I first heard about the “Roman Road” when I was dating my husband John.
It’s part of the Bible Babes Bible Study Group.
You can go here to sign up! http://www.cafemom.com/group/75/
We will read one chapter a week and the go over the Scripture verses and discussion questions. Each week we will talk about parenting in light of Scripture.
This week I listened to a small-group leader talk about what makes a difference in making our day feel successful, and one is achievement. Everyday, she said, we should have something we feel as if we’ve achieved-even if it’s just cleaning out our sock drawer.
I suppose I never realized before how consistently I wake with a mental note of things I’d like to achieve at the beginning of each day. I wake with a “hope” that I can accomplish certain tasks in my day. They could be making a nice dinner, calling a friend I haven’t heard from in a while, or taking my dogs for a walk.
Or they could be bigger things such as outlining a new novel idea, calling a cousin to inspire her spiritual walk, or planning a trip to visit a grandpa who I’ve recently found and never met before. (Which are all on my agenda for today!) Big or small I plan for them with hopes they will be achieved.
What do you hope for today? No, seriously I want to know.
Unlike the world’s definition of hope, which is a “dreamy fantasy,” my hopes (maybe yours too?) are based on the fact that Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father, He loves me completely, and He will provide whatever strength and wisdom I need to face the day He designed for me. (Boy, is that a mouthful! Or should I say, a heart-full!)
The more I think about it, the more I realize how important this hope is. It provides the inspiration behind our smile, or lack of one. It strengthens us because we know our efforts are not in vain. It also helps when the things we hope to achieve don’t happen. After all, I trust God has a greater plan for that, too.
Acts 17:25-28 (NLT) says:”He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is. From one man he created all the nations through the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose in all of this was that that nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him-though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.”
So let me ask again: What do you hope for today? What things do you hope to achieve? Will these achievements help others to seek after God and/or find their way to Him? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
I love to hear the ways God works . . . in you, especially!
And…don’t forget to check out today’s stop on the A Valley of Betrayal blog tour!
No, not on weed, but in it-Weed, California to be exact.
I graduated from Weed High. And I was a cheerleader for three years. Can you imagine chanting, “Weed High is the best high, is the best high you can get!”?
When I speak to groups, sometimes I tell people that growing up chanting about “Weed High” is the reason for my wayward teen years. It gets a good laugh, but that’s not the truth. It was my own sinful heart. Weed wasn’t the problem-neither the city nor the drug. Actually, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was looking for boys to fill the God-shaped hole in my heart. As if a fifteen-year-old football jock could ever do that!
My heart was broken more than once during those years, and I remember times when I questioned if life was even worth living at all. Wasn’t there someone, somewhere, who would love me completely?
Then, I found him . . . when I wasn’t even looking. In fact, I had given up on true love completely. I was 17 and pregnant, and I was sure I’d never find Prince Charming. Who would be interested in a chick with a baby?
The God showed up on the picture. I don’t know when He started pestering me. Looking back, I guess He’d always been there, loving me all the same. Yet as I considered my future, my baby’s future, I realized He was what I’d been missing all these years.
So I opened my heart to God. I had no choice, because it was during those depressing days that I realized His love was the only thing that could satisfy. And you know what? It’s been an ongoing romance ever since. God has shown me His love in numerous ways, and I grow crazier in love with Him day-by-day. In fact, my heart warms just thinking about Him.
And you know what? God is hopelessly in love with you too. Wait, that’s not right. God is hopefully in love with you. Hopeful that you too can have an on-going romance. And do you know how I know that? Because it says so in my favorite Scripture verse:
Zeph. 3:17: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV).
Can you imagine that, God singing over YOU?
That’s right. No matter who you are, how you’ve screwed up, or where you’re from, God is mighty to save you. Even if you’re from someplace called Weed.
Okay, especially if you’re from someplace called Weed.
And…today’s stops on the A Valley of Betrayal blog tour:
I first met Kayleigh at one of the Teen MOPS meeting. She was 15 when she had her first daughter MaCayla. At 18, she had Audrie-Onna. At 19 our Teen MOPS group, with the help of Hope Pregnancy Center, gave Kayleigh at wedding. That same year both her and Nathan gave their hearts to the Lord!
Now at 21, Kayleigh is a stay-at-home mom of three kids (Donovan joined the family in November), and Nathan has a good job. Most importantly they are raising their kids to love God. They attend church every week, and then the family comes to “Nana’s house.” Yes, I’m a 35-year-old Nana!
You can hear Kayleigh by going to the K-Love News Page. The title is: MOPS for Teen Moms. You can listen to the podcast there. And … if you’re interested in starting a Teen MOPS group in your area, go to: www.mops.org/teen
Here are some photos of their journey. The photo at the top is me with the girls at Christmas!
And…this weekends stops on the A Valley of Betrayal blog tour are:
Last night I attended a fundraising banquet for Hope Pregnancy Center.
Hundreds of people were in attendance, which awed me. Especially, because the vision started less than ten years ago in the heart of three women–one of them mine.When we started Hope Pregnancy Center, we had nothing.
No, I take that back. We had one thing. We had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what he could accomplish through a few people who had no idea what in the world we were doing.
Because we had nothing, and knew nothing, we prayed about everything. Every young woman who walked through the door was a miracle. Every small donation. Every new volunteer. And our hearts will full of joy. We were in awe of our amazing God.
I remember moments when a dozen, broken women circled around to pray and more tears flowed than words. We could accomplish nothing in our own strength,and we depended on Jesus for everything. Our hearts were full with joy because we saw Him in everything. He was there in every small request answered. We prayed about new carpet and a check arrived in the mail THAT DAY. We prayed about reaching the teens in our valley, and there was a knock at the door telling us about a grant for abstinence education (which we received!). We saw young girls choose life for their children. We saw the abortion rate drop by 100! in the first year, and we were overjoyed.
My heart is filled with memories of what God has done through Hope Pregnancy Center, and I will forever be grateful for those days when the center first started. Philippians 3:3 says, “We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.”My faith grew because I saw a miracle-working God moving daily in all we did. That will forever be a transforming moment in my own personal walk with Jesus Christ. My life will never be the same again.
On a personal level, I’m walking in the same faith I once learned. I know miracles intimately, and I don’t ever want to go back. I want my faith and trust in God to grow and grow, and it has. In the last four months, I have written three books for three different publishing houses. They were books that, in the end, have needed nearly no editorial input. Some people say that’s not possible. By human standards they are absolutely right–it’s especially impossible as I still love and take care of a husband, three children, and a grandmother in my home, and as I still volunteer at church twice a week and reach out to others God brings in my life, too.
But what I learned through the early days of Hope Pregnancy Center I’m applying to my every day life–especially these writing projects. I serve a miracle-working God who goes before me! Praise Him! I can do exceedingly more than I ask for or imagine, because of Christ Jesus who is at work in me. If God calls me to do something, I step out in faith knowing that His wisdom and power will be provided. It doesn’t matter what human effort can accomplish, because human effort leaves out my amazing God. Miracles happen everyday when I sit down at this keyboard because I sit down with eager anticipation of what God can do. And I learned these truths in what God did through those early days at the center.
My humble prayer is that none of us forget what God has done for us in the past. That none of us forget to proclaim the miracles of our Lord. My prayer is that we not spend more time planning than praying, and that we continue to see every single person who walks into our lives as a miracle. My prayer is that we realize the amazing God who goes before us.
Mostly let us NEVER forget what God can do through a few people who choose to BELIEVE.
Love in Christ,
The opening is a promise of what’s to come. A promise of mystery, or romance, or intrigue.
Here are some first lines you might be familiar with. See if you can guess what they are. (Answers are at the bottom of the blog.)
1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
2. “All children, except one, grow up.”
3. “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”
4. “Pet and Patty began to trot briskly, as if they were glad, too. Laura held tight to the wagon bow and stood up in the jolting wagon. Beyond Pa’s shoulder and far across the waves of green grass she could see the trees, and they were not like any trees she had seen before. They were no taller than bushes.”
The reason that first lines are so important is because a writer is a creator. Books are designed. They don’t simply appear by chance. They have a purpose, whether it is simply to relay information, give instructions, or to take you on a journey of discovery.
Writers are creators. And our Creator was a writer. He used the pens of many men, to achieve His desired communication with us.
God wanted to relay information. He also God wanted to give instructions. But more than that, God wanted to tell us a love story, which can also be considered a journey of discovery-a journey to Him.
You can call it a Divine Design, and hints of it can be seen in the opening line of God’s Good Book.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
That tells us many things about God all at once:
It tells us He had a plan.
He had a purpose.
He had good things in mind for us.
But that’s not all. God not only gave us a great opening line in His word. He gave us the Word, Jesus Christ.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
“The story of Jesus being life for us, and the light of men, is the greatest of them all. And because of Jesus, God can create a beautiful story with each of our lives. Decided to make Jesus the Lord of your life can be the plot twist to turn your story from tragedy to victory!
Today, can be the opening line to your beautiful romance and the start of a grand new adventure with God. All you have to do is have a heart eager to seek God and love Him. Then, as you prayerfully open your life up to His pen, God will writes His Story through the moments of Your day-one pen stroke at a time as your romance flourishes and the adventure of a lifetime takes you closer to Him.
#1 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
#2 Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie
#3 Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
#4 Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is a great article from Stacy’s recent newsletter. She was kind enough to let me share it with you…
Becoming Sold Out
This week I wanted to talk to you about being sold out because I often am asked by authors how they can sell all of their books. In fact, many when they fill out my inital inquiry form tell me that their goal is to sell 5000 books or sometimes even more.
However, what I’ve observed is that rarely are these authors willing to pay the cost. If they are self published they usually had enough money to publish their book, but didn’t budget for marketing. In other words, they want me to do the work for them without them paying the cost.
Which got me thinking about the whole idea of being sold out and what we are truly willing to do to be sold out. My hope and prayer is that all Christians would be sold out for the gospel. Sold out to Jesus and sold out to living for Him in the best way we can.
However, many Christians do not want to pay the cost so that they can be sold out.
They don’t budget time for the study of the Word of God and instead expect to have all the blessings from God without the effort.
So how do we become sold out? Easy, do the work. If you’re an author who wants your books to sell, do the work it takes to get them sold. Pay people what they are worth, or be creative and raise money for yourself if you believe in your product.
As a Christian if you want to be sold out, do the work. Offer yourself to the Lord honestly, and strive to do what He tells us to do. Step out of your comfortzone and exercise your faith and walk with God. It’s only when you’re out of that safe box that you will see your dependence on God and allow Him to work in and through you. Once you experience God’s faithfulness to you, you can’t become anything less than sold out for him.
God is always faithful, and He will reward those whom He loves.
Somebody, please tell me that there has been a mistake. It’s REALLY only January 10th, and two months have not passed since I made my New Years Resolutions … the ones I quickly forgot about.
Of course, not that my resolutions HAVE to center on the New Year. In fact the personal, internal struggles I faced on January 1 are the same ones I still deal with now. And the same things I dealt with July 8, 2006. And the same things I dealt with December 6, 2005. You get the picture.
So what’s up with that? Why do each of us have personal struggles we find so HARD to overcome? I was thinking about this, when I read this quote from Beth Moore.
“I’ve experienced trials that I finally was forced to acknowledge as the absolute will of God. My life has never been easy . . . and I have finally confronted the fact that it will probably never will be. Yet, in the same, breath, I can readily proclaim that my life has been good. Part of the still-limited maturity I have gained is the result of realizing that good does not equal easy. Rarely has God removed from my life circumstances or people that force me to my knees. Many of my trials must have been ordained by Him because of the results they rendered.”–Beth Moore, Living Beyond Yourself, p. 77
Wow, I’m going to repeat Beth’s Words: “Rarely had God removed from my life circumstances or people that force me to my knees.”
Sorry, there are some things God refuses to touch with His magic eraser, no matter how much we beg. Instead, it’s a wonderful chance to again come to God on our knees.
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s time to get out those kneepads! They work every month of the year, after all.
P.S. I HIGHLY recommend the Beth Moore on-line Bible Study: Living Beyond Yourself. You can find more information here: http://www.lifeway.com/lby/
Well, I’m happy to report that homestudy went extremely well. It was painless, actually! And the more we talked with the social worker, the more excited I became. We will have another daughter, it’s just a matter of a little more paperwork and a lot of time waiting. (We’re looking at 1 1/2 years still!)
One cool thing is how this adoption process has helped us understand God even better. Every night, we have a time of Bible Study with our kids. We’re currently studying the first chapters of Ephesians. These chapters talk about God’s plan to adopt us as His own. About Him preparing a heavenly place for us. About our seat in the heavenly places.
Likewise, we have this child in our hearts . . . and she’s most likely not even born. We pray for her. We have a name for her. She is a part of our family. It’s a message that resonates in our hearts.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Next week I’ll be plunging in to the remaining paperwork, and then it’s time to start my next book project. At least I’m not twiddling my thumbs as I wait for our girl! Instead I’m diligently working at what God lays before me . . . trusting Him.