Have you ever noticed that as soon as you get situated or comfortable with your child’s routine, it changes again?
My toddler is ever-changing. As soon as we establish a nap schedule, eating habit, or cleanup routine, they’re quickly thrown out the window. He’s just recently decided that bedtime should be pushed back by an hour or so. We’ve been struggling to get him back into his normal routine. It means putting him back in his bed over and over again. He, however, is quite happy with his latest sleep schedule! The more we thought about it, the more we realized he’s his happiest in the evenings! With the longer days we get to send that much more time with him and he sleeps in an extra hour in the morning which means more quiet time for me in the morning.
As I was thinking on these things the other day, I realized that my relationship with the Lord should be much the same. The word says that God is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is constantly guiding us and showing us how we need to grow (Psalm 32:8).
But if I’m honest, I often become routine in my walk with him. If left up to me, I would stay in this comfortable place. The truth is that I need to be stirred, shaken and thrown off of my game sometimes to avoid complacency.
This shaking and stirring can sometimes can be painful. Trials reveal our weaknesses and beseech us to change. But most of the time we don’t recognize this-- we just want to be delivered from our situation. But there is much-needed growth and blessings behind discovering our shortcomings.
In order for the Lord to bring us to the next place he has for us, in order for us to experience his plan and blessings in our lives, we must keep growing and be shaken from our complacently. When we are flexible with change and vulnerable in front of the Lord, he can truly mold us and shape us into the useful vessel He desires us to be.
Let’s not allow fear of leaving our comfort-zone, where we meet in our small groups each week, yet never really reach out to those who are lost and alone, or fear of pain or inconvenience keep us at a stand-still.
Let’s begin asking the Lord, What in me needs to be stirred so that your plan may be fulfilled in my life?”
And as we become shaken and stirred, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and allow him to produce in us that priceless inward change that perfects us more and more into His likeness.
Word of the Day:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful that I can have an intimate relationship with you, and that you openly reveal your desires for my life. Help me to step out of my comfort zone. Stir my heart for what you would have me to do. Give me grace and courage to overcome my weakness, that I may grow more fully into the disciple you’ve called me to be. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Author: Amanda Becker
By Amanda Becker
My mom and I have a great relationship. She’s always been a pillar in my life, and still is.
However, I’m finding now that I have my own child, our parenting styles often differ greatly (I’m sure you can relate). Most of those differences are trivial but I find that sometimes I want to do things my own way but I don’t always know how.
When I reminisce about my own childhood, many of my less-than-perfect memories seem so silly in comparison to my friends’ who have lived through childhoods that were excruciatingly painful, emotionally crippling and full of events they wish they could forget.
I was recently reading in 1 Corinthians, and this verse really stuck in my mind: 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (NIV)
This verse is saying that because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are made new.-- no longer contaminated by the “yeast” of our parent’s sins or way of life, or even our former life.
This concept is so important when it comes to raising our children. So many of us grew up in less-than-perfect homes. We came from parents who were over-protective, unreliable or even addicts. We suffered abuse, or were abandoned, or told we weren’t good enough. All these things have left us wondering if we’re capable of raising our children any differently.
Friend, this is a lie from the enemy.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, He has broken every chain.
As set-free children of God, we’re not bound to our past generations. It doesn’t matter what our moms, dads, grandfathers, grandmothers, sisters or brothers did. God has made us new.
Right where you are, in all of your inadequacy and unsuredness, you can take the first step in the newness of His grace by believing this truth. Dig into the Word, filling your mind with truth, so that you may begin to recognize the lies from the enemy for what they are-- lies! Then, when you’re unsure of how to respond to different situations, ask God to reveal His way to you.
If you’re feeling doubtful, let me testify that each and every time I’ve prayed and searched His scriptures for wisdom, He’s given it. He has always placed the right people in my life at the perfect time.
Remember, friend, that we serve a God who takes pleasure in taking the least qualified and making them the most qualified! We’ve been set free. Today, let’s shake off that less-than-desirable past and allow Him to make us new parents, in Christ.
Word of the day:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
Lord, thank you for making us new. Thank you for breaking generational chains. We’re not bound to the past anymore! I ask that you would give us the wisdom and strength to be the moms you’ve called us to be. Help us to trust that you are growing us and guiding us to parent in a God-honoring way. Amen.
By Amanda Becker
With Mother’s day just behind us, I can’t help but to think back on ones in the past.
The one that I remember most clearly is when my husband so sweetly gave me a card, some of my favorite candy and a bouquet of half dead tulips. Half dead tulips… it was not exactly what every mother hopes for on her big day. I can tell you; I was just a little disappointed. If you know my husband, you know that he’s very loving and compassionate, but not great on details. This is not to harp on him at all! I tell you this story because I’ve realized something about myself. When I look back on that Mother’s day I can honestly say: “I love receiving grace, but boy, do I hate giving it!”
Grace was the last thing I wanted to give my husband when he handed me those wilted and faded flowers. I wanted to ask him, “what were you thinking? Don’t I mean more to you and some dead tulips?” It’s so easy to become hurt, disappointed or even angry when we feel that others didn’t live up to our expectations. Luke 6:36 says, “Be Merciful, even as your father is merciful.” (ESV)
The tough reality is that we’re not to just give grace when we feel up to it or when it comes easy for us. We’re commanded to give grace to all and in any circumstance. Can you imagine if our God had decided to withhold grace from us and gave us the justice we really deserved?
Christ was the ultimate gift of grace! We were not deserving, yet he was merciful towards us and gave lovingly. Titus 3:5-7 says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (NIV)
I for one love justice. I take comfort in the idea that those who work hard and are honest get the job, the raise and the reward. God doesn’t always administer justice in the way we think he should. Lets be real for a moment. Praise God he doesn’t give justice as I would give it! I personally would be without hope for sure.
Just as the Lord continues to show us mercy and grace each day, we are to show others that same grace. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. - Luke 6:36 (ESV) There are going to be times when others disappoint you, belittle you and receive the reward or gift that you worked so hard for. Though we may not understand why, we are called to mirror Christ at all times.
Friends, lets be conscious about giving grace to others. Lets love others with a merciful love as Christ has called us to do. You never really know what someone is going through, what we don’t see about that person or situation that God does see.
What you wouldn’t know about my husband that Mother’s day I didn’t tell you is that he had been pretty sick for almost a week. He braved the crowds not just weak and running a fever, but with our rambunctious two-year-old to make sure I had something that day. Once he was better, he unexpectedly went and bought me something he knew I had been really wanting.
Even if he had not made up for buying those sad little flowers, grace was needed. That’s the frustrating thing about grace, it’s not typically deserved, but by showing grace to others we’re not just obeying our God, we’re giving back what was undeservingly given to us!
Word of the day
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (ESV)
Heavenly Father we are so thankful that you showed us grace on the day you sent your only son to die for our sins. Each day you continue to show us grace and mercy. We don’t deserve it, but you do it because you love us. Please forgive us when we’ve failed to show others that same grace. We pray that grace would become our first reaction towards others. We ask that you would give us a mindful heart towards others. In your name we pray, Amen.
By Amanda Becker
Have you ever experienced something that had you so worried it made you physically sick?
I have. In fact, several times come to mind.
One of the most worrisome times of my life was when I became pregnant with my son. My husband and I had been married nearly seven years before my son was born. We really felt that God was calling me to be at home with our son, so my husband began searching for a job that would better meet our needs. We knew that we couldn’t afford for me to leave my job if he did not find something else, so we continued praying and holding onto faith.
At six months pregnant, worry and fear really started to creep in, adding “fuel to the fire” of already high emotions.
In those few months before we had our son, I probably thought of every terrible outcome possible…
What if he never gets a better job?
What if I can’t juggle being a new mom and working a job at the same time?
What if we have to struggle financially for the rest of our lives?
I was overcome with fear.
While fear and worry are natural emotions in times such as these, there is danger in staying in that place, allowing the lies of the enemy to take up residence in our mind.
Maybe you're in a place of constant worry or fear, today. Maybe from problems in your job, finances or an illness. The more we hang on to anxiety and fear, the less space we have for God's truth. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes to Timothy saying, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)
Friend, God doesn’t want us be worried, confused and scared. When we constantly worry, we’re telling God that he’s not big enough. If we want to experience God's faithfulness, grace and peace in the midst of our situation, we must evict worry and fear from our minds.
How wonderful would it be if every time we were thrown into a difficult situation or trial, our thoughts automatically went to God's love and provision over us instead of the rabbit hole of what ifs.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (AMP) says this, “ We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.”
God’s truth helps us see lies and doubts for what they really are, but it takes practice, and it has to be intentional. Spending time in the word on a regular basis gives us the reinforcement we need to be assured of his love and guidance in the midst of our anxiety.
To start, here are three scriptures that you can meditate on when you feel worry starting to creep in:
“... Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 ESV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
I wish I had meditated on these scriptures during my season of worry; I wasted all that time that I could have spent being excited about my new bundle of joy being afraid when, surprisingly, just two months before we had our son, my husband got the perfect job. My worry had been in vain. God was faithful just as he has always been and always will be! Instead of allowing worry and fear to preside over our thoughts, let's plunge into God's truth and allow his peace to permeate our hearts. Only then can His word-- not worry-- be at the forefront of our thoughts.
Word of the day:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
Lord, please forgive us when we are consumed with worry and fear. We thank you for your faithfulness and love for us. Thank you for working all things for our good. We pray that you would give us peace and understanding in the midst of our trials. Help us to become people of faith, not worry. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
By: Amanda Becker
I have to admit-- this past weekend I hardly got anything done-- I sat outside and just soaked up the sun.
Spring is finally here, and as I see all the flowers popping up and the buds starting to open, I'm reminded of God's promises. He's made certain promises to all of us believers, but probably spoken more specific promises to you and your family, as He did mine.
My husband and I had to wait 6 1/2 years before we had our son, and I can tell you this: it wasn't because we didn't want children! We were beginning to wonder if we'd ever have a child. Questions from family and friends didn't make it any easier-- it was far from easy at times. But we kept clinging to what we knew was God's promise for our lives, holding onto faith.
In the waiting period, some days the promise can feel so distant that we lose sight of it. We get beaten down by the wait and the not knowing. The world so loudly tells us that we don't need to wait, that everything should happen when we want it, but just as we cannot will the seasons into changing, we cannot rush God's promises.
Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their promise of a son. Along the way, Sarah became weary of waiting on the Lord and devised an intervention which ended in a son through their slave, Hagar. Long story short, their meddling in God’s planned made for more twists and turns than necessary. This happens far too often when we go ahead of God's plan for us. We bring more trouble and pain for ourselves, rather than his perfect plan if we'd only waited on Him.
Friend, are you feeling jaded and impatient? Take this opportunity to just soak up his presence. Remember just as the spring comes with new life, so does his promises. My husband and I are now in between homes, and some days I feel as though we're waiting with no avail, but my life has taught me that our God is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There is no promise that the Lord has made that will not be fulfilled in his time. And when His promises are fulfilled… it is always, always worth the wait.
Word of the Day:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
Dear Lord, thank you for the spring. Thank you for revealing your faithfulness to us. Help us to be content in your timing, that our endurance may grow and our faith never waiver. Thank you for the promises you've already fulfilled and those that have yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.