Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gentle and Quiet

There is a lot in the news these days about women. God has entrusted us with great influence on our generation and the generations to come.
As I watch the news, 1 Peter 3 comes to mind.
It is where Peter tells us (women) how to act in a way that is PRECIOUS to God.

“rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
1 Peter 3:3,4

I used to read that verse and think,
“I can’t do that. That’s not me.”
The fact is I can’t do it!
And neither can you.
None of us come by this naturally.
What does God mean when He tells us to be GENTLE and QUIET?
“let it be the hidden person of the heart
I love the phrase “the hidden person of the heart”. I have taught my children that it is our “inner man” who matters more than our “outer man”!
Our hidden girl is eternal. She is who God sees.
“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
The Greek word for heart is “kardia”. It denotes the center of all spiritual life. 
This is why we ask Jesus to come into our hearts! Giving Him the driver seat to our passions, desires, appetites, purposes, and emotions.
“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” Eph 3:17
Without Christ dwelling in your heart through faith, there is no way we can move to the next part of the verse. He is the only One Who can empower us to be “gentle and quiet”  (in the true Biblical sense).
“with the incorruptible beauty
The Bible says this type of beauty is incorruptible. “Incorruptible” is an attribute of God (Romans 1:23). Apart from God, beauty breaks down quick! I turned 40 this year and just bought wrinkle cream.  My outer girl is breaking down! But, by God’s grace, my inner girl is gaining new strength and vigor.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
2 Cor 4:16
If we allow Christ in to the driver’s seat of our heart, we get to participate in His beautiful nature! (2 Peter 1:4).
So, what does “gentle” mean?
It means “meek”.
I loved this description given on Blue Letter Bible-
“Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).”
That’s not at all what I thought this passage was talking about!
It is referring to how we respond to suffering, injustice, false accusations, and trials.
(*Sidenote- I don’t believe it is a coincidence that the Greek word for “gentle” is spelled “P-r-a-y-s”.)
The way we respond to suffering matters.
Are we “gentle”? 
This does not mean we don’t speak out against evil.
Jesus definitely spoke out against sin and described Himself with this same word!
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
We truly do need to learn from Him!
I also think of Joseph and all he endured. But he was able to keep going because He KNEW God was good.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Gen 50:20
This truth allowed him to endure pits and prisons, abandonment, family betrayal, and deep pain. He didn’t blame God.
“You are good, and what You do is good”
Ps 119:68

If we really trust God and consider His dealings with us as good, then we are “gentle”.

We are to be gentle… and “quiet”.
I have six sons and one daughter.
She is loud.
I tell her that God gave her a loud voice on purpose and that she has to learn how to use it for Him!
“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.”
Ps 107:2

How I pray that she won’t be silent about the things of the Lord. That is not what this means.
 “Quiet” means still, tranquil, peaceful.

How can we be tranquil during suffering?  
Stay in the Word!
We have to allow God’s love to “quiet” us remembering that He is mighty to save!
“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet
 you with His love

As I wrote this, I realized how I truly can’t be these two words (gentle and quiet) apart from Jesus Christ.
I want these words to define me.
But first Christ has to define me.
And as I learn to trust Him in suffering, I become gentle and quiet in spirit.
“which is very precious in the sight of God”
A gentle and quiet spirit is very precious and God SEES it.
May God enable us to be gentle and quiet women who willfully submit to His good plan for our lives.
Our life is, after all, a glorious dance with our Prince of Peace.
Hand in hand.
He leads and we follow.
And then we happen to notice we are dancing on water.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Good Company

Oh, how I miss writing! There is just no time to SIT at the computer anymore. If I have any extra time, I get the PRIVILEGE doing the mountain of dishes in the sink.

I do have something I believe God has placed on my heart to share though so I am going to type as fast as I can... before someone needs me. 
We are busting it to do what God has called us to do. It is a gloriously high and crazy calling to mother 7 world changers. I don't deserve a minute of the life God has given me. 
Tim and I have gone through some hard stuff during the last couple of years. Trials that knock the breath out of you. Cruel attacks of the enemy. A lot of disillusionment and trying to find center.
I have isolated myself as I try and cope with the stress and pain of it all. I tell Tim,  "no one could possibly understand this stuff". He says, "would you want them to?" My answer is "no. never. I would never want anyone to go through this but it sure is comforting to have someone to talk to... who understands".

The enemy loves to make us feel alone. And believe that everybody else's life is a cake walk. 
The truth is we are all going through trials and suffering. If you are living for Christ in this hostile spiritual environment, my guess is you are getting pretty beat up by spiritual opposition.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are."
1 Peter 5

Now, more than ever, we have to be alert. I 100% believe we are living in the last days. That is why we are seeing such serious attacks. Attacks that fall into one of these categories...
"in the last days there will be very difficult times 
For people will love only themselves and money. 
They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly." 2 Tim 3

We are fighting battles our forefathers didn't fight. 
It is a new era. 
A new era of rampant prescription drugs and electronics. 
Slandering on social media. 
Reckless people who have no concept of authority and truly consider nothing sacred.
We have to learn how to not only stay alive but serve God in this war.

Living in the last days is hard but it comes with such OPPORTUNITY if we stand firm!!

“ In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. 
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions"
Acts 2:17

Our kids are going to be used in ways we could have never dreamed of as God pours out His Spirit!

That's why the enemy wants to destroy marriages and Christian families.

Godly marriages have a huge bulls eye on them. If the enemy gets a crack, he can get in and start destroying. 
Imagine the President walking around without body guards! It wouldn't happen because he obviously has haters. 
You better believe marriage has haters.
Why would we not put great protection around our marriages? 
Spiritual secret service!

Song of Solomon says if you have a blooming vineyard, foxes will come.
"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom."
Song of Solomon 2:15

I found this helpful when studying foxes...

1. First, foxes are mostly nocturnal creatures, or that is, they are creatures of the night.

As creatures of the night these little foxes do their evil work in darkness. In the darkest watches of the night when no one sees and when the caretakers are drowsy with sleep, the foxes quietly gnaw their way through the hedges and dig their way under the walls of the vineyard. Spiritually speaking, darkness is a type of evil, and wickedness, and of sin and corruption. The devil is called the prince of darkness, and the whole world lies in spiritual darkness. These little foxes come from out of the darkness of spiritual wickedness to do their evil and sinful work in the Lord’s vineyard. They don’t do their work in the light of day, because the light exposes them for what they are.

2. Secondly, the little foxes are sly, cunning, and crafty little creatures.

Foxes are very sneaky and quiet, and very cunning. How often do you ever see a fox? Not very often, but they are there. In the spiritual world, foxes are also very sneaky and quiet and cunning. They are very deceitful and perverse. They slip into the vineyard ever so quietly. They sneak in as quiet as mice so as not to be noticed. They steal into the vineyard as innocent little lambs and as angels of light, but inwardly they have an ill work planned to destroy the vineyard and all of its works and its tender grapes.

3. Thirdly, foxes are wild and vile by nature.

Foxes cannot be tamed or domesticated. You can’t make a house pet out of a fox. They are cute and fuzzy when they are small, but they grow up to be wild animals, and will surely show their true nature. Spiritually speaking, you can’t tame those little foxes that come into the vineyard from the kingdom of darkness. They might seem cute and harmless when they are small, but they will surely grow up to show their true destructive nature. You can’t give place to a fox. You will never tame him or reform him. As the old saying goes, “a fox is a fox, is a fox is a fox”; or was that “horse is a horse is a horse”- Oh well, it is certainly true of a fox! And the little foxes are even more dangerous, as our text points out, because they are very small, and they creep in unawares and unbeknownst to the watchmen and caretakers of the vineyard. Often times, by the time they are spotted and identified, they have worked much havoc, and done much damage, and have grown into big full grown foxes!

4. Fourthly, foxes come in different kinds and colors.

There are the gray, red, silver, and white foxes. In the spiritual realm foxes come in even more sizes and colors than in the natural realm. There are perhaps hundreds of species of foxes in the spirit world. They are so many in kind and color that it is sometimes difficult to identify them, and to tell them from some good creature. It takes a well learned caretaker in the science of foxology, to identify a fox and to label him for what he is, and to know how to extinguish him from the vineyard.

5. Fifthly, foxes are a kind of a dog.

The dog family is known to be scavengers, and predators, and pests, and nuisances. They are very unclean beasts, and in the Scriptures they are symbolic of the Gentiles and other unclean enemies of God and His people. Likewise the little foxes are vile and unclean creatures that would attempt to spoil and defile the clean and holy character of the vineyard. They corrupt the vines and the grapes, making them unclean and unholy, and worthless to any spiritual good. Foxes, like dogs and all other bruit beasts, are also carnal in nature, and sensual, and appeal to the flesh. They don’t mind the things of the Spirit of God. They appeal to the fleshly nature of the old man and his works and deeds. They don’t appeal to the new man, because the new man in every true believer is contrary to those vile foxes, and will not be influenced or corrupted by them.

6. Sixthly, foxes are expected to be found in vineyards.     

It is a foxes nature to be found in the same land where vineyards are planted. The two naturally co-exist. Where a vineyard is found, the little foxes will be found trying to get in and spoil the vineyards. The very land and ground where the vineyard exists, is the very same land and ground where the little foxes have their habitat. So where the vineyard is, the little foxes are sure to be found. Therefore it takes a continuous effort and watchfulness, and maintenance by the watchmen and caretakers of the vineyard to insure that the foxes don’t get in.

Pray for God to help you be a foxologist! Foxes don't have to be "people" (most of the time they are though). Your fox may be something as innocent as select ball or as destructive as an addiction. Identify foxes and CATCH them like the verse says.

I love being married to Tim. The battles we have fought during the last 15 years are seriously unbelievable.
The other night we went on a date and we did what we love to do most: share our hearts and dreams with each other.
As he was talking, I was overwhelmed with the fact I get to sit in that seat across from him. What an honor to be the girl who gets to know his heart and have a front row seat to his life. 

We say our vows every year in front of the kids. This January, we happened to be at the beach.  Reece performed ceremony. They are getting used to it. Hope never tires of it.
We want them to KNOW the power of covenant. 
Not contract... covenant.

It was seriously one of the most beautiful days of my life. Funny how pictures are deceiving... looks like the perfect life. Well, if clinging to Jesus through trial is perfection then so be it! Tim has to (eventually) have a hip replacement and can no longer jog. :( 
 I have had post partum shingles AGAIN (3rd time). :(
Praying so hard that I didn't give the baby chicken pox. I have given 3 of my kids chicken pox this way in the past. We hardly get breaths between the waves of trial but it has forced us to a place of desperation. For the Lord and for each other. Most couples have places to run to, safety nets of some sorts. We have God and each other.  Tim says God did that on purpose...That our whole life is slanted... so that we will keep falling back down to the feet of Jesus. 
Pain does that. I don't ever choose pain. I like the "no pain, no pain" motto. But with pain, does come gain. And healing. And wisdom. And depth of character. 

I am studying Ezekiel 47 with the boys. It is BLESSING my socks off to see how God continues to lead us deeper until we are literally "IN OVER OUR HEADS".
I laughed out loud when I read that.
"and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through...
 Life will flourish wherever this water flows."
Ex 47:5, 9

This is where you find LIFE. 
When you lose yours. When you trade solid ground for the unknown.
When you die to self and go all in for Jesus Christ. 
I get to see miracles everyday. 
Fruit and healing are found in a life given away to Christ.

Sometimes I long to go back to the days when I was only ankle deep. It "seemed" safer but WOW what I would have missed. 
If you have time, read that chapter. 
Ask God to lead you further out.
It is scary, no doubt.
But it is WORTH it.

Lots more I want to share! We are having birthdays around here.
Hope is 7 and Lake is about to turn 10.
Worth is a doll baby.
Rhett keeps me HOPPING. 
Crew is a human ray of sunshine.
Older 2 are starting baseball and precious guys who love God.

I started this blog when I was pregnant with Lake. 
I'm so thankful God has been with us every minute of every day and will continue to be.

Be encouraged. 
There is always HOPE.

If you are single, wait.
Let God write your love story.
It is so much better than one you would write.
1 Cor 2:9


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Porn and Potiphar's Wife

Remember me? The girl who used to blog all the time? Well, that girl is getting her tail kicked by the JOB she has of raising 7 children. There is no discretionary time any more. 
But, I am so burdened by what I am seeing in our generation that I HAVE to stop and write.
Porn, adultery, divorce, addiction, etc... is taking marriages/people down like flies. Porn is an epidemic. Worse than the flu. It is making so many sick. 
We are living in a very frightening time. Especially if God has entrusted you with SIX sons!
Surely homeschooling can stop the evil, right? Putting restrictions on all of our electronics will keep us safe, right? WRONG.
That's outward ammo.
This is a HEART issue. 

"O my son, give me your HEART.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
A prostitute is a dangerous trap;
a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
She hides and waits like a robber,
eager to make more men unfaithful."
Prov 23:26-28

We can no longer think we can shield our kids from every evil. I wish we could. I wish we could go back in time where marriage was honored, God's Word prevailed, and pornography was not readily accessible in the hand of every child.
But, God, placed us here... NOW... on purpose.
NOT so that our kids will get swept away by the tsunami of evil.

We have to prepare them and pray for them.
Our sons were created for battle. Well, that's a good thing because they have been born into a raging war. Homeschool kids are moving to the top of the list of addicts. That is scary to me. Kids who sit in their rooms all day... detached from reality. No deep relationship with God or their parents. All in the name of protection. I think the enemy is preying on boredom. Just like he did with David.
Why wasn't David fighting battles like he should of been? Instead, he was having a "midday rest"???
 "In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath."

Our sons need to be engaged in battle and BUSY. Not taking mid-day rests.

It boils down to the heart and wisdom. What the Bible would call A HEART OF WISDOM.

As I watch this epidemic hitting homes of all kinds, I wonder if there is a vaccination. Can I give my sons enough of it to where they will be immune when exposed to the real deal?
I believe I can.
Tim and I have relied on the Spirit to guide us in what to say to them and when. We didn't want to use a book or a formula. We want God to show us when they are ready instead of when the world tells you to talk to them. 
Reading straight through the Bible has been a wonderful catalyst for conversation.

A couple of things I have felt very strongly God wants them to know:

1. All sex isn't the same. There are different words used in the Old Testament in regards to sex. 

God's WAY--- "Yada"- can be translated--- 
to be deeply known, respected, satisfied, cared for, know well, chosen, clearly understand, investigate, skillful, experience, found, 
learn, make myself known, notice

The enemy's way--"Anah"- 
to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down, 
depressed, humiliated, weakened

(There is another word used in regards to sexual relations that means "to exchange bodily fluids". GROSS)

Sex God's way is a lifelong pass back to the garden of Eden. If you fight for your purity, then that angel (with the flaming sword) will get out of the way and let you back into Eden.  :) 
If you do it the enemy's way, you will find yourself stuck in an earthly HELL. 

God may extend His mercy and rescue but WHY GO THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE? And, I am seeing young boys going past the point of no return. Their brains have been DAMAGED.

From a young age, I have taught my boys that their eyes are the lamps of their whole bodies.
If their eyes are filled with light, so is their entire body.
If their eyes are filled with darkness, SO IS THEIR ENTIRE BODY.

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.  But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!"
Matthew 6

I think every parent needs to watch this video to see the TRUTH of this passage. 
The darkness of porn is DEEP. 

"The word pornography is composed of two Greek words. The first is porne, meaning “harlot,” which is akin to the word pernanai, meaning “to sell.” The second word is graphein, meaning “to write.” In other words, pornography is literally “the writing of harlots.”

There is a God-given curiosity in boys. 
They have to LEARN to control their bodies in a way that is holy and honorable.
It isn't natural. 
If they have to learn how to control their bodies, who is going to teach them?
We have to.
They have to know the difference between holy and unholy.

I told my boys that their wives will answer all of their questions one day.
It IS meant to be mysteriously sacred.
But they have to wait. And fight for her until then.

Obviously, Tim's example and leadership in this area is HUGE. Bigger than mine. We have to pray for our husbands. The enemy is taking down leaders. 
Just read about aNOTHER mega-Church pastor's wife divorcing him for infidelity.
If there is a crack in the wall, the devil will go in for the kill. 
Tim and I know the enemy wants to destroy us. The quickest way would be to destroy Tim. 
Not only are our men and sons dealing with Porn. They are also dealing with "Potiphar's wife".  Women also lust with their eyes. It's not just a guy thing.

"Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man,  and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
 But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household.  No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
 She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.  
One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work.  She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
 When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled,  she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed.  When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.”
She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.  Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said.  “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”
Gen 39

Oh my goodness this makes me angry. 
May we women NEVER have a heart like this.
It started as lust in the way she began to look at him.
She could have stopped it there. At that point it was still in the spiritual realm. It had not yet manifested into the physical realm.
Are you doing that? Are you looking at another man lustfully? CONFESS IT.

This makes me sad for Joseph because he has to WORK with her. Work environments can be so dangerous. 
This verse in Proverbs makes me SO MAD:
"a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
She hides and waits like a robber,
eager to make more men unfaithful."
Prov 23

He tries to avoid her as much as possible. She won't let up. 
She hides and waits like a robber until an opportune time.
He had already lost one coat to the deceit of his brothers. Now, he loses another one to a whore.
BUT, somehow he clung tight to his character. 
Character can cost you. It can even cost you your reputation. But it doesn't matter. You do whatever it takes to stay pure before God. 

Potiphar's wife was obviously MARRIED. 
She thought the grass was greener.
Maybe if she had been watering HER OWN GRASS, it wouldn't have been.
Girls, water YOUR MARRIAGES instead of fantasizing about someone else's husband. If your marriage isn't all you had dreamed it would be, talk to a trusted person. Get help before you start lusting after something that isn't yours.
Take every thought captive and bring it into the light.

I am thankful for all of these years I have been able to protect my sons by having them home. But, soon, they are going to be somewhere someday WITHOUT THEIR MOMMA. 
Potiphar's wife may show up at their work or on their ipad screen.
Oh, may their "inner man" be strong enough to run!

"that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
Eph 3:16

I am sure Joseph thought no one was watching. He had no idea that his actions that day would be "seen" through Scripture for the rest of human history. We have no idea the impact our godly decisions will make. 
Our sins truly do find us out.
The enemy loves nothing more than to make you fall and then plaster your sin on a billboard to humiliate you.
Truth wins. 
We all know the real story between Joseph and Potiphar's wife.
Maybe no one did at the time but God has a way of exposing truth in time.

Potiphar's wife was fueled by lust. If lust can't have what it wants, it will try to destroy it. She tried to destroy him after he rejected her.

Our husbands and our sons hearts must fear God.
They must FEAR God and broken fellowship with Him more than they want to gratify the cravings of the sinful flesh.
1 John tells us that our greatest battles will be against our flesh, the devil, and the world. 

We have to pray for our husbands and our sons.
Pray that they would have strength for the battle.
Be careful of cracks. The enemy only needs an inch.
Trust CHRIST in your husband.
Your husband is human. 
The good news is that if he is walking yielded to Christ, he is SUPERhuman.
I have so much more I want to share about talking to your sons about sex but I have to go fix lunch.
Just remember, this is a HEART issue.
Get to their hearts with the Word.