Live, Love and Laugh!

Imagine my surprise one day when my daughter, as a little girl, asked why her dad and I were “so happy all the time.” For the life of me I couldn’t figure out where she was getting this! As I began to listen to her explanation, I finally figured it out. She felt that when we were happy we weren’t being honest with our Live, Love and Laugh!feelings in the midst of difficult circumstances. She had not yet discovered the joyfulness of a fulfilled life in Christ. It dawned on me that day that sometimes we assume our children (or others who watch our lives) understand the intricacies of walking with Christ daily.

My answer to her was this: “We are happy because we are grateful for God’s goodness to us, and peaceful with God’s plan for us, even if we don’t understand it. When others ask us why we are so happy all the time, we are given the opportunity to share what Christ has done for us.”

Talk about a teaching moment with my child! This Christianity thing is for real! Living every day as if I remember all the blessings I’ve received was being noticed. Hmm…what about those days when I wasn’t doing so well at this? What a stark reminder that parents (or should I say people) are always being observed.

Live, Love and Laugh2This is how the Word of God is introduced! Plodding through this life, year after year, and waiting for someone to ask us why there is something different about us. This year why don’t we live our lives in such a way that others will notice our joy and ask, “Why are you happy all the time?”

This year I pray that someone will ask you why you are so “happy all the time!”
Here are a few verses to get us started:

Philippians 4:4 (NASB)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 

Romans 12: 10,12
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor, giving preference to one another; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Isaiah 26:3, 4
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.

Philippians 4:19
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

About the Writer:
Pam Brewer is Director of Women to Women Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada bloggers.

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Inviting God’s Blessings

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is always a great time to look at what God has done in our lives in the past year as well as to ponder what changes we want Him to make in the coming year.  I really don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions, but I am learning to live intentionally and to allow the Lord to do what He wants to do in my life.

God has blessed the decisions I have made in the past year to follow His leadership into new areas of ministry as I have taken on new assignments in the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas.  We all want to make decisions daily that we know He will bless.  We can know that He will bless our decisions if we make decisions that:

  • He initiates 

I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.  (Proverbs 4:11)

  • Line up with His Word Bible

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. (Psalm 119:33)

  • Accomplish His purpose 

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

  • Depend on His strength 

 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

  • Result in giving Him glory 

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

  • Promote justice, kindness, and humility 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

  • Reflect His character 

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (1Timothy 4:12)

  • Come from faith 

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

  • Consider the interests of others 

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

  • Are bathed in prayer 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  (Philippians 4:6)

As you consider what changes you might want to make in the coming year and want to learn more about making good decisions you will find more information in the Decision Making Biblical Key by June Hunt.

About the Writer:
Anna Schaefer leads the W.E. C.A.R.E. team for the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a widow, a mom, a grandmother and grateful to the Lord for giving her opportunities to share with other women in several ministries through First Baptist Dallas.

 

Set a New Goal, Dream a New Dream

I haven’t been too big on New Year’s resolutions the last couple of years, mostly because they overwhelm me. However, last night I gathered with a few of my girlfriends and dreamed of what this year could be, what I would like to do, and who I would like to be when it closes.

My friends challenged one another to break down our goals into several buckets – spiritual, physical, mental, and relational. And then came the key word: manageable. I need to make my goals manageable.

Kariss Lynch New Year 2015I tend to dream big and set lofty goals that often take more time than I allocate. None of that is wrong. In fact, I believe our God is a big dreamer. He came up with the earth in seven days. He made a platypus for goodness sake. And He made you and me in His image with unique qualities, traits, and even fingerprints. I’d say He has quite the imagination, and I’d say He dreams bigger dreams for us than we do for ourselves.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” Jeremiah 29:11-13

I want to trust God in a bigger way with my dreams this year and also know my limitations as I set goals. I’m not where I want to be, but my Father is capable of continuing to grow me to be more like Him! So here are my goals for 2015…

SPIRTUAL

I want to learn what it means to find satisfaction in Christ alone and not in the fleeting things of this world. (See Psalms 103:1-5)

PHYSICAL

I am a steward of the temple God has given me. I don’t want to be obsessive about health, but I do want to be wise. I want to continue building a healthy lifestyle in 2015.

MENTAL
I want dream and create and plan and act using the gifts God has given me on an even greater scale. But that means I must be willing to let myself dream those big dreams without hampering myself.

RELATIONAL

I want to invite those close to me into my life a little more this year. We were created to know and be known by those in the body of Christ, and I want to encourage those relationships.

What new goal will you set and what new dream will you dream in 2015?

About the Writer:
Kariss Lynch writes contemporary fiction about characters with big dreams, hearts for adventure, and enduring hope. Shaken, her first book in the Heart of a Warrior series, released in February 2014. Her second novel, Shadowed, releases March 3, 2015. A former freelance writer, she now works as the writer for the communications ministry at a church in Dallas.

Welcome 2015!

2015The holidays are over and order is once again overtaking the grandiose spontaneity of the festive season. Though I may avoid putting up the decorations because nothing feels quite as warm and welcoming as the Christmas tree, I absolutely love the resolve of the New Year. In years past, I put much emphasis on self-improvement resolutions. This year, God is challenging me to take a different approach inspired by a handful of June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys. I want to put more emphasis on who I already am in Christ. As I ask God for direction in how to have an appropriate mindset, there are a few truths that God is reminding me of.

  • God loved me and chose me while I was still a wretched wreck

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT)

  • Even though the Holy Spirit is transforming me as a believer for the glory of God, He did not plan for me to be without need

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (NASB)

  • Anything that says I need to be a better person to be worthy of His love is a lie

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you. Proverbs 4:23-24

  • The One who loves me perfectly wants to have a lifelong relationship with me

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! Psalm 139:17-18

  • Putting my hope in God’s perfect love for me teaches me how to love others

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

Perhaps you have some practical application tips for cultivating a godly, Christ-centered self-image? Would you share if you do?

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Lyndsay has a blog dedicated to sharing and celebrating the work of Christ through her experiences as a missionary, world traveler, knowledge seeker, and recipient of God’s lavish grace.