Jay is in the toilets ALL the time. We officially have locked our toilet and because that was not enough we keep the bathroom door closed at ALL times. However, we are raising a little ninja who still manages to get in ALL the toilets and ALL the things.
I don’t get it. Does he not care that the toilet is so gross?
Here’s the thing. We often get ourselves into trouble because we don’t see the problem at hand. Like Jay, we don’t see the germs that lurk in the toilet that we continue to splash in. Jay does not see the toilet as a threat. He can only see a toilet that is so tempting. He does not understand the concept of germs. He can only see what he wants to see. We continue to take him away from the toilet and set up stronger barriers and he continues to crawl in the direction we are adamantly calling him away from.
In Genesis 3 we learn about the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God gave them one boundary in the Garden of Eden. They could eat from any tree with the exception of one. They could not eat fruit from the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil. Did they listen? No. Of course not! They each took a bite from a fruit from the forbidden tree. The fruit was too tempting. Maybe it looked so satisfying? Was it dripping with flavor? We do know that the serpent was pushing them to eat the fruit. Telling them lies. Whispering that God is only fooling them. Unfortunately, rather than listen to God (He does know best) they chose to listen to the lies the enemy and their eyes told them. They chose to disobey and now here we are ALL tempted to touch ALL the toilets we are told to stay away from.
Listen! God has set up boundaries in our life for a reason. He has put a lock on that toilet for a reason. He is walking you away over and over for a reason. He is yelling “DON’T EAT THAT FRUIT” for a reason. While we might not know His reason we can still submit to His authority.
There are so many tempting moments in life. These temptations don’t always look the same. Regardless of if the temptation is a fun toilet or dripping fruit, if God says “no” then stay away. Don’t open the toilet. Don’t touch the fruit. Don’t just look under the lid. Don’t just take a quick smell. DON’T GO NEAR THAT TOILET! Step back. Trust God.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15-16 NLT I remember in third grade being in the talent show. I chose to sing the song `This Little Light of mine. A girl in my class was telling everyone that I was singing a “God” song. I felt so cool but I don’t think she was telling everyone about my song choice because she thought I was cool. I was still proud though to be representing Him. All my classmates knew my love for Jesus. I talked about Him all the time, talked to Him all day, sang about Him on stage and refused to say words that would not make Him smile even when pressured by my peers. I was sold out for Jesus. As I’ve grown older conversations about Jesus have become a battle in my mind- what if I offend someone? Talking to Jesus is still often but not daily like it was as a little girl. I often allow life to keep me “too” busy! I can’t carry a tune so that solves the singing about Him on stage. Lastly, I’ve let a few disappointing words slip in my adult years.
When I see this gem above my desk I am encouraged to be the “sold out for Jesus” little girl I once was in the third grade.
In kids life we used a pumpkin and a light to talk about how we can shine for Jesus. I downloaded The Pumpkin Prayer from Teachers Pay teachers. As we pulled out all the insides from the pumpkin we asked God to take all the wrong out of our hearts and fill us with His goodness. As the eyes were carved we asked God to open our eyes to all the beauty that He has created. We continued to carve a nose and a smile and prayed different prayers to go along with each. Lastly, we placed a light inside the pumpkin and in the darkness we could see the pumpkin shining bright.
We get to be a light for Jesus in every aspect of our lives. The way we walk through the trials in life, our attitude toward difficult people and how we speak to others is a direct reflection of our love for Jesus. We get to shine the love of Jesus by reflecting Him in all that we do and say.
I’m encouraged today and I pray you are as well; to let His light shine a little brighter in my life.
If you would like a copy of the Pumpkin Prayer you can download it and other printables at the following link.
Jay! You were one taco away from being born in the Taco Bell drive thru. 😂🎃
I believe every birth story has a purpose. You were born fast. It was as if God whispered in your ear “it’s time” and you obeyed with such confidence and readiness. I pray you always have a trust in God so strong that you follow His voice in all He calls you to do. Happy Birthday little man. We love you so much and you have made our lives so much better. ❤️🎉🎃
I love speaking. It’s one of the number one fears but for me it’s fun and exciting. From Preschool all the way through 5th grade I took speech therapy. We went over every letter in the alphabet. Rr was the most difficult for me. As a child I never imagined myself having a desire to speak in front of a group of people. I was ashamed of my speech problems and embarrassed by the way I sounded. I was made fun of alot. However, as I got older my speech became more clear and I was easier to understand. Now I couldn’t imagine a life where I didnt get to speak. I believe that God freed me from my fear of being rejected by people when they hear me talk. Just as God freed me from that fear, He wants to free each of us from fear itself. Being freed from fear does not mean that we no longer experience the feeling of fear, but it means that we no longer allow fear to dictate our lives. We know that fear is not from God so why do we allow it to determine the outcome of our day? Fear is actually the favorite tool in the enemies tool kit.
All that fear will do is drive you back to where you came from and keep you from experiencing all that God has for you.
Jesus Himself tells us to FEAR NOT.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God was telling Joshua not to give up or go back but to press on even in his fear. God wanted Joshua to know that He would give him the courage he needed and take care of Him.
He’s not telling us not to feel fear but He’s telling us that when we are faced with fear not to run away. Did you know that we have been set free from fear.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT
Being set free from something doesn’t mean the disappearance of it. You might still feel afraid however, just because worry and fear show up does not mean that you have to invite it in to stay for lunch. You have authority over your fear. If you believe that you are set free, take hold of that fear and show it who’s boss.
“Submit yourself therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Fear has no choice but to go away when we take the authority the Lord has given us over it.
When I was a little girl my sister and I were staying with my Aunt Sandy. My youngest sister was really sick at the time so my aunt was helping my parents out with my older sister and I. They took us to church, fed us meals, made sure we got to school and helped with homework. My anxiety started really young. I honestly can’t remember a time when I was not worried and afraid. During our daily Bible study my aunt taught me the first scripture I ever memorized.
“God will keep His angels in charge over me.” Psalms 91:11
Since that day I have learned so many FEAR SCRIPTURES. In Fact I have this love for looking for every scripture in the Bible that relates to fear. Here are a few of my favorites…
1. ISAIAH 41:10
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
2. PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
3. PROVERBS 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
4. PSALM 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
5. JEREMIAH 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
6. PSALM 27:1
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
7. 2 TIMOTHY 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
8. DEUTERONOMY 31:8
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
9. ROMANS 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
10. JOHN 14: 27
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”
There are countless scriptures in the Bible on fear. It is said that there are 365. One for every day of the year. I have only found 175. So I’m not sure of this statement. However, let’s pretend there really are 365 FEAR NOT scriptures. There is a reason God mentions fear so much in His word. He knew his kids, all of us would be consumed with worry and fear and need a way to overcome. His word is our weapon against ALL fear. His word is the authority that we have over our fear.
Were you ever afraid of the dark? It was not so much the dark for me as it was something jumping out of the darkness and creeping me out. After turning off the bedroom light I would make a mad dash and leap into my bed so that whatever was under the bed wouldn’t get to my feet. I was 15 at this time.
Ellie is afraid of the sound of the toilet flushing. She covers the sensor with toilet paper to keep it from flushing while she is on the toilet.
While we all have that funny childhood fear, fear can be truly gripping too. Fear can leave us paralyzed and unable to make decisions or truly live out God’s call on our life. Fear can make us want to run away.
So, what do we do when we are faced with fear?
Do Not Run!
When I had to drive on the highway for the first time the other day alone I didn’t drive down the highway saying “I Am not afraid” over and over. That would have been a lie. I was so afraid. But even in my fear I did not pull the car over and refuse to take my child to the hospital because the highway was scary. I prayed and asked God to give me the strength and courage to continue on down the highway. I pressed on even in my fear. I did not run away from the fear. I showed my fear of who is boss and then I rewarded myself with Taco Bell.
Don’t allow fear to leave you paralyzed or send you back from all that you have come from.
Do it Afraid!
I drove on the highway afraid. Some of you might have to go after that job, afraid. End that relationship afraid. Trust God in His call, afraid. Face the past afraid. Show up to marriage counseling afraid. If God is calling you to it, show up and walk through it afraid.
Don’t allow fear to stop you.
We came to Illinois afraid. We are incredibly thankful that we submitted to God even with fear in our face.
I don’t believe God is telling us that we cannot be believers if we struggle with fear. We are human. Fear will come against us in our lifetime but we can still press on in all the things God has for us while afraid.
Break up with fear
Joyce Myers wrote her own Break up with fear letter. I love it so much I want to share it with you.
You can find this letter in her book, Living Courageously, which is so on Amazon.
After reading Joyce’s FEAR NOT break up letter I was encouraged to write my own and I pray you will as well.
I want to also encourage you to make a list of all the ways that God has always come through for you. If we will begin reflecting on God’s goodness in our life we will have no reason to allow fear to hold us back.
There are four characters in the Bible who dealt with fear and overcame:
Moses: The courage to face the past.
David: The courage to face impossible situations.
Esther: The courage to take a big risk.
Daniel: The courage to not give in.
Will we be courageous too? Will we allow fear to stop us or will we show our fear who has control and press on into all God has for our life?
As I’ve been preparing to speak at this mornings women breakfast I’ve mentally struggled with the fear “I don’t know enough!” I know I need to dig deeper in His word to deepen my understanding and faith. I envy speakers who are able to tell Bible story after Bible story in very specific detail. That is not my strong point. I want it to be. I know it can if I study deeper. This week I have thought more then once that God is asking me to speak just to watch me fail so that I will start studying His word more! How silly of a thought is that? God is not allowing me to speak for an opportunity to punish me. He wants to use me and grow me. Yes! I do need to study His word deeper but today God is going to use the little I do know to encourage the women in our church. His plan is always to prosper and not harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) I dont know what lie the enemy is telling you but choose to believe Gods word over the lies from the enemy. Today I’m going to allow God to use me and grow from this experience.
If you are not yet signed up for today’s Women’s Breakfast, please show up. We want you to be a part. ❤️
I love science experiments and using them to teach. Any fellow visual learners out there? Last week at WBS I used water, a cup and index card to illustrate trust in God. We filled a cup with water and held an index card over the top. After pressing down on the index card for a few minutes we flipped the cup over and removed our hand from the index card. Guess what? The water remained in the cup.
It is the air pressure pressing upwards (stronger than gravity pressing downwards) that held the water in the cup. We can’t see the air pressure but we know it must be working or the water would drop out. We can’t see God but we know that he is there holding us up and supporting us too.
Week three women’s bible study is tonight and I hope that you will join us. ❤️🎉
I’ve wrestled over the past few years while trying to decide how to school Ellie. Should we homeschool her? Should we send her to a school? What if we fail her in either choice we make. In the wrestling I was able to hear Gods constant desire for Ellie. Jessie always knew sending Ellie to school was what was best for Ellie but knowing my struggle with letting go, he left the decision in my hands. He was ok with what I chose. I went back and forth several times. Praying through the entire process, finally I woke up one morning and the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:6) flooded my heart. I knew! The wrestling was over. The only peace I felt was in the direction of sending Ellie to school. Jessie felt the same. The decision was made and excitement and peace has continued to grow. I’m so thankful for those who have prayed along side us while we made this decision and those who have encouraged me to only focus on what God has called me to choose for Ellie. The confidence Ellie has as she walks into her first day is so encouraging. The excitement she has to make new friends and learn new things brings me so much joy. Her eagerness to meet a friend who does not know Jesus so that she can introduce them to Him makes all of this make complete sense. She is confident! She is excited! She is eager! She is loved! She is prayed over! She is ready!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
I was 14, I just walked in from dance practice. It was chili night. I HATE CHILI!!!!. I opened a can of peaches and poured them into a bowl. I took one bite and suddenly I was disgusted. I quickly dumped them in the trash and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and had this sense of accomplishment. I skipped dinner! I DID IT!! I was so proud. That is when it began.
At 14 I began to develop this love for hunger. I felt as if I had more energy and more joy. I felt in control of my emotions when I was hungry. I felt powerful, valable, and noticed. I felt strong even when in reality I was so weak. It suddenly became a game; how long could I go without eating? How hungry could I feel before I passed out? It wasn’t about weight in the beginning. However, the deeper I fell into this game, the more I began to hide my deep rooted pain behind calorie memorizing , numbers on a scale and obsessive working out and I was trying to hide it all.
Eating disorders do not go away overnight. I’m not always so strong in this area. I still struggle with the mental thoughts and longing to go back a lot. Im headed in the right direction though. I’ve traded calorie memorizing with scripture memorizing because His word is truly alive and active.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
I’ve traded multiple weight checks a day to make sure I haven’t gotten too fat with multiple moments a day of check in with Jesus. I talk to Him often. I would weigh myself three or four times a day. At one point I came home during my lunch everyday because I worked close to home. I came home just to weigh myself and the number on the scale would determine if I got to eat lunch that day.
I’ve also traded the silence with sharing. I don’t want to keep my struggles silent because I know there are others who need to know that they are not alone.
When I started eating again, the more I ate the more mental clarity I had to recognize the voice of the eating disorder. This disorder that told me I was in control, I looked amazing, I could go one more meal… This disorder was actually controlling me. I could see that when my body wasn’t completely starved. Some of us as christians, we are starving for the word of God.
Our spiritual stomachs are so empty that we cant determine the difference between the truth from God and the lies from the enemy. Take a moment to allow that to sink in. We need the word of God and we need constant communication with Him daily. The more we read His word, the more time we spend in prayer and fellowship with other believers the more we start to recognize the weapons that the enemy is using against us. I’m talking to myself and I just hope I have a fellow friend out there in the same spiritual boat. I hope I’m not alone. I hope I’m not the only one who struggles to make time to read His word and to talk to God. I do struggle with this. Not because I don’t want to make him the most important part of my life but because life has a way of becoming so filled with day to day obligations that putting God first feels impossible but ITS NOT. We can’t let it!
Three things to start now…
Read one scripture each day!
Talk to God. Just like you would a friend. He’s not shocked by anything you say.
Find a local church to be part of. Fellowship with others who are believers is important!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that fully well.” Psalms 139: 13-14
I love Ellie’s excitement for learning. She is always asking questions to learn more. She is always making observations. She is always asking to learn new words. Yesterday she came home from church and told us… “Jesus helps us with our sins!” So thankful for the amazing volunteers we have who pour into our kids each week. In Kids Life yesterday, Bruce talked to the kids about forgiveness. Forgiveness requires a heart change. You cannot continue in your sin yet expect Jesus to forgive you. Each child was handed an ice cube with a button inside. They were asked to hold the ice cube in their hands until it melts. It was not easy. It was painfully cold and difficult to continue holding in their hands. Many of them dropped it or put it down and began smashing it with their water bottle so they wouldn’t have to feel the pain of holding it. When we begin to have our hearts changed by Jesus it does not always feel great. It is often a painful experience. However, if you hold on long enough you reach freedom. There is freedom in Jesus if you just continue to hold on and not let go.
We had to do a last minute Switch A Roo with a craft this past Wednesday for VBS. I searched several stores for materials that I could not find. It happens! However, I’m glad we switched at the last minute because we switched to a really big hit. We had the kids make these cool crayon drip art pieces. Even the boys got into it! If you work with kids, you know first hand that not all boys are a fan of craft time. It’s challenging finding crafts that fit their personalities and get them excited to participate. After glueing the crayons to the top of their canvas, the boards were sat outside in the heat. As the boards sat in the heat outside they began to melt causing crayon wax to drip down the canvas board. The more sunshine that hit the crayons the more beauty that continued to drip. The crayons were changed by the heat. When we follow Jesus, he is the heat that changes us. When we surrender our lives to Jesus he changes our hearts. We become more like Him and less like the world. Just as the crayons melted down creating a beautiful piece of art, We also become more beautiful the more we know Jesus.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10
Also, all the other craft materials have been located and we will continue with that craft on Sunday. Life doesn’t always go as planned. There are moments when you have to be ready to make it happen in a different way.
Thanks Kayla for the photo. We will be posting final results later this week.