Make Your Resolutions Come to Pass

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Make Your Resolutions Come to Pass

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INTENTIONAL LIVING

A resolution: The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination. A resolving to do something. A course of action determined or decided on.

Making New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition for most Americans. We make lists and proclaim to our family and friends our goals. We ask to be held accountable. Yet if we are to be honest, most of our resolve only last a few months at most. Why is that?

As 2013 is waning in to a memory and the dawn of 2o14 is fast approaching, I have thought about my resolutions for the New Year. Do I make resolutions this year? I have concluded NO. Instead I feel the Spirit telling me the reason my resolutions fail, and so many others’, is for one reason.

SELF gets in the way.

Although our resolutions may be honorable: spend more time with the Lord, loose a few pounds, or practice the art of servant-hood more often…many times they are founded in our flesh. “WHAT?  But those are all good and Godly resolutions!” you say. Yes they are, but where our resolution making takes a wrong turn is when WE become resolute, firmly determined, resolved to do something, and determine our course of action without FIRST consulting our Father. For this very reason I have abandoned the idea of New Year’s Resolution Making this year. I want, instead, to earnestly seek HIS will for my year, however much He chooses to reveal to me. I am waiting on the Lord’s plans for me. I know His plan is far better than my own and I know if I rest in the Lord and follow after Him he will complete the work He has begun in me. (Phil 1:6)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Are your New Year’s Resolutions confining God to a box? Are the resolutions you’re making YOUR goals for the year, or are they the LORD'S goals for you this coming year? We have a choice. We can pray and ask the Giver of All Good Things and our Father, to guide us down the path that HE has ordained for us, or are we can set our own goals and continuing on resolutely but in our flesh.

The Lord may be speaking to hearts in many different areas. For one, it may be time to get in shape...for we are a temple of God...we are his hands and feet. For another, the Lord may be saying it’s the year to pull out all the stops concerning your children…to make a considerable time investment in nourishing their souls.  And yet He chooses to ask another to give up media in order to carve out more time in a pursuit of a deepened servant’s heart. Only our Father above can point us in the right direction.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:6-10

Won’t you join me as 2013 passes into the New Year by seeking first the Kingdom of God? Happy New Year to you all!  I pray for an unquenchable zeal for the Lord for you in 2014.  That you will greatly impact those whose lives you come in contact with. Sweetly Broken, Wholly Surrendered...

 

 

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My Floors Are Dirty!

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My Floors Are Dirty!

Clouds have covered the sunbeams for the most of 5 days. It has been cold and gray. Today, as I am basking in the beautiful beams of sunlight that are streaming into my living room…I notice that my floors are COVERED with dirt!  It has been raining and we have tracked dirt all through out the house. Last night…I didn’t even notice!  The light wasn’t as brilliant.

Dirty floors
Dirty floors

Our sin is like the dirt on my floors.  In the dim lighting of the world, it is hardly recognizable.  In fact...in comparison to the filth of the darkness, it even appears to be clean. But as I move closer to the brilliance of the Father’s perfection, and it begins to shine in and on my life, the spots of dirt become as evident as trash in a beautiful bed of flowers!

My sin becomes more evident…not more abundant…just more noticeable as my eyes behold the beauty of Perfection and see that I’m not “there” yet. As our loving Father gently shines on us His rays of light seem to point out areas that we need to “clean up”.  However, the Lord is not pointing out the dirt, the dust…our imperfections with an accusing finger.  No, He illuminates the sin so He can REDEEM us through His son’s great sacrifice. He shows us the dirt in order to make us more like Him…to walk as He is…Holy, Clean, Pure…as He sees us through the Blood of Jesus that covers us.

He came not to condemn, but to give us life! John 3:17, 10:10

So how do we clean up the dirt?

Just as spot cleaning my kitchen floor seems to be a good idea, once I start, there seems to be no end to the dirt and I just keep cleaning. I clean one area and it leads to the hall…then a bedroom…then another…and another. You see, it wasn't until I clean the source of the dirt…the Access Point…that I was able to know that the dirt would not continue to trickle into the rooms I had just cleaned.

SIN is like this.  We cannot merely clean up one area and hope that it will not return. NO! We must find the Access Point and cut it off.  In my home, the Access Point for dirt is the front door and porch.  When no one is passing through the door, the floors remain clean. If I want people to come through that door AND keep the floors clean, I have to sweep the Porch. In the same manner, if I don’t clean up the doorways to my life…what I read, watch, listen to, who I hang with, etc…I will continually have to clean up the messes it leaves.

Here are some whys to get our hearts and lives cleaned up?

  1. Stand in the Light. Don’t be afraid to dive into to the Word, Sing from your heart the songs of Worship and to be still and know He is God. His light is not an interrogation spotlight, it is the gentle, warm beam of light that shines through the window and leads to healing.
  2. Ask to see the dirt. Scripture tells us that when we ask the Lord to give us wisdom, He gives it abundantly. Ask Him to show you where sin is rearing its ugly head. Sometimes, we are walking in the shadow of the clouds and don’t even see the dirt. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal it in you…and ask Him to prepare your heart to receive what He shows you.
  3. Find the Access Point. When you see the dirt, ask the Lord where it is originating. If your attitude toward your husband is being effected by something you are watching, stop watching it.  If you see that resentment is building towards your children, ask the Lord why. If He reveals that the company you've been keeping is influencing that relationship, take a step or two away from that person. Clean up your porch and your house will stay clean.

 He gives beauty for ashes Strength for fear Gladness for mourning Peace for despair.

Beauty for Ashes, Crystal Lewis from Isaiah 61:3

Lord, thank you that your light is beautiful, revealing and gentle, Thank you that you give Beauty for Ashes. Father I ask right now, that you speak to our hearts and reveal in us areas that are dirty. I pray for strength to clean up the access point and I rejoice in the outcome. Fill us today with more of you!

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Intentional Parenting

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Intentional Parenting

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I love the Biblical accounts of Mary as she was being filled with the Lord...her journey...her obedience...Joseph’s obedience!  What an awesome testimony and heritage she left for the world...being found righteous in the sight of the God Almighty. God’s plan for Mary and Joseph was big!  I’m sure neither of them dreamed they would hold the Son of God in their hands as he entered the Earth. How awe inspiring to think of the two young people being entrusted tom raise the Son of God, Jesus. God didn't entrust me with Jesus, but he did give into my care my children. His plan for me is the same as for Mary…raise children who love and Trust the Lord. To raise my children in the admonishment of the Lord and equip them to live a life of devotion to the Father.

Mary with Jesus
Mary with Jesus

God has a plan in mind for each of our children and He is placing them into our hands to train in Love towards Him, that one day they, too, will chase after His will and calling on their lives.

“For I have no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth” 3 John 1:4

 "For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

As parents, we have a choice. We can answer the call to follow Him...to show His Love and Grace to those around us...to teach our Children about His great Love and Sacrifice...to be Obedient in walking after His ways, with His character and His heart of compassion…or we can struggle in our self to raise upright children in today’s culture. When we choose obedience & humility, we are not only allowing God to work out His perfect plan, we are teaching by example. We are the Hands and Feet of God to our children. We are their first encounter with Love, Discipleship, & Caring. When we Love our children well; when we gently lead them into righteousness…we are showing them the face of God.

I know that may seem a bit over the top, but it is TRUTH. We, as parents, have a big responsibility. But we are not alone. The God of the Universe has not created everything and then abandoned us to our own devises to struggle. He has given us an example. He has given us His Word. He leads us by His Spirit. Scripture says

"Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." "Take my yoke upon you for my burden is easy and my yoke is light." "Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it." Matthew 11:28, 30 & Proverbs 22:6

You see, as children of the Most High God, we can learn from His ways. We can call Him for advice. We can read His letters to us and be encouraged. We take joy in the task at hand, because with Him ALL things are possible.

Path
Path

The awesome path of parenting is simple, but takes a dedicated heart and intentional living. We will mess up. We will ask for forgiveness (from God AND our children- a practice in humility). We will have victories and Joy. As I have walked this path, I find 3 simple guidelines make all the difference in parenting my children. Again, simple…but it’s a journey of intention.

  1. Pursue YOUR relationship with Christ. Drink deeply from His goodness everyday so He can fill you with Joy & Peace, speak to your heart about your children, love on you through the hard times, and guide you as you encounter new curves in the road.
  2. Love your spouse well. When children see their parents in a Godly, loving relationship, it brings security to them. Loving your spouse isn’t about being perfect, or waiting hand and foot on the other, or lavishing them with gifts. NO! It is about dying to our selfishness and putting them before us. It’s about dancing in the kitchen when you REALLY don’t want to. It’s about laughing at their corny jokes or making a cup of coffee…just because. It’s about taking Joy in them and it is a reflection of God’s great love for His bride. Remember…He laid down His life for His bride.
  3. Teach your children how to love the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind. Remember, our children learn more by watching what we do, how we react to situations. They learn from our words and attitudes in everyday life. Are we exhibiting Grace, Mercy, Trust? When a need arises, to they see panic in us or a trust in God that brings peace that passes all understanding? We teach our children every moment of every day. It’s not about the right family devotion or the right calendar that will help you schedule obedience. No, it is about having a LOVE relationship with our children. It’s about holding their hearts, buffeting their fleshly desires and showing them Truth in action.

I am not always obedient, not even in the little things sometimes. But, I know that God is merciful and full of Grace. As I seek Him, He will mold this heart of mine, and the hearts of our family, into willing and obedient hearts that He may find pleasure in our actions, just as He found in Mary and Joseph.

I thank Him today for the privilege of Motherhood. I thank Him for the 'hope and future' that He has orchestrated for me, and YOU, through the birth of a Saviour. I thank Him for the humility and obedience of Mary & Joseph. I pray that I will be used of God to impact the next generation living under my roof...that they, too, will impact those around them for Christ.

Take time to thank the Lord for being Jesus (Saviour), Emmanuel (God With Us), today. Praise Him for the privilege to be involved in His plan. Thank Him that even when parenting is difficult and we think we have messed up beyond redemption, He IS with us. It's WHO and WHY He IS.

May your Christmas Season be filled with Jesus, Family & Friends ...and Intention.

Katie

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To Everything Is A Season

Change is in the wind. I can smell it in the air and feel it on my face. Autumn is the beautiful transition as warm luscious summer gives way to the colder, yet still beautiful, winter season. There is a song that keeps playing in the soundtrack of my mind. I'm sure most of you will be able to hum along as you read the lyrics.

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones

A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace

A time of love, a time of hate

A time you may embrace

A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time to love, a time to hate

A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

The Byrds: Turn, Turn, Turn (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

There is a season, God keeps reminding me, for everything under Heaven. I am thankful for the reminder.

As the leaves outside don their brilliant array of colors and the weather snaps a colder breeze, the physical changing of the season mimics my thoughts. There is such a bitter sweetness for me in Autumn. And so it is when I feel the Lord telling me that a season is coming to and end...it is always bitter-sweet. But just as autumn turns to winter in perfect time, so the Lord's timing in my life is perfect as well.

The trees finish their season in grace and beauty...it's their grand finale. I too, want to finish with a graceful grand finale as He transitions me into the next season He is already preparing. A pastor once told me that how you finish one area is how you will begin the next area. In other words, if we let the changing of seasons become ugly and bitter...the following season will be tainted by its ugliness.

A graceful grand finale...that is my desire as I move to the next season.

I so hope the fingerprint  I leave behind will be beautiful and grace-filled...not a bitter taste lingering. So I pray for graciousness, for wisdom, for Truth to reign supreme and above all...for God to work out the details. I don't know what God is planning...it's always something GREAT...but I am content and happy to follow. I struggle to stay focused on His will, at times...but that is part of being human. I am frustrated that I can't plan everything out...but that, too, is human. I want to quit early, earlier than His perfect timing as ordained...again, my flesh crying out to get its way. What good does it do to train for a race and only run 7/8th of it? NONE Good! (As I always say at home)

So I wait as my colors change and pray for a beautiful display for the grand finale.

How are you handling change in your life. Are you kicking and screaming? Do you feel Lost and Confused? Are you resting in His will? When God moves you, and He will, rest in knowing for everything there is a season.

How do I handle change? Three things must happen in my life for me to change gracefully.

  1. Resist the urge to entertain the enemy's lies that make me feel inadequate. "You couldn't hack it," or "So-and-so will be so much better at this." I must always remember that Satan is the Father of ALL lies.
  2. Stand firm against fearing the unknown. I intentionally take time to reminisce about what the Lord has already accomplished through me as I have been faithful in prior seasons.
  3. Ask the Lord for HIS perspective and rejoice with Him as he is moving me into a new and glorious season of life and service.

If you too, are feeling a season of change in your life...take a moment to rejoice that you are in His will and chasing after where He is working. Enjoy the change and rest knowing He is in control. May your transition be more beautiful as the Autumn leaves that usher in the new season.

To Everything...turn, turn, turn

There is a season...turn, turn, turn.

Katie

 

 

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