christianity, Uncategorized

Looking Ahead

Our house is full of boxes once again, things are in disarray, not in their normal places. But one thing is consistent…I have peace.

As I stare out the window facing the ocean, I am reflecting about our time in Mexico. I have shed many tears here. Some happy, some sad, and some full of anger. Anger at the suffering we see, anger that it’s an unjust and unfair world.

I know when Eve offered the fruit to Adam and he ate (Genesis 3:6) that was not the road God had wanted them to travel down. But thanks be to God he is bigger than our mistakes. He had a plan. A plan that would cost His son’s life. But, an awesome plan that would wipe away every spot and blemish, every sinful thought, every tear from our eyes. Yes, it would be thousands of years later, but it would happen just as he promised.

Moving back to Washington was not on the radar three months ago. In fact, we were talking about making Mexico our long-term plan. We have been asked many times over the past two years what our plan was. “How long will you be here?” is a common question. Our response has always been, “As long as God calls us here.” We held Mexico with an open hand.

Our ministry is called Cherith Brook based out of 1 King’s 17, where Elijah went to hide and the crows fed him because there was a famine. As I was staring out our window, I felt like I should revisit this story in scripture, but continue to read further down the chapter.

Eventually the Brook dries up. Cherith Brook, where he would get his thirst quenched no longer produced the nourishment his body needed. So what next? What was he to do?

1 Kings 17:8 says, “Then the LORD said to Elijah, Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

I love this because God continues to direct Elijah. He doesn’t leave him hanging. He gives instructions and tells him exactly where to go. Elijah listens and obeys. He doesn’t know all the details. He just goes.

As the story continues we see some miracles, which is awesome! But, for me, I felt like God saying, “I got this Christine. I am calling you back to Washington. I have a plan. Do you trust me?”

This past month we have seen God open so many doors for us, making it clear that He is definitely calling us to Washington. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know the entire plan. We are taking it one step at a time as He directs us.

Two years ago, as we were pulling away from our cabin (the original Cherith Brook) to move down to Mexico, I had a choice. Do I look back longingly like Lot’s wife did? Or, do I look ahead at the adventure before us. I had a huge choice to make.

Quite a bit happened at that cabin. It was where God met me and I had to face some hard truths about myself that I didn’t want to see. I became FREE there. When we were in the truck pulling away from our beloved place on earth, I decided not to look back. I knew God wanted us in Mexico and I didn’t want to be disobedient in my heart. I had to push forward with the thought that I may never live on the mountain again. I gave it up.

Here we are, returning to a home, that I love. It’s not pretty. It needs a lot of work. But, I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store. I’m sure there will be trials-there always are in life. However, I am excited to experience the next chapter, so I can learn and continue to grow.

Sometimes the future just doesn’t make sense. Many good things are happening in Mexico. Why would God have us move now? I don’t have the answer to this. But, a verse comes to mind and it is this:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6

Thank you, Lord for always directing our footsteps. We may not like the direction you are leading us, but it always works out to our benefit. I pray that wherever we are, your light will always shine through us and that you will continue to enable us to love the one in front of us. Amen.

christianity

A Godly Woman: Anger & Profanity

I was recently talking with someone and they were saying how difficult it is to let go of anger. I agree. Sometimes, I believe we allow anger because in reality, it can feel good to let off a little steam. It can be the trickle down affect…I was yelled at, so I will raise my voice to those in lower positions.

Another reason we get angry (mom’s are prone to this) our expectations aren’t being met. The house is a mess, the dishes aren’t done, the kids are too loud, etc. I was guilty of this when my kids were younger.

Maybe you have a coworker who is difficult to get along with. Or, someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way, and your hackles get up every time they walk in the room.

So what should our attitude be? I love going to scripture and seeing what the Bible says. I did this a few days ago because I am dealing with someone right now who hasn’t been very pleasant. I had anger growing inside of me and I didn’t like where those feelings were headed.

Ephesians 4:22 & 24

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”

These verses are great for reminding us that we have been made new in Christ. I love verse 24 where it says “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” We need to go to God daily to be refreshed and renewed.

Let’s look at more verses:

Ephesians 4:26

“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

What happens when we get angry at someone? We start to “vent” or so we say. Which, can easily turn into gossip. If we let the anger take control it leads to all kinds of bad things. In verse 27 it tells us not to go to bed angry. We need to talk to the person we are angry with before the next day comes. This can be difficult to do. It requires getting rid of our pride and talking through the situation and even possibly having to hear things about ourself that we aren’t going to like.

With anger we can let our tongue get away from us, which we talked about last time. James 3 explains taming our tongue. But, I want to look further in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:29

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

It seems like in this day and age cursing has become the norm. I didn’t grow up in a house that cussed. So, every time I hear profanity, it sets me off. Unfortunately, I hear it more often than I’d like. Movies, television, adults, kids, it’s everywhere. I have heard people say, “It’s just a word.” True. But, what is the meaning of that word? And do you really need to say it every five seconds?

The Greek word for profanity or corrupt is Sapros, which means rotten, worthless, bad, corrupt. I had to do a fruit inspection in my own life and realized I don’t always say the nicest things, especially when I am angry. Anger and unwholesome talk go hand in hand.

I pray I will be like the above verse and have things that are good and helpful, and encouraging come out of my mouth.

Our next two verses sum everything up really well.

Ephesians 4:31 & 32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

So, to review what we have looked at so far: A Godly Woman is…

  • Pure
  • Respectful
  • Diligent
  • Controls her tongue
  • Controls her thoughts and emotions
  • Is not angry
  • Doesn’t let profanity or unwholesome talk come out of her mouth

Dear God, thank you for these biblical truths that you revealed to me. I pray that you will enable me to go to you daily and hear what you have to say. May I become the Godly woman you desire and may my speech be fragrant to all those around me.

christianity, family, Uncategorized

Abalone Shells and Sand Dollars

When I was a little girl I used to think what if all the glistening sand on the beach was my money? I would be one wealthy little girl! Oh, what I would do with all that cash!

Today my husband and I went on a walk at our local beach, here in Mexico. It was a beautiful warm afternoon. I smiled as I looked down at my sandy toes and saw the gold colored sand twinkling on the path before us. I suddenly remembered my thoughts as a little girl and thinking about the sand being money.I laughed as my thoughts on money have changed quite drastically as an adult.

As we continued on down the beach, we noticed some small sand dollars. They were so unique and each one a little different. We walked farther and came across an abalone shell which was even more glorious as it’s rainbow of color shone in the sun.

After looking at these treasures I, again, thought of things that I used to think as important or precious (house, car, a good hair day, cool jeans, etc.) and what I see as treasures to me now. Quite a different list.

Today my treasure was spending time with my husband, holding his hand on the beach, talking about life. Seeing the sand dollars and the abalone shell and being reminded that God put those along our path for my pleasure. It gave me joy to see such small things that were God created, not man created.

What is your treasure today? What are you thankful for?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

marriage

Day 25 Prayer: Deliverance

How many of us want to be free? For me, it took moving off-grid, living 45 minutes from the nearest town, and learning to depend on God for everything.

I enjoyed our simple life on the mountain, but some things were really difficult. I was being squeezed. I was having to face my past. I had to revisit hurts and sins I wanted buried.

It seemed my husband and I were on a six month cycle in our relationship. Things would be great for about six months, then we would have an argument and expose deep issues. We would try to resolve them, never able to until we realized there were things that needed to be addressed and changed.

How did change happen? We started reading the Bible together. Slowly, over time, healing took place. Deliverance from things done in both of our pasts occurred. We prayed together regularly and prayed that strongholds that were passed down through our families would be broken. Finally, the most amazing thing happened…God broke those chains!

Was it difficult? I would say, yes and no. The most difficult part was not going back to what was familiar. The lies the enemy throws at us are much easier to believe than the truth. The truth being, I am a new creation in Christ. The old is gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I finally realized I was in a cage that I had put myself in and the door was wide open! I didn’t have to be in the cage. The only reason I liked the cage was because it was what was familiar and easy for me. I thought it protected me. It didn’t. It only made matters worse.

I have experienced freedom first hand and I am telling you, it is worth fighting for!

Day 25 Prayer: Deliverance

Thank God that deliverance is possible. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted, to give sight to the blind, and to set free those who are in bondage. (Luke 4:18)

Pray for deliverance in your family. If there is reoccurring sin, pray for it to be broken. That the chains would come loose and you would no longer be a prisoner to it. I have seen God break bondage of alcoholism, drug addiction, gluttony, sexual immorality, lying, and so much more.

Rejoice that God sent His Son so we could be washed white as snow.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

family, marriage

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

I love my dad. My father is one of the most humble, gentle people you will ever meet. Is he perfect? No. However, his Godly example is bearing fruit not only in my life, but in the life of my kids.

My earliest memories are of him reading his Bible every morning while eating his breakfast. (My mom did this, too, but we are talking about fathers.)

My dad is a hard worker, a man of integrity, and has great knowledge and wisdom. He also has a funny side. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, we always wonder if he will say something wise or funny.

Maybe you didn’t have a good father. Maybe your dad wasn’t even around. It saddens my heart when I hear stories of fathers who didn’t stand up to the plate, and were absent or were abusive either verbally or physically.

The wonderful thing is, we can pray for our husbands to be a good father to our children. Regardless of their upbringing, God can do awesome things in the heart of a man who is willing and ready.

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

Thank God for the children he has given to you and your spouse.

Pray that your husband will be a Godly example to your kids.

Pray that he will not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) If this has happened in the past, pray that he would be able to use his words wisely and discipline without anger.

Pray that he would be able to communicate and be interested in your children. If he struggles with the desire to be an interactive father, start there. Pray for a change of heart.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity-blessed are his children after him.” Proverbs 20:7

christianity, marriage, Uncategorized

Day 13 Prayer: Our Speech

“Indeed we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every way.” James 3:2 NLT

How many of us have said things we regret and wish we could take our words back? I try to be careful with my words and my response to others. But, all too often I find myself wishing I could go back in time and respond differently to something someone said.

Whether it’s talking face to face, writing on social media, or talking about someone when they aren’t there, our speech can either speak life or death.

James chapter 3 has a great deal to say about the tongue. Verse 9 says “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.”

Wow! We need to really think before we speak. Are we building each other up or tearing one another down due to jealousy and envy? Are we letting anger and frustration rule our emotions instead of taking a moment to stop and take a breath to let the Holy Spirit have control?

Day 13 Prayer: Our Speech

Thank God for His wisdom and mercy.

Thank Him that by drawing closer to Him we can speak life and show love to those close to us.

Pray that you and your family would be able to be gentle at all times, willing to yield to others, and be merciful even in the most difficult circumstances.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

marriage

Day 12 Prayer: Peace

As I take a look at our world, I quickly recognize that people are not at peace. I see turmoil everywhere. I see it in the news, in the streets, in schools, and in homes.

If it breaks my heart, I know it breaks God’s heart.

Where does peace come from? But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22

Peace comes from the Holy Spirit, so the more we draw close to Him, the more our old self dies, producing good fruit. Thus, we will look different to the world, because our very actions will be Christ-like.

Many times people have walked into our home and said, “Its so peaceful here.” It’s not because of anything I did, believe me. That is all God. God brings peace.

When we keep our focus on God, we have peace. How many of us have been through difficult things and when we rely on ourself, we have anxiety and fear. But, when we give it over to the Lord, His peace, which surpasses all understanding, sweeps over us. “You will keep him in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

Day 12 Prayer: Peace

Thank Him that we can have peace in our lives and homes.

If your home is not a home of peace and comfort, pray that God would show you what needs to change. Pray that love would sweep over your household. Without love, peace isn’t possible.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33