What my daughter should know…

compassion house 22You want to know a secret?

A secret that I wish someone had told me years ago?

Then keep reading ;-).

Growing up I was a bit obsessed with how I looked and what others thought of me. In fact it was so bad that there were days I would have rather stayed inside than go out because of a bad hair day.

This obsession led me to believe I had to be a certain size and look a certain way to be accepted.

Which led me to practically starving myself to keep a specific weight.

Now, I’m all grown up and have a daughter of my own.

A little girl who is 6 going on 20. Yet, already I notice these little things in her.

For though she’s six, she cares a bit too much about what others think, and how she looks. Like most girls her age, I suppose, she just wants to fit in.

But do you want to know what I want her to know? What I want all ladies to know….

1. Your beauty is not found in your dress or jean size.

Your significance is not found in the length of your hair or the amount of jewelry you wear.

You beauty is found according to the Scriptures, in a gentle and quiet spirit. It is found in what is in the inside, not in what is found on the outside..

“your adornment must not be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (I Peter 3:3-4)”

2. You are your beloved’s and He is yours.

He is enthralled with your beauty and longs for you to come away with Him.

The One who loves you the most, loves you just as you are. He made you that way. He loves the freckles on your nose, the color of your hair, the shape of your face. And He desires for you to care more about what He thinks of you than what anyone else says. He invites you to come away with Him and find your joy in Him.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,”( Song of Solomon 6:3)

“his banner over me is love.” (Song of Solomon 2;4)

3. You should clothe yourself with the things that matter.

All too often we pick out our clothes, we dress a certain way to draw attention to ourselves. We want to be noticed. We want to fit in, look the part.Yet, the label on our clothes and the length of our skirt, is not the issue. All over the world, women dress certain ways to fit their culture. But, God says, what we wear on the outside is not what matters. It’s the things we clothe ourselves with on the inside.

” clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Col. 3:12-14).”

4. You are never alone, you have a friend who is closer than a brother…

When others hurt you and you feel alone. Don’t believe that lie. You are never alone. The One who loves you most, the One who cares for you the most, He is always with you. Though others will let you down, He never will.

“there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).”

5. You are holy, righteous, justified, forgiven, chosen of God.

Though the enemy will lie to you and try to tell you that you have no worth. Your worth is great in the eyes of God. Because of what Jesus has done, you are perfect. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy, instead fill your mind with the truth of God’s Word.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (Phil. 4:8).”

The day we live in is far more different than the world I grew up in. Yet, despite how the world may change. Despite how dark it may get, and we all know it is getting darker. These truths remain the same. These truths are what we must hang onto.

In God’s eyes, He loves us just as we are!!!

It is my prayer for my daughter that she will find her worth, her significance not in what the world says, but solely and completely in the Lord.

How about you? Where does your significance come from? I pray it comes from the Lord.

 

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Overwhelming Grace

thankfulGrace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the grace of God. When I think back upon my life. When I am reminded of my sins, and how I lived for myself for so many years. How even today, that urge is there to please self rather than the Lord. I get overwhelmed. And I wonder who am I?

Who am I, that the God of the Universe, chose to make Himself known to me. To die in my place. To forgive me of all my sins and to adopt me into His family. After all I have done….

It is nothings but grace!

Then I think, why would He chose to appoint me to serve Him? To allow me the privilege to take His Gospel to the ends of the earth? Yet He has…

And it is all because of grace!

The wonderful grace of God is something to be meditated upon. It is something to sink your teeth into and hold onto.

For when we catch even a glimpse of this amazing grace, our lives are never the same.

I remember years ago, when on my second mission trip to China. I went to speak at a school. The class room was full of boys and girls who could not wait to meet the “Americans.” I shall never forget, one little boy who came up to me and said, “I didn’t sleep all night because I was so excited to meet you.”

And my heart just broke.

For who was I, a nobody. Yet, in this boys eyes, I was everything.

As I flew back to the States from China a few weeks later, I was overwhelmed once more by God’s grace.

For I realized that those kids could have been me. It could have been that I was born in China. That I was born in Iran, Iraq, Nigeria etc.

But I was not. I was born into a Christian family in the USA. I was taught the Bible from my earliest memories and had a wonderful mother and father.

And it is all because of grace.

Now, as I sit in Central Asia, surrounded by those who don’t know the Lord. The Lord has made me aware once more of this grace.

This grace that saved me. This grace that showed me my need of Him. This grace that called me.

As Paul was writing to Titus, he said, ” For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).”

Many times I wonder, how can I live this Christian life? How can I live a life that is pleasing to the Lord? Yet, as I read this verse today, the Lord showed me this truth.

For Paul said, the grace of God has appeared.

And this grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age… as we wait for Jesus!

The wonderful grace of God is what helps us to live lives pleasing to the Lord. The matchless grace of God enables us to do what is right.

As we think and dwell upon the grace in our lives. And all that God has done.

We will be undone.

And we will long to please the Lord in all things. We will hate sin and desire the things of God.

We will long to devote ourselves to the Lord fully.

Have you thought upon the grace of God in your life lately? Do you find it truly amazing, or do you take it for granted?

I challenge you to meditate upon all the Lord has done for you.

As you do, I believe with all my heart, your heart will be overwhelmed by this grace.

And you will long to live for the King!

Rejoicing or Complaining?!?!

cropped-true-joy.jpgWhat makes you happy? What makes you joyful?

Is there a difference? Or are they the same?

I have learned through the years that happiness and joy are two very different things.

For happiness comes and goes. It is based upon circumstance and feelings.

Whereas, joy comes from the Lord!!

On the plane on the way to Nepal, we met some seasoned missionaries to Thailand. As we talked I asked the wife, if she had any advice to offer, what would it be.

She looked at me and said, “The joy of the Lord has to be your strength.”

I have thought on this so much in the past months as we have worked to settle ourselves into a new culture and a new way of life.

Some days are hard, some days the frustrations of life here with dust, drivers, limited electricity etc. can grate on you.

And it is on such days, that I have to find my joy in the Lord.

Paul tells the believers again and again in his letters, to,“rejoice in the Lord.”

In Phil. 3, he says, “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice. I do not mind saying it again and again. For it is a safeguard for you.”

When I want my kids to know something, I repeat it again and again. I think this was true of Paul. He knew that this command from the Lord was important. It is a must in the Christian life.

Then Paul tells us why? He says that rejoicing in the Lord is a safeguard for us.

How does rejoicing in the Lord, provide us with a safeguard and a safeguard from what?

Back in Phil. 2 Paul tells us to do everything without grumbling or complaining.

Now he tells us to rejoice in the Lord. Two contrast.

I have found that grumbling comes easy, it comes naturally and it feeds the flesh.

Complaining however, expresses to God and to all around you that you are not content. That you aren’t satisfied.

And it is in fact, a sin. It is what we should not do. For this sin leads us downward. It leads those around us down as well.

Yet, rejoicing keeps our mind and hearts set upon the Lord.

Thus it is a safeguard to us. For if our minds and hearts are set upon the Lord, we will be content in Christ. We will be satisfied in Him.

However, I have found one thing to be tried and true.

Rejoicing in the Lord is a daily choice I must make.

That no mater what happens, no matter my circumstance or how I feel that day. I will choose joy.

I will choose to rejoice in the Lord.

So we have a choice daily. We can grumble and complain about our problems or how we feel.

Or we can choose instead to rejoice in the Lord and to give thanks for all He has done.

And if you’re wondering, what has the Lord done for me lately.

Then let me tell you.

He has set you free from sin and death. He has redeemed you. Forigven you. Made you righteous in Christ. Through Christ you have access to the throne room of grace. Jesus is your peace with God. You have a spiritual inheritance from the Lord. You have been adopted into the family of God. Sealed with the Holy Spirit. 

And the list goes on.

We all have reason to rejoice, let us then choose daily to find our joy in Christ.

 

Whatever Happens….

ephesiansI have been reading and re-reading the letters of Paul. As I was reading through Philippians, one of my most favorite letters. I came across a verse, which just leapt off the page.

It said, “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27)

Now you have to understand, Paul is writing from prison. If anyone had reason to grumble and complain a bit, it was Paul. Sitting in prison for doing nothing more than preaching Christ.

Yet, while in prison, we find Paul writing to the churches, to encourage and strengthen them. To instruct them, so that they might be pleasing to the Lord.

Thus, he says, “Whatever happens…. conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.”

This is a hard verse to swallow, right.

I mean really “WHATEVER HAPPENS…”

What about when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong? What about when your kids are rude and disrespectful. What about when your husband/wife says or does something that hurts you? When a friend stabs you in the back? When someone cuts you off while your driving?

Really, whatever happens…Wow!

How is this even possible you might ask, like I did.

Because I can guarantee you this does not come naturally.

When bad things happens, when someone hurts us, when drivers cut us off…. well if we are honest, all thoughts of pleasing the Lord seem to slip out the window.

Yet, one thing I have noticed as I have been reading the letters of Paul is that no matter which church he is writing to, he seems to say similar things.

In Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians, there are some major themes. First, he speaks on who we were and who we are in Christ. He speaks on living in a manner worthy of the Gospel. He teaches us to putt off the old man and put on the new. He instructs wives, husbands, children and slaves. And He prays for the people.

Ephesians 1 tells us that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ, which means we lack nothing!!!

Ephesians 2 tells us who we once were. Explaining that we were dead in our transgressions. We were separated from God. Foreigners and aliens to the things of God. Our focus was ourself and our sinful desires.

But God who is rich in mercy….. even while we were dead, made us alive in Christ. Making us who were once far off have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Paul understood more than most the amazing grace of God. Remember he was a murderer, a persecutor of Christians. Yet, God chose to open his eyes, to save him and to use him. He couldn’t believe it.

Many times we forget who we once were. We forget that we were God’s enemies.

Oh maybe we weren’t as bad as Paul… but to God, sin is sin!

As I read Ephesians 2, I was blown away at the greatness of our God.

For though I was His enemy, though I was dead in my sin… He saved me! He redeemed me! He forgave me!

Not because of anything I had done or could ever do.

But because He is rich in mercy, grace and love.

And to top it off, I have every spiritual blessing in Christ.

How then can I not seek to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Will I fail, absolutely.

Yet, this must be my aim!

So these are my theme verses for this new year.

“Whatever happens, live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” Phil 1:27

“live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Eph. 1:4

I have been called to be His child, His servant… so may I live a life worthy of this call.

I have been called to be a godly wife to my husband… may I live a life worthy of this call.

I have been called to be a godly mother of my children.. may I live a life worthy of this call.

I have been called to be a missionary in a foreign land… may I live a life worthy of this call.

What has God called you to? Make it your aim to live a life worthy of this calling, and seek as I will seek, that no matter what happens, we will live lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Not appearing like the world… but shining as cities on a hill. Being salt and light, pointing others to Christ.

 

Resolutions and all that jazz…

resolutionsGrowing up, my dad instilled in me the need to make resolutions or goals at the beginning of the new year. It stuck and I still do it today.

Yet, I have noticed something about resolutions and even goals…. I tend to start our good, but before the year is over, well let’s just say I don’t tend to follow through.

As I was thinking about this recently as I got our my fresh paper to list out this year’s goals. I was struck by a possible reason.

See it is easy to set goals, easy to make resolutions, but hard to keep them.

Often because I fail to set up a plan for doing these things.

I have learned through the years that having a desire to do something is right and good.

But it is never enough.

Desire or the want to are the starting place, but discipline is needed to achieve.

Yes, that word we don’t like, discipline.

But it is so true. For if we lack discipline, then we will lack the tenacity to follow through with our goals.

Which is why this year, not only did I make a list of my goals, I also wrote out a plan for making these goals happen.

One of my goals is to grow in my walk with the Lord, to go to a deeper level.

So in order to do this, I have resolved to put the Lord first, by spending time in His Word before I do anything else.

I have resolved to spend less time on things that do not grow me spiritually and instead to focus my mind and heart on the things that help. Such as listening to podcast and reading books that point me to Christ.

Putting the Lord first also means resolving to spend time daily in prayer, and not just quick prayers, but time spent interceding for others and for myself.

I have resolved to practice what Paul teaches and to put off the old man and put on Christ. To have the mind of Christ and the attitude of Christ.

I’m sure there will be days I fail, but I trust that God wants this as much as I do and that He will help me through.

What goals do you have for the new year? Have you made a plan to make sure they come to pass?

If not, I challenge you to set your goals and to make a plan for how you will follow through. And most importantly commit these plans/goals to the Lord.

May we look back a year later and see how God took these goals and used them for His good and His glory!

Good Reads…. 2014

downloadThis year has been a whirlwind of activity as our family has said yes to God to move to Nepal. Has worked to start a nonprofit organization,called Ambassadors for Truth, and trusted God to raise the support needed. Yet, in the midst of it all…. God’s Word and a good book, was what helped keep me grounded.

Here are some of my favorite reads of 2014… though some are repeats from last year. Some I have read more than three-five times. But hey, that’s what makes them good reads 🙂

1. Restless: Because You were made for More by Jeanie Allen

2. The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer

3. Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

4. What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst

5. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman

6. Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle For Your Heart by Kyle Idelman

7. Women of the Word: How to Study the Word with Both our Hearts and Minds by Jen Wilkin

8. Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

9. Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God…… by Courtney Joseph

10. Radical… by David Platt ( a def. read and re-read)

11. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ( another read and re-read)

12. Anything by Jeanie Allen (same as above :-))

How about you? What great books have you read this year? I’m always looking for new ideas… so leave a message below! Thanks!!