You Reap What You Sow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will never forget the time I heard my daughter use one of my slang words when she dropped something getting out of the car at only three years old.  It was not necessarily a bad word but one I used frequently whenever something unexpected happened. It was shockingly inappropriate for a young girl, and, honestly, for me as well.  In fact, this was one I had learned from my grandmother many years earlier. Our minds are like a computer; what goes in will eventually come out.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  Galatians 6:7

As an adult, I have heard the words “you reap what you sow, more than you sow, later than you sow” preached more than once. If we sow gossip, others will gossip about us. If we sow immorality, we may see our children live immorally. If we sow an undisciplined lifestyle and recklessly squander our finances, we may reap the stress of debt and lack of necessities in life.  On the other hand, if we give of our tithe we sow blessings. He promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing until it overflows (Malachi 3:10).  With these thoughts in mind, here are eight virtues which we might try to exercise.

Dr. David Jeremiah reminds us if we are not growing in God’s Word we can become incomplete, ineffective, insincere, and nearsighted; and we can also lose our Christ-like perspective. When it gets right down to it, as we read His transforming Word, His convictions are motivating our actions.  It is not just focusing on doing the right thing but allowing the Holy Spirit to work using His Word to “grow us up.” Then we will be more likely to speak the truth through our deeds, and our testimony will be strong and clear. Live in His Word this year to sow righteousness and bring glory to God in order to be a shining light in a dark world.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

About the writers:

Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Studies teacher. For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans who call her “Gigi.”

Beverly is a retired educator, parent, grandmother, and wife with a desire to see others learn about Christ and become disciples of His Word through service in various ministries at First Dallas.

The Goldilocks Disorder

My name should be Goldilocks!

When ordering from a menu, I like my food to be “just right” – dressing on the side, no cheese, water with lemon. When folding laundry, I fold towels so they fit “just right” in the cabinet. When dusting, which I probably don’t do as often as you, I return decorative items so they sit “just right” in their assigned places.

How does trying to live in a “just right” Goldilocks world affect my spiritual life? It’s like oil and water! It doesn’t work!

Sometimes when I pray, I tell God how I would like things to be “just right” in my life – a quiet child, a calm day, good health, a check in the mail. Very seldom do my requests become reality because God is a good Father and a wise Sovereign. He allows only what is best, and I’m learning His sovereign plans for me really are “just right.”

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. Jeremiah 29:11

What does it mean to say God “plans to prosper us?” He doesn’t promise to prosper us by putting money in our bank account or giving us a better job. His plans are custom-designed to teach us to thrive . . . have fortitude . . . have courage in times of trouble. I would not have chosen some of the situations God has allowed for me, and some of life’s difficulties have been lingering for many years, as possibly some have been for you as well. I’m learning God’s Spirit enables me to persevere through the challenges He allows. Because of the situations God allows in our lives, our faith can grow stronger and we can have empathy (your pain in my heart) with others. God wastes nothing.

What does it mean to say God “plans to give us hope?”  Hope in Scripture is not crossing our fingers – hoping a husband won’t leave, hoping we can get pregnant, hoping a child will graduate, or hoping we’ll be able to retire. Hope in Scripture is a blessed assurance…a peace that comes during difficulties. God is ready to give us an inner quietness even when life is hard.

What does it mean for God to say “plans to give us a future?” As God’s children, our future is assured (guaranteed . . . secure) because He has prepared a place for us to live eternally with Him.  As the old hymn says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.”

For those of us who have The Goldilocks Disorder, how should we face the new year?  We can rest in God’s plans.  Rest?!  In 2021 God wants us to rest?!  Life in the 21stcentury is on the fast track, and there’s very little time to rest physically, emotionally, or spiritually – right?

Where was Goldilocks at the end of the fairy tale?  She was resting . . . she was even asleep!!  She had given up trying to make things “just right.”

Yes, the story of Goldilocks is a fairy tale, but God’s Word is not. He is our Faithful Father, and His plans are always perfect. God promises His plans will give us hope in 2021 and an eternal future. He allows only what is best, and His sovereign plans are always “just right.”

About the Writer:
Sherry enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, Bible study, and traveling.  She and her husband, David, are Directors of the Sonburst Class at First Baptist Dallas.

Seeking Approval? Are You Trying to Please Men (or) God?

I was worn out to say the least. I was attempting to please one person while going to great lengths to please another person. I tried diligently to defend my character from others’ misunderstandings. Also, I showered compliments along with unremitting apologies toward those who I felt did not like me. Why? For the sole purpose of making peace. The end result? I became completely exhausted.

I needed the Lord to intervene. Instead of continuing down the same destructive path, I cried out to my Father, “Please deliver me from people-pleasing.”

One evening I walked into a situation completely orchestrated by God Himself. Within the context of the circumstance, a condition arose that not only broke my heart but the spirit of people-pleasing as well. I was reminded on this day of many forgotten truths. An entirely new view emerged—one of pleasing my Father instead of pleasing man.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, Colossians 3:23

We should live to please God, not man.

What have I learned in regard to “People-Pleasing?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

  1. Not everyone is going to like us. What should be our response? Well, not everyone liked Jesus yet He displayed love toward His enemies in spite of their dislike toward Him. He also did something else very notable. He continued to move forward in His mission and refused to allow anything or anyone to derail His journey. We, too, should follow suit.
  2. Not everyone is going to believe in us, or should they. True! We must never allow the disbelief of others to have power over our lives. If God has called you to a task, then do it with all your heart, mind, and soul. God doesn’t need people to believe in you in order for Him to carry out His work through you. Whatever He calls to be will be—regardless if others believe!

As believers we are under the umbrella of God’s protection. He loves us, He cares for us, and He desires to use us for His Kingdom. Yet we must learn to walk according to His truth instead of man’s opinion.

Point to Ponder: The mere hands that applaud us one minute may belong to the individuals who slander us the next minute. Jesus will always be faithful to His own. And without a doubt, He is the only One who will never leave us nor forsake us.

About the Writer:
O’Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously.  She is the the Executive Director of Entrusted Hope Ministries where she loves serving through speaking and blogging. A member of First Baptist Church, Dallas, O’Shea serves with the church’s First Impressions ministry and teaches the Strong & Courageous Sunday School class for single moms.  Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and is currently working on her D.Ed.Min at Southwestern in Family Ministries.

Live for the King of Kings not for the applause of mankind.

Who Said That? Who’s There?

Have you ever been in school and your teacher suddenly announced, “All right close your books and put up your notes- it’s pop quiz time!” Then, in an attempt to ease the panic amongst the students faces, the teacher says, “Don’t worry! You’ll be fine….as long as you’ve been keeping up with your readings.”

Our entire existence on this earth is filled with daily, multiple pop quizzes. We are constantly being tested on what we know to be true.

Think about what has been told to you most recently. What pretty, scripted quote is coming up on your news feed? Is it from God? What “random thought” has been entering into your mind most recently? Is it from God?

Now for the follow up questions: how are we going to know the validity of what is being told to us unless we’ve read the Word of God? How are we going to separate truth from lies unless we’re immersing our mind in the Truth?

The fact is, despite our usual day-to-day comfort, we are in fact in a war against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Consider Ephesians 6:12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

According to this verse, the Apostle Paul says we are in a battle with the “unseen forces of this world’s darkness.” Demons y’all. He’s talking about demons. Demonic attacks are a very real and modern occurrence and it does not have to look like a scene from The Exorcist to be an assault. Most often it is much more subtle than that. They are interested in the long game. Slowly but surely, they constantly plague our minds and try to influence us to turn away from God and His goodness in order rob us of the spiritual blessings God has given us.

Did you catch that? THEY ARE TRYING TO ROB US.

I’m from Texas, born and raised. So, my natural response to that fact is to arm up! Who’s with me? Let’s find out how:

Open Your Textbook

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  II Corinthians 10:5

The Apostle Paul is saying we must analyze everything we’re hearing! And then make what we believe the very thing Christ has said in His Word, or as Paul says at the end of verse 5 “to the obedience of Christ.”

The Bible is a divine weapon that protects our minds from false statements both about God and supposedly from God. But the Word of God does not do us much good if we don’t use it! It’s as useful as a gun in its case or a sword in its sheath.

Our Adversary has convinced the world that this divine weapon is frail and powerless, but the truth is, neither he nor his henchman can oppose it. Would you like to know how Jesus Christ Himself won the battle in the wilderness against the Devil during His earthly ministry? You guessed it. He quoted Scripture in response to the lies the Tempter tried to bait Him with (Matthew 4:1-11). The Devil even took Scripture out of context to use it against Jesus during this time. Even more reason for us to know the Word of God.

Two crucial things we need to know about our enemy: unlike God he is not omniscient and he is not omnipresent. Meaning, he cannot or read our minds and he cannot be in more than one place at a time. Therefore, he uses his workers, fallen angels that we call “demons,” to do his bidding. They also do not know our thoughts but watch our habits and responses to figure out how/when to attack us.

Friends, for too long we have been sitting idly by and letting the enemy win the day to day battles. When the Devil and his demons can influence us because we don’t know God’s truth or more plainly because we don’t give any effort to knowing His truth – that’s an easy win for them.

Don’t let them rob you. Reading the Bible is more important than we think. We must learn it, know it, and apply it in order to pass the pop quizzes of daily life on this earth.

About the Writer:

Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

The Nameless Woman

Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. Romans 16:13

In Romans 16, Paul sent personal greetings to people who were special to him. What had Rufus’ mother done for Paul that she would have been like a mother to him?  Who were the people involved in this verse?

Who was Paul?

As a faithful follower of Jesus, Paul spent his adult life testifying to the truths of Christ. He encountered extreme, relentless, and undeserved persecution. In this one short verse, we learn God provided a place of respite for His weary servant.

Who was Rufus? 

“A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Mark 15:21 (NIV)

Scholars believe Simon became a follower of Jesus Christ after he carried Jesus’ cross. When Simon returned home, it appears his family members also became followers of Jesus.  Simon’s sons, it is believed, grew up to be leaders in the Christian movement and Rufus became a friend to Paul. Paul’s words reveal Rufus’ mother had a special place in his heart. The father helped Jesus, and the mother and son helped Paul. One man’s encounter with Christ changed a whole family!

Who was Rufus’ mother?

Since we don’t know anything about this nameless woman, we can only surmise what she might have done for Paul. Did she provide meals for him, wash his clothes, furnish a comfortable, clean bed so he could rest, listen to his stories of pain and joy over God’s provision and power through difficulties, encourage him to persevere, and pray for him to have courage, strength, tenacity, and safety? We can imagine Paul and Rufus, and Rufus’ mother sitting by the fire as they talked into the night about Jesus and the changed lives as people were coming to faith in the Messiah.

When Paul experienced closed doors and opposition in the towns he visited, Rufus’ mother opened her door and ministered to his needs. She cared, encouraged, listened, and loved as only a mother can. She lived out her faith in selfless deeds of kindness.

We can be encouraged and motivated by this unnamed woman. God uses this one short verse to remind us that what we do matters to Him. When we sing to little ones and their friends, God sees. When we feed noisy, messy teenagers and pray before they eat pizza out of a cardboard box, God is aware. When we’re doing our Bible study, and our daughter and her friends come crashing through the door, how we respond is seen by God. When we make pancakes in colors and shapes for our grandchildren and clean up the sticky syrup, God knows. When we encourage adult children to persevere and trust God despite difficulties, He hears. When we’re babysitting our niece and nephew, and they want to go to the park, God knows I need to be working and can help me make up the time later.

This nameless woman who lived thousands of years ago left a powerful and timeless legacy for us. Oh, God, please help us respond in love to our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their friends! If the friends of our family never remember our name, please help them to have a strong, positive memory of how they felt when they were with us! Give us joy in serving, a kind response when interrupted, gentleness when speaking truth to ears that seem not to be listening, and patience when we mop up spilled drinks and wash piles of dishes. Help us, God, to remember that what we do and say and how we respond and react today are important to you and will matter in eternity.

What was Rufus’ mother’s reward?

We can imagine that when Rufus’ mother entered God’s presence she heard,

Well done, good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23a (NIV)

About the Writer:
Sherry enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, Bible study, and traveling.  She and her husband, David, are Directors of the Sonburst Class at First Baptist Dallas.

The Best Pathway

The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
My perfectly-laid plans for starting a family were not working out according to schedule!  It became obvious that “becoming” a parent definitely was not the easy part!  We prayed earnestly that the Lord would give us a baby.  After about three years, it appeared that there was not going to be an answer for us.  Friends were having, not just one, but two or three babies while we were hoping for just one!  I was disappointed, to say the least.  I WAS NOT MAD AT GOD! I DID NOT TRY TO ARGUE WITH GOD!  But I was definitely disappointed.  I had to come to a point at which I was willing to be content with whatever His plan was for me.  Was this possibly one reason why God delayed answering my prayers?
I didn’t want to be “defined” by childlessness!  I didn’t want to be “the one” who was compared to Sarah, Rachel, or Hannah.  I didn’t want to be the subject of speculation about “whose fault it was” that we didn’t have a child!  I didn’t want pity.  And I didn’t want to talk about it!
Eventually, we decided to pursue adoption.  This process involved a very long wait; we were instructed not to contact the agency after we submitted all the documents and letters of recommendation; they would call us when they were ready to consider our case.  Every day, when I checked the mailbox, I hoped and prayed we would get a letter from the adoption agency—for about TWO YEARS!  Finally, we were invited to a group meeting for prospective parents.  What a great experience that was!  I finally felt comfortable in a setting with other couples who were going through the same disappointments we were, other couples with whom I felt free to talk about the experience we were all sharing.  We were absolutely not alone!!!  And since we were finally reassured that we were “on track,” we felt free to tell all of our family and friends the happy news!  Everyone was thrilled for us and amazed that we had not shared with them sooner.  When we told them we wanted to be sure we were accepted, in case we might be rejected as parents, they all laughed.  From then on, the process sped up exponentially, and, within a few months, we received into our arms, our hearts, and our lives the most beautiful baby boy we had ever seen.  Instantly, we knew that we were his parents and he was in fact our child, loved as much as if he were our own flesh.
Three years later, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl we had ever seen!  And, instantly again, I was in love with her. The prayers that we had lifted up many years before and had almost forgotten, had not been forgotten by God.  In His graciousness, He saw fit to create for us a family both by adoption and by natural birth!  What a great surprise, privilege, and blessing!
You may be struggling with the same or a similar issue. Let me encourage you by sharing some truths I discovered during this process.
  • My trust has to be in the almighty, loving, omniscient, gracious God whose sovereign will is superior to mine and is perfect.    
  • I am never alone. God has promised to be with me always.
  • God’s plans are better than my plans.
  • The time of waiting should be a time of growth, productivity, dependence on God, and gratitude.
  • If the desired answer is not part of God’s plan, that means God’s plan is STILL superior to mine and I must embrace it and anticipate experiencing what He has for me to do.
  • Not everyone has children, gets married, becomes successful, enjoys the love and support of a large family, or lives a trouble-free life. The “best pathway” for one person’s life is not the same as the “best pathway” for everyone else’s.
  • I have value because God considered me valuable enough to give His only Son to redeem me from the curse of sin and to make me His own child. He desires to use me for His glory, and that should be my own desire as well.
  • I already have more blessings in my life than I could possibly enumerate, and God’s grace is sufficient.
  • It was a mistake for me not to share my disappointments with a trusted friend who could have provided loving support during the wait.
  • Sometimes the waiting makes the ultimate answer all the more precious!
  • It is healthy and encouraging to keep busy and to continue to serve the Lord during a time of waiting.

When God answers my prayer, He does it out of His own love and grace.

Remember:
~A prayer answered differently does not equal a prayer unanswered.
~A delayed answer does not equal a prayer unanswered.
~A prayer unanswered does not equal a prayer forgotten.
Don’t be discouraged.  The same amount of time will pass whether you are sad or joyful.  What can you possibly gain by wallowing in sadness and self-pity?  Allow that time to be used for the glory of God!!!  Trust Him to guide you on the path that is best for you!
The comfort and peace which come from trusting God to guide you along the right path can be experienced only if you are TRUSTING GOD!  No one can truly know God’s plan without first being part of God’s family, through putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ.  Sin separates all of us from God and His plan for us until we realize we are sinners and need to be forgiven by the One who lovingly and willingly gave His own life, shed His own blood to bring about atonement for our sins, and was raised from the dead to live forevermore.  The gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins is freely given out of the love and grace of God to everyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Won’t you make that decision today?
About the writer:
Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Study teacher.  For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans who call her “Gigi.”

Christmas Traditions That Point to Jesus

Many Christian moms strive to make sure the Christmas season doesn’t get swept away in commercialism, but is truly a time of joy. What an opportunity we have to celebrate with our family the greatest miracle the world has even known!  God coming to earth as a baby named Jesus to rescue us from the curse of this world is worthy of jubilant celebration. Christian moms know this and desire this for our families, but cutting through the expectations of the season and getting to the heart of Christmas can be difficult. What’s the solution?

There is no formula. What works best for one family doesn’t create a mandate for others to do the same. Some mothers excel at and relish in Pinterest-worthy advent projects.  Others find doing simple things like reading stories that point to Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament best for their family. I humbly share a few things our family does with our young children to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps one of these strikes a chord with you or gives you an idea all your own.

  1. Our girls love playing the “Star from Afar” game. My husband and I move the star every night, and the girls wake up each morning to search for the star. Upon locating it, they move the wise men under the star as they follow it on their path to meet the new King! When my girls wake up Christmas morning the star is over the manger and they along with the wise men find the Savior!
  2. We host an annual Happy Birthday Jesus party, normally on Christmas Eve. It’s small and simple. We have a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. We sing a few Christmas songs and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The children put on a play of the Christmas story using things we have around the house like sheets, sticks, and blankets as costumes.
  3. We snuggle on the couch and watch a YouTube video of Joy Williams song “Here with Us” set to scenes from The Nativity Story.

Children thrive on rhythms and routine. Having a few traditions in your family that clearly point to the wonder and awe of Jesus’ birth will seal in the lives of your children the miracle of Christmas. Celebrate and rejoice!

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.

Cups of Cold Water

I had been a mom for one whole month- long enough to be exhausted and to doubt that I was doing anything right.  That’s when the first note appeared in my mailbox.  About seven months earlier, my best friend, who lived out of state, gave birth to her firstborn.  Knowing that I was pregnant, she celebrated every month of her newborn daughter’s life by writing a letter of encouragement to me.  On my son’s one-month birthday, the first note showed up at just the right time saying, “I know you are exhausted, but you’ve made it a whole month! You’re doing awesome! Keep up the good work!”  And every month after that another note appeared until his first birthday.  Her thoughtfulness and encouraging words gave me confidence each month.  She didn’t have any profound wisdom to share; her notes just were a way of saying “I see you.  You can do this with God’s help.  I’m praying for you.”

Proverbs 25:25 Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.

Oh how her notes were like cups of cold water for my weary soul!

In the book of Acts, we find a man named Joseph who was renamed Barnabas by the apostles. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement,” and so he was.  If it weren’t for Barnabas, Paul may not have become the greatest missionary of the early church.  Acts tells the story of how the apostles were afraid to meet with Paul, knowing his history of persecuting Christians.  Yet Barnabas literally “took hold of him,” brought him to the apostles and told Paul’s story for him.  What an encouragement that must have been to Paul!  To have another person speak on his behalf and believe that his story was worth telling.

Throughout Paul’s first two missionary journeys, Barnabas was his constant companion.  The Bible doesn’t record any of Barnabas’s words, although it does mention that he spoke boldly for the Lord.  Instead, Scripture records over and over again that Barnabas was with Paul, persecuted with him, traveling with him, and (based on his nickname) encouraging him. Barnabas played a large role in supporting Paul so that Paul could successfully share the gospel, even when times were tough (and they often were). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” (Proverbs 18:21).  And Barnabas gave words of life to Paul.

Each of us can be a “Barnabas” for someone else.  We don’t need to have special wisdom or all of the right answers, although we can certainly pray for both.  We just need to walk with others and say “I see you. You can do this with God’s help.”

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.  Proverbs 25:11

Your words have power.  How can you use your words today to bring life, give golden apples, and cups of cold water to someone in need of encouragement?  Be a “Barnabas” to someone today!

About the Writer:
Kelley has been married for 12 years and is a mom to two fun, energetic boys.  A former elementary teacher, she is passionate about studying God’s Word and teaching it to others.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and taking photographs.

A Letter to My Little Ones

To my sweet little ones,

As I rock you and watch your eyes draw heavier with each blink, I softly hum the tune of ‘this little light’ and imagine the world that you will face as you grow. The pervading distortion of truth and evil can be paralyzing, but I see you being a change-maker. A defender of truth. And a spreader of hope.

In scripture we learn about the responsibility and impact of Timothy’s life through Paul’s letters. Timothy was young relative to other leaders of the church, but God used him mightily to guard and protect the gospel for the early growing church.

You too, my child, are never too young to make an impact on the kingdom. Just as Paul encouraged Timothy, I encourage you, “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

When we would pray as you grew inside me, our hearts would swell with anticipation as we thought about the promise of Jeremiah.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

It’s an exciting verse, full of possibilities and the hope that comes with being known and used by God. If you continue that passage, however you see Jeremiah’s concern for being capable and adequate for the role that God had called him to.

But the Lord says to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you… then the Lord reached out his hand and touched [Jeremiah’s] mouth and said to [him], ‘I have put my words in your mouth.’” (Jeremiah 1:7-9)

These verses were true of Jeremiah and are true of you too. You are known. And you are divinely positioned by God. Qualified or not. Capable or not. Those restrictions are overruled by the fact that God is the One who calls you to your purpose. John 15:16 says “You did not choose Me, but I chose your and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit.”

The deep beauty of both of these passages is that you don’t need to have all of the answers. God will fill that gap for you with conviction through the Holy Spirit, the teaching of scripture, and relationships with mentors in the faith. You are a vessel—a carrier of God’s gift to the world. You are stewarding this gift for only a short time.

Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.  Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.  I Timothy 4:15-16

About the Writer:
Audra is mother to two young children and has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She finds joy in sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important roles.

 

Don’t Worry, I’ll fix IT

I’m a fixer.  I fix things.  It’s what I do.  Someone’s got a problem?  Tell me, and I’ll fix it.  My friends even gave me the nickname “Miss Fix It” in high school.  This personality trait can get me into trouble, however.  I have the tendency to attempt to solve the problem immediately in a manner I think is best instead of consulting the Ultimate Fixer, God.  I can be impatient, determined that the problem must be solved ASAP, and convinced that my way is clearly the best.

Abraham’s wife Sarah and I have this trait in common. God has told Abraham and Sarah that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars, despite the fact that they are both very old and at the time childless. We then learn in Genesis 16 that Sarah takes the matter into her own hands and tries to fix it. She sends her slave, Hagar, into her husband’s arms:

“Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Genesis 16:2b

Notice the keyword “I” in that verse. Long story short, this plan doesn’t work out. The results of that decision include hostility, catfights, and homelessness. We may not have much patience but thankfully our sovereign Lord does. He has the patience to let us make mistakes but receive us with open arms afterwards. Even though Sarah tries to fix it, God still blesses her with a son and her and Abraham’s descendants are indeed as numerous as the stars.

As I’ve gotten older and tried to fix oh-so-many things, I’ve learned that life is a lot easier if I sit in the back seat and let Him be the driver. He doesn’t even need me to be the navigator! I can take a nap, drink a Coke, listen to music, and do whatever I want (I’d probably choose the nap option to be honest).  And, that’s not a bad way to live. Consider Jesus’s own words in Matthew 11:28-30 NIV and let His peace wash over you:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The Message translates the last part of verse 30 like this, “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Wow, what a concept! The Creator of the universe doesn’t need me to fix it . . .

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.