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Food Makes Me Happy… Doesn’t It?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.”

—John 6:32

 

You know how certain phrases become part of a family’s inner language? Someone says something so cute or funny that your family members keep repeating it… until it simply becomes a part of what you say to each other. A unique family saying with a special meaning all its own.

When my little sister was just a few years old, she inadvertently created one of our favorite family sayings. She looked at her dinner plate, heaved a huge sigh of contentment, and said dreamily, “Food makes me happy.”

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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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How to Make Chore Passports for Kids

Every mom’s spirit gets cluttered with chores sometimes. 

We love taking care of our families, but we can hit our limit.  We face yet another lunch to pack, or bed to make, or pet to feed, and something inside us rebels—can’t someone else do this, just this once?  After all, part of our mommy job is to teach our kids to take care of themselves and their belongings, right?  Absolutely.  And as Christian Moms, we want to challenge our kids to help us out before our spirits get cluttered and overwhelmed!

One summer, I challenged my “big” kids (then 5 and 9 years old) to learn some new life skills by presenting them with Chore Passports.  I explained the process to the kids and they were raring to go.  Suddenly, they were excited it was Laundry Day—they couldn’t wait to put away their clothes and fold the towels!

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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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Are You Grown Up?

Read it! I Thessalonians 5

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and though.

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless

at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(vs 23)

Think it through

I don’t want my kids to think I have it all figured out. I don’t.

I try my best to apologize when I’m wrong. I admit it when I don’t know all the answers. I fess up when I’m in a cranky mood and trying to turn it around.

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When it’s Hard to Wait

Read it! Psalm 33

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our strength and our shield.

In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust His holy name.

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

(vs 20-22)

Think it through

When you’re a kid, it’s hard to wait. To wait for dinner, to wait in line, or to wait for Christmas.

When you’re an adult, it’s harder to wait. To wait to make that purchase. To wait for that call from the doctor’s office. To wait for dreams to come true and hopes to be fulfilled.

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A Little Redeemer, a Lot of Redemption

Read it! Ruth 4:13-17

“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.

For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

(vs 15)

Think it through

Do you ever get the feeling that the book of Ruth is really more about Naomi?

I’d expect a book called “Ruth” to end with Ruth herself, happy with her husband and cradling her son in her arms. But instead we’re left with the image of Naomi holding and caring for the child, and her friends saying, “Naomi has a son!”

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Lord, I Surrender!

Read it!: II Samuel 15

But if he [the Lord] says, “I am not pleased with you,” then I am ready;

let him do to me whatever seems good to him.

(vs 26)

Think it through:

Through II Samuel 15, God seems to be talking to me about surrender.

David hears that his son, Absalom, is trying to take the throne. Rather than fighting in the city, David flees to the country. During the flight, he offers to let a group of six hundred men turn back. Then he tells his priest to take the Ark of the Covenant back to the city. Surrender, surrender, surrender. With bare feet and a covered head, David leaves his future in the Lord’s hands.

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Do You Wander the Roof?

Read it!: II Samuel 11

In the spring at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbath. But David remained in Jerusalem.

(vs 1)

Think it through:

II Samuel 11 is one sad, sad chapter. David makes mistake after mistake, and they’re big ones: adultery, manipulation, and murder. I read this chapter looking for David’s heart for God, and I couldn’t see it. The last verse says that though David got what he wanted (married to a widowed Bathsheba), God was displeased with his actions. This has to be a gross understatement!

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How Amos Is Straightening Me Out

Read it: This is a look back at the Straight Talk with Amos Bible Study Series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken, or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through:

This was a heavy series—but how I’ve loved it!

Amos is no joke. The people of God were in huge trouble and his heart was burning for them. I’ve read Amos’s words and realized how very in trouble I am, and how God’s heart is burning for me.

Here are some of the things I’ve done as a result of this study:

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