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1 Peter 3:2-4 – ” While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

It’s a big weekend – my daughter turns fourteen on Saturday. We are going out to a nice dinner tonight and tomorrow, she & I are going for a manicure and pedicure. 

But as she is growing and learning to be a woman, there is one thing that I want her to grasp and understand – beauty is not only skin deep. 

Beauty is something that comes from the inside. Beauty is a light that shines inside of you. It lights up a room. It can calm a situation. It brings warmth to a conversation. It is something that can’t be replicated in a doctor’s office. It isn’t something that can be taught. It has to be grown inside with diligence and patience. 

As my daughter faces even more challenges as a teenager via her peers and social media, I want her to appreciate what God is doing in her life. He is growing something special in her that He can use down the road to bring Him honor and glory. 

Yes, her hair is long and beautiful. Yes, her button nose is too cute. Yes, her freckles bring joy to my heart. And yes, her laughter is contagious. But it is her heart for others, her joyful spirit, her tenacity, her spunkiness and her love love of life that I don’t want to fade or grow dim or ever be cut off. 

Life takes it toll. Time marches on. But I pray that her beauty that truly lies within will never change. For that is what makes her my beautiful daughter. 

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. 

This morning…

Genesis 25:31-34 – “And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

This morning, the kids were eating breakfast and my son asked for a catalog that was near my daughter. Now, a bit of back story – A discussion arose concerning the temperature outside and the fact that my husband’s car only has seat warmers for the front seat. He was planning on taking the kids to school and my daughter was lamenting over cold seats in the back seat. She begged my son to allow her to sit upfront. He, of course, declined the request stating that was his place to sit. 

Back to the story – my daughter agreed to give him the catalog if he would allow her the front seat. He proceeded to reach across her for the catalog. To which she responded, “Come on Esau! Sell your birthright, you hairy brother!”

Now, this particular antidote has no real deep spiritual meaning. However, my children were having fun early in the morning with Godly stories in their mind. The scene itself made me smile, but what warmed my heart was the Biblical reference. God was on their mind. 

So, enjoy your day and always keep God in the forefront of your mind and your day! Happy Friday!

Ponder

Luke 2:15-19 – “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

We have already begun to listen to Christmas music at my house. Actually, it all began back in August, but my son started bringing it into the driving-to-school tunes last week. Of course, we had to kick things off with “Mary, did you know?” by Pentonix. I love to listen to that group sing!

In that song, they sing of some of the wonders and miracles Jesus performed. They also bring to mind the fact that when Mary kissed Jesus’ face that she kissed the face of God. Just think about that for a minute. When she held His hand, she held God’s hand. When she laughed with Him, she laughed with God. All those tender moments that a mom has with her little one, she had those with God. How cool is that!?

And yet, as He grew and she saw the things He did and knew the things He could do…did she know the reason He came? Did she truly understand what was required of Him as God’s only begotten Son? 

Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t. But my point in all of this is that sometimes we take for granted that Jesus was a real person who had a real mom and who had feelings and emotions just like we do. We forget that He laughed and sang songs and petted a dog. When we forget about those things, it makes it easier to shoulder the burden He bore for us. It makes it less cruel to consider His death for our sins. 

We need to ponder these things in our heart. Just as Mary heard the account of the angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth to the shepherds and she thought on these things, so should we when we remember His humanity, when we remember His sacrifice. It’s not just a story in a book. It is History. It is truth. 

So take some time to dust off the Christmas albums today and listen to the song. Remember His sacrifice. Think about His life – the one outside recorded history. Think about Him as a toddler, as a little boy, as a teenager. And thank Him for His sacrifice for our freedom in Him.  

Burnt carrotsĀ 

Psalm 102:1,2 – “A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.”

The day started out well. I was on time. And then a patient called out for help. And then I got caught my another need. And then I was late to get my son. And then my gas tank was on empty. And then practice ran long. And then I remembered my carrots were in the oven. And then I remembered they would be in there for an hour and a half – would I come home to a house in smoldering ruin? 

Well, we survived the burnt carrots and no one went hungry. As I prayed before dinner, my daughter snickered at me because this is how my prayer sounded – “Thank you Lord that the carrots didn’t burn the house down. Thank you for keeping us safe in our crazy afternoon. Thank you for providing this yummy food because our carrots burned. And thank you for helping us find joy in the little things. Amen.” Yes, you can snicker too. It was funny. She said it sounded like a scene from a VeggieTale movie. 

Sometimes the well planned day has a way of getting away from you. You plan everything to the last detail and revel in the fact that it will all come together smoothly. Then you find yourself helping out and low on gas. That’s life in a nut shell. 

The only thing to do is cry out into the Lord. And you know what? He really does care! He cares that the carrots burning in the oven stresses you out. He sees when you just can’t resist that sweet little lady that looks at you and says, “Honey, I really need to go to the bathroom.” He understands when the pumps at the gas station are all filled with cars and you are late. (Yep, this all happened yesterday!)   He knows when you are at the end of your rope. 

And He answers speedily. The house is safe. The food was good. The gas finally got in the car and I wasn’t stranded. Everyone got to where they needed to be. Homework was completed. And laundry was done. 

It was a great lesson, although I let the learning side of it stress me out. It was a reminder to cry out to Him. It was a reminder to let Him have it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. It was a reminder that He is quick to listen and sure to act. 

Thank you Lord for the lesson in burnt carrots. 

Date Night

Deuteronomy 11:18,19 – “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Every year for the last several years, my husband and I have had a date night with our children. He goes with our daughter and I go with our son. It is a special time that we all look forward to all year long. My husband and my daughter always go somewhere nice – you know, the kind of place that has a dress code. My son and I, however, well…let’s just say we are getting there. Our first date night was to a sandwich place at the beginning of a snow storm. It was memorable in its’ own right.

But tonight, we are going some place that has valet parking, not that I would pay to have someone park my car because I’m too lazy to walk, but the principle is there that this is a pretty swanky place. I’m excited. My son is quickly growing up before my very eyes and soon, he will be taking another girl out for Valentine’s day. I still hope that he wants to take his mom out some time through the month of February.

Anyway, I know you have to be wondering what in the world this has to do with our verses today.

God instructed the children of Israel to teach the laws and commandments to their children. It was to be very important, a daily task. They were to teach them the importance of following God. They were to teach them how to follow Him. They were to teach them why they should follow Him.

Do we do this today? Do we teach our children about the principles and necessity of following after Christ and sharing Him with others? We teach our children how to play sports, why we play sports, but do we teach our children how we are to approach worship services and why we go to worship services?

Date night at our house is special because it provides one on one time with our children. It is an opportunity to see how they are really doing, what they fear, what they are excited about, their dreams, answer questions that they may have but have been too busy or too scared to ask. It is not only a time of enjoying each others company but also a time of teaching. They learn who their mom and dad truly are. They learn what is really important to us. It is an opportunity to teach them something about God. It is an opportunity to teach them the importance of one on one time with those that they love – namely, it should be a time to encourage their walk with the Lord.

I want to encourage you today, especially if you have children, to make time for those that you love. Typically, you put your heart and soul into the things or people you love. Do you do the same for your Savior? When was the last time you had a “date night” with Jesus? When was the last time that you devoted time to just you and Him?

Laughter

Proverbs 15:15 – “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

I read a saying one time that said this – He who can laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. That is so true. We need laughter in our life. 

Last night, I was picking my daughter up from dance class. I had been sitting in the car messing around on my phone while I was waiting for her. I saw her coming, so I fastened my seatbelt and turned on the car. When she got in, I touched the gas pedal without putting the car in drive. It revved up and my daughter just looked at me like I had lost my mind. All I could do was laugh and laugh really hard. It had been a long time since I had done something like that. 

The other night after church while the kids were eating dinner, my son decided we had to see some of the funny videos he had found online. My husband was rolling, he was laughing so hard. Tears were streaming and we were all bent over with laughter. It was a good time. 

I believe that Jesus had a sense of humor as He walked this earth. I believe that He has a sense of humor now.  There have been times when I know He has to be up in Heaven looking down and laughing with me, or at the very least, He has a big smile on His face. 

We are created in His image. The Bible tells us that there is nothing that we go through that He didn’t face. I don’t want to take away from the holiness and the seriousness of God. I just want you to put yourself in the shoes of a nonbeliever and see yourself from their eyes. Do they truly see Jesus and all that He is or do they see someone caught up in self-imposed rules that they think makes them holy?

People need to see you and I enjoying life. They need to see that we take life seriously but not so seriously that we forget to enjoy it. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything. We don’t have to act the same way all the time. 

So today, let me encourage you to enjoy life. Laugh when you can. We only get once shot at this. Make it a good one.