Archive for the ‘Eternity’ Category

Adoption – Hard (Maybe), But Not Joyless

Our sermon on Sunday (and my subsequent post about it) made me think about adoption, and I’d like to encourage any of you who might be thinking about it to take the first step.  It’s a great way to “tend to things temporary with a mind on things eternal.”

For those of you who didn’t know, we adopted two of our seven children.  (And I bet you can’t tell which two from the picture…it’s the girl holding the boy–and the boy.)

Here’s a link to an article about adoption; I got it from a friend’s blog, Abilgail’s Leftovers.  Here’s an excerpt…

If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe. Adopting an orphan isn’t ordering a consumer item or buying a pet. Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love…

Children are alive. Children are persons, with individuality that can’t ultimately be suppressed. Children, of all sorts, are, by definition, unpredictable. Children shatter your life-plan. Adoption certainly does.

It’s worth it…

If what you like is the idea of a baby who fulfills your needs and meets your expectations, just buy a cat. Decorate the nursery, if you’d like. Dress it up in pink or blue, and take pictures. And be sure to have it declawed.

BUT…if you want a challenge that also helps another soul in need, spreads the gospel, shows the love of Jesus, makes you trust God more, teaches you about yourself, AND GIVES YOU JOY, then adopt!  God will not give you more than you can handle.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9


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“Hard Does Not Equal Joyless” and other inspiring quotes


“Hard Does Not Equal Joyless.”  

This is a quote from our sermon this morning, which I thought was very inspiring!

John Piper said that “nothing hard is done in vain” and that every “hard” thing found in John 12:20-26 also has a corresponding “glory.”

See if this doesn’t inspire you:

The seed DIES (it’s hard to die)… The seed BEARS MUCH FRUIT

We are to HATE our lives in this world…we get to KEEP our lives for eternity (not a bad deal)

We are to FOLLOW Jesus to Calvary/death… We are WITH HIM wherever He is (very comforting)

We are to become SERVANTS… Servants are HONORED by the FATHER.

In Pastor John’s opening prayer, he said something like, “Awaken in us a profound willingness to be dead.”  He also said, “There’s no such thing as ultimate self-denial in the Bible.”  Denying ourselves in this world means we love ourselves, because we’re thinking about eternity.

Doesn’t this inspire you to do something hard?  Something that the world would call crazy?

(This reminds me that when I was pregnant with our fourth child, a mother of four said to me, “Having four is REALLY HARD.”  Little did she know, I find joy in a God-given challenge, so now I have seven!)

Parenting Reminder to Self…

I’m really liking this book, as it’s a good reminder of things I should already know…

“Even though our children cannot and will not obey God’s law, we need to teach it to them again and again.  And when they tell us that they can’t love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them.  We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior. 

“The promises of life for obedience are not meant to build our self-confidence.  They’re meant to make us long for obedience and then, when we fail again, they’re meant to crush us and drive us to Christ.”  (From Give Them Grace, by Fitzpatrick and Thompson)

How often do I look for a quick fix to sibling squabbles so I can get back to what I was doing instead of taking time to speak to them about their hearts?  Too often!  I need this for myself!

When “Simple Diligence” Doesn’t Seem Like Enough

One of my philosophies is that I need to be diligent with the important, eternal things in life, especially since I am influencing seven people of the next generation.  This often means spending time on things that don’t seem to have an immediate effect, such as Bible reading, learning verses and catechisms, and discussing, in general, things of eternity.  (And these things certainly are not valued by the general population and would not be considered “productive” as in, there’s not a lot to show for my work at the end of the day.)

Although I believe this is a good use of my time, there are times when I feel like being diligent all day is keeping me from being “productive” at all!  Like, when do I clean out my closet?  When do I go through all my homeschooling stuff?  When do I simplify my home by decluttering the storage room?  While I am basically keeping up with the main household chores, I am NOT keeping up with the simplifying aspects of home management. 

So I’m going to try an experiment.  Since I am so routine, I am going to try to focus on my walk-in closet for just five minutes a day.  I don’t know if this is really possible (to find five minutes and then just work on it for just five minutes), but I’m going to try it for the month of July and see what it looks like at the end of the month.  I’d better get going!  It’s so terrible, I can’t even post a before-picture!

Well, I’m back.  It’s amazing what you can get done in 5 minutes!  I threw away three pairs of shoes and straightened the rest, hung up some dresses, put others in the laundry, and brought one baby-item down to the storage room.  I had to tell myself that I did NOT need to wait until I found ALL of the baby items before I made the trip downstairs!

Weekly Prayer for Children: Thursday and Friday

Okay, I’ve been busy, so here are Thursday’s and Friday’s character-based, Christ-centered and Bible-driven prayer requests for our children:

 

Thursday ~ Grow in these character traits:

  • Humility – willingness to submit
  • Purity – desire to be clean
  • Purpose – wisdom to set goals
  • Commitment – dedication to “the cause”
  • Diligence – willingness to work hard

 

Friday ~ Grow in these character traits:

  • Consistency – quality of faithfulness
  • Assurance – depth of faith
  • Availability – readiness to go
  • Loyalty – zeal for fidelity
  • Sensitivity – openness of heart
  • Compassion – love in action
  • Holiness – Christlike behavior

Worship and Pulling Weeds: Necessary for a Thriving Garden

After being gone for eight days, our yet-to-be-planted GARDEN was completely OVER-RUN BY WEEDS, and even the perennials had a few weeds trying to take over.  So the kids and I spent some time yesterday PULLING WEEDS, and Barrett even got out the lawn mower and just mowed down the weeds in the paths (which had been covered with wood chips last summer, but you couldn’t even see them yesterday!)  Here’s a picture after we finished; I wish I had taken a before-picture, because it was pretty bad!  You can see we even pulled off the fence so we could get at the REALLY tall grass that had been growing along the fence. 

Anyway… while in singing in church today, I was being REFRESHED and INSPIRED by the words of the worship songs, and got to thinking that CORPORATE WORSHIP IS SIMILAR TO PULLING WEEDS.  Weeds have been growing up around me all week; weeds that have the potential to distract me from my true mission and even choke out my energy. 

Actually, I think I’ll call it grass, because we WANT grass—just in the right place—and the tasks that surround me all week are actually necessary; they just need to be IN THE RIGHT PLACE.  I think that the “grass” in my garden is “out of place” when I put more importance on GETTING THINGS DONE than in doing them in a GOD-GLORIFYING WAY.  How do I know I’m doing that?  –When I feel angry with my kids for hindering my “progress.” 

So singing words that help me focus on CHRIST and ETERNITY is a lot like cutting back the grass that has overstepped its boundary.  I need it on a regular basis, and what a blessing it is!

“Fill the GARDEN OF MY SOUL with the wind of love, that the SCENTS of the Christian life may be WAFTED to others…” (from The Valley of Vision)

How First Timothy Inspires Me

I just finished reading I Timothy today, and thought I would share just a few of the passages that I underlined.  (Emphasis mine.)

REGARDING OUR GOALS…

  • “The aim of our charge is LOVE that issues from a PURE HEART and a GOOD CONSCIENCE and a SINCERE FAITH.”  (1:5)  I often forget that my most important task of the day is to LOVE my children and show them God’s love, rather than accomplish everything on my list!
  • One of the reasons we are to pray for our leaders is so that “we may LEAD A PEACEFUL AND QUIET LIFE, GODLY and dignified in every way.”  (2:2b)  Isn’t that inspiring?

REGARDING OUR ACTIONS AND USE OF TIME…

  • “Women should adorn themselves…with MODESTY and SELF-CONTROL…with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with GOOD WORKS.”  (2:9)  I love that the Bible does not discourage us from doing good works even though they are not required for salvation!
  •  “…set the believers an EXAMPLE in SPEECH, in CONDUCT, in LOVE, in FAITH, in PURITY.”  (4:12)  I need to ask myself: Am I a godly example to my KIDS in all these areas?
  • This one is for widows, but I want to be like this too!  “…having a REPUTATION for GOOD WORKS…brought up CHILDREN, shown HOSPITATLITY…has DEVOTED HERSELF to EVERY GOOD WORK.”  (5:10)
  • “GOOD WORKS ARE CONSPICUOUS, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.”  (5:25)  Encouraging for those of us who do most of our work at home!
  • “FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.  Take hold of the ETERNAL LIFE to which you were called…”  (6:11)  I often feel like I’m “fighting my kids” when I can’t accomplish what needs to be done, but the real fight is with my own sinful nature and the temptation I face every day to be selfish!  I need to remember that eternity is only moments away in the big picture!

 REGARDING GOD…

  • “As for the rich in this present age, charge them…to set their hopes…on God, who RICHLY PROVIDES US WITH EVERYTHING TO ENJOY.”  (6:17b)  Amen!