Looking to Him

Looking to Him

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Looking to Him in Our Shame

David is known as a man after God’s own heart, but if you study his life, it won’t take you long to realize that he wasn’t without blemish. While known for his courage, he also faced moments of fear. One of these times is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter 21.

“That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish, king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ” ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

1 Samuel 21:10-13, emphasis mine

Afraid…David?

I’m a little taken when I read that David was afraid. Is this the same man who so confidently defeated Goliath? I can only imagine the embarrassment our strong and confident David felt after giving such a display. The Bible doesn’t really tell us that David felt shame over his actions. I have to wonder though, how would he have handled the situation if instead of fear, he’d felt as confident in the Lord as he did when the giant came down?

When the king saw his unsound state, he insisted that David leave. David fled to a cave. It is believed by scholars that at this time David wrote Psalm 34.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
Psalm 34:4-5

Their faces are never covered in shame. 

Shame

I wonder if David felt shame while drooling and scratching at the door. I wonder if he was looking back at his past actions and wishing he’d looked to the Lord in his fear. Be my thoughts inline with David’s thought process or not, I find comfort and direction in his psalm.

I so often feel ashamed with myself.

Ashamed for opportunities missed.

Ashamed for comments said or judgements made.

Ashamed for my idleness.

Ashamed for my shortcomings.

The shame is heavy and holds me down. In this pit, I’m only looking inward at what I can do. In this pit, I feel inadequate for kingdom work. In this pit, I’ve forget who I am in God.

Never Covered in Shame

I believe that David forgot who he was when he was faced with this fear. He forgot that God had chosen him to be king, that the battle was the Lord’s. But as he later says, those who look to him are radiant and their faces aren’t covered in shame!

Oh how, I love David’s declaration!

In Romans 8:1-2 Paul tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

When I look inwardly it’s no wonder that I feel insecure. When I focus on God, and what He’s done for me I don’t have to feel ashamed. I can move on and be empowered to take advantage of the opportunities He gives.

We must remember to look to Him and see that we’ve been forgiven, and that our flesh might be weak, but the spirit is powerful!

David was able to move on from his lowly encounter. He gave praise to God for delivering him and continued to seek God’s will. Yes, he would stumble, but David was a man of worship. He continued to look to God and seek His will. Oh, that we might do the same!

A Prayer Over Our Hearts

Father God,

We praise you for the mighty God that you are, and for delivering us from sin! In all circumstances, may we look to you. Draw us to your presence and help us to remember who we are in you. May our lives not be liven selfishly, but instead for your glory. Use us to advance your kingdom! 

In the Name of Jesus, 

Amen 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do I Keep “Thank You” Notes!

Why Do I Keep “Thank You” Notes!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Once again as I am purging, I come across a pile. A pile that will eventually get tossed by someone else, but my hands and heart can’t seem to part with one single note in that pile. It’s a pile of “Thank You” notes and other cards I’ve received. Why do I keep “Thank You” notes and other cards that have come my way?

That is a great question and one I ponder every time I choose to keep them.

Why I Keep Thank You Notes!

1 – First and foremost, it reminds me of people I love.

God has put me in the path of so many amazing people that seeing their handwriting or reading a note that came from them lifts my heart and reminds me of the gift of friendship.

For someone who has been hurt or lost a good friendship, it’s nice to remind the heart what a blessed gift it is and to not give up on being a friend just because I’ve gotten hurt before.

2 – It gives me the opportunity to once again lift those people up in prayer.

Yes, I know I can pray for them anytime, any place, any where, but sometimes life happens. And a gentle reminder will rekindle my prayers for them.

3 – I’m encouraged to write more notes to others.

Writing notes is almost a dying art. We send text messages and instant messages all the time, but how often do we sit down and write a note?

Several years ago, I actually purchased a book to help me write notes better. That book has helped me to venture into the world of blank notes where I actually have to come up with the words. It encouraged me to write sincerely. And so I make more of an effort now to reach out in my own handwriting more often.

4 – Although this is last, it is definitely not least.

It’s probably the most important reason why I keep “Thank You” notes.

There are days that Satan attacks me hard and makes me feel alone. He makes me think I’m a total failure or reminds me of how selfish I can be. He will lead me to a dark place if I let him.

When I realize what is happening, I speak truth to his lies. I remind him my past is not my present and that my heart is to serve God and others and not myself.

Interestingly enough, those “Thank you” cards come in handy on those days. They remind me of all the times I listened to God calling me to serve someone else. They remind me of the power of loving people in simple ways. They call me to pray and ask who needs serving now.

In essence, those “Thank You” notes, lead me back to God and are an encouraging blessing to my heart.

So for all those who have ever written me a note of any kind, know it is in my pile and it still encourages me today.

Who might you encourage with a simple note today?

 

 

 

Be Intentional

Be Intentional

Hi! I grew up on a farm in Kansas but moved to Oklahoma when I got married and have been a city girl ever since. I’ve been married for 36 years to a generous, loving, hardworking Christian man (who is currently an elder in our congregation), and we have been blessed with 2 children, a son and daughter. Both are married, and our son has 2 little girls (so much fun being a grandmother!). I enjoy running, hiking, reading, playing the piano, and singing. I’m passionate about my family, personal spiritual growth, teaching God’s word, mentoring, and serving others.
Pam J
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Studying God’s word and praying to Him are priorities for me now, but that wasn’t always the case. When I first became a Christian, I struggled with how to study and what to study. Then when we started having children, with a different schedule every day, it got more difficult. I decided the only choice I had was to get up early for my quiet time, but, invariably, that would be the day one of the kids would get up earlier than usual.

Encouragement to Be Intentional

When I look back at those years of raising children, I wish I’d been more intentional in many areas, but one of them was in daily personal study and prayer. Even 10 minutes would have been better than 0 minutes, and if I’d planned ahead what I was going to study and pray about, those 10 minutes would have been very effective and valuable. If I had spent every day listening to God in His word and talking to Him in prayer, I would have been better prepared for the daily stresses as well as the storms of life. As it was, I squandered those days, just drifting along, and missed the accumulative affect of that daily time.

Isaiah 55:10-11 gives an illustration of how powerful and effective God’s word is in our lives.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NASB)

We know how rain and snow effects the earth, because we see it happening before our very eyes. It doesn’t fall to the earth in vain. We see trees budding and leafing out, vines producing fruit, and grain heading and producing a crop. Isaiah reminds us of something we all know – rain and snow come and make the earth beautiful and fertile, then it returns to heaven (the marvelous water cycle that God put in place).

God’s Word Accomplishes It’s Purpose

God’s word is just as effective on people’s hearts as the rain and snow are on the earth. The evidence is seen in people whose lives are being transformed: from selfishness to serving, from “looking out for #1” to investing in others’ lives, from cursing and telling dirty jokes to speaking with kindness and gentleness, from outbursts of anger to self-control, from hardheartedness to being compassionate, from anxiety and worry to peace, from drifting aimlessly to a life full of purpose. With this transformed life, God’s word is doing its work; it returns to God having accomplished its purpose.

If you aren’t intentional about your study time, it won’t happen. You’ll be drifting along (and we never drift in a good direction). Set aside time to spend with God. It will never be wasted, He promises us that. Even if you feel like you aren’t getting much out of it, the day-to-day habit will make a difference, and one day you will wake up eager for your quiet time.

Sitting on the Porch with Pam J.

Sitting on the Porch with Pam J.

Hi! I grew up on a farm in Kansas but moved to Oklahoma when I got married and have been a city girl ever since. I’ve been married for 36 years to a generous, loving, hardworking Christian man (who is currently an elder in our congregation), and we have been blessed with 2 children, a son and daughter. Both are married, and our son has 2 little girls (so much fun being a grandmother!). I enjoy running, hiking, reading, playing the piano, and singing. I’m passionate about my family, personal spiritual growth, teaching God’s word, mentoring, and serving others.
Pam J
Latest posts by Pam J (see all)

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Sitting on the Porch with Pam

Sitting on the porch and enjoying the company of others as we talk and get to know each other better is an absolute joy. Although we might not all be able to get together physically, we can do it virtually.

So grab a cup of your favorite drink and let’s get to know Pam a little better. In the months to come, she will be encouraging our hearts by sharing what God is putting on hers.

1. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– 
Philippians 4:6-7

2. Who is the most relatable Bible character to you and why?

John Mark.

He messed up so much that Paul didn’t want him to go with him on his missionary journey, but Barnabas stood up for him and took a chance on him. John Mark didn’t squander this fresh start, and Paul later commends him for his service.

I’ve been like John Mark and have had people like Barnabas in my life, who’ve stood alongside me and encouraged me, spurring me on to do better.

4. What is your favorite go-to easy meal?

Roasted chicken with potatoes/carrots

5. What are your hobbies?

Running, Hiking, Reading, Playing the piano, Singing

6. What is your favorite T.V. show or movie?

Monk

7. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Read a book

8. Who is your role model?

Sue G.

9. Would you rather vacation at a mountain cabin or a beach house?

Mountain cabin

10. What is the best thing about yourself?

I’m an encourager.

11. What is one of your favorite books and/or what are you reading right now?

Francine Rivers’ “Mark of the Lion” series (inspirational fiction).

I’m currently reading “In His Image” by Jen Wilkin.

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions and choices can be difficult but is a gift we as their parents can give them.

How many times now do we turn on the news, listen to the radio, or overhear someone express how someone else’s actions forced a certain reaction from them.

I hear it all the time in our house of 5 kids. “But s/he made me do it!”

Anytime that phrase “he made me do it” gets thrown out, I can’t help but chuckle. (Not only because my first instinct is always to laugh, but because I remember trying to place blame on someone else too.)

I mean really, who wants to get in trouble for their actions?  No one!  It’s so much easier to try and pass the buck than to accept responsibility…or is it?

This is another lie that Satan tires to thrown our way.

Taking Responsibility Provides Relief

It may be difficult to accept responsibility, especially when we royally goof up, but it provides a relief too. It forces us to confess and repent, and it takes the weight off our shoulders of hiding what we have done.

Yes, we still have to face the consequences but we can beg and plead for grace. Grace is often extended when we readily admit that we have done wrong and are actually remorseful over it.

It’s when we try to cover up our guilt to save ourselves that we pile on the consequences. We see this as adults and we see this when dealing with children.

I didn’t do it…

As an only child, I often tried to blame spills and messes on my cat.  Blaming the cat became a habit that was difficult to break.

One day I accidentally, ran into a potted plant and instead of taking the time to rectify the situation, I just went on with my day and when my mom asked about it, I blamed the cat.

I was quickly caught in the lie because the cat had died a few weeks earlier. So not only did I get in more trouble, but I gave my mother a reason to question my truthfulness.

Losing her trust was more difficult to deal with than picking up the dirt would have been.

Taking Responsibility is Empowering

Teaching responsibility is a lesson we must teach through our examples more so than our words. We know that kids always focus more on what we do than what we say. Gifting the example of putting our pride down and choosing to act right no matter what anyone else does, will bless them throughout their life.

I tell our kids all the time:

No matter how the other person reacts, you get to choose your reaction. 

So whenever anyone acts in a horrific way towards us, instead of sinking to that level, we can choose to be kind and remind our kids that Jesus calls us to love everyone no matter how they react towards us.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
– Jesus, Luke 6:27-28

Isn’t that empowering! It’s exciting to think that our moods and actions are not dictated by someone else. When we teach our kids this, they then can stop thinking they are a marionette puppet in someone else’s puppet show. They can know the truth that their choices have the power to do good in a world full of evil and they do not have to be overcome by it. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who through his Spirit can gift us the ability to love those who hate us and try to mistreat us!

Let’s take that stance with our children. It’s our responsibility to teach them to take responsibility for their actions. It takes time, patience, and consistency, but our families and our society will benefit greatly from it. More importantly, our Lord will be glorified because of it!

 

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

How often do you find yourself feeling angry toward your children? This is hard question to ask myself. I make significant effort to be gentle, but truthfully, it is quite often that I notice myself raging inside as my eldest, almost 4 years old, is becoming more familiar with right and wrong.

My moment of internal strife might play out in this way:

Why won’t she just listen and obey? What if someone gets hurt? What if she behaves like this in Bible Class? 

I can’t let her act like this! I have to show her who’s boss! 

In my anger, I lash out. The power struggle begins.

I make irrational statements in awful tones. I give ineffective punishments.

I feel horrible. She feels horrible.

Later on I hear her talking in the same ugly tone. Hmm… where did she learn to speak in that way?

Why is it that anger is the first instinct for so many of us, especially in regards to parenting? I believe most parents have good intentions. We want our children to act respectfully and we burn inside when we can’t convince them to cooperate. We are desperate. I believe that James, the brother of Jesus, and servant of God, speaks to the heart of this issue.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Anger Won’t Bring about Righteousness Living

In our Bible Class we recently studied this passage, and though James doesn’t specifically mention parenting, my heart couldn’t help but hear these words from a parent’s perspective. How often am I angry with my daughter because I want her to live righteously. Yet anger won’t bring about this righteousness- in myself or in my daughter. It is my experience that hasty anger often only brings about shame.

Let’s read on to hear the solutions that James offers.

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:21-22

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27

Righteous living is something that our children will learn through a lifetime of observation and loving instruction. James makes it very clear that being religious is about guarding our hearts and humble service.

Do our children see that in us?

Do our children see that we are humble and compassionate, ready to listen, and slow to become angry?

Do we have a tight rein on our tongue when we speak to our children?

There are many different styles of parenting, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. Often parenting requires direct and assertive responses, but I believe this can be done gently and in love. It is my conviction that the instruction to be slow to anger also applies to our interactions with our children. Does this mean that we will never be angry? No, of course not!

It means that our instinct will be patience,  kindness, and gentleness rather than anger.

We will have open arms and listening ears.

When it is time to be direct, we will try to stay calm. We will be our children’s “safe space.”

This type of parenting does not come naturally for me. I pray multiple times each day for the Lord to help me. I boldly pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed as I interact with my daughters. This passage in James was a strong reminder that I need to make a conscious effort to tame my tongue and be slow to anger in my responses to my children. I absolutely can’t do this on my own. I need Jesus to work through me as I train up my children in the way they should go. We all need him to!

Praying Over Our Hearts

I’d like to end this thought with a prayer.

Father God,

You are our Heavenly Father and we praise you and thank you for wonderfully making our children. Work through us as we train them in the way they should go. In us, express your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Help us to be slow to anger, with tongues that are tamed through faithful dependence on you. May our children see glimpses of you in our interactions with them. Forgive us for our selfish ways and for the times we respond poorly to our children. Give us strength and help when we need it. Soften our hearts and help us to find your joy every day. 

In the name of Jesus, Amen 

 

 

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