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Would You?

You are standing alone in front of 500 people. There are 1,000 eyes watching you.   With all of their attention focused on you…would you start saying things like W#%,  L^%@O, or any other four-letter words that would make your grandmother’s jaw drop? Would you get into a seductive pose? How about this – would you pick a person out of the crowd and bully them in front of all those watching you?

I would like to believe that if you found yourself in that situation you would be very careful about what you said or did in front of those 1,000 eyes. Can you imagine what the crowd would think if you bullied someone in front of them?

41552149 - young girl in indie style clothes with laptop computer on green grass in the park

Just recently I was speaking to a friend of mine and she asked her niece similar questions to what I just asked you. When her niece said, “No”, my friend shared some wise words with her and I want to share them with you. She said to her niece, “If you would not say those things in front of a bunch of people then why would you say it on Facebook?” Just because you cannot see the people who are looking at your photos or reading what you post, it doesn’t mean it is not a reflection of you.

In front of a crowd you would see people’s brows clinch in horror or you might even hear some gasps from the people watching and listening to you. Behind the computer, phone or IPad there is a false sense of security that anything goes because no one is really watching. That is not the case at all. Just because you can’t see the looks or hear the gasps, people really are watching you and what you post on social media is a reflection of who you are.

My friend is the wife of a police officer and when she shared with me what she told her niece there was a detective and crime scene investigator in the conversation with us. The detective shared with me that it is amazing what law enforcement can find on the internet. It is one of the first places they go when investigating a crime. He said if he can see what is out there, so can colleges and future employers.

So let’s start over.

You are sitting alone in front of your computer.   You can’t see who is watching you but there are several sets of eyes that see what you are posting. Anyone who looks at your post has their attention focused on you…would you say things like W#% or L^%@O, or any other four-letter words that would make your grandmother’s jaw drop? Would you get into a seductive pose, snap a photo and post it?   How about this – would you bully one of your peers for all those on social media to see?

Would you?

Before you post something on social media ask yourself if you would be comfortable saying or doing it in front of a crowd, think about and then delete it, if needed.

Originally posted on the Whatever Girls.

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The Good Sheperd

On a trip to Norway this summer I experienced something so beautiful.  I wrote about it and it was published in Living Better 50 Magazine. I hope you have a moment to read this short article and I hope it encourages you to pray for those in your life that may have wandered.

The Good Shepherd

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The gift that will not fade …

10665930_10152750701973749_4060286779736131217_nGuest Post by Joe Duenich

What is the gift that will not fade?

My two daughters are grown and experiencing their very own adventure of life. While my wife and I are excited about being empty nesters and watching them blossom, it is kind of sad. We miss taking care of them and seeing them each and every day. But in the eternal scheme of things, not seeing them for days, weeks, or even months apart is really nothing. The day is coming when I who entered this world at one point will face eternity. That day is also coming for my kids…yours too. Our sons and daughters will hear from a just and holy, loving God about an eternal destiny. The thought of missing one of my kids in eternity is just unbearable for me.

So, if you’re a parent, I’m telling you, do whatever you need to do. Talk to your kids about their faith and about their futures and about God. And if it’s awkward or hard or embarrassing or you feel like you don’t have all the answers, talk to them anyway! You’re the parent. In addition to talking to them, allow them to see into your heart and your own walk with God. Teach them through your example. Be a great role model.

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It took a lot for this UW husky fan had within her to post this photo of WSU fans on her page.

Role modeling is one of the best ways to reach our kids. What is the example that we are to use to have our kids model after? Here’s an idea from Ephesians 5:1-4. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.”

This is not an exhaustive list but what a powerful place to start. Paul is encouraging us to imitate God…in other words, let your kids see you acting like Jesus by walking in love! Model purity…they need to see this from us as parents because they are hard pressed to see it from anyone else. And our mouths…the words that come out of our mouth have immense power to give life or death. We should choose words wisely around our children.

Lastly, make the commitment to pray for your kids every day. We live in a world where parents think so much about parenting and work hard to give so many gifts to their kids that are going to fade. There’s only one gift we can give to our kids that will never fade, and that will last for all eternity, so give it. Give it the best you can!

For more posts by men you can go to Dirt, Trucks, and Faith

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau

 

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Can You Trust Me with your Children?

Guest post by Karli Reed, licensed minister with the Assemblies of God.

Parenting is one of the most honorable responsibilities given to us to discourage with grace and love. From the moment that they are born and take their first breath, we are scared out our wits – oh my word! What have we here!?! What am I doing and have I lost my mind? What do I do next? Next, we take a deep breath and say “Lord God, teach us each day every step we need to take to raise this one up for your Kingdom.

IMG_0214When each of my children were born, I would wait until everyone has left to go home for the night and then stand before the hospital window facing Spokane twinkling in the night. I would raise up each one and pray and give thanks for this promised child. “You gave me the vision of three children and you have kept your promise. Here is this one. Guide me to raise them for you and for the calling that You have destined to.” You would ask me if it was all piece of cake and I would say no it wasn’t. Each child you have is uniquely different and need to be raised according to who they are. As Parents, we will have moments we regret and wish we could do it over again but, we can’t. I just have to remind myself that parenting doesn’t end even after they’ve starting their family.

There is always an opportunity to change your parenting if necessary as long as we surrender it all into His hands. As we face the days ahead of us, it becomes necessary to teach your children how to walk and live the Godlike life. Teach them how to pray along side you so they learn how to communicate with the Lord.Teach them how to worship before God to learn intimacy with God.Teach them the word of God and how to read it, study it like a student with a Teacher beside you. Never underestimate your children. They can do it. Teach them ministry with you but be wise on how they can handle ministry and guard them from the harm done in ministry. Tell them about the hard stuff when they are ready. Let them see you walk it out and the teach them that it is ok to ask us about why things happen the way they do. Always keep Jesus in the center of everything you say and do.

The most important lesson to learn is this : “Can you trust Me with your children? Trust me enough to leave them in my hands so that I may do a work in their lives before I release them?”

Parenting goes through its different seasons and each season affects the next one. Each season has its sunrises and sunsets along with it changes. Parenting also goes through its storms such as bullying, suicides, death, rejection…..this list goes on. By trusting in God to carry us through the storms, we become seasoned parents ready to come along side with younger, new parents. Parenting is a life cycle with God walking beside you every step of the way.

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau

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He is the God of Constant Opposites

Today has not been my day. I am overwhelmed with pain and confusion as to what to do. Honestly, I am flat out tired. I feel like I am being buried in a pile of something that stinks really badly and I want out of it. In my 50 years I have learned that life is hard from time to time but in the middle of everything, there is one constant I can count on…God. No matter how deeply I may feel buried in a pile of something that stinks, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In Revelation 22:13, God says this about Himself: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. God uses three comparisons to describe Himself. Notice each one is the opposite of the other. God says He is the Alpha and the Omega. These are the opposite ends of the Greek Alphabet. He says I am the first and the last. He is before all others and after all others. The beginning is the opposite of the end. Everything begins and ends with Him. What I mean by God being the “Constant Opposite” is that He is the opposite of our painful circumstances.

22186328_sHe is constant and I can always count on Him no matter how badly my circumstances may stink. I can also count on Him because He is the God of “opposites”. It may seem strange to think that God who is constant could be the God of opposites but it’s true.

Let me explain…

In our weakness, He is the constant opposite. He makes us strong.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

In our brokenness, He is the constant opposite. He brings us healing.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

In our sin, He is the constant opposite. He offers redemption.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

In our sorrow, He is the constant opposite. He brings us joy.

He will… bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:3

When we are lost, He is the constant opposite. He will find us and save us.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

When we are tired and weary, He is the constant opposite. He will give us rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

On days like today when I feel overwhelmed by heaping shovels of something stinky being dumped on me, I can count on God to be not only my constant but my constant opposite. I know when I reach out to Him, He is waiting to pull me out of it. He will clean me up, set my feet on something firm, and give me strength to keep going.

You too can count on Him to be your constant opposite. No matter what you feel buried in, reach out to Him. He will pull you out of it. In your weakness, He will give you strength. In your brokenness, He will give you healing. When you are caught in sin, He offers redemption. In your sorrow, He brings joy. When you are lost, through Him, you are found. When you are weary, He alone can bring you rest.

God is the beginning, the end, and the constant opposite in all of our painful circumstances. You can count on the God of constant opposites.

*All Scripture used is NIV

Originally posted on Living Better 50 Magazine

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Out of Practice

Today’s guest post is by Deborah Thomas, Eye Sights BlogDebby with short hair

Everyone knows that practice is not optional if you want to get better at something. I just talked with a seasoned piano teacher about the possibility of teaching a four-year old to play the piano–can they do it? She said that to the degree that the parents make the child practice is how well they do. With discipline and regular practice, they progress solidly. But parents that do not require their child to practice see them struggle.

The same goes for any skill. I used to take private dance lessons to learn how to country swing better. I had no boyfriend so practicing alone in between lessons was almost useless. Line dancing practice a la solo worked better, as long as I did not forget any of the moves.

In Christianity, we have moves, also. I call this practice. If we are out of practice, today is a new day! Christianity does not end at conversion; that is only our birth. We must go on with Christ, a life time with Him. We need to get smart!

Whoever learns how to throw hardball while sitting on the sideline? Who learns how to suffer without bleeding or injuring a body part? Who knows grief unless there has been loss of some life? Who can swim well without practicing strokes or treading water a long time? Can anyone really practice being kind until they are shown unkindness in their face? The Lord is not going to hand these things to us on a gleaming platter. He wants us to practice and exercise our spiritual muscles.

1 Peter 1: 6 & 7 declares: “…now for a little while, you may have…to suffer grief, in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Trials come to give us practice; if we practice, we prove our faith. God wants to know if our faith is the real thing. Authenticity matters. You cannot just say you are a Christian. Your life has to prove it. Practicing your Christianity brings forth outstanding results: praise, glory and honor to Christ.

I do not want to be out of practice, as I walk in faith before the Lord. Suffering? Grief? Unkindness? Trials? Yes, they are there all right. But they are just the backdrop on which we practice our instruments for Him. Amen?

To read more of Deborah’s posts go to Eye Sights.

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There’s a “I” in Him

As a mom of former college baseball and softball players, I have heard the saying “there is no “I” in team” more times than I can count. In other words, one player is not to work alone, but rather work together with others to achieve a certain goal. Today I am drawn to the word “Him”, as in Christ. Yes, there is an “I” in that word but I am not just talking about the “I” in the spelling of Him.

As a woman, a wife, and a mother, who walks her life out with Christ, I can truly say; there’s an “I” in Him. Me, myself, and I are in Him and He is in me. We are a team and He is my captain. It is “I” in Him and “Him” in me that makes all things possible. Christ said it himself in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Because I think like a baseball/softball mom, let me put it to you this way. Life can feel like a ball game. It may 5435255_mseem like you are at the bottom of the 9th, stuck on 3rd with 2 outs and you’re ready to give up. But it is at that moment that He steps up to the plate and knocks one out of the park. Christ is the only one I would ever want batting at that point in the game. I know that the things of this world sometimes leave me stranded on third but Christ will always bring me home. Never has He left me standing alone on the field of life and I will never stop giving Him praise.

Today I pray that you, too, are the “I” in Him and that He is in you. I pray that you will step behind Christ as your Team Captain and let Him call the plays. I also pray that you will let Him be your strength whatever life brings your way.

I hope that knowing you can also be the “I” in Him brings you peace during even the hardest of times.   What are you waiting for? The words of the song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty say it perfectly…“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play”. Be the “I” in Him!

 

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The Blessing Box

I am sure you have heard the expression, “Count your blessings”.

In our deepest pain, our blessings may be hard to find because it is difficult to see past our present circumstances. When we choose to walk with God, there is no guarantee that there won’t be struggles. By acknowledging our blessings and worshiping God in the storm, we not only honor Him, but it opens heaven’s floodgates of strength and comfort to carry us through whatever we are facing. When we feel like we have nothing in us, those are the times we need to praise Him all the more.

DSC_7524About five years ago we walked through a very painful time when our daughter was harmed in an act of violence. More than once, I thanked God that there were only 24 hours in a day because with each new morning His mercies were new. At one point during that hard time my friend took my hands and raised them to the Lord and said, “Thank God for the blessings you can see”. At first I looked at her like she was crazy and I thought how can there be anything to be thankful for in this nightmare.

As I sat on the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks, my friend held my hands up to the Lord, and I said, “Thank you, Lord, they did not kill my daughter”. In that moment I felt a sense of joy during the most painful time of my life. My daughter was alive! I had missed that in my pain. With my hands still held up by my friend, I began to thank God for the blessings I had not noticed in my pain.

Suddenly I realized she had let go of my hands and I was holding them up on my own. I was still hurt by what had happened and concerned about what lay ahead of us but I had new strength. For the first time in over a month, I was able to sleep through the night. The next day I added a night of sleep to my list of blessings.

In September 2015 while thanking God for a new blessing in my life, I got the idea of making a blessing box for my husband and myself. It sits in the area where we spend time in study and prayer. On the days that are hard and we struggle to find the words to pray, we can dump out the blessings in the box and then read them one at a time. It is very powerful. I can start on empty and when I am done reading them, I am running on a full tank of joy.

I want to encourage you to make a blessing box for yourself. If you are married or have children living with you, make a blessing box to share or make one for each of you. When the storms hit and you can’t find the words to pray dump that box out in your lap and start thanking God for how He has blessed you. Let Him turn your sorrow into joy because a joyful heart is good medicine. –Proverbs 17:22 (NASB)

 

Authors note:

Here is an idea for the whole family. Get some fun things to decorate the blessing box and include the whole family in the decorating. Setting aside time each week to share your blessings with each other and adding them to your blessing box is a simple way to acknowledge what the Lord is doing in your family.

 

Every couple of months dump the box out and take turns reading the blessings. No matter how old your children are, they can all take part in this. Teaching your children to count their blessings and give thanks, helps build their faith so that when the storms come, they will remember to look beyond their circumstances and see the goodness there is in the Lord.

 

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Muck Boots

Muck boots.

Muck boots and laughter.

Muck boots, laughter and deep mud.

I can still hear the sound of my daughter and her best friend stomping in the mud on a cold November day. The37363764_s rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the bonfire as we listened to the Apple Cup football game on the radio.

Those two were having so much fun in the deep mud. However, the fun came to an end when they got stuck. The more they panicked trying to get out, the more stuck they got. At the bonfire we could hear the sound of the girls yelling for their dads to help them.

Both of the dads ran quickly to help the girls. They carefully positioned their feet so they would not get stuck themselves. They had to pull as hard as they could to get the girls out of the mud. One of the girls lost her boot because the mud refused to loosen its grip. Their dads were stronger than the mud that had its grip on them.

What started out as fun, led the two girls to be trapped in a place that only their fathers were strong enough to pull them out of. No matter how old we are we may find ourselves playing in the mud in a different way.  Pornography, unhealthy sexual relationships , drugs, and excessive drinking are just a few ways you can find yourself stuck in a mess you never wanted to be in.

If you are stuck in a place you don’t want to be, call out to God. No matter how much mud you may find yourself in, God can pull you out of it and clean you off. Tell Him you need His help and He will be there. He will make you white as snow when you ask Him for forgiveness. Also, ask someone you trust for help. Go to them and be honest about what is going on. Tell them you need prayer and accountability. You might even be surprised to find out that they may have stepped in their fair share of mud too. If you need to speak to a professional or seek treatment do so. There is never any shame in getting the help you need.

Don’t ever think there is no way out of the mud. Cry out for help. Your father in heaven will come running just like the dads did when the girls yelled for help. Psalms 40:2 says, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.(NIV) Believe He will lift you out of the mud, out of the muck and mire, just like scripture says. Please be honest with God and those you love.

Be careful what you step in, even with your muck books on.

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