It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Glass tongues

“If ONLY our tongues were made of glass . . . how much more careful would we be when we speak”?  by Shaun Shane

Our tongues are the strongest muscle in the body, proportionally speaking, so we can lift the spirits of our families and friends. What will you do with that which is in your mouth?  Bridle it or unleash it?  They both make a long lasting impact. Which will you choose?

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”.  Ephesians 4:29

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue:  and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:21

 

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Happiness is tied in “nots”

Did you know that unsaved people can enjoy blessings, just like saved people can?

    “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”.    Psalm 1:1-3

This word blessed means – happy with a glow.  This is more about how he lives, than what he has.  It’s based on what he does “not” do.  This man is happy because he has some “nots” in his life. In the verse above, we see a digression; not walk, not stand, not sit.  How do you end up a scorner?  You don’t have any “nots” tied into your life.

Something to think about: If we go through life, and ALL WE HAVE are positives, and no negatives, there will never be any real charge to get things done.  For example:  If you try to jump start a vehicle with only a positive charge, it won’t help much.  You need the negative side to complete the charge!  The “NOTS” in your life complete the charge.

Tie a “not” today in your life concerning friendships.  When you leave the presence of your friends, are you more excited about your relationship with God, or less excited?

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”      Proverbs 13:20

What are your “nots”?  Tie some “nots” into your life and you will be blessed!

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What’s Cooking?

What type of food do you serve at your homeschool cafeteria? My children’s favorite benefit of homeschooling was the fresh and delicious meals we made together as a family. No canned or prepackaged entrees were allowed. Learning how to cook was a mandatory lesson we incorporated into each child’s curriculum. All the family appreciated the tasty A+ lessons of lasagna, stir-fry, oven-baked pot roast, fresh pies, cakes, breads, and salads.

However, teaching your children how to cook also means making messes. Peeling potatoes, mixing batter for cookies, and measuring spices and ingredients led to many accidents. Learning how to wipe up a spill, clean flour off containers, and wash the extra baking dishes were skills that also needed to be learned before enjoying the benefits. Of course, these skills were never quite as fun as the process of preparing the food. Our children wanted the fun of cooking without the hassle of cleaning up.

Our Christian walk is much the same. We want to sit at God’s table and enjoy the benefits of the Holy Spirit without going through the disciplines of living a holy life. We make a mess of devotions and prayer times and wonder why God is not using us more. We use canned approaches in witnessing and fail to seek God first in prayer.

Is there an area of your life that needs disciplining — reading magazines and books that honor the Lord, making time for devotions and prayer, or maintaining a pure thought life? Share your area of struggle with a trusted friend and make yourself accountable. Find the help you need to stay disciplined and close to the Lord. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

Lord, show me the areas in my life that fail to honor You. Please, lead me to a Christian friend who will help me stay disciplined in those areas, so my life will glorify You. Thank You for loving me so much and always forgiving me when I fail. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotion

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God’s Peace is 18 Inches Away

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 4:7 

Just yesterday, our family received word that some missionary friend’s 7-year-old son had been taken to the hospital with Malaria.  Just a few hours later came more news that their 8-year-old daughter was now in the hospital as well, with Malaria.  As these two children were showing signs of recovery, their 3-year-old son was vomiting with fever and in the hospital this morning.

How does one get through something like this?  There are those that would be angry at God and demand better treatment “as they ARE doing the work of the Lord”!  This mindset comes from a twisted belief that “it’s all about us” or “God owes me”.  However, this family is quite the contrary and will bring God glory trusting HIM through it all.

As a mom, I couldn’t begin to fathom this type of adversity, nor the magnitude in just a few short hours.  But because I know the Lord and HIS character, HIS grace would be sufficient and HIS love and peace would sustain me for whatever HE would allow me to go through.  I immediately began to pray and put myself in these parent’s shoes!  What would I want, desire, or need during these difficult hours?  The closeness of God?  His grace?  Strength and Comfort?  To sense HIS presence and feel HIS arms engulfing me?  All of the above!

God gives peace and protection in our hearts and in our minds.  God will guard these two parts, that remain 18 inches apart, which seem to conspire against us.  If our hearts are troubled, it won’t be long before our minds will be in turmoil.  If our thoughts are headed in the wrong direction, our hearts will soon follow.  But God’s peace can guard both heart and mind no matter what we are facing.

Today, there are Christians all over the world, going through unbelievable things with God’s peace.  Their assurance in the face of evil and pain is a testimony that brings glory to God, for it is clear to those watching, that something which passeth all understanding is going on.  These Christians are getting supernatural help, as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego while in the furnace, walking around.

Can you imagine those three Jewish men standing near a roaring furnace, KNOWING they were about to be fed to the flames (Daniel 3:8-30)?  The weren’t sure they wouldn’t die.  Their peace came from being sure that no matter what happened, God would deliver them.

Peace is easy to understand when everything is going well, but not so easy when circumstances get hard.  God’s peace is always available, and HE wants us to rest in it — especially in season’s of darkness and difficulty.

Remember, you don’t get to choose your furnaces.  But you can choose to live rejoicing in the Lord.  You can choose to get along with others and practice anxiety-free days as you turn everything over to God with thanksgiving, even if you don’t fully understand how to go through challenges with a calm, quiet confidence, this will not prohibit God’s ability to give you the gift of peace.

What is your belief about God?

Anything and everything that happens to you must FIRST be filtered through God’s Hand.  All that HE allows is for your greater good and His glory!

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Do Your Manners Match Up?

Very few people will listen to your message, if your manners don’t match your message.

What message are you sending to those you come into contact with daily? Be it family, friends, strangers or lost people?

Are you considerate, respectful, encouraging, serving, selfless, seeking others needs above your own, listening without interrupting, etc.?  Are your daily actions different than those who seek to serve self, dishonoring, cruel, and the list goes on.

If you desire that others hear the message you bring, start with your actions – they will speak much louder than anything you can say with your mouth.

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Train Wreck

The world is telling you to “follow your heart – if it feels good do it”.  However, the WORD tells you to guard your heart.  We are to LEAD our heart, not FOLLOW it!

If your goal in life is purity then don’t allow your heart to jump on a train that’s headed for a train wreck!  Where your heart leads, the rest of your body WILL follow in due time.  Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above ALL things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?”

Listen to the one’s who love you.  Listen to the godly authorities that have been placed into your lives.  Those that are encouraging you to do wrong, are only thinking of themselves.  No one wants to fail alone.  Any boy or girl whose ever said these words, “If you loved me, you would . . . . . . ” are using YOU to meet THEIR needs.  This is selfish and not love.

The Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 13 what love IS:  kind, long suffering, it does not envy, it is not puffed up, does not behave unseemly, does not seek its own, it is not easily provoked, and thinketh no evil.  Hmmm . . . this is a much different picture of love than what the world calls love.

A TRUE friend will tell you what you don’t want to hear because they LOVE you.   Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Before you leave the train station (with your heart) and get on the train, you need a plan.  Know what your ticket will cost you, where you are going & where you will get off, the history and track record behind the train, and what is the goal of your trip.  Know your boundaries on the train:  where you will ride, who will you be seated next to, how will you allow yourself to be swayed and influenced, and where you draw the line.

Is there a train wreck ahead for you?  Will you seek God’s Word on leading your heart?

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Conquering the Guantlet of Life!

IMG_0278  6 foot slanted wall  IMG_0456  IMG_0499  IMG_0523  IMG_0515  IMG_0508     IMG_0562
Three friends started on a journey together.  All smiles, looking pretty with a great outlook on the road ahead.  The road of life brings with it many obstacles that we must jump over, crawl under, go through in the dark, some laced with barbed wire, while some  you will be on your hands and knees with one eye open, battling the mud that someone has thrown at you!
This past weekend, our 15 year old daughter and two of her friends decided and purposed they would attempt to “Conquer the Guantlet”. . . AND THEY DID!  However, I must say, they looked and felt quite different when crossing the finish line, than they did on the starting line.  In the end, they were much dirtier and covered with mud, exhausted, fatigued, marred with cuts and bruises, thirsting for water and nutrition and not near as excited in the end as they were in the beginning.  This trio was relieved to cross the finish line standing up and breathing, yet ready to get cleaned up, lay down and rest.   *Psalm 23:2
Olivia, Megan and Kayla headed out together on a 4 mile journey along rough terrain that encompassed potholes and thick stobs – not exactly fit for running!  90 degree temps with high humidity only added to the difficulty of this event.  There were over 25 of the largest, most unique and challenging obstacles along this 4 mile stretch.  It was this 2 hour and 15 minute journey, that stretched these girls and pushed them to their limits, trying their physical, mental and spiritual ability like never before!
The further into the trails they went, each one began to realize just how important it is to “not go it alone”.   We need friends on this journey through life.  Not just “friends” but the friends that will encourage you and push you to keep running — not ones who will give up and encourage you to quit!  *Proverbs 17:17
They also began to verbalize what things they would lay aside next time, that were a (bothersome) “weight” for them.  For example:  their tu-tu’s – cute and fun, but not needed for such a race.  How many things do we carry through life that is not needed or just an added weight?  *Hebrews 12:1
It was neat to listen to them encourage each other.  As one began to grow weary, not sure she could press on or challenge the next obstacle, the other two would pipe up exclaiming, “YOU CAN DO IT” while pulling or pushing the other one up or over the obstacle.  The obstacles on this course were optional.  You could take the challenge or go around, watching others push themselves above and beyond what they “thought” they could do!  *Galatians 6:9
I was informed by my husband just minutes AFTER the starting gun went off, that I could go along the course and take pictures if I wanted to.  This meant I had to hurry and catch up!  I was able to follow along (tongue hanging, tail dragging and sweat pouring down between my spectacles) taking pictures while cheering them on!  I definitely was NOT equipped in the best attire or shoes to travel this journey with them, alongside them or even behind them, as I did not attend this event prepared for the same journey.
There were several different walls they were challenged to climb over.  Some were approximately 15 feet tall with different length ropes to run and grab, pulling yourself over then climbing down the other side.  Some were 8 feet tall straight up and down, some were 6 feet tall and slanted for you to run up as far as you could and climb over.  As I watched the girls on the 6 foot slanted wall, it was difficult for them to make it over.  So, two of them would get at the top (leaning from opposite side) while the other would run up the wall.  The two girls would grab her hands helping to pull her over.  They had great difficulty and tried several things to beat this obstacle. I was immediately reminded of how it is in life, when others will pull us down easier than we can pull them up.
**We don’t know what life’s journey holds, but the Lord does.  May we be prepared and equipped with God’s Word and great friends to embark on this journey through life that brings with it, rough terrain, obstacles, marred flesh, etc.  There is so much spiritual application to this event.  Hope you enjoyed the snippit of their journey to Conquer the Guantlet.
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