Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Lesson 2: Excellent Choices

This week we are looking at how to make "excellent choices."  If you haven't picked up Terrie Chappell's book The Choice is Yours, you really should!!  It's easily available on Amazon and other bookseller sites.  *note--I do not receive a penny for any of the books sold or any endorsement of Chappell's book--I just like it*

We have so many options given to us for making choices.  There's the mediocre options, some a bit better, some much worse.  Where can we find the best option and information to make the best choices?

"Navigating through life can be challenging.  There are so many options and so many sources who claim to have the answers.  But thankfully, God has given us two infalliable guides to direct us in the most important choices of our lives."


Jeremiah 17:9--the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?

Psychology and man tell us to follow our hearts.  This is not a good choice.  Our hearts are not trustworthy, as Jeremiah himself says in Jeremiah 17:9.  Why should we trust something that can absolutely lead us down the road to ruin?

For instance, impulse shopping--your heart says that item will make you happy...but your bank account and credit cards say otherwise.  Or on a different note, dating the guy you know isn't a Christian, but your heart screams do it.  There's countless women (and men) who have followed their hearts and received heartache in return.  If we listen to scripture, putting God's Word over what our hearts want, we'll have true blessings of God, not just a short happiness in the moment.  We have amazing examples in the Bible by way of David--God did NOT tell him to take another man's wife. David made his heart happy for a short time, but lost so much more in the long run.  King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes all about his experiences of trying to please his heart but not finding joy in the decisions he made.  Samson made issues that pleased his heart but were definitely not wise and it led to his death. 

Eve followed her heart.

Our first way to know how to make excellent choices is by reading and following Scripture.  God's Word. 

The second way to know how to make excellent choices is by way of another absolutely amazing gift God gave us...the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said He was leaving, but He would send another Helper.  This Helper, the third person of the Trinity, comes to live inside you after you've trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

John 16:7--"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:  for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."

Ephesians 1:13--"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:  in whom also that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise."

John 14:26--But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Once you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit--the Comforter--with you always.  He talks to you, if you will hear Him and seek His voice. 

In my own life, I've had times where I haven't listened as well as I should.  But, when I do listen, I am given good directions.  For instance, just a minor thing while driving behind a *very* slow person on a 2 lane highway over in Missouri.  The speed limit is 60 on this particular highway, and my speedometer barely hits 45 behind this person.  Every part of me wants to speed on by, leave this person in the dust, and go on about my merry way to get to where I'm needing to go.  But, the still small voice says not to.  Don't do it.  So, I stay back behind this person, wondering what it is that is making the Holy Spirit say no.  I mean, it's just a little thing, passing on an open highway...we do it all the time, right?  A little farther down the road, I see why.  Had I passed, I'd have been nose to nose with a State Highway Patrolman on the passing side, and a herd of deer on the side I should be on.  I would have been in the wrong, pulled over for a careless and imprudent ticket (lots of $$ there), and possibly hit one or more of the deer herd (this was during the rutting season and they were everywhere in Missouri and Kansas).  So, lots of money in a needless ticket and possible damage to my truck and a deer, all to try to get a little ways down the road faster.  The Holy Spirit said no.  I obeyed.  Believe me, I'm glad the Holy Spirit said no!!

God has given us both His Word in written form---your bible--and the Holy Spirit to guide you back to His Word.  With those two tools, we can make good choices with no regrets. 

Are you able to hear the Holy Spirit???  If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I'd be glad to show you how.  At the top of this page is Romans Road--it lays out from beginning to end how you can know Jesus as Savior. 


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Monday, January 28, 2019

Lesson One: Excellent Choices

This week we are in the first lesson of "The Choice is Yours" by Terrie Chappell.  If you don't have the book, you can find it on Amazon (Kindle is faster but paperback works too), or just go with the flow.  I will quote from the book from time to time, but definitely not putting it all in the blog...I'm not into plagarism. 



The key verse for this first lesson is in Philippians 1:9-11.
  "(9) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
   (10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
   (11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."


Whether we claim to be followers of Christ or not, we all make choices each day that make differences in not only our lives but in those around us.  Some of us make some pretty lousy decisions at different times in our lives (raising my hand high here), some of us seem to make better decisions as if they actually read the directions.  I obviously sit in that first group, I fully admit it. 

We don't have to make those lousy choices.  We can plan ahead and prepare ourselves for the choices we have in the future.  Grounding ourselves in the Bible and with solid Biblical preaching/teaching will help in that tremendously. 

The first and most important choice we have is accepting Jesus' gift of salvation, applying His blood to our sin account, according to the Scripture.  Without salvation, without having the Holy Spirit with us, we genuinely cannot make the best choices that help us obey Him, and without obedience to Him, we don't have the joy He gives.  Make sense?? 

Now, I am not saying the choice to be obedient is an easy one.  We are human.  I'm right there with you, I have days I don't want to do what I know is right.  I'd rather do my own thing.  Most of us, if not all of us, are like that.  It's part of our sin nature.  But, we can choose each day to obey what we know from the Bible and His Holy Spirit.  It could be just little things like that nudge the Holy Spirit gives to do something in particular for a person He points out to you, or your daily bible reading (that one is actually harder for me to keep up with than listening to the nudge), or choosing to keep tempers under control.  Whatever it is that you are needing to make a choice in...it may not be easy.  We have the world, the flesh, and the devil all fighting us each step of the way, but you can do it. 

"Some choices we make are simple--like which flavor of ice cream to select at Baskin Robbins or what color of shoes we will wear.  Other choices, however, are life-changing--like how we will respond to adversity or what importance we will give our walk with God."

Obviously Mrs. Chappell hasn't been with me at the local Braum's store!!  It's hard to make a choice there, it's all so good!! 😀

Something Mrs. Chappell asks: "Have you ever attempted to do something that you really didn't know how to do?  And have you ever had opposite results than you hoped for?"

Oh boy have I!!  Many of my crafty adventures have went that direction.  I didn't have instructions most of the time, half of the supplies have been "make-do", and most of it was flying by the seat of my pants.  Did it turn out?  Nope.  But, when I took time to read the instructions, watch Youtube videos on the subject, and try things with the right equipment, it turned out.  For instance my sewing--it's amazing what can happen with the right equipment, reading the manual for whichever machine I'm using, and using the right needle and thread weight.  Or when I'm cleaning out and oiling a machine, paying attention to illustrations or videos on how to take it apart correctly and do what is needed done and reassembling correctly.  This is actually an ongoing prospect as I learn more with each machine I work with, and I enjoy trying out different machines (mostly vintage/antique). 

On a more serious note of choices, I did make some poor choices in my late teen and early adult years that led to life long consequences.  I am not proud of them, believe me.  I wasn't following the Lord at all, had not desire to.  My choices led to basically unofficial bankruptcy, losing my beautiful 1875 Victorian home (ok the mortgage company officially owned it but I paid on it), repossession of a new car, and in essence being homeless.  Later choices put me in single parenthood, starting over from scratch with a medically fragile child, in a women's shelter, and finding out that Jesus really does care.  There's life long consequences to some of those choices--the credit ones have fallen off over the years, the parent one, well...there's no going back on that one.  He's 17 now.  I made a long series of poor choices that led to single parenthood...now I don't regret the child but I do regret many of my poor choices that led to the actions.  My choices focused on me, myself, and I...and all 3 of us were not in line with the Lord. 

Have you made choices without thought of consequences or the future?  Sure you have.  We all have.  Did something go wrong and you blamed "bad luck"? 

"Unless we make conscious decisions to choose wisely, we will base our choices simply on what looks best to us at the moment.  As a result, our lives will end in a disheveled disarray--not at all the picture we had in mind when we started.  On the other hand, if we daily make well thought out choices, the accumulated result will be beauty and symmetry."

We will wrap this up for today, but be thinking about how your choices have affected you and your life, your walk with Jesus, your family, and so on.  Feel free to comment and chat!!


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Monday, January 21, 2019

Beginning Next Week



Beginning next week, I'm starting a study through "The Choice Is Yours" by Terrie Chappell.  I think you'll enjoy this study.

My Pastor's wife led this study in our Sunday School class, and I had to miss a lot of it due to staying home with K.  So, I've purchased the book via Amazon Kindle, and I'm working through it one week at a time.  You are more than welcome to go along with me, share your insights, etc.  I'd love to have you join me! 

If you're up to it, feel free to purchase the book ahead of time, or just hang out with me while I walk through the pages.

I hope this study will be an encouragement to you.  The days I got to sit in on the Sunday School class and work through it were great...I did get a lot out of those lessons. 

*Note--I don't make a dime off of the book in any way, shape, or form.*




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You Are Not Alone

Yesterday I cried. 

I didn't mean to.  It was a soft cry, gentle tears welling up after a discussion in Sunday School about exhaustion, depression, motherhood, and so on (you'd love my Sunday School women's class, as we are quite free to discuss anything).  We as a group were experiencing different levels of the aforementioned, and each one of us has a very different life that we live.

Most days I can hold it together.  I have to.  After 17 years of parenting special needs children, I try to keep myself in check as much as humanly possible in order to keep the household running half way efficiently.  It is above my abilities, and it makes me lean on the Lord.  Don't get me wrong--I'm not anywhere near perfect.  I'm the last person on this earth who can claim perfection.  I do, however, have somethings I'd like to share with you special needs parents out there...from the trenches over here. 

You aren't alone.

Seriously, you are far from alone.  We are out there.  We are in each city, town, rural area, you name it.  People like you and me, who are often isolated from the rest of the world while we handle the day to day issues of raising special needs children...there's more like us!  You'll not see us carrying signs proclaiming anything.  You'll not find us in the coffee shops sipping on the latest fad latte or milling around malls much.  You may find us in the waiting rooms of doctors offices, going to and from therapists, sitting in school offices for IEP meetings and occasionally meetings over behavior, maybe a drive thru lane at McDonald's. 

Mostly, you'll find us at home.

The majority of us are home bodies.  We didn't start out that way.  No one really does.  We started out with the idea that we'd be like other parents.  For some of us, it didn't take long to figure out we would not fit in to a "normal" parenting world.  In my case, it started very early in motherhood. 

You see, not many daycares and private sitters want to take care of special needs babies or toddlers.  It's so much work to care one on one, it takes the provider away from other kids in their care.  If the baby or toddler has issues that require monitoring, medications, special anything, the cost goes up significantly or the child is turned down completely.  More often than not, mom can't work and provide income needed as there are no options or very expensive options for child care.  So begins the home body.  In my case, I have been raising not one but 3 special needs children--one biological and 2 stepchildren--and finding care for all 3 so I could work also just is not affordable.  In fact we still have to have supervision for them at their ages now, so I can't really work outside until they are adults and in their own living situations. 

Most often our kids stand out from the crowd.  Everyone sees it.  They behave differently.  They may use equipment others don't.  We pack around monitors, wheelchairs, a child or three who is freaking out with noise and lights, handle meltdowns and aggression.  We feel the embarrassment of the other folks looking at us with judgemental looks and comments.  It's just easier and safer to stay home.  I personally have a habit of looking into the eyes of the special needs mom and smiling, nodding, trying to show I understand.  Sometimes I compliment them on something as minute as their blouse or dress or how cute their child is...something, anything to help that mom feel better for a moment.  I've even started doing this with young moms who are looking frazzled with little ones and trying to get done what they need to do.  Often times they apologize for how their child behaved, and I tell them not to worry, I've been there, and they will grow up.  Sometimes just that little bit seems to help relieve tension in mom.  Myself, I still deal with frustrating times in the stores when I have any of the kids in tow.  They are teens now, but they are not matured to teenage years.  I still get those looks, comments, etc even at 15, 16, and 17.  I wonder at times if it will end.  Each trip is a teaching time about personal space, appropriate behavior in public, how to use money, comparing prices, etc, and those I believe will continue on a long while. 

You're not alone.  We're out there.  You'll find us mostly on social media, blogs, etc.  We communicate with each other in the cyber world--we have to in order to find others with families like ours.  I'm sure in larger cities there may be groups for families with special needs, but here in rural America, it's not like that.  Rural areas tend to have little supports for special needs, which leads us to keep toward home even more. 

If you need a listening ear, by all means feel free to contact me here or on Facebook.  I'd like to be an encouragement to you if you're needing it.  I have been in the trenches for 17 years, and there's no leaving them for a long while. I'm here to support and encourage! 


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gentleness

This year I'm focusing on gentleness.  I'm not a very gentle person, it goes against everything I know, been trained in, and so on.  I'm blunt, mostly tactless, and my filter is pretty flawed.

Needless to say this is a challenge.

Why did I choose gentility for this year?  Well, I honestly want to change, not only for myself but for my stepdaughter who behaves more like me than her biological mother (I have raised her going on 13 years of her 15 years).  Also for my husband who deserves a less abrasive wife.

My go to response for years has been a very blunt answer for many issues.  Again, lack of a filter.  I've figured if you don't want an honest answer to your question don't ask me.  Sadly, that's not exactly Christ-like. The bible  says a soft answer turns away wrath.  My answers have been seldom soft.  For this, the Holy Spirit has been doing a lot of convicting. 

Gentleness is something  I haven't known much in my life. My own mother did not model it at all, quite the opposite.  My "adoptive" mom, also my cousin...she and her daughter  modeled gentleness.  I needed that softness in my world where softness sorely lacked.   As I got older and into church, a dear friend showed me gentleness on display in a home setting with children and all the duties of a wife and mom.  She is still a dear friend and still displays gentleness  that I can only dream of having. 

I'm finding  the more I pray for help in giving a kind and soft answer, the easier it is becoming .  Don't get me wrong....I used to be able to make grown men cry with my words and tone, so this is something that is taking a lot of prayer and practice .  With God's guidance, I can become   a gentle and softer woman. 

Do you struggle with harsh answers  or words?  If so, I would   be glad to pray along with you.  With God all things are possible . 😊



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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Old Kitchen Sink

From Happy Housewifery



Sometimes I dream of having a built in dishwasher, ready to accept all of our dirty dishes and clean them all without me scrubbing.  I was just thinking that today as I worked on the 3rd load of dishes through the old kitchen sink.

But then, another thought entered in.

Where would I do my prayer time at?

Each day I stand at the old kitchen sink, with its chips and stains from years of use, and look out the window that overlooks our back yard.  The old double hung window faces west, and from there I can see the storms as they work their way in, or a sky clearing off as a system passes by.  I start my day at that old sink, pouring water into the coffee pot and measuring grounds to make into "instant human".  Right beside the sink I keep close at hand the stand mixer, blender, and coffee pot (and a second coffee pot, the old fashioned perk pot, on the stove top).  My world seems to revolve around those things and the sink.

Lots of time passes by standing at that old sink.  It's not unusual to find me there, washing dishes, preparing various ingredients to put into the day's meals, etc, and listening to the radio.  The time at the old sink allows me to hear bible studies, preaching, and good old hymns.

The old sink has also seen a lot of tears-- tears of anger, sorrow, joy, and the occasional cut finger.  It's weathered my frustrations with a child, anger after an animated discussion within the home, sorrows in missing loved ones or heartaches from circumstances beyond our control, and joys of prayers answered.  It's been the place of many prayers, and it seems more often than not, that's my "prayer closet".  No one bothers me while I stand at the sink, as I'll hand them the sponge and allow them to take over.  So, in wide open view, I am able to stand and pray, quietly while the noises of the home go on, and take my cares, worries, fears, praises, and worship, to the Lord.  Since I average 2 to 3 sink loads of dishes a day, I have lots of time I can spend with the Lord, mostly uninterrupted, where I can talk with Him.

Looking at it this way, that dishwasher doesn't look so appealing after all....

This is an old home, well over 100 years old, and that sink has been there a long time.  I'm sure a couple of other women before me have stood there, sharing many of the same sentiments.  We use(d) what is considered one of many chores, and put the time taken for it to have a dual purpose.  That time with the Lord may not have been there had we popped the dishes into a machine, turned it on, and walked away to find something else to do.

Maybe it's all about perspective......


Shared at:  Darling Downs Diaries, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, What Joy Is Mine, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Mom's The Word--Living For Him

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