Buying a home can be stressful, yet exciting! This was, again, evident, as I listened to a Kelly Minter pod cast (one of her Cultivate episodes) the other day; in that episode, she told a story about her aunt and uncle moving into town and needing to buy a house. Since Kelly already lived in town, she became the point person, working with their realtor on their behalf. At some point after the negotiations (our dog distracted me, then, so I lost that part of the story), the realtor suggested another walk-through. It’d been a while since Kelly’d bought her house, so she asked why another walk-through was necessary, since they’d already done one. The realtor shared the wisdom of making sure everything that was agreed upon was still in the house. As they walked through the house, sure enough, the refrigerator was gone!! Kelly related that to ourselves. Sometimes, we remember having compassion or kindness, joy or contentment, but we don’t often do a walk-through to make sure it’s still there.
We’re going to take a walk-through of our hearts and minds today…not exactly looking for the good things (to make sure they’re still there), but to see if anything that isn’t supposed to be there, as children of God, has been brought in.
As we examined last post, we have an opposer who’s seeking to destroy us, our reputations, God’s reputation, and our relationships.
I will pray over this, specifically, with you all!
Comment at the top or reply at the bottom of this page with how I can.
For years, we watched shows with our kids about animals, especially those in Africa. It was mesmerizing to watch the powerful lions, how they interacted, how the lionesses banded together to hunt their prey, and how the pride male (the king of the pride) controlled the uprising of the younger males. We’d watch as the lionesses camouflaged themselves in the grasses, eyeing a wildebeest herd very intently, identifying the calves or sickly animals; they were weaker, easier to take down, and quickly became a meal for the pride.
Most of us know this…but do we know the Greek word for “seek” in 1 Peter 5:8 means to seek by inquiring?!? The devil is investigating…searching…asking questions to find out if we’re weak and easy prey or if we’re strong in the LORD. Have you ever had questions randomly pop up in your mind…ones that induce doubt, fear, pain, anxiety,…? Can you take a guess where those inquiring questions are coming from? It’s nothing new. The devil started with Eve in the garden and is continuing the same kind of scheme today. How we respond (in actions and/or words) will tell him all he needs to know–if we’re weak…or strong in the LORD.
Many of you may be reading this and thinking, “I know this! I’m good! I haven’t fallen for that!” I truly hope that’s the case! May I ask you some questions, though? They’re ones I’m asking myself…AND my family…to be sure I/we don’t have “blood” running down my/our leg without knowing, we’re not walking with a “limp,” or are completely oblivious to Truth.
Today, we’re going to look at things that can be seen on the outside (we’ll look at things in the heart and mind next post). The Bible gives us a comprehensive list. I haven’t posted in a while, but this is what I’ve been picking apart with the Spirit, piece by piece, in its original language. If you don’t have time to fully ingest it all today, just absorb small morsels at a time, asking the Spirit of God to reveal any areas that need His healing. It’s worth giving our lives a detailed inspection.
Any of these prick a bit? He’s looking for an open door, a weak spot…someone he can gulp down entirely. I don’t want him to destroy you or me! I pray that if we, in any way, are standing opposite God, rather than with Him, “God will grant us repentance, so that [we] may know the Truth, and that [we] may come to [our] senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 NKJV).
Just like wildebeests gather around an injured one to protect it from the hunting lionesses, I want to gather around each other, providing strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer!
Has anyone else been tempted to get overwhelmed with their own discipling? There are so many things in these last two posts, and again in this one, that speak to me, as I want to disciple my kiddos well. If you feel overwhelmed at times, please hear this: Even focusing on one of these areas can improve your communication with your kids, can show them God, and can even change what your child thinks or believes. I’ve experienced it! So, close the door on that temptation and put your discipleship of Jesus in action with the kiddos…and they don’t have to be yours! Show these principles with those in your path today.
Ok. More notes from Dr. Kathy Koch’s Q & A session (her full speaking event can be found at the end of this post)…
Q & A–53:00 mark
I said I’d take her to the store that day to look for jeans. When it was nearing time to go, I checked in to make sure she’d gotten her homework and job done (some people call them “chores,” but we call them “jobs,” as chores sound loathing; everyone has a job to do). Nope; it wasn’t finished. It’s the parent’s right to change his or her plan, based on new information (or so I understood years ago from a book authored by a Christian psychologist). I wanted to teach my kiddo responsibility, so…plans changed; we didn’t go to the store.
My mindset got rocked a bit when I watched a Q & A session with Dr. Kathy Koch, which followed her talk titled “Secure Children’s Hearts to Unlock Their Potential” (I referred to this in the last post, which is worth checking out!). Parents were encouraged to follow through on our promises, even if something negative (like a job not being done) follows…It shows our kids unconditional love, like God’s, as well as faithfulness, rather than “love” based on behavior.
Below are more tips on discipling kiddos’ hearts from that Q & A session. These are just my notes…a snapshot, but I hope you’ll still be blessed (watch the video at the end of this post to catch Dr. Kathy’s full Q & A session!).
* “Correct” means “put wrong right.”
* “Criticize” means “point out wrong.”
There is SO MUCH here that I’ve been learning and re-learning…SO much I’m trying to marinate on and put into practice! One way is that I tend to fix it and then feel it; in fact, as I’m typing this, I’ve been called out on the timing of when I brought something up to one of my kiddos. Ouch. Point taken! Humility: the exercise of the day!…With the tips above heavy on my heart, I went into the kitchen, where my kiddo was, waited for the right moment, gently held both hands, and began to share how God has forgiven me numerous times for speaking out of anger; because He’s forgiven me, I’m choosing to forgive, too. Then, I asked for forgiveness for focusing more on what needed to be done than choosing a better time to address the issue…Walls of defense, frustration, anger? They all crumbled…visibly. Humility, forgiveness, truth? They, by God’s mercy, restored a beautiful connection.
I’m truly a work in progress! Thank you, LORD, for loving me enough to correct me!
Do any of these tips resonate with you? If so, which one(s)? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment at the top of this post or a reply at the bottom of the post.
Would you be courageous enough to share an example where God’s way brought about something beautiful?
If you have the time to take in the full Q & A session with Dr. Kathy, check it out below.
Q & A session begins at the 53:00 mark (it follows Dr. Kathy’s speech).
Parenting…It feels like a constant chess game, doesn’t it? Over the years, my husband and I have approached parenting many different ways. One way has worked with one kid, but not another; so, we’ve had to “re-strategize.” Each child has moved into different phases of life, and what may have been “successful” at one point has needed to be changed at another. It’s definitely a journey! It’s a rewarding one in SO many ways, but I’m being real; it can be hard!
I’ve been praying about discipling our kiddos well. Two weeks ago, the LORD answered in a couple different ways:
Here are some of my notes from Dr. Kathy’s talk with some applications; if you want to dig into one point more deeply to hear exactly what she had to say, you can find the full talk at the end of this post. I pray you, too, will be challenged and encouraged!
* KIDS HAVE POTENTIAL AND CURRENT VALUE!
* CHILDREN DESERVE TO BE AND MUST BE TAUGHT, NOT TOLD OR YELLED AT.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”Isaiah 1:16-17 NKJV
“if indeed you heard about Him and were taught in Him, just as the truth is in Jesus. You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man, who has been created in God’s image–in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.”Ephesians 4:21-24 NETB
* BELIEFS CAUSE BEHAVIOR.
If you have the time and would like to take in the speaking event I watched, featuring Dr. Kathy, check it out below.
Beginning: 16:00 mark
Duration: 36 mins
Q & A session beginning (follows Dr. Kathy’s speech): 53:00 mark
I hope you’re as blessed as I’ve been! Help other readers by commenting below, if there’s something that stuck out to you from her lecture that I don’t have listed above.
An epitaph isn’t something we think about often, but it is rather fitting, as many believers are observing Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection this week. There have been some interesting epitaphs written over the years:
Our family listened to a sermon in December last year on Jesus’ family tree, based on Matthew 1. Sure, it may not be the most exciting passage in Scripture, but it has a purpose. As we followed along, reading all the names, my husband pointed out the following verse:
“and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon by the wife of Uriah,”Matthew 1:6 ISV
We lost power shortly after we read that and continued talking as a family. I don’t remember ever noticing how Bathsheba was referenced here before. Scripture doesn’t mention her name, like it does Rahab, Ruth, and Mary; it just calls her, “the wife of Uriah.” Even though Uriah wasn’t technically part of Jesus’ kingly lineage, he was still an honorable mention for his faithful allegiance to King David.
This epitaph, of sorts, is a constant reminder of David’s sin with Uriah’s wife…there for everyone to read. Typically, our sin isn’t something we want to broadcast for everyone to see or know. Isn’t it fitting, though, whose name you see at the end of that genealogy (Matthew 1:16)? God provided the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus, the Messiah, to be the payment for sins and The Way to receive forgiveness. This is a reminder that all of us sin…and that because of Christ’s death for us (and resurrection), we can all be covered with His forgiveness! It’s because of His forgiveness that we can “come clean” with our sin, sharing our experiences, and the reality of the hope we have because of Jesus!
It hung on the cross, above Jesus’ head…a sign to all explaining why He was being punished this way…the “accusation,” as Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote in their accounts of the crucifixion. Another word for the Greek word Matthew, Mark, and Luke used, meaning “accusation,” is “crime.”
Exactly! John said, in his gospel, that Pilate had questioned Him and heard the case against Him, yet there wasn’t any fault found in Him (John 18:38, 19:4). So, Pilate wrote an inscription to be fastened to Christ’s cross:
This same saying was written in three different languages for those who passed by to be able to read…and they did. John 19:20 tells us that “many of the Jews read this sign, as where Jesus was crucified was near the city.” Black letters written on a white tablet, which is what this was said to be, according to the Greek word “epigraphé,” would be easily read. Jesus had claimed that He was the King of the Jews, when Pilate questioned Him (Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:2, Luke 23:3, and John 18:37), so it makes sense why Pilate wrote this inscription, as this is what he knew was true from questioning Him.
John called the “inscription” a “title,” rather than a crime in his gospel. It’s interesting that a synonym for “inscription” is “epitaph…” Christ’s epitaph was not a crime, though they considered it so. It was one of His many titles. Do you know how “the one chosen” in ancient times was crowned king? A horn full of oil was poured on the top of one’s head for his anointing…to grant him the title/position as king. To be king is an appointment by God (Daniel 2:21). Guess who else was an anointed king (Hebrews 1:8-9)?
“Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah.”Matthew 1:16 ISV
Now, that’s an epitaph!
Growing up, around the table before Easter dinner, we’d talk about different aspects of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Maybe this season, you could ask your those you’re celebrating with to discuss:
1 “10 Famous Epitaphs: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird.” Merkle Monuments, 1 May 2018, https://www.merklemonuments.com/10-famous-epitaphs-the-good-the-bad-and-the-weird/.
Have you ever been so excited about an upcoming event, but when it arrived, something happened that felt like it robbed you of the joy you were anticipating? This has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit through the years, but I can never remember anything quite like the experience I had some weeks ago.
For over a month, I had looked forward to the weekend we would spend with family, watching our grandkids play in their respective sports’ tournaments. The weekend started out great. Seeing our granddaughter using her God-given skills, playing volleyball with such love and enjoyment for the sport, brought so much joy to my heart! I definitely wore my proud MeMa hat!
A few days later, it was time to see our grandson in action, playing basketball. He had worked so hard, preparing for this season, and I couldn’t wait to cheer him on. I was so excited to finally take in one of his games! The night arrived, we found our seats in the appropriate cheering section, and I couldn’t wait for the game to start! Prior to the game, a group of teens from the opposing team decided to find their seats two rows behind us and proceeded to fling brutal comments to our team’s players. This went on throughout the game, even to the point of disrespecting the referees. Needless to say, my MeMa hat was ready to blow, especially when they made my grandson one of their targets! I had spent the past hour turning around, hoping they could sense my displeasure at their mockings, but nothing helped. I had had enough and finally turned around and asked them to please “shut up.” I’m not proud of what I did. In fact, it bothered me for days afterward. I left the game feeling robbed of my witness and joy as a believer and angry at those who had felt it necessary to brutalize my grandson and his teammates.
The next morning, after a night of wrestling with my emotions over this, the Lord gently reminded me of the night Jesus had been taken to face those who sought His death. The chief priests and all the council were having trouble finding witnesses whose testimonies would prove they were justified in trying to get rid of this One who had made such blasphemous claims. Even though their false witnesses’ stories didn’t agree, they wouldn’t give up. Because of Roman rule, this council didn’t have the authority to put anyone to death, but if they could bring their claims to Pilate, the Roman governor, hopefully he could be persuaded to see their reason for wanting this Jesus to be put to death. The next morning, they bound Jesus and delivered Him to Pilate. When the chief priests threw accusations at Jesus, in front of Pilate, Jesus never tried to defend Himself.
Isaiah chapter 53 tells us what Jesus was subjected to. He was despised, rejected by men, acquainted with grief, wounded, bruised, oppressed and afflicted. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, He opened not His mouth. The Father laid on Him every sin that has ever been or will be committed throughout time. Jesus took all of that in silence. When the religious rulers, because of their envy, stirred up the crowd to cry out “Crucify Him,” Pilate relented, and even though he could find no fault in Jesus, he had Jesus scourged and later crucified.
As I read these accounts, I thought again of the way I reacted to those who thought it necessary to slander my grandson and his teammates. How I wish I had acted differently. My heart aches as I think of the times I brought shame to Jesus because of my words or actions. I realized that even though I wasn’t one of the chief priests or soldiers mocking Jesus, or striking Him with the whip loaded with pieces of metal, the one placing the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, or the soldier pounding the nails in His hands and feet, my sin put Him there. My sin nailed Him to the cross. He went through all of that for me; taking MY punishment for MY sin. His death and resurrection brought about that precious moment when I heard Him knocking at the door of my heart. I opened the door and invited Him in, bringing about a relationship with Him that brings an indescribable joy that the world could never understand.
Jesus has often reminded me to pray for those teens and their need for Jesus in their lives. Any time I find myself face to face with a joy breaker these days, I want to remember how Christ forgave me and choose the joy that only He can give.