Fiery Trial?


 I want to tell you about a family I recently read about. The Vaughn family. John and Brenda Vaughn. John is a Pastor. They had three children at the time. The family was preparing to move to a new home. John was doing some tidying up and for reasons unknown, he decided to bring a gas can that he found outside and place it inside the home in a utility closet off the kitchen. He told his wife Brenda it was in there. He exhorted her to take caution and not allow their toddler near that room. She was only two at the time. Brenda was very busy cooking dinner and doing chores. She became preoccupied. Suddenly she looked up to find gas running out into the kitchen and her daughter sitting in the midst of it. As she closed the oven door, there was an explosion. Her daughter was engulfed in flames. Instinctively, she picked her daughter up and ran for the back door. She also became engulfed in flames. They made it outside where neighbors came running. They spent months in the hospital and years recovering. Brenda had burns over about 80% of her body. Their daughter Becky had burns over 95% of her body. She lost both of her ears. Although she could still hear. And she lost both of her hands. Pastor John recounts that one evening Becky was sitting on the living room floor reading a picture book. Her older sister was playing the piano. He watched Becky struggle turning the pages of the book with what was left of her hands.
Becky looked up. She asked her mom Brenda, “Mommy when I grow up will I have hands like Debbie?
Brenda didn’t miss a beat. She said gently, “Becky, Debbie has the hands that God has given her to do her job, and you have the hands that God has allowed you to have to do your job.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
And that is the main message I have for you today.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
While most of us don’t have the trauma that the Vaughn family had, we do each have our own unique situations.
Maybe some of you have a new addition to your family. Some of you don’t have a new addition but you have little ones that are now being homeschooled and that makes 6! Or some of you have illnesses that you’re dealing with. While others may be dealing with a strong willed child or one that has learning disabilities.
Each of our family’s dynamics can be extremely trying and challenging.
Sometimes overwhelming.
Our God is not caught off guard by our situations.
Our needs don’t surprise Him. He ordained them. Yes even the most trying ones are sent from His hand. Nothing touches us that is not filtered through His loving hands.
Every new school year finds me feeling like Moses when God called him to go speak to Pharaoh. He did not feel equipped. He didn’t feel he had the skills to pull it off.
He said, “Who am I that you are calling me to do this?”
Maybe you feel that way. How am I ever going to do this? I have no idea what I’m doing! How will I make this work?
Moses questioned himself. What will I say if they question me?
God so graciously said to Moses, “Tell them I AM has sent you!”
It is not about who you are Moses, it’s about who I AM.
I AM ALL THAT YOU ARE NOT. I will become to you all that you need.
God says the same thing to us.
I called you to do this.
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.
He will complete what He called me to do. He will finish it. He will bring me to the end.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
God called you. He will equip you.
Something I want to point out.
Things didn’t go exactly as Moses planned. Pharaoh didn’t let the children of Israel go right away..
Things may not go exactly as we have planned either.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
If you’re like me you have your calendars. Your time frames. Your agendas.
More often than not, God deviates from my plan.
DELAYS happen. DELAYS ARE PART OF THE PLAN. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t learn something as quickly as you like.
Don’t compare them to other children AND ESPECIALLY THEIR SIBLINGS.
Don’t compare yourself to other Moms. That brings pressure on you. It creates unrealistic expectations.
Pressure steals your joy. It steals the joy from your children.
Homeschooling is a gift that we’ve been entrusted with.
We have a goal at our church: we want to make our sheep the best taught and most loved. BEST TAUGHT AND MOST LOVED.
God will give us what we need to make our children the best taught.
Maybe you feel like me and you are underequipped and lacking in every area…
2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you my power is made perfect in weakness.
God’s grace is enough for you.
Don’t be afraid.
Fear is not from the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
God called us. We have His power.
We have his love. Love trumps all.
Let’s love our children well.
Encourage them. Praise them every chance you can. Tell them they are doing a great job. Tell them often.
Will there be trials? Absolutely!
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
There are two Greek words that make up this word patience.
Combined they mean TO REMAIN UNDER.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
There is a reward.
1 Thes 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
Our reward is raising a kid for the kingdom of God.
Yes it is costly. It will cost you your time. Your energy.
David says, I will not give God that which costs me nothing.
Costly but worth it!
You have everything you need to do the will of God in your life.
Let’s use this year to go over the top to make our children the best taught most loved. LOVE THEM WELL. LOVE TRUMPS ALL.
THERE may be others smarter or more equipped to teach my child but NO ONE can love him like I can!

Children Need Two Parents

two parents

Children need two parents.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one

I pass this family every morning. I love how they love. They stay close. When I come near they both perceive the threat. They go on high alert. Necks craning. Mom is looking one way; Dad another. They’re protecting the children, but in the process they have each other’s back. Each one could’ve flown away.
But they didn’t.
They stayed.
Each one made a choice.
I will stay. I will die for you, if need be.
Marriage is much the same.
Each one makes a choice.
I will stay.
Even if:
I have to die to my plan, my way, my pride.
I don’t feel like loving.
I don’t feel happy.
Marriage is not always about being happy, but holy.
What does that mean?
Choosing to be a peacemaker, not because he deserves it, but in your desire to honor God. It’s about choosing the hard.
For better or worse. There’s a lot of worse that happens. But it’s often making it through the worse that you get to the best.
It’s about staying when everything in you says go.
What about all this insecurity?
Love makes itself vulnerable. Love finds security in Christ and Him alone. Love sees the future and can smile. It knows Who holds the future. No matter what may come, Jesus Christ will be there.
Commitment to Him is essential.
What does that mean?
Surrendering your life to Him.
Placing your man is His hands.
Raising your children to know Him.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 …A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

He is the stability.
The one constant variable that never changes.
Everything changes in marriage.
Jesus never changes.
You can trust Him with your life.
Your man.
Your children.
Place your phone aside. Find something fun for your family to do together today. Something that doesn’t cost money. Somewhere to connect. Be together.

Clutter Needs To Go


We walked out of the store and there it was.
This car.
Even Camden was taken aback.
Is this really someone’s reality?
The drivers side door opened. Very slowly.
Even slower, a middle aged gentleman struggled to get out. He shuffled into the store. Where would he put anymore stuff?
As I examined each thing individually, old newspaper, picture frames, even trash, I wondered why he didn’t just throw it away.
Get rid of it.
I began to think about all that clutter.
Our lives can begin to look like this sometimes. Before we realize it, we’re carrying around a bunch of junk that doesn’t belong.
Here are some things that need to go:
Old hurts. Yeah we say we let it go, but we’re really holding onto it for future ammo. We’ll use it some day.
1 Corinthians 13:5 [Love] keeps no record of wrongs.
Past regrets.
Philippians 3:13… I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Fears. Worry. And more fears. And even more worry.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength-carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie ten Boom

Maybe this week has brought many heavy things. Unexpected things. Commit them to the Lord. They are His to carry.






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