Monday, April 8, 2019

John 3:16 and Me


“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
John 8:36





Lately, I have been hearing a lot about this new DNA test that can unveil much more about your ancestry than you could have ever known. It can tell you your health predispositions, traits, relatives, etc. By exploring your 23 chromosomes, the website says that they can tell you a lot about YOU. Just pay $200, mail in some of your saliva, and they can unlock a whole lot of information.

I have quite a few friends who have done this. The reports are usually not encouraging. People are finding out truths about ancestors that can be somewhat unsettling. I just read about a girl who discovered she had 29 siblings after growing up as an only child. Their biological father was a sperm donor. That's a lot to find out!

People who were adopted are finding out who their real parents are. They seem to be left with more questions than answers and are having to walk through deep pain along with the discovery. One of my friends told me that the test told her that her daughter had a pre-disposition for being bi-polar. That is unnerving to think about for a mom! But, it runs in the family so it may just run right into her? 
Another person I know found out that her mom was married to more men than she was ever made aware of. 
Often, the information obtained opens wounds but the people needed to talk to for reconciliation are no longer living.  It is extremely difficult to process.

There tends to be misplaced shame and a deep darkness that comes with the uncovered knowledge.

What do we do with all this information? Is it beneficial to even know?

I think as we continue to see the breakdown of marriages and the family, our generation is left with a lot of unanswered questions. Who am I, really? Where did I come from? What are my pre-dispositions? What is the truth about my past?

If we aren't careful, this can become damaging... we were never suppose to look into our DNA for these answers. It can feel hopeless.

We have to press on! Not looking back but looking forward by faith!

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Phil 3:14


It doesn't matter if you come from a solid family or the most dysfunctional family since Adam and Eve. Either way, we have inherited a broken and sinful nature. We inherited it from our parents who inherited it from their parents who ultimately inherited it from theirs (a famous couple in the Garden of Eden). 
Every DNA test is going to give you BAD NEWS. I can save you some money by telling you that your ancestry will include some of the following: alcoholism, mental disorders, divorce, suicide, homosexuality, infidelity, cancer, abandonment, and every other sin. 

You have the same predisposition for brokenness as they did! 
That is the bad news. :(

Here is the GOOD NEWS!!!!! You have been REDEEMED!!! 
Not with spit but with the precious BLOOD of Jesus Christ.


"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were REDEEMED from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestorsbut with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
1 Peter 1:18,19

When you give your life to Jesus Christ, you are given a whole new DNA!!!

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:4

You can overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Just like all of the overcomers in Hebrews 11! How did they do it? Two words... 
1.BY 
2.FAITH. 

They longed for heaven. They didn't focus on the past or where they came from. They focused on where they were going!
If you look long and hard enough, you will find FAITH in your ancestry as well. 
There are people who have gone before you who finished well!


Yes, you need to be aware of your weaknesses that may have been inherited. If you come from alcoholism, don't drink alcohol. Don't give the enemy a foothold to trap you! If you come from a long line of divorced people, invest in your marriage and ask God to stop the cycle of divorce through your faithfulness in marriage. Give your children a heritage that they can stand on. Let this be a reminder that we are all handing down SOMETHING to our children. 

We all come from dysfunction thanks to Adam and Eve. We can get discouraged by what we find out through our spit OR we can focus on building a foundation for the future generations coming after us!


For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
Romans 5

Hallelujah!!!

If my kids were to get a glimpse into my life before Christ, it would be so sad for them. One hard look into their spit, and they will see the emptiness of their DNA and how much they need Jesus!
It is devastating for me to remember who I was without Jesus. 
Tim and I have both apologized to them for the years we squandered away with sin and bad choices. Apart from Christ, I have NOTHING to give them. But Jesus didn't leave me like that. He REDEEMED me from my empty life with the precious blood of His Son. He has given me a new nature. My children need to know that without the blood of Christ, they will walk in their own fallen nature as well.

We have got to be reminded of the GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL!! That God can set "any old bush on fire" (as Kay Arthur used to say). It doesn't matter where you came from. It matter what Jesus did on the cross as He conquered death and made a way for you to be reconciled to God! He can live His perfect life through you. He knows what lies ahead for you. He knows your predispositions and He still LOVES you. When you accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life. He will give you the grace you need to walk through illness and He may miraculously heal you if you ask Him. We don't have to be afraid.
You can have victory over the enemy's foothold in your DNA. Jesus is stronger than the alcoholism, the homosexuality, the adultery, and whatever else is crouching at your door. You can participate in a DIVINE nature instead of your own! You can give your children a glorious inheritance of faithfulness and a life lived well! But it won't be through pointing them to spit, it will be pointing them to THE BLOOD.

I prefer "John 3:16 and Me" over 23 and Me. :)
It's not what my DNA says about me. It is what Jesus says about me!
He redeemed me from the empty way of life handed down to me (PERIOD).


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

It is no longer I who live but Christ!

I don't know why I have been burdened to write about this. 
I just want everyone to know that Jesus LOVES you. 
If you are writing your life story now of brokenness and sin, Jesus Christ can change that in an instant.  You have no power over sin and the enemy's grip on you. But Jesus does.
Run to Him and let Him give you new life today.

If you don't know how to start a relationship with God, please write me an email.
I can tell you.
tsblackiston@comcast.net

"open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me."
Acts 26:18’








Saturday, March 16, 2019

Hang On

I have a couple kids at the baseball field, some watching "A Bug's Life", one napping, one playing with Legos and I decided to sit down and write. It feels like a whole lifetime ago that I blogged. I love processing through writing. 
I miss it. 
It is healthy for me. 
I think I will have to wait until heaven to process this life because it is going SO FAST.
 I seriously can't keep up... much less process it.

This past year has felt like "the third heaven" in some ways.  We have gone through such extreme trials that I have wondered if we died. They definitely should have killed us. Like Paul said, "I dare not speak of it". This last year of suffering has definitely felt like an out-of-body experience and God has spoken to us inexpressible and sacred things.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.  And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—  was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
2 Cor 12

God has used physical suffering to weaken both me and Tim this last year. If we hadn't have clung to the Word, we would have despaired. 
Tears truly felt like my food like David said in Psalms.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12

This word "weaknesses" means physical sickness or disease
The word "hardships" means necessary distress and the word "difficulties" means a narrow place or extreme afflictions
I hope you canNOT relate to these words but I have a feeling you can. 
We are not the only ones who have been beat up by trials lately. 

Remember that your Christian brothers all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
1 Peter 5:9

I see suffering in so many strong believers lives. There is deep pain in their eyes as they share what they are enduring. These extreme afflictions are like a narrow space. They can be SUFFOCATING.  

I think my favorite word in the list is "hardship" because they are NECESSARY. 

These trials are doing something. 1 Peter 4 says physical suffering has "a RESULT".

 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God."

The result of physical suffering is that we will not live the rest of our lives for earthly human desires but rather for the WILL OF GOD. I can promise you physical suffering has done just that in my life. I look around as I drive my kids all over town and nothing feels familiar anymore. Tim and I long for heaven. We long for our kids to walk with God. We long to finish well. We long to tell people about God. That isn't because we are super spiritual, that is because physical pain and suffering has purified my heart. You realize what matters. There has been a result in our lives. We have been forever changed by suffering. And that is how I can delight in weakness.

In the last few years, we have also grieved watching believers fall and get "disqualified". 
At one point, they were serving God. Then over time, they begin walking in pride, the enemy seizes the opportunity to deceive and after years of compromise and rejected counsel... they FALL. :(

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. 
Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
1 Cor 9

That is a hard thing to watch and a hard thing to reconcile. I always think of the child of a pastor who at one time had a thriving ministry only to sacrifice it all on the altar of sexual sin.  How do his children process it? It is like schizophrenia. The person they were and the person sin has caused them to become are shockingly different. After all, they used to preach to others! Sin deadens their spirit and they lose their senses. It's exactly what leprosy does. It makes us numb. 
Such a picture of what sin does in our lives!



I read the story of Nebuchadnezzar to the kids last night. He stands on his roof and takes all the credit for the Kingdom. As the words were still on his lips, God rebukes him and he loses his mind. He starts eating grass, his hair turns into eagle's feathers, and his fingernails in to claws. 
This goes on for years until, by God's mercy and gift, he repents and comes back to his "senses". That is what pride does. I told the kids that if we see pride in one another, than we can feel free to ask "Is that a feather I see in your hair"? :) 

Pride has been the common denominator in the "disqualifications" I have watched. I don't think they lose their salvation but they definitely lose their minds and any opportunity to serve the living God.
I wonder if Nebuchadnezzar knew how bizarre he was acting when he was eating grass and had eagle-feather-hair. It doesn't seem like people know when they lose their spiritual minds. To me, that is the scariest part. 
One day you walk in and the once normal person is eating grass like that's normal.
Only God can (PERHAPS) grant repentance for a prideful, grass-eating, claw-having, eagle head.

 "if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,  and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
2 Tim 2:25

*********************

Tim and I are still training up little ones in the Word. We are also discipling 2 amazing teenagers. God is teaching us as we teach them. 

It is hard to let go of the control you have had as a mother. I ride in the passenger seat now with a teenage driver. That's how this entire season of life feels... OUT OF CONTROL.
I'm like "wait, you are driving but YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DRIVE!!". They are having to learn so fast in every area of life. They have to learn self-discipline, discernment, how to connect with people--- how to connect with the right people, convictions about dating, submission to authority, integrity issues, sexual purity. It's a lot. 
Especially in a generation that the enemy is out to get! How can a young man possible keep his way pure in 2019? the same way he did in 1919... by living according to THE WORD.  By hiding God's Word in their hearts so that they won't sin. By letting grace teach them to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions (Titus 2). 

I can't lecture them into holiness, I can't ground them into holiness, it will be their decision and the work of the Holy Spirit. 

I can continue to pour truth into their lives. I can stop what I am doing and enter into their worlds for ANOTHER conversation about holiness. I can make them my priority in prayer. 
I have started praying lately that God would grant them a "willing spirit" (Ps 51) and make them "eager to do what is good" (Titus 2). I have also realized that is is only by the Holy Spirit that they will be able to say "Jesus is Lord".

"no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit."
1 Cor 12

I absolutely believe you can know Jesus as your Savior without calling Him Lord. This is an act of the Spirit and I have told my boys that. They can't even start living for the Lord apart from His Spirit. They need Him for the first utterance and desire! And as they call Him Lord, it is a beautiful relationship. We are yielded to Him. We view this world through His lens, not our own. We pray to do well in sports so that we can have a platform to reach lost teammates.  We don't participate in the sin all around us because of our deep love for Jesus Christ and gratefulness for what He has done for us. We understand that staying sexually pure brings God glory and our bodies are living sacrifices! Not our own but bought with a price that was PAID IN FULL. So we honor HIM with our bodies. 

I found an awesome verse yesterday. 


 they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people.
1 Cor 16:15

When I looked up the meaning of this word "devoted", it can be translated ADDICTED!!! It actually is translated addicted in the King James Version!


"that they have addicted themselves to the ministry"
1 Cor 16:15

I almost started to cry because of how this ministered to my heart.
It breaks my heart seeing an entire generation addicted to their phones, to electronics, to porn, to social media, to all sorts of things. It is SCARY raising teenage boys because of how the enemy is crouching at their door and his desire is to destroy them. But there are godly addictions! Addictions to ministry!! That is my prayer for them!  That they would ADDICT THEMSELVES to serving God! 

May we be obedient to teach our kids about the Lord. To teach them His Word. To pray for them and to stay humble when God does a mighty work in them!

******************************


The other part of this last year that has felt like the third heaven and an out-of-body experience is the HUGE answer to 10 years of prayer for a place to do ministry on a larger scale. We are so excited that God has opened a big door for us and I pray that it is for effective ministry!

"because a great door for effective work has opened to me"
1 Cor 16:9

Tim loves architecture and has been designing a home where we can live and do ministry for years. It is so fun to watch him do what he does best. He is a brilliant designer. Who needs Joanna Gaines when you are married to Tim Blackiston? :) 

So crazy that when I was a baby Christian in a prayer tower at Bible college, I prayed for a godly husband to serve God alongside of. Not only did God give me a godly husband but a godly husband who built my my own prayer tower.
That's God.
Exceedingly and abundantly MORE than we could ever ask or imagine. 

We are beyond excited about what God is doing in our lives in the midst of so much suffering. Sometimes God has to flatten us in order to bless us :) 
so the blessing itself doesn't ruin us...because we couldn't handle it. 

God doesn't want any of us to stand on our roofs like Nebuchadnezzar did as we look around at all God has done yet claiming we did it all. It is all by Him, through Him, and for Him! Our new home will be just that too. We are praying for God to breathe His life into our property. Otherwise, it is just a bunch of wood and windows.

Well, I have to go because it's time to make lunch. I hope this ministered to someone somewhere. 

This is hard. 
Life is hard. 
Heaven is coming. 
Be careful how you live. 
Not as unwise but as wise and knowing the times! 

Jesus is coming for us. I believe it is so soon. He is coming to make all things right. He sees your pain. 

Hang on, He is faithfully busy doing something amazing. 



“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.


1 Cor 2:9



Monday, June 4, 2018

Racing Against Horses

Oh how I miss writing! It helps me process. It helps me share what God has shared with me. My days are crammed with so much life. There is no time to sit. I stand in the kitchen feeding people most of the day. God has given me a full life and I LOVE IT! 
Belle is growing and she has stolen my heart completely. Maybe because she is just a straight-up-surprise-gift that we didn't have the faith to plan. Or maybe it's because we are older and know to savor every second of life.
Or maybe God just wanted to blow us away with His love.

I have honestly struggled because she feels so holy.
TOO HOLY for me. Like I am standing on holy ground around her. They are all holy but there is something tangibly holy about a 6 pound baby. She's delicate and lovely. She's a girly girl. I feel God's presence around her. I KNOW God planned her before He planned the oceans. I just weep feeling unworthy to be the mother to these 8 world changers.

I couldn't even write about motherhood on Mother's Day because it is such a humbling day for me. I could have never done anything to deserve these children. I fail them daily yet God chose me for this. 
People tell me all the time, "I don't know how you do it". I tell them, "It's all THE LORD". This was His plan for me! I don't  know why but I'm sure Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Mary, and every other very human person struggled with God's supernatural calling on their life too. It doesn't make sense. Grace NEVER MAKES SENSE.
How many children to have is such a prayerful thing in every marriage. It is a matter of marching in step with the Spirit. The only way I know how to describe how I had 8 children is... I was compelled.
We were compelled. There was warfare. There are seasons of faithlessness and fatigue. But by God's grace and willing hearts, we completed the work He assigned to us. We can't do it in our own strength. We couldn't have raised one child in our own strength. We are 8 children beyond our natural capacities! Yet His calling on our marriage and lives remains- to raise these children to know and serve God.
I believe God is raising up Christian couples to have larger families. 
Just normal couples living for Jesus whose hearts are being tugged by the Spirit.

There is no magic number. The lady with the mite gave more than the rich dude! It's not about numbers. It's about the heart. It's about faith. It's about calling. I praise God for couples who are stepping out in faith and asking God what He wants for their family. It may be one child. It may be 12. 
Obedience and sacrifice always come with a cost.
Having children has cost us a lot. A lot of money. Sanity! My body has suffered. Our comfort has suffered along with many other comforts. 
But I see motherhood as a major part of how I worship. 
When I have complications after delivery, I praise God because (like David said) how could I bring a sacrifice to the Lord that cost me nothing? 
I am amazed that my body was able to be used to bring 8 more people into this world! Praise God for those varicose veins! Think of what Jesus's body went through to give us life! Praise God we get to identify with Him through bringing children into this world! Motherhood truly has saved me! It has saved me from MYSELF. 

The verse I can't stop thinking of is John12:24
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
That is such a picture of motherhood. Life pours out of us as we surrender and die to self! 
With Jesus, death=ABUNDANT LIFE!


Image result for kernel of wheat
This has been a very hard season for me. Physical/Health issues+the darkness that comes from post partum and exhaustion but God always pulls me through! 
I am so thankful. He resurrects and rebuilds us mommas to make us better than we ever were before! I think the dark season after you have a baby is because you are truly taking ground from the enemy and you can feel it. 
God is so faithful to heal and restore.
I have been thinking a lot about the process of healing.
Multiple times in the Bible, healing was a process. It wasn't instant.
Sometimes the sick person had to go do something out of obedience to find healing.
Sometimes Jesus did a partial healing before the complete healing came.
"When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him.  Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”
 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”
 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly."
Mark 8

Don't be discouraged if you are still waiting for complete healing of your body, or your marriage, or your family! Sometimes it is a process. 
But there is purpose in the process!
We get a little insight into "the why" in the process in Deuteronomy 7...

"The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed."

God sees the big picture. He is doing everything at just the right time (little by little) because He is PROTECTING you from what you can't see.

****************************************************
I have been noticing a lot about how Jesus served and operated during His short time here.

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16
He purposely went to lonely places to pray. I HATE lonely places. He sought them out.  
Just *maybe* ;) Jesus still inhabits the lonely places. Maybe our lonely places are ON PURPOSE. I’m gonna follow His example and seek out solitude to spend time in prayer. I have a mentor/friend who goes away alone every year just to pray. That is a true discipline. I think social media has fried our brains so that they can't be still enough to pray any more. I know I struggle with that.


"all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them" John 8:2

 He wasn’t a "stage/platform guy". He SAT DOWN! He humbled Himself. He let go of status. He just loved people. I think we are living in a selfie world full of people desiring ministry status (if there is such a thing). Jesus motivates me to SIT DOWN and meet people where they are. Especially my kids.
I have no desire for limelight. I want to walk in HIS LIGHT. An unnamed child of mine wants to be famous more than anything. I tell her :)  "be famous in God's eyes". 
I crave anonymity more than ever these days. Just let me be faithful, Lord... changing diapers and teaching toddlers your Word. Help me to SIT DOWN and teach the people around me.


"When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
John 21

He cooked yummy breakfast. He found joy in serving food.
I feed 10 people 3 times a day. I could use some new passion in this area!  My homemaking skills are not cutting it lately.  Even with my beloved Cindy.
There are simply a lot of messy oxen in this barn that are gonna produce a harvest one day!
Proverbs 14:4
I have always been a wing-it-girl. I truly have always been the girl who just wants to have fun. Well, you can't do that with 9 starving people all around you. God help me love my JOB of serving food. Give me creative ideas how to feed an army every day! 

( I also love that it says EVEN WITH SO MANY {fish} THE NET WAS NOT TORN because sometimes I worry our quiver may bust open because it's too full but not with Jesus!! lol. The enemy (and the world) love to tell us that we have too many kids. Only Jesus can prevent the net from tearing because it's full. It should have torn. But it didn't! It was full of LARGE HEALTHY FISH. Again, how many children you have is between your husband, you, and the Lord. It is hard to have that "one more" but God will give you the grace you need to survive it. I am living proof. My net should have torn a long time ago.)

Jesus loves full houses. :)
"I want my house to be full."
Luke 14:23


I found this verse the other day and LOVED it:

“If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you RACE AGAINST HORSES? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭12:5‬ ‭


 I’m so thankful with Jesus we can not only walk on water but we can RACE AGAINST HORSES. That’s what having 8 kids feels like.  I want God to teach me how to race against horses. Life with Christ is the greatest adventure.




LET’S GO.

Image result for running with horses

Our identity is not in motherhood because there is a name even greater!
Our identity is in Jesus!
"a name better than sons and daughters; 
I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever."
Is 56:5

Don't find your identity only in being a wife or being a mother. We identify with the name of Jesus and raise children IN HIS NAME.
I am all about having babies.
You have to have a STRONG HUSBAND to bear the weight of it.
You have to have a strong marriage.
You have to have a strong relationship with Jesus.
Focus on those things. Then you will have the strength you need if you feel like God is calling you to have another child to raise for God's glory. Yes, it is HARD. The hardest thing I will ever do on earth. When Tim and I got married, I gave him a globe and told him I wanted to change the world. I could have NEVER dreamed it would look like this. :) 
I am so thankful for these 8 children. I am so thankful I get to be a mom. I am so thankful for GRACE in the journey and a God Who has promised to do this impossible job through me... if I stay out of His way.
Be encouraged sweet sisters. God is calling you to run with horses. I don't pretend to know what that means in your life but God will show you. 
Keep abiding and watch Him do what only He can do.
If you don't know Christ as your Savior, open your Bible.
You will find Him there.


Love and miss all of my blog friends.
What sweet days those were.
Write me any time! Love hearing from you.
tsblackiston@comcast.net