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Psalm Friday

Victory is Coming!
Psalm Friday
Psalm 21, continued

The last time we were together for Psalm Friday we continued in our journey of Psalm 21. Today we will complete this complete this leg of our journey. If you are joining us for the first time today, WELCOME! We are so blessed and humbled to have you as our guest and pray that the Lord speaks to you in awesome ways through His Word.

I would encourage each of you to pray before we get started. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 21 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Here is a brief recap of what we have looked at thus far in this beautiful Psalm: Psalm 21 is a Psalm of David. It was penned and sung by David during his times of praising and rejoicing in the LORD. In the first two verses of this Psalm we see King David rejoicing greatly in the salvation and strength the LORD had blessed him with. He had desired to be saved from the hand of his enemies and God had indeed rescued him; not only from the human enemy but also from the hand of the prince of the darkness, Satan. In verses three- six we answered this question: “why should one value his/her salvation a gazillion times more than anything else in life?” The answer: because He has met us with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon our head. The Lord has given us life eternal; He has clothed us with glory, honor, majesty, and the righteousness of Christ; and He has blessed us with the privilege of living in His presence forever. Praise His name!

David began this Psalm by looking back upon and rejoicing in his salvation: “The king shall have joy in Your strength , O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! (verse 1). Now he looks forward with faith and hope upon what God is going to continue to do for him: “For the king trusts in the LORD (verse 7). Because David trusted in the LORD he knew with total assurance that he would not be moved. The storms could rage around him, the enemies could come against him, but nothing could shake his faith in the Most High God. His feet had been set upon the solid rock and he would not be moved.
“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry
clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”
Psalm 40:2, NKJV

I believe verses eight-thirteen to be an unleashing of the wrath of God upon those who have plotted against Him in hopes of thwarting His plan for the redemption of mankind. Try as they might the enemies of God cannot hide. El Roi, the God Who Sees, sees and knows all. The enemies of God may run from Him for a season, but in the end the God of the universe will swallow them up in His wrath. God will ultimately destroy His enemy and the enemies offspring by casting them into the eternal fire of hell’s fierce fury (Revelation 20:10, 14, 15).

“Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength!” (Psalm 21:13a) In conclusion of Psalm 21 God is exalted because of and in His strength alone. Only the Most High God could defend His people and put an end to the oppression of the enemy.

“We will sing and praise Your power.” (Psalm 21:13b) As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the awesome privilege of joining in the eternal praise of the Most High God. Can you imagine the day when we will gather around the throne of God and lift our voices in one accord proclaiming the glory and honor and majesty of El Shaddai, God Almighty.

“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in
heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the
Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged
the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has
avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.’ Again they said,
‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!
Revelation 19:1-3, NKJV

In this beautiful Psalm of David we have seen the ultimate triumph of God over His enemies that is to come and the universal song of victory that will be sung by all those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ! Hallelujah to the Lamb who sits on the throne!


Fleshing out the Word

In continuing to look at what Scripture teaches us as parents about the spiritual up-bringing of our children let's look once again at Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series under the topic 1 Samuel.

In verse 7 of Deuteronomy 6, Scripture tells us that we are to be diligently teaching our children the ways of God. But, how? How do we teach our children God's Word, commands, precepts, and statutes? We are given the answer to this question right here in this verse: we are to talk of them when we sit our house. We are to be talking about God's Word with our children. Our homes should always be filled with the sweet melody of Scripture.

I have come to believe that there's a big difference in just reading God's Word together versus actually taking the time to sit down with my kids and talking about what God's Word means and how it can be applied to a particular situation. I think the difference comes when we are teaching them to "flesh out" what they are reading in the Word.

For instance~ a big verse at our house right now is Ephesians 4:29.

"Say only kind words; words that will encourage and not hurt.”
Ephesians 4:29

My two oldest kiddos don't always enjoy each other's company. Sometimes this leads to me putting on my referee's hat and helping them work through their little spat. If I just throw out to them, "Ephesians 4:29 says..." they just look at me like I'm crazy. So, instead of always quoting Scripture to them, I've started teaching them how to flesh out the Word. Here's how we fleshed out Ephesians 4:29.

They each had to sit down and write 5 reasons why they loved their sibling. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at some of their answers.
"I love Hannah because she plays with me."
"I love Hannah because she helps me."
"I love Will because he makes me laugh."
"I love Will because he protects me."

Just writing these statements on a piece of paper was not enough though- we had to do something with them. I had them sit face-to-face and tell the other one what it was about them that they loved. They had to verbally speak these kind words so that the other one could hear them. At first they were a little hesitant, but by the end they were laughing and joking with each other and had gone well beyond the 5 things on their lists. They ended with a hug, a kiss, and an "I love you". It was a definitely a Kodak moment.

My point here is this- Deuteronomy 6:7b says we are to sit and talk about God's Word with our children; to diligently teach them what the Word says and how to flesh it out. It's not enough to just have God's Word in our homes. Lots of people have Bibles and I dare say that many of those Bibles are on a shelf or tucked away in a box collecting dust. It is our responsibility to sit down with them, talk about and help them understand the meaning behind God's Word and teach them how to flesh it out.

What verses are you and your kiddos learning to flesh out right now? I'd love to hear from you.


Little boys and their Meerkats

Sunday night my five year old was helping me wash dishes. We were in a hurry because the Meerkat Manor movie was coming on. As we washed the dishes we had an interesting conversation. This is how it went:

Me: "We need to hurry because the movie is coming on soon."

Son: "What movie?"

Me: "The movie about the Meerkats. Remember Flower and her family? (Flower was the head matriarch of the Meerkat clan)

Son: "Oh, yeeeaaahhh! Well, we had a Meerkat on the house today."

Me: "Uh, we did?"

Son: "Yep. It couldn't get down so I had to call the fire department to bring their big ladder to get him down."

Me: "Hummm. What was this Meerkats name?"

Son: "Uhhhh. Jimmy Johnson."

Me: "Jimmy Johnson? That's interesting. Where were dad and I when all this was going on?"

Son: "You guys were camping out in the woods so I had to take care of it all by myself."

Me: "Well, I do apologize that we weren't around to help you."

Son: "Yea, it's ok. I was fine."

This kid has an imagination the size of Texas. He keeps me laughing and wondering where in the world he comes up with these things. He informed me this morning that he ended up having to call the fishermen to bring their nets so that he could catch the Meerkats but they got away. So, you better be on the lookout for "a ton of Meerkats" that are on the loose.

Take some time today to enjoy your children. They are truly a blessing from the Lord.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of
the womb is a reward."
Psalm 127:3


Psalm Friday

Clothed with Righteousness
Psalm Friday
Psalm 21, continued

The last time we were together for Psalm Friday we began looking at Psalm 21. Today we will continue in our study of this beautiful Psalm. If you are joining us for the first time today, WELCOME! We are so blessed and humbled to have you as our guest and pray that the Lord speaks to you in awesome ways today through His Word.

Here is a brief recap of what we have looked at thus far: Psalm 21 is a Psalm of David. It was penned and sung by David during his times of praising and rejoicing in the salvation he had been blessed with by his God. In the first two verses of this Psalm we see the Psalmist David rejoice greatly in the salvation and strength the LORD had blessed him with. He had desired to be saved from the hand of his enemies and God had indeed rescued him; not only from the human enemy but also from the hand of the prince of the darkness, Satan. Psalm 21 leads us up to the very steps of the throne of God in preparation for Psalm 22 which will escort us to the foot of the cross.

I left you with the question last week, “why should we value our salvation a gazillion times more than our spouses, our children, our families, friends, etc…? Today we are going to (hopefully) answer that question. Let’s start in verse 3.

“3) For You have meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of
pure gold upon his head. 4) He asked life from You, and You gave it to him-
length of days forever and ever. 5) His glory is great in Your salvation; honor
and majesty You have placed upon him. 6) For You have made him most blessed
forever; you have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.”
Psalm 21:3-6, NKJV

Here’s the answer to our question: why should we value our salvation a gazillion times more than anything else? Because He has met us with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon our head. The Lord has given us life eternal; He has clothed us with glory, honor, majesty, and the righteousness of Christ; and He has blessed us with the privilege of living in His presence forever.

Look with me at Luke 15:11-32. Here we find the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus to an audience made up mostly of Jews. A certain man had two sons who knew they would one day receive an inheritance from their father. The younger son asked for his portion of the inheritance and his father divided his possessions between his boys. The younger son left home and proceeded to squander away all that his father had blessed him with. I find it interesting that in verse 13 God’s Word says, “he wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Prodigal means exceedingly or recklessly wasteful. This younger son took all that his father had blessed him with and wasted every bit of it. He had nothing left to show of his inheritance. In fact, in the end he was out back slopping hogs and starving to death. For Jesus to throw in there that this young son was feeding hogs was absolutely degrading to His Jewish audience. Swine were considered, by the Jew, to be the worst of the unclean animals. Scripture doesn’t give us a time frame for how long it took this young boy to realize his squandering of his blessings was wrong. This time of “wilderness wandering”, if you will, left him literally bankrupt and hungry. It was at this point, that he was able to see his situation for what it was; sin and rebellion. He realized that he had sinned against God his heavenly Father and also his earthly father. What was about to come next in this parable, no one in Jesus’ audience was prepared for.

In this day and age, the Jewish community had a way of punishing sons who lost the family inheritance. The Jerusalem Talmud and the Dead Sea Scrolls talk of what is known as a qetsatsah ceremony. Members of the wayward son’s village would gather together and perform this ceremony. This was a ritual that consisted of filling a large pot with burned nuts and burned corn and then breaking it in front of the guilty party. As the pot shattered, the people would shout, “____________ is cut off from his people.” This statement would be the cue for the wayward son to leave his village for good. (John Mark Ministries as taken from Christianity Today, 1998, by Kenneth E. Bailey)

To the surprise of Jesus’ audience, the father in the story didn’t react to his son as the listener’s expected. Instead of waiting at home for his wayward son to come crawling back begging for forgiveness, as any other self-respected Middle Eastern father would have done, the father in Jesus’ story is looking with great anticipation for the return of his precious son. I can just imagine that day after day he stood at the front door of his home looking toward the horizon hoping and praying for the return of his son. And one day, it happened. This father who loved his son more than words can express saw his son from a long way off making that journey home. As soon as the father lays his eyes on his son, he turns around goes in the house. Uh, no! He runs as fast as he can (keep in mind, this father was probably up in age), throws his arms around his son, and showers his face with kisses of love. The father acts quickly and effectively to prevent his fellow villagers from organizing a qetsatsah ceremony to ban his son from the village for good. Kenneth Bailey goes on the say in his article, how magnificent the sight of this father running to his son would have been:

Traditional Middle Easterners, wearing long robes, do not run in public. They never have. To do so would be deeply humiliating. The father runs knowing that in so doing he will deflect the attention of the community away from his ragged son to himself. People will focus on the extraordinary sight of a distinguished, self-respecting landowner humiliating himself in public by running down the road revealing his legs.

This father was overjoyed to see the sight of his son coming over the hill. He couldn’t wait to greet him. He had anticipated this moment for a long time. He threw a huge party in celebration of his son’s return.

Here’s what I especially want you to see today. This father placed the best robe he had, which would have been reserved for the guest of honor, on his tired, hunger sons body; a ring, symbolizing authority, on his hand; and sandals, that would not have been worn by slaves, on his feet which shows us that this son had been completely restored into his father’s fellowship. This wayward prodigal son had been met with blessings of goodness and had been clothed with honor and majesty. This weary son who had been humiliated beyond humiliation was now glad of heart in the presence of his father. He had been restored back into right relationship with his father. This father saw past the filth and rebellion of his son, saw down to the depths of his heart, and blessed his young son with the very best that he had.

In this parable we find reason to value our salvation more than anything else in life. Our heavenly Father has clothed us with majesty and honor. God looks past the filth that fills our hearts and lives, and peers down deep into the depths of our souls and sees only what He created us to be. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of His precious Son you and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ Himself and have been blessed with the privilege of eternal living in right fellowship with our Father.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10, NKJV

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
*Do your value you salvation a gazillion times more than anything else in life?

*Have you wasted away blessings your Father has given you? Are you using the gifts and talents He gave you to bring honor and glory to His name?

*Do you need to come back to Him today? Are you in the middle of a time of wilderness wondering? Sweet friend, He is waiting for you today with arms open wide ready to receive you back into His fellowship. God the Father so desires to clothe you with glory, honor, majesty, and with the righteousness of His precious Son whose blood was shed just for you. Receive His love and forgiveness today and let’s celebrate.
I would love to hear how the Lord has spoken to you through this Psalm. Please leave me a comment so that we can all learn from each other. Love to all of you.


Please join me in praying for...

Please join me in praying for Steven Curtis Chapman and his family in the tragic loss of his youngest daughter whom they adopted from China. My heart goes out to them as they are trying to make sense of what has just happened in their family. Let's join together as a united force and stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters today and in the days to come.

Though we don't understand why these things happen our God knows. He never gives us more than we can handle and His plans are not to destroy us, but are to give us a hope; a hope in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A hope that because of the death, burial, and resurrection of His precious Son will we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, will one day stand with Him in heaven and rejoice for eternity.

Please join me in praying for this precious family.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD.
They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11


In My Heart

Let’s continue today looking at what Scriptures teaches us as parents about our role in the Spiritual rearing of our children. If you are joining us for the first time, you can check out the other post’s in this series of devotionals from 1 Samuel here, here, here, here, here, and here…..We’ll pick up today where we left off last time in Deuteronomy chapter 6 looking at verse 6.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your
Deuteronomy 6:6, NKJV

God’s Words, His commands, precepts, statutes and ordinances are to be engraved upon our hearts. The only way for this to happen is for us to be actively and purposefully memorizing His Word.

“Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against
Psalm 119:11, NKJV

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my
meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my
enemies; for they are ever with me.”
Psalm 119:97-98, NKJV

You and I are to have God’s Words ever before us, whether physically, with our Bible always open, or intellectually, with His Word in the forefront of our minds because we have committed it to memory. We are to do this so that our obedience becomes an obedience based on love and devotion to Him and not out of legalism.

In verse 7 we find our third command (the first two commands are found in verse 1 and verse 5): “You shall teach them diligently to your children…” I was curious to know what the word diligent meant. I looked it up in Webster’s Dictionary and this is what I found: diligent- preserving and careful in work; hard-working, done with careful steady effort, painstaking, busy. We should be hard at work carefully teaching our children about the Lord. Every day, all day, everywhere we go and in everything we do, God should be the center. BUT, in order for us to teach them about the Lord, we must know and be learning about Him ourselves. The Lord showed me a verse several years ago in the book of Ezra that I have committed to memory. He clearly showed me the progression of what His teachings to me should look like in my life.

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and
to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
Ezra 7:10, NKJV

Here’s the progression God showed me; first, I am to seek God’s Law- I am to be in His Word studying, meditating, and memorizing Scriptures; second, I am to be fleshing out what He is teaching me- whatever it is God is telling me to do, I am to be completely obedient to Him; lastly, after the first two things have been done, then I am to teach others what He has taught me, because it’s only at this point that I have something to teach. Do you see the progression of things? Study- practice- then teach!

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
*Are you hiding God’s Word in your heart? What verses are you memorizing right now? Is there an area in your life where you are struggling right now? Find verses in God’s Word that speak to those areas and begin committing them to memory.

For example:
Struggling with your speech- Psalm 19:14 and 1 Peter 3:10-11
Struggling with your thoughts- Philippians 4:8 and Romans 12:2
Struggling with anger- Romans 8:8 and Psalm 4:4
Struggling with try to please others- Galatians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Need a little comfort- 2 Corinthians 1:4 and Hebrews 4:16
Need a little wisdom- Proverbs 2:3-5 and James 1:5; 3:17

I can assure you that whatever it is you are dealing with right now, God’s Word can and will speak to it if you will take the time to dig in and listen to what He says to you.

*Are you diligently teaching your children about the Lord? Every day, all day, everywhere you go and in everything you do, is God smack dab in the center?

*Are you studying God’s Word for yourself? Are you daily in the Word digging for those golden nuggets of truth? Are you being obedient to what God is telling you? Is He showing you areas in your life that need a little cleaning and tidying up? Are you cleaning up and getting rid of those things in your life that are unholy? Are you spilling forth upon others what God has filled you up with?

Precious Father, thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and Your grace is sufficient for this moment. Show me those areas in my life that need to be cleaned up and please give me the strength to get rid of those things/ activities that are unholy. Fill me up so that I can spill forth your love, grace, and mercy upon those around me. I commit to You today to get into Your Word, flesh out what You teach me and then purposefully teach my children about You. I love You and my desire is to please You in all that I do. Amen.


Then Sings My Soul Saturday

Oh, Father. Thank You that You are full of mercy and grace. You have redeemed me from a deep pit of sin and I will ever praise Your name. You are the one that I love and adore. You have healed my broken heart and set my feet on solid ground. You are worthy of all honor and glory and praise. I love you and worship you today.


Psalm Friday

Praisin' and Rejoicin'
Psalm Friday
Psalm 21

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 21 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Psalm 21 is a Psalm of David. It was penned and sung by David during his times of praising and rejoicing in the salvation he had been blessed with by his God. We could label it as a “Royal Triumphant Ode to the King of Kings.” David references several times, himself as the king, but this Psalm focuses more so on the Kingship of Jesus Christ and our profit of His Lordship over us. It benefits us much to crown not ourselves with glory, but instead crown Him with the glory due His name because of our salvation, sing of His everlasting, unconditional love, and humble ourselves beneath His almighty power. Psalm 21 leads us up to the very steps of the throne of God in preparation for Psalm 22 which will escort us to the foot of the cross.

John MacArthur divides this Psalm into two parts; part 1 being a thanksgiving for a victory and part 2 being an anticipation of future victories in the Lord. When I first read that, I thought, “a victory over what? What kind of victory is David rejoicing over?” He is rejoicing in the fact that God has saved him from the enemy and blessed him with eternal salvation. David says in verse 1, “and in Your salvation how greatly shall he (David) rejoice!”

Today we aren’t going to move beyond verses 1 and 2, because I want us to grasp what the Psalmist is saying here. Here are a few things the Lord showed me in these verses.
*David begins this Psalm saying, “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD.” This is what I take this to mean: “in You, Lord- Your strength is my joy- I will rejoice in the salvation You have blessed me with.” What was David’s joy? God’s strength. Why? Because in his weakness, God had been strength to him and for him. The weaker we are, the more the grace and power of God shines through.

“And He said to me, ‘My (Jesus) grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9a, NKJV

*David recognized that his salvation had nothing to do with anything he had done. It wasn’t at all about him but rather all about the Lord.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV

*David wasn’t just a little bit happy over his salvation, he was doing some serious praisin’ and rejoicin’ before the Lord. I was curious to know what the actual definition of rejoice was in the original Hebrew language; this is what it means, “to spin around (under the influence of violent emotion). Webster’s Dictionary defines rejoice in this way, “to experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations.” When David said he would rejoice in the salvation God had blessed him with he didn’t mean he was going to sit around with a sour look on his face, hands folded nicely in his lap. No sir! When David rejoiced in the Lord he was up on his feet dancing and spinning and twirling before the Lord with a gladness of heart that cannot be measured. He was beyond excited about his salvation! David’s salvation meant everything to him and it was evident by his outward display of the transformation that had taken place within his heart. Nothing could compare to his salvation. His heart’s desire (verse 2) was for God to save him from his enemy and God had done that for him. David couldn’t help but lifts his hands in praise.

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
*How often do you rejoice in your salvation? Does your salvation mean everything to you or have you all but forgotten the moment the Lord rescued you from an eternity of being seperated from Him?
*In your day to day life, are you walking in your own strength, trying to accomplish all that needs to be done on your own, or are you following in the Lord's footprints allowing Him to lead and guide your every step?
*Do you value all that God has done for you? To value something means that you hold it close to your heart; you protect it, you cherish it above anything else. Think about the things in your life you value (the earthly things- work with me here, I’m trying to prove a point). We value our spouses, our children, our families, friends, etc… out of all the earthly things that we value, we should value our salvation a gazillion times more. “Why?” you ask. Oh, I’m so glad you did! And, we will answer that question next time we meet.

Until then, dear friend, dance and spin and twirl around before the Lord praising and rejoicing in the God of your salvation. Never let your heart forget the wonder of the cross.


Happy Birthday, Little Princess


Exactly one year ago today at this very moment, God rained down from heaven blessings of joy upon our family. Our littlest princess was born and has added much happiness to our family. We had not planned on adding a third kiddo to the mix, but God had other plans.

Precious angel, words can never even begin to say how blessed we are to have you as a part of our family. You make us laugh and your smile warms our hearts. We love to watch you dance when you hear music and cheer you on when you stand on those wabbly legs. Your big sister and big brother love for you to chase them around the chair and they enjoy doing silly things to make you laugh. You have completed our family. God knew what He was doing when blessed us with you. We pray that you grow up to be the worshipper of God that your very name reflects. You are our heart and our joy beyond measure. We love you the whole world. Happy Birthday!

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." Psalm 139:14

It's My Privilege!

At our last look of 1 Samuel we saw that Hophni and Phinehas, son’s of Eli the priest, had been labeled as “corrupt sons of Belial”. These two boys grew up in a home that was busy about doing the “things” of God, but had quite possibly been too busy doing God’s work outside the home that those inside the home had been overlooked. I ended that time with this statement, “Now, I as a parent, I am not solely responsible for my children’s relationship with the Lord- but Scripture clearly teaches what role I do play in the spiritual rearing of my children.” Let me clarify that a little better: my children will one day stand before the Lord, as will I, and answer directly to Him about how they have lived their lives, under His leading or according to their own selfish desires. It is my responsibility and privilege as their parent to bring them up in home that has allowed God to be its foundation. It is my responsibility and privilege to teach them the ways of God, to love them with the love of the Lord, and to discipline them according to God’s Word. Ultimately, I cannot make them follow the Lord, but it is my responsibility to do all that I can to aid them in traveling down the straight and narrow.

Today we are going to begin looking at what Scriptures teaches us as parents about our role in the Spiritual rearing of our children. Let’s begin in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, a familiar passage to most in regards to teaching our children the ways of God. This passage is known as the Shema, which in Hebrew means “hear”. It has become the Jewish confession of faith and is recited, along with Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41, twice a day by the devout Jew.

My prayer it that as we dig into these verses we will all walk away with some new nuggets of truth. Let’s get started.

4) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6) And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NKJV

I have read this passage numerous times and have even taught on it before, but this time the Lord has made it come alive to me. Don’t you just love it when that happens? “For the word of God is living and powerful…” Hebrews 4:12a

The Lord specifically showed me this: twenty times in five verses the words “You” or “Your” are used. This tells me that God isn’t talking/ commanding my pastor, my child’s Sunday School teacher, or mission Friends teacher to be the one to teaches my children about Him. Now, don’t get me wrong, God does call these people to these roles and they do play a huge part in the spiritual lives of my children, but I AM THE ONE WHO IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE TO GIVE MY CHILDREN A SOLID BIBLICAL FOUNDATION AND INSTILL WITHIN THEM A LOVE FOR JESUS- verse 5 says “YOU SHALL…”

Verse 4a, the first command.
This passage starts out with a command, a verb, an action word. HEAR. “Hear, O Israel”; “Hear, God’s people.” Hear in the original Hebrew language is the word shama. It is a word that means to obey. God, first and foremost, is instructing His people, the elder, the adult, the parent, to hear Him and obey Him. He is saying to His people, “Listen up. Open up your ears, minds, and hearts to Me. I've got some things to tell you that are of utter importance.” What does God have to say?

Verse 4b- In this verse we find out what it is God is wanting us to hear: “The LORD our God, the LORD is one!”
This can also be translated from the original language to read, “the LORD is our God, the LORD alone (the only one). Here’s what I believe God to be saying, “Hey guys, I AM the One and only true and living God. There is no other besides Me. Baal won’t do it for you and Ashera want cut it. I, alone, am God. Period. The end. That’s all she wrote.”

Verse 5, the second command. “You shall love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, and with ALL your strength.” (emphasis added)
This is an intimate kind of love; a kind of love that has no boundaries and no limits. It is an unconditional, wholehearted, totally devoted kind of live. We are to love God will all that is within us. It’s not a half-hearted kind of love; an if I feel like it today kind of love; an if it works/ fits into my plans today kind of love. This kind of intimate love cannot be expressed in any material way, but is demonstrated in how we live our daily lives. This command is ours first. As a parent, I am to love God with every ounce of my being and be seeking to please Him in all that I do BEFORE I can lead my children in that way. All that is within me is to be completely filled up to overflowing with the Almighty God so that it spills forth from my life onto and into the lives of those closest to me. If my life isn’t filled up to overflowing, what am I going to give to my family? My dad used to say, “You can’t get blood from a turnip.” You and I can’t give or show Jesus to our families if we ourselves have no Jesus to give.

Let’s stop here for today. Take some time to examine your heart. Be honest. Allow God to speak to you. Be ready to listen and obey.
*Are you making the most of the responsibility God has called you to in being the primary person in the life of your children to teach them about the Lord or have you left that up to someone else?

*Are you listening to God speak? Are you obeying what He is telling you to do?

*Is God the only God in your life or have you allowed other things or people to become your god?

*Do you love God with every ounce of your being? Does your lifestyle reflect that love?

*Are you spending time with the Lord, daily filling yourself up, so that you have something to give to your family?

I have to tell you that the Lord has been speaking to me loud and clear about this very thing the past few months. He has called me to do some drastic things that, to be honest, my flesh didn’t want to do. But, my heart’s desire is to please the Lord completely. I have done what He asked me to do and am just waiting with excitement to see what comes next. Sometimes obeying God requires that we give up something in order to gain more. We got to trust Him totally believing that He knows best.


Psalm Friday

I will boast in the name of the LORD
Psalm Friday
Psalm 20

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 20 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

"Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7

The word boast means to have confidence in, to trust in. To boast in God's name means to have confidence in His name. In biblical times a name represented a person's character. God's name represents His character, His attributes, His nature. To know His name is to know Him. To boast in His name is to have confidence in who He is! There is something interesting I glean from this verse. In times of battle a soldier would enter onto the battle field with his horse and chariot. The horse would go before him, leading him into the battle. The chariot encompassed his body, protecting him from the enemy. This is what I find interesting and so like God. We are daily in a battle; not a physical battle on a battle field (although sometimes we fill like it); but, a daily battle with the rulers of darkness, the enemy, Satan (Ephesians 6:12). Who goes before us? God. Who is preparing the way? God. What did God do for the children of Israel? He went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). I was reading this morning from Exodus 33 where Moses said to God (I'm paraphrasing here), "I'm not goin' anywhere, unless You go with me." I don't know about you, but I want God going before me; I want Him leading the way. I want Him preparing the path I am to travel down. Another thing about being in this daily battle, somehow, someway we've got to be protected from the enemy. Soldiers used chariots, but I'm afraid I don't have one; do you? So what do we do? We absolutely put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-20).

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints- and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:14-10

We can also be confident in the fact that the Angel of the LORD, Jesus Christ Himself, encamps around us.

“The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
Psalm 34:7

He hedges us in and builds up a fence around us to protect us from the enemy and to keep us from evil (Job 1:10; Job 3:23; Job 19:8; Lamentations 3:7a).

“Have You (God) not made a hedge around him (Job), around his household, and all around that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”
Job 1:10

“He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out.”
Lamentations 3:7a

Knowing that God had has gone before me preparing the way and that He's surrounding me, keeping me protected from the enemy gives me reason to boast in my God. Boast in the Lord today for being your protector (Psalm 121:15) and for preparing the way for you (Jeremiah 29:11)

Father, today I stand and glory in You. You are worthy of all my praise. Thank You for protecting me from the enemy. Help me to rise up each and everyday and put on the armor of the Lord so that I am ready to stand and fight. May I walk down the path You have set before me with confidence because Your way is right. Amen.


Which comes first- family or ministry?

1 Samuel 2:12-17

When we last visited 1 Samuel, Elkanah and Hannah had come to worship the Lord and to give their precious son, Samuel, back to Him as an offering of worship. In the presence of her son, Hannah prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to her God for all that He had done for her. The three, Elkanah, Hannah and Samuel, worshipped the Lord together for one last time, then Samuel was left there to serve the Lord for the rest of his days.

At first glance there seems to be a very odd transition between 1 Samuel 2:1-11 and 1 Samuel 2:12-17. We go from a family that is worshipping the Lord together to the family of the priest whose son’s are labeled as corrupt. I believe this to be a very clear example of what it looks like to serve the Lord out of duty versus serving the Lord of out of love.

Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas were actively involved in the “things” of God, but were by no means walking the talk. They were corrupt sons of Belial (In 2 Corinthians 6:15, this is a name used for Satan) a name that denoted worthlessness. Even though their daddy was the priest, these two boys did not know the Lord. They had no personal relationship with Him. They were part of the generation of Israel who did not know God.

In Judges 2:7-10, we see that the first people who lived in the Promised Land remembered all of the miracles God had performed and all the judgments He has passed down. This generation of people was devoted to the Lord. The next generation of people, their children, were ignorant to all of their parent’s experiences and were more easily persuaded to sin. Unlike their parents, they did not know God personally.

Why did Hophni and Phinehas, sons of the priest, not know God? In Deuteronomy 31:9-13, Moses wrote down the law and gave it to the priests who were to be the keepers and protectors of it. Every seven years the law was to be read to all the people- the men, women, children, and little, little ones- to remind them of who God was and how they were to be living their lives before Him. So, if Eli had direct access to the Law, why didn’t his sons know God?

~Could it be possible that Eli, although he was the priest- a man of God- spent more time serving the people and performing his priestly duties that he failed to serve his family?

~Could it be that Hophni and Phinehas were given way too much “free time” while dad was busy preparing for the annual feasts leading their hearts to become bitter and indifferent to the ways of the Lord? 1 Samuel 2:17 says that they came to despise the offering of the LORD. Not only was the priest responsible to represent the people to God, but he was responsible to represent God to the people. Hophni and Phinehas had come to despise their God given role and were just going thought the motions. How could they be an accurate reflection of a loving God if their hearts had been removed from the equation? They were serving out of duty, not out of a love stemming from a pure heart for the Lord.

~Could it be that hearing the Law read every seven years just isn’t enough? What about all the time in between? What goes on during those years? Was Eli so busy with “life” that the focus on God’s Law was lost during years one through six?
Before I go any further let me just say that the Lord has convicted me of this lately and He and I are re-working my schedule.

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
~Are you too busy serving those around you that you’ve failed to serve your family? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in working for the Lord that we forget those who are right beside us every day. Serving the body of Christ is not wrong, in fact, Scriptures speak to that very thing. But, it becomes wrong when we neglect our own families spiritual needs.

~Are you spending purposeful time with your children loving on them and teaching them the ways of God? Or, are you brushing them off so that you can finish that “very important thing that just has to be done right now”?

~Are you teaching your children to love the Lord with all their hearts and to serve Him and others out of a pure and sincere heart motive?

~What about during the week? Do you talk about the Lord, read His Word, and spend time with Him Monday through Saturday or are you teaching your children that going to church on Sunday is enough? My friends, let me just be blunt here, Sunday “worship” is not enough! If the only time you are hearing the Word spoken, opening your Bibles, and bowing your heads in prayer is on Sunday, then you are starving your spirit. I doubt very seriously you would go seven days without feeding your physical body. Why? Because we need food to live and grow. Food gives us strength to perform daily tasks. The same is true in regards to our spiritual souls. When we go for long periods of time without feasting on the Word of God, our souls become weak and unable to stand against the forces of the enemy. We cannot survive spiritually and be all that God has called us to be on one meal a week- a meal that even at its best has been regurgitated.

Now, I as a parent, I am not solely responsible for my children’s relationship with the Lord- but Scripture clearly teaches what role I do play in the spiritual rearing of my children. We will talk more about that next time.

Let’s end our time together today talking to the Lord.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for the blessing of children and family. Help me to honor, love, and respect them. Show me how I can love and serve them through ways that will make them feel special and appreciated. Place within my heart a deep passion and desire for Your Word. Help me to see my need for Your Word above everything else. I don’t want to be a “once a week” believer who lives on the regurgitated meals of another; I want to consume Your Word for myself and taste the sweetness of It on my lips. Give me a heart for You so that I can pass that on to my children. Amen.


Psalm Friday

God’s Word is…
Psalm Friday
Psalm 19

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 19 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statues of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned and in keeping them there is great reward." Psalm 19:7-11

A few years ago I was talking with a lady about the Lord, His Word, and how important they both are in our lives. At one point in our conversation she asked me this question, "do you mean to tell me that everything in Scripture can apply to me today; is it all relevant to me right now?”

You may have that same question today; "what is there in the Bible for me; how does a book that was written so many years ago apply to me?" My answer to you is the same as it was to her; ABSOLUTELY God's Word is for us today and can be applied to every situation in our lives! There are numerous Scriptures which tell us this very thing; Romans 4:23-25 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17, just to list a few.

Let's take a few minutes to look at Psalm 19:7-11 to find out what God's Word is and what it will do for us. In verse 7 it says "the law of the LORD", what is the law of the LORD? God's law is His teachings, directions, and instructions to us, all of which can be found in His Word.What is God's Word? If you write in your Bible, I encourage you to underline these things as we go through them. We'll begin in verse 7.

*Verse 7a- God's Word is perfect; there is no error found in His Word (Romans 7:12).
*Verse 7b- God's Word is sure; God's Word is absolute; it is truth (Psalm 111:7).
*Verse 8a- God's Word is right; there is nothing wrong about it or in it (Pslam 119:160).
*Verse 8b- God's Word is pure and enlightening because He is holy (1 Peter 1:15; Psalm 119:130).
*Verse 9- God's Word is true and righteous (John 17:17).
*Verse 10- God's Word is worth more than gold (Psalm 119:72; Proverbs 8:10-11).

Now that we've seen what God's Word is, let's look at what God's Word will do.

*Verse 7a- Because God's Word is perfect, it will convert us from sin to holiness (Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 1:23).
*Verse 7b- Because God's Word is sure, it will give us wisdom in knowing how to handle situations.
*Verse 8a- Because God's Word is right, it will cause our hearts to rejoice (Psalm 119:111).
*Verse 8b- Because God's Word is pure and enlightening, it will shed light on our sin and give us light for our journey (Psalm 119:105).
*Verse 9- God's Word will endure forever because it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).
*Verse 11a- God's Word will give us warning and keep us from destruction (Psalm 17:4).
*Verse 11b- God's Word will bring eternal reward; salvation (2 Timothy 3:15)

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
Do you see how important God and His Word are to us? Without both we would be nothing and having nothing. God is EVERYTHING! Is He your everything today?

Are you delighting in His Word and allowing it to penetrate every part of your life?

Oh Father, may Your Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts so that we can stand against the enemy. Amen.

I encourage you to take some time to look up and meditate over the additional Scriptures that were given. I just love how Scripture proves Scripture. MmmmmHmmmm! Good, good stuff! Taste and see that the Lord is good!


Hello, my sweet friends

Hello sweet friends from the land of mile high stacked books, fill in the blank sheets, how to pray for your... sheets, Bible reading plans, and lots and lots of coffee. The Lord has blessed me with an opportunity to speak at a women's conference this weekend and I have been busy wrapping up loose ends for that all week. I have lots to share with you though and can't wait to sit down and let my fingers do the talking. But, for now this shout out to all of you will have to do. I love you all and covet your prayers for me over the next few days.

Join me tomorrow for "Psalm Friday". Rock on!