It’s a New Day! In the Word Series

In the Word  debbiejtaylor.comWhile I was on {yet another} blogging hiatus, I found myself struggling with many different things.  As much as I love the Word of God and spending time In the Word of God, I realized how little I incorporate it into our lives.  (That makes me sick to my stomach, by the way.)  I don’t want to preach to my family about anything.  Because my weaknesses & sins preach much louder than my words.  But oh how I long to live & breathe the Word of God.  And yet, my selfish desires have such a strong hold on me that I am constantly waging war in places I didn’t use to struggle.

I think because I have kids now I feel like I’m under the microscope.  “You’re the only Jesus your children might see.”  As if THAT isn’t any pressure…  There are so many voices telling me to “do better”, “try harder” and “you can never do enough.”  It’s exhausting.

But, gradually, the Lord reminded me that getting into His Word every day is more than enough for me.  For my relationship with Him, and my relationship with everybody else.  And when I fail to commit myself to reading His Word, I forget about His Grace and Mercy and Love, and live with a long list of shoulds and woulds.

So I had to come to the realization that while my heart longs to be in the Word of God, I was not following through and digging into the Word like I need to every day.  For someone who has read through the entire Bible more than once, who grew up memorizing Scriptures and reciting them on request, who was given Christian character awards and Awana Girl of the Year awards – that was hard for me to admit.

and there it is.  Pride.

My pride has driven so much of my adulthood, and my parenting, that motherhood has become this huge stone weight on my soul.  I won’t say how recently, but I may have been overheard saying things like “I can’t do this anymore” or “I have to leave because I can’t be a mom.”

by the grace of God, rather than zapping me with a lightning bolt, He woo’d me.  He is wooing me back to Him through His Word and his personal messages to my heart.

While I could tell you that I am committed to spending an hour in the Word of God every day – frankly, that would be a lie.  After all, laundry needs washed badly (still dealing with some kind of gastroenteritis thing here), wood floors need cleaned of salty snow-crust, dishes need put away, meals need made, homework needs corrected, kids need loved on, Roy needs my attention – and oh the mountains of paperwork that need to be filed (or burned).

So instead, what I can tell you is that I am playing Scripture-based lyrics and songs that sing God’s Word while I do these other things.  I can tell you that I read a verse – even just one – because in order to Renew My Mind, I have to soak up His Word throughout the day.

And that’s what this boils down to.  Renewing my mind.  Cuz the lies of the vile enemy of my soul resonate so loudly sometimes.  and the Word of God is my only offensive weapon to send Him away.

I have no specific Bible Study chosen as I write this, but I have a selection to pick from and I begin today, as this is being posted.

Would you care to join me?  We don’t have to do the same study, but if you are participating in any Bible study – individually or in a group – and want to share your thoughts on whatever you are studying, why don’t we commit to coming here on Mondays and sharing what God is doing in our lives together?

It’s not mandatory.  And maybe nobody even reads this (except my lovely mother) but I want to put this out there for a little bit of accountability, without requiring anybody to buy a certain book or follow a specific study.  We can just agree to meet here next Monday and share what we are learning through God’s Word.

It’s a New Day!  Let’s get started!!!

Only Jesus

To so many of us, the story of Jesus is much more than a story.  Whenever we met Jesus, or whenever we finally caved into His Calling – once you have come to know Him, you cannot ever truly deny Him again.  (let me add – you cannot ever truly deny Him again without denying life everlasting…)

For every one of us who believe in Christ, there are so many more who have swallowed the whispered lies of a deceiver.  an enemy whose sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.

We face the enemy in our own walk with Christ, but when Christ goes before you, the enemy is overcome.

But for those who don’t know Christ, they face a battle they cannot win.

I have read through many facebook comments and blog comments in the past several months that just make my stomach hurt.  Not because people are expressing their opinions.  But that the expression is filled with such vile, such disgust, and such blasphemy it makes me ill.  But what I’ve come to see as I’ve continued to read, is just how lost so many people are.  Led astray by philosophies and ideologies which contradict God’s Word and His Saving Grace.

We must remember, that whoever stands before us, or comments in a Facebook thread or blog post, whoever tweets and messages – if they don’t know Christ – THEY. ARE. LOST.  The lies of the enemy are so silky smooth, they “tickle” ears. And sadly, those lies make sense to the mind of one who does not know the Light.

Whenever we battle for Christ, it is SO important to remember that we do not battle that person standing in our face.  Or trolling our Facebook page.  Or spamming our blog and email.  Or taking what is good and twisting it for not good.

Those who stand against Israel and her God.

Those who stand against Bible believers and their God.

Those who stand against God.

They have been lied to, led astray, deceived, and bilked out of an eternal inheritance by an enemy who gleefully sentences them to eternal death.  When they scream support for Pro-Abortion, Pro-anything-but-Israel, Anti-Consequence, Anti-God, Anti-Family, Anti-Christian – they are led by the screams of a determined enemy.

And we should pray.  Because one day, we all.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. will bow at the feet of the Almighty God – and we will all be crushed by our brokenness.  And only those of us whose sins have been covered, whose wrongs have been made Righteousness by the stripes on His back – only THOSE will be lifted from brokenness to wholeness and life forever with the One who made us.

When we take a stand for God, we must not ever stand on the backs of the broken ones who live deceivedWe must stand on the Truth and Righteousness of the Christ who was broken for us.  Jesus, Only Jesus.

Click the link below for a reminder of this.  May we live today for Jesus, Only Jesus.

Jesus, Only Jesus

 

Who Do You Trust?

When you need answers to questions, who do you typically turn to?  Where do you go to find answers that you trust and rely on to make decisions?

  • Do you Google or Bing or Ask your questions online?
  • Do you visit Facebook and ask your friends or family?
  • Are there family members you turn to more often than others?
  • Do you visit the library?  Ask a physician or licensed professional?
  • Do you rely on yourself, your education, your experience, your wisdom and knowledge?
  • Does it depend on the given situation?

We have a wealth of resources available to us at almost 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Sometimes it is a REALLY great thing.  Sometimes it becomes and endless maze of searching without finding a solid answer.

Who do you trust?

In situations where we often do our own research, it is really easy to forget to turn to the One Who made us.  The One Who Knows All, Sees All, and has our life in the palm of His hand.  It is really easy to spend hours on the internet taking notes and comparing solutions.  It is easy to make a lot of phone calls, send a few emails, or schedule several appointments, without ever consulting with the Great I Am.

It’s really easy to forget that God’s Word says

The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
Proverbs 16:1 (NASB)

I’m guilty of that.  I spend much time using my own knowledge, education, and resources – without ever asking for direction, without truly seeking His wisdom (and I mean much more than a hurried prayer whispered out of desperation asking Him to bless my efforts), or just simply waiting on Him.

I charge ahead doing what I can, when I can.  I forget to just Be Still.

I think I have to know all the answers, and when I don’t know the answers, I think I am fully responsible for finding them, instead of WAITING on Him to speak to me.

Sometimes, I charge ahead and have to spend time disentangling myself from a mess that I didn’t even need to get myself into.

I trust myself, knowing that I am flawed, broken, hopeless, and in desperate need of God.

Just like Eve, I hear the seductive whisper that tells me I can know for myself the answer that I need.  And just like Eve, I grab onto the fruit of my own knowledge and too easily fall into trying to find my own way instead of trusting the One who knows me and loves me and wants His best for me.

Putting our trust in the God of the universe requires swallowing some pride, but leads to life everlasting.

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

“Hate the sin; love the sinner.”

You’ve heard this before, right?  You’ve seen this before.  Maybe you have even said it before.

I know I have.

But how is that accomplished, exactly?

How do we actually HATE the sin and LOVE the sinner?  In what ways is this practiced?  In what ways do we actually accomplish this?

Supposedly this is what Jesus did.  Supposedly He hated their sin while loving the sinners.

When did He do this?  How did He do this?

The truth is this:  Jesus was the PERFECT embodiment of a holy God.  It was His very nature to hate sin.  Sin opposed Him.  Sin was the enemy of Christ.  Sin chokes out grace.  Sin chokes out light.  Sin destroys and kills and steals every good thing.

When Jesus met with sinners – those common everyday lot – He did share the message of truth and grace and Light and every good thing.  He referred back to His version of Scripture – the Torah – whenever the question of sin came up.  And yet He did not always require repentance BEFORE He offered healing and grace.  He did not require a change of heart or a change of direction or evidence of a change in action BEFORE He met their deepest needs.

When a broken, ruined, desperate woman was thrown before Him into the dirt on the ground, He was faced with the choice of hating the sin or loving the sinner.

He saved her life before He demanded her repentance.

Of course, He knew her ultimate outcome before she was ever dragged out before Him in an attempt to trap and discredit Him.  HE knew where she had been, what she had done, and more importantly, what she would do again for the every day of the rest of her life.

We don’t know if she changed, do we?

But He knew.

And He did NOT condemn her.  He simply LOVED her.

The problem with the ol’ “hate the sin; love the sinner” routine, is that we – again in our limited wisdom and imperfection – put the focus on SIN.  Of COURSE Jesus hated sin.  Sin is what separated us from His perfect plan. OF COURSE Jesus hated what sin does to us – leaving us ravaged and raw, broken and scarred, lost and even dead eternally.

But Jesus hated it so much HE DIED for sin.

He died for MY sin.  For your sin.  For THAT sinner’s sin…

So maybe the next time we hear that ol’ cliche we should stop and ask ourselves – would I DIE for that sinner?

THAT sinner?

The one who commits “that” sin that is so awful, such an abomination, so unbelievable, so hard to understand.

Could you DIE for that sin, for THAT sinner?

Cuz when Jesus hated sin, He did something about it.

Not with hate-signs and screaming voices.  Not with name-calling or finger-pointing.

He met sin with LOVE.

And maybe instead of hauling out that sinner before Christ, demanding a verdict, preaching “hate the sin but love the sinner” we should just LOVE as Christ has loved.

PERIOD.

Mommy, Queen, or QueenMommy

I read a sign while shopping the other night and it has stuck with me.  It read:  Mommy is One Rank Higher than Queen.   That meant something to me personally and I may have to negotiate to purchase that for myself as a reminder of the thought process that followed…  I began to roll around those 3 titles:

Mommy, Queen, and Queen Mommy.

You know, I am a planner.  Maybe you didn’t know that.  But it’s something about me that is pretty much a very SERIOUS part of me.  I really like to get some pens, pencils, colored pens, highlighters – several kinds of printables (weekly, monthly, etc.) and write down my planning.  I like to make lists, set goals, schedule appointments – and then highlight and color code so I can stay on top of my responsibilities.  And when I can get the hour or two every week to be able to do just this – my weeks pass by with less stress, less forgetfulness, and way more comfort.

But my planning time does not always happen – and most days I’m racing out the door feeling like I’ve forgotten something, not able to find my keys at the bottom of my bag and shushing my kids while they pile screaming into the van.

My planning – the recording and color coding – gives me a sense of control in a life that is otherwise simply out – of – control.

You can make all kinds of suggestions – and some I might even take into consideration.  But it’s this thing in me – that my planner actually makes me feel like I have it all together.  When in reality, I have NO control over what is coming in the next 5 minutes!  I need to record appointments and events to help my family and stay on top of getting family members where they need to be at the correct time.  I need to remember items to buy at Walmart or Kroger, and I need to know when I spoke to so-and-so about turning on or off the power (depending on which house I’m referring to).  I need to remember which child has a doctor’s appointment next week, and when the other child starts volleyball camp.

But I cannot control whether or not a cat will run out in front of the van on the way to school, causing a small uproar and hurting to tender hearts.  Who STILL don’t like to drive that same way every morning and beg me to NOT hit any more cats.

It’s really easy for me to get caught up in my planning and FORGET how important it is for me to be a Mommy.  My planning does not make me a good mommy.  But much like a Queen, I need to know what is going on and how things should be managed.  But not at the risk of damaging my relationships with my kids.

All for the sake of the purple inked – yellow highlighted calendar notation.

I have forgotten at times that MOMMY is a far more important, meaningful, and relational role I’ve been given, than my Queen-Manager nature lives out.  I lose my perspective and think that my PLANNING weighs more heavily than my PARENTING.  That it holds more meaning and purpose.

I’ve been encouraged a LOT lately by some really awesome mommy bloggers who have been here – who have felt these same things and come to these same realizations – and come out better on the other side.  That’s the journey I am on right now – and I am shedding a skin that has become too tight both for myself and for my family.  That transformational process of moving from one house to another – where I’m completely at the mercy of a lot of circumstances – forces me to Let Go of my planning and focus on my family…

I don’t just want to be Queen, and I have to have some structure as Mommy – so I’m embracing QueenMommy in a whole new way!

 

Change is Good

I am NOT always happy when Change comes rolling around. I like to MAKE plans and KEEP plans… But one thing I’ve learned this past year – in a new way – is that CHANGE IS GOOD. We’ve had a LOT of changes to deal with – and we did not always respond well, but as the year wore on, the changes that came were viewed differently.

There’s something about putting your trust in a Sovereign God, isn’t there? It’s not that I never question circumstances or events. No – I’m one of the first ones in line going –
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Effecting Change

This week has seen a lot of changes for us. Curly’s first full week home from school. I decided not to plan too much knowing we all needed to take time to adjust and get into a new routine. I’m great with WANTING routines, but pretty bad at implementing them… So, I’ve been thinking about how to EFFECT the necessary CHANGE in our every day!

Yesterday, we spent TWO HOURS in the girls’ room. The girls made their bed and then everything that was out of place was thrown onto the bed. It was a pretty big pile. I know I’m not the only mom with kids who make messes – but I am a mom who is not going to keep cleaning up every mess they make. So today – we took time to establish what “clean” means for us and how to make it happen. I had to ask them to pick up one thing at a time and put it where it belonged. Clothes – clean or dirty? Dresser or laundry basket? Shoes – in a lineup to get them matched up. Toys – in the toybox. Broken toys, papers, miscellaneous items – into the trash. And although they grumbled at times – and took their sweet time – it got done and they were PROUD of their hard work. Next week, we are going to officially begin a schedule & chore charts so they can begin earning an allowance. Not only will they have an opportunity to earn an allowance, but they will also learn to pay for things they tear up (like lipstick or notebooks or plants outside) and we will begin teaching and they will begin learning responsibility in a whole new way this summer.
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After Christmas Recovery

Christmas day was just beautiful here. The sun was shining part of the day, melting off snow and ice – and glittering on the snow that remained. Sweet time with family and simple enjoyment of the day. As I write this, my girls are watching one of their new movies, I am rocking my nephew to sleep, and my husband lies sick with the stomach flu on the couch… I feel as though I have regressed back to my first trimester this week, rather than progressed into my third. We are trying to recover from Christmas today…
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Do you celebrate Advent?

I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent. It was not something I was really even familiar with. As an adult, though, I’ve visited more churches who incorporate Advent into their holiday worship, and I’m becoming more familiar with the celebration during the Christmas season.

Advent is the four week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is celebrated by Christians of all denominations. The ultimate goal of Advent is to prepare our hearts for a time of worship on Christmas day.
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When Life Throws a Curve, God is Not Surprised

Every day we wake up with thoughts and intentions and plans about the things we want or need to do. We ponder our lists of projects, we organize our schedules, we make appointments and plans.

And then life throws a curve.

Something unexpected takes place – plumbing issues, van repairs, family crises – and sometimes we lose our breath. We realize our “to do” list will have to be set aside or rewritten.

I don’t always react well to these situations. I can be honest about that. I LIKE my plans and I enjoy my schedules when I take the time to make them. Any deviation comes as an irritation.
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