When The Lord Calls Your Child

Luke 1:15-19

“for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

I cannot imagine how amazingly powerful it must have been the day that Zechariah received the news that John The Baptist was conceived in his once perceived, barren wife Elizabeth’s womb. Of course he must have felt a little confused as to why God would wait until later in life for them to bear children. He probably questioned if he had heard God wrong. I’m sure he was a little weirded out to say the least. No matter how Zechariah felt, the truth is, John was to be born and not only that, he was to be born extremely special. He was to be a  promised prophet who would be born with The Holy Spirit inside of him.

I know as parents, we all think that our child is amazing. We all look at our children with rose-colored glasses, but the truth is, there has not been another child born like John. John had the Holy Spirit even from birth. All of us, must surrender to Christ before we receive His Spirit. Even Jesus said, “Of those born of women, there has never been one greater than John The Baptist.” That’s not too bad when The King of Kings, Jesus says that about you.

I just can’t help but think how Zechariah and Elizabeth must have felt awaiting John’s arrival and also daily raising him. I mean, they had received news from Heaven that their son wasn’t just to be the apple of their eye, he was also highly favored in glory. He was to carry a calling that wouldn’t always be accepted, would be regarded as strange and weird to many, and would eventually, cost him his life. How do you process this as a mother? As a father?

I think about my own children. As I watch them grow up in Christ, I’m humbled by their faith. My Sara’s  diligence to studying the Word is beyond my level of discipline. My Elijah’s prayer life is powerful. He speaks to God like He’s actually in the room, like we all should. Yesterday, I had an encounter with God where I believe I heard Him say, “I’ve trusted them with you. Guard what I have deposited.” I can honestly say, I wept.

You see, it’s one thing to know you have a mission set forth by God. It is one thing to know that you have received the ministry of reconciliation. We all have. It’s one thing to be obedient to what God is calling you to do. But, to be responsible to do everything in your power to protect the calling that your children have received, now that takes a whole new level of obedience. To me, that takes a lot more glass house living. That takes a lot more casting your cares on the Lord. That takes a lot more trusting God for everything. That takes a lot more prayer, study, serving and devotion. Keeping the Holy Spirit’s  fire stoked in your household because you are focused on watching your children take their rightful place at the table, is a zillion times more exciting to me than a lifetime of best sellers.

Our children all have a calling.  God has a plan for all of their lives. God has plans to prosper them, not to harm them, plans to give them hope and a future. And, then they will see that their children have a calling.  Luke 1:50 says, “His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.”

Yes, as a mother, it is my utmost privilege to guard the deposit that God has made on the inside of them. I am so grateful to God for this. As the words of Elizabeth spoke, “The Lord has done this for me.” Luke 1:25

There’s nothing better than being a mom.

 

 

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Shine Light on It!

 

I’ve been struggling lately on social media. Surprised? This old country girl is annoyed with pop culture? I’m sure you’re like, oh here she goes….

But the truth is, I’m so very thankful for social media as a means to teach The Word, encourage others and share truths with those that I can’t reach face to face, but sometimes it can really annoy me.

Does the world annoy me? Nope! I can’t judge the world, they are lost. I get annoyed with public Christian authors and leaders who get so sidetracked by the enemy with things like current events, politics and social issues, that they forget they have a calling, to preach, write and teach.

I literally have decided that I can’t go on Twitter looking for podcasts from some of my favorite teachers because what I keep finding lately is harsh, condemning words  aimed at political agendas, World leaders and Hollywood stars. The truth is many of our teachers are leaving us students of the Word starving for bread because they are busy feasting themselves on world issues.

Am I tempted to join in? Oh heck no! The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:12, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”

We Christians need to stop getting our feathers all ruffled every time something in Washington doesn’t go our way or someone in Hollywood lets us down, no matter how many times we’ve sipped coffee watching them on TV imagining we’ve made some sort of emotional connection to them. Because here’s the thing! They are lost. They need Jesus! They need healing. They need salvation. They need our prayers and they need the Word. Guess who is supposed to be writing and teaching The Word? Authors and Bible Teachers! When we get political and judgemental, we lose a chance to help. We lose a chance to love. We lose a chance to shine light. Guess who will be held accountable for that? Us!

Christians, when this dark world saddens us, when the greed and sexual immorality and idolatry and sin of this world hurts us, when the issues of this world begin to weigh on us, we are called to shine light.

We are light shiners! We are joy bringers! We are hope restorers! We are Christ Sharers! How about we stop the tweets about the mess and preach a message? Because we have the most amazing message to preach. “Christ came into this world to save sinners of whom I was the worst.”

 

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Choose Happy!

Today, I am going to put a little extra butter on my toast, because it makes me happy.

Today, I am going to wash my dog and take her for a run to dry, because it makes me happy.

Today, I am going to weed my garden and trim some fresh flowers for the table, then cool off in my pool,  because gardening and swimming  make me happy.

Today, I am going to make a stew and simmer it on the stove for dinner, because when my house smells yummy it makes me happy.

Today, I am going to work on a couple of pieces of writing God has given me, because writing makes me happy.

Today, I am going to catch up on laundry and cleaning, because housework makes me happy.

Today, I am going to take my vitamins and probiotics, because healthy living makes me happy.

Today, I am going to watch “It’s Supernatural” while I eat lunch, because experiencing the supernatural power of God makes me happy.

Today, I’m going to text my hubby and kids just to let them know I love them, because they make me happy.

Today, I’m going to thank God that someday I get to go to Heaven, because the hope of Heaven truly makes me happy.

Today, I am going to choose happy. Do you know that happiness is a choice? It’s a daily choice. Our happiness does not depend on our circumstances, it depends on our mind-set. I have learned to set my mind and keep it set, whether the enemy tries to make it his playground or not. It’s my mind, and I get authority over it. So do you.

Today, choose happy.

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Stand Firm

Everywhere I turn in scripture lately, God has been showing me the words stand firm. This morning as I was reading through Isaiah 7 I saw in vs. 9 the words, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” I had underlined that previously in my bible so when I read it again, I began meditating on it.

I then began thinking of all of the other “stand” scriptures that God had been placing on my heart lately. Just a few days ago, we were awaiting a category 5 hurricane and wondering what this ugly storm was going to do, and God gave me 2 Chronicles 20:17, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.” That scripture gave me such peace in preparing for the storm. I knew in my heart of hearts, God would see us through and He did.

I heard, Ephesians 6:13-14: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, Stand firm then,..” I thought, Yes Lord, that’s it. When we have done everything we can do to stand, we have to stand some more.

The truth is, we say we “stand on the promises of God.” We say we are people of faith, but, when calamity comes, we fall on our faces more like spiritual beggars before Him, crying out for His mercy and help. We say we are a people who “know our God will come!” But, then while He is on the way, we question the entire time what His motives are and whether He really will. Come on ya’ll. We have to be real.

We need not feel condemned about this, we simply must allow the conviction of God’s Word to strengthen our faith. There is nothing new under the sun. I think about the Book of Joshua. He was an amazing hero of faith, but the truth is, God fought every fight that they faced and the one battle that God withdrew because there was sin in the camp, they lost and God found Joshua face down in his tent crying like a baby.

I love what God said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you down on your face?” The truth is, the Joshua we know in Chapter 24 who says, “As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.” had to grow up quite a bit and learn how to stand firm in his faith, before he could make a bold and courageous statement like that. And, so do we.

How do we get bold and courageous in our faith standing on the promises of God, I mean truly standing, and not singing about standing on Sundays in worship, but fleeing in fear on Monday morning? The answer is learning to stand firm.

You see, we can’t just stand, because if standing is all we do, the first harsh wind will knock us down spiritually.  We have to do what God tells Isaiah to tell the people to do. We have to stand firm. Isaiah 7:10 says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

Brothers and sisters, standing firm in our faith means we will have to have things to stand against. Sorry! I know that doesn’t sound very fun, but it’s true. In order to have to stand firm, we need to expect that opposition will be against us to test our foundation. People who stand firm ignore what the world says about their blind faith. People who stand firm fight through the fear that comes so naturally to us by pushing through it with shaking knees and a pounding heart. People who stand firm say things and do things of faith that seem reckless to others. People who stand firm get up off their faces and they lift their eyes to the hills because they know that’s where their help comes from, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Yes, God just keeps saying, “stand firm”, so I will strengthen my feeble arms and weak knees and I will Stand firm. Will you stand firm with me?

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Whitewashed Tombs

I love painting furniture. We have a resale shop that supports the ministry and one of my favorite thing about the store is wondering what amazing treasures will come in each day as donations. Well, a lot of the times, pieces come in that to the natural eye, belong nowhere but the dumpster, but to someone like me, I call that a challenge.

I love finding trash by the side of the road, throwing it in the back of my truck and taking it home to give it a new life. Now that we have the store, it’s even easier to turn someone’s trash into another person’s treasure.

There is a cute little brown table that I am staining pink and aging it to look antique. It is going to be adorable. I put a couple coats on yesterday and this morning and I was thinking to myself, well, the pink is almost done, it’s almost time to antique it, when I scooted down lower on the ground and realized I had forgotten to reach underneath with the brush.

I thought, “ooh, I have to work on the underneath area. If someone turned this upside down, they would see, it isn’t finished.” Then, Holy Spirit asked me, “what does this mean to you spiritually?” I immediately thought about how we can dress ourselves up on the outside, appear to have it all together, say all the right things, wear all the right things, but if our hearts are ugly, we are no better than the Pharisees in the bible.

In Matthew 23:27 Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

We can be just like the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law when we become people pleasers caring more about what the world cares about in appearances and such and caring less about what God cares about, which is our heart.

Is it ok to want to look nice on the outside? Of course. But, if we only care about taking care of the areas that people see, and neglecting renewing our minds and crucifying our flesh so that we look more like Jesus, we truly are like a really pretty table on the outside that is basically unfinished.

2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Friends, as believers in Jesus Christ and disciples dedicated to looking more like Christ each day, we need to allow God to work on us from the inside out.  We need to allow him to sand off the old nature that so easily gets entangled in the things of this world. We need to allow Him to pour His precious blood over our sins, and then carefully make us into His masterpiece as we pray and spend time with Him renewing our minds in His Word and submitting to His perfect will for our lives.

Then, we will no longer we whitewashed tombs. We will look like shiny, new creatures, created in true holiness and Godliness.

Yes, now that’s some trash to treasure.

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I Have an Opinion on That!

Someone put something on facebook about public school. It was offensive to me as a mother who chose to raise my four amazing kids in public school so that they could be salt and light in a dark world. I wanted to write that, then I thought, nope, I want them to know Jesus more. If I state my opinion and someone is offended by it, I could ruin the chance of sharing what I really care about with them, which is Jesus.

So, yes. I have an opinion on that.

I have an opinion on public school vs. private school vs. home school. But, I choose to share Christ instead.

I have an opinion on natural medicine vs. pharmaceuticals. But, I choose to share Christ instead.

I have an opinion on whether we should vaccinate or not. But, I choose to share Christ instead.

I have an opinion whether moms should breastfeed or bottle feed. But, I choose to share Christ instead.

I have an opinion on politics. But, I choose to share Christ instead.

Opinions are like arm pits. We all have one, and a lot of the times, they stink.

I have an opinion……but I choose to share Christ.

 

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Choose Joy

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It’s been a crazy couple of days. I wouldn’t call them hard, because I have been to 3rd world countries and not much that we experience here in America is hard, compared to that.  It’s been a challenging couple of days emotionally and personally, but not spiritually.

That’s so like our Heavenly Father. I feel like He allows us to feel Him even closer and stronger when our feelings are hurt, or we are struggling in an area, but trusting Him in through it all.

In the past couple days, my Sara had her wisdom teeth out, so I have been trying to take care of her, while getting prepared for Eli’s first day of school, while our AC is broken at our house and our “warranty” company gave us the run around and decided not to cover our now new AC unit we are having installed in a week. Thank God for window units, and friends that have lent them to us. God’s people all have a way of showing up at the perfect time.

This is going on at home and I’m trying to train my new manager at our store, and begin to train him as the Outreach Director for our church, as well as keep up my writing and teaching deadlines. I absolutely love this, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just busy.  It’s an honor. It’s fun. It’s just busy. You know what I mean.

Do you know what seems to get to me though, in busyness? That ugly little voice telling me I will never measure up and that ugly little voice that tells me I dropped some ball that is eventually going to be to my demise or the ministries demise.

I’ve learned what to do with that little voice. Rebuke it, in Jesus Name. Because, believe me, I know that ugly voice isn’t God’s. I know that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I know that I am not to be anxious about anything, but in everything pray and ask God for help. I know that I am to work hard and do everything to the glory of God, but then, the next thing I have to do is give it to God. I know that I am to Trust God and do good, and that’s it.

You see, I know how my Daddy feels about me and what He has called me to do. I know, because He tells me. He speaks softly to me and He ushers me closer and tells me to sit before Him while He drives out nations before me. He told me yesterday, “Mo, I built you to build things for other people to run.” He spoke that specifically to me in the toy section of the store. Why? Because I built the store, but I’m not supposed to be working in the toy section of the store, where I was yesterday during my normal live teaching.  I am supposed to build up my manager, so he can run that store, as I need to write and teach.

Ya’ll, He speaks tenderly to us when we hurt. He comforts us when we aren’t comfortable. He gives us strength to be the nurse,  the mom, the homemaker (even of a home in FL without an AC unit, the author, the ministry leader and the friend.

But, we need to let His Word and His voice speak. We have to get still and away from the busyness to let Him speak. We have to choose joy, when we don’t feel joy.

We  can choose joy! I have today. Will you?

 

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