Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gotta Be Ready

Have you heard that verse quoted? You know the one about being ready in season or out of season, being ready to always give an answer as to where our hope comes from.

That message reached out and grabbed me this week at school.

The students were working on a community service project, making blankets for the animal shelter. They were sitting in small groups working and just chatting. I was reading, still available for my hard of hearing student, in the event she needed sign for communicating.

All of the sudden I hear them discussing religion and God. I sat up especially straight when one young man said, "Well, the way I see it, all the religions will eventually lead to God or heaven or whatever." Some of the others agreed or posed other questions. I was biting my tongue, feeling they would never think to ask my opinion.

Then the young man looked at me and said, "Mrs. Mowery, what do you think?"

My heart skipped a beat. My philosophy is that if a student asks me about religion or God or my spiritual life, I will answer. I don't force my opinion in and am not supposed to, but if I'm asked, then I go for it.

I heaved a deep breath and started with, "Now, I have an answer. But let me warn you that my husband is a pastor and I am a Christian." They urged me on with nods.

I proceeded right there in the middle of the computer classroom to tell them that not all religions and beliefs lead to heaven or God. I clearly stated that the Bible says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him. That means believing that He died for my sins, accepting Him, and living for Him.

One young lady said, "So, those other religions will mean those people go to hell?"

I had to chuckle under my breath. She didn't pull any punches.

I answered, "The only way that God made for us to go to heaven is through His Son which He provided out of His great love for us. Since that is the only way God says we can go to heaven then any other route won't lead there. So, yes, I believe that anyone who doesn't follow God's way will go to hell."

Heavy stuff for freshmen computer class that day. But I was just glad that they were searching and willing to hear what someone else said.

One of the young ladies was wearing a necklace with a cross on it. She stated some things about Jesus. I didn't get to ask her, but I think she actually mentioned going to church.

Oh my! If she is still that confused about God and eternity, I gotta get busy!

I want to give a warning that I have given to my couples Sunday school class: Don't assume because you bring your kids to church that they "get it." There's more to it. We as parents have to be more intentional about making sure our kids understand what they're hearing at church. We have to support it at home and live it out in front of them, so they'll know for sure what Jesus has done for them.

Though I'm a bit nervous, I hope for more opportunities to speak into these young lives. In just three more years, these young people will be venturing into the world to become the next leaders and parents. I want them to know the Truth.

Have you had an instance where God has nudged you into talking about your faith? When and where?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Seasons and Surrender

Friends, I'm just returning from a marriage retreat. This weekend is something I look forward to each year - the getting away and the getting away with my hubby.

The speakers talked about seasons of life. My hubby often speaks of seasons, saying that this is just the season we are in. But our retreat speakers got a bit more specific.

We were to think of the spring as new beginnings like when you are newlyweds or have a baby. The summer time is a busy time of tending the garden and work. Then the fall is a time to enjoy the fruits from the labor of summer.

I realized that after turning fifty this year that I was thinking I should be going into the fall season. I was ready to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor and maybe have things slow a bit. But then God plopped a new job into my lap. And He turned right around and gave me SURRENDERED as my word of the year.

Now I get it. God wants to make sure I keep myself in a surrendered posture so He can lead and show me the work for this summer season. I won't lie. I am experiencing some frustration, wanting to be in the fall season. But God has never let me down in this adventure with Him. I know I can trust Him.

There's a verse in 2 Kings where the king of Judah is told to surrender to the king of Babylon. What a downer, right? I mean, this is God's instruction to the king of Judah. But when I read this verse and the passage surrounding it, I realized that sometimes surrendering isn't at all what I want to do. I'm sure the king of Judah would have preferred God worked things out another way. But God is God and He has His way. If I'm to follow what He has in store for me, I may have to surrender to some things I would rather not surrender to.

All this to say, I have to surrender to the fact that God has me in the summer season. He's having me cultivate and tend and work longer. I've reminded Him that I'm not as young as I used to be, but He provides the strength.

So on this journey to discover why God would have me use the word SURRENDER as my guide word for the year, I've realized a part of it. Now it's time to stop whining and get to work. Oops! A little groan eeked out. Sorry. But I'm still working on this total surrender.

Have you ever had to surrender to God's ways when you would have preferred your own? Share with us a little about that. Please encourage us in this surrender path. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Be Careful What You Do New Year's Day

My Mamaw Lindsey used to say this. She would explain that the things you do on New Year's Day would be the things you would be doing the most throughout the new year.

She would warn against doing laundry unless that's what you wanted to do all year long. Thinking back - Did I do laundry on New Year's Day last year? I must have. I seemed to always have a mountain of it. She warned about doing dishes too. I won't go there.

As I sat down at my desk this morning, I jumped into my study for my one word for this year. Then I thought about how studying God's Word is a good thing to do today in hopes that I might do a lot of that this year.

As I've already shared, my one word for this year is SURRENDERED. First, I looked up all the forms of surrender in my big concordance. I wrote each verse address at the top of one of my devotional journal pages.

Even though some of the verses refer to actual surrendering like during war or sieges in the Bible, I've been able to glean something from each verse to apply to my life. Of course, I'm a firm believer in the Bible being the living Word of God. And the Spirit can illuminate principles to me no matter where the verse in found.

I also went on a search for a devotional book or study of some kind on surrender. I found one that I think will fit my needs well. It is called Surrender; The Heart God Controls by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I read through the preface and introduction yesterday. Seems like it will be a great read.

I'm hopeful that my mamaw's idea will ring true, and I'll be into His Word a lot this year.

The other thing I did was to make breakfast for my family. I broke open the baking mix and tried my hand at cinnamon biscuits with powdered sugar icing. Must have been okay because the pan is empty. I will be making what my daughter feels is the traditional meal for New Year's Day - cube steak, mashed potatoes, green peas, rolls, and country gravy.

Though Mamaw might warn me about the cooking, I think the idea of providing for my family is just fine for something to spend time doing this year. Now, I will definitely take help cleaning the dishes!

Precious Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I pray you begin your New Year with those things that are important to you and those things that might become the good habits.

What are you filling your New Year with?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My One Word

Some people have asked me about picking a word for the year. Below is a link to a YouTube video in which one of the authors of the My One Word book explains a bit about this idea and process. Now this video is a bit old - I believe he mentions 2012. But it still holds the basics to this concept of picking one word to guide your life instead of a host of resolutions for the new year.

There is a book available as well as a study for this My One Word concept. I received the book a couple of years ago and still at this time of year I go back to it.

Here's the link to give you an idea: My One Word intro with Ashcroft

Just a couple of mornings ago I woke up with my word on my mind. I will admit, I was resistant and asked God if He was quite sure about this one. In the past I've had words like intentional and diligent.

For 2018 God has nudged me to choose SURRENDERED as my one word.

I'll be sharing about my one word here off and on.

I would love to know if you choose a word to guide your year. Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Missing in Action

Anyone ever proclaimed you to be MIA? Friends, this is how I've felt for the last several months. Not saying I've liked it, but I suppose it has been necessary.

Back in the summer God surprised me by leading me in a direction I never thought I would go again. I've entered the world of educational interpreting for a deaf student. It's really funny to look back and see this full circle happening.

When I completed my BA, I interpreted in schools for all ages. However, a few years into this vocation saw me switching between icing and heating my arms each night and then sleeping in braces. I went back to school and upon receiving my MEd, I started teaching. I really felt that God wanted my interpreting reserved for ministry.

I've interpreted for our church services for ten years. During that time I also reentered education as an assistant part time but pursued my writing and publishing dream mostly.

I've often mentioned God nudges. Well, this interpreting position seemed like a God shove. My only concern was whether my arms could physically handle it since I'm not a spring chicken any more.

Let me say that so far, my arms are doing great. This is a definite God thing since I interpret all day long during the week in a high school setting and then also still interpret on Sundays.

Friends, please join me in prayer for our high school students. There is much darkness in the halls along with many disillusioned young people. My prayer each morning is that I will shine Jesus. So many need Him and don't even know it. Those who do have Him need encouragement to stick with their faith.

I'm not sure of all the reasons I am where I am, but God's leading demanded I step up.

How I've wanted to have a moment to share with my dear brothers and sisters in Christ here about my absence. I'm hoping to get back to regular posting.

Anyone else experience a sudden shove from God? Please share in the comments. I love it when we share our lives.

As always, I pray God blesses you in your season and situation no matter what it is.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Connecting It All

Now I have shared my nonnegotiable truths and offered the strategies I use to teach them.

Go back and look at your nonnegotiable truths. If you missed that post or want to review it, search in the archives for Nonnegotiable Truths.

Think of the strategies you could use to teach these truths to those you have influence over. List them and connect them with your truths to make sure you have covered them all.

This is a very important step to being intentional about passing on a Godly legacy.

Share a truth or strategy in the comments. You never know how you might help someone else in their strategy building.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Celebrate "God Things"

We praise our children and others for soccer goals and good grades. This builds their confidence. It can allow them to establish a healthy pride for doing a good job.

What have you most recently praised someone for?

However, do we also praise people for the "God things"? This might include learning the books of the Bible, memorizing scripture, or even establishing a regular quiet time.

My daughter was homeschooled, thus Bible was included as one of her classes. She was praised for memorizing scripture passages. It was amazing to watch her knowledge of Bible characters and stories increase. Most importantly, her understanding of what can be learned from scripture and applied to life was increased. She would often share with me what God wanted her to apply from her Bible study. Admittedly, I don't think I could praise her enough for these precious lessons.

We should praise our children and those we have influence over equally or maybe more for accomplishing milestones in their Christian walk. We should strive to build their confidence through encouraging them in the things of God. We celebrate birthdays, so why not celebrate "born again" day?

What things of God have you praised someone for?

When we praise and celebrate an occurrence or accomplishment, we show the priority and worth we attach to it. If we want our children and others to grasp that God and the things of God are important, then we must emphasize them.

Celebrating the things of God in our lives supports and continues the Christian legacy we strive to leave behind.

What kind of God celebrations could you include into your Christian legacy transmission?