"He will keep in perfect peace
all those who trust in Him, whose
thoughts turn often to the Lord."
“Adoption is totally different than pregnancy because you feel for this baby who is already here, that you cannot hold or comfort. The strain when your child is already there somewhere, is so different. It's a mom thing that is anxiety and trust in a way like you've never experienced. I am so thankful for that time of waiting because I feel like I understood far earlier that God is 'loaning' my kids to me from him and that he is in control, not me.”I love the fact that we are not bearers and creators of our children, but rather are the people chosen by our Heavenly Father to watch over, to guide, protect, and raise our children in a way that is holy and pleasing to Him! I absolutely love that, especially because, for us, going through both types of situations really does grant us the awareness that both our children are “loaned” to us. We were assigned by God to raise them, whether or not they came directly from our genes.
"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in Heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." Exodus 20:3-4b (NIV), emphasis added
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.I had stumbled upon this verse in context; I kid, clearly it was not stumbling but a very directly timed read for me. It brought me down. It shoved me off my self-concocted pedestal where I crashed hard. You see, I had heard of God's sovereignty, I had read about it in the Bible, I had studied verses about it, I had claimed it as my own, I had stated I knew it--and while my head and mouth were hot with conviction, my heart was cold.
~ Galatians 6:7
"Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." -Psalm 127:5aChildren, they are a blessing indeed. Solomon's Psalm seems so well forgotten in this day and age where technology, media, and people constantly guilt us with messages that "YOU time" is most important, what matters to YOU is what should hold ultimate value in your life, YOUR feelings rule above morality and truth. While some of those, within reason, are not in and of themselves bad (boundaries, knowing who we are and whose we are, etc.), we need to keep in mind that our standard isn't ourselves. The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God that we are blessed enough to have available at our every whim. So I encourage you to read the entire Psalm that this verse originates.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for He grants sleep to those He loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
to rush over; a tempest; by implication, devastation:-- desolate, destroy, destruction, storm, wasteness.Strong's Concordance defines vain as:
shav' (vain) stemming from show' meaning that the uselessness is to be seen "in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literal (ruin) or moral (especially guile); figurative idolatry (as false, subjective, uselessness (as deceptive, objective), false, lie lying, vain, vanity.With that meaning in mind, let's journey back to the first couple lines in Psalm 127.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves.It is no longer a passive setting in which we ought to read this. It is very active with very real consequences to follow. There is a personally invited destruction if we do not have the Lord as our builder; a secret acceptance, if you will, in the background of our homes encouraging a hidden life that does not silence evil, idolatry, destruction, or ruin. If God is not our cornerstone, the house will crumble. There has been an all too common thread among how my generation was raised to outwardly present a Christian life. I cannot passively raise my children "in Christ" without expecting that I am inviting destruction and ruin upon my household.
"Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow." (Proverbs 13:11 NIV, emphasis mine)So also is this true with us as Christians, so also is this true with us as parents. We have our cornerstone, we have the Word, now we need to be diligent in training them from birth to truly follow the Lord AND His commands, to seek out in all they do to honor HIM and bring HIM glory. No other goal should come higher than this in raising our kids. If our children can fully grasp this concept, then morality naturally follows.
To think differently; afterwards (reconsider); change the mind.
Implying pious sorrow for unbelief and sin and a turning from them unto God and the gospel of Christ.And I can truly say my marriage will survive because I am married to a man with a repentant heart. Again, I pray he sees the same in me.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.
~ Matthew 5:13-16
~ Romans 12:4-8
And as Martin Luther once said:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
That is an incredibly powerful statement in light of what we are talking about. Sometimes peace is not possible. It is a basic reality of life on this earth. The truth ought to always be heralded... even though the truth will cause division and strife by nature. Those who want an exemption from being held accountable for their own sin will buck and claw at the truth (or the upholders of truth) when brought to light and the sin will be held in a place of honor above God's word, people, and (what then become) empty words.
“Peace if possible. Truth at all costs.”
Are you conforming to the world or those who are living in it? If you do not stand up for Christ, your mind cannot be thoroughly renewed. We all need to pray for courage to stand up for what the Word of God says. Seeking the truths of God and the Bible in our lives will freefall our nature into a gift of discernment, of knowing what is pleasing to Him. What is not, is worldly; you need to decide today where you stand. Which side of the line do you tread?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Do you take pride in the hard stances you have made for Him? You depraved human, step back and see the holiness of our God, to make a stand for Him is but nothing short of obedience, it ought not to be praised. You are just as depraved as the sinners you have stood up against, but you have been redeemed; remember that grace and mercy have been extended to you to cover over your sins.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Are you sincere and compassionate? Do you have a heart for the lost souls? Do you see the depth of what their sin stands for and where they are headed? Hate the sin. Know where it is leading the sinner if they are unrepentant. Then pray for the sinner. Pray for their lost souls. Pray for your own depravity, you were once on the very same path to Hell. But cling voraciously to Him. See Him as your only true Savior.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Are you joyful? Are you so downtrodden in failed relationships that you have lost your joy? Remind yourself to whom you are running this race for, His glory alone, the reward of eternity with Him. (This is not meant to discourage those who are in the trenches with a toxic individual but meant to encourage--look Heavenward while you are in battle on this earth.) Have patience in trials, this will not be the last of them; when dealing with relationships there typically are scores of people that will now be affected. Keep your focus on Him, the line you are enforcing is ultimately for His glory, for their hearts, and for the protection of yours.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Are you bitter? Are you wishing and hoping for earthly vengeance? You are still called to be holy, even when you are tempted to retaliate. Two wrongs do not make a right. Remain an appropriate witness for the precious name you represent: Christ.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
~Romans 12:14-17, 19
Is it possible to live at peace with all people? No, it is not. So rest assured, Jesus did not intend to force us into relationships with toxic people. We will be challenged by them though, our name may be slung through the mud, others may take sides, but stand firm in your faith and your calling. You are His and no one can take that away or mar your relationship with Christ. Let it ever embolden you to strengthen and rely on Him.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
His army wanted to kill him. Saul and his followers wanted to kill him. Two of his wives (and possibly children) were taken from him. He was very alone. "But [he] found strength in the Lord his God." Amen. And Amen again. Carrying along with lessons we can learn from David, go ahead and read 2 Samuel 16. After King David's son Absolom overthrows him, David escapes and a man from King Saul's family comes out cursing him while literally throwing stones at him and his men. David does not sin in his response, instead he grants authority of the situation to God, "If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’" and then David also says, "Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to."
So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
~I Samuel 30:4-6