Friday, December 27, 2013

25 Proverbs You'll Love or Learn to Love

I love the book of Proverbs. It is filled with wise words and truths. Some of it a little hard to swallow but truth always wins. I picked 25 of my favorite verses in Proverbs (which was really hard to do by the way). I left out some of the most quoted ones however, there are a few I included due to the fact that they’ve spoken to me so much this year. So there’s nothing new under the sun with this post, but I hope more than anything it stirs up a deeper yearning of His word. So dive into Proverbs with me….

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. 

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves.

Proverbs 3:27
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 8:11
For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

Proverbs 12:4a
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown

Proverbs 12:18
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 17:14
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 17:17a
A friend loves at all times

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 18:16
A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great

Proverbs 18:21a
The tongue has the power of life and death

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails

Proverbs 20:5
The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

Proverbs 20:15
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

Proverbs 24:32
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw

Proverbs 25:11
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver

Proverbs 27:5
Better is open rebuke than hidden love

Proverbs 28:13
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Proverbs 31:10-12
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 

Happy Friday Friends!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Embrace It...

There is a riddle that goes like this…

What is more precious than gold but cannot be bought, earned, or saved?

The answer is time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says,
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

There is wisdom in understanding time. There is wisdom in understanding the season of life you are in. I hope and pray that this popular passage of scripture brings us to a place of reflection. Whatever it is you may be facing stop, look, and reflect. May time be your friend and not your enemy.  May we capture the moments of each day and seize it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Most Precious yet Unused Gift

Who doesn’t love Christmas? With Christmas comes extravagant trees dressed with lustrous ornaments, snowmen stockings dangling on fireplaces, tunes of joy, and of course glowing lights strung out on beautiful homes. Christmas is the holiday we crave. A time to receive from our long awaited list. I love all those things during Christmas, but may we not idolize the accessories of Christmas over the REASON of Christmas.

                                                         *         *        *        *        *

She hurriedly walked through the dining room to vacuum the carpet yet again after another toddler mess when out of the corner of her eye she noticed a glittery sparkle. Sitting on the dining room table was a gift. It was wrapped in alluring paper, corners tucked in perfectly with a matching bow and curly ribbon. Beside the gift laid a card that said, "To My Loving Daughter." The feeling of anticipation rushed through her finger tips and her mind paced on what could be inside. She quickly tore up the paper and reached inside the box. 

Is this it, she thought? Inside the box was another card that read...

Dear Recipient,
The gift you received can not be physically put in a box. It cannot be measured. It is magnificent. Actually, it is perfect. Not only will this gift help you connect the spiritual with every day life,l it is useful. This gift is of extreme value. Most people want it, but don’t know how to use it so the gift usually takes backseat to other things. At some point this year you too will be tempted to hide it. You may be tempted to forget about it as though it doesn’t exist, but this gift will not disappoint. It will not forget you. It will love you unconditionally, through your good days and bad days. All I ask is that you display this precious gift for all the world to see so that others will be attracted to it and desire it too. This gift is my most precious Son, Jesus. He is the Reason for the Season.

With Love,
The Great I AM

                                                      *         *        *        *        *

Have you fallen in the Christmas trap too? Have you been guilty of glamorizing the accessories instead of the Creator of it all? Each of us have the opportunity to receive the most precious gift. And if you’ve already received the gift have we done a good job of revealing Him? Join me on the endeavor of ushering in the New Year hand in hand with the Living God.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Be Your Child's Advocate

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Pam and her husband, Bob, served for many years as American missionaries in the Philippines. The couple had four children when Pam discovered that she was expecting again. Her fifth pregnancy was difficult from the start, with a great deal of pain and bleeding. A number of times, she was certain she had lost the baby. The couple made an appointment with a female doctor, who was supposedly the best doctor in their city to find out the options for saving Pam’s life.

“An abortion is the only way to save your life,” the doctor told Pam. “There’s only a mass of fetal tissue - a tumor.”

Pam and Bob walked out of the doctor’s office, shocked and a bit numb, but resolute in their determination to keep the baby. The Lord filled Pam with an unexpected and indescribable peace that sustained her through the pain, bleeding, and uncertainty that occurred throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

Finally, in the delivery room at the Makati Medical Center in Manila, Pam gave birth to a baby boy, followed by an enormous blood clot that was even bigger than the baby.

The attending physician told the couple, “Your child is a miracle baby. I can’t explain how it happened, but he beat all the odds. Only a small part of the placenta was attached, but it was just enough to keep your baby nourished all these months.”

Before the baby’s birth, his dad had prayed, “Father, if you want another preacher in this world, you give him to me.” Bob had decided that he liked the name Timothy, and he hoped that the baby would be a boy. He told God, “you give me Timmy, and I will raise him to be a preacher.”

Little Timmy grew up to become Tim Tebow, a record-setting football player for the University of Floriada who went on to play in the NFL and became the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Tim openly shared his Christian testimony, and he gained additional media attention by wearing eye black that read “Phil. 4:13” and “John 3:16.” As a result of his success, Tim Tebow has earned the opportunity to share the Christian message with thousands of people. God answered his dad’s prayer: Timmy became a “preacher” after all.

*story provided by Marla Alupoaicci in her book, Prayer Warrior Mom*

What a beautiful story! Tim’s parents are an inspiration of what it means to "stand in the gap” for your children. Your prayers matter. Be the advocate for your children or unsaved family members.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

3 Ways to Strive for Peace

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace. - Romans 8:5-6

Sinful Nature = Destruction & Death 
Spirit Filled = Life & Peace

Simple, right? Yes and no. The above scripture is clear, it’s black and white so the equation makes sense. However, we are still human and imperfect and no matter how strong you think you are you can’t overcome without the help of God. Every day is a battle we must prepare ourselves for. Three reminders on how we can strive for the Spirit filled life that offers peace:

1. Memorize Scripture
Fill your mind with the Word of God to combat the enemy. I can’t emphasize the importance of digging into God’s word daily. 

2. Daily put on the Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-17 says, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

3. Daily spend time with God
Marla Alupoaicci in her book Prayer Warrior Mom says, "Satan loves to ratchet up the emotional chaos in our lives to keep us from walking in fellowship with God. He jam packs our days with noisy distractions in his efforts to get us to tune God out. Why are we so addicted to activity and noise? Because we're afraid to be alone with our own thoughts. We're afraid of quiet and solitude. We avoid peaceful fellowship with our Savior because we fear that we might not be good enough without all of our "stuff."" That is spot on! The more we spend time with Him the more we become like Him.

So may we strive to live as one with God. Put to death that sinful nature that creeps in (jealousy, pride, envy, etc.) and have your mind set on what God desires. 

I will leave you with one last scripture. In John 14:27 Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lessons I've Learned

In the last four months I’d like to think I’ve grown. I wish I was speaking on my physical stature (I’m 4’10) but what I’m referring to is I’ve grown a little wiser. I believe part of that growth is attributed to learning me. So what I’d like to do today is share with you some lessons I’ve learned in the last four months. Some of these have been revelation and some of these gentle nudge reminders.

1. I can’t do it all.
I used to pride myself in the fact that my home was tidy, meals were always made, children were clean, and I looked decent all before 5pm when my husband came home from work. While the outward looked phenomenal inwardly I was over stressed, tired, and about to burn out. I felt like a complete failure if my list of to do’s were not completed. There was never any pressure from my husband it was all unattainable expectations I set on myself. I learned I couldn’t do it all. It’s okay if I didn’t get to clean my house today, if my kids were in their pajamas all day long, and I didn’t get a chance to put on makeup. Some days I choose peace and a little chaos instead of perfectionism and mommy melt downs. 

2. I’m stronger than what I thought.

Not too long ago I faced a trial that seemed unimaginable and completely unbearable. All I can say is that I had two choices. I could have stayed broken and wallowed in my pain and allow the enemy to gain a foothold of bitterness, or I could give God my pain and allow that to be an opportunity for growth and a greater dependency on God. I chose the latter. My strength only came from trusting in God.

3. My time is precious.
My youngest is almost seven months old. I can’t believe he’s already sitting up and eating baby food. What I can’t believe is that this is it. When Chase was born I also decided to have a tubal ligation so we can’t have any more children, of course there’s always that small percentage. I don’t regret my decision but it does give me a reminder of how precious time is. It dawned on me the other day as I was going through his drawer of clothes that it was the last time I’d see him in a particular outfit that was my favorite. It will be the end to bulky baby gadgets that are a pain to travel with but completely necessary. Time sure does fly by so I’m learning to stop and bask in the precious moments I have while in “baby land.”

4. San Antonio is so much fun!
Okay, I already knew this, but there is a huge difference between visiting the city and living in it. I love living in it! There are so many wonderful opportunities for my kids. I actually have options! I used to live in a city where the options were slim so it has been refreshing to explore the fun. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Praying Scripture Over Your Children

Sometimes we forget the importance of praying scripture and the dynamic power it has in overcoming the enemy. Even Jesus himself used the Word to battle Satan (Matthew 4:3-4).

I’ve been reading a book by Marla Alupoaicci called Prayer Warrior Mom. She had such a neat idea on praying scripture over your kids I just had to share. Nothing revolutionary but a wonderful reminder. This little act not only gives you the opportunity to pray over your kids but it cultivates spiritual discipline in memorizing scripture. Below are a few practical steps to get you started.

  • On an index card or piece of paper write down your child’s name and the meaning of their name. You can google it or you can use this site here (this is what I used). 
  • Find scriptures that pertain to their name. You can also use scriptures that pertain to their personality, gifts or character qualities and write out a prayer for them using the scriptures. 
  • Carry the cards in your purse, put it up on your refrigerator, or you can even make it a craft and frame it out and give it to them as a gift. If you liked my post on making scripture journals for your kids you can even write it out for them on there too!
This is a tangible reminder that you are praying over your children. In her book Marla says, “when you actively pray Scripture for your children, you lay the spiritual groundwork that engages God and His holy angels to work in your children’s favor. Bathe your children in Scripture prayer, and Satan will have to get lost. The Bible says, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Below are the names of my three children and what I came up with. I’d love it if you'd participate and post up pictures of what you came up with for your kids. There is no wrong or right way. You can be as creative as you’d like. I just think it would be so encouraging to post all this inspiration on my Facebook page throughout the weekend.

Be Blessed & Be Creative! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Only You make You Happy

Inside each one of us is a desire to be happy. I mean seriously who doesn’t want to be? Who wants to be miserable and grumpy each and every day??? We search out the affection of our loved ones. We love the compliments of friends. We love the life we are living. We want happiness. 

Although those things may bring happiness and they are great; happiness is a choice. You must choose to be happy. One day your spouse is going to disappoint you. Your kids will drive you up the wall. You could lose your job and your circumstances could be disheartening. I don’t mean to be "Debbie Downer" here, but I’ve realized there is a misconception that happiness is deserved. That happiness is something we should receive and sometimes something we earn. I’m sorry but happiness is a choice you make.

My husband recently visited with a friend who was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. He is young, he has little ones, and he’s served our country. But my husband said both him and his wife expressed their trust in God and in the midst of this horrible situation they find happiness. 

The Hebrew word in the Old Testament for happy is esher. The Greek word in the New Testament is makarios. Both words are also translated "blessed." The person who feels blessed is happy. Happy are the people whose God is the Lord (Psalm 144:15).

Speaking from personal experience I’ve had to remind myself of this. I love my new home but a new city means a new everything. I have to make new friends, my husband has had a career change, I am completely stripped from my comfort zone and it’s no fun. I can sit and cry about it or I can, with God’s help, choose to make the most of it. Everything is a choice. Your attitude, happiness, is a choice. I am so grateful I can lean on my husband and he does make me happy, but God is my source of strength in whom my voids are filled.

If you are in a state of misery, if you are constantly seeking happiness from people or things, I strongly suggest a one-on-one with God. Express your thoughts and feelings to him. He cares and understands. In some cases we need a mentality shift. We need to turn from Grinch mode to God mode. John C. Maxwell says, “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

3 Reasons Why We Should Set Goals

Every January without fail the gyms are packed full with hopeful people in search of losing weight and creating better lives by being more fit. The grocery receipts read the words fruit and vegetables instead of potato chips and soda. Our alarms clocks go off at 5:00 a.m. instead of 7:00 a.m. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. January is the month of setting goals and sticking to them. 

So why fly by the seat of your pants? Make December, make today, the day you set your goals. Start forming habits now so when January rolls around you are sharp and ready! Here are three reasons why I feel goal setting is important:

1. Setting goals brings about motivation
When you have written goals it creates a sense of accountability therefore, motivation to see those goals met. 

2. You set yourself up for success
Who doesn’t want to better themselves? Setting goals are made for just that!

3. You see progress.
By the time summer rolls around you can look back and see how far you’ve come. What goals need tweaking? What goals have officially become habits? What goals haven’t been met and why? It creates a timeline of what you’ve accomplished or what still needs finished.

Today is about inspiring you to gear up for what you hope to be, see, and do in 2014. So grab a pen and notebook and start dreaming! The following information is a guide to help you plan. You are actually getting a sneak peek into a few of my own personal goals. At the end of the post I will share some sites that have deemed helpful for me in my own personal journal of goal setting.

Start by setting up some categories. You can add more categories or change them up to fit you. Then below each category write down your goal. Be as specific as you want. My goals are actually very specific but for privacy sake I'm pretty vague on these. Lastly, break these down to monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

  • Personal 

          - Read two books a month. 
          - Wake up 1-2 hours before the kids.
          - brainstorm on some blog ideas

  • Spiritual

          - Work on creating scripture journals.
          - Attend a bible study in January.

  • Marriage

          - Schedule in some date nights.
          - Have a sit down time to plan our family/work/personal weekly schedule.

  • Family

          - Read more to the kids. Schedule in some sit down reading time.
          - Plan out bi-weekly dates with each kid.

  • Home

          - Work on the backyard.
  • Physical
          - Workout five times a week.

I know it can seem overwhelming so do what works for you. Only you know you! Write them in a journal, use the Evernote app, empty calendar, or on a plain piece of paper. The more intentional you are with your life you'll begin to live with purpose. A simple life, a scheduled life, will feel less chaotic. 

Additional Resources:
- Under Free Downloads you’ll find freezer cooking planners, house-hold management forms & menu planners. I’ve used her stuff a lot and I love it!

- This lady is the Queen of Organization & Planning! For a mother of 8 she is definitely on top of things! If you don’t know where to even begin she sells great planners on her site too!

- This site has some good schedule, routines, and habits for your home.

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 5:3
For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words.

Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Treasures to Give

In my mother-in-law’s dining room sits this beautiful massive hand-crafted cabinet. The design work on it is impeccable. The solid wood furniture’s original purpose was a wardrobe cabinet. This piece of furniture was built by my husband’s great-great-great grandfather. My mother-in-law now uses it as a china cabinet. It holds dainty little tea cups and saucers and beautiful china pieces. The cabinet has been in the family for almost 200 years now! I love it. I love the history of it.

It got my wheels turning just thinking about what do I have to offer my children that would be a treasure to them. Something they could marvel on for generations to come. I don’t own anything nearly as beautiful as that cabinet and nothing of real significance, but the one treasure I do have that could be passed on is Christ. My how I’d love to leave that legacy behind.

Both my husband and I have had the privilege to travel the world and in those times we both journaled. My husband has notebook after notebook of his thoughts he journaled while living in Africa for three months. The testimonies and truths the Lord shared with him all captured in tiny books. For a month I lived in Thailand working with an orphanage filled with children who either had HIV/AIDS or their parents did. It was my special place. Thailand taught me to love others more than myself. In those days I had no cell phone, iPad or computer so communication was rare so my quiet times with the Lord were beautiful. I will cherish the photos I took and the journals I wrote in. 

My husband and I may not have riches to leave our children. At least not the riches known to mankind but what a lovely gift to give them Christ and the story on our journey of how we got there.

*For those of you who are inspired to journal I recommend visiting the website of The Redheaded Hostess. She shares her ideas on how she made her own scripture journals to pass onto her children.*