Thanksgiving: In Time for the Holidays

Marriage, Moms, Parenting, thanksgiving No Comments

Tristie Fisher shares what you & I need to hear about BEFORE the holidays…FORGIVENESS!  This is extremely convicting and ENCOURAGING as you prepare for the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving!

It’s worth your 10 minutes to watch this video on facebook…
Forgiveness (On facebook)

Or read about forgiveness on her blog
Forgiveness on Tristie’s blog

There is so much stress during the holidays that it is imperative you forgive QUICKLY!

Wednesday Words: “Return to the Lord”

Bible, Marriage, Moms, Parenting 6 Comments

“Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you.”

Zechariah 1:3

I’ve been meditating on this verse and contemplating what parts of my life need to return to the Lord.  What about you?  What areas of your life need to return to the Lord?

Here are a few areas to consider:

1.  Marriage

Are you respectful and submissive to your husband?
Do you keep quiet or always tell him what he should be doing?

There are many times I need to choose to keep quiet in a situation, rather than tell Steve what to do or what I think is the solution.  Let him lead!  And that is often done by being quiet.  More on that in future posts. (I Peter 3:1-6)

2.  Kids

Are you raising & training your kids according to God’s Word?
Or, do you depend on what others say you should do?

Regardless of how you are raising your children, you are training them.  Take a step back and see if you are training them to follow God, to obey His Word, to love righteousness & justice.

3.  Work

Work can be in your home (housekeeping, cooking, laundry, etc) or outside your home (working a job for someone else).

What is your focus in your work?
Is it simply to endure and complete tasks?
Or, is it to bring glory to God in all you do during the day?  Colossians 3:23-24

4.  Words

What do you talk about?
Do you gossip or complain?

Your words are a picture of what’s important to you.  If you are always complaining, you are not trusting God that He has your best at heart.  Philippians 2:14  If you are gossiping, your focus is on bringing others down instead of lifting them up.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Philippians 2:4

How are you returning to the Lord this week?  Please post a comment and share with others.

Wednesday Words — The Right Guy

Bible, Marriage 2 Comments

This week we have a guest author, Renee Meyer. We have featured some of Renee’s articles before. Make sure to check out her blog!

dating

How Do You Know When the Right Guy Comes Along?

Sometimes I wonder if I am writing about dating for the blog JUST to air out all of my (many) pet peeves on this particular subject.

Pet peeve of the day: When you ask this question (How do you know?), and happily married people tell you, “Oh, you just KNOW!” As a single woman, this always made me laugh – I don’t just know about anything. It’s like when people make decisions based on “having a peace” about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just that decision making, for me, is an entirely UNpeaceful process. I hardly ever experience peace until the decision is made, and there’s no backing out. It takes me forever to decide what I want to eat at a restaurant, imagine how hard it is to make major life decisions. Add to that the fact that in college I had multiple friends “just know” they were supposed to marry someone they weren’t even dating (none of them ended up marrying the person they “just knew” about either.) So I was very skeptical of the “you just know” camp… But guess what? I just knew.

Didn’t see that one coming did you? Of course, I don’t mean that I never experienced doubt, that I wasn’t praying through our entire dating relationship, asking the Lord to confirm, to open or shut this door. And I don’t mean that I knew from the moment I met Matt that he was THE ONE – we “met” in an email, for crying out loud. But as our relationship progressed, my doubts grew less and less, and I grew in confidence that Matt was God’s best for me, that the Lord was bringing us together.

Maybe what’s bothersome to me about the “I just knew” comment is that it implies there’s one moment when it’s crystal clear that this is God’s will – I still don’t know that I agree with that. I think you KNOW that this is God’s person for you when you stand up in your church (or the location of your choice), with your dearest friends gathered around you, and your pastor says, “Do you take this man…” When you say “I DO”, then you KNOW – for better or worse, this is now God’s will for you, until death do you part.

Until then, you don’t know for sure – but you should experience growing confidence that the Lord is leading you in that direction. By the time Matt initiated a conversation moving us from email to real life relationship – I knew it was right. And when Matt initiated moving from friendship, “getting to know each other,” to dating – I knew it was right. And when he proposed, I was confident that the Lord was leading me to say YES (and cry.) And when we said “I DO”, then I knew for sure I had been right all along – this was God’s will. Looking back over our relationship, I knew it all along. Funny how that works.

BUT realizing how very unhelpful the advice “you’ll just know” is…Here are some thoughts.

  • Allow your relationship to grow gradually as you seek the Lord and get to know each other better. Consciously  grow a friendship with the person you’re dating.
  • Think about these things: Do you enjoy the same things? Is he honest with you? Do his actions match up with his words, in your relationship, and in his relationship with God? How do you work through conflict? Are you generally both wanting the same things?
  • Everyone has baggage & issues that they need to work through in life. Get to know each other’s baggage – once you get married, his baggage is your baggage (and, scarily enough, your baggage is his. Yikes.) Can you live with his faults and struggles? Are you going to be willing to forgive & extend grace and encouragement in his struggles? Are you going to be able to trust Jesus to meet all of your needs?
  • In the reverse, are you willing to let this man into your faults and struggles? Do you trust him?

Like I said before, for me this was a gradual realization that this was who I was waiting for – I didn’t even think there could be anyone out there like Matt Meyer. I began to see more and more how we fit together. Every time I was with him, every conversation, I grew in attraction to him, I liked him more.  There were a series of confirmations that Matt was who I thought him to be – I wanted to be careful not to be blinded by romantic delusions.

But ultimately, getting married is a step of faith. I remember thinking after I got married (to someone I’d known for 7 months, the first month of which was over email ) and moved to Nebraska, “Wow, this could have been a total disaster.” But Matt continues to be exactly who I thought he was when we were dating, and more importantly – the Lord is EXACTLY who He says He is. Throughout dating, engagement, marriage and moving, that is where I tried to place my confidence. Bottom line: I did “know” that Matt was the one for me, but Jesus is the only SURE THING.


Renee Meyer

http://enthralltheking.wordpress.com

In 2005 I was living in my home state (Texas), a single woman in full time ministry, living in coffee shops and spending time with Jesus whenever I wanted to… On a sunny (hot) day in Central Texas in June 2005 that all changed – I became a wife to Matt and mother to 5 year old Luke, and hauled all my junk to Nebraska to be a stay at home mom and pastor’s wife. After adding baby Tobin in 2007, I now live in my van, and spend time with Jesus whenever I can. The constant in this change has been Jesus (of course) and college women – I’ve loved and served college and young adult women since 1997, first through the college ministry at Grace Bible Church, in College Station, TX, and now through Campus Impact at Lincoln Berean Church in Lincoln NE. I love Jesus, my family, the Word of God, and coffee. I love watching the Lord at work in women’s lives. And I talk about poop a lot more than I used to…I’m sorry in advance.

Wednesday Words: Is Your Life Crazy? God’s Providential Hand

Bible, Marriage, Moms 1 Comment

Yesterday I heard a stirring message by Kevin Barra, one of our pastors.  I’d like to share some of the lessons I re-discovered.  The message was set during the time of Israel’s captivity by Ahasuerus.  As we look at the events of the first 4 chapters of Esther, we see several principles.

1.  God is aware of world events and they are well within His control

King Ahasuerus bans Queen Vashti from being queen any longer.  She embarrassed the king by not appearing before him & his buddies, so she gets the boot.  This affects women everywhere.  (Esther 1: 10-18)

What does this have to do with you?

We are going through one of the toughest economic times of our generation, yet we can be assured that God is still in control.  He is bigger than any economic crisis that may occur.  As always, our world has places that are not at peace, they are at war with each other.  These places are especially dangerous for Christians.

2.  God is aware of YOUR events, and they are well within His control.

The King decides to look for another queen.  Esther is urged by her guardian Mordecai to “try out” for queen.  Esther’s parents are dead and she is a young Jewish woman trying out for a pagan queen.  To me, that is a very scary situation to be in as  a young woman.  (Esther 2:7-11) Yet, God knows the circumstances of her life and begins to orchestrate His plan.

It is true in your life as well.  If you are having a difficult time paying your bills and making ends meet, God knows what is going on.  If you are in a difficult relationship, God knows.  If you are having a hard time with one of your children, God also knows this.

3.  God is ALWAYS on time and ALWAYS in control

Believe it or not, God is in control.  Ahasuerus chooses Esther as his queen.  Soon after that, Mordecai & Esther discover a plat to kill the Jews.  Mordecai responds to Esther…

Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you & your father’s house will perish.  Yet who knows whether you have come to this kingdom for such a  time as this?   Esther 4:13-14

Esther has 2 choices to make during this difficult time.  She can say nothing and endure the consequences.  Given this choice, God is still in control and can find deliverance for His people from someone else.  Or, Esther can take a stand, going before the King to save her people.  Esther chooses to go before the King even though she has not been summoned.  This might mean death, but she is willing to endure with the hope that she will save her people.

When you are in the depths of despair, trying to work out relationships, finances, and other trying circumstances, God is in control.  He will work things out for His glory and your best interest.  Too often we are so immersed in the hard times, that we don’t even see a solution.  At that time, we should fall on our knees and rely on God’s timing and sovereignty.  He is definitely in control and may be using the troublesome times to prepare you for something bigger.

Wives…Do They Affect Their Husbands?

Bible, Marriage, Parenting 1 Comment

Wives have a huge impact on their husbands.

We see this vividly in 2 Chronicles 21.  The past few chapters have told stories of Jehoshaphat and Asa, kings of Israel.  Both of these kings followed God and so did the nation of Judah at that time.  When Jehoshaphat dies, his son, Jehoram, takes the throne and kills all of his brothers.  What happened?  Jehoram was raised by a man of God, one who led Judah in the ways of the Lord.

As I read further, I discover that Jehoram married Ahab’s daughter.

He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife.  2 Chronicles 21:6

Ahab walked according to the kings of Israel…not following God but living for himself.  Ahab’s daughter influenced Jehoram to turn from his upbringing and live to please himself.

As I read this short story, I see 2 ways it impacts my life (& hopefully yours)

1.  First, as we look to ourselves as wives.

What type of impact do you have on your husband?

Positive or Negative.
Godly or Ungodly.
Patient or Impatient.

The list can go on & on.  You have an impact on your husband, just like I do.  I want to strive to encourage him as he endeavors to follow the Lord, lead our family and impact the world for Jesus Christ.  For me, this means keeping our home in some sort of order so he can enjoy our time together as a family.  I don’t need to put pressure on him to do “my job” as a homeschool mom & housewife when he gets finished with work.

I also need to wholeheartedly support his decisions about our family & ministry, even if I don’t agree.  We usually talk about the direction we are going, but he is ultimately responsible to God.  To be honest, we don’t have many differing opinions about this, but when we do I respectfully submit to his decision.

2.  Next we look to our children as they choose their spouse.

As my children choose spouses, we need to encourage them to go beyond simply being a believer and choose wisely in all areas of life.  We’ve discussed with our older girls the importance of looking at their overall values.  Do they value family and work ethic? What type of character do they have?  How will they raise their children?

You may not agree on every issue of life with your future in-law children.   We don’t.  But, we do see a loving spouse, whose life perspective is similar to ours and wants to follow the Lord as he grows in his marriage.

In conclusion, we learn that God curses Jehoram and his household.  Jehoram’s intestines will coume out by reason of his sickness.  God doesn’t put up with those who “play the harlot”.

And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers. . . to no one’s sorrow departed.  However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.  2 Chronicles 21:20

Jehoram acted cruelly and was greatly influenced by his wife.  Jehoram receives what he deserves – no pity from his people and no glory from God.

As a wife & mother, I desire to support and encourage my husband in godly endeavors, both within my family and outside my family.  I also desire my children to marry godly spouses so they may encourage each other as they follow God’s leading.

Wednesday Words: Showing More Grace

Bible, Marriage, Mentoring, Moms 2 Comments

Originally, I planned to write what God is teaching me about the beatitudes today.  But, I’ve been reading 2 Samuel in the mornings and decided to write about showing more grace.

When David returns to Israel, after his son Absalom is killed, David encounters a variety of men.  One of these men is Shimei, who cursed David, the Lord’s annointed one.  Shimei tells David, “I have sinned. . . I am the first to come today of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet the lord the king.”  David’s men ask for permission to slay Shimei since he cursed David.

What does David do when he could have Shimei killed for just reasons?

…He showed mercy!

Shimei did not deserve mercy, but David showed mercy.

david-absalomMephibosheth rushes to meet David as well.  Earlier in the book, it appeared that Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, had deserted David.  At least that’s the story the servant tells David.  We learn that Mephibosheth was deceived.  Mephibosheth was actually faithful to David, not trimming his moustache or washing his clothes the entire time David was kicked out of Jerusalem. David extends grace to Mephiboseth and gives back the land.

Finally, Barzillai comes to meet King David.  Barzillai is about 80 years old, with not much time left to live.  Barzillai provided David with supplies while David fought Absalom.  David asks Barzillai to cross the Jordan to live with the king, but Barzillai refuses.  He would rather live his last few years at home.  Instead, David extends the same grace to his servant, Chimham.  Chimham doesn’t deserve to David’s kindness, but David exhibits grace to him.

As I read these stories, I ask myself how often I show grace and mercy to those around me.

Am I merciful & gracious to my husband?

…Or do I nag him?

Do I show mercy to my kids?

…Or do I make them “tow the line” which leads to legalism?

Do I extend grace to my friends?

…Or am I critical of the way they handle a situation?

One question I am asking myself is this, “What do my kids hear me talk about?”  If I’m always complaining about the way things are going at church, I am not showing mercy.  If I’m complaining about the way my husband handles a situation with our kids, I am not being gracious.  If I’m complaining about the kids, I’m not being Christlike.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God….as lights in the world.  Philippians 2:13-14

Lastly, I’m reminded how often God is merciful to me when I fail him.  How gracious he is when I sin against him.  I am quickly reminded how important it is to be merciful and gracious to those around me http://pharmacieinde.fr/viagra-vs-cialis.

Thoughts on Weddings

Kerry Beck, Marriage 2 Comments

Wedding Bliss . . .

One week ago, our oldest daughter Ashley was married to Jesse Ortega. According to everyone that attended, it was beautiful and God-honoring. Now that the wedding is over, I’ve had time to reflect on why we put so much effort into planning the wedding.

When you look at the Old Testament, you see wedding celebrations for 7 days. That’s right…they celebrated and feasted for 7 days. When we started planning Ashley’s wedding, we wanted to make it a celebration of new life together. We wanted those who attended to see that God was the center of marriage and we wanted those who attended to celebrate with the Beck & Ortega family.

Steve had the honor of making the last toast. Let me share it with you.

We want to thank all of you for coming to celebrate the union of Ashley and Jesse …and the union of two families, the Beck’s and the Ortegas.

As I said in my prayer, it is amazing how many parables, stories and activities in the bible center around weddings. It seems to be God’s favorite illustration of His relationship to His people.

And God was using the culture of that day to communicate major truths to His people. The people of that day were consumed with weddings! In fact, their wedding parties sometimes lasted 7 days!

(we only have this place rented for one night!)

And the biggest the biggest faux paux at a wedding was to run out of wine. We have tried our best to make sure that doesn’t happen tonight!

But as you eat the meal …and drink the wine …and laugh together …and dance together …we want this to be a PICTURE of how God’s people will one day eat and drink (and maybe even dance) when we are with Him in eternity.

So our prayer is that YOU would join us and celebrate God’s mercy and His goodness as Isaiah says,

The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
“ Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

Now it’s time for the NEXT part of the feast …it’s time to to cut the cake…

After the toast, Steve had several men tell him they have a different perspective on weddings. They had planned to spend as little money as possible on their daughters’ weddings. Now, they see another side of wedding celebrations. That does not mean you need to spend more money than you have on your weddings. Nor does it mean your daughter is Princess for the Day (ie Bridezilla), But, you should make this day a special celebration of two lives coming together as one, one in Christ!

Blog Candy for Valentines

Blog Candy, Holiday, Marriage 1 Comment

It’s been awhile since I’ve given away some Blog Candy.  Since it’s the first of February, I want to give you something that gets you ready for Valentines Day.

heart

I’m giving away an assortment of ebooks about February and Valentines Day.  See what you can win.

Valentine Recipe Books:  Dinners, Desserts, Drinks

Ideas for Romance as a Couple

February School Ideas…or Homeschool Ideas

Valentine Celebrations

If you want to enter to win ALL of these books, please leave a comment on my blog telling me how you enjoy celebrating Valentines Day.   I’ll pick a winner on Friday, Feb 12.  Enter now

Blogging from On High

Home organization, Marriage, Moms No Comments

I am flying on Southwest and blogging from 38,000 feet.  Pretty cool, huh!  Steve & I attended a seminar yesterday to help grow one of our businesses.  It was a wonderful weekend away, a chance for us to reconnect before the holidays.  I am thankful for times alone with Steve that help us recharge and refresh so we can be a help to those around us.

Last week was quite busy for me.  I had 2 days of business appointments, an ortho appt with Hunter, and all day with Ashley & my mom getting ready for the wedding.  It was great to have my mom in town to show her the church and reception site.  We spent the afternoon working…Ashley folded invitations that arrived this week while my mom & I sewed beads on her cathedral veil.  She has a beautiful short veil, so we’re making a long veil to go with it.  Can’t wait to see it all finished.  We’ll be working on the veil and invitations over the Thanksgiving holiday.  It will be nice to get help from our family.

moms.thb

In closing I heard some good comments at our Mom-to-Mom party this past week that I want to share with you.

1.  Creative Clutter & Creative Chaos – Both of these are true if you still have young children at home.  My friend, Susan, said they often had creative clutter in their house (lego castles, pots & pans parade through their home, etc).  If you struggle with this in your home, realize this is a season of life that will not last forever!  Discuss with your husband how much you can each tolerate and then make a plan.  You might have the 10 minute clean up contest around 5pm before you husband gets home.  Grab a few baskets and tidy up a bit.

2.  Time Alone with Your Husband – I’ve already alluded to this, but I was reminded by other seasoned moms the importance of being on the same page as your hubby.  Getting away for awhile can do wonders for your marriage and your family.  If you don’t think you can afford it, trade time with another family.

3.  Peace & Quiet – Is there such a thing when your kids are still at home?  Find a time each day to grab 10 minutes for yourself.  This may sound selfish, but it will help you be a better mom, able to take care of your family with a fresh perspective.  I took power naps when my kids had quiet time after lunch.  A power nap lasts about 10-15 minutes.  When I got up, I was a new person, ready for the second half of my day.  You might need to lock yourself in the bathroom and eat some chocolate, or hide in your closet, or go outside & weed to get some peace & quiet.  I’m serious about weeding.  My friend, Susan, said she likes to garden so she would weed her gardens.  None of the kids wanted to help weed, so it was always quiet out there ;-)

Any other suggestions???

Reconciling…is Christlike (part 2)

Bible, Marriage, Moms No Comments

What can you do to resolve conflict?  Over the next few days, let me share with you 5 ways you can reconcile quickly and restore peace in relationships.

Philippians 4:1 tells us to stand fast “in the Lord”.  This is a reminder that we have a common ground with our fellow believer, even if we have conflict with him.  One of the first things you can do in conflict is to “rehearse common ground.”

As believers, we are “in the Lord”.  What exactly does that mean? 

We share a common Savior

We share a common forgiveness by God Almighty

We share a common destiny as we place our hope in Jesus Christ

We share a common mission here on this earth

There are so many things we have in common that we often forget in the midst of conflict.  Before you try to reconcile with a fellow believer, take some time alone and “rehearse common ground”, remember what you have in common as believers “in the Lord”

Turn to Philippians 2:1-11 and you are reminded of what the Lord did for us.  He released his rights.

Let this attitude be in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.  But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:5-8)

We see Jesus Christ relinquishing all rights as God-equal and coming to earth to humble Himself as a man.  You need to relinquish your own rights as Christ relinquished His rights.

Since you share a common forgiveness, we ought to strive to extend forgiveness to others…just like Christ forgives you.  This is so difficult because we live in a narcissistic society.  It’s all about “me”. But, that is not how God wants us to live.  He wants us to put our own interests aside. 

If you see conflict nearby, don’t pick it up!  Just overlook a wrong that someone does to you.  I know that is hard because it’s hard for me.  But, leaving it alone is Christ-like and that is one way to completely avoid conflict.

Don’t pick it up!

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