Do you ever get to the end of a week and look back to realize you didn't spend one minute purposely with God? Have you beat yourself up for not reading your Bible enough? Have you felt shame and guilt over not making time with God a priority? If your answer is "yes" to any one of these questions....trust me....you are not alone.
This post is not intended to heap more guilt on your already guilt ridden head. God does not want us coming to Him out of guilt or shame or an "I ought to" attitude. He wants us to come because we want to come. Because we miss Him. Because we want to hear from Him. Because we want to thank Him. Because we want to give Him praise for Who He is and what He has done. Because we know that when we come....He will meet us.
I was encouraging our son Taylor this week in this struggle to "find the time" in this fast pace, overscheduled life many of us live. I told him I believe one of the lies the enemy gets Christ followers to believe is....if I don't have 30 minutes or more to spend with God, it doesn't do much good. WRONG. LIE. NOT TRUE. FAR FROM RIGHT. Get the point? The enemy, as stupid as he is, knows that even 10 minutes in the presence of the Almighty can do more for our thirsty souls than we can ever imagine. This thought of "oh, I only have 10 minutes, I can't accomplish anything significant with Jesus in 10 minutes" is so far from true....but we believe it time and time again. The enemy loves it and the Father continues to wait.....for us to have more time.
So this week...I want to challenge you to take those 10 minutes you have, or 15, or maybe the 20 minutes you have....and get alone with Jesus. Pray, read a Proverb, sit in silence and listen to what He might speak to you. You will feel better and closer to God and the enemy will realize you got ahold of the truth....the truth that ANY time with God is valuable and worth every second!
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Romans 12:1-2
I love it that God knew our everyday, ordinary life would be difficult to manage at times. I love it that He knew I would need a reminder of where to go in order to center all those "ordinary" tasks that I seem to juggle each day/week. He directs us to simply "place it before God as an offering." I try to look at this as "filtering it all through Him." So, even the mundane, everyday, ordinary things seem to have a bit more of a purpose. They can be done with more joy and expectation that He is pleased with my work. And that He will be glorified in them.
At Living Well we want to encourage you in many areas of your life. We want to also give you tools and strategies to lighten the load as a wife, mother and friend. One of the messages we like to share is that of health. We know that if we are walking around tired, depressed, sluggish, and moody then God can't use us to the fullest. He has big plans for each of us and we want to be at our prime each day!
So, every once in a while we are going to share a website, tool, recipe etc..to help you in your walk. The one I want to share with you today is the Dr. Oz website. I love Dr. Oz because he gives insight into every area of our lives. Our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life! He seems to be very sensitive to the lives of women and how we need things to be quick, good for us, and financially wise....He covers all that plus much more! He also shares tools that you can download and use to make a healthy lifstyle easier. I love the shopping list for the "100 foods Dr. Oz wants in your shopping cart" and the tips on how to beat belly fat after 40 and exercise tips! Let me be clear, we are not talking about a # on a scale or a size of jeans.....we are talking about heart health and how we want our bodies to be healthy for years to come!
Go ahead and check it out! I'd love to hear what you like about his website and/or what you have done to make your everyday, ordinary life a bit healthier for Him!
Until next time, live well!
Last week we talked about creating an environment in our home for ministry to take place. I truly believe the first place our kids should experience God's power and presence is in their home. It's our job as parents to create an environment where God can dwell and move in our family life. The question is "how do we accomplish this?" There are many ways to invite God's presence into your home, but in this short space, we will talk about two. I will cover one today and the second in part 3 next week.
The first thing that must be done in order to create an environment of ministry is to acknowlege the Lord at every opportunity. In other words....talk about Him A LOT! At the end of Joshua 24:15, Joshua declares, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (NIV). Your children will know who is Lord in their home by who is given the most attention. In conversation, it should not be unusual for His name to be brought up. Questions like "I wonder what God would say about that?" or "How would Jesus handle that situation?"
We must give Him praise at every opportunity. Psalms 113:3 says "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised" (NIV). This verse is referring not only to when something great happens, but when something difficult is going on. Our kids need to see us calling on the Lord, praising His name, relying on His strength in ALL THINGS. The ongoing acknowlegement of God is critical to creating an environment where ministry can take place in your home. Your children need to know...Jesus is ALL this family needs....He is enough...in good times and hard times. They learn Jesus can handle anything that comes our family's way.
When our children are toddlers, we point out the greatness and wonder of God in a beautiful sky or a butterfly as it floats by. In the elementary years when our child is hurt by a unkind comment, we teach them Jesus' instruction to forgive and pray for those who hurt us. In junior high when our child comes home frustrated because math is too hard, we point them to their "Help in times of trouble", and pray with them for understanding. During the high school years, when our teenager is fighting to be strong in a culture totally against everything you are teaching, remind them they are not alone - that God is with them in every hard decision. We remind our college student of Jeremiah 29:11 as he is navagating his career choices and other important decisions. We bring God into EVERYTHING.
So, try it this week. Bring His name into your conversations...talk about what He might say in certain situations. Give God praise with your kids. Let your kids know who is Lord of your home! Next week we will talk about the power of prayer in our home. Come back and join us!
Last night I tripped climbing our two little wooden stairs that lead into the kitchen. I came down full force on both knees and as I did, the ceramic cereal bowl I was carrying careened across the floor splitting into a million pieces. Sean rushed up from the basement to find me bent over, holding both knees. He knew I was in pain and immediatly began to pray while putting his hands over mine. When he was done praying I eeked out the words "I think I'm going to need some ice." Elin came in and sat down next to me and asked if I was ok. I respond with a groan that my knees really hurt....she puts her arm around my shoulders and begins to pray out loud over me. It was so cool.
While I sat on the couch icing down my two knees I was very aware of the sweetness that had settled in my soul as my hubby and daughter took such tender care of me. They ministered to me. Ministry. We think of that word in regards to church and pastors and national ministries, but we don't tend to connect it with home. Ministry. What is it? It's caring for and "being" Jesus to others. It seems to me that "ministry" should be alive and well in our homes first. That makes sense doesn't it?
I think God loves when we as families are intentional about creating an environment of ministry in our homes. If the only time our kids hear about God and hear people pray is at church, they are missing what God is all about. On a daily basis, we as parents are called to live out our faith and love for Christ in front of our kids....inside the walls of our homes. We have to be intentional in getting across the point that God is not a God for Sundays only, but a God who wants real, live, thriving relationship with us everyday.
So how do we go about creating this environment of ministry? In my next blog I will be talking about two ways to go about accomplishing this critical and awesome task. I'm excited as I think of the wonderful ways God is going to touch you and your kids as you begin to create this culture in your home. I hope you will join me!
If I have learned one thing this past year and a half it's this....I don't have control over anything other than my response to this life. When my kids were young I thought I had control because I could, for the most part, make them behave how I wanted them to....notice I said "for the most part." As they got older I thought I had control because I could control where they went and who they were with. As the teen years came around, I still thought I had control because I was engaged with them and knew where they were (supposedly) and who (supposedly) they were with. But the reality was and still is this....I never had control. Never. Ever.
Even though I have come to terms with this reality...I still struggle with trying to control. As parents we think we know what needs to change in our kids lives. It might be their attitude, how they treat others, how "Christian" they are, etc. We think we know what they need to hear....we have such great suggestions on pretty much any subject. But the truth is...I don't know my kid's heart like God knows their heart. I don't love them like God loves them. I don't know what they need in the depths of their soul. Only He knows. And only He can do a work in them that truly lasts.
The other day I was praying over my kids and all of a sudden I heard this come out of my mouth..."Lord, help me to stay within the boundaries you have put in place for my parenting. Help me not to move into Your territory in their lives." God must have known I needed to ask for this....cause I didn't think that before I prayed it...it just came out of my heart as I was praying. I realized I do this alot...I move into His territory...His area...what He is responsible for in their lives..and I try to do His job. I AM LOUSY AT HIS JOB! HE IS AMAZING AT HIS JOB!
If you have kids of any age and you struggle with feeling the need to control...I encourage you to ask God for a clear understanding of your territory verses His territory. I am learning to get out of the way, shut my mouth, and pray like crazy. I have seen God do some amazing work in the lives of my kids. He is changing them in ways I could never change them. He is transforming them into His likeness and drawing them into relationship with Him. My kids aren't perfect, I don't want them to be..what I want is for them to have their own relationship with God and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listen and obey Him. I want them to be mighty warriors for the Kingdom of God. This is all I want...more than anything on this earth...this is what I want.
This past week Kevin came home and announced that he unexpectedly had to leave. My tone carried disappointment, "leaving again......for how long?" Somehow after all these years, I still have to work my head around his absence. It seems crazy that it doesn't matter if it's 10 days or 10 months.....I always hate for Kevin, my husband, to leave town. As time has marched on and we have weathered many separations, short and long, I have watched many marriages struggle with the isolation that deployment or a traveling job creates. The isolation of physical presence, communication, conversation, laughing, and touching. These are the things that I long for when he is gone but I've found a small way to help during these times and at the same time it screams to my man....."I LOVE YOU AND I'M WAITING FOR YOU!"
Just before Kevin leaves on a deployment or short training/trip I pick up a stack of Post-it Notes, grab different pens, and begin to write. On each Post-it I write just a little something to him such as "I'm so blessed to be yours!" "you are such a great dad...I love watching you with the kids" or "Sleep tight....I wish you were in my bed tonight!" and tuck them in various places in his bags. I may put a little note about how handsome he is in his shaving kit, or a note about loving how he takes care of himself in his running shoes, and I ALWAYS write a couple of intimate notes about how I can't wait for his return! You see, these notes help guard his heart and mind....he knows..... 1) that he's MY MAN! 2) I'm so proud of him and appreciate what he does to provide for our family, and most importantly 3) I long for his return and I can't wait to be with him! They also make me think about what I love about him!
There are times between work-ups, trainings, and deployments where Kevin is not gone much at all.....the Post-it idea still works wonders! Sometimes I will just put a note on his dash so when he gets in the car to start the day he knows that I believe he can do anything and I'm so proud to be his wife. Other times I will place a note in a book he's reading or in his calendar so that it will be a nice surprise in the middle of his day! Ladies, I believe this speaks volumes to our men and they need to be encouraged and lifted up by us!
So, give it a whirl, pick up a Post-it and get started! I'd love to hear about the response you get when you post it for him!
This past week Sean and I had to say good-bye to a man who had great influence on our lives. His name was Richard Buck and he was the first pastor Sean served under in ministry. To say Richard was a wonderful man would be truth, but would come up so short for what his life really stood for. I know Heaven is rejoicing at his homecoming and I am sure Pastor Buck heard those words he lived his life to hear "well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into your reward."
As I have thought about his life this past week and heard others speak of his influence, the same word kept coming up....love. He loved. Not from himself, but he loved out of his love for the Father. Therefore the love his life demonstrated was poignant and impacting. This is what I desire for my life....don't you? When you die, don't you want folks to say "she loved well." I do. Like crazy I do.
So I've been asking God...how do I love better? For me, I'm starting at home. I'm going to love my man better...my kids better. Begin to think about what they might be needing and try meeting those needs before thinking of my own. Then, I am asking God to help me notice my neighbors...reaching out with a simple "hello" and watching for opportunity to help. I want my friends to notice that I am more interested in talking about what is up with them and not just talking about my life when I'm with them. I'm asking God to use me to encourage them.
Love is described by Paul in I Cor.13:4-8 (NIV) like this... "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Whew. Love. God knew we would never be able to do the above without His help. Pastor Buck allowed God to move through his life by loving people. I'm so thankful for his example. This is my prayer for myself and for you today...that we would stop right now and ask God to begin to use our life to love others...really love people...not just the folks who are "easy" to love, but even those who take a little more effort and intention.
Thank you Richard Buck for impacting my life with God's love....I am eternally grateful....I'll see you soon.
Have you ever had a day where you just don't feel like exercising? Well, this was my day to drag my heels, tell myself how tired I was, discuss (with myself) how much I had exercised that week and how I surely needed a break....and on and on it went. As I was listing out all the reasons why I didn't want to go I knew what was best and remembered what I had committed to. So, out the door I went with heavy feet!
Just as I stepped into the water I noticed a small ripple began to slowly move it's way across the entire pool. I began to warm up on the stairs; the ripples became bigger and quicker. As I began swimming laps the ripples became more rapid and consistent. That's when I heard God whisper in my spirit, "that's your life. If you just obey and step in....I'll be the ripple effect from you to this world. The effects will be far and wide as they move out from you....I will use them for my Glory."
As I finished and began to dry off I noticed that the movement had continued without my body even being in the water anymore! Ladies, that's how it works. Long after a conversation or an encounter with our spouse, children, neighbors, co-workers, those along our day; He will continue the ripple effect....the effect of grace, love, support, prayer, words of encouragement that we gave out along the way.
So, even if you don't feel like it today.....just step in and wait and see what He will do with your ripple effect!
Hey Friends! Thanks for stopping by the Living Well Blog page! Elizabeth and I are thrilled to get this started and to share with you in the coming weeks and months. I thought I would share a bit about myself and what my hope is for this blog. I am Tracie Moss, military spouse of 23 years, mother of 2 beautiful girls (Ashley and Emma) and MIL to John, and Gigi to Coleman. Another hat I wear is that of Speech Pathologist for a Preschool for Children with Autism. Much like many of you, I have several hats that I wear on any given day and at times that can be draining. At times, it can suck the joy right out of me.....do you know what I mean?
My passions are Jesus, Kevin, my children, and friends.......but right behind those is food! How many out there are "foodies?" I LOVE food, I love to buy it, cook it, eat it, try new things/recipes etc. So, my posts will, at times, give some recipes, links to sites I've found to be helpful in keeping a healthy balance of good food and nutrition. I will also talk about the whole idea of "dying daily to....." because that's really what it's going to take for a girl like me to make sure the my God is first and not my love of food. It is also about making sure my feet hit the ground to start my day....instead of staying in bed for three more rounds of the snooze button. It's about my entire life being centered on Christ and not those "things" that can so easily weigh us down!
So, that's where Living Well comes in.....we want to live life with you. We want to be an encouragement and at the same time we want to challenge ourselves and you to live a life centered in Him so that He will flow right out of you into this crazy world! We want to give you support and encouragement to stay focused on Him in EVERY area of your life which includes your relationships as well as your health and wellness.
I am truly looking forward to living life with you!
Hey Everyone...welcome to our new blog site! Tracie and I are adding something new to Living Well Ministry in the form of blogging and video devotions...there should be new posts coming each week starting today..so we hope you will come along for the ride. Entering the world of blogging is a venture that can be intimidating and filled with questions....who will read it? who would want to read it? do we really have anything to say? with all the great stuff out there already, do we really have anything to add? These questions have kept us silent too long and we are feeling God saying "do it...please!" So we are. Our heart's prayer is that in some small thing we might say or write, your heart will be encouraged and touched by Him. So...let's get going!
God has taken me on quite a journey these past 6 months in the area of my health and fitness. It all started with me getting back on the wagon, AGAIN I might add, to try to get the 20 pounds off I've been trying to rid myself of for the past 18 years. I began by pulling out my journal and writing down my goals, eating plan, and over all strategy to get the job done. I imagined myself toned and lean all over and looking fabulous for my 44 year old self. Along with my vivid imagination was a hope that somehow THIS TIME would be different and the weight would fall off for good. I wanted a miracle.
So, I began....out of nowhere God entered the journey and BOOM! things began to change. When He came on the scene and began to deal with me about some habits I had and lies I'd been believing about myself...the journey became about obeying Him, not about losing weight. So here I am 6 months later, 20 pounds lighter and living in the truth about myself and a different outlook on my health. I got that miracle....He was the miracle.
So yesterday I struggled all day with my attitude. I had no good reason to be grumpy and impatient and irritable, but found myself battling it all day long. After dinner I ran out to get some kleenex for my sweet man who has a cold...I found myself wanting some ice cream. Badly. I thought " I'll get me a Dove Icecream bar....I deserve it...that'll make me feel better...yeah...a Dove bar...yum!"
Right after that thought came the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart "Elizabeth, I can give you so much more than a Dove bar can...come to Me." I realized in that moment that I was trying to feel better and feed my flesh with food instead of going to the One who has everything I could ever need. I began to pray and ask God to come and settle me. You know what?....He did.He came in His sweet, comforting way and washed over my soul and brought joy to my heart. Not a shallow joy like a Dove bar would have brought for about 2 minutes, but a deep, satisfying, wonderful, stay with me kind of joy that went deep into my soul. It was a beautiful moment and I learned that too often I turn to other things to fill me when God is there with what I need and so much more.
Now I want you to know that eating a Dove bar is not sinful...you might just find me eating one sometime soon! But when we go to those things looking for comfort, peace, rest and happiness...they simply will not satisfy us like He will. He wants us coming to Him to fill those places...not looking for what we need in something as shallow as ice cream.
So what are you turning to today instead of responding to His call to "Come to Me"? No matter what it is...He is so much better.