Children · Daily Life · Relationships

Obedience

If you have children or nanny at all then you will have a pretty good concept map in your mind about what it means to be obedient. As a nanny, when I think obedience – I expect first time obedience. When it is said you go do it. That is what my parents taught me and it’s what I have come to think of when I think obedience.

Lately I’ve been wondering what obedience to God would look like, besides the obvious. This was brought to my mind when I was reading The Pursuit by Lori Wick, yes I enjoy Christian romance novels. In this story the main character stated:

“I can think of God as my savior and even my friend, but I must never forget that He is God, and after He saves me, I must put myself into subjection to Him and His will.”

Just ponder that for a moment. He’s a savior and a friend, But he is God!

****Reality Check****

When we get saved – we are not only letting him into our hearts but we are agreeing to follow him and live a life that is worthy of His name. 

*********************************************************************************

Ok – It is one thing for me to say it and another thing for me to show it – here we go from the Bible!

  1. Matthew 12:50 tells us “For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

While this seems like an odd and sort of hard to comprehend verse – I believe it’s really quite simple. Message: Doing God’s will draws us closer to him and closer to knowing Christ.

Think about it like this – we receive the Holy Spirit when we become believers. When we walk with God it makes it easier to walk in the Spirit. This doesn’t mean we don’t struggle but that it’s easier. Walking in the Spirit and following with complete obedience to God does mean that we draw close, learn his will, and act upon it. The benefits are knowing him more and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

2. John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

I grew up in a farming town. I helped on a sheep farm – largest east of the Mississippi – over 8,000 female sheep alone (This doesn’t include the babies – expect each female to have at least 1, maybe 2; and the males). Every morning the farmer would walk out to his sheep and say a word that sounded like “good-day”; he would say this over and over while the sheep followed him to the feeding trough. When I said it they ran away. They knew the farmer.

This verse spoke to me greatly, because of the symbolism. Here’s what I believe God said to me via this verse:

  • We are sheep. Follow with me – not only is he using symbolism for believers to be sheep but we really are. Sheep are stupid. It just takes one stupid sheep to run into the road and the whole flock follows. Humans are sheep – not trying to be mean but it’s true. It just takes one leader and the whole flock follows. Think about it – Hitler (one leader) and the holocaust happened; None of his followers questioned if it was right or wrong, blind obedience. God is asking that we be obedient to his word. That is why we have the Bible. If you think something is of God – Pray and Seek his word before you act! 
  • The only way to really know God is to follow him closely. Not only do the sheep in this verse know his name but they follow him. Fun Fact – the disciples followed Christ so closely they were in his dust. Maybe that’s what we need to aim for – listen, not just hear but listen to God and then accept his will and act on it in obedience to him. Obedience will draw us closer to him.
  • If we follow him in obedience – we will be able to tell when it is his voice and when it isn’t. We will know the truth. If sheep hear their shepherd daily, they know him. If we walk and live in obedience to God daily, we will know him. Obedience to God’s commands will help us discern truth from lies.

3. John 14:15 “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

When you love your child, you want them to obey you not because you are power-hungry (at least I hope that isn’t the reason), but because you are trying to do what is right for them. You are trying to help them not get hurt and be the best person they can be. You teach them through obedience that they can trust you because you have their best interests at heart.

  • God has our best interests at heart. He wishes nothing but good for you and that is why he asks that we keep his commandments. When you love someone you trust them. If we love God, we trust God, and we live out his commandments as best we can.

4. John 14:23 “Jesus answered him ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Lets start basic – If we love him, we will keep his word. Obedience. This will result in two things:

  • The father will love him. Obedience results in blessings. That being said it doesn’t always mean immediate or physical blessings – ok? But it will result in blessings in your life.
  • You will have a better knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says they will make their home with you. I believe this to mean that you will have an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will understand when the Spirit is guiding you better.

5. Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

This one is hard. Being subject to governing authorities….. everyone loves this verse (total sarcasm). Lets start small:

  • All authorities are placed in power by God. He allows rulers to be elected or placed in power and he removes them – only in his timing. Which means, to me, that the current president of the United States of America, was allowed by God to be placed into that station. It also means that, my husband was placed into the leadership role of our household by God.
  • We are to be subject to the governing authorities. Obedient. Subject. Respectful. Follow the laws as long as they don’t go against God and his teaching.
    • Daniel is great example of this. He was subject, obedient, and respectful to King Darius but when Darius said “worship only me”, Daniel knew it was going against God. That is where he drew the line.
    • Abigail was married to Nabal. She lived with a difficult man and was subject to him in respectful obedience. When he snubbed King David and it would cost the family their lives, then Abigail stepped up and respectfully changed King Davids mind –  that saved her family.

 

Final Thoughts:

  • When we accept Christ we not only accept that he saved us but we are committing to a new way of life – a life in subjection to his will.
  • The more we follow God the more we will understand his will and understand when the Spirit is talking to us.
  • We are to be obedient to God first and second to authorities placed above us.

Have feed back or questions – please leave a comment. God bless.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

Faithfully Committed?

Continuing with the concept of the Fruits of the Spirit – I’ve been thinking about faithfulness.

Galatians 5:22-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This verse was taken from http://www.Biblegateway.com; when I was covering patience I noticed something interesting. Patience and faithfulness seemed to always be shown hand in hand. What I mean was verses who talking about us being patient to others always mentioned faithfulness as well. I mean we all know that they are both fruits of the spirit but when you hear the term “faithful” do you think of faithfulness like God, aka – being committed and following through, or just having faith?

I always interpreted it to mean being full of faith but after looking at verses that pertain to Obedience and patience – I’m beginning to think they don’t mean just full of faith. It seems like this is a term that contains double meanings.

Whenever the Bible refers to faithfulness whether its in terms of the Fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to show or it’s referring to God’s promises – it talks about just that. Being someone of your word. Being faithful to your promises to other and to God.

This made me think of two applications in life that pertain to this in our culture.

1) Being committed to God. I’m not sure about you but having faithfulness to follow through on a commitment to God is difficult. Committing to daily being in the Word or Praying regularly can be very tough. Please don’t misunderstand me, I know life gets crazy (Heck I’m studying to be an RN, working as a Nanny, have a full-time ministry as a Wife and volunteer with two different organizations – I understand crazy, busy). What I am saying is we are to be fully committed to God and faithful to him. Sometimes this is clear and easy, sometimes it needs more faithfulness (commitment) and prayer.

 

2) Being a “Man of Our Word”. Lets face facts – We are to be Salt of the Earth, A Light on a Hill. God doesn’t want us to simply accept the salvation he offers and then continue on with the way we were living – we aren’t to be “Weekend Christians”. When you accept Christ as your savior – you are committing to a full-time ministry and a way of life. When you commit to something – stick it out. We live in a world of instant gratification, where if something doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for us – we quit and move on. The prime example that comes to my mind is marriage. Don’t marry someone lightly, Don’t divorce lightly. Both come with high prices and both are strong, solid, and occasionally unforgiving commitments. Another example is work. When you take a job as a christian – not only are you representing yourself but Christ and other Christians. Be faithful to give 100% and to show up on time with a patient and loving heart. Nothing is harder to come behind another “christian” and try to pick up the pieces showing that not everyone is the same.

As the new year begins – I challenge all Christians who have accepted Salvation to live it out. Give God one month of solid faithfulness (praying and reading the Word, or doing a Bible Study) and watch how it changes your life.

If you are having trouble coming up with some studies – I can the few below:

1.Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer
by Priscilla Shirer

2.The Armor of God
by Priscilla Shirer

3.Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer
by Beth Moore

4.Living Beyond Yourself – Bible Study Book: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit
by Beth Moore

5.Children of the Day – Bible Study Book: 1 & 2 Thessalonians
by Beth Moore

Both of these women are respectable, classy, and faithfully committed to God. Their studies have helped me many times over and I would highly recommend them to anyone that is struggling with simply reading and understanding the Bible. Joyce Meyers is my other favorite and you can hear them all speak on Itunes podcasts or youtube.com.

On a final note – take time to think about faithfulness and what it means. Pray and seek God’s wisdom as you look to pursue having this spiritual fruit in your life. Drop me a comment if you would like me to pray for you. God Bless.

Children · Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Reviews

Patience, Dear One….

“I don’t have time for this.” I spewed, totally exasperated with my family. Tossing my phone onto my bed, I stomped away. My husband looked at me and said “Relax, babe. be Patient.” There it was again – that word that has haunted my life for a long time.

Patience. One word that always makes your skin bristle just a bit. It’s like the word “Submit”. You read it in the Bible and your flesh has an immediate reaction to it, faster than a gluten-intolerant person eating bread. If you live in the United States of America – being patient isn’t something that is practiced. In the age of Amazon, Google, and the internet – learning to wait for something is unnecessary. Ours is a culture that has become accustomed to having everything now.

Here’s why I decided to research patience in the Bible – Everyone always compliments me on it when I am calm and things are going my way, but no one ever says I have it when difficult circumstances hit.

It’s a fruit of the Spirit – I’m supposed to have it right? So I decided to do a word search for verses discussing it in the Bible – there had to be something I was missing about being patient. Sure enough – I think there’s a bit I originally missed.

Here’s what I have learned:

If you do a word search for “patience” in the Bible – you will find out that all the verses are almost always piggy-backed with the term perseverance or suffering. All of the verses talk about waiting patiently for the Lord and he will…. remove or adjust the suffering. This leads me to believe:

  1. That patience isn’t just about waiting when it’s easy to wait. It’s about waiting when it’s hard to wait. When it’s easy – everyone does it. It isn’t a problem to seem patient and kind when things are going your way but it is hard when things aren’t going your way.
  2. It is best shown as a fruit of the spirit when it is under persecution or suffering. Think about it – if it was easy and you didn’t need to have it during suffering – even atheists would have patience. Then there would be no difference between believers and non-believers, how would Christ be glorified in that?

Ok – Verses to show you what I mean:

  1. Job 23: 10-12 – The Summary of Job is that God allows everything to be taken from Job – his home, family, friends, health….. pretty much everything but his life. Job remains faithful to God. So immediately we see suffering.

The verses say “But he knows the way that I take; When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”

What I love about these verses is that immediately Job acknowledges that God knows the way and that he is allowing what is happening to happen.

Second – Job makes the point that God will produce Jobs character to be as gold.

Gold has to go through a lot of heat to get purified. 

I want you to sit on that for a minute. A Lot of Heat to be Purified. Sometimes things happen that we don’t want or like – think of it as being purified.

Third – Job states that he hasn’t and will not turn aside from Gods ways; he treasures Gods words and values them more than food. While this speaks more to faithfulness than patience, but I think it is an eye opener. Joyce Meyers makes a point in one of her podcasts about patience that it isn’t just about waiting but what you do while you wait that makes the difference.

Being Faithful to God while you wait is Patience.

2. Psalms 40:1-3 ” I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

I love these verses. I stumbled upon them several years ago when I was really struggling with depression.

Everywhere in the Bible – God says to cry out to him. He also makes a point to talk about those who did so and how he listened to them. I would like to note that he never promises to act immediately. With Hannah in 2 Samuel – He waited years. She cried out to him many times and he waited years. She was patient and faithful. Many characters in the Bible – they Pray and ask and wait for years while they endure.

Patience seems like it is continually walking with God even when nothing changes when we want it to. 

3. Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

This verse brings imagery into my mind. Think of a person who has gone into physical rehabilitation – they can’t really walk and they grow weary/faint when they do so too long. They have to renew their strength by practicing exercises and consistently working muscles to grow up to what they were.

When you wait for God – You have to patiently and faithfully dedicate yourself to practicing his word so that when he tells you – you can run the race for the Gospel. Anyone who exercises will tell you that they don’t run marathons overnight – it takes self-control, faithfulness and patience to get where they are to do it.

4. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Think – we practice faithfulness to God during suffering, And we rejoice, because it produces endurance – an endurance to run the race for Christ, which produces character – More fruits of the Spirit and a character that stands out, which gives us hope and we will not be put to shame!

 

5. James 1: 2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

We are to count it joy when we have trials. You always hear stories of people who lose their spouses or people who are homeless or have nothing who say “it’s ok because God is still good.” They are counting it a blessing and a joy to have the trial. You know what they will have when they are done – STEADFASTNESS.

Think of Steadfastness as – faithfulness, stick-to-it-ness. The ability to hold fast to what they believe and know. They will have perseverance. Which will aid in the growth of becoming perfect and complete (don’t trip over that too much – it’s a stepping stone in that direction.).

 

In Summary, here’s what I have learned about patience:

  • It isn’t how long you wait – it’s what you do while you wait.
  • You have to excercise your faith while you wait so that you can run the race when it is time.
  • it produces faithfulness, steadfastness, and if you practice it – praising through trials
  • You will have renewed strength when it passes
  • People will arise and glorify God by witnessing your story
  • You will come out as gold.
  • It is a stepping stone for perfection and completion in Christ.

I hope this helps you all understand patience like it helped me. As always – feel free to leave a prayer request or question. God Bless.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Work

Loving the Unlovable

I apologize for not writing more this week – It as been a long one filled with turmoil and a lot of Illness filling our home. That being said – I have been praying and asking God to show me what to write about. He really brought to mind for me all the people I have had in my life, specifically the difficult ones.

If there is one thing in life that is always guaranteed it’s that you will always have at least 1 difficult person in your life. I like to thing of them as the sand paper of life. God places them there to teach you something and smooth out your rough edges. With it being right on the holidays, I really felt that it was needed to talk about how to deal with the difficult people in life.

Look – When it comes to dealing with people it’s easy to deal with the nice people. The people who are good to you – it’s easy to be good to them. It’s hard to be nice to difficult people. And I’m not talking about putting up a phony front about being nice then going behind the their backs and talking about them (again – this has taken me years to learn and I’m still imperfect, so please don’t think I’m saying this from a “I can do it already” vantage point).

God calls us to love one another. Not just the people we do like but to love everyone. In Fact in Matthew 5 he gives a direct command “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. We are called to do this because even unbelievers can love people who are their friends. But it shows God’s love when we can love someone. We are called to be Salt of the earth, Lights of the world. How can we do this – simple – love those who hate us.

Ok so here’s the thing – It’s hard to love that boss you have that is just really pushy and short with you. The one who rides you into the ground daily. It’s hard to deal with that girl who calls you and is always complaining. That coworker who can’t show up for work because she is “sick” then posts pictures on instagram of her going drinking with her boyfriend/girlfriends. It’s hard to forgive the man or woman who wronged you. Your ex who told you he wanted a divorce. Your husband who said something hurtful today, that you just can’t seem to let go of. I have been through all of that. It never gets easier but I have learned how to forgive these people. I have learned what helps me to start thinking of them as needing love not hate, anger, or resentment.

Here’s what I do:

  1. pray for them. I pray. I pray for them daily. If you are like me you have a prayer journal and their name is written 3 times minimum. I pray for them to become closer to God and for him to make them into the person he wants them to be. Here’s the thing – When you pray for them, it may not change the situation. It may not even change them. But it will change you. Every time God tells us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies – he follows it with “pray for them”. Even Christ did this as he was on the cross – he said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Pray with a humble heart for the Lord to touch their lives in a miraculous way.
  2. I buy them a gift. Now this works in situations where you will see them at work daily but not in all situations. Typically I just buy them a coffee or a latte and bring it to them with a note like “your daily cup of joy”. This sounds stupid but most of the time it just lets the person know you are thinking of them. Something that small like a can of coke or cup of coffee can make their day that much better. Plus – it marks the first tangible step of forgiveness and attempt at unconditional love for me. Several of the people who have been the most difficult in my life – we now keep in touch and while we may never be best friends, I do count them as real friends.
  3. Realize that they may not change. The behavior they have – sometimes it will change. I have had an experience where it has changed but I have also had experiences where it hasn’t. I still pray for these people even though I don’t have any interaction with them. And I still send them small gifts when I can. But I also realize – their behavior might not change and it’s important to come to terms with that. But my reactions to their behaviors have.

Jesus Died for everyone. Not just for the righteous. He forgave Judas – a man who sent him to his death. One of the most interesting teachings is the Lords Prayer:

“Our Father in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom Come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil. ”

I just want to rest on the idea of God forgiving us our debts – think of ever sin you have ever committed (if you haven’t committed many – kudos to you but you are wrong; and if you are like me – I get it.). He forgives all of those. Every single sin that popped into your head – it’s already forgiven. Isn’t that incredible!? How could we do any less. I would like to point out that if you can’t forgive the next verse tells us that we will not be forgiven by the Father. Without forgiveness we can’t have unity as a body of believers. Without forgiveness we can’t have unconditional love. And without forgiveness – we can’t see people change or come to Christ.

It’s time to stop letting the people who are hurting influence our behavior. It’s time to be Salt of the earth and Lights to the world. It’s time to turn the other cheek. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

Tips On What To Expect In A Bi-racial Relationship

**DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to offend or hurt anyone – it is simply to shine a light on how things may be perceived.**

When people use the phrase “Love is blind” I’m not ever sure they really mean it when they talk about relationships. Maybe they do. I mean, I’m married to a Peruvian man and honestly that’s the last thing I think about when I see him. There are certain things though that come with being in a bi-racial relationship. In case you haven’t figured it out yet – I’m a caucasian, american woman. I grew up in a white town in the middle of Midwest America. The song “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift was exact in how I felt when I moved away.

Ok so back to bi-racial relationships! While they aren’t as abnormal anymore as when “Loving vs. Virginia” took place – they are still pretty unusual. Here’s the thing – where I grew up it was, and still is on some level, taboo. When I’m home and go through the town I grew up with my husband – we get weird looks, comments that are double-edged, and the weirdest questions. So for the those of you who are looking for some insight – here we go:

  1. Cultural assimilation? This is what I mean by assimilation, One person adapting the culture of another place or person’s heritage until they are a new version of that item. A great version of this is Hip-Hop/Rap; originally written by African-Americans in the “hood” as an outlet of the way they were treated/put down/felt. assimilation – Enter Mackelmore or Eminem. Now please – I love their music but they are great examples of assimulation. Another version is Tacos – yea that yummy food – happens every Tuesday night for me…. Real tacos do NOT look like that! They don’t have cheese and olives. America has taken the Taco and assimilated it to be what we want. Assimulation is defined as taking something and changing it to be similar to what it was origionally but changing it. When you are a relationship with a person that is a different race – get ready for assimulation. You and that person will become your own culture. It’s going to be different from what you grew up with. There is nothing bad in this – hold to certain traditions but some need to grow and change.
  2. Ignorant Questions – Ok, I HATE ignorant questions. By default I’m not the most patient person. I never have been, but ignorant questions irritate me to an extreme. Some of my favorites are about how I’m being treated because of a stereotype the person has seen on TV relating to Latino men. The other one I love is that when people assume that one country of South America is the same as another. IT IS NOT. Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil – they all have very different cultures, holidays, traditions, dress, and even languages! My husband is from Peru – his roommate when we married was from Honduras, while they both speak Spanish, they both have different slang. It is similar to someone being from Northern United States and going to the Deep South United States. They have a different way of talking and celebrating holidays. Think Sweet Tea, Southern Draws, and Pecan Pie. Do NOT assume that just because someone speaks Spanish they are all from Mexico – its offensive. And just because you watched Spanglish or Fast and Furious that doesn’t make you an expert on Latino culture. If you have a friend who is in a bi-racial relationship, don’t ask offensive questions – google it!
  3. Colorism – I mention this because it’s a real thing. Even if you don’t have colorism tendencies (I applaud you because everyone does – now time to come out of the world of denial), get ready to see everyone elses. Like I said, my husband and I get dirty looks walking down streets in certain areas of the United States. We ignore and cope. But I can safely say that I have heard some horrible things regarding race/colorism from those around me that I have respect for. I also know that many cultures/subcultures have colorism tendencies. I see it when I speak with my extended family. It’s common and extremely “normal”. Here’s a bit of advice – choose your battles. If you don’t agree with it – like I don’t, understand this, you will not change the culture over night. In fact it might never change. You can try to tell your family where they have gone wrong – I encourage you to do it gently, but you may not even change them. It’s ok. You aren’t alone. Just take a deep breath and remember to focus on continuing to change what you can. Let the rest go.

 

Here’s the final things to remember. Relationships are hard. Being in a bi-racial brings in new issues. Sometimes its communication, culture, other people’s ignorant actions that bring hurt. If you are in a relationship like this – I hope I helped you a bit. I would love your feedback. If you have a friend who is in a bi-racial relationship – I hope I gave you some insight into what they see and experience on a daily basis. Now you know why they get offended over “little issues”. Those “little issues” are the things that really affect their lives on a daily basis. At the end of the day just remember “Haters gonna Hate” Proverbs 5:8, sometimes people are going to disagree even if it’s something good for you.