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Friday, March 30, 2012

Fix or Faith?

I’m a fixer.

When something isn’t quite right, I just can’t let it go. I’ve got to make it right. A peace keeper (not the same as a peace maker), I’ll go out of my way to make sure no anxiety exists…and often, I choose to cross the line. 

I cross the line from faith to fix, get in God’s way and make a mess.

I can be a lot like Sarai.

God gave the promise that He would bring a son to Sarai and Abram. As the head of his family, God chose to speak the promise to Abram and he was waiting in faith for God to do it.

But Sarai just couldn’t handle God’s timing. Waiting for God to work it out was stressful and as it mounted,  she just had to fix it.

At the brink of her anxiety, Sarai crosses the line in Genesis 16:2 and models for us what happens when as women we bypass God’s plan for our man to lead and take up our plan.

A Mess.

Take a minute to read this short story in Genesis 16: 1 – 16.

Here’s how Sarai’s plan went down:

1. Sarai leads

2. Abram follows

3. Sarai blames

4. Abram abdicates authority

A mess.

 

Their story is not so unlike mine. When I feel something is not going as planned or at the pace I want it to, I get involved; I try to lead instead of support. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Maybe you’re like me, and you too have a tendency to demonstrate a lack of trust in your man and your God by trying to fix things. Let’s take it from Sarai; that plan only leads to sin and a huge mess. When we experience tension today, let’s show both of our men that we trust their wisdom and judgement and let God do what he does best: work out all things together for our good.

PS…our girls are watching.

Lynn

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Hang Up the Gloves!

 

Wednesday Wisdom Tip:

Hang Up the Boxing Gloves! 

Sometimes, even the best siblings, need space.

My daughters are close; best friends. Most of the time they really like each other…most of the time.

But sometimes…it isn’t pretty. It doesn’t take something important to sparks the firecrackers. A flippant comment about an outfit, borrowed earrings, or being late for school.

Sometimes, their arguments are simply from spending too much time together, like on vacation…which reminds me, spring break is just around the corner!

Abram in the Old Testament had this happen too. His family was spending too much time together in cramped spaces and it wasn’t working. Fights broke out everywhere and he knew it wasn’t good. He came up with a good plan: let’s plan some space apart. Check out Genesis 13:8.

 In order to keep relationships healthy, often, we just need some time alone; time apart. When we are together 24/7, we begin to lose our appreciation for each other; taking each other for granted.

There’s some truth to the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

 If your kids find themselves on edge, especially during a vacation, do yourselves a favor: take some needed time apart. See it as an opportunity to save the rest of the trip and find a way to separate for a couple of hours! Split up while shopping. Have them read in different rooms. Preserve their friendship by taking them apart for a bit.

 I hope you all have great spring break plans; my daughter will be doing some more college visits. God give us wisdom!


Would you like to bring the  “Revolutionary Love” to your city? We are booking for fall! Head to www.LynnCowell.com and click on “Speaking” for more information!

His Revolutionary Love Conference helps teens:

  • Create confidence leading to a higher self-worth by discovering Christ’s life-altering love.
  • Make choices that lead to a fruitful future, rather than a victim of emotionally-based decisions.
  • Shift faith in Jesus from just a parental influence to a personal, growing relationship.
  • Develop and stick to boundaries that protect the heart, mind, and body.
  • Communicate with guys and other girlfriends in a manner that’s healthy and positive.

Looking for free resources for raising a wiser daughter? Check out Lynn’s site at www.LynnCowell.com and click on “freebies”!

Lynn

Monday, March 26, 2012

It’s Not Dead

Have a prayer, promise or petition with God that you think isn’t heard? In fact, it feels dead?

Abraham did. “Your reward will be great.” God had said (Genesis 15:1). But there was nothing to show that would be true; in fact, quite the opposite. Abraham was getting older and older; Sarah too!

God gave Abraham instructions to sacrifice; to worship him in the middle of this unanswered, unchangeable situation.

Abraham obeyed.

Right in the middle of the praying and the worshiping, who shows up?

Vultures. Can you picture those hump shouldered, black as night birds swooping down to grab the animals right off the altar?

“but Abram chased them away.” Genesis 17:11

Abram didn’t freak or flee. He chased them away.

Friend, are you, like Abram, praying and worshiping God and right in the middle of your impossible you feel like you’re being attack?

Don’t freak and don’t flee. Chase away your enemy. Keep right on singing out those praises. Don’t quit speaking out thanksgiving. Because like Abram, if you continue to believe God, you’ll see His name glorified in your situation. That’s His purpose – that others will one day look at your impossible and say, “It had to be God”.

That’s what I’m praying, believing and thanking God in advance for in mine; I hope you’ll do it in your’s!

Lynn

Friday, March 23, 2012

I’m a Deceiver too

I’ll admit. I’ve got something in common with Abraham; I’m a deceiver too.

I would have never, ever believed it; until God nailed me one day in my garden.

Returning home from a short errand, I opened our garage door to find my husband’s car still home. I had hoped he would be gone; off to a men’s meeting at church. But he wasn’t. He was doing what needed to be done, and honestly, recharging after a long week through his yard work.

We met in the garage; he smiling; me faking it. “Hi honey!” Immediately, he saw it.

“You’re mad at me.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

“Really, I’m not.”

“You’re mad because I didn’t go to church.”

Embarrassed that he could see my disappointment, I tried one more time, “I am not.”

Tired of “playing my games”, he left with his weed eater. I headed to the garden. As I overturned the dirt in the soil, the Lord overturned the dirt in my heart. “You’re a liar, Lynn.” It stabbed like a knife. Honesty has always been important to me. I couldn’t be a liar! “You just lied and often lie to Greg about how you feel. Go make it right.”

I stayed on my knees in the dirt for awhile. Not praying. I only wish. I stayed down out of pride; not wanting to admit what was true. Trying to use deception as protection.

I have that in common with Abraham. I’m a deceiver too. Afraid the Egyptians would kill him for his wife, he told a lie. (Genesis 12:10 – 20) Me: I’m afraid truth will kill my relationships, so I hide.

I did finally get out of that dirt that day, follow the noise of the weed eater and apologize. It was so embarrassing, but felt better than God’s hand on my back.

I wish I could say I got over it, but that too would be a lie. I still struggle not to hide the fact that squirrels have damaged our attic, our taxes lie in a mess on my office floor or other issues that I know will cause my husband stress. I use deception as a protection. That’s not my Father’s way and He is teaching me honesty.

Psalm 36:9 tells us “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

Jesus, I’ve got a whole day to practice living in the light today. Help me not to fear my troubles or try to carry loads that are meant to be shared. Help. Amen

Lynn

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wisdom Tip – Fitting in God’s Word

 

 

 

My wisdom tip today is one big “copy cat” from my friend, Lysa TerKeurst. I read about these memorization cards this morning and just knew I had to not only get some, but I had to share them!

These beautiful scripture cards are created by Lil Light O’ Mine.

Listen to Courtney’s heart in creating these beautiful teaching tools:

We believe ALL moms share a desire to build character in the hearts of little lives.

We believe the best teaching moments occur as life happens. As we walk along the road, as we cook dinner, as we put them to bed. Deuteronomy 6:7

Can all the mamas say “Amen!”

My best investing times happen in the car, on a walk and in the kitchen. What a perfect place for them to fit in!

Daily I see the  in the lives of the girls who live in and hang around my house the benefits or repercussions based on whether or not they know God’s word. When we soak our kids in powerful truth, it speaks to them; the voice of God when we are not there.

Whether or not you copy me and order these wonderful cards, get creative about how you are going to pour God’s word into your heart and your kids!

Please share with us today how you are already doing just that!

Lynn

Monday, March 19, 2012

You Can’t Help It, Right?

“That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Romans 8:8 (NLT)

 

“I just can’t help it. No matter what I try, I still do it.”

Ever said those words? I sure have…yesterday!

I’ve determined for me it is really just a cop out. When I say I can’t change, what I’m really saying is: “It’s really hard and it is much easier for me to say I can’t change than to do what is right. Saying I can’t change makes me feel better.”

When are you tempted to say: “I just can’t help it”?

When you are scrounging in the pantry looking for chocolate again?

(That’s my personal problem; eating to relieve stress).

When it’s that time of the month and you choose to be more cranky than usual?

When you are in the lunch room at work and the talk starts flying?

Maybe what you need in order to help you help yourself is change.

A change in thinking. Begin to see a certain time of the month is no excuse to treat others poorly.

A change in location; a move where you eat lunch for awhile.

A change in availability. Quit buying the sugar.

Honoring God is very intentional. We have to set ourselves up to obey. If we don’t, we won’t.

Today, what change do you have to make in order to obey?

Jesus, I’ve been making excuses. “I can’t help it” sounds so much better than “I’m disobeying God”. I won’t make that excuse again, Lord. Sin is sin; help me obey. Amen

Lynn

Friday, March 16, 2012

When Junk Threatens to Take Over

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“She makes me so mad! Who is she to talk to me that way!” As I cleaned my house, I dirted my thoughts. Feeling pushed around, I just felt I couldn’t take it anymore. The more my stinking thinking clouded my mind, the more my heart began to listen.

I didn’t stop my crummy reasoning that day. Next time I saw my friend, my heart felt it. Muddy meditation soiled my affections. Dungy thinking; dark heart.

Thoughts. Having the power to control our actions, what’s a girl to do when junk threatens to take over?

The Bible gives us pure wisdom: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. It’s as easy as a simple test. Does the thought in my mind fit this description? If not, it must go. If I do not, not only am I dishonoring God with my thoughts, I will eventually dishonor God with my actions, for whatever I think about, that I become (Proverbs 23:7).

God, my thoughts are so powerful. I have to have your strength to stop my ugly thinking. Help me remove my dungy thinking so I don’t have a dark heart. Redirect me today! Amen

Lynn

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Divine Disappointment

Disappointment.

What a struggle for me.

Seeped in expectation.

Todd Guckenberger recently told me, “Expectation is premeditated resentment.”

That smarted.

Our children are going to experience disappointment. This generation expects to be happy. We have programmed them to believe that they can be anything, do anything and all of their dreams should come true. But that is not what Jesus has said. He has said “in this life you will have troubles, but take heart for I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

They are going to get cut from the team. They will not get an invitation to the party. The lead part will be given to someone else and the boy will not ask them to prom.

What’s a mom to do?

We model seeing our situations as divine disappointment.

Yesterday, disappointment was the theme of the day. Vacation plans fell through. More house problems were found. Children made poor choices. My daughter stood in the kitchen, observing my reaction, I am sure.

Thankfully, the Lord helped me to handle it well then, but today, the bummed out feelings came with a vengeance and I just wanted to crawl back in bed.

Ephesians 3:17…I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power…to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ.  I saw afresh: The Love that gives to me is the same love that keeps from me. 

After the initial pain of the disappointed has worn away, share this truth when your child is disappointed.

Why might God have chosen to keep you from making the team or not given you the lead in the play? Does your child struggle with pride? Share how you struggle with pride (if you need some stories, just shoot me an email, I’ll share some of mine!)

What could God’s reason be for not allowing you to be invited to the party? Does He have other friends lined up for your good?

Did God have that boy reject you to protect you?

The Love that gives to your child is the same Love that keeps from your child. 

Let’s teach our children to look to their perfect Father and see that maybe it’s a divine disappointment.

Lynn

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Danger Ahead

If you’ve stopped by today from Encouragement for Today with Proverbs 31 Ministries, welcome! My passion is partnering with women so that we can become wiser and raise wiser daughters. I hope it is your’s too!

As a mom, I have been known to do an unwise thing or two now and then. It goes like this:

“Do as I say; not as I do”.

Not smart.

As moms who love Jesus, we want our children to be Christ followers. We have hopes for their future; hope that might include:

* saving themselves for marriage

* they’ll be kind; looking out for the excluded child

* they’ll choose not to put others down or gossip about others.

Yet, sometimes, we don’t hold ourselves to the same standard.

The dating standards are different for ourselves.  I’ve already been married; it’s not like I’m still a virgin.

We are uncomfortable talking with those who are different than us. What would I say? It’s out of my comfort zone?

We’re quick to share the dirty details with our spouse of what’s going on at work. I just need someone to vent to!

I write these things not to point a finger, but to call ourselves to live up to the same standard we want to instill in our kids. I’ve struggled with expecting so much out of my girls, only to fall short myself.

Jesus promised us:

Isaiah 53:3-5, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV)

What is that area in your life that you need to held accountable?

Is there any area in your life you are flirting with something dangerous to yourself? Your family?

Confess this to Jesus. Tell Him you want to fall into His accepting arms and help you walk away from this danger. He is just waiting for you to ask! He died to give you his help!

 

Lynn

Monday, March 12, 2012

I’m Addicted

“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68

Are you addicted?

Dictionary.com calls addiction:

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

An addiction is something you cannot live without. If you try, you’ll experience harm.

My son once told me I was addicted to Jesus. What a compliment! I am! Jesus is what my life is wrapped around!

Are you addicted to Jesus? Is your life so centered on him that if he was no longer in your life, you would fall apart?

Take a minute to read John 6:60 – 69.

Simon Peter was addicted to Jesus. Many of Jesus’ disciples were leaving; Jesus was teaching challenging lessons and they were freaking out a bit. Jesus looked to the twelve left asking: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “To whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Simon tells Jesus, “There is no one for us to go to! You are it; you are everything to us.” Sounds like an addiction to me!

Maybe you hit a spot where you thought, “Following Jesus costs too much.” Giving up bad attitudes or selfish rights seems like too much to give up.  Being “different” is exhausting; you’re tired of fighting the world’s way of doing things.

Ask yourself: “What am I turning back to? Is it worth eternal life?” I hope that you find that Jesus is the only addiction worthy of your life.

Jesus, you are what I want to be addicted to. May I never look back! Amen

Lynn