Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude - Days #22, #23, #24, #25, and #26

Welcome back! To you and to me! The stomach bug has hit the McNamee house for the second time this year. I have to say that the first round, in May, was more violent, but Daddy got it this time. It's never good to have the daddy go down! We're finally on the upswing, just in time for a family trip back to Kansas for Thanksgivings. It still amazes me how ill our bodies can become, yet they can bounce back just as quickly. Speaking of bouncing, Baby McNamee #2 doesn't seem phased at all by the stomach flu symptoms (no need to elaborate...)! Once again...God's design at its finest :-) For our first verse, let me give you one simple verse for us to think on all day as mommies...

"I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." 
2 Timothy 1:3

What a neat verse from our heavenly Father. Let's remember the family that God has chosen for us. Though they may be throwing up on you, praying for our sweet children and husbands and their well-being is a privilege given to us as mommies!

Here are our gratitude verses #23, #24, #25, and #26...

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." 
Psalm 28:7

Isn't that beautiful? How often do we need God to give us strength and to be our shield? Daily, right?!

"But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord." 
Jonah 2:9

How many of these verses throughout November have encouraged us to praise our Father heaven through song? He loves it! Imagine how sweet it is to hear our little ones singing, a real song or their own creation. I would guess that our God feels just the same way about us. Praising Him through music brings a smile to His face...every time.

Next, let's all agree to keep our eyes on Him with thanksgiving and to try not to be lured, or have our children enticed, by things of this world. See the picture in preparation for the days ahead!

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." 
Ephesians 5:3-4

As silly as the picture is, there is a bit of stark reality that comes with it. Greed doesn't make God smile, it doesn't bring Him praise, and I imagine it saddens Him to see us act crazy after we spend a day devoted to gratitude. Now, don't get me wrong. Buying gifts for others and celebrating those special people He has placed in our lives is wonderful (especially when you get a great deal!), but I think we're all aware when that line gets crossed. Thankfully, He gives us enough grace to suffice for any moronic behavior we show as humans. Grace doesn't give us a license to sin, but instead gives us positive reinforcement and encouragement to behave in a way that is pleasing to Him. How cool to have the opportunity to teach that to our little ones! I hope we can all remember this as we draw nearer to Black Friday...

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Cry out, "Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise." 
1 Chronicles 16:34-35

I love the last part of this verse..."that we may glory in your praise." Isn't it cool that we get to share in the joy of the Lord when we offer Him our praise. While it shouldn't be our motivation, He blesses us when we give the credit to Him. He acknowledges our efforts when we first place the focus on Him. No matter our circumstances, He deserves praise and gratitude. When we are in the midst of a difficult situation...a sickness, financial struggles, a desperate desire for change in our home situation, etc., we often will begin to see Him work us through that season when our hearts switch from begging for a change, to thanking Him for all He has already done. What are you longing to be delivered from this season? Instead of getting caught up in a self pity-party, myself included, let's turn our words to those of praise for what He has done. Maybe He just needs us to be willing and grateful participants in order for His new plans for us to start to fall into place! 

I pray that each of these verses are a blessing for you today, and that God will bring them to your mind as you go about the busyness of preparing for this holiday season. Thanks for visiting, mommies!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gratitude - Days #18, #19, #20, and #21

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I'm sure you are all thinking of the fun plans to come! Are you traveling? Are you cooking? Are you saying "forget this...we're getting pizza!"? Usually, we have family to our home, and I cook the Thanksgiving meal. This year, we are traveling to Kansas to spend time with our families before Baby Boy #2 arrives! I will be helping with two of the meals (we're having a third at a restaurant!), but I am really looking forward to having a change of scenery and enjoying the trip :-) 

As many of you have way too much on your plates this week (no pun intended!), I encourage you to still make time for a quiet meeting with the Lord each day...away from to-do lists, chatty children, and even loving husbands and family. In the past, my quiet time has been the first thing to go so that I can accomplish some other mundane task. At the end of the day, I find that I missed that time, and I actually wasn't as productive with my other duties since I didn't center myself from the start. My advice? Don't skip it! He will bless you for meeting with Him. This is only a suggestion, but it is one I have found to be helpful in my life!

Today's verse is exceptionally appropriate for this week, especially if your home will be full of guests, or if you will be a guest in another's. God leads me to the daily verse everyday. He is so intentional!

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." 
Colossians 4:2

Let's all make it a point to pray more this week! As the "general manager" of our household (my hubby is the CEO!), I am a watcher. I need to watch the money management, the food supply, the messes being made and the messes getting cleaned, the child, the pets, and a thousand other things. In the week to come, I will also be observing all of my family members, as we spend the holiday together. I will ask God to show me things for which I can express thanks, and also things or situations for which I can ask for His healing and His blessing. When guests are in our home, or when I am a guest in another's, I love to shower them with quiet prayers and blessings. Amazingly, even when tensions run high around family gatherings, the Holy Spirit faithfully shows up to calm situations, encourage relationships, and promote fun and relaxation. That is, and will continue to be, my prayer for this week!

For November 19...

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 
2 Corinthians 9:15

While there are always many, many things to thank God for, ultimately our most fervent showing of gratitude should be for His indescribable gift, Jesus. Let's all make a daily habit of thanking God for His Son, Jesus, as we pray with our children. Our babies and toddlers should get used to hearing His name on a regular basis. Look for Jesus in their bible story books, express your thanks for Jesus as you go throughout your day, and make it a priority to make His name a household name! How sweet is it when our little one says "Jesus" back to us. 

For November 20...

"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving." 
Psalm 69:30

God doesn't just say, "you're welcome," when we thank Him. I think that it truly makes Him smile! Think about how we feel when someone expresses their gratitude to us, or when we thank our children for helping us. My face lights up, and I can see the positive effect it has on our son when I praise him. I imagine that God must feel the same way when we offer Him thanksgiving. It brings Him joy, it brings Him glory, and I know that teaching our children to live in a state of thanksgiving makes Him smile, as well. Isn't that kinda cool to think about?

Finally, for the 21st day of November...

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

I love that as we learn more and more about Jesus and our faith, and remember it is an ongoing, never ending process, we are rooted in Him and built up in Him. He is our foundation, and He is our walls. When we choose to live a life focused on Him, He is so faithful to continually build us up in our calling as mothers. I never questioned my desire to be a mother, but I did question my desire to stay at home and be the primary influence in my children's lives. Now, two and a half years later, I'm loving staying at home. I firmly believe that if I had not decided to immerse myself in His teachings over the past few years, I wouldn't be in this situation today. For that, I am "overflowing with thankfulness!" He is so faithful to place overflowing gratitude in our hearts when we choose to love Him. His ways are so good!

As you prepare to start this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, I pray extra special blessings over each of your lives, especially as mothers. I pray for renewed strength, patience, and love for the Father, your husbands, and your children. I pray that this week will not be filled with stress or upset, but instead with gratitude and peace. Let's all remember the sweet calling placed upon our heads to provide an environment and example of peace for our darling children...crazy family gatherings, or not!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gratitude - Days #14, #15, #16, and #17

All I have to say is that this must be a very busy time in November! As I was looking back over my verses from November 2012, I got behind at exactly the same time! Haha! I suppose that a Baby Shower, a traveling husband, a sick toddler, early Christmas shopping, and a broken car will do that :-) It's okay...I doubt God is keeping a tally of whether or not I post a gratitude verse each morning, BUT I do feel encouraged to finish what we started. Get ready!

For Thursday, the 14th...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 
Philippians 4:6

For Friday, the 15th...

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus..." 
Colossians 1:3

For Saturday, the 16th...

"We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds." Psalm 75:1

For Sunday, the 17th...

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." 
Psalm 95:1-2

As I've searched through the Bible for verses dedicated to gratitude, I have found that many times God offers the "cure" for anxiety...it is giving Him praise and thanksgiving! While I still have to work at this on a daily basis, I'm learning that when I choose to live in a state of thanksgiving to Him for all He has blessed me with, it's really hard to be stressed out about my silly life. Try it! The next time you feel yourself getting worked up about a toddler tantrum, a cranky husband, a late dinner, pick your poison...try and turn your line of thought towards the blessings you can show gratitude for right at that moment. It's pretty neat how He bestows peace upon His daughters when we turn our eyes to Him!

For the other verses, their meaning is pretty straightforward. We should always remember to thank God for those people whom we are praying for, we should thank Him when we hear others spreading the good news of His loving nature, and we should enjoy praising Him with music and song. So many ways to think of showing gratefulness to our Creator right in His Word. So cool!

Join me tomorrow for verses to celebrate November 18-21. The toddler is snoozing, so I'm going to take a little nap to let his ginormous brother grow a bit more :-) Catch you tomorrow, mommas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gratitude - Day #12 and #13

Welcome back, mommies! Here are our two verses for November 12 and November 13:

"...Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted." 
Isaiah 12:4

As I read this verse, on our 12th day of gratitude through the Bible, the meaning of it really struck a chord with me. Not only are we asked to thank God for all He has done, but we are called to "make it known among the nations." He wants us to tell others of His greatness, and to also tell others of the things God has done for our world and, specifically, in our personal lives. Sometimes, I forget to give God the credit. At those times, it's good to remember James 1:17...

"Every good and perfect gift is from above..."

I think it's so important, as the primary influence in our children's lives, to teach and remind them of this fact! God sends us gifts...both spiritual and earthly. God provides a way out, just like we talked about last time, in difficult situations with no clear solution. As our Creator and Giver, He deserves the credit!

I've really tried to focus on the habit of starting my prayers with a time of thanksgiving, instead of simply moving on to my laundry list of requests. As Caleb grows, I want him to learn how to do this, too. Lately, he is thanking God for whatever is on his mind...last night, it was his friend, Dominic, "big" Thomas, a spoon, the windows, the "scary" light outside, and his Deeda (Grandma). I can only imagine the smile on our heavenly Father's face as He listens to the sweet prayers of innocent children! We will never run out of things to be thankful for (our children's prayers are the perfect reminder of that fact!), and a great witness of God's love to others is to tell of the amazing things He has done in our lives. What if we personally spent more time sharing about God's awesome gifts to us instead of telling others how people should and should not act, according to scripture? What if our children witnessed us blessing God in our daily conversations with others, instead of complaining about what we don't have, or passing judgement on the ungodly behaviors of others? Remember, I never write about something that I'm not working on myself! Let's make a commitment today. Let's be a sweet example to our children of pointing out all the good things God has done for us, and given to us. Then, let's find a way to bring it up in conversation with others, not to brag about what we've done, but to bring praise to the Father. 

I so love this journey that we are on through November. Let's move on to verse #13...

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." 
2 Corinthians 2:14

Have you ever wondered if, as we operate in our calling(s), there is a triumphant procession leading us and protecting us in the spiritual realm? As believers in His Word, we can be sure that there is all kinds of activity going on around us, but it's just unseen to us in our human state. Imagine how God and His angels celebrate triumphantly as we share the love of Christ with our children, as we spend time fellowshipping with and ministering to other women, as we show love and kindness to strangers, as we choose to submit to our husbands, as we sacrificially say "no" to things of this world and instead say "yes" to things of Him. If you're like me, we tend to spend a large portion of our time learning what it means to become more like Christ. While that is what we are called to do, we are also called to recognize God's love, pride, and celebration of us when we are already showing the behaviors and doing the activities that bring glory to Him. He cheers for us! He instructs His angels to surround and lead us as we share what we know of Him to be true. Today, let's be grateful in the heavenly affirmation that He lovingly showers us with as women, as wives, as daughters, and especially as mothers...which I believe is one of the most highly-esteemed jobs in His sight.

Finally, I found this picture on a friend's Facebook page. Let it encourage you today!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gratitude - Days #8, #9, #10, and #11

Welcome to a new week! Enjoy meditating on these four scriptures of gratefulness, for November 8-11.

 "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." 
Ephesians 1:16

It is so important to stop and show gratitude for the many people whom God has brought into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. As we remember to be thankful, we should also remember to pray for that person/those people. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my acquaintances, and for the many of you who read this blog! There have been days when I have questioned whether or not I am doing the right thing with starting and continuing this blog. Whenever I get discouraged, receive a negative comment, feel like it's taking time that could be spent on more pressing matters, or simply feel empty of wisdom from Him, I ask God to send me some encouragement if he wants me to keep going. Immediately, like within the day, I will receive a text, a comment, or a story of how something I put out there has blessed the life of another mommy. He is so faithful to give us what we need. You all are so faithful to keep reading and to encourage me as I continue on my journey. I do give thanks for you, and I pray over each post that it may be a blessing to any woman who reads it. Today, let's all remember to continuously give thanks and remember to pray for those who are special to us.

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs (and Christmas music!). Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
Ephesians 5:19-20 ("Christmas music" added!)

I will be honest that I got quite excited when I found Christmas music on the radio this weekend. I can't say the same for my mom and husband, as they both think that it's too soon, but if it were up to me, I would have my Pandora Christmas station going all throughout the year! It just makes my heart smile. I love how the Lord gives us those little kisses that speak individually to our own hearts. No, not everyone can handle "Silent Night" at the beginning of November, but He knows that my heart leaps for joy at those songs. Because of my background in music education, I feel that it is one of the main ways that my heavenly Father connects with me. So, whether it be Christmas music, or any other type of music, my heart smiles at sending praises back His way. I hope to instill the same love for music in the hearts of our sons. Unfortunately...Caleb would prefer that I not sing to him these days...ah, the toddler moods :-)

Oh, how God loves to be praised. And, it is my own thought, that he especially loves the praise of sweet, innocent, children's voices. Developing a discipline and love of praise in our homes is one of the best ways to teach our children how to acknowledge the Lord and thank Him for all He has done. We don't need to have the best voices in the world! We simply need to go all out in praising the One who brings all good things into our lives.

Today, let's enjoy some time of singing (unashamedly!) praise songs to our Father. Maybe it means Christmas music in the car, a worship CD on the stereo during dinner, or soft praise music played during nap time for our little one.

And when you're singing Christmas music with your children at the beginning of November, at the top of your lungs...remember, that it's okay because:

And finally, our verses for November 10 and November 11:

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." 
Psalm 107:8-9

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron." 
Psalm 107:15-16

I love the fact that God's love cannot fail. It simply can't. It's not in His nature. No matter what we do, He will never stop loving us. His love is unfailing! He loves providing us with physical food and drink, and on a deeper level, He loves when we willingly receive His spiritual meat and milk! Thank Him for both! He also loves to break down barriers for us...both in the natural and the spiritual realm. Ever have a situation where it seems like the solution will never come, the direction will never be revealed, or there simply is no way out? Then, like a breath of fresh air, the problem resolves. That is God breaking down the gates of bronze and cutting through the bars of iron! What about spiritually? We were all lost at one point, and He broke through our hardened hearts and showed His glorious love to each one of us. Maybe you have had the privilege of seeing it happen with someone else...your husband, your child, or even a parent? God loves to problem-solve, but we must allow Him to do it in our lives! Today, let's all thank Him for fulfilling our basic needs and also for breaking down the barriers that need to be destroyed in our lives. His love is unfailing! Where we fail on a daily basis, He is faithful to never fail. For that, I am grateful!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude - Days #5, #6, and #7

Welcome back! We're playing a bit of catch up today, so enjoy meditating on the following three scriptures about gratitude. Here is our verse for November 5:

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Colossians 3:15-17

We need to be thankful for the gift of peace that is freely given to us, we need to actively praise God through His Word and worship to experience that peace, and we need to be grateful for Jesus, God's own son, at all times in order to feel this kind of peace. Sometimes, I forget that peace can be achieved all the time. Peace isn't a feeling dependent on our circumstances, but actually a chosen way to live given freely to us by our Father. No matter what our day may look like, we are called to live a life of peace and to ensure that an environment of peace is created around our family. It's there to take, we must decide to accept it!

One way to receive that gift of peace daily is to worship regularly! An interesting story, if you let me digress for a bit...I'm really into politics. It isn't who I am, but I enjoy keeping up with the news, talk radio, and watching the highs and lows of our nation attempting to govern itself. Much to my husband's dismay (not his cup of tea), I've been listening to a lot of talk radio while we do errands. At the same time, our son has decided that he does not like to be strapped into the car seat anymore. We are talking all out fits in the back seat! Amazingly...almost all of the time...when I put on the Christian radio station, he calms down. I watch him in the rear view mirror, gathering himself, wiping his tears, and calmly looking out the window. This example is just one in a hundred of how the words of praise to our Father can completely calm a situation and bring peace to all who hear. Sometimes, I go to the praise music channel and play it when he just needs to come down a few notches at home. If you aren't much of the singing type, simply hearing the words of praise is enough to usher peace into a situation. Try it. It's so cool! And, I suggest limiting the talk radio listening time. Caleb has talking about "Obamacare" the other day...no joke :-)

Finally, giving thanks for God and for His Son will allow us to walk into peace, doors wide open and welcoming. Remembering that peace is a gift given through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the best way to experience the calm, and then to show our gratefulness for it.

I pray this is a blessing for each of you today. I also pray that you are enjoying this season of gratitude! On to our next verse for November 6...

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may leave peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
1 Timothy 2:1-2

I am exceedingly grateful for the freedom we have to choose our leaders. I see that women from all over the world are reading this blog, and I imagine that some of you live in places where this right is not (yet!) yours. Therefore, it saddens me when people of this great country do not take full advantage of the opportunity to vote. Men and women have fought, and even died, over the years to ensure that the gift to make our voices heard remains protected. Especially as women, we need to celebrate the freedom to speak our minds, stand up for our values, and show strong examples of patriotic citizenship to our children. While freedom in Christ is free due to His blood shed on the cross, freedom in America is free due to the sacrifices of many. Now...what if you are less than pleased with the people leading us, and the decisions being made that directly affect our daily lives?

Jesus is, and always will be, our ultimate authority regardless of who occupies any of the political offices. And because we are Christ followers and respect the living Word of God, we live by its commands. Look above at the verse on gratitude that I chose today. God asks us to show thanksgiving for kings (i.e. the President) and all those in authority. We don't have to agree with him, we don't even have to like him, but we do need to show our gratitude for the simple fact that we live in a society where he is in charge with established order, fair laws, and protected freedoms. I look at it as showing gratefulness for the office and government ordained by God, many years ago, for this great country. Showing respect for our President sets a fantastic example for our children to learn to respect all people who are/will be in authority over them, including God. We won't always agree with those in authority (think about how little your toddler may agree with you on a daily basis!), but teaching the value of respecting authority is a lifelong tool which our children will be blessed to have.

Finally, our verse for November 7...

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise Your glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:13

This idea is from nearly a year ago, but I have enjoyed using it with our son as we have started into our "school" routine in the afternoons. Last year, I posted a Pinterest idea about using the ABC's of scripture to decorate our play room. I took it a step further by attaching an ABC flash card to each paper, so that my son will become familiar with letters and the alphabet order. (See below for the verses that I used). My cards look like this:

Instead of simply telling you about this idea, I thought I would share the verses that I chose to use for this project. My goal in searching for scripture was the following:
  • a scripture for each letter
  • scripture that is easily applicable to the life of a child
  • scripture that can be easily memorized
  • a personal desire for each of these lessons to be instilled in our children (for instance, I have a strong background in music, so my husband and I have a hope to develop the passion for praise in our children...hence, the letter "S". We also feel it is important to take time to rest, therefore I chose a verse about the Sabbath for the letter "R.")
I compiled my list from a variety of sources. I used blogs (a great resource is The Princess and the Jedi), Google searches, a hand out from bible study, and my own personal Bible knowledge. It's colorful, cute, and Godly. The only thing that would make it better is glitter. Unfortunately, glitter and boys don't mix in our house, per my husband :-)

Feel free to use, to share, and to make this list your own. I pray that it can be useful to you as you raise your children to be thankful for the Word of God as they grow. Today, I am thankful for His Word. What a powerful helper in the busyness and difficulties of parenting! What do you need to give God thanks for today? A burst of creativity to help with parenting? A fantastic Pinterest idea to incorporate God's Word into your daily life? An extra long nap by your little ones to give you some extra rejuvenation time? Whatever it is, let's be sure to always give Him thanks, and to praise His glorious name!

A - "As for God, His way is perfect." 
Psalm 18:30
B - "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." 
Acts 16:31
C - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." 
Ephesians 6:1
D - "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4
E - "Every good and perfect gift is from above." 
James 1:17
F - "For nothing is impossible with God." 
Luke 1:37
G - "Goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life." 
Psalm 23:6
H - "Honor your father and mother." 
Exodus 20:12
I - "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind."
 Jeremiah 32:27
J - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me." 
Matthew 19:14
K - "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies." 
Psalm 34:13
L - "Love is patient, love is kind." 
1 Corinthians 13:4
M - "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." 
Psalm 100:1
N - "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 
Hebrews 13:5
O - "Obey the Lord your God and follow His commands." 
Deuteronomy 27:10
P - "Pray continually." 
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Q - "Quench not the Spirit." 
1 Thessalonians 5:19
R - "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." 
Exodus 20:8
S - "Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord." 
Ephesians 5:19
T - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." 
Proverbs 3:5
U - "Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it." 
Proverbs 16:22
V - "Victory rests with the Lord." 
Proverbs 21:31
W - "When I am afraid, I will trust in You." 
Psalm 56:3
X - "Let us eXamine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord."  
Lamentations 3:40
Y - "You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 
1 Corinthians 12:27
Z - "Never be lacking in Zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." 
 Romans 12:11

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gratitude - Day #4

This month, we're journeying through the Bible, looking for verses that address gratitude. For November 4...

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His love endures forever...
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:1-3, 26

While it is so important to express our gratitude for the many gifts which God gives to us out of pure love, we must also recognize the importance of showing our gratefulness for who He is. In His Godly nature, He is good, he is God of gods, He is Lord of lords, and He is the God of heaven. 

It isn't healthy to dwell in the fear of our blessings being taken from us, but if we were to tragically lose our home, our belongings, or even our husband or children, we need to be confident enough in who our God is to be able to get through the loss, and to love Him anyway. Regardless of what will happen in our lives as women, as wives, and as mothers, His love will endure forever. He is who He is regardless of our circumstances, and learning to express this gratitude to Him and for Him on a daily basis can only strengthen our love for Him.

I pray that this will be a revelation for you today, as it was for me. Let's keep being thankful for our many earthly blessings, but let's also be thankful to our Father, simply because He is who He is. Be blessed, mommies!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gratitude - Day #3

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

For so many years, I wondered what God's will could be for my life. In my very first post, I shared the frustration I experienced over not knowing the clear and direct plan for my "job" or "role" in the Kingdom. As I've grown closer to Him, specifically over the past few years, I feel like there are actually two parts to the will that God has for each of our lives. There is His will for our part in the Kingdom, otherwise known as our calling. Then, there is the will that He has for every Christ-follower. The way He asks us to live, to behave, and to show His love to others so that they may come to know Him. This verse showcases the latter understanding of God's will. He desires for all of us, because we believe in God and His Son, Jesus, to always be joyful, pray constantly, and to give thanks in all circumstances. Not just on the great days, but on the bad days, too! 

No matter what kind of day this might be for you in the realm of motherhood, let's all choose to be joyful, to pray, and to give thanks that we get to be followers of Christ. Be blessed, mommies!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gratitude - Day #1 and #2

Happy November (one day late!). Last year, we journeyed through the bible and found verses on gratitude...one for each day of the month. This year, I would like to revisit that topic by revamping my devotionals and adding some new ideas. I hope you will visit each day this month, and I pray that a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude fills your homes this year.

Welcome to a month totally devoted to gratefulness! I'm giving myself a challenge to find thirty verses, one for each day, that teach us as Christ-followers about being thankful to God and to one another. It will be fun to pray and search for scripture to encourage myself and all of you while we continue in the often thankless job of motherhood. 

As mothers, we are instructed to live in an attitude of gratefulness. Let's attempt that precise lifestyle during November. Let's focus on being thankful for our lives, whatever they may look like, for this entire month. Before we begin, watch this video. Be aware...it may bring tears!

Even if we don't feel very grateful, our children are overflowing with gratitude for us on a daily basis...even if that thankfulness is masked by a terrible two tantrum :-) You are doing a great job, mommy. Keep it up, and enjoy this this journey of showing gratitude to our heavenly Father...praising him all day long.

Here is the verse for November 1:

 "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." 
Psalm 100:4

Whenever we go to the Lord in prayer, our first thought should always be one of gratefulness, not a laundry list of what we would like for Him to do for us that day. Staying in the habit of entering into time with Him in praise is a simple reminder that all good things come from Him. It may be an absolutely terrible day in the life of a mommy, but we can be grateful that we are still breathing, and that our children have life. We have shelter to sleep in, food to eat, and heat to keep us warm. It's so easy for us, myself included, to complain about what we don't have, when what we do have far outweighs the blessings of many around the world. I heard a quote recently that said something like..."What if tomorrow we only woke up to the things we had thanked God for today?" This isn't meant to make you, or me, feel guilty. Let's just consider it a gentle reminder that we do have so much more than we realize sometimes. For that, let's be grateful to the Father!

Here is the verse for November 2:

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe..." 
Hebrews 12:28

I love what this verse is saying. Before God created the foundation of the world, He knew who His followers would be. We were predestined to love Him, worship Him, and spend eternity with Him. But because of our sinful nature, He had to send His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. So then, by the suffering of Christ, we have received the Kingdom of God...if we choose to accept it. The gift freely stands and waits to be accepted. If we believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we may spend eternity with Him, then we have accepted this gift. And then, we are part of His Kingdom...a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. It is eternal! That is absolutely something we should be grateful for!