Friday, October 17, 2014


That’s How God Operates
                Lately, I’ve been experiencing feelings I couldn’t really explain to others, and assuming it was just a normal way of life for a mother trying to raise three kids, be a good wife, and serve God in this crazy day and age.  But in attending church and bible study over the last few weeks, two bible teachers I greatly admire, spoke on a subject and very colorfully put into words exactly what I was experiencing. 
                They both questioned the listening audience asking, “Do you experience a heaviness of heart throughout your day over situations that have not come to pass?  Are you burdened about the ‘what if’s’ of life?  What if my children get sick?  What if my husband loses his job? What if my wife leaves?  Do you feel pressure to perform, wondering if you measure up, or are doing all that you should be doing?”
With tears in my eyes, I wanted to scream, “Yes, Yes!”  That’s me.  Interestingly, in both cases these two well respected bible teachers were describing personal experiences; both labeling this heaviness as oppression and a spirit of affliction that lurks in this world thanks to sin.
It makes perfect sense.  How else can you explain waking up on a beautiful morning, in a warm and cozy home with three healthy children and a loving husband and still be haunted by “what if’s?”  We all have our own set of “what if’s,” and Satan would like nothing more than to keep you entangled in a myriad of questions and doubts.  All the while, God is whispering in your ear, “Didn’t I bring you this far?  Why would I stop now?”
              I am grateful to have learned that the heaviness I have been carrying for so long can be lifted; through prayer.  Philippians 4:6, 7 reminds us to pray, give thanks and make our requests known to God.  Yet what many glaze over in this section of the bible is that we are reminded by doing so, “Our hearts and minds will be guarded in Christ Jesus.”  In other words, the burdens of today, tomorrow and yesterday can all be lifted in one way-just pray.
                Through prayer this week, may you be granted the ability to live as though the places you go, the people you love and the things you have are gifts from God, not burdens to worry about.  He simply wants you to care for them, give thanks for them, and talk to Him about them.
                That’s how God operates.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Praying for you from Head to Toe


 

As my children get older, it’s becoming very obvious to me, that there will be (already have been) choices they make regarding friends, behaviors, music etc. that are completely out of my control.  After all, I cannot “police” what they are doing online and follow them around 24/7.  (I know this because I’ve already tried and it’s exhausting.  And even then, I still missed a few things.)  Although I am very grateful and praise God when they make good decisions, my heart has already been wounded by some not so great decisions as well.  It’s just proof positive that we live in a fallen world and we (and our children) are prone to sin and no amount of church attendance or bible reading can completely obliterate it from our lives.
Yet what is a parent supposed to do?  Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worry and anxiety can (and will) run rampant every time our children leave home if we are constantly focused on what they’re doing, who they’re with, what they’re listening too. 
Recently, I came across a prayer:  Praying For Your Children From Head To Toe.  The control I regained praying this prayer is powerful.  I am reminded every time I pray through it, that “I can’t control these outside influences and be everywhere all the time God, but You Can.
May you be blessed and feel more in control when praying this prayer for your children too.  (Keep in mind; it’s a wonderful prayer for adult children who are struggling and out of your reach.)

Dear Lord,
Today I pray earnestly for my children:
For their minds: That they would earnestly seek wisdom and knowledge
and stay centered on the truth of Your Word.
For their eyes:  Protect their innocence and focus their
attention on doing what is right.
For their ears: May they be quick to listen to instruction and
hear Your still small voice.
For their mouths:  Keep them from speaking evil and lies.
For their hearts:   Bless them with happy and cheerful hearts.
For their hands:  Let their hands not be idle but that You would establish
the work of their hands.
For their legs:  Let them not walk in step with the wicked.
Let them find wise and godly companions.
For their feet:  Direct their steps and protect them from stumbling.
Pray for your children from Head to Toe today, and watch God work.
“Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17
(Prayer adapted and taken from www.lovinglifeathome.com )

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pure Satisfaction

Looking for comfort and peace in the middle of a storm today?  Or just the hustle and bustle of life?

"For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."  Psalms 107:9
"You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing." Psalms 145:16
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

Those verses have stirred my soul in recent days.  The shear realization that God is ready and waiting to meet and exceed my needs is overwhelming.  If your soul is hungry, God is waiting to fill it with goodness.  If you have desires, He is waiting with an open hand to satisfy and He will supply ALL your needs.
May the God I have come to serve and love show you today that He and He alone can FILL your hungry soul, readily satisfy your every desire and supply all your needs according to HIS riches in glory. 
Now that's what I call pure satisfaction!
In Him,
Julie

Friday, January 3, 2014

What Challenges are Coming Your Way?


“O’ Lord, I pray, please let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear your name; and let your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”  Nehemiah 1:11
                There will be many challenges for us in 2014.  (Maybe you’ve already had your fair share in January.)  Challenges regarding our finances, future plans, issues in the workplace, church, or neighborhood.  The list is endless.  Challenges can cause us to do many things; act in haste, run away, become discouraged, remain on edge, or “clam up” and freeze.
                We could learn a lot from a certain man in the bible about how to face challenges.   A man by the name of Nehemiah we’re told was, “the king’s cupbearer.”  This meant he acted as bodyguard, advisor and food taster for the king.  (I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like the role of a parent to me.)
                Yet when Nehemiah was in great distress over the ruin of Jerusalem, his homeland, the bible tells us he, “sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”  Nehemiah 1:4
                Nehemiah did not act hastily, run away, become discouraged, remain on edge or “clam up” and freeze.  He did not become outraged or “check out” with pills or alcohol.
                Make no mistake, he was hurting and he took his pain and overwhelming circumstances to the only one who could fix them; God.
                What’s also interesting about Nehemiah’s response to his situation is what he did first; “sat down and wept.”  Many of us try not to weep when problems arise.  We feel the need to “remain strong” for our spouses, children, and others who may perceive our tears as discouragement, weakness, or “breaking down.”
                In my recent journey to more fully experience the presence of God I often find myself weeping uncontrollably in a church service.  And even my precious six-year old is aware of the negative connotations associated with crying, as she is often the first to ask, “Are you sad mommy?  Don’t cry.”
                Tears can be profoundly cleansing, a detox of the mind, and incredibly healing.  A good cry has the ability to provide great clarity and direction.
                You may not feel the need to let out a good wail in public the next time you’re faced with a challenge, but in the coming year, I challenge you not to hold back when the tears are persisting.
                If one of your resolutions for the new year is to grow closer to Christ, and become a stronger man or woman of God, remember what John 11:35 says, that even “Jesus wept.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What Do You Want From Me?
 

                Relationships are tricky, to say the least.  Navigating moods, rough patches, and the general ups and downs of life (and that’s just with your children) can leave you frazzled.  But what about the other relationships in your life:  the spousal, co-worker, friends, and family?  Attempting to get along in these situations can leave a person wondering, “What do they want from me?”
Too often, we make relationships in our lives more complicated than they need to be.  We tend to “think for the other person.”  Assuming we know what they want from us and feeling frustrated, because we can’t always muster the resources to give it.
We assume the spouse would be happier if we lost weight, so we join the gym and the weight loss group.  We think the children would be happier with more “things” so we work overtime five days a week.  
As for the co-workers, neighbors and friends, we often assume they need our “two-cents,” so we freely give it, telling them step by step how to maneuver their struggles (yet we cannot seem to maneuver our own,) and feeling exhausted and frustrated when we find they didn’t heed our well thought out advice.
And what about God; what does He want from me?  Make no mistake, God does want me to be obedient, to walk in His ways, and to witness to others about Him.
Yet, above all those things, what God wants more than anything, is my heart.  And with my heart comes my time and attention. The bible tells us, that God doesn’t look down from heaven to see if we are living righteously or not, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” Psalm 14:2.  The Lord watches and waits for us to seek Him. 
Interestingly, when I compare what God wants with all the other relationships in my life, I find what they all really crave is the same; my heart.  And with my heart, comes my time and attention.
Fifteen minutes playing football with my son goes a lot further than a new pair of Nike socks.  Fifteen minutes playing Barbie’s with my five-year old, means more than a new Barbie.  Fifteen minutes listening to my 12-year old talk about horses means more than a new riding helmet.  (Well, I may be pushing it, on that last one.)
However, one thing’s for sure, “You will show me the path of life; in your presence if fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:11
Today, experience the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore simply by spending time with God and those you love!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tackle Your Faith

                We took the plunge into tackle football with our ten-year old son this year.  And for anyone who’s traveled down this path (or any other competitive sport) you know the commitment is serious.  Practice three times a week and two games on the weekend.  Not to mention all the time invested in fundraising.
                Needless to say, if I wasn’t familiar with football before, I am now.  Terminology, plays, equipment; I’ve learned it all in just eight short weeks.
               I now watch college and professional football games with a whole new appreciation.  I understand the calls, well most of them.  I see the fouls, well some of them.  Yet, I cheer and “boo” with a new perception that makes the game so much more enjoyable.
                And thank goodness, because I live with two males who can find a game to watch almost every night of the week.
                This knew knowledge has caused me to wonder though; what would life look like if I invested as much time in my relationship with Christ as I have football recently?
                How would my life change if I “practiced” my walk three nights a week, reading the “plays” (promises) found in the bible and put them into action on the “field” of life?
                What would my coming week look like if on Sundays, I put all that I’ve learned throughout the week into action and spent the day “playing” (in fellowship) with God and those I love?
                Well if the answer is anything like football; it would mean that I would have a whole new appreciation for God and his plans for my life.  It would mean that I would “tackle” my problems with a new “play” (approach.)  It would mean that I would have a whole new outlook on life.
                To understand God’s ways, promises, and plans for my life I must invest in him.  So many times we excuse ourselves from investing in our relationship with Christ because we are too busy.  We are too busy, with work and the extracurricular activities in life.   Yet, we long to understand God’s plan for us.
                Knowing the dangers of football, I would never send my son onto the field without the proper equipment, knowledge and coaching.
                Knowing the dangers in life, we should not place ourselves (or our children) on the battlefield of life without the proper equipment knowledge, and coaching either.
                Your equipment is found in the word of God, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the wiles of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11
                Your knowledge is found in God, “For the Lord is the God of knowledge.”  1 Samuel 2:3
                Your coaching is found in Christ, “Blessed is the man whom you instruct, O Lord, and teach out of your law, that you may give him rest from the days of adversity.”  Psalms 94: 12-13               
                I pray you find time to “practice” your walk with Christ this week and be blessed with a BIG WIN!

Friday, June 7, 2013

How Do I Know When God is Speaking to Me?


How Do I Know?
                My family is at a crossroads in life right now.   (Actually we are at several crossroads.)  With the kids growing up and friends, and the “outside world” beginning to have more of an impact, my husband and I feel very strongly that the decisions we make over the next several months could have a long term impact on our family.
               Needless to say, we are desperate to make the right decisions and ensure that they are driven by God and not some underlying selfish desire on our part.  So what should we do when we really need to hear from God?
               I know from experience, the answer is multi-faceted.  Think about this; you or your kids may have been able to breeze through grade school and even high school doing the bare minimum and making pretty good grades.  Yet, when you embarked on your college years (especially in your major) it took more.  Earning that “A” grade wasn’t as simple as just showing up for class.  It took study time at home, participating in group projects.  Getting to know the professor and asking for help.
             The serious issues in our lives are much the same.  They require more than just prayer or church attendance.  Getting answers to life’s tough questions require daily study in His word. 
                There are certain things we do every day that “get us going” for the day.  Maybe it’s updating your Facebook status, watching the news, reading the paper, or getting your morning coffee.  We simply don’t feel ready to face the day until we’ve had that first cup.  Cultivating a lifestyle of reading God’s word every day for spiritual nourishment and satisfaction will go a long way to ensuring we hear Him speak when we need it most.
            It doesn’t stop with just reading God’s word, He wants to imprint it on our hearts, allow for it to become part of who we are.  Just like an old song might take you back to your first love, God longs for His word to take you back to your forever love; HIM.  Allow God’s word to rest in your soul and be imprinted upon your heart’s wall, so that you may draw from its riches in times of need.
            Finally, if you need to really hear from God; listen.  You’ve heard the term “active listening.”  Ensuring we are hearing God clearly requires active listening.  Not just hearing with your ears, but engaging and focusing your attention on God, his will plan for your life.
            Joshua was a man of God who heard him speak very clearly.  Here’s what God had to say to Joshua (and what He may be saying to you, today.)  “Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”  Joshua 1:8
           May you experience success and the blessings that flow from hearing God speak.