Pray for the Terrorists, Too

Pray for the Terrorists, Too

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 know that will raise some eyebrows but let’s think about this.  There are many reasons to pray for the terrorists.

I woke up yesterday morning to the horrific news of the terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium.  Details are still coming out and we still don’t even know how many casualties there are.  This is terrible and every time a terrorist attack occurs, we are shocked, horrified, angry, disgusted…We feel helpless!

We are not sure what to do.  Initially, I had all these emotions and more.  My next thought was to pray.  As I started to pray, God really spoke to me about my prayer.  I posted the following prayer on Facebook:

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your protection.  I ask that You be with all those injured and be with the families of those killed by terrorists in Brussels this morning.  There is so much hatred in this world.  I pray for these terrorists, that they realize that they are killing in the name of a false god and that they repent and come to know You.  Continue to protect us and help us to be a strong witness.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Yes, I prayed for the terrorists!

God tells us to pray without ceasing,  1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB.  We should always be praying.

Give thanks.  I know that sounds strange but that is in the Bible.  In 1 Thessalonians it continues in 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  How can we be thankful when people are killed in senseless terror attacks?  This is hard.  We can be grateful that more didn’t die.  We can be grateful for what the authorities can learn from this.

Pray for your enemies.  “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44 NASB.   And, also in Luke 6:28, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”   I think this is the hardest to do.  Pray for your enemies?  But, they hate us!  We are not to hate them but to love everyone (definitely a good reminder to myself).

Pray that their hearts will be changed.  Pray that they will see that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, that they may accept Him as their Lord and Savior.   God does not want anyone to perish.

I know this sounds strange, and believe me, when God led me to pray for them, I thought, “You’re kidding, right?”  Let God lead you in your prayer life.  He might surprise you!

Will you pray for the terrorists?

Will you let God lead your prayer life?

 

I Am Resolved…

I Am Resolved…

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.
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

As the new year arrived, most of us started thinking of our New Year’s resolutions.  As I was thinking of mine, this song came to mind.  Have you read the words to this old hymn? Really, read the words.

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

Refrain

I will hasten to Him, Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I am resolved to go to the Savior, Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true one, He is the just one,
He hath the the words of life.

Refrain

I am resolved to follow the Savior, Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living way.

Refrain 

I am resolved to enter the kingdom, Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.

Refrain 

I am resolved, and who will go with me?  Come, friends, without delay;
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.

Refrain

We all have made a resolution before.  Some resolve to lose weight, be healthy, go back to school…the list goes on.  How many of us resolve to make changes in our relationship with God?  Do we hasten to Him?  Do we take everything to God first or do we wait until we are at the end of our rope?

I know I do not always take things to God first.  I am a sinner and I sin (probably every day).  Our goal as Christians is to be like Christ.  To run from sin.  This will not always make us popular with “friends”.  I do things without praying for guidance all the time.

Of course, when something happens, I turn to God.  My family has been through so much this past year, from my son’s horrific car wreck to my husband’s heart attack to my own health scare to my oldest son going off to college.  Through all those things, I turned to God first.  I remember not being able to pray when my husband had his heart attack, but I asked everyone to pray.  I could feel God’s presence the entire time.  I knew that even if I couldn’t pray, others could pray for me.

We usually pray about the “big” things, but what about the “small” things ? God cares about everything that we do.  I remember when my children were little and I had two in a stroller and a five year old.  Going to the mall was a nightmare.  I had a lady tell me that she always prayed for a good parking space at the mall.  I then started praying about that and God answered those prayers.  That may sound trivial, but for me it was huge.  (I no longer pray for parking because I figure another mom with small children needs it more.  Besides, I could use the exercise.)  Remember, if it is important to us, it is important to God.

I Am Resolved (2)

Prayer is not the only way to put God first.  A quiet time in the morning helps to set the tone for the day for me.  I like to spend time in His Word in the morning.  I can tell when I don’t have my time with the Lord.  Quiet time does not always have to be quiet.  I feel such a deep feeling of worship when I play the old hymns on my piano.  There are times that I play and tears just stream down my face.  The words and music just touch me so deeply.  Sometimes, I sing in the car (when I’m by myself because nobody wants to hear that.)  There are so many ways to spend time with God throughout the day.

We should also be sharing the gospel.  This can be scary.  It is easy to talk about Christmas with fellow Christians but sometimes it’s difficult to share Christmas with non-believers.  If we remember that salvation is a gift that God gave us, then we should share that gift with others.  All they have to do is accept His gift of salvation.  We should want to share it.

So this year, I am resolved to focus more on God and take everything to Him first and share His gift of salvation.

What is your New Year’s resolution for this year?

What are some things you do to stay close to God?

Do you find it difficult to share Christmas with others?

What are some ways that you use to share the gospel? 

Battling Anxiety During Pregnancy

Battling Anxiety During Pregnancy

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time.  There are all kinds of things that can bring on that sweaty hands, all-consuming angst that just leaves you feeling weary.  For me, pregnancy seems to be a vessel that my anxiety rides on.  I have had varying degrees of anxiety during my four pregnancies.  My first seemed fraught with anxiety that my baby wouldn’t be okay, or that he would somehow be hurt by something I did.  During my second pregnancy, my anxiety got so bad that I actually struggled with postpartum depression for nearly a year before the fog lifted enough that I realized something was wrong.  Each time the feelings seemed to creep up on me and had the potential to leave me feeling less than in control.

As I’m nearing the end of my fourth pregnancy, I’m finding the same things that triggered my anxiety in my second pregnancy are beginning to trigger anxiety during this one.  My triggers are: bickering between my children, aloneness for too many hours in the day, not having a plan or knowing the schedule for an upcoming event, prolonged loud noises, and my biggest one–the neighborhood kids.

Yes, you read that right.  I live right next to an elementary school.  I am surrounded by school-aged children.  I hear them constantly.  They don’t bother me when they are at school.  The sounds of them playing and yelling during recess cause me no alarm.  Their chattering as they walk to school in the morning doesn’t phase me.  Sure we’ve had a ding-dong-ditcher a time or two in the morning, but generally mornings aren’t an issue.  No it’s after school that my anxiety really peaks.

They’re walking home and I hear them.  I hear them swearing, screaming profanities in front of my house.  I hear them playing and horsing around.  I hear them running up onto my carport and sometimes ringing my doorbell and running away as fast as they can.  I hear them after the crossing guard has closed the gate and gone home.  I hear them running, riding bikes and scooters, and yelling to each other from across the street.  And I see them.  I see them riding and running through the four-way stop that only half of the neighborhood observes, without even looking.  I see them going back and forth in front of my house throwing garbage and sticks at one another.  I see them hanging on the gate and swinging it as hard as they can trying to break the lock and chain on it; yanking and kicking the signs on the gate trying to rip them off.  I see them, I hear them, and they disturb me.

I worry that they’ll try to get in my backyard and steal my children’s toys again.  I worry that they’ll climb the trees outside my fence and throw things at my windows again.  I worry that they’ll damage one of my vehicles or get hurt on my property or teach my children a word that I’d rather they not know.  I worry that they’ll be hit by a careless driver as they play in the middle of the street.  I worry that they’ll break out in a fight that I am helpless to stop.  I worry.  And so the days go.  As my pregnancy progresses it usually gets worse.  I wake up in the morning dreading the afternoon.  I find myself agonizing over the squeaking sound of the gate opening in the afternoon, signaling school’s release.  I find myself worrying incessantly about them, and my children, and my house, and me.

And then when the baby comes, in that period when life should be sunshine and roses and snuggles and soft baby smells, I worry.  They disturb me.  I get mad that they’re so incredibly loud right outside my house when my sweet, peaceful baby is resting.  I get worried that they’ll come to the door or window and look in while I’m breastfeeding and bonding with my baby.  And when I let all of that worry and anxiety envelop me, I get lost in it.  And then I yell at MY children.  I get frustrated and upset at every unhappy sound or too loud noise or extra question they ask.  It is nothing more than Satan finding a foothold in my life.  It’s happened once postpartum and I will not let it happen again.

As I feel this all-too-familiar anxiety creep over me, I am beginning with a plan this time.  I will not allow these feelings to control me.  I will not allow a cloud of depression to steal away my memories of my baby’s first weeks.  I will not allow Satan into my home and my emotions.

Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This verse always makes me chuckle!  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Isn’t that so true?  Why would we waste a moment worrying about the events of another day when there is more than enough worry for today?

Phillipians 4:6-7: 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.

This verse gives me a road map for exactly what I need to do.  I need to stop being anxious, bring my worries to the Lord through prayer, and I will be filled with the peace of God that will guard my heart and mind.  How encouraging!  And how simple!

I recently listened to a sermon in which the speaker was commenting on the fact that we often rely on prayer as a last resort.  We say, “Well we’ve tried everything else, now it’s up to God” or “All we can do now is pray.”  This really struck a chord with me.  How often do I waste time worrying and fretting over something and finally I’ll resort to prayer? Why didn’t I seek the comfort only the Lord can bring in the beginning?  This is definitely something that I plan to work on.

Do you ever experience increased anxiety during certain times of your life? 

How do you cope with the anxiety you feel?

All for …what?

All for …what?

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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After less sleep than I would have preferred, one of my one year olds woke up that morning jammie and diaper free with poop smeared all over his crib. My almost three year old spent the day whining and disobeying every direction I gave to her. My other son decided it was interesting to hide my phone in a floor vase in my foyer. It took me over an hour to find it.  Fast forward through a busy conference call and countless emails zapped out as fast as possible during the kids’ nap time, but not nearly as many as I had hoped. My to do list for the day was 25 things long and I felt sidelined at every one. By 4pm, I looked around at my disaster of a house and started to wonder how long I could get away with closing the door to the bathroom for one minute to myself. The answer was 10 seconds.  Constant somethings. I felt myself getting angry at my “failed day” where I had seemingly accomplished nothing except keeping everyone fed and alive. I have found myself succumbing to my weariness lately and letting it foster a feeling of overwhelming pressure on my chest. Stress.

Honestly, it seems like this past month has been more stressful than usual.  There are a few additional things we have added to our plates as a family, but in the midst of a recent stress-filled sleepless night I realized my angst was over things that either…

A) I have no actual control over or

B) weren’t items that required as much focus and energy as I was expelling or

C) were actually just fine.

All for...WHAT-

I took the opportunity at 4am to do some introspection and pray. At first, I’ll be honest I was hoping that as I began to pray I would finally just fall asleep, but the Lord was ready to talk to me and take my burden. He realigned my perspective, showed me what mattered on “my list” and reminded me to focus on Him and not what this world wanted. This probably sounds obvious, but these are daily struggles for me.

There are a lot of things God is leading my family through right now, but some we have taken on ourselves. Discerning the difference can be a challenge but I am reminded of Philippians 1: 9-11 (NIV):

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Additionally, when we begin our day with an eternal perspective and not an earthly one, it is SO.MUCH.BETTER.

Another hard lesson I have to learn time and again is that God will raise up someone to do what He needs done in the world. Sometimes it’s me, oftentimes it is not.  I have to tell myself, “Sit down, Pride. Other people have amazing gifts and whatever it is that God has called YOU too is enough and it is so much more than you can dream. What God has for you is GOOD in the full meaning of the word. And you aren’t in this alone.”

Our goal here in this life is about furthering the Kingdom of God, and guess what? The Lord has already planned for us what He wants us to do, we just have to listen and obey. It’s liberating really, not having to come up with all of these grand schemes and do everything on our own. I just put Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) on my chalk board in the bathroom:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I just love that verse. We are ALL God’s handiwork and HE has a plan for us all set out if we would just let Him guide each day. Seriously. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard, or be busy, or feel a little out of our element sometimes.

Instead, we should capture each thought, each task, each day, as one that God has prepared for us. We should have relief from stress knowing God is in control, not us. He will equip you for what He has called you to do, He will show you what is important in your day and what is not and He alone will bring you joy.

We are called to meet His standards, not the world’s. His aren’t easier standards, but they are different. I can promise you this: we will still have tough days and trials in this world of all kinds, big and small. The difference is that when we adjust our perspective and seek insight and wisdom in the tasks we have set before us, God will guide you to what He has given you to accomplish- and it is good.

 

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