January 19, 2015

New Proverbs 31 Online Study: “Keep It Shut” {w/Giveaway}

Have you ever wounded someone you love with your words?

Have the words of others provoked retaliatory words in you?

My answer to both is a resounding YES! That’s why I’m so excited to share a new book by my Proverbs 31 sister and friend, Karen Ehman. Keep It Shut. It’s clever cover drew my attention, but it’s the words that fill the pages that have spoken to my heart.

And the really great news! It’s our next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. We begin January 26th and run through March 6th. We would love for you to join us. To learn more and sign up, click here.

KeepItShutCover

I feel as if Karen’s message was written just for me, and I bet I’m not alone. In fact, the verse she opens her post with is one my husband and I have committed to live by through our nearly 28 years of marriage. How I wish I had her book when I walked down the aisle in May 1987. I would have saved myself many moments of grief and regret.

Below please find a message from Karen that gives you a glimpse into her heart and the powerful message of her book:

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26–27

I wrestled with several plastic grocery bags as my purse swung wildly from my shoulder. I was trying desperately to free up a hand to open the back door that leads from our garage into the kitchen. Tired from a long day of errands and appointments, I just wanted to get into the house, put the groceries away, and then collapse on the couch.

As I fumbled with my keys and stepped up onto the landing that leads into the kitchen, I nearly tripped and broke my neck. I also broke out into a horrible rant as I saw the reason for my near trip and fall.

“Kenna! Mitchell! Spencer! You kids get out here right now and take care of these shoes and boots. I am sick and tired of how you all just toss your shoes here with absolutely no regard for what I’ve told you. You know your shoes go on the rug. I don’t want to ever see this junk lying here again. You hear me? You are all so lazy! Now I said get out here … right now!”

My kids heard me all right. So did half the neighborhood.

I have a major pet peeve about the shoes, sports cleats, boots, and flip-flops that collect in our garage. First, I’d prefer that each family member have only a pair or two there. (That day there were about nineteen, and only four were from my husband and me. The other fifteen or so were from our three darlings. Yes. Crunch the numbers. That’s five pairs each!)

I also prefer that shoes be lined up neatly in a row on the lovely industrial rug that is strategically placed just to the right of the landing for my clan’s convenience. I’ve even timed out how much longer it takes to actually place said pairs of shoes neatly on the rug instead of kicking them off haphazardly. Just three seconds!

But my kids couldn’t seem to get with the program and so? It made me angry. This wasn’t the only time a domestic dispute broke out. There were other shouting bouts as well. Sometimes they were over issues of outright disobedience when I had specifically instructed a particular child to clean up a mess they had made. Other times it was over an accident: spilled grape juice on the light-colored carpet, too much laundry soap in the new front-loading washing machine, a screen door left open and now there were mosquitoes in the house. Many normal mishaps of childhood.

Although on the one hand it felt good to vent my anger, on the other hand it made me gulp in guilt for barking so angrily at my sweet children. Later, after the shoes were straightened and some even put away, I felt God tap me on the heart, prompting me to apologize to my kids. I fought it for a while, arguing that the kids were the ones who should be apologizing to me.

It was then that I felt God clearly say, “Mind your own sin, sweetheart.”

Ouch. Yes, my kids’ disregard of instructions wasn’t right. Children should obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). But when they don’t? Well, I couldn’t recall a single verse that then grants parents the right to holler and scream, giving all of the neighbors who were trying to eat their spaghetti supper both dinner and a show.

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I apologized to my kids that night before they went to bed. I asked them to forgive me for my angry mama mouth. Then together we strategized about how we could remedy the whole footwear fiasco in the garage. I realized that part of the reason I was always badgering my clan to get with the program was that there was no good program for them to get with in the first place. The industrial rug just wasn’t cutting it. So we cut the rug. With a trip to the department store and some nice wire shelves, we found a solution to the footwear conglomeration.

We compromised. I didn’t get my entire desired neat-as-a-pin plan, but the modified version still worked better than the industrial rug. As a result, I no longer badger my poor kids about their shoes. My vocal cords aren’t so sore, and the neighbors can now enjoy their dinner in peace.

And I learned that day a very valuable lesson…

Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

And now for the “Keep It Shut” Giveaway! If you’ve ever said, typed, or texted words that were permanently painful because you were temporarily ticked off, leave a comment and share your experience and why you would like Karen’s book to help you “keep it shut” next time. We’ll choose one comment to win a copy of Keep It Shut. Check back at the end of the comments THIS FRIDAY for the name of the winner.

Blessings,

January 12, 2015

Meet My Friend and Praying Mama Kari {w/Giveaway}

{Winners of New Year’s Giveaway listed at the end of today’s post}

Prayer is one of my biggest passions. I love praying prayers, writing prayers, and sharing prayers. That’s why I couldn’t wait to share Kari Kampakis and her new book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, with you. Kari has the same passion for prayer and praying for your children, and because of that, my heart connected with hers immediately.

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Below please find a message from Kari’s heart and ways you can connect with Kari and her new book. She also has graciously offered to give two of her books away. Read through to the end to find out how you can have a chance to win a copy of her book.

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A Prayer for Our Daughters

There is a lot involved in raising a daughter.

A lot of time.

A lot of love.

A lot of listening.

A lot of learning.

A lot of guidance.

A lot of giving.

A lot of observing.

And above all, a lot of praying.

I often remind myself that as much as I love my four girls, their Creator loves them more. He has plans for their lives that I’m supposed to enable, not interrupt. Consciously or not, I also have plans for my daughters’ lives. Sometimes what I want isn’t part of God’s vision.

That’s one of many reasons why I’m a praying mom, because I need divine insight. I need God opening my eyes, heart, mind, and soul to His will, His way, His perfect timing. It’s easy to trust God when all is good with my family. The real test of my faith, however, is how well I trust Him when my heart breaks for one of my children, or when I don’t understand why He’s allowed certain events to happen.

Fortunately, I’ve lived long enough to see God’s faithfulness in my life. I can look back and see clearly what Romans 8:28 means: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

And when I remember what God has done for me, I find it easier to trust His plans for my daughters.

Following is a prayer I’ve written for moms of girls. I hope it’s helpful to you.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of my daughter May she light up her corner of the universe and radiate far and wide for You.

Shape her heart into the image of Jesus. Help her fall in love with Him. Fill her with a peace so deep and real that she craves the comfort of the Holy Spirit over fame and attention from the world.

Let her see herself through Your loving eyes. Help her recognize negative thoughts as the enemy’s voice and conquer them with truth. May she respect her body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and use it to glorify You.

Surround her with godly friends. When she is weak, let them be strong. Help them build each other up as sisters in faith. Let their joy and laughter be contagious. Let their eyes stay open to those who need a friend.

Protect her and help her discern right from wrong. Let her bravely serve Your purpose in her generation.

When she messes up, when she falls, when she feels helpless or discouraged, restore her with grace. Help her embrace her weaknesses as opportunities for You to shine and redeem her.

Protect her heart, Lord, and root her confidence in Jesus. In dating, academics, career, relationships, and other matters, make Your plan apparent. Give her a tender heart and a thick skin. Help her stay resilient to the world’s negativity, criticism, and judgment…yet never lose her love and hope for mankind.

Help me help her, Lord. Guide my steps so I can parent with courage, grace, wisdom, and love. Above all, help me love her well. Help me rejoice in the woman she’s becoming and trust Your vision for her.

I love my daughter with all my heart, mind, and soul. Please bless our relationship and keep our connection strong so that one day, when she is grown, we may call ourselves the best of friends.   

In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Raising daughters is a challenge and a privilege. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s leaders, wives, mothers, and world changers. And while we don’t always the answers our daughters need, we know the One who does. And if we keep pointing them to God,  we’re bound to find peace in the journey.

Do you have special prayers for your daughters or a favorite Scripture you pray over them? Share one in the comments at the end of the post for a chance to receive a copy of Kari’s book for teen and tween girls! Stop back by this post on Friday and look toward the end of the comments for the announcement of the two winners.

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Kari Kampakis is the mom of four daughters and a blogger and newspaper columnist from Birmingham, Alabama. Her first book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know,recently released through Thomas Nelson. Kari’s writing has been featured on HuffPost Parents and reflects her passion for family and God. Learn more by visiting Kari’s blog at karikampakis.com or connecting with her on  Facebook or Twitter.

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BOOK LINKS

Below are the winners of the New Year’s giveaway.

I am extending the deadline to respond to Wednesday, January 14th. Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address so that I can mail you your gift. If you aren’t sure it’s you, please look at the date and time I list and check the comment to see if it is you.

I’ve decided to give away 9 gifts because so many of you replied!!

LIVING SO THAT winners:

Ann who posted on 1/1 at 8:29 am

Emily R. who posted on 1/1 at 9:20 am

Dawn Jenkins who posted on 1/1 at 9:48 am

HIDDEN JOY Winners:

Karen D. who posted on 1/1 at 10:25 am

Cindy who posted on 1/4 at 12:01 am

BRACELET winners:

Dana who posted on 1/1 at 10:55 am

Donna who posted on 1/1 at 12:;09 m

TARGET gift card winners:

Lesley who posted on 1/2 at 1:20 am

Deborah who posted on 1/2 at 11:23 am

Blessings,

January 1, 2015

Ushering in the New Year with Prayer {w/ Giveaways}

Welcome to LIVING TRUTH! Oh, how I’ve prayed for each one of you who stops by today!! A special welcome if you’re visiting from my Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotion where I share my New Year’s Prayer for 2015 (at the end of the post, you will find a link to download a copy of that prayer).

As we usher in this New Year together, I invite you to join me in remembering the One to whom we lift our prayers.

His Name is Jesus. HE IS…

…” the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming.” Revelation 1:4 (The Voice).

Did you hear? He is coming.

And on that day He will come…

“riding on the clouds in all His glory.” Revelation 1:7

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“eyes ablaze with fire and crowns adorning his head.”

“His name:… KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16.

On that day, Jesus will call our names, take our hands, and lead us into our heavenly home! I can only imagine how our hearts will swell as we pass through the gates and see what only Jesus’ beloved disciple John has seen.

Take a journey with me and let’s imagine…

I can hardly believe my eyes. All I’ve ever known is gone. Heaven and earth have passed away; the seas are gone. Everything is new! There, before me, is a holy city. It’s the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven.

The glory of the Lord shines all about. The city is made of pure gold, yet it is as clear as glass. The great wall around the city, adorned with the most precious of jewels, glimmers unlike anything I have ever seen.

I see no street lights or lamps. But there is no need because the Light of the World illumines every corner of the city, forbidding the darkness to enter.

The glory and grandeur of every nation is on display; people from around the world bringing glory and honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Tears well up so thick. I can hardly take in what lies before me. A river of crystal clear living water, flows down from the throne of the Lamb. On each bank of the river stands the tree of life, firmly planted, bearing an abundance of plump, ripe fruit.

Surrounding me are worshipers, every race and every nation bowing before the throne of God and the Lamb of God. As I lift my eyes, I see my Creator and my Savior there before me. I’m in their presence. Awestruck wonder captivates my heart. I feel as if I can’t breathe. I had learned of God’s glory. I had prayed often for a touch of His glory. But now, I could do nothing but fall on my face before His Shekinah glory and join the throngs of worshipers bowing down before Him, casting their crowns at His feet.

I hear a great voice, coming from the throne::

“The home of God is now with His people. He will live among them; they will be His people, and God Himself will be among them. The prophecies are fulfilled: He has wiped every tear. No more death. No more mourning. No more crying. No more pain. The first things have gone away.”

And then I hear the One on the throne speak! A voice I have longed to hear announce to His creation:

“I am making ALL things new!”

Glory! Glory! It is all just as God said!

(Inspired by Revelation 21 and 22)

Hallelujah!

Glory! One day every knee will bow and tongue confess our JESUS IS LORD!

Let’s band together today as sisters and pray a New Year’s Prayer to our Jesus, inviting Him into our hearts, our families, our marriages, our friendships, our relationships, our jobs…our lives. Will you start today by sharing your prayer in the comments today…maybe a favorite verse you will pray; a word God has laid on your heart; a commitment you are making, or even your full prayer. And please know it will be my joy and delight to pray over each and every prayer, sweet friend.

Giveaway to Celebrate YOU!

To celebrate YOU and the precious time you have taken to stop by and share your thoughts and prayers, I will randomly choose 4 names to receive some fun New Year’s gifts, including a signed copy of my book, Living So That, a  signed copy of my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, a Target gift card, or a bracelet. Check back HERE Saturday (in the comments) for the names of the winners.

And if you would like a free downloadable copy of My New Year’s prayer, click here.

***Thank you to my dear friend, Fred, for this AMAZING photo taken on the North Shore of Oahu. If you are interested in learning more about Fred’s photography, e-mail him at fredsfoto2@aol.com. ***

Blessings,