August 23, 2018

Back to School Thoughts and a Prayer

Are you like me as the first day of school draws near? A myriad of emotions overwhelm me each and every time. First it was elementary school. Then middle school. Then high school. Now it’s college.

Part of me is ready for my kids to head back to school … to have a routine again … to have time to myself again. But, the other part of me misses the lazy days, trips to the beach, movies in the middle of the day, lounging by the pool, staying up late playing games, and just plain being together.

Yesterday, my youngest, Bo (almost 21), started his junior in college. My oldest, Lauren (almost 25), works full time in Atlanta and just got engaged! I can’t believe I’m the mother of a bride, ya’ll. Really, girls, I don’t feel that old!!

Time has gone by so quickly. It seems only yesterday, I was pushing them around Target in the shopping cart … Lauren in her princess gown and sparkly shoes and Bo donning his Bob the Builder tools.

As September presses in, my heart finds itself divided again. Joy filling one half for the good things that lie ahead for both my babies this year. The other half aching for that which will never be again.

But, over the years, I’ve learned to trust God’s ways. Mama’s sending their babies off  is the way it’s supposed to be. God loans them to us for a time, and then they’re His.

It’s a never-ending cycle for us mamas. Whether it’s kindergarten, middle school, high school, college, weddings or grandbabies.

What brings me peace is knowing our children will never be alone. Our heavenly Father promises He will never leave them or forsake them. He promises He will be with them every minute of every day…

He knows when they sit and when they rise
He perceives their thoughts from afar 
He discerns their going out and their lying down
He is familiar with all their ways.
Before a word is on their tongue He knows it completely…

Where can they go from His Spirit
Where can they flee from His Presence? (Psalm 139)

He is with them.

I read further…

All the days ordained for them were written in His book before one of them came to be!

God is in control. Our God, the Author of Life, the Blessed Controller of All Things, the Sovereign God of the Universe, is in complete control of our babies. Hallelujah!

Below, please find a prayer I wrote and shared on my blog many years ago. I thought I’d share it again. Please personalize it for you and your family and make it your own.

Heavenly Father, I praise You as the Creator of every good and perfect gift … the greatest of those gifts is my children. Thank You for Your promises in Psalm 139. Will You keep my mind fixed on those promises as I send my precious ones, Lauren and Bo, to school tomorrow. Father, please hide Your Word in their hearts so that when they need to recall a Truth, it will be there. Will You make it their greatest desire to please and obey you in all they say and do? Father, will You teach them in the midst of pressures at school and with peers to trust in You with all their hearts and lean NOT on their own understanding and to acknowledge You in all their ways. Keep Lauren and Bo pure by leading them to live according to Your Word. Give them thankful hearts. Clothe them in humility and teach them to put others first. Father, will You grow them in wisdom, and stature, and favor with You and with man? Teach them to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it,” no matter what their days may hold. I ask this all in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

I pray this prayer for all of our children!

As tears fall from my cheeks, I’m so thankful for you, my friend! I know that I’m not alone. If you have kids going back to school, I’d love to hear your thoughts and prayers. Leave a verse that brings you comfort or a prayer you pray.

August 13, 2018

4 Scriptures for When You Need a Personal God

Hey friends, I’m SO excited to share my friend Jennifer Rothschild’s new study with you!! Jennifer is one of my favorite Bible teachers because she teaches God’s Word with an intimate, tender voice that I find rare among Bible teachers. Her deep love of God’s Word, and passion for everyone she encounters to know and love that Word, is contagious. So, without further delay, enjoy these wise words from Jennifer as she shares from her new LifeWay Bible Study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me.

Plus, she’s giving away a copy of her Bible study book to one of you (read to the end)!

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Do you have any special memories that come up when you read, hear, or think of Psalm 23?

Maybe it was granny’s favorite Psalm. Or maybe it was read at the funeral of someone you love. You may have seen it on a plaque or memorized it as a child.

This passage stirs up all sorts of emotions, doesn’t it?

David, who wrote this Psalm, tells us in the first verse, “The Lord is my…” He then finishes it with “shepherd.”

Think about the word “my.” The verse doesn’t say that the Lord is “a” shepherd or “our” shepherd. It says He is “my” shepherd. To me, “my” means personal possession.

Just ask any toddler. “My” means that toy belongs to me. It is covered with my drool, practically crushed in my little fist, and treasured as if it is the only toy I have. It is my personal possession.

David talks about God as if God belonged to him and he belonged to God. In other words, the relationship is intimate, safe, and permanent.

Sister, do you, like David, talk about God as if He belongs to you and you belong to Him? Is God personal to you?

When I think of the Lord as my shepherd, I feel safe with Him. I see how He has guided me through green pastures and dark valleys. And, to be honest, when I really lean on Him as my shepherd, I feel the freedom to be as needy and dependent as a sheep.

Psalm 23 is not an arm’s length, past-tense, wouldn’t-it-be-nice kind of passage. It is personal. It is a right here, right now, up-close passage about you and your Shepherd.

But “shepherd” is just one way to illustrate God’s character. There are many other verses in the Bible that also describe how the Lord is a personal God to you.

Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. A LifeWay Bible Study,.

Maybe today you need to be reminded of how the Lord is a personal God. Here are four Scripture passages to get you started.

1. The Lord Is My Portion

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
 (Psalm 16:5, NASB)

When you consider the Lord is your portion, you’re reminded that He is all you need. In all the areas of your life where you may feel insufficient or weak, sister, He is enough.

2. The Lord Is My Rock

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 (Psalm 18:2, NASB)

With the Lord as your rock, you learn that He will stabilize and ground you when life feels shaky. And when He steadies you, oh girl, you are steadfast and unshakeable.

3. The Lord Is My Salvation

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
 (Psalm 27:1, NASB)

When you consider the Lord is your salvation, you take refuge in Him. You run to Him and He welcomes you, defends you, protects you, and preserves your life.

4. The Lord Is My Strength

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
 (Psalm 28:7, NASB)

The Lord is your strength and helps you deal with the fears that rise up in you. He gives you what you need to make it through whatever the day brings.

When Scripture tells you that the Lord is your shepherd, your portion, your rock, your salvation, your strength … Scripture is shouting the truth with the intensity of a 3-year-old, “The Lord is mine! My shepherd, my portion, my rock, my strength. Mine!”

I love that!

He is a right-now, up-close, personal God to you, sister. And He cares for you.

Jennifer’s new Bible study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me will help you explore the depths of God’s care for you tucked in the psalm you’ve always loved. Through August 31, get a free audio download bundle with purchase of Jennifer’s Bible study book.

 

Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. A LifeWay Bible Study,.

The Giveaway

Giveaway now closed – 9/14/18 congrats Marilyn (Mgoingone) – please check your email for more details from my assistant, Kim Stewart.

How are these qualities of God’s character personal to you? Do you have any additional verses that remind you how personal He is? Share in the comments below, and one reader will win a copy of Jennifer’s new study. U.S. Addresses only please. Winner announced here Monday, August 20.

July 16, 2018

Praying on the Armor of God & A Giveaway

Hey friends!

Today on the Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today, These Things Are Not Supposed to Be, I’m sharing a message God laid on my heart as I spent time with Him in the book of Psalms, specifically Psalm 3:3-4. 

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

Even when we walk through the hardest times, our Abba Father never abandons us. He walks with us. He strengthens us. He weeps with us. He ministers to us. Sometimes, He even carries us.

God also protects, empowers, arms and fights for us. He does this, in part, through the amazing gift of His Armor. Paul writes about God’s Armor in Ephesians Chapter 6. A chapter not to be missed!

And, ya’ll know my heart for prayer and how I love to write prayers. A few years back, when I studied the Armor of God in depth, I wrote a prayer to help me pray on that Armor. I’m sharing that prayer with you today. You can download it to your device or print it out to tuck in your journal or Bible.

Click HERE to download Praying on the Armor of God.

Another great way to pray is to pray to God specifically using one of His many magnificent names. Today, I’m giving away a copy of my Bible study, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God. In this study, I share eight of my favorite names of God … where the name came from in Scripture and how each name reveals a different character trait of God and what it means to us as His children.

Giveaway now closed. Congrats Erin Todd please see your email for details.

Comment below to be entered to win a copy of I Know His Name. If you want to move beyond simply knowing about God to really knowing God in a very personal way, I Know His Name is for you!

In “I Know His Name,” I’ve included biblical and historical background insights, practical application questions, and a prayer and memory verse for each chapter. We also created a five-session DVD that provides additional teaching to enhance your Bible study. The Bible study book can be studied individually, or with a small group, and with or without the DVD.

U.S. Addresses only please. Winner will be announced and contacted via email on Monday, July 23.