Friday, January 30, 2015

DAILY DEVO...do not forget!

Can you imagine what it was like for the Israelites to walk thru the parted waters? Wow what an incredible story to tell! How could anyone forget a story like that?


They surely had a story to tell and did not want to forget. In fact, to ensure no one would forget, the Israelites were instructed to make a memorial immediately. They didn't wait a week or even a month, but as soon as they got to the other side.


Why do you suppose they did this? I would imagine it is similar to why we make memorials today; because we tend to forget the good stuff!


It's not that we even forget the events (though sometimes we do), but we often forget how God worked! For instance: we can never forget about a loved one being sick and the long battle of recovery but after some time passes and our loved one is well again, we tend to lose sight of the prayers that we prayed, we forget how God sustained us.


In the moment, we know it is God, but as time goes on, we forget just who God is. We forget what all God has done and we begin to worry again; we focus on our problems and lose sight of the answer. We misplace God in our memory with the "what if's" and the "woe is me."


After passing thru the Jordan, The Lord told Joshua...


"take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place the Priests feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight." -Joshua 4:1



What has God done for you? You may want to take a stone and set it into place so that you will not forget. Reflecting on the good He has done in the past propels us to remember if He did it once, He can do it again.


God is all-powerful, loving, forgiving, merciful and never changing. Please do not forget!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How can we raise godly daughters in a sexually sinful world?

I’m about to embark on a topic that is seldom written about, but yet is inundated within our society today, and it is stealing our children right from under our noses, especially our daughters!

I want to address the question, “How can we raise godly daughters in a sexually sinful world?” Even though, the sin twisted mind of society is attacking our sons too, I want to specifically address the dangers of our daughters growing up in a sexually minded generation. (I may address our sons in another sitting).

As a mother of a 19 year old daughter and a Pastors Wife that has worked with teen agers for many years, I can assure you, our teens of today have sexual immorality in their face DAILY! They can’t escape it, it can be found on the television sitcoms, it is on the movie screens, it is sung about on the radio and it is all up and down your teens school hallway and on their social media!

Teen sexuality is no longer a topic that we can sweep under the rug and not talk about. Last year a survey was conducted among U.S. high school students:

  • nearly 50% surveyed had already been sexually active.
  • 34% of those had been active within the past 3 months.
  • and 40% of those being active sexually did not use protection the last time they had sex.
  • 15% of those surveyed have had sexual intercourse with 4 or more partners already.

As a mother of a teen girl, these statistics are heart wrenching. The statistics of the consequences of such behavior is just as startling…

  • An estimated 8,300 young people between the ages of 13-24 have reported to be HIV positive in the previous year. (in the U.S.)
  • Nearly half of the 19 million reporting NEW sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are among young people ages 15-24 years old.
  • More than 400,000 teen girls aged 15-19 years old gave birth last year.

With numbers like these, (that are steadily going up), it is no longer acceptable to hand our daughters a pamphlet and hope for the best. We must get in their world, get in their face and tell them the dangers of living in a sexually immoral world.

It use to be that we could protect our girls from the dangers of sexual sin by keeping them under lock and key. Monitoring who she spends time with and only allowing friends to come over when you or an adult were present. That is not enough anymore! Because as soon as you walk out of the room or send her to her bedroom, the allure and temptation of teen sexuality is at her fingertips, it is called her “smartphone”. Technology has made it easy for our daughters to become victims of sexual sins:

SEXTING… if your daughter has a smart phone with a camera, she has the ability to send provocative pictures of herself to others, usually boys and sometimes grown men. And males can send her naked pictures of themselves as well, all without your approval or knowledge. Sending sexually explicit pictures via your phone is called “sexting” and about 40% of today’s teens have sent sexually suggestive messages to others. Statistics show that 17% of those whom receive a sexting message will share it with others, and 55% of those will share it with more than one person. Sexting is no longer a topic that parents can ignore. Our daughters are being exploited right under our noses!

SNAPCHAT…If your daughter is taking a lot of “selfies”, no doubt she has a SNAPCHAT account. Snapchat is a social media trend that allows you to share a picture with someone for just a few seconds and then it disappears. Sending funny faces is not all that this is used for. Teens are sending naked pictures to one another with the thought that it can only be viewed for a few seconds. Our daughters may be pulled into the thrill of this, to send a sexy picture of herself, so to feel accepted or wanted. However, 3 dangers of this that she may not be aware of...
 #1. The sensual pictures that she snaps to a boy is a turn on to him, it starts his engine and he will come back for more. The wrong message sent will in turn have porn links sent to your daughter. (I personally know “church” boys who have done this)
#2. The sexy picture your daughter has sent may only be viewed for a couple seconds, however, the receiver has the ability to do a “screenshot”, which then saves the picture on their phone or computer.
#3. Snapshot administrators have the right to any of your pictures, even though the picture disappears after a few seconds, they have it in their master file. *Nothing shared on the web is private, keep that in mind.

Some snapchat stats to consider:

  • 400 million snaps are sent a day.
  • 2% of all college students use snapchat to specifically send “sexts”.
  • 4.6 million snapshot users had their personal info leaked to the internet in 2014.

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA…” Sexting” and “Snapchat” is just a couple ways that the immoral sexual society is snagging our daughters. Your daughters are also being bullied and manipulated on other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Scout, Tinder, Vine, Kik and Fling. All of these media’s are pulling our daughters away from the value and respect that God intended for our little girls.

So what can we do?

First of all, we must lead by example. If you want your daughter to dress modestly, you dress modestly. If you don’t want your daughter to watch shows with sexual suggestions, you don’t watch it.

Secondly, we must teach our daughters to have self respect and self worth. She is bombarded with a world that says eat this, wear that, become this, stay away from that. We must teach our girls that it is not about the outer appearance but the inner that counts. God looks at the heart and His approval is the one she needs. Self worth cannot be found in looks, or accomplishment or whom you date, self worth can only be found in Christ!

Thirdly, it is imperative that we offer our daughters an alternative to the world’s view of sexuality. Refute myths about sex with the truth. We, as mothers, must be the primary source of information about sexuality. Offer a lot of accurate information, refute the common myths such as “everyone is doing it”, “it’s not sex if you don’t go all the way” or “it is alright when you love each other”. Don’t be afraid to share the scary statistics and most important, show her what the Bible says about being pure and that God designed sex to be between one man and one woman when they become married. Today’s society has stripped away the beauty that God designed sex to be. We must teach our daughters that God will reward them for being pure with their bodies. God knew the heartache that would come if we would give pieces of our heart away instead of preserving our whole heart for that one that He designed for us.

It is difficult to raise godly daughters in this sinful world, but when we speak up and take a stand, I believe that our godly daughters can change their generations thinking of what is acceptable and what is not.

But, we must first educate them and also educate ourselves.

Training us to renounce ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.’ –Titus 2:12

 
**If you are concerned about your teen’s activity on her social media or smartphone, there are guardian apps that you can get to monitor her texts, pictures and social media. Check out www.teensafe.com or www.mobile-spy.com .

Friday, January 23, 2015

DALY DEVO...are you weary or just tired?

 Most of us know that whenever we get tired, we can go take a nap. But what helps you get rested when you are weary?

It takes more than rest. There is a big difference between being "tired" and being "weary". One refers to your physical state while the other refers to your spiritual well being.

Being tired means you need a break, perhaps a vacation or a long afternoon nap and th...en you can feel refreshed. Being weary requires a different approach - a months rest will still leave you feeling weary. That is because one requires a life changing habit while the other requires a heart changing habit.

All of us could be quicker on our feet if we just learned to slow down and rest more. But when some kind of crisis leaves us in all kinds of mess, it becomes too much to deal with. We throw our hands up. We lose heart. We become discouraged. We quit.


"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart." -Galatians 6:9

Something has caused you to become weary, I don't know what it is but satan is trying to steal your joy and your blessing! STOP! Don't give up now.

If you are tired, change your diet or go to bed early, but if you are weary, change your perspective and wake up from your spiritual sleep and keep on keeping on!




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DAILY DEV...is your attitude affecting your relationships?

Our relationships with others can and will be greatly affected when we display mediocrity.


Our attitude affects our relationships more than you think. When we fall into living a mediocre way of living (or thinking), it is easy to let things we say and even do, become less meaningful.


We don't give our best anymore. We don't go the extra mile. We stop being an encourager. We don't care if we hurt people's feelings. We just become melancholy!


I never want to have the attitude "it's good enough", especially in my relationships. Our attitude, whether it's a good one or a bad one, affects our relationships.


"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29


I don't know about you, but I don't want my relationships to suffer just because I have a bad attitude! God isn't looking for mediocre Christians, He wants the best from us.


Have you given your best today?


Monday, January 19, 2015

DAILY DEVOTION...stop deceiving people!

One of the hardest things to deal with in building relationships is deception. You may not think you are a deceiving person, but deception can take on so many different forms in our relationships.

Simply put, deception involves acting in such a way that leads another person to believe something, that you yourself do not believe to be true (or know to not be true)!

If someone asks you about your day, and you say it was great, but in reality it was awful...is that deception?
If you are crushing on someone and you learn they really like doing a certain activity and to impress them, you say you also love doing that (but never have)...is that deception?

If you change your plans, your dreams, or your personality just to please someone else...is that deception?

People often claim they are not misleading others, but yet they intentionally withhold important information. Honestly, I don't know why we are wired this way. Because the very foundation of "real" love and the core of "genuine" friendship is honesty and grace. This is the foundation that our relationship with Christ is built on. He never sugarcoats anything and in all things, He extends grace. And Truth!

If God is our example, then as Christ Followers, we MUST stop deceiving people (and ourselves!) God actually gave us a rule about this, it's found in Exodus 20...

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Vs. 16)

 In other words... DO NOT LIE! Some of us wonder why our relationships crumble, I dare say the foundation that is built on deception will be a shaky one.

If you are a deliberate deceiver or if you have been hurt by a deceiver, remember that God always gets the last Word and truth will always be revealed! And that's the honest, to goodness TRUTH!




Friday, January 16, 2015

LACED WITH GRACE...change is coming

It is 2015 and believe it or not I have fallen victim to what we call the zone… the comfort zone, that is.

Everyone talks a big game whenever a new year rolls around, people are going to change this and change that. The truth is, few people change anything. Here it is, the sixteenth day of the New Year, and I, myself have not changed anything yet. Sixteen days which means I have had sixteen opportunities to do something different. But here I am doing the same thing, the same way as I did last week, last month and even last year.

Whether we are talking about changing a habit such as diet or exercise, or changing how we think or how we act, all of us tend to fall into a comfort zone and we tend to want to remain there…Comfortable.

People are resistant to change. I see it all of the time in churches across the country. Why else do you think there are so many church splits over the color of the carpet or if hymns should be sung from the wall or the book? It comes down to change and we do not like to change!
I read a humorous quote the other day that said:
Nobody likes change, except a baby with a wet diaper!”
Now that could be summed up as “change with a purpose.” But not all change is done with purpose. For instance, change for the sake of change really has no meaning. No purpose. Change in the wrong direction is simply like it states…wrong! For instance, a change from obedience to disobedience to God or a change from faith to doubt would be a change that would lead to a disastrous outcome. That kind of change would surely affect the purpose that God has set in motion for you and me.

Over the years, I have attempted to make changes in my life. I have tried different diets to change my dress size. I have tried different hair colors and styles to change my look. I have even changed my mind about caffeine not being good for you. But when it comes to change, the one thing that I know that remains the same, from time to time, is the love and grace of Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever because there is simply nothing about Him that needs to change. He is perfect.
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” – Proverb 9:9
Change can be scary, I suppose fear is what keeps so many of us from doing things differently. It can be somewhat unsettling to not know what to expect on the other end of change, but as the Proverb suggests above, change is essential in order to grow.

Every day is a new opportunity for us to learn something new that will change us in some way. I have decided that if I want to get different results in some areas of my life, I must do something different. I must change something. May we each go forward in this new year with an open mind and a teachable spirit so that change can come from the inside out.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I accept that I am a work in progress. I am already better than how You found me, but I’m not settling for that. Take me out of my comfort zone and change what needs to be changed in my life, in my heart, and in my mind. May I see the purpose in the change you need for me. AMEN



I shared this devotion with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE, for more inspirational daily devotions check out the LWG site....www.lacedwithgrace.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DAILY DEVO...apple picking


TODAY'S DAILY...

One of my favorite memories of my boys when they were young would be the trips to the apple orchard. I can still see them reaching as far as they could to grab the perfect apple.

Our youngest son was just a toddler and couldn't really reach the tree without help, so he would try to pick up fallen apples on the ground. We would have to inspect the apples fallen before he would pu...t them in the basket, to keep the bad apples out of the bunch.

We often have some "bad apples" that come across our path that come disguised as the good fruit. They look good. They sound good. But like the fallen apples, upon closer inspection you see that what is on the inside does not reveal much fruit.

If a fruit tree is not growing fruit, there's not much use for it. In fact, if it's dead, you may need to cut it down. A fruitless Christian has about the same use...

 "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vine dresser, 'look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.' " -Luke 13:6-9 

If you were an apple (spiritually speaking), and you were to look inside, what kind of fruit would you be...tasteful and ripe with purpose or a fallen, bruised apple with no purpose?

God made us to be people of growth and action. Don't be a dead fruit!