Make Disciples Who Make Disciples Who Make Disciples…

Have you ever spent time with a new believer? I had the privilege of taking a new believer who is a new friend to a ladies retreat with me this weekend.  She is a single mom of two teenage boys. And when I say single mom I mean dad is not around or in the picture at all.  She is the one who supports them financially, goes to all teacher meetings, and takes them camping.

She is a breath of fresh air. Her love for her boys is evident.  The Lord’s love for her is evident! He has protected her through difficult times and life choices.  But three months ago, after several years of her boss being bold enough to share the love of Jesus with her and her boys and eventually coming straight on with the gospel, she came to Jesus.  Broken, weary and worn. And boy has it changed her life!

That new found Jesus faith is something to be around. To see her this weekend soaking up every word from the Word.  Asking questions about hard things. Lighting up when she told people her salvation story. Hearing her understand that Jesus isn’t just something you try and give up if it doesn’t work out the way you want.  Making sure she understands that the path with Jesus isn’t all sunshine and roses. Giving her permission to get into that Bible (a great study Bible, a precious gift from her boss who led her to the Lord) and go crazy with pens and pencils and notes!

I’m telling you, it got me fired up!!!!

And at the end when she asked me what she owed me and I told her nothing, my treat, and that maybe someday she could pay it forward for another girl, and her response was, “I’m already saving. I want to bring another newbie along with me next time.”

I just took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Because, yes…Yes! Yes! Yes!  That’s it!!! WHO ARE WE TAKING ON THIS JOURNEY WITH US? She gets it!!!  We need to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples…..

Do you get it?  Who are you discipling?  Yeah, it takes time. And sometimes money.  Sometimes it is emotional draining and sometimes even physically draining. But it’s what we’re called to do:Go therefore and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). It’s not going to happen unless we do it.  If we wait for someone else….well, you know.  You may not be called to be the one who leads the person to Christ but you may be called to be the one who is there to take them to the next step.

Let’s get going!

*I strongly believe men should disciple men and women disciple women

 

 

He Knows My Name!

“Mary.” Jesus spoke her name!  Jesus knew Mary and Mary knew Him.

Mary was the first person Jesus saw and spoke to post-resurrection! Does Jesus love women? Do I even have to ask that?

Dear sister, does Jesus know your name? Is your name written there? Because this life is fleeting. You may be in the midst of diapers, sleepless nights, potty training or endless questions. But believe me. It is fleeting. On the day we stand before Him, because we all will, if He doesn’t know your name, the only other response will be, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” Oh, the sorrow of hearing those words.

Because there is nothing you can do in your own power to make yourself good enough.  None of us is good enough.  None of us is born loving God. We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  And there is only one Savior.  If your “higher power” isn’t Jesus Christ alone, you are being deceived.

He saved Mary Magdalene out of a life of demon possession. He can save you.  Wherever you are. Whatever you have done. You are not beyond saving. Surrender to Him.

It will be the most freeing thing you have ever done!

RELAX!

I was just over “browsing” Pinterest and as post after post about homeschooling methods, plans and products scrolled by I realized how overwhelming it must be for someone who is already nervous about homeschooling.  Moms….Relax! There is no right or wrong way, only YOUR way.

Now, while I wouldn’t recommend a daily diet of Sponge Bob, you aren’t failing your kids if they watch an occasional episode. We like T.V. around here and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I am VERY thankful for Netflix because it gives us a wider range of acceptable shows for our family, but we definitely get our money’s worth out of it.

We tend to be a traditional learning family, only because it is works for me and it generally works for my kids.  This mama loves work books, work sheets, tests and report cards over science experiments and finger painting on a regular basis.  But I have no problem ditching it all some days.   When it is 75 degrees out and we have had a very long Western New York winter, there is nothing better than leaving the books on the table and heading to Dairy Queen.  And no, we don’t take our work with us!

Our kids are pretty good at mimicing.  If we read they will read.  If we spell they will spell.  If we do math they will do math.  If we read God’s Word they will read God’s Word. If we speak kindly they will speak kindly.  So don’t get over worried asking yourself, “Am I doing this right?”  Are you trusting in the One who loves your children more than you do?  Would you fail your kids? Do you think He would let you fail them?

And when it is all said and done on the day we stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He isn’t going to ask us what our SAT scores were. So you won’t fail your kids if they don’t get into Harvard.  But you will have failed them if they do not know who Jesus is.  That doesn’t mean all our kids are going to grow up and love Jesus. That’s between them and the Holy Spirit.  But it is our job to instruct them in the way they should go.

So stop freaking about what you aren’t doing in your homeschool.  If all else fails, buy them a ream of paper, the biggest box of Crayola’s they sell (keep it Crayola, some things aren’t worth skimping on), and read them good books. But keep Jesus first.  Ever.  Always.

Oh, one more thing. Get up as early as you can before your kids.  You need every quiet moment you can get to pray and be in God’s Word and get a headstart on your day before all the action begins.

Brushing up on My M.O.M Degree

All our kids are a blessing are they not?  Every one is different for sure. I thank God for this because He teaches me so much through my children. I don’t really get the apart about sanctification through childbearing, but I am pretty sure it doesn’t stop at childbearing. My children are living reminders of my need for sanctification every single day….especially through these early adolescent years.

I brought my 13 year old’s laundry up and suggested she fold it while we were watching a movie. I also mentioned I would be needing my laptop she was using.  I got an eye roll and no movement. So I walked down the hall mumbling, “I know you won’t do it, so I’ll just put your laundry in your room.”

She rushed down the hall into her room and closed the door.  When I said to come out and fold her laundry in the living room as she had been in her room alone enough today doing school work and pleasure reading, she exited her room with her laundry basket and an attitude. I questioned her on the attitude and she responded.  With tears in her eyes.  ”Because you always make those comments. You, and Dad, and my sister.” “What comments?” I asked.  ”I heard you say, ‘You won’t do it anyway.’”

Ugh. I made my little girl cry.  With my words. Whether I meant to hurt her or not; I made her cry. I responded to her in a way that I would have reprimanded one of her siblings for talking to her. I responded to her in a way that would have hurt my feelings had it come from my husband to me.

And like that toothpaste squeezed from the tube, you can’t get the words back in. I humbled myself immediately to her and told her how sorry I was. I was wrong. I should have handled the situation completely differently to get the same result. She is sitting here folding her laundry, watching a movie about Helen Keller.  I could have gotten the same results with a kind, encouraging word.

Remember, parenting is a learning journey.  Every single day. Don’t think you “got it” because one method worked with one child. Every child is different and has a different love language and a different way in which they feel secure in your love.  What makes every child the same is the need to feel loved and wanted. I am working on this diligently. To make each child feel they are special because they are who God made them and just the way God made them.  Not some little copy of what I was or what I want them to be.

I don’t have a PhD to support my theory.  All I have is  M.O.M.

I’ll shut up now so you can go hug your kids.

 

Be gone, Satan!

I read Matthew 4 this morning.  I have read it before and will read it again.  But today two things stuck out to me.  One is how Satan offered to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would just fall down and worship Satan.  HA!  What a joke!  As if he owned anything to give to Jesus!  He actually was offering to Jesus what His Father already owned!

Then there is Jesus dismissing Satan in verse 10: “Then Jesus said to him, Be gone, Satan!…”  I love that.  Satan is all blah, blah, blah and Jesus is finally like, I’ve had enough.  Go away.  And you know what?  He does.

A little further down in the chapter we see Jesus calling Peter and Andrew and James and John.  Now, this wasn’t the first time these men had seen Jesus. They had been following His ministry.  But what a lesson for us all.  When Jesus called…they followed. Immediately. 

So please remember today that if you are a Jesus follower you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you.  The same Spirit that gave Jesus the power to resist Satan gives us the same power to resist Satan. And take time today to listen for the voice and call of God.  And if you hear Him, don’t delay.  Follow His call. Immediately. You will be glad you did!

Please, let’s get real

Can we please get real?  Can we tell people the truth when we invite them to be Jesus followers? How many times have we heard the great “health and wealth” line?  How many times have we told people that coming to Jesus will bring them a peace and joy and life like they have never experienced before? This may be true, just not like they are expecting…

Do we make it sound like their problems will disappear at the foot of the cross? We have to STOP!  What disappears at the foot of the cross is our SIN.  Jesus takes the burden of our sin upon Himself.  He has already done that.  But the sin that is in the world does not go away.

Matthew 5:45 says it rains on the just and on the unjust.

Romans 5:3 “Not only so but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

What about Job?  Remember him?

Forty-two time sufferings is used in the New Testament.  ”Happy”? Twenty times total in the whole Bible.

We need to make sure people know what they are saying “Yes” to!  Jesus Christ IS the answer.  He says in John 14 6 “I am the way, the truth, the life and NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.”  And that is the FACT.

But I could fill this post with Jesus followers who right now who are going through the trial of their lives.  They are walking a path that is anything but happy.  They are going to their Father with heavy hearts, tears and weariness. But they are clinging to Him because they know amidst the storm, HE is their lifeline. Because if it was about how they feel instead of what they know, they would have ditched this Jesus thing.

So it isn’t about avoiding the pain.  Why?  Because that’s impossible. It’s about having a Father who understands through the pain. Because wherever you are, He has been there already.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
Hebrews 2:9

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
I Peter 1:6

So get out there and tell people about the saving power of Jesus Christ. But make sure you don’t “trick” them into something Jesus never promised. Give them the truth. This may be the hardest path you’ve ever walked. But in the end, it is oh so worth it.

Follow the Leader

What do we tell our kids oh so often?  Don’t follow the crowd.  Stand out.  Be different.  Not so different advice to ourselves as adults. But when we are talking about Jesus, that game changes. He is the one we ARE to imitate.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  When it comes time to answer the question, who do I want to act like? the answer isn’t your best friend, the leader of your ladies Bible study, the head deacon, your pastor, or your favorite blogger.  The answer is Jesus.

It is the time when we are called to follow the Leader.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow Me, Jesus said…

Matthew 8:22 “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 9:9 “Follow me…”

Matthew 10:38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 19:21 “…Then come, follow Me.”

This is just the Gospel of Matthew.

As you hit the floor this morning:

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…Joshua 24:15

Isn’t Adam’s Race Obvious?

The hardest thing during all this media enraged racial tension junk as a Christian law enforcement family has been to keep our children safe from racial tainting. As they see one group hating on another group they just don’t get it.

Hand of God reaching out to Adam who receives it

You see, we staunchly believe that God created Adam from the dust of the ground.  ”So God created man in His image; in the image of created He him, male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27).  He created one Adam, not one Adam of every race.  Isn’t Adam’s race already obvious?  He was of the

HUMAN RACE

Yep, that’s it. We believe in one race created by the sovereign God of the universe.  From the dust of the ground.  White?  Black?  Asian?  Hispanic?  HUMAN.

So our focus is to remind our children that these issues are about crime not color.

I don’t know one police officer who wakes up in the morning looking forward to killing someone that day whether in self defense or in the defense of someone else.  It is in their very being to protect & serve.  But I know lots of police officers, probably every single one, who wake up and look forward to coming home at the end of that shift.  They hope that they won’t have to kill and that they won’t be killed.

And to every family who knows what this feels like, who has lost a loved one because of the badge on their chest, I salute you.  I pray for you and thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice.

My favorite phrase I have seen going around in the past week is this, “It isn’t a SKIN problem, it’s a SIN problem.”    Please do not forget who we are fighting:

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” Ephesians 6:12, The Message

All the kevlar in the world won’t save us from this fight, but the armor of God will:

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

December truly is the most wonderful time of the year around our house. I love Christmas, celebrating the birth of my Savior; I love Easter, celebrating the resurrection of my Savior!  And I love the first week in December.  It is when my husband and I celebrate our anniversary.  We’ve been celebrating for 26 years and it never gets dry, stale, or old.  For the past five years we have gone away for two-three days.  And I tell you, I look forward to that for the two months before like my kids look forward to Christmas.

And to us it is a holiday, a holy day.  Because the day we took our wedding vows we did just that, we vowed, we made a covenant before God and our witnesses that “til death do us part.”  And every day we wake up aware of that covenant and take it very seriously.  We wake up every day and choose to love one another.And I couldn’t feel more blessed to walk through life, the good times and the bad, with the one God hand picked just for me.

And then after we return home we have one more day of school before our extended Christmas break.  And I get really excited about that too! For us that means a daily routine from December 8th until Christmas: An advent Scripture reading, Christmas fiction read aloud, a Christmas craft/project or act of kindness, a Christmas recipe, and a Christmas movie. We take our celebration seriously! Stepping back from the normal daily routine, enjoying one another’s company, and relishing in the season of our Savior’s birth has completely changed the Christmas season for us over the past two years.

I hope you have much to celebrate this Christmas season!