Category Archives: Faith

What is Your Response?

What is Your Response? One of worship and trust no matter your circumstances or one of "woe is me"?

I’ve been reading the book of Ruth the past several weeks. I’ve read it numerous other times but something different jumped out at me going over the first couple of chapters.

Naomi is annoying. Yes, she suffered greatly with the loss of her husband and sons. She wasn’t near her friends and family. Life didn’t go according to plan. It didn’t make her response any less annoying for me to read. Her attitude turns to one of “woe is me”. She says, “don’t call me Naomi; call me Mara, God dealt bitterly with me. I went away full and came back empty.”

Compare Naomi to another individual in the Bible who also came up against some rotten circumstances: Job. His response to suffering was to tear his robe, shave his head, and fall on the ground and worship. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job make the decision to worship God and trust in Him even though his life was turned upside down. Even in the midst of his suffering.

Only when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem and the Lord blessed Ruth’s gleaning from Boaz’s field did Naomi change her tune. She went from “the Lord has brought calamity upon me” to “His kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead”

How easy it can be for me to get caught up in life and issues and stuff. I worry about health, finances, family, decisions. It’s so easy to act like Naomi, feel sorry for myself and the circumstances and uncertainty that I’m going through.

I became annoyed with Naomi simply reading about her. How much more so do those around me get frustrated with me.  I imagine they are wanting to say “Just stop. Let it go. Remember who God is. Continue to bless Him even when it’s hard. Count on Him to help you.” They see the big picture as I’m caught up in my own little self-focused world. Not only is it annoying it’s also dishonoring to my God.

In Philippians we are told not be anxious about anything. Peter tells us to cast all our anxieties on him. In James it says to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds.

It’s not okay to wait until the trials and worries are over and I am looking back that I trust Him. That doesn’t require trust and faith. Instead, in the midst of the battle, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of pain, I’m called to trust Him and to let Him carry my burdens however heavy they may be.

What is Your Response? One of worship and trust no matter your circumstances or one of "woe is me"?

When life comes at me, I want my response to be like that of Job’s no matter my worry over medical results, loss, finances, decisions or uncertainty. I want to cast my cares on Him even while I’m waiting for the test results to come. I want my automatic response to be one of praising and blessing God.

It’s not easy. In fact, sometimes I may not even want to but how much better it is when I obey.

What have you found to help your response be one of praise in the midst of the unknown?

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The Right Thing

What is the Right Thing that God is asking you to do? Don't be scared to do it.

Does this statement from Mark Batterson in Primal relate to you as much as it did to me?

I wonder if we’re so afraid of doing the wrong thing that we never do the right thing.

Ouch. I worry about what I know or don’t know. I think I can’t do enough or be enough. I compare myself with those I feel are better than I am. I ponder and wonder if I should have done something differently. Feelings of inadequacy, fear, pride, caution can so easily rule my life and consume my mind.

Do you notice a common thread in those thoughts? Self. They are all full of me, my, and I. When we are self focused, we are proud. Yes, even thinking thoughts that put yourself down are prideful – they center the focus on you instead of God.

However, when we are believers and recognize and get rid of that pride, inadequacy isn’t the end of the story. When I humble myself, I see my sinfulness and God’s holiness. I know what He’s capable of and that it’s not about me.

Mark goes on to say,

Don’t let that keep you from giving what you have, being who you are, and doing what you can.

The moment you put your faith in Christ, the best you can do is no longer the best you can do. The best you can do is the best God can do.

God never calls us to do something we’re capable of. God calls us to do things that are beyond our ability so He gets all the credit.

What a reassuring thought. I’m not dependent on my knowledge, my strength, my ability. God wants to use me and work through me in spite of my weaknesses even because of my weaknesses.

My job is to trust. To follow what’s He’s asked of me with faith.

Does this mean everything I do is going to be a success? No. At least not according to my definition of success. Ideas might not go according to my agenda; my plans might even seem to fail. Business ideas might be less than successful; a blog might never grow like I’d want it to; a large non profit ministry might not come to fruition.

But do you know what? That might not have been God’s purpose. He might be teaching and growing me, increasing my trust in Him, preparing me for something I don’t yet know about. There might have been one specific person that I was supposed to minister to, not thousands.

Let’s not get caught up in what we are or are not capable of. Let’s not focus on what others around us are doing. Instead, let our focus be on Christ and the right thing He’s calling each of us to do today. May we rest confident in His ability.

Does fear sometimes keep you from doing the right thing?

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Truth in the Tinsel

This Christmas I’ll have a child that’s almost three. She soaks up every thing, asks questions, and figures things out in her little brain. I don’t want her to think Christmas is about presents, trees, lights, and cookies. Those things are all fun but that’s not what the season is about. I want her to know the true reason for Christmas – about the greatest gift ever.

Truth in the Tinsel - a way for kids to learn the real story of Christmas

There are many ways to go about this, but this year we have decided to use Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. (Affiliate links used) Each day there is a clue, scripture, ornament to make, and discussion. The curriculum is written for preschool to early elementary aged kids. An added bonus, there are downloadable ornaments you can purchase if you aren’t crafty or to help with those extra crazy days (we know December will be full of them).

This will be our first year using Truth in the Tinsel, but I think my daughter is going to love it. She’s at the age where she is getting into crafts and loves creating things and learning. This will be perfect.

If you choose to use Truth in the Tinsel you’ll want to print it off or at least look it over before December 1st actually arrives. This will give you time to look over the supply list and see what you have sitting around the house, what you need to keep (you are going to want to keep the lid from that empty oatmeal container), and what you need to buy. My crafting supplies are pretty limited since we are just getting into that stage with my daughter so I’m having to do some scrounging, a craft store run, and substituting for what I don’t want to purchase. If you have a nice craft cabinet, you might not have to buy anything.

I love how a full supply list is given as well as a daily supply list. You can easily find what craft the pop-dots or buttons are used for and decide if you can substitute something else.

(Don’t forget, if you don’t want to do the crafts or worry about rounding up supplies you can use the downloadable ornaments!)

Have you used Truth in the Tinsel? What are you doing to keep the focus on Christ during December in your family?

Truth in the Tinsel - teaching your kids the true meaning of Christmas

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Service Project

Every Christmas since our daughter has been born we’ve made a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child for a little girl her age. Last year she had fun shopping but didn’t really understand what was going on.

Preschool Service Project - Operation Christmas Child

(Side note, brother already has more hair than she did at 1 year 9 months)

This year at almost 3 she was way more involved and we added a box for a little boy. We talked about the purpose of the boxes and went on to Operation Christmas Child’s website and looked at pictures and found out what types of things we could put in the boxes and then headed out to go shopping. Our daughter ran from one thing to the next in the store, “Oh, the little girl would like this!” “Can we get this for the little boy?”

Arriving back home we had our daughter get the two boxes (we like plastic boxes instead of shoe boxes) and load everything into the right one.

OCC Packing

Brother even got in on some of the action.

Preschool Service Project - Operation Christmas Child

For the last step I had our daughter get out her coloring box and paper and draw pictures to put in the box. We’ll finish them off by writing a note and including a picture if I manage to get any printed this week.

OCC Cards

This is a fun tradition that helps keep the perspective on giving instead of getting during the holiday season. Next year I’m going to plan ahead a little better and have our daughter do some little jobs around the house to earn money to purchase some of the supplies with. It will allow her to have even more ownership and hopefully make more of an impact.

It’s not too late for you to join in on the fun! Collection week goes through the 25th! Check out the Samaritan’s Purse website for all the details and to find a drop off location near you.


Cookie Plates Service Project

Cooker Plates Graphic

This is an easy service project that your child can be involved in from beginning to end. My husband was out of town one Saturday, so while the baby napped my toddler and I got busy.

1. Select who you want to bless with a plate of goodies. Our recipients were an elderly couple, two individuals who had been spending vast amounts of time working on our church renovation, someone whose birthday it was, and a friend.

2. Find a recipe (or two or three) to make. We made two different cookies and a pumpkin cranberry muffin. Yum. Then get busy cooking. My daughter helped measure, pour, stir and roll.

3. While the baked goods are cooling, get out your coloring supplies and have your child draw cards for each person. After the cards were colored I wrote notes on them.

Cookie plate service project perfect for preschools (or anyone for that matter)!

4. Distribute the food between paper plates, cover with plastic wrap, tie a ribbon around them and attach the card.

5. Deliver! This was my daughter’s favorite part. It was her “special deliveries”. I helped her walk up steps and let her stand there with the plate after we rang the door bell. She wanted to keep making more stops. From the smile on her face you could tell she felt important and that she was doing something nice. Having a 2 1/2 year old show up unannounced also made our recipients grin.

Out making deliveries

Out making deliveries

Do you have a favorite way to involve your child in serving? Next week I will be sharing another opportunity we involve our children in.