Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV) says

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

This is a scripture that I learned in my youth. 

I know that we cannot always perceive how everyone will view our actions, but we know deep down that if it looks inappropriate, then maybe we should think twice before doing it. At that point, we need to check our motives and ask ourselves why am I wanting to do this and is there a better alternative. 

If it looks like it could be a compromising situation, then be careful because it could turn out to be dangerous. God's word here in 1 Thessalonians sets guidelines so that we don't even have to put ourselves in those compromising situations to begin with.

What we really have to be careful with in our society today is that sometimes "evil" doesn't really appear to be evil, especially if our spiritual vision gets blurry. It is so important to walk in His ways and to spend time in His word daily so that we can see sin for what it is. The Bible says that the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He doesn't just want to nibble at us. The enemy wants to destroy us.  Don't give him that opportunity! 

Moms, be watchful! Don't let the enemy come into your home and devour you or your children. God placed you in their lives to teach and disciple them so that they too can be watchful. Don't miss an opportunity to teach them to recognize the enemy and then how to respond with the power God. Teach them to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). Help them to set boundaries so that can abstain from the appearance of evil.

Let me leave you with this scripture to meditate on.

 Psalm 119:9-11
     How can a young man keep his way pure?
        By living according to your word.
     I seek you with all my heart;
        do not let me stray from your commands.
     I have hidden your word in my heart;
        that I might not sin against you.

I decided to pick back up my blog this morning after seeing that people have been visiting the site and I haven't written in a very long time. Thank you so much for reading my blog. Please feel free to comment or share. This is really just a place where I can jot down life lessons that I am reminded of in my everyday living. I am reminded daily that I am blessed!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Keeping it REAL

It has been a long time since I have blogged!

During the last part of 2011, my lupus flared up and caused me to have to take a break from anything "extra".  My doctor wants to change my medication for lupus and I am not ready to go down that road. The new medications have so many risk factors, one of which is cancer. I am continuing to pray for God's healing. He has led me to several books and websites to learn, not only about lupus, but also about how important it is for our bodies to have good nutrients.

I began reading a book in December of 2011 called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He states in his book that he has had lupus patients who reversed their disease by following his diet. So for the first six weeks of 2012, I set out to do just that! Basically the initial six weeks consisted of one pound of raw veggies, one pound of cooked veggies, one cup of beans, and at least four fruits a day. That is alot of food! I could have no dairy, no oil, no sugar, no flour. Some days I didn't get it all in, but this was my goal. During the initial six weeks, it seemed like my body was bombarded with other ailments, including bronchitis.  I think the first six weeks served to "detox" my system. It has been a rough two months, but all of a sudden, I can feel the results in my body.

Let me just say that I LOVE this new way of eating and serving my family! I am focusing on eating all real foods now. I no longer look at food the same way. I am learning to eat to live instead of just eating. I am learning that it definitely matters what I put in my mouth.

Today, while studying my Bible, the Lord brought me back to John 6. There are several verses in this chapter that have spoken to me.

John 6:35. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
            * In this verse, Jesus spoke to me saying that He is my first source of food! I must eat of the REAL bread of life first.

John 6:55-56 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
            * I have been talking to my family about eating only REAL food and this very morning Jesus reminded me again that His flesh is REAL food and His blood is REAL drink. It is so cool when He speaks so clearly to me.  I must keep my eyes focused on HIM as my source of REAL food!         

I believe that we must keep it REAL with our body, mind, and spirit. Jesus died and shed his precious blood so that I can have spiritual health. We must start there! I'm looking forward to telling you more about my healthy lifestyle changes.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for!

First, I am thankful for the mercies of God and salvation through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He wants to have intimate relationship with me. It blows me away that the God who created all things chooses to love me!

I am extremely grateful for my husband and children! God is so good to give me such a precious family! My husband is my best friend! I pray that my girls will be able to find a man who loves, cares for, provides for, and cherishes them like Brad does me. My children... oh, where do I start? Abigail is so much fun to be around! She cracks me up! I love to watch her take the stage in her theater productions. When she is singing and dancing, she is in her element and she shines! She is a friend to many! I love and cherish our special time together in the mornings drinking coffee! She is so precious! My sweet Allison is such a joy! She is a hard worker. You can give her a task and she is on it, and you can expect it to be done correctly! I love to watch her serve others! Whether she is cooking, working backstage at the theater, or serving at church, she is in her element when she is serving others! I love when we get to spend time together in the kitchen. She makes my heart smile! Andrew is so much like his daddy, which is how I have prayed for him to be! He can say the funniest things and make me laugh! He is so tenderhearted. He amazes me at how well he memorizes scripture for his AWANA class at church. It is a cool thing to know my children are hiding God's word in their hearts! I love to watch him play football, baseball, and basketball. He loves to ride his skateboard, too. I love going in his room each night and spending a few special minutes praying with him. My son is an awesome kid! I am so blessed by my family!

I am thankful for my godly heritage! My parents are my example of what it looks like to live for Christ. I can't even begin to say how awesome they are! My grandparents loved the Lord and always had the Word of God on their lips! I remember my 90 year old grandfather quoting scripture after having a mini-stroke. I asked him then, "How do you know the Bible so well?" His response to me was, "When you have read the Word as much as I have, you will know it, too." What an example of feeding on the Word of God! I miss them greatly!

I am grateful for the friendship I have with my mother and sisters! These ladies are a part of who I am! We have so much fun together! I know that they love me no matter what and I love them deeply! I can't wait to do our traditional Good Friday Shopping with my two sisters!!!

I am also thankful for my church home! Worshiping together with other believers is such a joy! Being led by a team of pastors who teach the Word of God is a blessing. I am so grateful to be a part of a body of believers who encourage and love one another. I am grateful that it provides a place for me and my children to make strong friendships with people who have the same core values and beliefs.

There is so much more...

I am overwhelmed with God's goodness! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for blessing me beyond measure! 

Lacking wisdom? Ask God - not Google!

James 1:5-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Why is it that so many times, I change verse five to say, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should google it!"? If I am not careful about this one, the first place I look for answers to life's questions is the internet. We live in a time where we can google any question we have and find thousands of answers. Most of us don't even have to wait until we get home to get online; we can now use our smart phones. I am asking the Lord to help me with this.

I want to seek Him first! Not google! I am not saying that googling my questions is all bad. I am just saying that it should not be my first place to seek wisdom! If I seek Him first, He may lead me to the exact website I need to find my answer - He has done that before!  He may choose to use a different means altogether to provide wisdom for me. I believe his answers can come from His Word, my husband, my parents, my children, church leaders, godly friends, doctors, etc. His means are limitless!

When we ask for wisdom, we have to believe that He is able to give us that wisdom. We must trust that His ways are far above our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Therefore, we must believe and not doubt Him. We have to remember that His love for us far outweighs any other love for us. Jesus loves us so much that he bled and died for us. If He is willing to do that for me, why should I not trust Him?

I don't want to be double-minded and unstable. I want to be solely focused on Him so that Christ is the solid foundation of all that I do!

Join with me in seeking God's wisdom first. Then have the freedom to google your questions, or ask for wisdom and counsel from others. Remember that God's wisdom is holy and righteous. He will not lead you away from His teachings. Let the Bible be your measuring stick. Does this answer line up with the Word of God?

Psalm 8:17
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

James - Consider it Joy!

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. This is a chronic illness, meaning there is no cure. My symptoms have been extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sun sensitivity, and the most recent is sores inside my mouth. Thankfully, these symptoms are not always present! I am on medications to help the symptoms, but I still have flares periodically where I feel really bad. Currently, I am on the up swing of one of these flares. I have had many people praying for me and I am so grateful, because this past flare up was extremely hard for me!

This is my trial that I am to consider pure joy. Wow! It seems crazy, but God commands it. I know that the suffering I may have in my body is NOTHING compared to the suffering that Christ endured for me on the cross. God has been reminding me this week to put my suffering into perspective.

I don't know of anyone who likes to have trouble come their way. However, if God allows it, there must be a reason! James says that one of the reasons is to develop perseverance, which leads to maturity and being complete. defines perseverance as "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement".

What is my course of action? My course of action is living a life as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ! My purpose is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. My goal is to consider it pure joy to suffer through this trial called lupus. I must look at the bigger picture! No, I don't think I will ever enjoy suffering. But in the deepest part of my heart, I must learn to consider it joy to be facing this trial.

I know other trials will come and go in my life. I will strive to consider them joy as well! Remembering God's purpose in them is to develop me into maturity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

James - the brother of Jesus?

I am studying the book of James with the teenagers at my church. I will be spending some time blogging about what the Lord is showing me along the way. 

James introduces himself as a "servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ." What an example of humility! It is believed that the author of this book is the half brother of Jesus Christ. If Jesus were my half brother, I would probably introduce myself by saying, "Hey, I'm Susan, Jesus' sister." But that was not James’ description of himself. He was extremely humble and called himself a mere servant.

This leaves me in deep thought and conviction as to where my heart is according to my position. How do I introduce myself to others? It is usually, as Brad's wife, my kids' mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, or even a youth small group leader. How often do I consider my title to be a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ?

I do seek to serve Him. I talk with Him daily. I spend time in His Word. I teach my children about the love of Christ and how to seek Him. I honor and respect my husband as head of our home. We try to teach, nurture, and train our children in the ways of the Lord. I honor my parents. I love my sisters, who are my best friends. I am trying to help my small group learn more about Christ and His love for them.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Because of this truth, I can say that I am serving Christ, when I am serving these others in my life. Therefore, I only need to see myself as James saw himself - a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If I fix my eyes on Him and on serving Him alone, then I will be able to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and small group leader. Then my thoughts and ways will stay pure and focused!

This is what I am meditating on right now. What about you? Are you willing to label yourself as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ? Let's serve Him together!

And to think that this is only verse one of the first chapter of James!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

15 Year Anniversary

I have now been married to my best friend for fifteen years! Wow! Time has gone by so fast! When we got married, I knew I was marrying an incredible man. However, over the years, I have realized that he is much more incredible than I could have ever imagined. Brad completes me! He is my best friend, my spiritual leader, my love, my companion, my defender, my strong rock. He is the only man for me! As I am looking at these descriptions, this list resembles the list of what my Jesus is to me. The Bible says that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Well, in doing that, Brad's attributes line up with those of Jesus. I am so blessed!

I sat in the living room tonight while playing a game (Would You Rather) with the family and was in awe of what has taken place in fifteen short years. I looked at how grown up my children are becoming. We now have a fourteen year old daughter, a twelve year old daughter, and a ten year old son. I just can't stop saying how blessed I am. These three children are an enormous responsibility and at the same time they are an enormous amount of FUN! We knew as soon as we got married that we were ready to have children, which was a good thing because the Lord saw fit to bless us quickly! Like nine months after we were married! I am so grateful!

I didn't understand at age 22 how the decision to marry my best friend would change my life. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I knew that I loved Brad and he loved me. I knew that he would work to provide for me and the family that we would some day have. I knew that we would serve the Lord together. I knew that God would bless us. I just had no clue what that was really going to look like. So now, fifteen years later, I sit here in awe.

No, we do not have it all together. No, we do not have all the answers. We have more questions than answers most of the time. I think that is what keeps us drawing strength and wisdom from the only One who knows the plans He has for us. I am looking forward to MANY more years married to the man of my dreams. My Superman!