RSS

Category Archives: Serving Jesus

If it’s the Lord’s will…

New Cov Logo 41113

Take a moment to reflect upon this phrase:  If it’s the Lord’s will…

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you included God in your decision-making, or plans?

Are we, as parents and grandparents, setting the example of praying for and discerning God’s will in our daily lives? If not, why not?

Teaching our children to diligently seek God’s will in their lives will take more than casually adding the phrase, “if it’s the Lord’s will” to our prayers.

Many of us (me included) can run around aimlessly if we are not intentional in seeking God’s will. Instead of saying: we are going to do this, or buy that, or go there, etc., we need to be sure that we are prayerfully asking God for His wisdom, His leadership, and His direction in our lives. This doesn’t come naturally, especially for those of us who are extremely independent and like to do things our own way, and in our timing.

Eight months ago we listed our house for sale by owner. Now, in my finite way of thinking, I certainly can’t understand why our house hasn’t sold, yet. After all, I prayed for it to sell. And it makes perfect sense to me for this to happen (yesterday!). And in my prayers, I did include “if it’s your will, Lord…,” but did I really mean it?

I know in my heart that God truly knows what’s best for us and I also know that His timing is often not the same as ours. God is all-knowing and all-loving.

When praying for God’s will to be done, we need to remind ourselves and our children that the outcome of our personal desires and prayers is always for His glory and for our good, no matter what the outcome.

Amazingly, I read the following Scripture this morning during my devotional time.

“In him we were made heirs, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory”(Ephesians 1:11-13).

We rarely know God’s will ahead of time, nor fully understand it later.  However, I’m so thankful that God does give us some absolute principles in His Word, which express His perfect will. Here are just a few (to share with your kids/grandkids).

God’s will is…

…for none to perish, but for all who believe in His one and only Son, to receive eternal life (John 3:16)

…to be set apart for His glory, by living a life that pleases Him

Living to Please God

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

…to confess and repent

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

…to forgive as we have been forgiven

“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation’”(Luke 11:4).

…to serve

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

 This is just a starting point for knowing God’s will for our lives. Dig into Scripture with your kids/grandkids—to know and live out God’s will. This summer set a goal as a family, to read through the entire New Testament.  Take time to discuss the many ways Jesus and His disciples sought after and lived out God’s will in their lives. The Bible mini series is also available to watch through Netflix.

Living an intentional life that pleases God is what we desire. Jeff and I offer a faith-at-home ministry called Covenant Heirs to churches and their families. The ministry’s goal is to encourage and help equip parents and grandparents to intentionally pass down their faith in Christ to their children and grandchildren.


 

 

 

2

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Stove Top Stuffing….Simply Following Jesus

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:3-6.

Stove Top Stuffing….Simply Following Jesus

On my drive to work the other day I was listening to a local Christian radio station, and the hosts were talking about ways to simplify Thanksgiving Day. I’ve decided to apply one of their ideas. Here’s the simpPink Stuffle tip: Make only tried and true dishes that everyone enjoys. And instead of adding new recipes to the menu simply make larger portions of those “oldies but goodies.” You know–sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, Pink Stuff (the Fletcher’s name for fruit and coolwhip salad), and pumpkin pies. This not only keeps the cooking simple, it also keeps the grocery bill down. Of course, don’t forget the turkey and dressing. A friend of mine said that she always uses the box stuffing mix, and just adds some broth from the turkey, to give it that “homemade” taste.

Simplifying the Thanksgiving Day meal, in theory at least, is probably much easier to do than simplifying the overall family gathering. For instance, when you have grown children who are married and have the other side of the family to consider, it can become a little stressful in determining which home to eat the big meal at, or whether or not to rotate homes from year to year, etc. I’m sure there have been some major family feuds over this one! This is definitely not the case for us. My husband and I have repeatedly told our children that we are completely fine having the meal whenever, and with whoever wants to join us or not. Let’s just keep the peace and be thankful for the blessings we have year round, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

After writing in my blog now for over a year, I’ve decided to take some time off, at least until the beginning of the New Year. The reason for this is so that I can take to heart and put into practice the thoughts I’ve so passionately been writing about. Sometimes I believe It’s much easier to write about ways to be intentional in living out one’s faith in Christ, than it is to actually live them out! I guess I’ve been a little convicted lately from reading my journal entries.

For instance, the Holy Spirit recently laid several people on my heart and mind. Without going into any specifics, I have realized that even though I have taken time to pray for these dear ones, I haven’t done anything else. My excuses: I’m too tired, I don’t have the time, does God really want me to do that?

So, starting today, I am going to intentionally stop writing in my blog. And prayerfully I will begin to follow-up with people God places on my heart. It’s not so much that I think this will give me any extra time, because journaling doesn’t really take up much of my time, and it definitely doesn’t require me to give up any sleep. I do believe this is what God is asking me to do. And I truly want to follow His lead.

I pray that all of my blogger friends will be blessed by God’s holy presence on Thanksgiving Day. 

Intentionally following Jesus,

Charmé

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2013 11: 51 am - in Family Time, Seasonal Celebrations, Serving Jesus

 

Tags: , ,

Building a Legacy of Faith ~ Boots…Am I in Style?

Boots…Am I in Style?

“3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”  Philippians 2:3-4.

boot picPersonal Reflection:  Boots…..Everyone seems to have a stylish pair of boots, but me. Who doesn’t want to stay in style? Why have I even noticed that so many women are wearing fashionable boots? Is it because I am feeling a little envious of what others have, or is it because I just don’t want to be considered unfashionable? I’ve been searching my heart lately as these thoughts popped into my mind. I’ve come to the realization that I must not be alone in these thoughts. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many women wearing boots, right?  Then I think about the recent disaster that hit the Philippines, leaving potentially thousands dead and so many more missing and homeless. Why am I not much more concerned for those who are going through such horrific pain and suffering, than simply wasting my thoughts on boots, of all things!

*Note: About a year after writing this, my husband (Pappy) gave me a pair of brown boots for Christmas. My first internal thought,”Oh, I had hoped to go without getting a fashionable pair of boots.” Then I quickly felt delighted that Jeff had given me such a thoughtful gift. The following Christmas I bought myself a black pair.

While making a few edits of my original Covenant Heirs blog (to prepare for publishing a legacy book for my family), I re-read this blog. Personal conviction once again resonated. “Help me Lord, to set aside those things that deter me from pleasing you and make me look more like the world rather than my Jesus.” I don’t intend to be legalistic, but desire God’s wisdom in making eternal choices that reflect Jesus.

This brief personal reflection is a good place to contemplate what type of messages we are sending to our kids and grandkids. Consider these options.

Messages that reflect Christ and His love for others:

–   Praying for those who are hurting.

–   Donating nice or even better yet, new clothing to the Salvation Army or other compassionate ministry/organization.

–   Volunteering time serving those who are less fortunate.

–    Praising God and giving Him thanks for all the “things” we do have.

–    Sacrificially giving up something that I want, so that I can provide a need for someone else.

–    Spending time with someone who may be overlooked by others.

–     Inviting someone who is going through a difficult time over for a meal and conversation.

–     Replacing TV/computer time with family projects that will bless others.  Suggestions:

       + Call someone who you haven’t talked to for a while, just to let them know you care about them.  And, or: Write notes of encouragement and mail them to that special someone.

       + Bake some goodies for someone who needs cheering up.

       + Invite a neighbor(s) over to play table games.

        + Mow, rake, shovel snow, for someone who is physically unable to accomplish these tasks.

        + Visit an elderly care facility, and provide conversation, prayer, Bible reading, or whatever else, to brighten the hearts of those who are often overlooked. (I am reminded of a family who enjoys playing their instruments and singing for the elderly who are in nursing homes.)

So whether I choose to conform to the stylish pattern of this world and purchase a pair of fashionable boots or not is really not the real question.  The truer question I must answer: Am I willing to love others by giving up something that I “want” just because I wish to be in style? This isn’t even much of a sacrifice, is it? I really need to give up things that cost me something, such as my time. See below for a list of organizations where you and your family can volunteer time and resources.

Fill-a-Boot with Love  (Family Care Project)

Take an empty boot and begin filling it with loose change. Sacrifice money that would have been spent on a family pizza or family activity like bowling, and instead, add it to the boot collection.

In advance, designate a family care project such as: Purchase a new winter coat to donate to a homeless shelter, or purchase food for a Thanksgiving meal, to be given to a person or family who would not be able to purchase their own meal. When the boot is full, use this money to accomplish your family care project. Repeat the Fill-a-Boot with Love by designating a new family care project.

Organizations to donate time and resources to:

–  Salvation Army: https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org

–  Compassion International:  http://www.compassion.com/

–  Samaritans Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

–  Nazserve (Church of the Nazarene organization): https://serve.nazarene.org/serve/secure/Index.xhtml

Kansas City:

–  Kansas City Rescue Mission:  http://www.kcrm.org/

–  City Union Mission:  http://www.cityunionmission.org/

– Hope Faith Ministries:  http://www.hopefaithministries.org/

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2013 10: 51 am - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Serving Jesus

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Clean House — Clean Heart

window cleaning

For the past few weeks I’ve been cleaning my house. Not just a superficial cleaning, but a deep cleaning, similar to what my grandmother referred to as “fall cleaning.” Since we are preparing to sell our house, I want it to look it’s best for potential buyers.

In addition to cleaning carpets, washing windows, and touching up a few spots with fresh paint, I’ve been decluttering. Although I’m not really a pack rat, I do tend to store things that I may someday use or need. Thus, I came across several of these items (size 6 clothing, unopened bath beads, an original Cabbage Patch doll….but definitely not my husband’s 80s turntable!) So…out they went. My most recent accomplishment was completed Labor Day weekend, as I cleaned under, behind, and around my washer and dryer. Now that my house is “really” clean, I’m not too sure I want to sell it. There’s something so refreshing about having a clean house.

While having my personal devotions and enjoying my morning coffee, I began to ponder this thought. Having a “really” clean house is somewhat like having a “really” clean heart. I love my friend’s description of a clean heart: “Squeaky clean for Jesus.” (Beth Coppedge, Come To The Fire speaker — See below for conference link.)

In keeping with my life’s passion, to intentionally pass down my faith in Christ to my family, I know I must do my very best to set an example of having a clean heart.  It’s interesting that my daughters both keep a very clean house. I’m not sure how much credit I can take for this however, since their dad is really the “neat freak” in the family. All joking aside, I believe that our kids truly want us to set good examples for them to follow. With the most important example: living a life that pleases the Lord.  

Tips for Fall House and Heart Cleaning

Cobwebs (Webster) tangles of the silken threads of a spiderweb usually covered with accumulated dirt and dust. They intentionally go unnoticed, until I deep clean.  Cobwebs could easily represent those things in my life that I hope no one ever notices–fear, unresolved conflict, insecurity, un-Christlike thoughts and attitudes.  Of course, just when I think no one is noticing, the Holy Spirit brings them into the light. Now I have a choice to make, to ignore those disgusting (dirty) webs, or to knock them down, often one by one. The longer I ignore them, it seems as though they multiply.

Washing Windows: It’s very important to use the right cleaning product, so not to leave behind streaks. Just like there are a wide variety of glass cleaners on the market, there are a lot of great Christian books, authored by fully devoted Christ followers available. Many of which I enjoy reading, especially when they pertain to living a life that pleases God. However, I thankfully discovered fairly early in my Christian walk, that the only product that truly keeps my life from becoming streaked with sin, leaving behind a film of dirt, is the Bible. Daily use is advised. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”  (2 Timothy 3:16).

Oven Cleaning: Remember the day when everyone used “Easy Off” oven cleaner?  Well, there was never anything easy about cleaning my oven. Spilled-over sweet potato juice and splattered baked beans were the worst. Then they came out with self-cleaning ovens. What a marvelous invention! A self-cleaning oven is an oven which uses high temperature (approximately 900 degrees Fahrenheit or 500 degrees Celsius) to burn off leftovers from baking, without the use of any chemical agents. Turn up the heat, lock the oven door, and three hours later, wallah! a clean oven.  Oh, if it were only that easy to have a clean heart, one that is “squeaky clean for Jesus.”

Similar to the self-cleaning oven, it takes God’s consuming fire to burn away the “dross” in our lives. Dross (Webster): the scum that forms on the surface of molten metal, waste or foreign matter : impurity. This definition sounds a lot like sin doesn’t it?  Just shut the oven door and no one will see the mess. That is until I let it go too long. Now the residue of the spilled-over sweet potato begins to fill my kitchen with smoke, leaving behind a stinky burnt smell. This happens in our lives when we allow sin to build up in our hearts. Unconfessed sins such as gossip, jealousy, lies, impure thoughts, sexual immorality, selfishness, pride, hatred, and so on begin to leave a foul odor to those around us, and especially to God.  

Our God is a loving God, as well as a righteous God, not wanting anyone to perish or be separated from His love. But to receive and keep a clean heart, all of our idols (anything that we put ahead of God), must be openly revealed, so that He may purify us. The Bible says “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9).

Moses, realizing the consequence of not honoring God earlier in his pilgrimage to the promise land, gave this exhortation to those Israelites preparing to enter Canaan. “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.  For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God”  (Deuteronomy 4:24).  And from the author of Hebrews 12:28-29, the Scripture says: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For God is a consuming fire.” 

consuming fire

God’s holy fire may bring judgement to the wicked, but His refining fire builds humility, faith and purity in those who seek a deeper relationship with Jesus. David, after attempting to cover up his sin of adultery and murder, cried out with godly sorrow and sincere repentance, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”  (Psalm 51:10). The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Church of Corinth, admonishes all Christians to flee from anything that might keep them from being reconciled to God: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”  (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Prayer for a Clean Heart:  Dear God, please be a consuming fire in me. Burn off all that doesn’t look like your son Jesus. And as I surrender myself to you daily, create in me a pure heart. Forgive me, Father, for any sins (name them) that are in my life. Nothing is hidden from you; so I open my life up to you, to cleanse me from all impurities that separate me from you, God. I truly want to be an example to my family–of your love, grace, purity, and holiness.

Concluding thoughts:  While you are doing your fall house cleaning, let this journal entry be a reminder to declutter your life from anything that keeps you from loving and serving Jesus with a clean heart. And remember, from time to time, it will be necessary for God to turn up the heat….in order to do some deep cleaning. As important as it is for me to have a clean house for potential new buyers, it is so much more important for me to have a clean heart, where my Jesus resides. There’s something so refreshing about having a clean heart!

Recommendations: 

Come To The Fire Conference: A conference for women seeking to have a “squeaky clean heart for Jesus.” This year’s theme is “Celebrate Your Freedom.” Dates: Oct. 17-19, 2013, Holland, MI. For more information and registration:  http://cometothefire.org/conference-registration/

Grandparents’ Day of Prayer, September 8, 2013: For more information on how you can stand in the GAP for your grandchildren, go to: http://www.christiangrandparenting.net

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2013 10: 54 am - in Christianity, Faith At Home, God's Word, Holy Living, Salvation, Serving Jesus

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Passing On The Passion…To Serve Jesus With a Joyful Heart

Joy in Serving Jesus

Joy in Serving Jesus

Serving Jesus with a joyful heart is one of my greatest passions in life. I have come to realize though, that having a joyful heart is not always a given. There are times when serving Jesus can bring much pain, criticism, and ultimate rejection. Of course, this is exactly what Jesus experienced while living among us, as he demonstrated his sacrificial love toward all mankind. The following passage of Scripture is a vital reminder of this.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3). Praise His Holy Name.

For me, this puts everything into perspective. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, contemplated the pain and suffering he would experience long before he went to the cross. And yet, the love Jesus has for the Father, and for sinful man, gave Him the power to persevere under the most severe circumstances (death on the cross), in order to redeem the human race from eternal death and hell.

When I begin to consider the scorn and severe suffering Jesus endured for me, my temporary trials and testing of my faith grow dim in comparison.

I believe God helps us to persevere in our faith as we serve Him with a joyful heart in our everyday activities. For instance, our church is preparing for Vacation Bible School. And as the children’s ministries director, I decided that we needed to distribute flyers in our area, inviting children to our VBS. Prior to this effort, a good number of our church family gathered together to work on decorations and props for our event. Included in this group, was my 9-year-old granddaughter, Ella. Afterwards I encouraged everyone to take some VBS flyers to hand out in their neighborhoods.

The following week, I received a text from Ella’s mom, (my daughter, Janée), telling me that Ella had went door-to-door in their neighborhood, delivering the VBS flyers. Joy filled my heart. This past weekend I planned to meet some people at the church to distribute the flyers in our church neighborhood. My daughter, her husband, Seth, and their two youngest children showed up at the church and off we went to distribute VBS flyers.

Do you know how blessed I am, in realizing that my daughter and her family are living out the same passion that I have…..to serve Jesus with a joyful heart. We don’t have to look too far, to experience joy in serving Jesus. God is good…..all the time!

Parents and Grandparents, you can realize this joy as well. Faithfully serve Jesus daily, during the good times and not so good. Our children and grandchildren are watching!

Recommended to Men — A new blog site for dads written by my son-in-law, Seth.  http://www.daretodad.blogspot.com

 
 

Tags: , , , ,