You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

SUGGESTED BIBLE READING:  1 Samuel, chapter 17

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath?  Until I started studying the Bible several years ago, all I knew about this story was what I read in my son’s Bible story books for children.  There’s a lot more to it in the Bible!  The story is found in 1 Samuel, chapter 17. 

In summary/review, the story begins with young David, youngest of his brothers, being sent to take food and drink to his brothers as they tend the front line of battle.  His brothers were with the Israelite soldiers who were preparing to face off with the Philistines in battle.  When David arrived at the battle site, he saw Goliath.  Goliath was a giant in the Philistine army.  He not only taunted the Israelite soldiers, but also taunted God, defying God in his brazen words and actions. 

Goliath is reported have stood over 9 feet tall!  He was covered from head to toe in bronze and metal armor.  His metal ‘coat’ alone weighed 125 lbs, and he carried a wicked spear with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 lbs!  Additionally, Goliath had a shield bearer who walked ahead of him carrying a huge shield. 

Confident in his size, strength, armor, and weaponry, Goliath challenged the Israelites to send someone to take him on, one-on-one, instead of having an army-vs-army battle. 

After hearing Goliath’s God-defying words, David was determined to defend his God and his people. 

 King Saul had offered a handsome reward for the one who could bring Goliath down.  I’m sure King Saul never imagined that a shepherd boy, the baby brother of some of his soldiers, would be the one to step forward to do the job! 

As any mighty king would do, King Saul suited young David in a fine suit of armor to prepare him for battle.  However, the armor was made for adults and was much too big and heavy for David to wear.  He couldn’t even walk in it!  David chose to  do battle with the only weaponry he knew, his slingshot, a pouch full of stones, and most important of all—his love of God and complete trust that the Lord would deliver him victory over Goliath. 

You can imagine Goliath’s reaction when a young boy stepped forward to do battle!  Goliath  had no mercy on David.  He cursed him and promised to feed him as prey to wild animals.  David’s reply was this: You come to me with swod, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of armies of Isreal, whom you have defied.  Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you…and then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals , and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone will know that the LORD does not need weapons to rescue his peole.  It is his battle, not ours.  The LORD will give you to us!  (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

We all know how the story ends.  God delivered victory to David when he slayed the big giant who was coated in armor and even had his own shield bearer!  How did this happen?  As a shepherd, David had killed many bears and lions with his slingshot.  He knew just where to hit animals on their heads to deal a fatal blow and must have acquired perfect aim.  God knew David was the perfect ‘man’ for the job.  Relying fully on his trust in the LORD, David took precise aim and hit Goliath with a stone in what was probably a very small area not protected by armor. 

This is an amazing story and one that teaches many lessons. 

The lesson God spoke to me today was this:  David needed to be suited up for battle.  However, he wasn’t ready for the armor the king tried to give him.  It didn’t fit him and wasn’t what he was used to.  Instead, David courageously armed himself with faith.  We’re to do the same. We are to prepare for each day’s battle by arming ourselves in faith.  In order to do this, we must be able to wear our armor!  Remember what happened when David’s armor was too big and uncomfortable?  He couldn’t wear it!  We need to do what it takes to grow into our faith so that it fits; and we must use it every day, in every occasion possible – good and bad – so that we’re comfortable wearing it!  Then when we face giants and battles in our own lives, we’ll be ready and fully suited for victorious battle in the Lord’s name. 

One last thing to note…when we win, the victory isn’t ours.  It’s the Lord’s.  David went forward claiming that his strength and shield was the very God that Goliath defied.  He went on to state that victory would be to prove the strength of the LORD to the whole world, not to bring celebrity, fame, or victory for himself.  David’s motivation and purpose was to defend God and bring glory to the LORD Almighty. 

Praise be to God!

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.   -Psalm 118:24

Yesterday I was missing my children and wishing summer could continue after they left for their first day of school.  That was yesterday.  I’m totally over it now!  It just took one day at home and a few hours to myself to remind me how good this time of year is, too! 

I had a great day today!  It began with me curling up in my prayer chair, with a cup of hot tea, knowing endless quiet stretched ahead of me.  Much needed rain was falling—pouring— outside.  It was such a treat to just be inside and enjoy the sound of rain!  I read my day’s reading from Praying the Names of God, prayed, then took a short morning snooze (something I don’t usually do).  After that I was ready to start the laundry and do some cleaning.  I was enjoying my day so much that I actually enjoyed those things, too!  My husband was working from home today, so we spent time together for lunch and before I knew it, it was time to pick up my younger son from school. 

Summer is over, but that’s ok.  I’m ready to savor the goodness of this season, too!  May you see the blessings of your day, too!

Renee

Well, it’s August 25th, the first day back to school for my kids.  In years past I’ve been very excited about this day!  Today I’m sorry to see them go.  Our older son is starting 8th grade (13 years old), and our younger son is in 2nd grade (almost 8).  I’ll miss them!  🙂

I’m not one of those smothering, controlling moms who needs to tend to every detail of her children’s lives and wants to oversee everything they do.  I’ve just really enjoyed our time together over the summer and am not ready for it to end.  In fact, to be completely honest…it was a busier summer than I expected.  I didn’t get many of the lazy days together I anticipated. I’d like to have another week or two to just hang out and take it easy with them.  Then, believe me, after a week or two home with both boys, I’d be more than ready to send them off to school! 

MOMS AND DADS, CHERISH YOUR CHILDREN.  Time with them goes by so fast!  You hear that all the time because it’s true!  Unfortunately, because of today’s fast-paced lifestyles, that’s more true than ever.  Don’t wish your way through their lives, always longing for the phase that’s just ahead.  Make the most of who they are, where they are, and what they are today! 

Pick your battles carefully. 

Nourish, don’t nag. 

Hug your children as often as you can…even when they might seem too big or too old to hug…and even if they don’t always hug back (she says thinking of her teen son). 

For every negative give two positives. 

Don’t try to mold them into what you want them to be.  Help them fill the mold they’re in.  God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  – Romans 12:8a

Praise, praise, praise them!  Praise as deserved and praise often!  However, don’t give undo praise that can lead to a false sense of confidence. 

Encourage, encourage, encourage – and remember that encouraging includes giving loving corrections and acts of discipline as needed. 

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

Love, love, love.  Love like you mean it!  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  – Romans 12:10   This goes for your spouses and ex-spouses, too! 

Remember that children are a gift from God, an inheritance from the LORD! (Psalm 127:3)   Treasure them as such!  Commit each day to helping them reach their full potential – becoming the special people God created and gifted them to be. 

Each child is special, but no child is perfect.  (None of us are!)

Dedicate your child to the Lord and allow His glory to shine through their imperfections and limitations.  In that they become strong and God is glorified.  Christ’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Be a warriar, not a worrier.  BE A PRAYING PARENT FOR YOUR CHILD.  Lift each day’s praises, thanks, questions, struggles, battles, issues and concerns to the Lord in prayer.  Need guidance for this?  Get a copy of The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martian.  Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.  When one of God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out.  – Romans 12:12-13a

CHERISH YOUR CHILD BY CHURCHING YOUR CHILD.  Jesus said, “Let the children come unto me, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”   He took the children in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.  (Mark 10:14-16 paraphrase)   Don’t just tell your children about their Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior; and certainly don’t keep Him from them!  Lead them to Him!  Let them come unto Him.  Church them.  Encourage them to grow in His love.  Make Him a part of their every day life!

All too soon tomorrow will come and they’ll be off to school, off to college, off to their own lives.  You’ll look back and long for the very moment you have right now.  Make the most of tomorrow by making the most of today. 

From a mother’s heart…   God bless you, and God bless all children, too.

For a previouse posts I’ve written about parenting, see “Coaching My Kids for the Big Game”  and “Be Big!” in the March ’07 archives; and “My Boy is Growing Up” in Sept ‘ 07 archives.

Love, Renee

Despite the symptoms I described in the post below (“Shingles, anyone?”), in my soul I’m doing very well.  Verses from my devotional reading tonight spoke clearly to me and were uplifting and encouraging.  They’re from the story of Gideon in the 6th chapter of Judges:

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have…Am I not sending you?”

So how do these words speak to me?  I get frustrated with the limitations I’ve felt lately from my shingles – some due to physical discomfort, but mostly from being drained of energy (likely the effect of ongoing virus).  Each day I look forward to what the Lord will put before me and hope to accomplish much for Him, but lately it seems like I haven’t been able to accomplish much.  I wonder what I’ll be able to do in the future. Will I be able to keep up with commitments and activities?  It saddens me to think I might have to cut back, sit out, or quit some things altogether.  However, the first verse above calls me a mighty warrior – not a worrier.  The second verse tells me to go in the strength I DO have – not focus on the strength I’m missing; and then it reminds me that I can be confident in what I’m called to do because the Lord Himself is sending me.  He wouldn’t do it if He couldn’t get me through it, whatever it is or will be.  And those things excite me because they indicate He’ll still be calling!  It’s all good.  God is good.  I’m so blessed. 

May you see His blessings, too!  God bless you.

Renee

This isn’t a pretty subject (sorry), and I hesitate to bring this up because of that, but I’m hoping to find others who experience what I call recurrent or chronic shingles.  Those are my terms, not official medical terms.  For two years now I’ve been plagued with symptoms of shingles – never getting what the doctors call a full-blown case.  It’s like the virus never really goes away and it’s begun wearing me down at times.  The symptoms are starting to pose significant limitations on what I can do.  I don’t say these things to complain and don’t want to be a downer, but I thought this might be a good way to ‘meet’ others who experience this so we can share info and help each other. 

If this speaks to you or someone you know, please respond to this site or to my email:

ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com 

God’s blessings to all. 

Renee

Like millions of others around the world, I’ve been glued to the Olympics this week.  In addition to watching athletes compete, I love to hear their personal stories about what they’ve done to become so great and/or what they’ve overcome to arrive at the pinnacle of their sport’s competitions – the Olympics.  I’m so inspired by these athletes!  They make me want to achieve more.

Now, I’m not going to take up beach volleyball or sign up for gymnastics lessons, and I’m certainly not going to make an olympic swimmer out of myself.  What I will do is try to go for the gold for God each day.

Top athletes have several things in common:

1. They’re obviously passionate about what they do.  Their passion draws others to them and makes us want to be a part of what they’re doing (even if it’s just cheering them on).

2. They’re relentless in their training and pursuit of their goals.

3. They keep their eyes fastened on the prize.  They stay focused on their goal.

4. They put all things aside that interfere with accomplishing their goals.

5.  They make the most of the gifts and talents they’ve been given.

6.  They don’t let individual circumstances, difficulties, or set-backs get in their way.  If anything, these things make them stronger and more determined.

7.  True winners don’t blame others for their failures or mistakes; they look at what’s happened, learn from it, and strive to make the necessary changes to avoid problems in the future.

8. They get right back up when they’re knocked down. 

9. They are coachable and trainable – willing to learn and be corrected – base their training on the best instruction possible – and stay true to what they believe.

10. They are never satisfied with even their best performances, always looking for ways to do better next time.

These are all principles I can use in going about each of my days to live out my faith for the Lord.  I don’t have to be competing before the world to make a difference for the Lord.  He uses everday experiences to work with me, the most mundane of times to speak to me, and the most ordinary of ways to use me.  My ‘gold medal’ moments aren’t broadcast for the world to see.  They’re often just between God and me. 

Read through the list above and think about how you can use these charactistics to be a gold medalist for God, or to affirm the things you’re already doing. 

Regarding # 1…’cheering others on’ can be done by praying for others.

Regarding #2…be relentless in your study of the Bible, daily prayer and time with God, and your purpose to live each day for Him.

Regarding #3…for me the prize is that of serving, honoring, glorifying God with my words, actions, thoughts and deeds; winning others to Jesus Christ; and ultimately leading myself and others to our place in heaven.

Regarding number 9…my instruction is the Bible and those who teach and inspire me through God’s Word. 

 Regarding number 10…the only way I differ here is that I do pause to praise and give thanks for the good in each day.  Sometimes I watch athletes – professionals and olympiads – who’ve just completed an amazing feat in their sport and they seem to find little satisfaction or pleasure in what they just accomplished because they’re too focused on the things they didn’t do as well as they could have.  It’s good to feel you can always do better next time.  God knows I end each day with plenty of things I need to do better tomorrow!  God also knows I savor the good of each day – and no matter what, there is good in each day.  Just knowing the Lord as my Savior and knowing He’s there with me is enough for any day! 

Let’s get going! We need to go for the gold for God today!  Won’t you meet me on the medals stand as they play our anthem, “How Great is Our God”? 

God bless you.

Renee

The instructor called it puppy training.  We found it to be people training and the lessons were valuable.

Before we had children, my husband and I got a puppy and decided to take it to puppy training classes. By the end of the classes we realized they hadn’t been puppy training classes at all!  The instructor didn’t teach our puppies anything!  Instead, he taught us how to teach our puppy. 

The most informative class was the orientation.  The instructor taught us to how to understand dogs, their needs, and how best to communicate with them.  He also taught us about a dog’s sign of submission.  When a dog is corrected or scolded it shows submission by giving a simple lick of its tongue.  Giving the sign of submission means the dog ‘got it’ and that he/she is acknowledging his/her master.  The instructor said it’s very important to stop the discipline or command at that point.  Otherwise, we’d be over-correcting.  Over-correcting too much could cause personality and/or behavior problems in the puppy. 

It wasn’t long after we got a puppy that we finally became parents.  That lesson on the sign of submission has come in handy many times, since.  You see, people give signs of submission when they’re corrected and disciplined, too.  Just like puppies, people can also be affected by too much over-correcting. 

Avoiding over-correction is something I strive for when I discipline my children.  I have a tendency to work myself into loud and lengthy lectures when I lose my patience with my kids.  What starts as a reasonalbe act of discipline or correction becomes over-correction by the time I’m done.  It’s best for me to watch for their signs of submission indicating they ‘got it’, and then promptly stop myself from continuing.  Continuing with my verbal correction is over-correction and can lead to anger or hurt them emotionally, both of which could lead to other problems. 

According to our puppy training classes, we were to move on after receiving a sign of sumission from our puppy – not continue with our correction or discipline.  Moving on after submission means giving positive reinforcement for submissive behavior and going on to the next task. 

So what is a human sign of submission?  It might be a look in the other person’s eyes, change of facial expression, the face becomes red with embarassment, their gaze looks away, or a sign of nervousness (fidgeting, fiddling with their fingers, etc.).  The sign of submission is different in each of my children. 

I was reminded of this earlier today when someone corrected  me.  I immediately apologized, acknowledged the correction, and thanked them for the information.  Recognizing my submission, the man softened his attitude and sent me on my way in a kind manner.  However, the woman remained authoritative and kept a stiff front, causing me to become a little irritated and in need of a Christianity-check!  It made me  aware of how important it is to be mindful of signs of submission in others.  After all, a sign of submission means the other person is submitting to our correction and/or authority.  Isn’ that what we’re seeking?  If so, then mission accomplished.  Give positive reinforcement and move right along.   Most likely, favorable results will follow!

The Greatest Book ever written is an amazing love story.  From the first verse to the last, it’s about a God who loves us more than we are capable of loving others or ourselves; whose love is higher than the mountains and deeper than the seas.  He’s a Heavenly Father who only wants the best for His children.  So why, then, does tragedy strike?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why does He allow things to happen that will cause difficulty and pain? 

I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I do know that God’s ways are sovereign and He truly is a loving God who desires nothing more than a strong relationship with us.  It hurts Him, too, when bad things happen to us.  However, He can work through the bad to bring about good (Romans 8:28).  Sometimes He allows the bad to happen to get our attention or grow us in faith.  Sometimes what seems bad to us is actually a blessing.  As difficult as some things are, they might have been worse, but God was working in those situations to help and protect those whom He loves. 

These things are on my mind because my husband and I had to say final goodbyes yesterday to one of his dearest friends.  His friend, Marty, was 41 and in top athletic condition, but he had a sudden and unxepected massive heart attack that took his life.  He leaves behind his wife Patty and their four young children (ages 8 and under).  On the day Marty was buried he was supposed to be in Boston with his 8-year old son attending a Red Sox game with one of his friends.  Instead, the friend came to Philadelphia to serve  as a pall bearer for Marty’s funeral.  Sometimes life doesn’t make sense…death doesn’t make sense.

An estimated 2,000+ people came to pay their last respects to a man well-loved by family, friends, church, co-workers, and community.  It was a blessing to be there among all of Marty’s friends and loved ones.  He and Patty both come from amazing Irish Catholic families that are loving, strong, and supportive. The loss of Marty has been terrible for them.  I’m sure they’ve all asked, “Why did this have to happen?”, and felt that this tragedy just doesn’t make sense. 

This situation doesn’t make sense to us, but it does to God.  I know from past experinces that God is able to make good come from even the worst of times.  When I’ve turned to Him for purpose, perspective and strength, He has been there for me and helped me through some rough and rocky times.  When I looked back I saw the footprints He left behind, proving to me that His presence was always with me, and also how He’d gone before me to make the way for what would be ahead. 

In the situation of Marty’s death, my husband and I have already looked seen how God went before us to make the way for us so that we could be in Philadelphia to pay our last respects and attend the funeral – and some of His work was being done before Marty even died.  What an awesome God we serve!

So what do we do when we are struggling and life doesn’t make sense?   Remember that God doesn’t want His children to suffer.  The words of Exodus 3:7,10 tell us that God sees our misery, hears our cries, is aware of our suffering; and that He promises to lead us out of those situations.  All we have to do is wholey and completely turn to Him, trust in Him with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5), obey His commands, and follow as He leads (story of Exodus).  The words of Jeremiah 29:11-12 promise that God has plans for us, not to harm us but to prosper us, plans for hope and and a future; and when we turn to Him in prayer He will listen to us.

As I think of those who are mourning the loss of Marty, and those who worry about his wife and children, I want to assure them that Marty’s wife and children are surely in God’s loving care!  God was with Marty in his life and death, and God is with his family, too!  They are blessed and will continue to be blessed as they walk in faith with the Lord.  Yes, they will have difficulties and hardships, sad times, and bad days as they learn to live without the man they loved and knew as husband and father; but God will be with them in all of those times.  He wants to be their strength, the light in the darkest times, and the source of hope that leads them to the joy that can only be found in Him.  They will never be the same as they were before, but they will be ok. Hopefully they will become even stronger in faith and richer in the blessings of the Lord.  I pray the same will be true for all who knew Marty – those who knew him as son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend – and all who read this and are suffering or struggling in some way. 

The priest who led the Mass encouraged us to stay strong in faith, reminding us that the last thing Marty would want would be for his death to cause us to have doubts about our faith or turn our backs on the Lord (not those exact words).  As I heard the priest say these things, I could see Marty nodding in agreement.  I know God feels the same way, too. 

Please read Psalm 91.   It begins: Those who live in the shleter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I am trusting him…(New Living Translation)   To read more you can go to www.biblegateway.com and enter Psalm 91 for a convenient read on your computer. 

May God be with all who are struggling or suffering to keep them strong in their love and trust of the Lord, or to lead them to Him if they’re not already there.  If anyone would like my prayers of support or scriptural encouragements, you can contact me at ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com 

God bless you.  Love,

Renee

BibleGateway.com

Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member badge

Blog Stats

  • 131,615 hits
Follow By His Grace, For His Glory on WordPress.com