Seize the Moment


family 2014“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 11:19 

I once was told by a very wise lady, “Your children will respond much better if you will take the opportunity to talk to them when it arises rather than force it on them.”

I have thought about that piece of advice over the years as my children have grown, and often wondered exactly how I would know when that moment had come. I remember asking her, “How will I know when the time is right?” With that sweet mentoring smile she would look at me and say, “You will know.”

This weekend one of those moment presented itself, and just as if my sweet aunt was standing right there next to me, I heard this voice in my head saying, “Seize the moment.”

I love to cook breakfast for my family on Saturday mornings. Sometimes we have pancakes, sometimes hash browns, but that particular morning I had decided to make biscuits. We had slept later than usual, therefore by the time we were all up and going the kids were ready to eat.

As you probably know, it takes time to make homemade biscuits. This is not always easy for children to understand, so many times they are in and out of the kitchen asking, “Is it almost time to eat?”

I had just mixed up my dough and was beginning to place each biscuit in the pan when my oldest son, Big D came in the kitchen. (I am sure you can guess what question was on his mind.)  As he impatiently watched me form each biscuit, this is the conversation that transpired between myself and my ever-growing preteen.

Big D: “I could eat one of those biscuits right now.”

Mom: “But they’re not ready.”

Big D: ” I don’t care, I could add a little sugar and some cinnamon to them and they would be good.”

Mom: “Then they wouldn’t be biscuits, they would be doughnuts.”

At that moment, I realized that God had given me an opportunity to have one of those moments with my sweet son. I told him, “You know, we are like this dough. God had created us to be something special. Sometimes, however we get impatient and mess up his plans. We want to rush things and instead of following God’s plan for our lives we add our own stuff and turn it into something different.”

Big D looked at me and I saw the light bulb come on; lesson learned. He said, “You’re right Mom, I think I will wait.”

He then looked over at the dough that was still sitting in the bowl, and said, “That doesn’t look very good, Mom.”

Again, I knew in my heart that our moment to learn was not yet over. I took this opportunity to explain to Big D that we are like this unformed dough as well. We look at ourselves, and sometimes the world does too, and says, “What a mess. You do not look very good.”  God, however, sees us as a work in progress. He does not look at us and see the mess we are, but He sees the masterpiece that He wants to see us become.

Again, I saw the light come on and realized that we had indeed “seized the moment.”

Satisfied with the progress being made,  Big D left the kitchen, looking for his next big adventure.

As I finished making the rest of the biscuits and placed them in the oven, our conversation played back over in my head. Silently I thanked God for allowing me this moment with one of my children. I prayed that He would never let me miss one single opportunity to have these times with them.

God gives each of us opportunities to minister for Him. It is up to us to keep our hearts and minds open so we can hear when God says to us, “Seize the moment.” It may not always be with our children. God may send a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger into our lives. We must always be ready to share God with whomever we come into contact.

I want to encourage you today. Be ready. Look for opportunities to witness to those around you, and however God sees fit to bring them about in your life, seize the moment.

What Now?


now what

 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

I have another confession to make: I love to read.

As a child I had no interest in reading. I was an adult, married with children, before I really developed a love for reading. Since then, I look forward to our summer break from school every year. The first thing the kids and I do when we get out for summer break is to go to the library and check out the first of many books that will be enjoyed over the summer.

My favorite type of book is Christian Fiction. I enjoy reading books that are filled with mystery and suspense. I am currently reading a book  by Terri Blackstock titled Last LightIt is from the Restoration Series.

In this book a modern-day family, who has become spoiled to the advances of modern technology, suddenly find themselves in the middle of a crisis. As they struggle to survive, they begin to question God and His care for them. They soon discover, through prayer and scripture, that they are looking at their current situation incorrectly. While they have been asking God the question, “Why?” they realize that what they should really be asking God is, “What Now?” As they begin to ask God, “What Now?” He shows them what they can be doing to help in the middle of this crisis. They begin to look at their situation differently. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves they begin to look around them at the other families in need. They realize that God is using this situation to teach them something. This realization does not solve their problems, but it does give them a little peace in their hearts knowing that they are putting God’s will before their own doubts.

As I read the chapter in which their perspective is changed while they seek God’s will, I realized that this can also apply to our own lives. While we may not be in the middle of a crisis such as they are facing in this book, we all face our own crises every day. Each one of us finds ourselves in situations in which we have a choice to make. We can either let our situation get the best of us and, in desperation, ask God, “Why?” or we can put our trust in Him, knowing that He has promised to meet all of our needs. Having this assurance, we can do as we should and ask God, “What now?” We can seek God’s will for our lives even in the midst of a crisis.

So many times we get caught up in our own daily struggles that we fail to see those in need all around us. While we are so focused on taking care of ourselves, we miss the opportunities that God gives us to meet the needs of others. We miss the chance to show God’s love for them.

Today I want to pass along a challenge and encourage your heart.

The challenge is this: The next time you find yourself in a time of trouble, take a moment to ask God, “What now?” rather than, “Why?”

Often times it is easier to ask God, “Why?”, yet when we take the time to seek God’s purpose in our trials, we allow him to work in our hearts. We also allow God to show us how we can minister to others who may also be facing trials. Many times when we begin to focus on the needs of others our problems get a little easier to bear.

I want to encourage you today as well. I know we all face trials. Frequently we find ourselves in a crisis in which we feel hopeless. I  want to encourage you  to trust God in times of trouble. While we may be scared and at times feel helpless, God has a plan. He is all-knowing and all-seeing. God has promised to take care of those who love Him. It is up to us to trust in God and to allow Him to use us even in the situations which seem hopeless. The next time you find yourself facing a problem, do not ask God, “Why?” Try asking Him, “What now?” Let us see what happens.

**You can find out more about Terri Blackstock and Last Light here: www.terriblackstock.com/

We are all Beautifully Imperfect


imperfect2

 

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:13-14

 

Do you ever have those days when you feel like you just did not hit the mark?

You might have missed a deadline at work, or lost your temper with one of your children. Maybe you spoke harshly to your husband or wife. You may have planned on finishing a project over the weekend and you woke up this morning to yet another thing left undone.

We all have those times when no matter how hard we try we do not meet the requirements we set for ourselves. In that moment we feel like failures. We feel as if we may never get it right. We realize that we are imperfect people.

We must stop focusing on our flaws and all the times we fail to hit the mark. We must begin to focus on God and the work He is doing in us. We must realize that we are all works in progress. Every time we fail, every time we fall down, we need to see it as another opportunity to learn something new. God is teaching us new things every day. It is up to us to look past our own flaws and even those of others and focus on the lesson at hand.

Today I want to encourage your heart.

I want to remind you that God loves you, and He thinks you are wonderful and beautiful in spite of all your imperfections. God created you. He knows every part of you from the inside out.  No matter how many flaws you can find in yourself, God loves you just as you are. He sees every time you fall down. But you know what? He loves you anyway.

We are beautifully imperfect people. This is a fact we must understand. But, just as a potter looks at a piece of clay and sees what it can be, God looks as us and sees what He created us to be. Just as a gardener looks at a seed and sees the potential in it, God looks at us and sees the potential that lies within each of us.

We are God’s handiwork. That is what makes each one of us beautiful.

Let us focus today, not on our flaws and our imperfections, but on the potential that God sees in each of us.

Let us pray today that God will reveal to us the people He wants us to be.

Let us ask God to help us see each other through His eyes. And let us encourage each other to be what God has called us to be.

I pray today we will realize that we are all beautifully imperfect, but with God’s help we can all become exactly what He has planned for us to be.

 

 

 

Two Wrongs do not Make a Right


peace lily 

See that none render evil for evil unto any man;

but ever follow that which is good,

both among yourselves, and to all men.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:15 

Have you ever been mistreated?

Has someone ever done something that hurt your feelings?

Maybe someone says something unkind to you. 

What is your first response?

If we are all honest with ourselves we will admit that the first thing we want to do is to give that unkindness right back to them. If someone says something unkind or treats us in a way that hurts us, our first response is normally one of defense. We put our dukes up and we are ready for battle. 

Many times the wrongs done to us go unnoticed. Often times the one who hurts us never even realizes what they have done or said. 

I know in my own life I have said or done things that have hurt someone who I love and never realized it until it was brought to my attention.

Many times in life we are going to be hurt by another person’s words or actions and it will be up to us to decide how we are going to handle each situation.

I would urge you to first bathe the situation in prayer. I have found many times in my life in which I prayed about a wrong that was done to me and God took care of it without a word ever being said about it.

There have been other times, however, when I prayed about a situation and I felt that God wanted me to take it to that person and discuss it. Thankfully, with God’s help, the situation was resolved.

Whichever way God sees fit for you to handle a situation, I can assure you of this one thing: Two wrongs do not make a right. No matter how badly we may want to lash out and strike back at the one who has hurt us, this is never God’s plan. I know sometimes it seems like the easy thing to do and as humans it is what we want to do. But, God has a better plan.

God has told us in Romans 12:18: “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” God desires for us to do our best to keep the peace with other people. Sometimes this means praying about the situation, letting go and letting God handle it. Other times it means speaking your piece and leaving the results up to God. 

I want to encourage your heart today. When we are wronged by word or deed, it hurts. I understand this. But God has told us to never repay evil with evil. Two wrongs do not make a right. If you have been wronged, cover it in prayer. Seek God’s will in each situation and allow God to lead you in the way that He would have you handle it. I can promise you this, any situation we face will ultimately turn out better when God is allowed to take control rather than us trying to fix it ourselves. Remember: With God, all things are possible.(Matthew 19:26)

 

 

 

Show a Little Kindness Today


kindness

 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience…And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Colossians 3:12&14

What ever happened to living by the golden rule?

What happened to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?”

It seems these days that people are so busy with their own lives that they have forgotten about those around them. If you do not believe me, go to town, anywhere in town, and just observe people. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry, never stopping to consider the feelings of others. Never taking the time to say “thank you,” “please,” or “excuse me.”

As I read Colossians 3 this morning, my heart was touched. It caused me to stop and take a look at myself. As I read about the ways a Christian is to act, I could not help but take a self-evaluation. As I read about each characteristic that a child of God is to possess I began to ask myself, “Does this describe me?” Some of them I could check off as accomplished, yet others I knew still needed some work.

I believe as Christians, God wants us to consistently grow and change. I believe He reveals things to us daily to which we should pay attention. I also believe that it is a good idea to search the Scriptures for the ways God tells us we should be as His children.

I want to offer some encouragement today, but I also want to extend to you a challenge.

Be encouraged today in knowing that we will never stop growing as Christians until we have finished our race. There will always be places in our lives where we can grow and become better. There will always be room for improvement. What is important is that we do not give up. We must not allow ourselves to get complacent, to get comfortable, or to believe that we are good enough. God wants us to press on towards perfection in Him.

My challenge for you today is a two-part challenge. First, I want to challenge you to take a self-evaluation. Search your heart and see if you are bearing the fruit that God would have you to bear as a Christian. If you find yourself lacking, it is okay. Ask God to help you in those areas, and ask Him to continue to improve the fruit which you already bear.

The second part to the challenge is this: Be kind to those who God allows to come into your life. Let the love of Jesus shine through you, so that they too may see the work that is being done in your life. It is no coincidence that you cross paths with the people who you do on a daily basis. I believe that God places each one of them there as an opportunity. Sometimes it may be to witness. Some may just need a kind word. Others may need a pat on the back and a word of encouragement. If you will listen with your heart, God will tell you what each one needs.