Quiet Times For Busy Moms
Number Five in a Growing List of Devotion Readings Written Especially for Moms
Mom, you need a break! You deserve a quiet time every day, and believe it or not, God WANTS you to have it! So pour yourself a mug of coffee or brew that cup of tea, grab your Bible and print off one of these devotions and spend five or ten minutes just basking in your Father's love.That's what these devotion pages are all about, helping busy moms grow closer to Christ so they can be the best parent available to their children. Your child deserves a parent that is lost in love with Jesus, and the more time you spend learning about Him, focusing on His grace and understanding His word, the better parent you will be.Christ loves you! You weren't created for all work and no rest! God commanded a Sabbath for a reason, so take a little Sabbath today and enjoy these readings. God bless you!
Photography by Monica Lynne Photography
Don't Blame Me
This morning I slept in. I was late getting to the office. Only about 5 minutes late, but I was beating myself up because I constantly stay up later than I should. There's always one more thing to do, one more e-mail to open. I never get to bed with everything on my "to-do" list crossed off. So, I'm up way too late, and then I'm tired the next day.
The fact that I beat myself up because not going to bed at a decent hours says to me that I'm addicted to my computer or "the work," and I'm not truly trusting God with my time. Today I'm running so late that I brought my blow dryer and make-up with me. It's not a big deal. I'm the only one in the office, and we have very little foot traffic. In fact, I create my own hours. I'm only here to answer the phone, other than that, I'm free to do my own thing. I always do my devotions when I get here, but with everything I brought with me to do, and the fact I'm a bit late, my first thought is, "What should I do first?"
I contemplated for a moment . . . hair and make-up . . . check the messages on the phone . . . but it didn't take long for me to decide to sit down and do my devotions. I've been journaling through Romans, so I opened my Bible, and the first words I read were Romans 8:1 . . . "There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Woo Hoo!!! I am in Christ! There is no condemnation for me!
I know I should go to bed earlier, and I'll continue to try my best to adjust my bedtime. I'm sure I'll go to bed with my "to-do" list incomplete most nights, but there's no need to beat myself up over that. There is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus!
Romans 8 reminds me that the law cannot set me free from death. Being good, following the rules, going to bed early, none of these will give me a spot in heaven. My own goodness, strivings and energy will not give me peace here on earth. However, Jesus can!
Jesus condemned the sin in me. All I am required to do is live by the Spirit. Whenever I am overwhelmed or beating myself up, I'm living in the world, not in the Spirit. There is no peace in the world, no joy, no laughter, no love. The world, the sinful nature, only knows pain and sorrow, tiredness and the feeling of being overwhelmed. If Christ lives in me, then the Spirit that brought Him back to life will give me life!
There is so much promise in the Spirit, so much life in Christ, but we let it pass us by because of all the things we "have to" do. Some if it is self-imposed, some imposed on us by others, but if we look, we'll discover, very little is imposed on us by Jesus Christ.
As a mom just doing the day to day, I'm betting there's a good chance you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. And if you're reading this near a holiday, there's always one more gift to buy, one more pie to bake and one more party to attend. Whether it's just our "normal" every day life or a hustle bustle season, when we get behind on our "to-do" list, we will be tempted to feel guilty and listen to the voices in the world condemning us.
When that happens it's probably a good time to hang Romans 8:1 on your refrigerator. Remind yourself that the One who died for you did not come to condemn you. He came to love you, redeem you, give you freedom, peace and joy. He came to bring you peace and promise and love!
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King David's Parenting Style
1 Kings 1:5-6
King David was a Mighty King, a man after God's Heart, but perhaps a Lousy Father.
Now Adonijah. . . put himself forward and said, "I will be king." . . .His father [King David] had spoiled him rotten as a child and never reprimanded him.
1 Kings 1:5-6 (adapted from the Message)
Today when I read those verses in my daily quiet time, I wondered how many foolish ideas were a result of King David's style of parenting. You see Adonijah was King David's fourth son, but by the time the King lay on his deathbed, Adonijah was the oldest living son. Most folks during that time would have thought it perfectly legitimate for Adonijah to step up and take over for his father; however, David had made it quite clear, not long before this incident, that God had chosen Solomon to be his successor.
King David was a man after God's heart. Even though he stumbled and fell more than once in his walk with our Creator, David always came to a place of complete acknowledgment of his sin and repented. He accepted the consequences of his transgression and praised the God of second chances. But even the man after God's heart made at least one mistake that caused problems for generations.
Much like King David, many of us have been entrusted with children, young lives whom we have the opportunity to help mold and form and lead to discover the joy of becoming all God has created them to be. Part of that parenting task is reprimanding. It's not a pleasant one, but it's a necessary one if we want our children to be God's children.
Reprimanding our children will take on different forms at the various stages of their lives. For instance, reprimanding a toddler may mean saying, 'no' and moving an object out of their reach. The reprimand our elementary child faces may be extra chores or loss of games. Our high school offspring will probably best be reprimanded by losing privileges such as going to parties, hanging out with friends or driving. And adult children still expecting to have the privilege of "sonship" should be held to the highest standard of accountability. In fact, the best gift we can give our children after high school is leaving them to the consequences of their actions instead of rescuing them, bailing them out or giving them a place of refuge when their action warrant reprimand. I'll tell you the truth; it's not an easy task.
But I wonder if King David's biggest mistake in his parenting style was not introducing his children to the one who shaped his heart. A man after God's heart should know that the secret to his success was his relationship to the Almighty. Had Adonijah been raised to understand the full extent of the love, mercy, grace and wisdom of God, he probably wouldn't have needed much reprimanding after his teens. He may have been able to become Solomon's closest advisor. He could have celebrated that God knew what was best for the nation of Israel and become as famous as his brother instead of being killed at the altar of God because of his arrogance and presumptuous attitude.
The differences in Solomon and Adonijah are tremendous, and as parents, we should learn from these men about what is truly important to teach our children. Solomon's prayer asking God for wisdom is a shining example that this new King of Israel had a heart like his father, a heart that had learned the vital nature of relationship with the real King.In contrast, Adonijah obviously had no regard for what God wanted. He'd heard the announcement and seen the fanfare that had accompanied David's proclamation that his son, Solomon, was the one God had chosen to rule Israel. But that didn't matter to this older son of the King. He was only concerned with his own importance. The will of God wasn't on his list of priorities, and he paid dearly for this character flaw, a flaw due in part to his father's "spoiling" and lack of reprimand.
We can't force our children to follow God. God doesn't want a forced relationship. If He did, He wouldn't have given us the opportunity to choose in the first place. However, we can demonstrate the beauty of a life lived for the Creator. We can actively participate in our children's education and make sure it includes the reality of a heavenly Father who loves them even more than their earthly parents. We can, by our actions and our words, lead them to a realization of the wisdom of the Almighty and the blessings for those who choose to follow Him. And we must, when necessary, reprimand them, not out of anger or in a mean-spirited way, but as our heavenly Father reprimands us, out of love and a desire for us to have a heart after Him.
Helping Your Children become Successful & Prosperous
7"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
All a good mother really wants for her child is to grow up to be truly happy. To that end we enroll our kids in all kinds of lessons and sports. We encourage them to make friends, take them to parties and set up play dates. And even the parents who can't afford a lot of the extras, assuming they are responsible, will still spend time reading to their child, helping with homework and teaching their young ones how to become the very best they can be.
We do this because we know that a big part of happiness is tied up in becoming prosperous and successful. That's where Joshua's words to Israel come in. As I read them this week, I thought about all the things people do every day in order to become "prosperous and successful."
If most folks were to write down what it takes to prosper and find success, the list might include things like: Go to college, get a job that pays well, marry my soul-mate, own my own home or drive a nice car. Unfortunately, a large percentage of these lists wouldn't include Joshua's criteria.
One of the greatest things we can teach our children is how to prioritize. There are so many things of the world clamoring for our attention; it's easy to allow the things that pander prosperity take over for the things that guarantee it!
God gave this promise to Joshua, but it's for you and me also. If we want to be prosperous and successful, then the Word of God must be first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. In order for our children to receive this gift of success and prosperity, we much teach them this simple lesson. However, the lesson will be much more readily received when they see us living it out.
Give your children ample opportunity to SEE you read scripture. Talk about what you've read, encourage them to read a few verses everyday by asking them to read the Bible to you while you prepare dinner or folk laundry. Get an overview of what's happening in the children's ministry at church and talk about it afterward. Teach them the importance of being in worship by attending, not just casually, but as a committed follower of Jesus Christ. Attend a church you love so that you can instill in them a love of worship, a hunger for the things of our Heavenly Father. Show your children that your priority in life is living out the Word of God and help them understand that if they'll embrace that priority for their own they will own the key to success and prosperity.I know . . . it's upside down thinking from the world. It will be a difficult lesson to teach, especially if we aren't living it. But God says that His ways are higher than our ways and His plans are His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) So let's strive after His ways! Let's give our kids the best future possible, teaching them that hiding God's Word in their heart will open the door to all the success and prosperity they will ever want or need.
Jesus says . . . Be Mine
Valentine's Day holds mixed emotions for many. There's a lot of pressure on women to find the right man or be sexy today. I know that some of you who read this are having a great day and have a great relationship. I praise God with you and wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day.
However, there are probably more of you who wish this holiday didn't exist. It's you who I am primarily writing this for. I see you (or beautiful women just like you) struggling in your human relationships. Some of you are single moms, and others have husbands who aren't there for you. A few of you may be separated from your spouse, not because you don't love each other, but jobs and family situations call us to be away from the ones we love most sometimes.
Because you're reading a Christian devotion, I know that somewhere inside you are striving to be more Christ-like and find that abundant life Jesus talks about (John 10:10), but today, of all days, with all the boxes of chocolate on TV and pictures of roses on Facebook, it's hard to find.
So I wanted to take a moment to remind you that no matter how much love you feel (or don't), there is one who loves you more than you can imagine. I could tell you how much, but not as well as our Lover told us Himself. Here are just a few things on the Valentine that Jesus' sends to you today . . .
I have loved you with an everlasting love
I love you as high as the heavens reaching clear to the sky
(in Psalm 36 & 57)
My love for you will last forever
(more than 50 times in the Psalms)
Do you have any idea how wide and long and high and deep my love is for you?
Nothing can keep me from loving you . . .not the heights, not the depths,not death, not life, not angels, not demons,not the present, not the future,not anything in all of creation . . .no, nothing will ever stop me from loving you.(Romans 8:38-39)
Happy Valentine's Day . . . Love, Jesus
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Holding Your Hand
"Lord, I am always with You, You hold me by my right hand"
- Psalm 73:23
Our middle daughter is now more than 25, but when she was about 4, our family with my brother and mother took a trip to the Columbus zoo. It was a long and fun day. Our ten year old was big enough to walk along beside us most of the day, while the youngest rode in our Red Radio Flyer wagon, and Sylvia, the middle one held her daddy's hand. When the day of fun was nearly over, Steve stopped and got a panicked look on his face. "Where is Sylvia?" were the first words out of his mouth. We all just kind of stared at him like he'd grown an extra head. Again he asked the question in an even more frantic tone, yet still we all just stood there perplexed at his question.
With Sylvia lost, you can understand his anger at our expression, and as the seconds passed by it only grew worse. However, his tone changed, when a four year old tugged on him, and said, "Here I am, Daddy, I'm holding your hand."
More than 20 years later, we have a good laugh at Steve's expense every time we look through the pictures or reminisce about the day. Today however, the story caused me to consider the plight of the priest who wrote Psalm 73. I encourage you to read this entire Psalm when you have a moment.
So often, like the Psalmist and Steve, we begin to focus on the things around us and forget who is holding our hand. When we see evil prosper and cheaters win, we wonder where God has gone. Our promotion is given to someone else, and life deals trouble to those who don't deserve it. It's easy to wonder, "Why isn't our Father in Heaven paying attention to all the things we see here on earth?"
Steve was tired from walking all day. He'd carried that four year old a good bit, and the crowds made it easy to lose track of one another. In much the same way, we tire from our day to day routine. Life gets hard, and we lose sight of the One who is holding our hand. Like the Psalmist, we need to often enter the "Sanctuary" of our Heavenly Father. Whether it's a physical building or a time we set aside to be refreshed by His Spirit, we need sanctuary, a place of rest and freedom. It's in the sanctuary that the Psalmist remembered God was holding his hand. It's there in that quiet moment where we can feel the tug of a Sovereign Lord as He draws us back into the truth, not everything we can see, but the reality of what we cannot always see. God is our strength. Earth has nothing we desire besides the Almighty. Our Savior will always be near us, and whether you remember or not, He is always holding your hand.