Our kiddos have received Hello Bible Box since December and we love it so much I wanted to share! Watch video for more info on the last two boxes. To join Hello Bible or learn more, click here. https://www.hellobible.org/home
My Bible reading this morning was really encouraging and I hope it is the same for you!
Watch below and keep reading for the three main take-always from 2 Corinthians 4 verses 1, 8 and 16-18 ♥️
1. Our fallen bodies and worlds are wasting away but inside we can be renewed day by day by coming to the well of Jesus.
2. Look to the unseen and not the seen. We will be afflicted, perplexed, etc by looking at the seen but focusing on Jesus and our faith, the unseen, we will not be crushed or destroyed or driven to despair.
3. Because of Jesus we can have hope for each day.
More background on these words— Paul, who was hunted down, imprisoned, wanted for dead, etc… wrote these words to encourage the Corinthians in their faith. His circumstances make our afflictions truly seemingly light. Wow. What an example to live out not losing heart. Paul knew His circumstances were temporary and that a greater glory was awaiting him in heaven one day. I love Paul and how he held fast and firmly to his faith not by His own efforts but by the grace of God.
“The suffering in Paul’s ministry brought forth life.” (Enduring bible commentary)
And we can not lose heart, not quit and faint not in our callings because of hard times, we press on and into the Lord for strength. Yes, Jesus, please help us in this today!
I walked to my mailbox, surgical gloves on my hands, grabbed the mail and was careful not to let any of it touch my clothing. I brought it inside, laid it on a counter and began sifting through it- imagining every piece contaminated, the small unseen COVID-19 lurking everywhere just waiting for it’s next host.
And then I snapped out of it and thought- what am I doing? Is this really happening? I’m crazy, this is crazy! Oh goodness did I just touch my face!?
Is anybody else here with me on this?
In that moment, I thought, “What would Jesus be doing right now? What would He do during a pandemic like this?”
Would He put on gloves to open His mail? Would he wonder if he washed His hands for 20 full seconds? Would He wipe down every. single. thing that comes into His house? Would He wash His phone with alcohol multiple times of day? Strip all clothing off when He comes in from going anywhere? Would He have shaved His beard and worn a mask? Wait. Would Jesus even be able to contract the virus?
You can see, I’m a gal of many questions and curiosities (I get on my own nerves sometimes, I promise!). And we don’t have time to answer all of them today, mainly because a lot of them are answered with, I don’t know.
BUT! I did realize a couple of things Jesus would be doing during a pandemic and want to encourage us all to do the same during this time. No, we aren’t Jesus; but we have the Holy Spirit’s mighty power inside of us to do more than we can think or imagine with willing, humbled, surrendered souls. Oh, that we would be those souls!
- HE WOULD SEEK HIS FATHER AND PRAY: We see, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ humanity in the emotions displayed before He faced His death that saved believers. I’m grateful that Jesus was 100% God yet 100% man and could relate to our emotions but without sinning. The picture of Him here, greatly troubled, in distress, in extreme anguish and His words to His Father in these verses (Matthew 26:36-56) show me how near He was to us as a human walking the earth. He related to us. He felt. In His darkest moments He sought His Father. And we can too.
- Read His Word Daily. There are so many Bible reading plans out there to get you started! Or just start with the book of John- it’s sure to ignite a fire for more of Jesus.
- Memorize His Word. Psalms 23 is a great place to start! Search the Psalms and find a few verses that speak to you, print them off and meditate on them, memorizing them with your head and heart.
- PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. Set aside time each day or once a week to do some major praying and even fasting. Pray while you walk or run. Get on knees and pray… Write down requests, go through your phone list or family members and pray for them. Ask the Lord how you can be His Hands and feet during this time, perhaps with a family member, neighbor or friend?
- HE WOULD HELP OTHERS, HEAL OTHERS, PRAY WITH OTHERS AND TEACH OTHERS
- Healthcare Workers: You are in scary but unique positions to be the hands and feet of Jesus. On the front lines, holding peoples hands, caring for them, helping them get better, praying with them, being with them when they are healed either here or in death. YOU ARE BEING JESUS. Keep it up, we are praying for you! Draw your strength from His never ending well of hope, love and grace.
- Pray with others–call a friend and pray! Have you ever done it? It’s beautiful, meaningful and God is in the midst even if you can’t be.
- Teach children: We have such a unique opportunity with our children right now. I’m reminded of Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them with you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” To teach them His Word, We must know His Word and be in it for ourselves. Study it together! One verse a day, one chapter a day, family devotionals or based on their ages, Bible studies for them. We have loved the resources at http://www.notconsumed.com
- HE WOULD BE FULL OF ALL THE HOLY SPIRIT OFFERS
1. Peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. We cannot have these fruits walking in our flesh, we must die to self, surrender to His grace and giving of these things to our souls. His Word tells us these attributes of Him are available through His Spirit. And He will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19). I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of the Holy Spirit these days. I’ve seen all too much of my many bends to everywhere but Him. This is all hard and we need something bigger than ourselves to walk steadfastly to come out of this time better than when we started it.
One final truth about our Lord is He is not a God of chaos or fear (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Timothy 1:7). So anytime we are experiencing either, know they are not of Him but can be corrected and calmed by Him. I’ve felt much chaos and fear during this whole pandemic and that is so natural and common to man. The Lord sympathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) with compassion and holds out His hand to help us. He is calm not chaos; faith not fear. Thank You, Jesus.
So. Not sure if I really answered any of my specific questions, maybe with more research I could come to a better conclusion on Jesus and social distancing, but for now, we can practice these things I listed and grow in Him during this time. We can be, as Jesus was, about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49b) and be renewed, our families can be renewed and flourish in Christ no matter what is going on around us. There’s nothing He wants more for His children.
Love you all,
Happy Easter, friends!
Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from His death on the cross. What a glorious day then, and now.
To resurrect means to revive, restore to life, raise from the dead, breathe new life into, renew, awaken, wake up, renovate, rejuvenate, and my favorite: to bring back into use or existence after it has disappeared. What a beautiful word with such meaning.
Scripture tells us Jesus not only WAS resurrected, but He IS the Resurrection.
This means He is our revival. He is the One who can restore our lives and relationships. He can raise us from the dead of our sins, He can breathe new life into us and renew our relationship with Him. He can wake us up from the death of sin and awaken us to new life with Him. He can renovate and rejuvenate our calloused, hardened hearts. He can return to us the joy of our salvation. He can give us hearts that long to please Him. He can roll away the many stones that have piled up between ourselves and Him.
Do you ever find yourself walking in your own strength? Toiling, striving, yet never getting anywhere? Are you tired of trying to keep up with the ways of the world? Tired of trying to fill a void that only the Lord Jesus is meant to fill? Does it seem impossible, as if too much would have to change for you to be made new?
When we surrender, Jesus revives us. He breathes new life into our hearts and changes our desires, realigns our priorities, helps us love others and truly live in freedom. He teaches us about grace- for others and ourselves. He gives us sure-footing and a security the world can’t offer.
Are we walking resurrected, dear friends?
“Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
God’s loving plan was always to redeem His Son; God’s loving plan is always to redeem His people. Once and for all but also every day. Because He lives, we can too. Both now and forever.
Today, as we think of the empty tomb, may anything dead in us be revived. May stones be rolled away, and our hearts awakened by His Spirit. May the miraculous, mighty power of Jesus’ resurrection stir new life, love and healing inside of each of us. In Jesus name I pray.
Love you all,
(This devotion is from my church women’s ministry page- wanted to share with you all too)
Folly: Foolish, lack of good sense, unwise, lacking good judgement, weakness of mind.
The cross is the power of God. It’s also the love of God the Father. Love. For us. A sinful people.
How awful and brutal for Christ…for my freedom, my redemption and for the glorious forgiveness of my sins.
Just standing amazed today.
Jesus, You are our salvation. The only One mighty to save. Save us, Lord. We are a sinful people not worthy of the death of Your Son. But Your Love for us saved us. May we see the love and power of the cross and walk in the wisdom, sanctification, redemption, and righteousness You offer those who follow You. In Jesus name, Amen.
For years, the kids* and I have worn red on Good Friday…here’s why. Hope you will join us! #loverunsred2020
Tomorrow is Good Friday. The day many, many years ago Jesus Christ sacrificed His perfect, blameless life for our salvation and redemption. One man, one act, one horrific death for any and all. It’s hard to comprehend! I can’t think about that day without recognizing the significance of Christ’s bloodshed on the cross.
We all know what blood is, it’s the red fluid continuously circulating throughout our bodies composed of vital nutrients and transporting them to and from our organs. It gives us life and without we cannot live…interesting, huh?
“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the temporary forgiveness of sins. Can you imagine? I think it’s all I would be doing, sacrificing animals to live in a brief moment of freedom, a temporary time of forgiveness…wow. Just wow. I’m so grateful we live on this side of the cross, this side of the last blood shed for our permanent forgiveness…and then I think of what it cost and I’m overwhelmed and cannot believe I am loved so much– we all are!
“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
With blood we have life, without it there is death. Through Christ’s blood, poured out on the cross, we can truly have life and freedom. His bloodshed wasn’t a temporary act like an animal sacrifice, but was and is a permanent reminder of our forgiveness of sins. Of grace being enough; of Christ being enough.
“…and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:20
From the beating with the whips, to the crown of thorns, from the holes nailed in his hands and feet suspending Him on the cross, to the final pierce in His side, the weight of the sins, sadness and sufferings of the world were laid upon Him, one man, our Savior, Jesus. With each drop of blood that fell at the foot of the cross, each drop that rolled off of His brow, we are forgiven. We are given grace. Grace undeserved but given anyway. We will continue to struggle with sin and sufferings until we meet our Savior face to face but no more is there a need for blood to be shed, just blood to be remembered and received. Oh THANK YOU JESUS!
Love runs red. On that dark day years ago and until He returns, His love runs red for each one of us. Tomorrow we honor Him and remember His sacrifice by wearing red, won’t you join us!?
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7, 8a (NIV)
*Not all children will grasp the cross and what wearing red tomorrow truly means, but it’s never too early to start teaching them about the importance of Good Friday, Jesus’ sacrifice for us, sin and Heaven. Pray for God to give you wisdom in speaking to your children on a level they can better understand. There are several tools out there that can help, too. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The Resurrection Eggs (LOVE LOVE LOVE these. They visually teach the story from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection. My kids love them too!)
- A Sense of the Resurrection by Ohamanda (Amanda White)
- Proverbs 31 The Journey to Easter
- Books we love: The Legend of the Easter Egg, The Best Thing About Easter, God Gave Us Easter, The Sparkle Egg, The Parable of the Lily, and Benjamin’s Box (The Story of the Resurrection Eggs)
I was going to wait until Good Friday to do this but it’s perfect for any day this Holy Week♥️
Bacon alighted just right in microwave or on stove turns into a Bible lesson at breakfast ♥️
I’m sure a lot aspects of the cross are difficult for children to grasp (ummm me too!) but we can teach them John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and explain that God loves us and sent His perfect Son to die in our place. But it didn’t end at the cross! The cross saves us and the Resurrection gives us Eternal Life ♥️🙌🏼
If you do this, please tag me or #baconcrossforkids ♥️ 🥓♥️
You think, surely that’ll never happen. I mean, how many times do we get in our safe spot for a little while then pop back out and all is fine? The kids play and think it’s fun and exciting. We send pics to family saying “we’re in our safe spot 🎉” almost making jokes about it. You see it happening to other places and hate it for them and pray for them but maybe don’t ever think it would ever really happen to you.
But no one is immune to tragedy.
And never again will I go in that safe room again without thinking of last night.
Our community was hit by an F3 (I think?) tornado that ripped through the heart of it.
I sat in our safe spot with the kids and did NOT remain calm. We watched live coverage from our news team (shout out to them for being awesome and remaining calm) on Facebook (Thank You, Lord for Facebook)
I couldn’t belive my eyes when I saw the tornado forming and quickly touching down. Coming out of nowhere. But when I started seeing debris flying up in the air circulating with the clouds, pieces of our town blown up and scattered around I could not keep it together. I screamed and yelled at God to make it stop and to forgive us of our sins and briefly I thought it might quit but it didn’t. For miles it kept going and for what felt like minutes I kept begging God to make it stop. I really don’t know what all I was praying. I reminded myself at one point I’m the mom keep it together! But I was far too gone for that. Watching in disbelief, our town demolished; So much destruction so fast.
Wondering if my husband was ok. The kids asking if he was ok. “Of course he is yes daddy’s fine.” He better be fine, God! (He was although we didn’t find out til later; and the tornado initially touched down right by his office where he was hiding under the stairs).
My 8 year old was the adult and suggested we should maybe all calm down. Great idea, son but my body won’t let me. Shaking so badly.
Soon it was over but we were a mess and so was our town.
Seeing the videos, pictures and news coverage we are still in disbelief but amazed that NO ONE was killed. They are reporting only 6 minor injuries.
Amazing. One huge praise.
Another praise is that had we not all been quarantined to our homes because of COVID-19, sooooo many people would’ve lost their lives. So many. It hit a ton of restaurants and shopping areas that would’ve been so busy on a normal Saturday night. So thank You, Lord, for your provision in that. THANK YOU.
When I saw the debris flying I think I thought it was probably taking people up with it and my mind couldn’t make sense of it. Obviously, this tornado only scattered debris. Thank You, Lord. Buildings can be replaced. A life can’t. So grateful.
Another praise— the people have come together! It’s beautiful, humbling and as if socially distancing hasn’t already (oddly enough) made us all grow closer, THIS is showing what our community is all about and it’s each other.
Gods Word says to love Him and love others. I see this happening more and more lately, don’t you??? God’s people are rising, people are seeking, praying and drawing near to firm foundation; because all else, as we are seeing, is sinking sand.
We can praise Him in this storm. We can praise Him in any storm.
He is still good He is still faithful and surely He is coming back soon. People get ready.
Please pray for our community and those that lost homes and businesses. Please pray for revival and for all to come to know Him during this time.
I keep going back and forth between two mindsets.
One being happy, grateful and excited to be home bound with my family, to be slowed down and paused from the business of life. The other, looking out and around, and being so fearful of COVID-19, what’s coming for my community, what if we get it and what if we die?
Am I alone in these two paradoxes??
I know I can’t ignore what’s going on but I cannot live in fear either. So with each fear, I must turn to God.
I listed 4 fears above and will list them again below with what God’s Word says and what I can replace my fears with. We fight fears with faith and faith comes from God’s Word.
1. Fear of COVID-19 ~
- “The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
2. Fear of the future ~
- “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
3. Fear of contracting the virus ~
- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. HE will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
4. Fear of dying from COVID-19 ~
- “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4
- “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
- “You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:16
So today when I find myself afraid, I am going to acknowledge the fear and knock it down with the Truth of God’s Word. If you want to join me, I’ve designed a print off for you to put where you can see it so His Words are ever before you. Just right click to save it and print it off if you would like. Remember, too, His word never returns void! We need His words going on in our heads and being present before our eyes, not the many fears we can find ourselves battling with the current situation.
A prayer for today~
Heavenly Father, I praise you in all things. I lift my hands to you in prayer and beg you to stop the spread of this virus but, God, mostly may we just know you and be filled with your Spirit so we can walk in faith and not fear. Steady our hearts, today, Oh God. You are the only one who can give us peace. Help us to trust in You no matter what. You are good, we praise Your Holy Name. Thank You for Your Son. It’s in His name I pray, AMEN.
I prayed to the Lord and He answered me, he freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
We had a tea party yesterday and all dressed up. The boys were super hero’s and my daughter and I put on old bridesmaids and pageant dresses. I couldn’t breathe and they wouldn’t zip on me. Ha!
I didn’t intend for it to be a Bible lesson but it was— we talked about Colossians 3:12 and what is most important to clothe ourselves with. Greater than any costume or dress, it’s most important to put on compassion for others, kindness for one another, humility in our hearts, gentleness in our words and actions, and patience in all we do.
I needed this as much as they did. Hope everyone is doing well ♥️
So many reason, of course, but what about this one I read about in Acts 17 this morning? Praying for is all during this time! Much love, Sarah
Happy Sunday, friends! Happy National Day of Prayer for our country in this state of emergency. I hope we will all spend more time talking to God today than we talk about this virus. I hope we look at His Word and seek His face above the latest news and information being tossed our ways. I pray we would humble ourselves, surrender our fears and lack of control and let God be God.
Three things to remember as believers in Jesus:
- We are the Light of the World
- Isaiah 60:1 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
- Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before man.”
- This light the Lord gives is full of grace, truth, hope and peace. This light is inside of us believers and followers of Christ!
- We are a City on a Hill
- Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
- When we walk in this light, we will stand firm in uncertain times. We will have peace in the chaos and others can be drawn to the Lord by our faithfulness.
- We are Set Apart to Pray
- 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by My Name would humble themselves, pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.”
- We are set apart for such a time as this to PRAY for our nation, our world. For hope to spread, for healing to be present in hearts and of course in health. But even if the healing just comes in our hearts and not in eradicating the coronavirus, He is still good, still working and always worthy of our faith, hope, love and adoration.
- Christians, it’s on us to pray. Let’s get on our knees today and show our children where our trust is.
In Jesus name, AMEN.
Love you all.
I just watched the 20/20 special on this deadly virus and got an alert from the Weather Channel that there have been more confirmed US deaths… panic and fear began to rise but I want to take the path of freedom from fear that God offers us with His spirit and His Word. Watch video for the verses that I am clinging to during this time! (Also- it’s 2 Timothy 1:7, “the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound mind.” I butchered that reference in the video!).
Heavenly Father, You are good. May we never forget that. May we believe it to the depths of our beings and walk in it. Help us to not fear or panic but to trust in You. The only One who can offer true peace and freedom from our fears and circumstances. I pray in your Mighty Name for this virus to be contained and stopped dead in its tracks! May we spend more time praying than worrying. May we show a lost and broken world who You are as we rise up with love and faith. I pray for mighty miracles, healing and health but if not, you are still good, faithful and worthy of our everything. Help us to focus on Your Word and nothing else, to replace the fears and lies with the love and truth from Your Holy Word. Spirit help us. In your name I pray, amen!
With Lent right around the corner, I though I’d re-post this from a few years ago.
I had a sweet friend text me about adding something to her day during Lent, something she can read to learn more about Jesus and the Bible. I loved her desire to not just give up something to enrich these 40 days, but to add something to grow in her faith.
Here were some of my suggestions:
~You Version Bible App has a great 40-day Lent reading plan that takes you through the gospels. I have not done this reading plan, but one can never go wrong adding time to read the Bible as one practices Lent; after all, isn’t the purpose of fasting to turn our hearts towards Him? And isn’t that what He is truly after, our hearts? What better way than to get into His Mighty Word!
The book of John is another great place to start! It has 21 chapters so you could read one chapter a day then pick another book to read. Romans and then 1 John would be good follow ups and there are others too! Let the Lord guide you on this and He will!
~On Calvary’s Hill, 40 readings for the Easter season, is a book by Max Lucado and is full of Scripture and is an in depth look at the final days in the life of our Savior. It is beautiful; I absolutely love the way Mr. Lucado writes.
~Rick Warren’s the Purpose Driven Life is another 40-day devotional book that can change your life. It answers the many questions of our true purpose on Earth and living out the Greatest Commandment and Great Commission.
~Prayer. Prayer is a huge part of fasting, taking our eyes off ourselves and the things of this world and focusing on God. Fasting isn’t always easy, but if we praise the Lord and pray Scriptures when we desire what we are fasting from, it will help us avoid what we are giving up but most importantly take our focus off of ourselves and onto Him and His amazing sacrifice for our souls. Again, isn’t this the purpose of Lent? Let Him hear from you, He loves it!
~Memorizing Scripture. Focus on one a week or maybe just pick one to meditate on during the 40 days of Lent. There are so many to choose from but one of my favorites is Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.” Especially in the realm of fasting (and raising kids ha), this verse can help get our focus off of what we want with His help. His Spirit is unending and overwhelming inside of believers! Let’s put it to good use!
I have to admit, I have never officially practiced the 40 days of Lent, but I enjoyed reading and researching more about it from various denominations viewpoints.
I have no doubt that God can work in amazing ways anytime we turn our hearts toward Him, get in His word and pray. What an exciting time Lent can be and it doesn’t have to stop there! May we continually seek the Lord every day of the year. 🙂
There is always so much to learn about love.
Preaching to my own heart first and always!
Mealtimes are CRAY in our home. I should record one sometime and post it for all to see. HA. It’s hard to keep kids in their seats and often there is a lull in the conversation. I desire mealtime to be more civilized first and foremost, but also as a time to hear about the day and visit with one another; to get the children to open up but also learn to listen to others.
When we vacationed last summer to Vail, CO (I highly recommend it!) with our oldest two children, we had dinners scheduled each night and I wanted us to really visit and not succumb to electronics (or craziness), so I found the hotel stationary and wrote out some questions. I was super excited to surprise my family with this dinner fun. We each took turns picking and answering the questions. It was a really special night. My heart felt so full and I think everyone else liked it as well.
Here are some of the questions we used:
- Where in the world would you most want to live?
- What are you most proud of?
- Describe yourself in 5 words.
- Describe the person next to you in 5 words.
- If you could invite anyone to dinner who would you invite?
- If you were a superhero what would your power be and what would you be called?
- If we all loved in a zoo, what animal would each of us be?
- What scares you and why?
This is also fun with couples! We have some friends we go to dinner with from time to time and we all enjoy this mealtime activity as well. We usually laugh so hard and aren’t ready for the questions to end.
On thanksgiving, we had my parents and my husbands parents join us for the night meal. We used Ever Thine Home’s “Untie Your Story” ribbon. So beautiful, festive and I love the questions. Several of us had tears in our eyes as we answered in gratefulness. Again, a special meal!
I also did this with my women’s ministry team when I had them over for our Christmas Party and it was so special. I placed a question/card at each place and had no assigned seating but the Lord ordained the questions in such an amazing way. It was a night I’ll never forget!
I googled some of the questions and came up with some on my own but Table Topics ￼has several boxes of questions geared to different ages/scenarios. We also just bought this set that has been fun to do at home mealtimes. ￼Just anyway to get the conversation going, kids opening up, laughing and having fun. Try it at your next dinner with friends or family vacation!
Does anyone else ever struggle with thoughts that carry you away from reality? I went through a terrible season of that a few years ago. While these words are from that time, and the Lord has done a work on my thoughts and mind, I am still in continual need of mind-renewing. Grateful He is our help for just that! For more on this click here.
When my mind is a mess, what can I do? My thoughts, oh Lord, you must renew!
My heart and soul love You but my mind seems so stuck. Please, dear Father, lift me out of this muck.
Teach me your ways, help me know You are near. Teach me to live my life without any fear.
Keep the distracting thoughts at bay; for only You can make a way.
Reign in my heart, reign in my head. Only by You may my spirit be led.
May I think on things pleasing to You. My thoughts, oh Lord, continually make new!
In Your son Jesus’ name I pray. The name above all and only way.
Although I dragged my feet for quite a while, our daughter officially has a cell phone. She’s 11 and was one of the last of her friends to get one. I know it can be a good thing, but as her mom, I want to educate her on the dangers and set it up safely.
I recorded this video before she got her phone and forgive me for saying “you” so many times– I am ALWAYS preaching to my own heart and self before preaching to anyone else! Watch the video, and then read below…
5 ways to guide and protect:
- Set up filters and restrictions
- Disney Circle: Love this! You can set time limits, downtime, see search history and much more. I highly recommend this to protect your home WIFI and devices. CLick here for more info.
- Life 360: a good way to see locations of family members and driving speeds, etc… Click here for more info
- Apple restrictions in phone: When a child is added to family sharing, there are many restrictions/filters that can be put into place. From allowed websites, content restrictions, time limits, installing/deleting apps, etc… I had someone at the AT&T store guide me on this.
- There are many others- Our Pact, BARK, Pumpic ….
- Remove Gifs– I just realized you can do this! (go to the “…” in the bar below a message, you can remove or add certain apps (like photos, app store, animojis etc..) -I love this feature!)
- When Joe White with Kanakuk Kamps spoke at our church years ago, he talked of drawing up contracts with children. I felt a cell phone was certainly a place that needed clear boundaries in a contract. Here is the contract we drew up with our daughter. You are welcome to take and use whatever you like for your children as well and feel free to let me know of anything I might have left off!
- Take phones up at bedtime
- If left to their own devices, I know my children would have a hard time putting the phone down to go to sleep. We have set downtime which turns almost all apps down but I still want the phone with me during the night. Kids need sleep so badly. You can read in the contract the downtime hours for us.
- If having a sleepover, communicate with the other children the rules of the house–no cell phones past a certain time. Take them up (depending on kids ages) or have them put them away.
- Teach Phone Etiquette (more of this in the contract above)
- Be mindful of what pictures are taken/sent…once it’s out there, it’s out there
- THINK: Is it true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind? Think before sending/taking/texting
- Be kind. Don’t gossip on group texts. (group texting is a feature that can be removed if needed!)
- Answer the phone when parents text or call
- Always wrap up a call with “BYE”
- Say NO to social media (Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, etc…)
- Kids can’t drive until they are 16, vote until 18, gamble, drink or smoke until 21, rent a car until 25 and yet social media is “legal” at 13. This to me is way too young for these sweet, innocent hearts and minds that aren’t fully developed. The bullying that takes place, the FOMO, the availability of porn, the addiction of likes or comments, etc….
- Wait as long as you can. 16? 18?
- Click here for an eye-opening read about Tik Tok
- Click here for a more helpful read in navigating TikTok
Some things to remember:
- To whom much is given, much is required. My mom reminds me of this often, and I’m grateful! A phone is much, therefore will require much from us and our children
- Each child is different- don’t just get a child a phone (or social media) because all of their friends have one
- It’s ultimately our phone and we are lending it to them
- We are not powerless when it comes to our children and electronics. As parents, we are in charge of their cell phones
- Use the phone as currency. Chores must be done, grades made, good behavior at home and school, etc… or phone is taken away
- Have a “grounded” phone to be used if main phone is taken away. A flip phone or a GABB phone would be great. (we actually looked into the GABB phone and may consider it for our “grounded” phone or other children if we need to strictly get a hold of them It seems like a great device!)
I am not an expert, I’m learning as we go. I want to share this information to help others navigate electronics in this day and age. I know they are kids and may be able to find loopholes or ways around things, but a constant prayer on my lips and in my heart is that anything hidden in the dark would be brought to light. I can trust the Lord to do this, so grateful!
Heavenly Father, because of your love, presence and Word, we are not alone in our parenting- I praise you! You have blessed us with our children for just a short time, may we be great stewards of them always. May we diligently pray for them and their friends as they grow up in a place where too much can be accessed and known too soon. May we grant freedoms according to each child, letting You help us discern that which is pleasing to You and good. Father, I pray You would continually shine light on any darkness in my life and my children’s’ lives. Keep them safe and smart. May they long to do Your will. May the phones we use be used for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
Relief: a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.
Everyday I mess up as a mom. And everyday I am given grace.
What a relief.
Everyday I need something other than myself to help me. Everyday I ask, seek and surrender I am given the Holy Spirit’s help.
What a relief.
Everyday I get it wrong, say the wrong things or think unpleasant thoughts. Everyday I confess I am forgiven.
What a relief.
His death on the cross and resurrection sealed our fate as believers. Eternity with Him.
What a relief.
The words he left behind and how to live this life.
What a relief.
Yes, what a relief it is to have such a God! To send His one and only Son to die for us, to raise Him for us, to send His Spirit to help us, to give us the Bible to guide us. To give us access to Our Great Creator through prayer.
What a great relief it is.
Are we living in this relief today or merely going our own way?
Lord, help us to know these truths and live them out everyday. Thank You for paying the price for our sins and for granting us eternal life, your Spirit and your Word. You have truly given us everything we need to pursue life and godliness this side of our eternal home. What a relief. I love you. In your Son’s saving name, amen.
I sat in church looking at the exits, imagining a shooter busting through. I wondered if I was sitting in the safest spot possible. I quickly realized I wasn’t; any seat could be a target, anyone a victim of such evil. And I remembered the verse my discipleship group and I recently memorized…
The angel of the lord is a guard he surrounds and protects all who fear him. (Psalm 34:7)
So one would think maybe this angel of the Lord wasn’t with all the churches that have witnessed such monstrosity. One may think God was asleep when those tragedies happened. One might think maybe they didn’t properly fear the Lord and so death came. I believe all these things are lies. Lies easy to believe in our feeble human minds but lies. The truth is the Lord never sleeps or slumbers. The truth is sometimes the Lord allows tragedy to bring about his glory and so others will know who He is (think about the cross…always go back to the cross). The truth is there is protection in death for Christians.
We are protected by God. Even when the worst happens there is some level of protection we cannot even see.
So we do not fear death, although I often do because this world is all I know and all I seem to be able to wrap my head around sometimes. We can have hope in death because death of a Christian means JESUS. It means perfection. It means heaven.
The events taking place and the overwhelming excess of this place we live in can make one shrink like bacon. To shrivel up and hold in our faith. To stay home from church on Sundays because of fear.
We can do as we’ve been equipped and rise like bread when the heat is turned up. We can rise up and proclaim the name of Jesus that has saved us. We can share this hope we have. We can trust and believe that God is surrounding us and protecting us daily from things we can’t see. We can trust that death isn’t the end for a Christian.
Believers…Christians…church. It’s time we rise up. It’s time to rise like bread.
There is no hope in our circumstances. There is no hope in ourselves, others, food, drink, drugs, busyness, shopping, tv, etc…our only hope is Jesus.
As we continued to worship in church that morning, we sang these words from “Grace to Grace”:
How wonderful, how glorious
My Savior’s scars victorious
My chains are gone, my debt is paid
From death to life and grace to grace
When I see that cross, I see freedom
When I see that grave, I’ll see Jesus
And from death to life, I will sing Your praise
In the wonder of Your grace
I was truly free. Surrendered. Rising like the bread because I was worshiping my God. I trusted him that if my death came in that place, in that moment, what mighty glory and protection that would be.
Unfortunately I’m merely human and struggle to stay in that place of surrender, freedom from fear, and awe. But going forward, how do we rise like bread? How do we keep from shrinking like bacon into our fears and flesh?
- Know God: ask him to reveal Himself to us
- Read His word: we have to dig into it to know it
- Attend a Bible believing, preaching church; join a small group
- Pray: turn fears and anxieties into our greatest prayers
- Rest, trust and obey
- Memorize and Meditate on Scripture
Father God…so much evil and wrong in this world, yet You are always with us. Grieving with us at the injustice. Thank you for your presence and the hope that your son Jesus has given us. We have a choice- we can be afraid and worry or we can know Your truths are true and we can rise as you’ve called us to. Help us to be bread, dear Savior. If we start shrinking like bacon, help us to notice and turn our fears into prayers so we can rise. May we all know you better and allow Your Holy Spirit to change who we are for our good and Your glory. But also, keep us safe. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
An activity for children:
Bake bread. It starts small but rises into something beautiful. Watch it rise and talk of how we, as believers, as called and equipped to rise against the struggles, fears, and sin of this world. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper! Go over spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, praying, church, memorizing Scripture, etc… to increase faith and rising up.
“I will put my Spirit within you and you will come to life.” Ezekiel 37:14
Make bacon. Watch it shrivel up. It starts large and the heat causes it to shrink. Talk of certain “heats” your child might be facing (bullying? up coming changes at school? fear? sin?). Talk of how this is where the enemy of our souls wants us, but God has called us higher and will help us rise and not shrink.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:39