Tag Archives: greatest commandments

CommUNITY

Imagine being in a fierce battle.

The enemy is pursuing your team and everyone is in their position standing shoulder to shoulder with shields lifted in defense.

You look to your left and notice the person you’re standing next to is someone you don’t get along with, someone who has hurt you. What would you do?

a. Keep your shield up and forgive them from your heart because unity is more important

b. Put your shield down and face that person to argue and make a point

What you do will determine the health and welfare of the rest of your comrades.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. " Ephesians 6:10-11

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. ” Ephesians 6:10-11

Brethren, we are at war and though we have hope and know the final victory is coming, there are daily battles we must face and overcome.

When we remain in our position in Christ, in unity with our shields of faith lifted, we can stop the fiery darts of the evil one.

Conversely, if we choose to put our shield of faith down to fight against our brethren, we leave an open gap and the fiery darts of the evil one causes division, strife, and destruction.

It only takes one.

One person to put their shield of faith down to cause a division, or one person to cover the ‘gap’ by forgiving and loving no matter what.

Remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

As a commUNITY of believers we must remain in our positions in Christ and keep our shields of faith up so we may be one.

Unity (εἷς): one.

Unity begins with God. Come to Jesus Christ and know He has prayed this on your behalf:

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:22-23)

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10


Wearing Or Bearing A Cross?

This beautiful prayer necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I "pressed on to maturity" in my relationship with God 

This beautiful prayer wheel cross necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I “pressed on to maturity” in my relationship with God and began to bear my cross

For over 30 years I would wear a cross around my neck but I would not ‘bear’ my own cross.

All those years the cross was just a piece of jewelry to me. I had said I believed in Jesus Christ but when my faith was tested through trials, it was evident in my actions I trusted in my own self sufficiency and not in God.

I had a shallow superficial faith because I never read the Bible for myself. Even when I did hear God’s Word from others I used His Word as band-aids to my ailments, an emergency self-help kit I took out whenever I was hurting or needed something.

Then one day I met a woman radiating the love of Jesus Christ and she didn’t even wear a cross around her neck! She bears her cross…For weeks I quietly watched her intently as she would deny herself daily and yet be so full of love, joy and thanksgiving even in the midst of hard trials.

I wanted what she had more than any jewelry could offer. I asked God how I can get my own flame and love Him as she did. He told me, and I have never been the same since–that was the day I breathed my last the day I “committed to the cost of following Jesus“, that was the day I BEGAN to bear my own cross.

The Bible teaches us intentional disciples of Jesus Christ are to bear our own crosses not just wear one:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”(Matthew 16:24)

The word ‘deny’ (aparneomai) means: “to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests”

The word ‘take up’ in Greek (airō) means: “to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to BEAR; to BEAR away what has been raised, carry off”

If we wish to come after Jesus Christ we must ‘lose sight’ of ourselves and BEAR our cross and follow Him.

The day I committed to follow Jesus Christ I put myself on His altar and told Him I would go wherever He would send me, do whatever He would ask of me, and talk to whoever He wanted me to talk to. I began to let go of everything that is of myself and prayed He would increase and I would decrease.

My adventure of walking closely with Jesus Christ is a novel in itself but let me share the very first radical transformation in my life.

Through His Word, God told me to stay home and raise my children. You would have to know me personally to understand why this was a huge test of faith for me.

*I was raised by a single parent Marine Daddy

*I was paralyzed with fear and insecurities to be a mom since I wasn’t raised by mine

*I saw my children less than 15 hours a week and didn’t know what to do with them on the weekends

*I believed the lies that I made a better mom working outside the home especially since my high paying job would help pay for their future tuition

*I was the mom that dropped her children off first and was the last to pick them up {it hurts to admit this but He wants me to}

*I was the biggest persecutor and made fun of stay-at-home moms {and I said I would NEVER stay home}

*I had finished my Masters degree and was making a six-figure salary and absolutely ENJOYED my job

This was a test of my husband’s faith too. When I told Him about my encounter with God and that I felt God calling me to stay home full time my husband’s response was,

“It will never happen. It is impossible.”

It was impossible for us because we had a half-million dollar home, a Harley Davidson, Mini-Van, Truck and over $100K debt. We were the rich young rulers.

To get over my own insecurities, fears and desires was one thing, having the reality of the golden handcuffs of debt was quite another. I started to sink into an area of doubt and asked God why would He change my heart but not my husbands’? I then stopped asking questions and began to be still and serve God while I waited.

I would not forget the deep conviction God gave me. I knew He had asked me to stay home but I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I stood on His Word and chose to trust God.

I look back now and see God was teaching me submissiveness to Him and my husband. I did not nag my husband. I didn’t not bully to get my way {as I used to} but I submitted to God by submitting to my husband.

Instead, I would pray Deuteronmy 6:5 over my husband’s head while he was sleeping. I would pray with my spiritual mentor that my husband would love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. Then it happened!!!!

It just took five months from the time I encountered God for my husband to hear from God too! God told my husband through His Word:

…the righteous will live by faith

Five months from when my husband heard from God we were moved from the VA/DC area to Alabama and I began my full time ministry of motherhood.

I am empowered by God's Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God's glory!

I am empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God’s glory!

I am filled with humility and gratitude when I think of the day I breathed my last breath and was filled with His Spirit. I am humbled when I think about how God was drawing me for so many years even when I had been pushing Him away and denying Him. I smile when I think of my husband’s words when I told him I wanted to leave my job and stay home with the children, “it is impossible”. I smile because I remember what Jesus Christ said of the rich young ruler who wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven:

“…with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

By God’s grace my husband and I have gone from rags to riches…from our filthy rags to God’s glorious riches!

By God’s grace I am growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I am learning, we bear our crosses when we genuinely say Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

And do you know what else I’m learning? We CAN NOT deny ourselves in our strength, we can not believe we have been crucified with Christ in our own strength and we can NOT press on to spiritual maturity unless God permits (Hebrews 6:3), we NEED His help, apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)! My hope is in Jesus Christ alone, I know I can not hope to change myself or others, He is my all in all!

Yes, for 30 years I just wore a cross.

However, I realize I just ‘wore’ a cross and never bore my cross because the truth is I can’t bear my cross without the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

It is by God’s Holy Spirit I am equipped to deny myself daily…whether it is leaving a job I enjoy, canceling ‘alone’ time because a friend is in need or pause my writing even at the climax of completion because a child wants a drink of water–His Spirit empowers me to do what He’s asked of me. I have learned the Spirit must come before the fruit.

Let God’s Word examine your hearts, are you bearing the cross or are you just wearing one around your neck? May we press on to maturity!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that HE who began a good work in you will PERFECT it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6

I am sharing my ‘Hazardous Faith Story’ as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. To discover more about the book and to read other Hazardous stories, click here.

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For Love, Not Legalism: Casting Down An iDol

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

 The other day my son and I watched a video clip of several intentional disciples and lovers of Jesus Christ casting their self proclaimed ‘idols’ into a consuming fire. My son immediately cried out:

“I don’t want to throw my Legos into the fire!”

I asked him, “well, do you love your Legos more than God?”

He looked at me strangely and answered flatly, “Of course not!”

I told him, “Well then it doesn’t seem to be an idol. An idol is anything that you love more than God or distracts or keeps you from your fellowship with Him. It is something that becomes a false god and you worship it instead of the One True God.”

I went on to share with my son if he ever does come across an idol in his life he can go to God’s throne of grace to help him get rid of it.

The Hebrew word for idol ‘eliyl  means, “of naught, good for nothing, worthless, false god.”

It is worthless because it can’t do anything, it does not bring true peace, joy or comfort that only God can fulfill.

The second commandment tells us we ‘shall not’ make idols and worship them reminding us nothing deserves our worship other than God.  I must admit casting down idols does not always come easy for me, but since I have placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ I am empowered by Him. John 1:16-17 says:

“For of His (Jesus) fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

It is true, I am no longer under the law but grace and  I am not condemned in what I eat, drink or do that is not ‘harmful’ to others–I am free in Jesus Christ.

However, I search and destroy idols in my life because I view them as encumbrances in the race of faith I am running. I’m on a journey with Jesus Christ, and as I walk closely with Him, and abide in Him, I love Him more and the things of this world seem to fade away. The times I struggle to unclench the worthless, He gives me the grace to let go. He also teaches me through the convictions of the Holy Spirit what potential encumbrances are in my life threatening to distract me from my first love: Jesus Christ; and my purpose: to glorify God.

I cast down idols not for legalism but for Love.

“Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways.” Psalm 119:37

This is one such confession I want to keep as a stone of remembrance so I won’t forget:

Along the way I got caught up in high tech communications like the iPhone leaving me feeling disconnected from the One in whom all good fruit flow from. This confusion and lack of peace had to stop!

My husband would jokingly say there must be a button on my car seat that lifts my phone to my ear the moment I sit down.  He was right.  I was distracted and hardly ever present and instead of prayerfully parenting with grace I saw my children as distractions to conversations I wanted to have. Then by God’s grace, I was convicted and I remembered why I’m here, and the assignment God gave me: to teach His statues diligently to my children all the time and the commission I have been given: to make disciples of all nations as I am going along.

In order to teach God’s statues they need to be on my heart and I need to be present. The Greek word for ‘abide’ menō is explained as, “to remain, not to depart, to continue to be present.” This is the same word Jesus used in John 15:5 when He said,

I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

I am a conduit, not the source.

To teach my children I must be connected to the One who helps me to do ‘something’ of eternal value. Being present means to rest in Jesus Christ, wait on Him, and be content in the moment, not striving for the next moment to come, but seizing every opportunity to speak life into my children and those around me.

In terms of being a ‘present’ parent, that means being available to listen to the hearts of my children and to sow God’s Word into their hearts as He leads.  As He leads…this requires to be prayerfully connected to God in order to know the Words and right moment to speak into their hearts; after all, only He knows the hearts of all men.  He knows the words that will sustain my weary ones.

I have spent four years of my sons life and two years of my daughter’s life disconnected from God and from training them in His ways…I do not want to waste another moment, I want to bear much fruit, I want to be a worker in God’s harvest.  So one month ago I said:

Good-bye iPhone, it’s not you, it’s me.  I have already replaced you with a ‘track phone’ I nicked named ‘wise phone’ as it helps me count the cost, measuring the minutes, and words bringing to my attention any idle word I make. I desire to be a purposeful, present, prayerful, parent and I cannot do this unless I remain connected to my power source Jesus Christ. I want to live an intentional life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I must not forget why I am here and iPhone, you distracted me too much…A Dios!”

I lay aside this idol and weight not for legalism but for Love. I desire to be continually connected and present abiding in God’s love through Jesus Christ seeking Him with all my heart.  I desire a deeper love with God, enabling me to pour out His love to those around me in the power of His Holy Spirit, all for His glory and honor.

I’m on my knees for us…

**After this stone of remembrance was written in my heart a fellow blogger shared this song “Clear the Stage” and it is one of my favorite songs this moment**


10 + 3 = Redeeming Love

“He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.” Psalm 107:20


{A big stone of remembrance for my children}

Beloved son and daughter of my vow,

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting! Today your Daddy and I praise God for the grace and mercy He has bestowed upon our marriage of 13 years for His Namesake.  Even beyond our newlywed years there were many things I didn’t understand about love and marriage and it wasn’t until the summer of 2009 when your Daddy and I became ‘one flesh’ that I began to understand.

That summer God led us to a marriage retreat at Scott River Lodge in Northern California where we went up a mountain as two and came down as one in Jesus Christ.  One of the most memorable moments is when we were baptized as a couple! When we came up from being immersed, your Daddy whispered in my ear:

The moment your Daddy took a stand to lead our family to live by faith.

“God has been talking to me this whole week, and everything we have is not ours; we are just stewards.  It is not our house, it’s not our car, and they are not even our children.  God entrusted everything to us! I am tired of this family investing in the things of the world, we are going to invest in God’s kingdom and it begins now….I want you to stay home full time with the kids so we can disciple them.  I don’t know how it’s going to happen, I don’t know how we will do it financially but the Word God gave me is in Habakkuk 2:4 ‘But the righteous will live by his faith’ and that is what we will do.”

Five months later God moved us to Alabama.

We can see now God was performing His Word in Habakkuk these past three years because we have been given many opportunities to live by our faith and trust in God: an overwhelming amount of debt, a drastic reduction in income, a call to home school, two car wrecks (one nearly fatal), pending foreclosure of a house and unemployment.

Through these trials, testing and discipline your Daddy has led us in praying:

Lord may we seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, may we trust in You and live by faith.’

In these fiery ordeals we continued to lift our hands praising and blessing God and God responded as He said He would! In just three years God has paid our financial debt, is teaching us to be content in all circumstances, is empowering us to disciple you, rescued Daddy and a friend from physical death, helped avoid foreclosure and sell the home, and provided a full time ministry for Daddy!! Today Daddy has a ministry not a ‘career’–as Daddy follows Jesus he has the privilege to ‘feed the homeless’ not just food that perishes but the imperishable food–God’s Word. Daddy is making disciples and is entrusting God’s word to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

We are overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy. God paid the debt of sin for sending His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross in our place and now He has paid our financial debt. And just as God rescued Daddy and his friend from physical death from the car wreck, by God’s grace and peace we have been rescued from spiritual death by the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins.

I am in awe of God! Not just for what He has done, but for Who He is. God is faithful, truthful, compassionate, abounding in lovingkindness, and righteous.

Sweet children, it is so important for you to know your Daddy and I are able to rejoice in 13 years of marriage not because we are perfect and good people—in fact God’s Word, the Bible tells us all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and there is no one good not even one.

We are able to celebrate this day because of the grace of God.  It is God who drew us to Himself and we did not harden our hearts when we heard His voice but fell in love with Him realizing He first loved us.  God’s love and Holy Spirit empowers us to love one another the way He has commanded us to love. Daddy is my closest neighbor and I love Him as myself, and He loves me as Himself.

Our hope is not having a perfect marriage, or a life without trials and pain, but our hope in Christ alone, we know from experience we cannot do this without Him.  We had 10 years of marriage without consulting or seeking God’s kingdom and it was very difficult to love apart from God…we even separated at one time. But God is the wonderful counselor and healer of all.  Just as we are made alive to God in Christ Jesus, so our marriage is alive in Christ Jesus for His purposes. God has made us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, and that is how we are able to live by faith—to God be the glory!

My spirit can testify how I love Jesus Christ and I have a passion for Him that burns like fire within me, His purposes are my heart’s desire.

I love your Daddy too.  I love your Daddy more this moment then ever in my entire life. What I’m realizing is the more God continues to conform Daddy and I into the image of Jesus Christ my love for your Daddy grows because it is Jesus Christ in Him that unites us as One just as Jesus prayed, enabling me to love ‘my neighbor as myself.’ God’s banner of love abides over us and our lips shout for joy singing praises to God!

I must sow what I know in the hearts He’s entrusted me–yours…these are just a few things about love and marriage He continues to teach me:

Children of my vow, I pray for the day God will claim you as His own and you will enter into a covenant with Him–the the One True God.  I pray this not so you can have a wife or husband, or a ‘good life’ but so You will know Him for yourselves and You will serve Him and seek first His kingdom and righteousness all the days He ordains for you. I love you both.

Love your mama

**Psalm 103 is our 2012 anniversary song**


Repented of Salvation Ambition: Remembering We Sow, He Grows

Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

My son recently lost his first tooth! When it was first loose I asked him if he wanted us to pull it out and he gently replied,

“No mama, I want don’t want anyone to mess with it. I want it to come out when it’s time.”

Those last few words stayed in my heart: “when it’s time…”

I thought of how I usually don’t ‘wait’ for the appointed time whatever ‘it’ is.  I’m usually eager to get ‘it’ done! It is from this habit I have another confession…

Confession:

I can become easily distracted and try to rush the salvation of others.

I never thought witnessing could turn into selfish ambition but it can—I now call it “salvation ambition.”  I realize it’s harder with my family because I want them to know God and Jesus Christ so badly, I sometimes over step my boundaries by looking away from Jesus Christ to myself or to their walks with Him.  I anxiously want to know my role, my part in their salvation.

I receive God’s gentle correction when I read John 21:1-23:

Peter had just told Jesus he loved Him and was given instructions to tend and shepherd the lambs and sheep of Jesus Christ and to FOLLOW JESUS but Peter still asks:

Lord, who is the one who betrays You?….Lord, and what about this man?” (20,21)

Peter gets distracted…

What was Jesus’ response?

“…If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

God has been using these passages for the past 2 years to help discipline my walk with Him and stop looking at the walks of others.  Jesus is the path—the Way the Truth and the Life and I need to watch Him and do not look to the left or right but keep my eyes fixed on Him, the Author and Perfecter of faith.

Examining and ‘judging’ the walks of others in my flesh has been a temptation and distraction and I repent…that is one of the reasons I am off Facebook.  God has convicted me to put my face in His book and write about my faith in a book for my children {my journal} to share the stones of remembrances He has given our family.

God has reminded me my role in evangelism and making disciples is to share the Gospel, tend His sheep and lambs, and follow Him.

As I follow Jesus Christ, will there be distractions? Yes! They come in many forms; one for me is selfish ambition.  For example I want my children to be saved.  I ask Jesus, ‘will they be the ones to betray You?”  Jesus responds, “If I want {them} to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

I humbly say to my Savior since nothing is hidden from Him:

But I’m their mama and I love them, and their salvation matters to me because I want them to love and know You, I want them to live with you forever.” There was the selfish “salvation ambition”:

I. Want.

Jesus Christ reminds me the cost of being His disciple:

“…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

Did you catch that? BEFORE I can FOLLOW Jesus Christ I must deny myself…take up my cross (crucify myself) THEN Follow Him.  That means deny my ‘selfish ambitions.’

I ask God, “what about when you say to make disciples of all nations?”

He reminds me the making of disciples is not done in my strength but true disciple making is done in His power, the power of His Holy Spirit.  He can use me when I am obedient and empty myself and am filled with His Spirit.  When I am His vessel filled with His Spirit my utterances are His; I don’t move until He tells me to move.

I have a new perspective…

·         My vision is Jesus Christ

·         My goal is obedience to God

·         The strategy: The Holy Spirit

The goal is not forcing salvation on others like my children, the goal is obeying Jesus Christ by humbling myself everyday and following Him.

I must follow Jesus Christ, listen to Him, trust and obey Him so that I can tend the lambs (my children) He has given me and I can intercede and pray for them and ask God to give me opportunities to share the Gospel in deed and truth with them, knowing only He enlightens people, and shines into their hearts giving them understanding of His Word.  Only He draws others to Himself.  God does use human vessels (believers) but it is done in His strength so that the “surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”.

So what is my assignment?

The truth is, God wants them to come to Him too {Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9;}. I need to trust in God, hope in Him, wait on His timing and be patient and pray. When the opportunity to be the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus Christ comes I am compelled to sow and water the seeds as He leads praying He will cause a growth.

Jesus I am resting, resting…

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-9


Which Way Do They Go?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6

We were at a closing ceremony for Vacation Bible School when God reminded me how He has blessed me with two entirely opposite children.

The impeccably dressed kids were parading down the aisle of the Church, when my daughter comes out in a beautiful dress walking with proper posture, smiling and going into her assigned spot in the far left corner.  My son on the other hand, wore cotton pajama shorts and a white T-shirt with flip flops and bounced down the aisle heading to his assigned spot in the far right side.  As he tried to move next to the only other boy, two girls created a wall and he joyfully accepted their refusal and turned around and nearly knocked over a huge vase next to him.

When they began singing my daughter sang loudly, doing the hand motions perfectly and smiling with the exception of when she found the time to tell the older girl next to her to scoot over because she needed more room.

My son. He was trying to keep up with the hand motions but you can tell he had a hard time hearing, and he turned around at one point and faced the children and began to pick his bottom in front of the entire audience.  When it came time for the team cheer my daughter said it in unison.  My son was oblivious when his team cheered and when it was silent jumped in the air and yelled, “Go Judah!” All. By. Himself. The audience roared with laughter.

My reaction?

Laughter. I am thankful I was able to laugh. I am thankful it was a day I was not prideful as a mother but humble.  It was a day I chose not to make it about me, or what others thought.  It was a day I chose to accept my children for how God uniquely created them.

I must confess that’s not always the case, but I’m thankful for God’s inspired Word that reminds me:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6

This does not say to train up a child in the way I think he should go.  I have fought many useless battles with my son and daughter to try to conform them to the way I think they should go.  The majority of these battles derived from my pride.  I cared what others thought of my children and of me as a mother.  I let my insecurities of motherhood dictate how I raised my children, until I remembered: we all belong to God.  Since He is the Creator I asked Him, “which way do they go?”  Especially since I have two completely opposite children…how do I know which way is the ‘right’ way? Again, God answers through His Word:

The word “Train up” means:

“To narrow; discipline, to dedicate of a house or temple”

And “in the way he should go” means:

‘according to his way’

This means to train them, discipline them in the way God has uniquely designed them.

I have pondered what this means for my children and this is what God has revealed to me:

That has been the foremost training my husband and I have been focusing on for the past two years.  We have dedicated our children to the Lord and have made a vow to train and teach them as God commands in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We are teaching them the primary ‘Way’ to go, leading them to Jesus Christ each day.

However, God has also uniquely designed them, and blessed them with talents He wants them to use to glorify Him.  He has created them with a purpose and He knows the plans He has for them, but how do I know ‘the way they should go’?

The best way for me to know how He uniquely created them is to pray for wisdom and ask God to show me.  I ask God for wisdom on how I can cultivate an atmosphere to encourage and help flourish the talents and gifts He has blessed them with. I ask God for strength to help me to ‘pay attention’ and be present with my children to listen, to watch, and be around them.

God has taught me, when I listen to my children, I am listening to their hearts because out of the heart the mouth speaks.  What is their heart saying about what sort of discipline they need? All of these are questions I ask my Father in Heaven and when I humbly ask, He gives me the grace to raise them.

I realize by the power of the Holy Spirit I can teach my children about God and Jesus Christ and show my children the ‘Way’ to go, and lead them to the gate and they may still choose not to walk in the way of the narrow path, but I have comfort knowing the Lord hears my prayers and the Words I share with them now, His Word will watch over them even in their sleep and one day when they are awaken God’s Words will talk to them.

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck.  When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:20-23


The Gift and Purpose of Friendship

I am content with the Portion of friendship God gave me…Jesus Christ!

A friend LOVES at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)

Got friends? Even a better question: are you a friend to others? I must confess I have struggled with understanding the true meaning and purpose of friendship for a long time.  I struggled with the feeling that I was a bad friend.  Even worse than that, I struggled with jealousy and envy when I saw cliques or two close friends and it didn’t get better when I went on Facebook and I would see conversations or events I wasn’t invited to (I know pretty petty).  I wanted a close friendship so badly I would try to make people my friends, and when they didn’t respond in kind I was offended. I made friendship about me.  About my needs and wants and now I see I was wrong. This new revelation was given to me by God’s truth, cleansing me from a green spot in my heart and I feel free—I must sow what I know!

In 1 Samuel 18 there is a beautiful true story teaching us God’s gift and purpose of friendship through David and Jonathan.  David was a shepherd boy that had just killed Goliath with the strength of God.  King Saul was impressed by this young man and ‘did not let him return to his father’s house.’  Jonathan was the King’s son and according to tradition, would be the next heir to the throne but that was not God’s plan.  We see their first encounter in verse 1:

“Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.”

As I read this, I tell God, ‘Now that’s the kind of friendship I want.’  Then my eyes are opened:

Who knit the souls of David and Jonathan? God.

Where did this love for David come from? God.

What is the second commandment? “Love your neighbor as yourself”

I smile and my heart races! God is the creator of all things and has purpose in all things, and desires for me to have deep friendships too, and He helps me by giving me a command to love my neighbor as myself—just as Jonathan loved David as himself.

Then I see ‘my’ part, in the friendship: After God knitted their souls and gave Jonathan love for David, it was from this love that prompted Jonathan to “make a covenant’ with David:

“Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.  Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor including his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:3-4)

Aside for how personal these items were to Jonathan, I also see the symbolism of these items he freely gave:

  • Robe that was ‘on him’: His right to the throne (Here, take what I have, even my position)
  • Armor: He let down his defenses and was vulnerable, open, transparent (I choose to trust you with my heart and feelings)
  • Sword and bow, belt: He gives up weapons (I will not harm you)

When I read this true story, the Words of Jesus whisper into my heart:

Greater love has no one than this, man lay down his life for his friends…”

But how? How do I ‘lay down my life?’ Where does this sacrificial love come from?  Again, I am reminded: this love comes FROM God, the fruit of His Spirit.  The Spirit must come before the fruit for it to be genuine fruit, otherwise it will be artificial and I don’t want artificial fruit or friendship.  I ‘see’ the fellowship I have as a Christian is a gift from God for God.  God knitted the soul of Jonathan and David for His kingdom purposes. The knitting of my soul to another is for God’s kingdom and for His Namesake, it’s not about my needs and desires, it’s about serving His purposes!

  • As an individual I was created to glorify God
  • My marriage with my husband is to glorify God
  • My role as a Mother is to glorify God
  • Friendship with others is to glorify God

All for God by God! I feel the chains of jealousy and envy toward cliques and ‘best friends’ fall off me as I realize God ordained and allows those close friendships. Yes, I realize there are still mean people that are exclusive to others, but their behavior has no affect on my relationship and purpose with the Lord. In fact, I am called to love them no matter what!

Now instead of trying to add to my ‘friends list’ I’m going to surrender and allow the Lord to love through me and show me the friends He chooses at His appointed time.  He is the one who knits souls together, I should not force it.  I chose not to be envious of the relationships of others but to be content and present and obedient on what He has put before me…always remembering my neighbor is the person next to me.  Now, I am ready to teach my children about the gift and purpose of friendship!

What about you? Is your heart knit to the soul of someone? Do you love them as yourself?  Before we can have fellowship with others we must first start with God. He is the One that equips us to be a friend.

If you feel like you don’t have a friend I want you to know you can have at least One.  You can be a friend of God. He has made and fulfilled a covenant by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins so you can have fellowship with God.

Jesus laid down His life for me, and He did it for you.  He covers you with His Robe of righteousness allowing you to have access to God the Father!! He has given you His armor to stand firm against the schemes of the devil helping you to remain faithful. Jesus said, “you are My friend if you do what I command.”   Jesus strengthens me to be the friend I cannot be on my own through the power of His Holy Spirit.  I’m praying for you dear reader…

“…that [your] heart may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2-3)


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