Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  – John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

wERA4ybWWc6eW6phrckP8CBe3W5wG8seBzQdA87T6tacfepC_4_600.jpgCreate a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You Are Beloved and Chosen

 

Thank you Holley Gerth for today’s message.

I step into a Junior High lunch room that smells like old fries and sticky plastic trays. I scan the scene—the popular kids at one table, bookworms at another, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. Who will look up and invite me over?

Tell me who I am.

My friends and I have crushes and dates and boyfriends. We fix our hair a hundred different ways. Crowd into dressing rooms to try a thousand different outfits. Loop silver and gold through our ears. The doorbell rings and he is holding roses.

Tell me who I am.

I am typing into a small screen and pressing “publish.” Sending my heart in black and white into the internet. There will be comments and likes, criticisms and compliments. I watch the cursor blink.

Tell me who I am.

Isn’t this the whisper of our hearts as women? The friends, the men, the crowd. They will tell us if we are okay. If we are worthy. If we are enough. Isn’t that their job?

But then I bump into this verse, “But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people” (John 2:24). All people. The popular kids and the bookworms, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. This verse has been there all along and it’s been a head-scratcher for me. He didn’t entrust Himself to them?

Then suddenly it occurs to me this might the answer: Jesus is the only human to walk this spinning planet and not say Tell me who I am. He didn’t look to others to definite His identity, to determine His worth. “Instead He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). “Judge” has a reputation of being a harsh word but I don’t think that’s the meaning here. I think it’s saying that God alone knows the truest-truth and that’s why His opinion is the only one that really matters.

Of course, we are going to care what others think. We’re going to desire acceptance and want to fit in. This is the way we’re created to connect. The only folks who don’t are sociopaths. So, no guilt about this, no shame or hardening our hearts. Instead we can simply say, “But God gets the final word.”

Tell me who I am.

And God says we are beloved and chosen, cherished and gifted, wanted and a divinely-shaped wonder.

When someone says, “You’ll never amount to anything,” He says, “You can do all things because I strengthen you” (Philippians 4:13).

When someone tells us, “You don’t look the right way,” He whispers, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

When someone implies, “You aren’t wanted,” He declares, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1b).

God is the One who gives us our identities. He is the One who sets us free from condemnation and comparison, hustling to be liked and trying to be perfect. He is the One right there with us every time we feel tempted to listen to the lies. May His love always be louder than any other voice.

Tell us who we are.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Living Love When We Disagree

Thank you Melissa Spoelstra for today’s message:

Living love when we disagree sounds good on paper, but it isn’t easy. We’re different—we have different personalities, preferences, and perspectives. And we can struggle to get along, especially when we don’t see eye to eye. In the course of a day, we can find ourselves disagreeing or debating with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers on social media about everything from food choices and parenting styles to politics and religion. Often we find ourselves divided—even as Christians. How can we work out our differences with humility and grace, always showing the love of Christ, while still remaining true to what we believe?

So who has been irritating you the most lately? Keep that person in the back of your mind and we’ll come back to them in a minute. Paul urged the church in Corinth to “be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10). He essentially called them to live love – even when they disagreed. Chapter 13, known as the love chapter, wasn’t included to be a nice poem for weddings. Instead, it was written to urge Christians living in a pagan and diverse culture to approach one another with the love of Christ. God’s Word calls us to do the same.

Regrettably, we often exercise the opposite of that kind of love, choosing instead to keep a record of wrongs or make rude comments—whether in person or on social media. Jesus prayed that we would experience unity as his body. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:20-21)

In His prayer, Jesus asked that His followers would be as united as He and the Father are! We can never demonstrate this supernatural love and kindness with those who disagree with us apart from Jesus. Paul acknowledged this truth, mentioning the name of Jesus eight times in the first nine verses of his letter! He knew that we desperately need Christ at the center of our personal lives, including our interactions with others. Our unity comes only through Christ and His love.

Here are some of the main questions the concept of living love has brought up for me:

How can we?

  • Deal with our differences in a loving way without compromising our convictions
  • Achieve harmony while maintaining our diversity
  • Consider the ways that the surrounding culture impacts our beliefs
  • Agree to disagree on matters of preference and opinion
  • Humbly listen to others with views different than our own
  • Embrace ambiguity in some areas, acknowledging that our view is often partial and incomplete
  • Demonstrate to all that love is the greatest thing, which never fails

How have you worked through some of these issues? Have you noticed that sometimes Christians can behave unlovingly towards one another, especially online?

Now let’s bring it a little closer to home. So who was that person that came to your mind when I asked who has been irritating you lately? Think about that person right now. How is God calling you to live His love toward them today? We can’t do it without Jesus at the center of our lives can we? Know that I am praying that every person who reads this post would have supernatural power to live love in their midst of their disagreements!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  ~ John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

Create a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The All-In Mom

Thank you Arlene Pellicane for today’s message.  I know today’s is Father’s Day but this touched my heart and I wanted to share.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also ~ 2 Timothy 1:5, NIV

When my daughter Noelle was three, she would exclaim “I LOVE blueberries!” or “I LOVE tortellini!” Now at 11, she LOVES penguins. She draws penguins, buys penguins, has penguin themed birthday parties, and dreams of penguins. It’s obvious by looking in her room or backpack that she really is crazy about that flightless black and white bird.

In the same way I can spot Noelle’s zeal for penguins, I wonder if she can tell I love Jesus. Can she see from my life that I’m an all-in mom for Jesus? Does she know I’m not just a casual fan of Jesus; I’m a die-hard follower? I believe these questions matter because a mom has incredible influence over the faith of her children.

Consider Timothy in the Bible. Our verse today reveals that Timothy’s faith first lived in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. What a wonderful gift those ladies gave – a vibrant faith passed down from generation to generation. Those women shaped Timothy’s spiritual life and he became the protégé of the Apostle Paul who called Timothy his “beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2).

In Acts 16:1, we are told more about Timothy’s family upbringing. His mother was Jewish and a believer but his father was an unbelieving Greek. Even though Eunice didn’t share Christian faith with her husband, she was able to witness to her son about Jesus. Her transformed life must have made quite an impact on young Timothy.

Lois and Eunice were all-in moms. It reminded me of this illustration I saw at children’s church. If you put just a few drops of food coloring into a gallon of water, slowly but surely that dye works its way through all the water. There’s not a pocket of water that can remain unchanged. In the same way, following Jesus should penetrate and impact every area of life.

We are surrounded by little disciples who are watching us. Whether you have a toddler at your heels or a teen hiding out in the bedroom, they are observing you. Your children are checking to see if what you say matches what you do and who you are. By the way, you don’t have to be a mother to influence the lives of children. As an aunt, friend, Sunday school teacher, or coach, you can make a huge difference in the faith of a child.

Are you letting Jesus into every area of your life? Is the Holy Spirit free to move wherever He wants, transforming you daily by the renewing of your mind? There is a warning to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV), “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

It’s time to be all-in for Jesus. Your children and others in your life are watching to see if your faith is genuine. May others know through our lives that indeed, we do LOVE Jesus!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!