Sometimes I think Biblical times were so different from our lives today. Though their lives were drastically different, the issues they dealt with were really similar, if not completely identical. Jealousy, murder, stealing, fornication, adultery, and glorification of themselves were among the top issues. We can be honest and say that not much has changed in the last hundred years.
In this verse, Paul is reminding them of the importance of godliness. He warns of myths and heretics then goes on to say physical training has a limited benefit. Fitness and exercise is in a class of it’s own and obviously it was no different. Much of the audience were Greeks and they could relate. Paul never says we’re not to exercise, but he said we should keep our focus on training in godliness.
Are we spending more time exercising our physical body?
Do we set aside time to pray and study the word?
What’s our goal when we exercise?
There’s nothing wrong with exercising and wanting to stay fit or healthy. Our bodies are to be take care of properly while here on earth. Though it takes work to balance training our bodies and our spirits, it’s needful. Our bodies are going to deteriorate, but our souls never will. We should spend as much time seeking the Father as we do perfecting our bodies (if not more time).
When we stand at the judgement seat of Yahweh, He will be more concerned with our spiritual condition than our physical.
A couple of years back, all I could think was exercise, loose weight, then repeat. In my opinion, there is only one thing we should be totally obsessed with and that is loving Yahweh and loving our neighbor. Forfeiting our quiet time to exercise isn’t the answer, it’s about prioritizing what’s most important and going from there. I’m all for exercise and staying fit (I’ve recently started my own routine), but if that is the center of your heart, I would say it’s time for some self-examination.
Father, thank You for our bodies and the urge to exercise to stay healthy. Help us to remember our bodies are for You and not to glorify ourselves. Help us to also remember our bodies will one day be gone. Our spirits will live forever and that should be our main focus. Give us wisdom to balance all that’s on our plate and to honor You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
I Timothy 4:8
My brother recently had surgery that was supposed to be a routine one with a minimal hospital stay. Turns out, it was anything but routine and a minimal stay. A week later, they had to go back in and have another surgery. It was a trying time for sure. Two surgeries back to back is a lot for a person to comprehend and the body to go through. As I have thought about all of it since February, I’ve had a few thoughts come to mind that I wanted to share.
Sometimes when we go through hard situations, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, we may think our heart has been healed. We may think the unforgiveness, bitterness, abandonment, depression, etc. have been laid before Yahweh and we have dealt with them all. I know, I have been there before. I’ve went through hard situations and cried out to the Lord and thought I really had it all out, that I was past it all. He already knows what’s deep in our hearts, but He wants us to see it so we can deal with it.
Like my brother’s first surgery, all was supposed to be gone, but it wasn’t. A second surgery was required to get all of the bad out. Our hearts can be that way. When Yahweh works on our hearts dealing with all the emotions, we may think all is well. In reality, we may not have let Him go deep enough to rid our hearts and minds of all that happened. As we clean for Unleavened Bread, we should be thinking about our hearts. We should be asking Yahweh to show us anything that needs to be gone in our lives and cleanse us from our wickedness. Don’t hold back. Cry out to Yahweh to cleanse you deep and get all the junk out. We should let Him look in every crevice of our hearts for any issue that may take root and cause us to sin.
He wants our hearts daily cleansed and right before Him. He loves us and has so much good for us. He’s trying to reshape us back into His image from the garden. I know it sounds crazy to remove the leaven out of your house for seven days, but the lessons I’ve learned from doing this have been sobering. I don’t have to do this at all, but I choose to do it if it means becoming closer to my Father. And who doesn’t want a closer relationship with Yahweh?
Father, You are so gracious to us. You show so much compassion and mercy towards us. Look deep within our hearts and pull out that which hinders us. We give You an open door to have Your way in our hearts. Reveal emotions that have been concealed from us, so we may live as You desire. As we clean out and remove leaven from our homes, clean our hearts out. We don’t want any feeling or emotion in us that keeps us from becoming closer to You. Thank You for loving us more than we can imagine. We praise You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.
As we’re preparing for Passover, let’s go back in our minds.
Let’s go back to Egypt.
We’re enslaved, working from sun up to sun down, enduring pain and suffering. We’re tired, hungry, sun burnt, and longing for someone to deliver us. After years and years, finally a man who grows to be a leader, one who will deliver us from this pit, this Hell. He goes before Pharaoh time and time again demanding he release us. To no avail, we’re still in bondage and have more work than before. Yet, we see the miracles of our God over and over before our eyes. Then, one day, our leader tells us instructions for slaughtering a lamb and leaving upon haste from Egypt.
We’re ready. We’ve slaughtered our lamb. We’ve applied the blood on the doorposts. We have our dough ready. Our sandals are on our feet and our things in hand. We hear the cries, screams, and moans of those around us who haven’t applied the blood. We wait… One more time before Pharaoh and we’re commanded to go, to leave and never come back. We flee with our families, animals, and all we have. We’ve been delivered. We’re finally free from the bondage that held us so tightly.
We all know the Passover story. We know of the hardship, tragedy, and deliverance of the children of Israel. We too have been delivered from bondage. Through the shed blood of our Messiah, we have been atoned for and an appeasement for our sin has been made. We can flee the bondage of the curse of sin and death. We can be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus was and is our Passover Lamb. As we prepare to feast and remember this day, let’s praise His name for making this way for us to be redeemed and set free.
Father, thank You for making a way for our redemption and freedom. The price was high and cost much. We praise You for Your Son and the sacrifice that was made. As we feast and remember, let our hearts be open before You to do Your work. Thank You for these feasts and days that help us remember all You have done for us. Teach us to lay aside every sin that so easily besets us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Last year sometime I begin to pray the Father would show me what’s going on the hearts of our boys. They were getting older and I wanted to know how to pray as they were growing. It didn’t take long for me to start seeing certain behaviors, attitudes, or actions in all three boys. At first, it didn’t dawn on me what was going on. I admit, I felt like a horrible mother at times. I felt like such a failure when this child reacted this way or that child was behaving in a not-so-honorable manner. I thought what in the world have we been doing? I saw certain patterns and was positive that we were doomed.
We all know how challenging raising human beings can be and we really do need to know what’s going on with our children. We need to know what attitudes, behaviors, and tendencies we need to for pray to be dealt with as they grow. So when I started praying that prayer, I guess I wasn’t really expecting an answer in the way it came. When I saw the behavior or attitude in a child, I thought where have we gone wrong? I should have been saying thank You Father for showing me what’s in their heart. He didn’t want me to feel guilty, He wanted me to know He heard my prayer and to be encouraged.
When we see the ugliness coming out in our children, we can effectively pray for them in that area.
Instead of beating ourselves up when we see this ugliness, we can use our weapon of prayer. We can now pray effectively for them. The enemy wants us to beat ourselves up and panic that our children just aren’t getting it. No, they aren’t getting it unless we correct, discipline, and pray. They’re kids and they’re going to have nasty attitudes at times and they will behave horrible at times. When we see patterns of attitudes or behaviors, we can begin to pray for them in that area. We can’t let the enemy make us panic and forget our most important role as mother is to set an example and pray.
Our children will mess up and when they do it’s a great opportunity to correct, encourage, and share with them where you have failed. Pointing the finger like you never mouthed off at your parent or never said mean things to your siblings gives them the wrong idea. We don’t want them to think we were the perfect little angel growing up. We don’t want to justify their actions either, but we do want them to know they can’t do it on their own. We can share with them how we have to call on Yahweh to teach us how to behave in a manner than pleases Him. Praying for the Holy Spirit to help them is the best thing we can do as parents.
So when you see that ugliness begin displaying itself in your child, don’t forget to thank the Father that He’s showing you what’s in their hearts. Pray fervently for them and their struggle. They need a praying mother more than anything.
Father, sometimes you answer our prayers and we don’t even realize it. Thank You for hearing us and answering us back. Thank You for showing us the hearts of our children. Even when what we see is ugly and sinful. Thank You for showing us so we know how to pray for them. Help us to remember actions speak louder than words and that we can set a good example. Help us to be merciful when correcting and talking with them about an attitude or behavior. We want to know how to pray for our children and we want to pray effectively for them. So continue to open our eyes to see what’s in the hearts of our children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
As I was putting on my make-up the other morning, I didn’t notice as many blemishes on my face. I was using my big wall mirror instead of my small door mirror where I can get close up as I do my eye make-up. The difference it made between what I saw was really amazing.
Who doesn’t want to see less blemishes on their face? On the other hand, who doesn’t want to know so you can correct them?
A flawless face is what we desire right ladies? To have no bags under our eyes, no pimples, and definitely no crow’s feet. If those things do appear, we want correct them as fast and as best as we can. I’m pretty simple minded and the Father speaks to me in simple ways, so I had to jot a few thoughts down.
This concept also can apply spiritually speaking. I have found over the years of following Christ that the more time I spend in His Word, the more He reveals about my character. God’s Word is referred to as a mirror and it’s to be our mirror, except we want to see His reflection in it instead of our own. The closer you grow to Him, He will reveal blemishes on our hearts and that’s not always a pretty thing. On the flip side, think of the freedom that comes once you began dealing with an issue. I would rather know about an issue so He can help me with it than to go throughout my life in bondage.
Of course, for awhile it may seem better not to get too close to Him because ignorant is bliss. If we don’t know about an issue, then we aren’t responsible for it, right?
Just like physical blemishes, even though we may not see them, they’re still there.
There maybe issues in our lives that we are unaware of at times and that’s why the Father wants us to draw closer to Him through prayer and studying the scriptures. When we take those steps, He will show us attitudes, thoughts, and actions that do not please Him. That’s not to condemn us, but to help us because He’s reshaping us back into His image. He does that because He knows what is best for us and those around us.
When we grow closer to the Father, He will reveal more blemishes in our hearts. So if you’ve not been looking into the mirror of His Word, may be it’s time you do that so He can draw out the ugliness and crown you with His beauty. His beauty starts on the inside and radiates outwardly through our actions and attitudes. Allow Him to help you correct those inward blemishes as much as you correct the outward ones.
Father, You are so merciful! How can it be that we serve a God like You? You see the ugly in us and You still love us. You want us and You desire us. May we not only focus on outward blemishes, but may we let You reveal those inward blemishes that ultimately matter most. Help us to be open to Your Spirit as it moves in our hearts and to help us be the women, wives, and moms You desire. Physical beauty is fleeting if our hearts are ugly and dark. Draw us closer to You through Your Word, prayer, and reflection. We want to be a light to our children and our husbands and to others around us. Help us to let the Spirit correct issues in our lives so we may shine bright and radiate Your beauty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
It’s hard to keep our hearts focused on the good in life most of the time. It seems the bad piles up while the good sits immovable. Our minds seem to stray to all the hard and overlook all the good. The bad is constantly fighting for our attention each second of the day. Yet, Paul encourages us to dwell on the pure, lovely, just, honorable, true and commendable things. He encourages us to keep our hearts focused on Yahweh because He is all that and more.
During our study over the summer, I wrote down some thoughts and wanted to share them with y’all. The study was Truth Over Lies by Love God Greatly and it was so good. Here are three strategies I jotted down to help my heart stay focused on the good.
Our first initial reaction to combating negative thoughts should be to cry our to the Father. He knows the truth about the situation and He can help us see it more clearly. Sometimes our minds can race with negative thoughts or scenarios. That’s not what He wants for our thought pattern. He wants us to of course live in the realm of reality, but also not to let our minds race with everything that could go wrong. There is so much negative in this world and we have to remember this world is not our home. We want to think clearly and Yahweh can help us do that.
Scripture can help us to remember what is true. The accounts of our spiritual forefathers can help us to focus on what is good and true. There isn’t a man or woman in the scriptures that feared Yahweh who lacked any good thing. Scriptures can help us embrace the truth and cast our lies. Our Messiah gave so much good to think on in the first four books of the second testament. He offers us life giving words that we can focus on when lies are being whispered to us. The reality is that we’re all going to face negative thoughts because we’re human and live in a fallen world. The awesome truth is we don’t have to let those thoughts dwell long because we can use the sword of the Spirit (Word of Yahweh) to banish them.
Count Your Blessings
Another powerful strategy with which we can combat negative thoughts is to start counting our blessings. There is something about naming the blessings the Father has given us. We all have much to be thankful for in our lives. There may be a lot of what we want that we don’t have. There may be some of what we need that we don’t have, but those needs aren’t beyond the provision of Yahweh. When we verbally speak out loud the blessings we have, it can help us fight the negativity and lies. Satan tries to tempt us to see all that we don’t have instead of seeing all that we do have. We can write down our blessings or gifts (check out Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts) so we can be sure we don’t forget them. Counting our blessings speaks life over death. We don’t have to fall prey to the enemy’s tactics. We have spiritual weapons we can fight with in the battle.
I hope these strategies help you in your everyday battle. We don’t have to constantly worry or be weighed down with negativity. We can focus our hearts on the good, just, pure, lovely, honorable, commendable, and true. We can focus on Yahweh who is the best thing. Our minds are a battlefield and we have weapons to win.
Father, thank You for reminders to keep our hearts and minds focused on You and all the good You are to us. You are always a help to us and all we have to do is to call on You. Your words are a powerful weapon for us to combat lies and negativity that tries to invade our minds. Help us to remember to recall all the blessings You’ve give us. Help us to let go of lies and embrace truth. We want to live a life that is pleasing to You and brings You honor. Help us to keep You as our center so we can live an abundant life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
I love to gather around our small table with my family. There’s just something about food and fellowship. Most families gather two times a day to eat, may be just one. Those can be refreshing and influential times if we’re intentional. I love to talk to our boys about most anything when we gather. I see it as just another chance to nurture. When I read some of Sally Clarkson’s post on this topic, I was inspired and wanted to share some great ideas as you gather with your loves ones.
Faith is always a topic at our house. Our boys are 10, 9, and 7, but from the womb they’ve heard verses, praise songs, hymns, and teachings. We like to talk about school verses and faith in general. We can nurture them by sharing lessons in our faith and letting them share also. Our kids (young ones are always underestimated) understand more than we think, so let them share and it may boost your faith. Their journey of faith should begin at home. They should see and hear of our faith as their guardians.
Dreams are something else we like to talk about. Talking about plans for the future is always fun. As boys, they have plenty of wild dreams. Some may come true, some may not. All we can do is inspire them to seek ways to go after those dreams. Listening to them plan forts, stake outs (for critters of course), and discuss battle plans is amusing. We can learn a lot from our children and how to dream big. Never turn your ear from listening to them, no matter your child’s age. I know as they get older their dreams may become more of a reality, so it’s good to learn to listen while they’re young.
Morals are always a topic for us too, not just around the table either, but all day. In this day and time, it seems morality is lacking, so what better topic to talk about? One can be moral, but not redeemed. For us, you’re morality ties right into the Father and His Word. Talking about what’s going on in our world and how to respond is something important we should do with our children. We’re pretty open parents and would rather teach evil and good from a Biblical stance so we always try to be real when talking about events going on. Instilling Biblical morals is the best foundation for our families. With evil being called good, we have to have a standard to base our morality on, which would be the Father’s Word (laws/instructions).
When we do all these, we build connections. Conversation creates a bond. Cutting off the t.v. and talking is healthy for us. That’s what we desire to create with our boys, so they can create one with the Father. So what’s your table like? Our families need that time, so don’t skip gathering together. Don’t forfeit encouraging conversations around your table because your family needs it.
Father, You give us so many chances to influence our families. As we gather to share meals, let us always share our hearts. We live in a very fast paced world, so slowing down to gather for meals is so important. Help us to talk and dream together. We want to inspire our families to be all You want them to be. Help us to be real, open, and encouraging. Honor our efforts to instill Biblical morals in our home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Gardening is something I find relaxing and fun. For a girl who doesn’t care to get dirty, there is something about gardening. Hands in moist soil, handling seeds that have potential to bring life. Then watching those seeds burst forth from the dirt and seeing the little roots grow. It’s so amazing!
Till a heavy rain comes or a storm. Then it’s time to see how strong those roots are that we have no clue about.
Our relationship with the Father is a lot like that. We are born again, receive His Spirit now it’s time to grow. One can only grow because of trials and resistance. So naturally the Father tests us with trials, struggles, and hard times. It’s not to show what a failure we are, but to strengthen our relationship with Him, to build our trust in Him.
Our roots grow deep when our faith, our ability to know why, is tested.
Think of marriage or friendships for instance. We wouldn’t bind together and grow if the friendship or marriage wasn’t tested. You form a bond because you have went through something difficult and overcame. It’s the same with our relationship with the Father. We go through difficult circumstances and we either grow or don’t grow. After several hard trials, we can look back and say, ‘I can trust because You did this. You have been steady and constant.’ He has won our trust because of His reputation.
We are supposed to be rooted in Him, so that when winds come, because they will, we can stand. I believe we can get to a point in our lives that when trials come, we don’t doubt the Father is in control. I believe we can have that much trust and faith in Him to know all will be well. That’s what He wants for us.
The next time trials come your way, stop and think back to what He has done for you.
He is constant,
He is good,
He is sovereign.
It is all to build your trust and grow your roots.
Father, all that You do is good. Teach us to let You do the work in us to build our trust in You. We want our roots deep so when storms come we can hold fast to Your truth. Life won’t always bring easy circumstances, but they are for our good. They teach us to trust You. May we cling to You when things become hard and let Your peace rule in our hearts. Adjust our perspective to see life how You do. We want our lives to bring You praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
There’s something awesome about seeing someone stand for truth. It’s almost contagious. The believers during Paul’s time knew that feeling all too well. When Paul was imprisoned, he wrote a letter to the believers in Philippi. He spoke of how others gained confidence because of his imprisonment.
When I first read it, that stunned me. How would they gain confidence and become bold because Paul was thrown in prison? It dawned on me after more studying though. When they saw Paul preach without fear, it stirred something inside of them to be fearless also. It’s amazing how standing for truth can empower others to stand too. Now, that’s not always the case, but when it does happen, it’s beautiful to see.
Sometimes you may start off as the only one standing for truth.
You may feel scared.
You may feel insignificant.
You may feel alone.
But what if your stand gives others boldness to also stand?
Paul was persecuted, but he knew it was for the glory of the Father. We will be persecuted for taking a stand, but when you know that you know it’s the right thing, the Spirit will give you boldness. That boldness is like a spark that ignites a fire. It spreads to others when they see the Spirit working through you.
Regardless, we should choose to stand on the truth of Yahweh.
Whatever position you’re in, just remember the Holy Spirit will give the the boldness you need and hopefully others will be urged to do the same.
Father, thank You for these examples in scripture that You have given to encourage us. Help us to always stand for truth, no matter what. May our stand give boldness to others and spread like a wildfire. Help us to be empowered when others stand and to become as bold as they are. Man can only touch the body, but You have power over the soul. Teach us to walk as our Messiah walked and stand for truth. We want to make Your name know no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name, Amen.