Happy New Year!

Hey friends, Happy New Year I hope your new year is off to a great start! Did you make resolutions? What are your dreams for the new year? Have you made any plans yet? I am easing into the New Year showing myself some kindness and grace after a very hectic holiday season. My husband just went back to work, and I am still trying to get my house back together and get rid of the glitter. SO MUCH GLITTER.

I love the fullness Christmas adds to my home, but when I take everything down and put it away my house feels empty. For me, this is an excellent time to evaluate our possessions, purge the clutter in my home and the things I no longer love to make room for the new stuff we added over the holidays. The perfect time to refresh and rearrange my house for the upcoming season.

This is also a great time to dream, plan, pray and prepare for the new year. I am devoting time to do this over the next couple of weeks as our routine returns to normal to pray and plan for 2018. To purge things from my life and my soul that need to go, and to make room for the new things God wants to do in my life in 2018. Last year, I wrote about my one word for 2017 Contentment, and Do you have a Scripture of the Year?

As of right now, I don’t have any goals or resolutions written down, not one word, or even a scripture for the year, but what I do have is a desire to experience more of God’s presence in my life in 2018.

Last year our family experienced many wonderful milestones, but with it came a degree of difficulty and pain. In those difficult moments, it was a challenge to laugh at the future and be contentment. The one that remained true in 2017 was that God loves me, he hears my prayers, and is intimately acquainted with my sorrows.  Although he also delights to answer our prayers and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 ESV

I want the Lord to guide me and direct me to do the things that he wants me to do in 2018. My year did not start the way I thought or planned it would. Sometimes we make plans, but God has planned interruptions to get our attention or teach us something new.

My interruption came in the form of a winter storm that is blowing across the United States right now and that threatened a hard freeze where I live in Texas. My son and I went out at dark to brave the cold, and the sleet to pick as many oranges as we could from our orange tree, before we lost them all to frost.

fullsizeoutput_26f2

We ended up with an entire clothing basket full of oranges, and this is after we have already picked tons of oranges and shared them with others. God provided an abundance of oranges for us to harvest this year. And isn’t that just like to God to provide a bountiful harvest, but we do not see that harvest until a seed has been planted, watered, pruned, and fertilized.

fullsizeoutput_26ee

What a beautiful lesson for the new year. If I want to reap a harvest, first I have to sow a seed. Or maybe it is my job to come alongside someone else and water a seed that has already been planted.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV

[ctt template=”2″ link=”am28c” via=”yes” ]What will we do this year with the gifts and talents he has given us this year? [/ctt]

When we humble ourselves before God and take our meager offering of our lives to Him and we leave it at his feet, it is up to him to guide, direct, anoint and bless.  Our job is to faithfully seek him and plant seeds, but he is the one that causes growth.

When we humble ourselves before God and take our meager offering of our lives to Him and we leave it at his feet, it is up to him to guide, direct, anoint and bless.  Our job is to faithfully seek him and plant seeds, but he is the one that causes growth.

fullsizeoutput_26f6

I spent the day yesterday peeling oranges, juicing, and making jars filled with citrus vinegar to clean my home. You see we can be given a bounty, but will we be good stewards of that harvest? Once I picked the fruit I needed to do something with it, or it would rot. So I got busy giving away more fruit and finding other ways that I could utilize the bounty I’ve been given.

As believers, we have all been entrusted with the gospel. Are we going to keep it for ourselves or will we give it away? Our world is in need of hope. My challenge to you this year is to shine your light brighter in 2018 then you did in 2017. Seek the presence of God while he may be found. Plant lots of seeds and watch the LORD bring the harvest. I am praying for a bountiful harvest for you in 2018 and look forward to what the Lord has planned for us this year. If you need some inspiration, check this post on Choosing to be Thankful & Sowing A Pocketful of Seeds.

Leave a comment on your one word, or scripture for 2018. I would love to know what your goals and dreams for the new year or how you plan to sow seeds and share your light with the world.


Fear of the Lord

Today I want to share the post I wrote last week for PhilanthropyFashion.com on the Fear of the Lord. I hope you enjoy it! Blessings, Misty

_________________________________________________________________________________________

As women today, we can be consumed with how we look, and fight the aging process tooth and nail, but if we look at Proverbs 31 we learn that our beauty, charm, and favor will diminish with time, but what makes us praiseworthy is that we fear the Lord.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30

[ctt template=”2″ link=”H20GV” via=”yes” ]The woman of Proverbs 31 is one who fears the Lord.[/ctt]

shutterstock_519408631

I am acrophobic! Acrophobic comes from the Greek: ἄκρον, ákron root, meaning “peak, summit, edge” and φόβος, phóbos, which means “fear.” I have an irrational fear of the edge or precipice. I am not afraid of heights per say, but I am absolutely terrified of the edge of almost anything. Anytime I am more than two inches off the ground I get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It doesn’t matter if I walk upstairs in my own home, I can’t get near the railing and look over. It practically undoes me. I get the same feeling if I have to sit in the balcony area at church, or when I visited GTNP or the Grand Canyon. I have an unhealthy fear of the edge, and I am frightened by it. Is this the kind of fear the woman in Proverbs 31 has?

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Moses exhorts the Israelites to get their hearts right in Deuteronomy 10, and we learn several things in the passage about the fear of the Lord.

 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12

From this verse we four important things the Lord requires of us.

Fear God – We often think of fear as being afraid, but we are not to be afraid of the Lord. Fearing God doesn’t mean that we should be scared of God, instead of the meaning of fear in these verses is awe and amazement of the Lord. We should stand in wonder toward the Lord with respect and honor! Our God is truly awesome! Because He is awesome, we are to be bold in our faith. In fact, in 2 Timothy we learn that we are not to have a spirit of fear. “I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Walk in His ways – We are to walk humbly with God. Micah 6:8 says that “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” God despises the proud and the haughty.  He wants us to be in constant communication with Him as we go about our daily life. When we spend time with Him and in His word, he shows us what to do and where to go. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” -Psalm 119:105

Love Him – “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” – Deuteronomy 6:5 God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son to die for us, and in return, He wants our love. He doesn’t require it of us, but his hearts delights in our affection for Him.

Keep His Commands – Do what He tells you to do and follow His commands. Just like it pleases us when our children obey us, God wants us to listen and follow Him.

What else does the Bible say about the fear of the Lord?

shutterstock_530875126

In the book of Proverbs, we learn that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”  -Psalm 111:10

When we combine our knowledge of the things of God, with wisdom we apply God’s word to our lives. We will have a healthy fear of the Lord. We will see Him as a loving Father that we do not want to disappoint, but we will also stand in amazement of who He is. If we want to be truly beautiful and praiseworthy Christian women, then we should begin by standing in awe of God.

If we want to be truly beautiful and praiseworthy Christian women, then we should begin by spending more time in the Word of God, and devote our lives to prayer and praise Jesus.

 

A Wife’s Secret to Happiness- #Wifestylin

The intense stress that comes from having a special needs child can put an incredible strain on even the healthiest of marriages. The difficulty in the day in and day out can be overwhelming. Some special needs people have a difficult time performing even the simplest of tasks such as dressing, toileting, and general self-care. Exhaustion sets in from lack of sleep and that can wreak havoc on any sane person, and a lot of times special kids barely sleep at all. The financial stress that comes from therapy not being covered, the endless doctor appointments, or because anything with a special needs price tag comes at an astronomical cost. The grief that comes from unmet expectations, the heartache that comes from comparing your child and their abilities, or sometimes the guilt alone from blaming yourself or your spouse is enough to tear a marriage apart.

Spiritual Confetti

 

My husband and I have experienced all of this and more, but things really came to a head in our marriage when our son was a baby. I was a weary young mom doing my best to make it from day to day. Our precious little man screamed at the top of his lungs all hours of the day and night and didn’t sleep at all for the first three years of his life. We were constantly in the doctor’s office and in and out of the hospital.

I don’t know about your husband, but my husband is a fixer. He can not stand it if there is something wrong with me or one of our children. Since he is a problem solver, he wants to fix things. However, there are some problems that man can not fix, no matter how hard he tries. This took a toll on my husband and thus took a toll on our marriage.

Things got really ugly between us. This wreaked all kinds of havoc in our personal lives and with each other. I will spare you all of the gory details, just know it was bad enough that I ended up in Lawyer’s office seeking counsel to get divorced. But God—God divinely entered into the midst of our pain and difficulty, and we took the “D” word off the table and choose to commit to each that no matter how bad things got that we would stick it out with God’s help.

 

 

Reduce Stress

We forgave one another and choose to love, not in our strength and might, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those moments, everything changed. Our circumstances with our son didn’t change, but our perspective on our situation changed. We faced our problems together with the strength of our mighty God to carry us through. Life didn’t become easy—there was no instant healing. In fact, the years that followed were much more stressful than the previous years. The difference was our relationship to each other and our reliance on the Lord.

Our marriage has been tried and tested and forged in the fire for nearly 25 years. My husband is my best friend and He loves me like Christ loves the church. Through the years, we chose to love one another and submit to Christ, and his plan for our marriage. We now have an incredible relationship. My husband is the biblical leader of our home, and I have embraced my calling of biblical womanhood.

Jen Weaver

These same principles that have guided our marriage are discussed in Jen Weaver’s book, A Wife’s Secret to Happiness. I love this book! From the sparkly cover to Jen’s modern interpretation of the Bible to practical wisdom this book offers to women, Jen has such a great conversational style that you feel like you are sitting across the table from one another sharing your hearts over a cup of coffee.

There are eleven chapters in the book, and each chapter highlights a particular blessing God wants to provide to in your marriage and a conflicting “wifestyle.” A wifestyle is a habit or way in which our routines as wives either attract or reject God’s divine provision. Each chapter contains a wifestyle or a real life story used for practical application.The first blessing is the blessing of three strands, which is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12:

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken -Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV

 

Cord of Three Strands

This principle takes the heart of two people and binds them together with God to make a marriage that is not easily broken. It is the supernatural strength that comes from the Holy Spirit being alive and active in our marriage that I spoke of earlier.

Jen does a great job of handling some difficult subjects that come up within a context of marriage from leaving and cleaving and becoming one, to submission, to the beautiful gift of sex. In the chapter on the blessing of unity, Jen uses a great analogy of dancing to talk about submission in marriage.

A tango cannot have two leads, and our Marriage instructor, our third strand, calls us to submit to our husbands that we may have unity in our relationships and live in concert with his spirit. -Jen Weaver

 

More Than Enough

There is bonus material to delve deeper into each subject that is available online. This book is a must read for young women preparing for marriage, as well as married women. I wish I would have read something like this before I got married, it would have made the first few years of marriage a lot easier. Jen Weaver nails the secret to happiness in marriage through receiving, honoring and celebrating God’s role for you in your marriage.

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

Leave a comment below with your best piece of marriage advice below, to be entered to win a copy of A Wife’s Secret to Happiness. 

Jen

Jen is married to her best friend Jared and mom to their adorable toddler, Dillon. Jen is an author, marketing professional, Bible study teacher, conference speaker, and a host for The Declare Conference – a blogging conference in Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about sharing strengths with others through her stories of humor and hope.

A Wife’s Secret to Happiness(Leafwood, March 2017) is already receiving rave reviews from Jim Daily, President of Focus on the Family, Associate Senior Pastor Pastor of Gateway Church, Allan Kelsey, Author of Breaking Busy, Ali Worthington, Author of A Mary Like Me, Andy Lee, and many more! www.TheJenWeaver.com

 


Wisdom from Broken & Free Tour

What would you ask Ann Voskamp, Christy Nockels or Rebekah Lyons if you could sit across from them and ask a question?

I decided that I wanted to get an encouraging word from these women to share with my fellow Christian blogger friends and ministry partners. God has called us to an amazing journey but it has its own set of challenges that these women are all too familiar with!

I recently attended the broken and free tour and over the course of the evening, we worshiped God with Christy Nockels and listened to inspiring messages from Ann Voskamp and Rebekah Lyons.IMG_1591.JPG

I have been following and Ann Voskamp’s blog for many years and her book 1000 Gifts was life-changing for me!  I was reading it during my pregnancy with my baby Liam who had trisomy 18. Ann’s wisdom helped me take the most excruciatingly painful experiences and pour it out in an offering of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord and to others. If you’ve never had the chance to read 1000 gifts or her nearest book The Broken Way, I would highly recommend them!

You can not feel fear & gratitude at the same time.-Ann Voskamp

img_1613

Christy Nockels and her husband Nathan started off in Houston many years ago. I had the opportunity to see them when they came to Champion Forest Baptist Church in the 1990’s and have loved them ever since. Christy’s music has always taken me into the presence of the Lord during some of my most difficult times and some of my sweetest memories of worship.

img_1595

This was my first opportunity to meet Rebecca Lyons. I loved her message of freedom and feel like we are probably somewhat kindred spirits since we both know the joy and the pain of raising a special needs son.

fullsizeoutput_1acd

My one question for them was this: looking back over the course of your ministry, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

The wisdom these ladies shared did not disappoint.

Ann Voskamp took her cue from Beth Moore and said if you are writing a Bible Study to teach it to the ladies God puts in front of you. She said to teach it to the people right in front of you, get feedback, and do business with the Lord there working that thing out. She concluded by saying to pour your life out as an offering and let the Lord use you right where you are, and Rebekah Lyons shared a similar sentiment about ministering to those God puts right in front of you.

I love the wisdom Christy Nockels shared about ministering from a place of rest! It is easy to get caught up on a hamster wheel of life, and ministry is no exception. Christy’s message was similar to a word that I received last year from Beth Moore, which was “enjoy the process.” The video below is Christy’s response to me, I hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

[wpvideo fho2xIDx]

Broken things can become new! – Ann Voskamp

Shauna Groves was our host for the evening, and one of the highlights of the evening was when Compassion International  signed people up to sponsor children. Compassion is helping release people from poverty all around the world.

 

Jesus Christ came to heal our brokenness and set the captives free! Are you walking in freedom today my friend? Do you know the lover of your soul? Do you have an intimate relationship with him? He loves you, and He came to save you! As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus during Easter this year, I challenge you to go deeper in your relationship with Him!

Seek Jesus, Study the Word, and Grow in Grace

Please drop me a note if you are in need of prayer today. I would love to pray for you!

Much Love, Misty

 

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about Jesus?

Today I am honored to share a story with you about a sweet friend of mine. My beautiful friend’s countenance is full of joy, and her smile radiates Jesus! We were together the other day, and as we sat across from one another and shared our hearts for the Lord and all that He is doing in our lives, tears streamed down her face. She said how can people know the joy of the Lord and not share it with others? Then she said, “why didn’t anyone ever tell me about Jesus?” My heart sank. What stops us from telling others about Jesus?

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about Jesus?

That was the cry of my friend’s heart. She wondered why no one had ever shared the beautiful gospel message of hope in Jesus Christ with her before. She didn’t understand how someone could have this gift of faith and not share it. She didn’t become a Christian until adulthood and had come from a broken home marked by pain and suffering.

My friend was a corporate professional facing a difficult time in her life. She was searching for something but was coming up empty.

25698_The_Love

[ctt template=”2″ link=”012cG” via=”yes” ]We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only Jesus can fill![/ctt]

Just then a young lady who worked for her approached her about attending a Bible Study. She anxiously drove across town to attend Bible Study. She didn’t even know what Bible Study was, but it was there while attending Bible Study that she gave her heart to the Lord and became a Christian.

My friend’s husband was hostile to the gospel. He did not want her to go to Bible Study. He thought she was joining a cult. When she returned home from Bible Study that evening, he had locked her out of her house! After many tears and crying out to the Lord eventually her husband surrendered his life to the call of Jesus too. This couple is now on fire for the Lord and raising their children in a Christian home.

How often do we fail to share our faith with others?

My friend had a valid point. Why and how did she walk around on this planet for over 30 years and never know about the saving redeeming love of Jesus Christ? Shame on us as Christians if we don’t tell others about Jesus. We have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given! How can we keep it for ourselves, and not share?

[ctt template=”2″ link=”skAcY” via=”yes” ]Sometimes I think we don’t share because we are afraid, or we are not sure what to say.[/ctt]

However, Jesus tells us not to fear and reassures us that the Holy Spirit will give us words to share when we don’t know what to say or how to pray. We are all called to share the love of Christ with the world and should always be prepared to share the hope with us.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect – 1 Peter 3:15

There are hurting and lost people all around us who need the hope of the gospel. I love what Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church,

” we are not waiting on a move of God, we are a move of God”!

My Pastor David Fleming of Champion Forest Baptist Church says,”know, grow, go”.  Once we know the love and saving the grace of Christ, and we grow in wisdom and maturity through reading and studying the word, and through prayer, then we need to go tell others. We are called to Move Toward the Mess.

What are we waiting for?

Like my friend, Debi Chapman said at the Refresh Gathering, what we do matters. Christian friend, we need to be busy about our Father’s work. The church needs us to move and share the love of Christ with others now. It is time for us to go. What are we waiting for?

This week I challenge you to invite a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger to a church service or Bible Study, or better yet tell them about the hope that lies within you. Find a way to share how Jesus has changed your life and in doing so you could change someone’s eternity.

[wpvideo CsBMOeXW]

I would love to hear about how you are sharing your Faith with others.

Linking up with the following.