Posts Tagged With: family

Recognizing God’s Blessings

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Last May my family and I went to Colorado for a vacation. We were really excited to do some hiking and enjoy the cooler weather. What we didn’t expect was to get 12 inches of snow on the first night. We woke up the first morning and it had started to snow and just kept on snowing. As we watched the weather report and realized that it was going to snow all day and all night, we realized our plans for hiking were slipping away. We were feeling pretty bummed about our plans not going as expected.

However, as we looked out the window at the snow falling, which is something we never see in Houston, we realized it was an unexpected blessing from the Lord. The beauty of watching the snow fall on the mountain scenery was impossible to miss. It was a great reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and a wonderful reminder that His blessings come in unexpected ways sometimes.

When it was snowing, we could have been really bummed and upset that all of the things we had planned to do were now ruined and we weren’t able to do them. Instead, we enjoyed the beauty of the falling snow and made new plans. We enjoyed a day of staying inside, drinking hot chocolate, playing board games and then going outside to build a snowman together. The next day we were driving and saw a nice hill for sledding but had no sleds. So we improvised. We stopped at a grocery store and picked up some metal pizza pans and used them as sleds.

Out trip didn’t turn out the way we had planned, but we were able to see the beauty of God’s creation in a different way than we expected and we realize He blessed us with different adventures. How often do we recognize His blessings when our plans are changed and things don’t work out the way we had planned?

It is easy to become negative, frustrated and angry when things don’t work as we have planned. But, what we need to remember is that God’s plan for our day, vacation or our life is always greater than our own, even when we can’t see it in the moment. His blessings don’t always come in the ways we expect.

It is easy for us to remain negative, frustrated and angry when things don’t go our way. However, God is always at work in our lives and sometimes we just need to adjust our perspective or our vision to see where He is working. Some of the biggest blessings in my life have come from situations that were less than perfect, often they come from the most difficult of times.

Last year I went to take care of my sister-in-law after a foot surgery and was able to spend a lot of fun time with my niece. Because we have always lived 800 miles away and for 4 years we lived more than 7500 miles away. While I was there my sister-in-laws mother who was battling cancer took a turn for the worse. Instead of being able to spend Christmas with my husband and daughters, I went with my sister-in-law to help take care of my niece while she cared for her mom. It was very tough to be away from my family for the holidays, but God is good, all the time.

My relationship with my sister-in-law and her family grew by leaps and bounds and my relationship with my precious niece is stronger and closer than ever. The Lord used this difficult situation to draw my extended family closer together. I never would have had as  much time with my niece without her grandmother becoming very ill and ultimately passing away. But, the blessing was being able to support her, her mom and her mom’s family during this difficult time.

Look at your own circumstances. Are you feeling negative, frustrated or angry? Perhaps you need to look at where God is working and recognize the hidden blessings in even the most difficult of situations. God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good!

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Holidays and Families

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Thanksgiving is upon us this week and Christmas is right around the corner. Holidays mean spending time with families. For some that can be a blessing and for others, the thought of spending a lot of time with extended family can bring on stress. Regardless of how you feel about time with family at the holidays, there is something we can do to make it more joyful for everyone.

Romans 12:18

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Thanksgiving and Christmas with all of the preparations that go with them can be a stressful time for many people. We have more things to do and less time to get our regular duties completed. We generally don’t behave our best when we are experiencing stress. However, we have a choice in how we treat others. We have a choice in the words we use, the tone with which we speak and the way we act. We can choose to speak words of kindness in a pleasant tone rather than responding with irritation. 

It is all about what we choose to do. The Scripture in Romans is a beautiful reminder that we are called to live peaceably with ALL, not just those who are easy to live peaceably with. Sometimes, those in our family can push our buttons easier than anyone else. However, we always have a choice in how we respond.

James 3:18

18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Let’s be people who reap a harvest of righteousness by sowing peace in our families this holiday season. One way to help you be a peacemaker is to spend time with the Lord in prayer BEFORE spending time with your family. Seek the Lord and ask Him to empower you with His Holy Spirit to be a peacemaker in your family. Ask Him to reveal ways you can bring peace to your family. As followers of Christ, let’s choose to show His love to those around us this holiday season!

 

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If Only

Here is a poem I wrote about how different things would be if we put our trust in the Lord.

If Only

If only I trusted that I am worthy of love, I wouldn’t let people use and abuse me.

If only I trusted that I was chosen to be a child of God, I wouldn’t dwell so much on the times my earthly father disappointed me or hurt my feelings.

If only I trusted that I am God’s masterpiece, I wouldn’t believe what others have said about my appearance.

If only I trusted that I am holy and dearly loved, I wouldn’t listen to the hurtful comments people have said to me.

If only I believed I was an heir to the King of Kings, I wouldn’t spend so much time and energy trying to acquire material things.

If only I trusted that I belonged to a royal priesthood, I wouldn’t be so worried about fitting in here on earth.

If only I trusted that my sins are forgiven, I wouldn’t spend my time beating myself up over mistakes in the past.

If only I trusted that God had a plan for me and a purpose for my life, I would be willing to step out of my comfort zone and into His.

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Part of a Family & a Church

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Today we will wrap up chapter 2 of Ephesians and see how we are part of a family and a church.

Ephesians 2:19-21

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

Paul is telling the Gentiles once they put their faith in Christ, they are no longer foreigners. They are members of God’s family and the same is true for us. Some of us may have had wonderful families growing up and others may not have. Regardless of what our earthly families were like or whether or not we felt loved or felt like we belonged; we belong in the family of God and we are loved by our Heavenly Father. We are part of the Christian heritage that began with the Israelites, God’s chosen people and includes all believers from the time of Jesus until now. How cool is that?

Paul uses the image of a family to describe believers and he also uses the image of a building. Christ is described as the “cornerstone”. In Greek it “literally means the of the angle. It refers to the capstone or building stone that holds the whole structure together. It covered a right angle joining two walls, as Sir Henry Layard found, for example, when excavating Nineveh. Often the royal name was inscribed on it. In the East it was considered to be even more important than the foundation.” If the body of  believers is like a building, who better to build a church upon?

Ephesians 2:22

22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Verse 22 takes everything that Paul said in the previous verses and really brings it home and applies it directly to you. When you personalize this verse, it is very powerful. And in him I to am being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit. What does that mean to you? Do you sense His Spirit moving and working in and through you? What does it mean to you to be part of God’s family and part of the Christian heritage? Spend some time reflecting on being part of His family and His church.

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Adoption into God’s Family

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Ephesians 1:5-6

 In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 

These two verses start with “in love”. Everything that follows is because of God’s love for us. He has allowed us to be adopted into His family through Jesus. The word Paul uses for adoption in the Greek is “huiothesia”. “Adoption was the custom of choosing and legally naming someone from another family as one’s heir.” So as followers of Christ, we God’s heirs. Can you imagine a better family to be adopted into?

Our adoption is part of God’s plan and it brings praise to God. Some have wonderful earthly families where they have been loved and cared for and others do not. Regardless of what your earthly family is like, you belong to God’s family. He chose you to be adopted into His family and He loves you with an everlasting love. Some don’t feel they can rely on their families but as believers, we can always rely on our Heavenly Father. He is always there for us and wants the best or us.

His amazing grace is His free gift to us through Jesus Christ. According to the Life Application Study Bible notes, “”freely given us in the One he loves” means that God graciously accepts us (though we don’t deserve it) now that we belong to his dearly loved Son.” We are able to be members of God’s family because of the sacrifice of Christ. Our adoption into His family is “in accordance with his pleasure and will”.

How does it make you feel to be part of God’s family? What was your life like before you became part of God’s family? As someone who came to know Christ as an adult, I can tell you my life is much different now. One of the greatest changes for me is knowing I belong to His family and knowing He loves me unconditionally and is always there for me. There are many people who do not have the benefit of belonging to His family. Who do you need to share Christ with today so they too, may experience His unconditional love?

  • Scripture references from http://www.biblegateway.com
  • Greek definition from “Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers
  • Quote, “Life Application Study Bible”, Zondervan
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