Without Grumbling

Without Grumbling

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. :)
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“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.” 

Philippians 2:14-16 

An Invitation to Go Without Complaining

I invite you to take a moment to meditate on Philippians 2:14-16. Do you feel you are following this instruction in your day to day life? Would others describe you as blameless and pure? Does your life stand out in this sinful generation we find ourselves in? Are you holding firm to God’s word?

A few weeks ago we read this scripture in our bible class and I could feel my heart freeze. I immediately remembered the way I huffed out of frustration when my daughter wouldn’t leave my feet. I thought about how I often lamented over the stress of motherhood and the envy I’ve often felt in my heart toward my husband who goes off to work around other adults, and finds himself with 60 minutes of commute time each day to listen to whatever he wants.

As I thought about my tendency to grumble, my chest grew tighter as the Sprit continued to convict my heart.

I love staying home with my young children. It is my first choice, but I admit, the enemy has still found footholds through the challenges that come with my day to day life.  The temptation to grumble is not reserved for stay-at-home moms. The enemy hits us all with deceptive ways, no matter our age or circumstance.

And oh, do we grumble.

Scripture gives us a different way to live.

Scripture tells us to live without grumbling. Why? So that we might shine like stars in the world for the purpose of bringing God glory. 

Do you know anyone who is always able to find joy no matter the circumstance? A couple of different people come to my mind. These sweet friends of mine are the brightest lights. They radiate God’s love. I’m always so refreshed after spending time with them. It is not that their life is easy, without any strife.

To live without grumbling is more than just ignoring one’s burdens, it is living with the joy of the Lord inside their heart. Philippians 2:16 says this happens by holding firm to the word of life. We must know God’s word, believe it, and put it into action in our lives. In God’s word, we will find two beautiful characteristics to lace our hearts with.

A Heart of Service 

Matthew 20:28 says “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”  Grumbles often stem from entitlement. Christ, on the other hand, displayed a very sacrificial way of living. We must reflect on our life circumstances and look for the opportunities to serve and bring God glory.

A Heart of Gratitude

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Embracing a heart of gratitude and continually looking for the blessings in life will not only help us to live more joyfully, but will also align our lives to God’s will.

As I’ve reflected on my tendencies to grumble these last couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded to embrace the season I find myself in, and to serve my family patiently and joyfully. I know that I will continue to grumble from time to time, but I pray that God often leads me to this passage in Philippians. In a world that feasts on entitlement and selfishness we will surly shine like stars from the joy of the Lord, if we serve and love those around us without grumbling.

So go ahead, jot down Philippians 2:14-1. Put it in a place where you will see it often and be reminded of a better way to go through your days!

 

The Powerful 7 Minute Prayer

The Powerful 7 Minute Prayer

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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While attending a leadership seminar earlier this summer, we were challenged to take 7 minutes and pray. We didn’t wait to practice it later on our own time. No!  Right then and there, we each followed this powerful prayer pattern and prayed this 7 minute prayer.

I was blown away by this 7 minute prayer.

Y’all know I love praying!  We get to talk to the Creator of the Universe!  It’s amazing.

Why I LOVE this Powerful 7 Minute Prayer

1. It is timed.

This knocks out any excuse that “I don’t have time to pray.” I’ve said it. You’ve said it. Let’s not say it anymore. We’ve got 7 minutes!

2. Need help praying longer?

This technique may help you pray longer than you think. To some 7 minutes is a long time, but by using this format, you just might be tempted to go longer. 7 minutes may actually comes fast. And that’s ok. If you want to stretch it out, then by all means stretch it out. This is a technique to help guide you in prayer not to restrain you from connecting with your Heavenly Father.

3. This 7 minute prayer guides you in what to say.

No more do you have to wonder, what am I going to say?  It literally gives you the words.

4. Get out of the prayer rut!

This 7 minute prayer helps you get out of saying the same prayer over and over. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but sometimes, we could use a little help digging deeper and praying in a way that we wouldn’t think to pray.

5.  It keeps your mind from wandering.

If you are often tempted to wander while praying, this technique just might be the answer you are looking for. I noticed, it helped me stay more focused.

How to Pray this Powerful 7 Minute Prayer

It’s so easy!  Are you ready?

1. Open up to one of the Psalms.

Maybe start with Psalm 103, that’s the Psalm that guided us in the exercise. After you’ve prayed that one choose another the next time you pray. One lady had a great idea of taking the day of the month and adding 30 a few times and then choosing the Psalm that matched up with what she needed most at that time.

For example: If today is the 2nd, I would look at Psalm 2, Psalm 32, Psalm 62, Psalm 92, and Psalm 122 and choose which one best fits my prayer needs for that day.

2. Now that you have your Psalm, set your timer for 7 minutes.

3. Read a line. Then pray over that line.

Whatever sticks out to you in that line pray it, pray the line, pray whatever springboards from the line. Then move on to the next line.

4. When the 7 minutes is up, you can choose to either end your prayer or continue on.

I was only able to pray over a handful of lines in Psalm 103 before our 7 minutes was up. I was absolutely in awe of how deep I was able to focus on God’s awesomeness.

Give it a try! See how our Lord uses it to bring you closer to Him!

What Happened to the Faith of our Fathers?

What Happened to the Faith of our Fathers?

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

Ten Years Ago, We Fell in Love

Ten Years Ago, We Fell in Love

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.

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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.

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When You Feel Too Overwhelmed to Pray

When You Feel Too Overwhelmed to Pray

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R
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Prayer. We know it is powerful. It gives us a direct audience with God the Father. So how come we can’t bring ourselves to do it sometimes?

Has this ever happened to you? Where you feel like you are drowning in the realities of the world around you? When the weight of this world shadows all hope and the weakness in your heart grows stronger than your faith? The moments when you take each step more from a place of fear than a place of faith? For the last couple of weeks, I have been experiencing this. I know what I need to do, but when it gets down to it, I am at a loss for words. I am weak, human, scared, and overwhelmed.

Am I alone in this? Has anyone else felt this struggle? Feeling already defeated, set back and powerless, even in prayer? I know this is a direct result of wanting this to be my year in prayer. Any good competitor would go directly for the weakness their opponent proclaimed. I know to expect spiritual attacks to come in this exact way.

While these emotions and feelings are strong, my God is bigger, stronger, and in control. I may be struggling to fight on my knees during this battle. But I am still in the ranks of the ONE who already won the war.

Why do I let myself be discouraged? I started to think about the times in the Bible when I imagine others have the same struggle. Who comes to your mind?

I thought of Nehemiah. I am certain he felt overwhelmed by the bad news that surrounded him. Nehemiah 1:4 says:

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Have you ever felt like this? So overwhelmed that you were moved to action?

As overwhelming as things are now, I can’t help but think about some other examples of people in the Bible who might have felt the same way.

  • The Israelites who were in bondage.
  • Moses as he stood and looked at the task God had asked him to perform.
  • David as he faced Goliath.
  • Jonah.
  • The disciples as the seas raged around them.
  • Paul who was imprisoned.
What can we learn from them?

What steps can we take today to return our focus to the one who is already victorious over whatever stands in our way?

1. We spend too much time thinking or talking about it with the wrong people–friends. We need to talk to God.

2. We don’t seek the Lord or call out to him. We forget who he is and what he can do.

3. We never actually ask him for deliverance. We ask him to change things, people, or feelings about the situation. He is capable to change the situation.

Being overwhelmed is like a wake-up call. A call to pray. The trumpet reminding us this is a battle and we need to be ready.

Are there things in your life that are making prayer a challenge for you?

What needs to change in your life or heart to help you call out to the Lord in your situation?

Being overwhelmed is like a wake-up call.A call to pray. The trumpet reminding us this is a battle and we need to be ready. (1)

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