I recently posted that I selected not one but two words for 2020: together and renewal. I also decided to choose a memory verse for each month of the year. I think it’s important to memorize scripture and for our kids to memorize it.
For January, I chose to focus on renewal.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We are called to be set apart from the world as Christians. In order to renew our minds and be transformed, we need to fill our hearts and minds with the things that please God.
I catch myself listening to or watching things often that I know are not God pleasing. Or maybe I have a conversation with someone and spread a little gossip.
I post this scripture not to preach to anyone. I post this scripture because I want to share yet another area of my life that I am working to improve. I truly want to experience renewal- in my life, in my walk with God, in my family relationships.
And if I seek God first and transform my mind by filling it with Him, everything else will fall into place.
If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.
I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.
God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.
Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.
It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about God’s provision and how he never fails to provide for us. Even though sometimes He answers our prayers with “No,” or “Not right now,” He does provide all that we need.
There isn’t enough space my domain for me to tell you all the things God has provided for me, or all the ways He has blessed me. I can tell you the main ones, though.
1. He gave me my family
This one is obvious. Years ago, after a string of bad and unhealthy relationships (including one who was emotionally abusive), I prayed God would send me a Godly man who would go to church with me and who either was saved, or would get saved soon. He did. We also dealt with infertility and pregnancy losses, but the Lord gave us these two sweet girls in His time. If you’re struggling with being single, or desperately wanting a child, don’t give up. Trust in Him and he will give you the desires of your heart.
2. He blessed us with jobs, transportation, and a home
There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been out of work or looking for a new job, and the Lord has blessedly, abundantly provided it for me. We have lived now in two homes since marrying nine years ago, and both were places we loved and enjoyed living. We’ve never had to worry about having food to eat, clothes to wear or a place to live. We’ve never lacked for anything we needed, and even though there have been times when things were hard for the moment, we trusted in God and he brought us through it. I’m not bragging; this is nothing we did. I am grateful for all that the Lord provides for us.
3. If He brings you TO it, he will bring you THROUGH it.
Ya’ll, this past year has been difficult. I lost my dad and my grandpa in the same week. People will say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Yes, He does. There was no way I could handle that, and truthfully, I didn’t handle it. But while God does give you more than you can handle, He doesn’t give you more than you AND God can handle together. He delivered me from the darkest, most difficult season of my life. I wish I could say I handled those days with grace, but I didn’t. And even though I was depressed and angry at God, He never left me. Months later after the chaos is fading and order is returning, I can see where His hand was on me through all of it.
4. God sends you the people you need when you need them…even if you don’t know you need them.
I was talking to a dear friend from high school this week. It was her aunt’s birthday and she shared that her aunt had saved her life the day she was born. Her mother was fading, and doctors were working to stabilize her mother. In the rush to save her mother, everyone forgot about the tiny newborn in the bassinet (my friend). She was turning blue and near death herself when her aunt held her and began to help her body temperature increase. Had my friend’s aunt not been there that day, my friend wouldn’t be here now.
The same is true in my own life. I have a very good friend I met through church. She is no stranger to loss, having lost her first husband at a young age. I leaned on her heavily during the losses of my dad and grandpa. She comforted me, she listened to me, she let me cry on her shoulder. She prayed with me and most importantly, she never judged me when I told her I was dealing with depression months later. God knows who and want we need before we know it.
God may not send us everything we WANT, or he may not send us what we want WHEN we want it. But He does provide for those who seek Him.
Trust in God today, friends. You’ll never do anything more important.
If someone were to walk in the room and say right now, “Raise your hand if you’re a worrier,” I’d raise both of mine. I’m a major league worrier, and although it’s something I continually vow to work on, I can never seem to shake the habit.
I worry about my children, my mama and my grandmothers. I worry about my husband and whether or not I can get all the housework done this week. I worry about my job, and the kids I teach…you get the idea.
You may be familiar with Luke chapter 12, verse 25: “Who if you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” In that same passage of scripture, Jesus mentions how the birds do not store up food, yet God feeds them. If the God of Heaven takes care of the birds and the flowers, He will take care of us, too.
Science teaches us that worrying stresses us out, and stress certainly doesn’t add hours to our lives: in fact, the opposite. While most of us don’t worry because we want to, or we think it’s a good thing, we still can’t seem to stop.
God wants us to trust in Him instead of worry. When we worry, we are basically spinning around in circles. We go nowhere and accomplish nothing, but stressing ourselves out and hiking up our blood pressures.
I am praying that God will help me with my worrying problem. I want to be a Christian that trusts in Him instead of worrying about things He will take care of.
In the English Standard Bible, the word “joy,” or other variations such as “joyful” and “rejoice” appear in the Bible some 430 times. You might say joy is important to God. But did you know he wants it to be important to us, too?
In James 1:2-3, God tells us to have joy even when we face trials.
If you’re like me, then you’d agree that it is easier to be joyful when things are going great, but it is hardest to be joyful when things are going badly. Joy doesn’t just happen though; it is a choice that we must make.
I recently stumbled upon this article by J. I. Packer. In it, he talks about how the book of Ecclesiastes, a book that I am not very familiar with, teaches us how to live, and how to do so joyfully. I found his article to be interesting, with a lot of valid points I’d never considered before.
So, how do you live a life of joy?
I know it sounds silly to use the word practice here, but think about it. When you pray, or even when you’re just quietly reflecting and thinking, think about what you’re grateful for in your life. It could be the major things, like your home, family and your church, but it could be something small, like the rain, or the fact that your day was good. Being thankful and thanking God gives me great joy, because I remember how much he’s blessed me.
2. Live in His word
Reading the Bible, praying, and listening to praise and worship music gives me great joy. It’s like refueling an empty gas tank- listening to His music leaves me more fulfilled than anything else I might listen to. Reading His word or about his word makes me feel closer to God. It also keeps me feeling encouraged instead of bogged down and defeated.
3. Share how God has blessed you with others
When I have been greatly blessed by a sermon at church, an answered prayer, or a song I’ve heard, I love being able to tell someone else about it. When we have something that may bless someone else, I believe it is our duty to share it with them.