have an answer? Will you be able to tell them what makes you different?

You know, I don’t think that I have ever had anyone come up to me and ask me why I’m different but I have had them come up and ask me about what I believe. I think that when people see that I choose not to curse and drink that is when they know that I’m a follower of Christ. People see those differences sharply. I’m very vocal about things, I know that surprises you. So when someone remotely asks me about something, I will go all out and tell them everything I know. Sometimes they get more than they bargained for! 

So my encouragement to you today, Princess, is to be ready and speak out. God has something to say to someone and you need to be His mouth piece. Don’t let fear stand in your way. But you have to be prepared. You have to get in His word. You have to make the effort to be in that relationship with Him. Spend some time with Him today. 

How to be holy in a modern world of weird – part 5

1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance”

Obedience – a word that everybody hates, especially children. Obedience can be defined as “compliance with a command, prohibition or known law and rule of duty prescribed. The command must be known to the person, and his compliance must be in consequence of it, or it is not obedience.” (Webster’s 1828)

When I saw this definition, it made me stop and think a moment. I think what caught my eye was the fact that the command is “known” to the person. You see, many people will say that they don’t do what God wants them to do because they don’t know what God wants them to do. True, God doesn’t speak to us audibly and tell us what He wants us to do. But He does speak to us through His Word and through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the choice to do what we know He wants us to do.

Obedience means just that – doing what you know you are supposed to do. It means doing it when you don’t know the why or how, sometimes. Obedience requires listening skills. You have to listen to His instruction in order to follow them. That means you have to make the choice to go and be instructed – whether that means going to church or reading your Bible. You can’t learn if you don’t get the proper information.

Before you were saved, you lived your life by your own standards. Now as a follower of Christ, you have a whole new set of standards to live by, a higher set of standards. Peter is encouraging us in this passage to choose not to fashion your day by your former way of life. Before Christ, you lived in ignorance. Now you live in the light of His love.

Obedience is part of being holy. I am not foolish enough to suggest that obedience is perfection. No one can be without sin, except for Jesus, of course. But we can try to live our life according to His instructions and commands. We can pattern our life after His.

So, today, princess, try on obedience for size. See how it fits on you. Of course, you know the first step to obedience – getting in the Word. Another step is to pray about it. Ask Him to help you to be more obedient. Ask Him to show you how to make better choices. And when He does, praise Him for it. Show Him your love and gratitude by saying “thank you”. Sometime obedience is hard, but the benefits are worth the trouble.