Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Cleaning

I don't know about you, but when the days start warming and the grass begins to green, I get the cleaning bug.  Although it is still cooler in our part of Oklahoma than it usually is, there have been days where we have glimpsed the start of spring and relished the warmth of sunshine on our skin and the feel of the cool grass under our feet.  The birds are more active too, which is always a good signal that spring is right around the corner.  We have taken off school this week to give me much needed time to do some deep cleaning…ovens, grout, baseboards are just a few things on my list.  I have also changed out seasonal clothes and rearranged my boys drawers and plan to do the same for my girls before the week is out.

Since we school year round, it is also a time for my husband and I to re-evaluate the curriculum…see if there are changes we want to make…items to delete and some to add.  It is a time for scheduling and making lists…something I enjoy very much.  But, in all the productivity of spring, it is important that I not neglect the spiritual cleaning.  How often do we assess the recesses of our heart and decide what to get rid of and what to add?  So often we become so used to "little sins" that they don't even seem like sins anymore. They become such a part of us…gossip, harsh words, watching and reading materials that are not God-honoring..and the list could go on and on.  This is also a week to do a spiritual spring cleaning for me.  There are areas I need to dust and wipe away the grime…to get clean before my God. 

There should always be more of Him and less of me.  I am praying Ezekial 36:26... 
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

It is so easy for us to develop a heart of stone in certain areas.  When we get in a pattern of sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, frustration, procrastination, it becomes a part of us.  We stop seeing it as something that needs to be eradicated, but rather look on it as a personality trait we have to live with.  That, however, is not the way God sees it.  

So, if you are like me, and you are beginning your spring cleaning soon.  Ask God to show you areas in your heart that need cleaning.  He is faithful to show us those things when we ask because our Father desires us to be righteous before Him.  And trust me, that kind of cleaning is so much more profitable than having a spotless house.  Happy Cleaning!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Battling the Lies of the Enemy

If there is one thing I know as a Christian, it is that the enemy is alive and well.  He knows just how to attack.  He knows how to say just the right things that will cause us to doubt who we are and what we are capable of doing.  No ground is too sacred for his warfare and as Christians we must always be ready for the battle.  How many times have you looked in the mirror and said…I'm too ______?  You fill in the blank.  Or, I wish I were more like _______________.  Or, I am such a failure in ________________________.  I don't have the talents or gifts that __________________ has.  If only I could do ______________, I might be more effective for the kingdom.  ______________'s children are so much __________ than mine, I must not be doing something right.  And the list could go on and on and on….to infinity.  Yes, the enemy knows just how to whisper those things to us and if you are anything like me, it is easy to fall under those attacks.  

I'll be honest with you.  This was one of the areas the enemy had me bound, until Christ set me free.  Do I still hear these words?  Yes, of course, Satan's kingdom doesn't give up that easily.  Do I ever give in to them?  Yes, unfortunately, sometimes I still do.  But, praise God, it is less and less and now I do battle rather than settling for defeat.  So, for all of you who have ever heard these words from the enemy and have fallen under them…this is for you.  I want to leave you with the weapons of our warfare.  The sword and praise.  The enemy cannot stand against the Word of God and praises.  So, the next time those voices try to remind you of what you are not…you remind them of who you are!

You are a child of God.  
 But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … John 1:12

You are a friend of Jesus.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father…John 15:15

You are a fellow heir of Christ.

And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)--if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him…(Romans 8:17)

You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ… (Ephesians 1:3)

You are chosen, holy and blameless before God.

For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love (Ephesians 1:4).

You are redeemed and forgiven in Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).

So the next time the enemy comes and tries to tell you all that you are not, you remind him who are you because of Christ who has set you free.  And then you start praising God for all He has done in your life and for who He is.  Trust me, the enemy will flee.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Rhythm of Our Days

What does the rhythm of your days look like?  I must admit, ours varies depending upon commitments, unexpected sicknesses, and a myriad of other things that demand our attention.  But there are some things that are non-negotiable in our lives.  First, we seek to spend time with God everyday.  Before we start school, our children know they are to have their quiet time with the Lord.  A day cannot start out on the right foot without making Christ the priority.  Satan will always tell us how we are too busy, too tired, too whatever to get this most important time done, but that only reminds us that this is of the utmost importance if the enemy seeks to keep us from it.

Then some time in the early morning routine we stop to have a morning devotional together.  My husband is off to work at this time, so I gather the children and we read through a book of the Bible, one chapter at a time.  We have some discussion about what that particular passage means to our Christian life and then we pray.  School always seems to flow so much smoother when our morning devotionals are not neglected.

Other activities fill our days…homeschooling, cooking, outside play, creative pursuits…but none of those compare to the time spent with the Savior…at His feet…seeking His face…asking Him to order our days.

Hugs, kisses, sweet words, I love you's…these are the things that our children will remember.  Don't forget the importance of your touch and lovely conversation in the lives of those you love.  I have to constantly remind myself that when my children grow up they won't remember the phonics lesson they do day after day, but they will remember the attitude Mommy had while doing it. My children will learn to read and do math and a long list of other things, but will they remember a gracious mother who loved them every chance she got?  That is the kind of mother I strive to be.

And it is only by loving the Lord as I should that I can love my family properly.  Only the Holy Spirit can illuminate that kind of love through us.  So remember…give the Lord your day and everything else will fall into place.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Perspective Matters

There's a lovely spot in our part of Oklahoma called Mt. Scott.  If you drive all the way to the top, you can see for miles unobstructed.  It is a breathtaking view.  I can learn all over again that God's beauty is everywhere, if we only have eyes to see it.  It is amazing how small everything looks from that elevation.  It reminds me that perspective truly does matter.  Those man made objects that we live, work and breathe around every single day suddenly become minuscule and trite from this height.  Isn't that also true of our lives as Christians?

It is easy to only focus on the pressures breathing down on us every day, whether that is the drivenness of our schedules, or a particular trial we find ourselves facing.  It is not until we rise above it and begin to view things from God's perspective that we can truly breathe deeply and find peace.  Perspective does matter.  I am reminded of the story of Elisha and his servant in the Bible. In 2 Kings 6, the king of Aram sends an army to defeat one man, Elisha.  Elisha's servant sees the army and in fear asks Elisha, "What shall we do?"  That is when Elisha prays for his servant's eyes to be opened and Elisha says, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

Perspective matters.  Elisha's servant was living in the situation; Elisha rose above that situation and was living in the protective hand of Almighty God.  I wish I could tell you that I rise above every situation and seat myself beside God and look from His perspective.  But, part of living this Christian life is honesty with one another.  I so often am like the servant of Elisha…seeing my circumstances, living below the abundant life that God has called me to live, listening to the lies of the enemy that things will never get better, this is how it will always be, there is no such thing as abundant living.
But praise God He is teaching me that perspective matters, and I am more and more able to rise above and rest in the protective hand of my Father.  It is not that God looks down and sees how minuscule things in my life are.  It is that God looks down and loves me so much that He knows that even though these things are little to Him, they are big to me and He loves me enough to carry the burden, to put me on His shoulders and let me see these things from His perspective.  And it is at that moment that I breathe deeply, take in the view, and rest under His shadow.  There is no better place to be.  Yes, perspective matters and I am thankful I have a Father who loves me enough to show me the big picture.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Sickness…that is what we have been experiencing off and on for the past three months.  It has been a difficult time.  But, God remains faithful.  It seems my children have caught multiple viruses.  Looking back over the years with our military moves, I have noticed that the first winter in every place we move is usually the hardest.  Not sure why, but I think it may have to do with adjusting to a new climate, new heating/air in the homes, new viruses in different parts of the country.  Whatever the reason, it is not easy.  

This year is the first year we have joined a co-op.  All my children are finally mobile enough to handle going every week and it has been a good experience. On the flip side, there have been multiple viruses going through the co-op and I think my children have caught everyone of them!  I am looking forward to spring and the fact that we tend to stay well during that season.  

There is so much God has been teaching me that I long to share.  I pray I will do so soon.  He has been so very faithful to me, during valleys and mountaintop experiences.  We all have them…and it is experiencing both that bring us a closeness to our Father.  The mountaintops give us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, the valleys show us so much of the gentleness of God.  I thank Him for both.  I pray you are sensing the closeness of God in your life.  God bless!