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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You might be questioning why praying during Ramadan is so important. I did until I realized the significance behind the opportunity.
What is Ramadan? Why Praying During Ramadan is So Important?
Several years ago, I visited North Africa during Ramadan. I really didn’t think anything about it but realized quickly how this religious holiday impacted our travel or more so our ability to eat.
Ramadan falls during the 9th month on the Islamic lunar calendar and is considered by Muslims to be the holiest month. During Ramadan, Muslims give alms, fast, and pray during the day then celebrate with family and feasting all night. They do this for an entire month. So our expectation of finding a restaurant open to accommodate our hunger when we arrived in Morocco was sadly unmet.
As with any “issue” there is always opportunity.
Praying During Ramadan for Muslims Brings Hope
Ramadan begins today and ends roughly around June 14!
Yall, we have an amazing opportunity to be praying during Ramadan for Muslims who are hungry to know Allah better. They will be focused on prayer, giving alms, restoring relationships and pursuing the things of God. Many will be crying out to know Allah better. What better time for us to be praying that they would come to know Jesus as their personal, Lord, and Savior!
They know Jesus is a prophet. The Koran speaks of him in this way, but like Saul, we can pray that the scales will fall from their eyes and they will come to know the one true and living God!
You can pray a simple prayer for those seeking and hungry to know God to see Him for who He really is or you can follow along with this video series for praying during Ramadan. These video prayers are great. They may even give you more of a heart for reaching out to Muslims as well! Truly, this life is all about building bridges with others and then sharing Jesus too!
You can even follow this prayer and specifically pray over each aspect observed during Ramadan.
Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim, went a step further than praying during Ramadan while he was alive. He would fast and even participate in the feasts, which are open to non-muslims too. He would use these moments to build bridges of relationship like Jesus did. Read more about how he viewed this as an opportunity to reach out and love people to Jesus.
Praying During Ramadan for Our Fellow Brothers & Sisters in Christ
During the time of Ramadan, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ stick out like Daniel in his prayer window when it was forbidden to pray. They obviously do not take part in the Ramadan rituals, and are often exposed as Christians because they do not partake in the fasting or calls to prayer.
Due to their non-participation in these events, they are more likely to be harassed and discriminated against. Sadly, some radical Muslims will even take this harassment to the extreme and perpetuate physical violence or persecution against those who choose to follow Christ instead of Allah at this time.
Praying during Ramadan specifically for our brothers and sisters in Christ to be strengthened in their faith and for them to withstand any type of abuse they may receive just as Christ did is of the upmost high importance. We can pray freely and often through the next thirty days. May their strength and courage come from the Lord.
Let’s Grab Hold of this Opportunity
For the entire next month, we, as believers in Christ Jesus have an opportunity. An opportunity to not only be praying during Ramadan for Muslims to come to know God and our Lord Jesus Christ, but to be praying for the protection of our brothers and sisters in Christ ,who will be extremely noticeable as they do not partake in these celebrations.
Praying Over All Hearts
Lord, you are holy and the beyond compare! We pray for those who do not know you yet to come to know you fully and completely. We pray that they will see the amazing blessing that comes from knowing the Creator of the World personally. You are not far from us. You did not make us only to keep us arms length. Our sin has created a barrier between us but praise be to you, you sent Jesus, who took all our sins upon Him on the cross, so that our sins would no longer separate us from you! Thank you, Lord, for your immense mercy, grace, and love.
We pray that as Muslims cry out to Allah this month, that you will reveal yourself to them. May the scales fall from their eyes like they fell from Saul’s eye. May the come to realize that Jesus is more than a prophet but their salvation!
Lord, we also lift up our brothers and sister in Christ during this time. For their willingness to put you first in their lives no matter the cost, you are to be praised. We pray that their faith, courage, and trust in you will be emboldened no matter the discrimination or persecution they face. May they use these moments of facing their “enemies” as an opportunity to point them to you.
Lord, we pray that our faith will be emboldened too. May we seek you with such passion that there is no doubt where our treasure is stored. In the One who took on the sins of the world – Amen!
Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
(Farber, F.W., 1849)
The refrain to the above nearly 200-year-old hymn ends in the phrase, “We will be true to thee till death.” Yet in today’s world, faith does not seem to last nearly as long. Were the church to come under persecution today, would such hymns be written as a tribute to the faithful who remained true to the end? I am not certain that it would. Something seems to be missing in our lives that those earlier generations, even as near as fifty years ago, seemed to possess. What could that be?
Developing the Faith of Our Fathers
This question troubles me daily as I visit with young professionals who have not only left the church of their fathers but have abandoned faith in God entirely. In my readings and conversations with these young people, one possible reason seems to surface each time. As children and teens, they “went to church,” but they developed neither their faith in God nor a relationship with Jesus Christ. We must ask the question: If going to church is not helping to build our children’s faith, what must we do to assure their young faith matures?
An Old Testament Example
God directed Moses to tell the Israelites, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). God’s Word was to be a constant in their lives, not a three-times-a-week ceremonious break. With all the distractions in our lives today, the urgency to teach our children daily and in every instance is even more essential!
But does this mean we should shield our children from the world? I do not think so. I believe it is important that children see and experience the world while they are under our loving care and guidance and that we are responsible to make those experiences into teachable moments. Returning to the Israelites under the care of Moses, through God’s guidance, we can easily see that they were not protected from the evil of the world. However, when evil crept into the assembly, a lesson came with it. Remember how even before Moses finished receiving the Law on the mountain, the people turned to idolatry? Moses burned and powdered the golden calf and added it to their drinking water, and then he commanded the Levites to slay their brothers with the sword (Exodus 32). Without a doubt, the Israelites would not soon forget that event.
A New Testament Example
Fast forward to the early church and we see that they spent their days together, not just assembling on Sunday (Act 2:42-47). Rather, they became family, eating together, studying together, praying together. The result of that, according to Acts, is that the Lord added daily to the church those who were being saved (v. 47).
That time was unique in that people had come from many nations, and upon hearing Peter’s sermon became followers in a foreign land. They put everything they had together so that they could survive away from their homes and jobs. Once they returned to their homelands, they took that newly acquired faith with them. The church spread quickly and their numbers grew. So what about today? What is so different about how our children are learning than how we or our parents learned God’s Word?
Establishing a Family Culture of Faith-Building
One of my most vivid memories of my childhood was our preparation for Sunday. On Saturday nights we had a routine that was different from every other night of the week. Hair was washed and rolled, shoes were polished, Bible lessons were completed, and early bedtimes were mandated. There was never a question, “Are we going to Bible Class today?” as it was the one constant in my childhood.
Our weekdays might have variety and surprises, but the weekends were set aside as time to focus on God. I remember filling out my lesson book or handout for Sunday morning’s class up through my teens. Bible study was required at home just as surely as English, math, and science. Questions I heard on Saturday nights consisted of, “Is your Bible lesson completed?” or “Do you have your memory verse ready?” This weekend process was one element of my faith-building, but there was so much more!
Hearing the Gospel
My daddy was an evangelist, not just a local preacher. He took the gospel into people’s homes and traveled widely to preach the gospel of Christ to other congregations. I was his travel buddy, and, when old enough, his driver. Because of this blessing, I heard the gospel message over and over again.
When was the last time you heard the gospel preached from a pulpit or taught in a Bible class? We seem to have strayed from that simple request that Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16 to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.”
Oh, I understand that we need to encourage one another and perhaps address moral issues in the family, but if we are not teaching the gospel often enough that when asked we are not able to “give a reason for the hope that is in us” (I Peter 3:15) then we need to hear it more often! Additionally, if we cannot give that answer, how can we possibly expect our children to be able to defend their faith? We can’t!
Leaving a Legacy of Faith
The faith of our fathers was a faith worth leaving father and mother, worth leaving jobs and friends, and even worth dying for. We are asked to teach our children that kind of faith. In order to do so, we must have that faith ourselves. Faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and if that “hearing” is not found in listening, then it must be found in reading God’s Word.
I challenge you to begin a faith journal for yourself and as a legacy for your children. In your journal be sure to include :
(1) why you believe that Jesus is the only Son of God,
(2) why you believe that baptism is essential for salvation,
(3) why you partake of His Body and Blood each week, and
(4) why, even in chaotic times, you still have faith in God.
With each of those answers, be sure to include the scriptures supporting your beliefs.
Also include times in your life that you felt that God had forgotten you, because you couldn’t see His plan for your life. Our children will have those same times and we need to let them know that we did, too!
Faithfulness does not just happen. God draws us, but we must respond with study, prayer, and daily living. May your life be one of faithfulness so that your children may see your faithfulness and long to make it theirs. #HeartWords
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The year was 1982. When I was twenty-seven years old, God began the breakthrough to His prodigal daughter. I was pregnant with our first child. Realizing that my husband and I were not capable of raising a child without God’s help, I decided to find a place to worship. I knew we needed to get back to God. A co-worker suggested a particular church so I went there. It’s difficult to walk into a place where you don’t know anyone, but I met a lot of “friendly strangers” that first visit. I was so happy to begin my walk with God again.
Each Sunday for the next few months, I encountered these “friendly strangers” once a week at worship, bible class, and other church activities. In my ninth month of pregnancy, I waddled down the aisle to the front pew, asking for prayers and to be restored and to become a member of that congregation. What a glorious day for me!
Just a few weeks after placing my membership, our first child was born. A few weeks later, one of the church ladies contacted me about hosting a baby shower for our baby girl at her home. I didn’t want to be impolite and ungrateful, so I agreed to it. But immediately, I started to think, who would I invite? My family lived out of state. I had a few friends from work who might come. This could be an embarrassing experience–a baby shower given in your honor and no guests! I begged my sister to travel from Tennessee to Houston for the baby shower. At least I would have her to share in my embarrassing moment.
On the evening of the shower, I was so nervous. My sister and I arrived early, and the hostesses were so kind and welcoming. I didn’t know all the hostesses, and they hardly knew me. It felt strange for these women to host my baby shower. I began to experience a lump in my throat which lasted throughout the evening. This act of love was a humbling experience. The table full of food triggered another anxious thought: Who is going to eat all this food they have prepared? If a few “friendly strangers” from church attended I would be so excited. And then I had another anxious thought: Who attends a shower for someone who is a mere acquaintance? I admit my head talk was crazy!
The next part of my story is God’s story! He showed me a beautiful picture of his church that night. As a baby Christian, I had never experienced an outpouring of love like this before. When the doorbell rang and guests began arriving, my nervousness turned to excitement. It continued to ring and soon women, both young and old, filled the home. These ladies came together to celebrate and encourage this new baby Christian and her newborn baby. Love, laughter, fellowship, friendship, and food filled not only the home, but my heart as well. God poured out his showers of blessings on me through these wonderful Christian women.
With each gift I opened, I fought back tears of joy for a beautiful church family, tears of joy for God’s sweet provision. This baby shower was God’s version of the feast He prepared for his prodigal daughter who had come home. I don’t remember conversations that night, or who attended, but I do remember how the church made me feel: loved and encouraged.
God used a baby shower that night to demonstrate his love, encouragement, grace, compassion, kindness, and hope. It reminds me of the song “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave.
This is my story, this is my song;
Praising my Savior all the day long!
Be encouraged by these posts as well!
I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
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My husband and I adopted our son almost three years ago. Ever since we decided to adopt, I have had a wide range of emotions on Mother’s Day. Knowing that I will always share that day with my son’s biological mother encourages me to think of other women who may experience grief and joy on this day. This reflection helps focus my thoughts and prayers during this time. Join me in honoring these women in our thoughts and prayers this week!
A prayer for moms everywhere
Dear God, we come before your throne today, asking for your intercession in the lives of women across the world. We pray for…
- the women who become moms today. Guide their hearts, minds, and emotions as they experience motherhood for the first time.
- the moms who have lost children. Bring them the peace that comes only from you.
- the mothers who work outside (or from) the home to provide for their children. Whether they work one (or three) jobs, help their work and sacrifice to be appreciated and noticed.
- the moms who stay home with their children. Help them feel loved and appreciated by their children and spouses.
Father, we also pray for the moms who…
- have chosen to place their children into adoptive families. Give them the peace and clarity they need in their lives. Help those around them celebrate their choice for life, but allow those moms an emotional space to grieve.
- live in poverty. Help give them the emotional, spiritual, and financial supports they need to lead their family toward you.
- are raising their children on their own. Remind their neighborhood or church communities to rally around them so those moms never feel alone.
- became mothers through adoption. Bless their motherhood journey and give them the strength and clarity needed to raise their children in a new family.
- became moms through foster care. Give them courage to fight for what they know is right and the ability to love even when it hurts.
We pray for…
- the moms who protect their children from violence, war, and abuse. Let them know that there is still light even in darkness.
- the women who have lost their own moms. Encourage us to surround these women with love. Help us give them the space they need to celebrate and grieve simultaneously.
- the women who suffer from depression, anxiety, or mental illness. Put people in their lives to encourage them and help them get the support they need.
And we lift up these women as well…
- the moms who love their children but not their spouses. Help them realize that one of the best ways to show love to their children is to love their spouse.
- the moms who are struggling in their relationships with their children. Let them know that you are with them. Always.
- the women who are “mother figures” in the lives of children in our homes and communities. Equip those women to engage, mentor, and love children.
We ask you to cover these moms (and others) with your love, peace, and mercy. May we never forget the importance of what the word “mom” means. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Be encouraged by these posts as well!
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
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I just watched a video of a man who publicly confronted one of his school bullies thirty-five years later. The video was heart-wrenching. Thirty-five years after the fact, this man told his story and relived the terror that he lived through. No one came to his aid. He went home one day and got a gun and put it in his mouth. He did not pull the trigger and is alive today because he did not. He survived such abuse and one could see that it still greatly affects him.
School Bullies – The Long Term Affect
Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about my school bullies. Mine was not nearly as bad as this man. I did not attempt suicide over it. I remember hating to go to school. I could not wait to go to college and leave that school behind. I have no physical scars, but I now realize I have emotional scars from it.
Mine started when we moved back to my hometown when I was in the first grade. My brother and I were the only minorities in the entire K-12 school system. We are half oriental and half white and were, therefore, ridiculed because we looked different. They would ask us if we knew “kung fu” as they would try to imitate martial arts to hit or kick at us.
This then evolved into bullying/sexual harassment in junior high because I was quiet and painfully shy. Older boys would make crude comments and act like they were going to touch me. This led me to not being able to talk to boys as I was very afraid of them. The worst, I believe, was in high school when some boys taunted me and made fun of me in class and the teacher joined in. This was after having dealt with a different teacher that disliked all Orientals because he fought in the Vietnam War.
Do the school bullies even remember?
I really do not remember who my bullies were from grade school because most were older than me but I have seen many of my high school bullies as adults. Many of them probably do not even remember what they did to me or realize that it was even bullying. Some probably were just joining in with the others, not realizing that what they were saying or doing was hurtful. I am sure some of them do remember and did realize at the time.
When I see some of these former bullies, I have felt awkward and introverted around them. I have avoided some of them because when I see them I revert back to my quiet, shy high school self.
Face-to-Face with the Choice of Forgiving School Bullies
I did not realize the affect this had on me until a while back when one of my bullies died. Someone told me what had happened and I was very callous about it. As I thought about it, I felt terrible about my attitude about a life lost.
My initial reaction should have been, “Did he have a personal relationship with Christ?”, “How could this have happened?”, and “He was so young!” I felt bad about it and realized that I had never forgiven these people for what they had done.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other; just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)
I am sure that they have changed just as I have. We have all grown up and I know that some of them have come to have a personal relationship with Christ. Even as I am writing this, God is working on my heart to have true forgiveness toward these people. God tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and for us to forgive those who have wronged us (Ephesians 4:32).
Were you bullied?
Have you forgiven your bully?
I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
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Note: Our story is our story; marriages can be quite different and face unique challenges. We just hope to encourage those with what we’ve learned in our life.
Best Decision of My Life
On Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I will celebrate more than ten years of marriage. We were very nearly babies when we wed–I was twenty years old and he was twenty-one. We were very grown up, or so we thought.
Honestly though, despite being young, it was the best decision we ever made. I remember hearing people who had been married for twenty years say they were more in love than ever with their spouse. At the time, that concept made no sense to me. I couldn’t imagine being more in love with this guy.
We dated for three years, half of which was our engagement. Despite my “plan” to have a career before I entered into a serious relationship, we fell in love pretty early on in our relationship. We attended a Christian liberal arts university and I was bound and determined not to be there for my “MRS.” However, God had other plans for my life. We married before our senior year of college. After we graduated, we moved out of state so my husband could attend law school in his hometown.
We Fell In Love, Yet I Was Miserable
Year one was a breeze. I thought marriage was not hard.
Year two was the most stretching year of our relationship.
He was in law school, I was in a new town, surrounded by everyone who knew my husband and his family but not me, and I was working but incredibly lonely. What happened to college where all our friends had time to hang out every day and come over any time? How fair was it that I was being a “grown up” starting my career while he was still in school? Why was this town so small and why is there no decent retail? These were all things my twenty-two-year-old self was struggling with daily. I was married to the love of my life. I worked in my degree field in a job that was a great fit. And yet, I was miserable.
I did not understand why the second year was so much harder. For goodness’ sake, we were in love! We had even gone through two premarital counseling sessions for “extra-good premarital preparedness training.” Because I thought that both of us being believers, doing extra premarital counselling, plus having successfully married parents, made us experts. Oh, and don’t you know, we knew each other incredibly well and had discussed everything under the sun. (Cue eyeroll…remember, I was twenty-two).
Or did we?
Our new church family became the reason we have the marriage we do today. They challenged us in our own relationships with Christ in new and profound ways. We realized we both had a lot of spiritual growth to do. I realized that as amazing as my new husband seemed (and is), he is a human and will let me down somehow. He doesn’t mean to, but it happens. And I let him down, even though he has never told me as much, but I’m sure I have at some point. We learned a lot of things about each other, but most importantly we learned how to live for Christ, to die to ourselves, and to grow in our faith more deeply than we had before.
It came down to this: the closer each of us grew in Christ independently, the better and deeper our relationship grew together.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
As it turns out, that’s also a progressive transformation.
The Secret to a Great Marriage
Over the years, we’ve participated in some awesome and challenging marriage studies with small groups, such as Eggerich’s Love and Respect, John Piper’s Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Saving your Marriage Before It Starts by Les and Leslie Parrott. Each one provided great tools and things to consider or work on in a new way, but it comes down to your own relationship with God. You will be a better spouse when you are working on your relationship with the Lord. It’s not magic. It all takes time and intentional investment, but that’s the secret.
Ten years and four kids later, I can now say that I’ve never been more in love with my husband. I understand him in a deeper way. He challenges me to be in the Word, and works tirelessly to “fill my love tank” daily (see The Five Love Languages). He leads our family devotions each night and parents better than I do, and none of it has anything to do with me. Yes, we both are very different people than we were ten years ago. Little by little, we’re becoming new people in Christ. If we were the same people we were ten years ago, I don’t know if our marriage would have lasted. (I hate to think that, but the selfishness in both of us was unsustainable.)
There are still occasional tough days, and we each still have a lot of work to do. But there are a lot of wonderful days. I can’t wait to see where we are in another ten years.