3 Lessons We Can Learn From Cain’s Story

A few nights ago, we were having family devotions and we read about Cain and Abel. As much as I was hesitant to talk about a brother killing his brother to my 4 year old and 3 year old, it’s the Bible and there is always something to glean from it. There is always a lesson to learn.

Here’s a short thought from our family devotional book:

“Even though God punished Cain for his sin, God also protected him.” 

As we concluded our devotion, I was touched by how much God STILL loved Cain in spite of the sin he committed. How could a loving and perfect God love someone like Cain, who, out of jealousy, murdered his brother?

But then, the Lord reminded me how He loves me in spite of my shortcomings and many failures. They may not “seem” as bad (in my eyes) compared to murder, but sin is sin. And with God, there is no difference between a “little” sin and a “big” sin.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In the story of Cain and Abel giving an offering to God, I think we focus on the fact that Abel’s offering was better. But what made it better was not how much Abel offered but the attitude in how he did it. He offered unto God an offering out of a pure heart and a desire to give his best.

“The difference between Cain and Abel didn’t have much to do with what offering they brought. God was more concerned with their hearts. Abel’s heart was focused on giving his best to God while Cain’s heart was focused on being the best before God.”  – Sarah M. Wells

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PASSION

TODAY’s Guest Post is from a college friend of mine. Although I didn’t know much about her then nor was I close to her, I watched her;  I watched how PASSIONATE she was about the things she did. And she came to mind when I wanted a post about the Monthly Word Focus of “Passion.”

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RECOGNITION

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We all have been at a point in our life when we’ve wanted to be recognized. Too often, I hear stories about people giving up or throwing in the towel. And a lot of those times, it was because they weren’t recognized or someone didn’t appreciate their work or effort.

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Satisfaction in the Saviour

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Some people believe that KNOWING the Savior means having an “experience” that made them “see the light.” However, it takes more than just having a head-knowledge of Jesus. It is more than having an “experience” or a “moment” in your life when you “felt” that Jesus saved you; either from a disaster, an accident, or any other kind of bad situation.

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SATISFACTION

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Can you believe that 1/6th of this year is already done? Two months came and gone. Before we know it, high school and college graduations will be happening, Summer will be taking place, Christmas festivities will be transpiring, and 2018 will be another year to put in the books.

I am really excited about this month’s word focus because I have been doing a lot of self-evaluation on whether or not I am satisfied in various areas of my life.

If you were to “weigh” how satisfied you are with your life on a scale of 1-10, 1 being Completely Dissatisfied & 10 being Completely Satisfied, where would you fall?

True Satisfaction is not found in fame, fortune, or even your family. True satisfaction is found in the only Person that can fill the void that many of us once had and many others are still trying to fill.

We live in a culture where people try to find satisfaction in sex, wealth, popularity, drugs, alcohol, and other means that in the end come up short and just cause a lot of hurt and heartache.

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For March, the Monthly Word Focus is SATISFACTION.

This month, I will focus on 3 Main Points:

I. Satisfaction in the Saviour
II. Satisfaction the Your Season of Life
III. Satisfaction in Your Service

The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

James 4:8 says, “Draw to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”

Some may be reading this and are struggling, dissatisfied, or just searching for more. May I encourage you continue seeking?

Continue seeking God.

Continue seeking for what your purpose is in life.

Matthew 7:7 says,  “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

If we don’t ask, we won’t receive.

If we don’t seek, we’ll never find out.

If we don’t knock, those doors will not be opened.

So join me this month as we focus on the word, SATISFACTION.

 

Until Next Time,

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Featured Image by Juan Ramos on Unsplash.com

 

4 Ways to Admire Your Family & Others (Feat. Special Guest)

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For the month of February, the Monthly Word Focus is ADMIRATION. You can read more about that here.

How often do we hear the expression, “It was an accident!” or  how often have we actually been the ones to say that? I can honestly say that I’ve said it more times than I would like to admit. I understand that LIFE is not perfect nor are we perfect as humans. However, imagine how much different and better LIFE would be if we were intentional in our words and actions.

Being intentional will not always guarantee that all will be well, but if we had the mentality of DOING and SAYING things on PURPOSE, I believe we can save ourselves a lot of hurt and heartache. In this post, you will see four ways on how you can admire those closest to you. BEING INTENTIONAL and DOING THINGS INTENTIONALLY  is fundamental to doing the three others mentioned in this post.

I am excited to feature a special lady that I have admired since I started following her on Instagram. She stood out to me because of how real, honest, and loving she was to her spouse and children. And although social media does not prove EVERYTHING or how your life really is ALL THE TIME, her pictures have said a lot.

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Photo cred: https://www.instagram.com/denaejonessa

Meghan lives with her husband and their 5 kids in Minneapolis, MN. She is expecting their 6th child in April 2018 and builds her businesses at home while homeschooling the kids. The family loves low key evenings at home and dinner around the table every night of the week. Meghan’s whole life mantra is “living for today” and shares that on her social media platforms to offer hope to others.

You can follow her on Instagram, @meghanjoytoday and her website, http://www.meghanjoyyancy.com

I sent Meghan a few questions and I have been encouraged by her answers.

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1) How are you as a wife and mom INTENTIONAL in your relationships?

When I am with certain people, I try to avoid any distractions that could be a hinderance (i.e. cell phone). When God lays on my heart to send a text to a friend, I do it. Sometimes someone will just pop into my head and heart and I’ll create a gift package to send them in the mail. I leave my schedule pretty wide open so that I have the capacity to be intentional in relationships. With my children, we try to make time for one-on-one dates so that we get to build on each relationship as a whole family as well as individually. With my husband, I’ll get that inkling like, “Meghan, just put your phone down and be WITH him, right now, in this space in time.” And I try to follow that urge and set all else aside to be with him. We also carve out most evenings to spend together after the kids go to bed.

2) How can we show INTIMACY with our children?

Letting them know that there is always a gate open to be vulnerable. Without judgment or condemnation, we want honesty and accessibility to reign. I’m continually telling the kids not to let their emotions be hindered or to ever have to feel they need to hide them from us but to open the door for that emotional intimacy to be seen and heard.

3) How do you show that you are INTERESTED in others?

I am an encourager at heart, so it’s very easy for me in that aspect. But also, often I fail at investing too much in others because I have to keep a balanced life. And so with having (almost) 6 children, a wonderful husband, homeschooling, housework, plus running multiple businesses from home, my capacity for much more is only so little. That being said, I strive for balance in all areas of life in order to show my concern and interest in others. Oftentimes, in conversations, I tell myself over and over again to just be quiet and listen. And often times, people have A LOT they want to say. And I want them to feel that someone is interested and thus be able to let it out, speak it, and be heard. So really, just listening can be a very good skill to learn.

4) How can you become more INVOLVED with your spouse & children & their interests?

By carving out time to do the things THEY love to do; even if that means sacrificing my own wants and needs. When I was dating my husband, I sat down and watched every basketball game with him. He loves basketball and it makes him happy to have me enjoy that with him. And to be honest, once I wooed him, captured him, and got that ring, I don’t think I’ve watched a single game with him in our almost 10 years of marriage. So sad, I know. I’m just being real. And maybe this was just the prompt I needed to make more of an effort in that area. (At least by sitting down next to him reading my book while he watches his game.) All that being said, it’s about sacrifice and putting others first, which I’m sure most of us can improve in.

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It was a great privilege to have Meghan share her heart about how she ADMIRES or can continue to admire her spouse and children. She hit the sweet spot on answering these questions. These are great reminders to me and it would be selfish not to share them with you all! I sure hope you can get to know her even if it is just through this social media community. Please feel free to let her know how she has blessed or helped you.

Until Next Time,

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Cultivating Spiritually

One of the top 10 resolutions people make for the New Year is to read their Bible or read it through.

I have personally read the Bible through about 4-5 times since I’ve been saved. Throughout the years, I start off excited about improving my walk with God but since I’ve become a working wife and mom, it’s been a little difficult to be consistent. However, I am by no means making that an excuse. I know that if anything, my roles should push me to have a better walk with the Lord for the sake of those that I am ministering to and entrusted with.

I truly believe that there is no better way to get cultivated at the beginning of the year than by doing so spiritually. 

Now, not everyone that will read this blog post will be interested in spiritual matters and I do not want you to feel like I am manipulating or forcing you into whatever I believe in. I simply just want to share how I have been “cultivating” myself spiritually and the benefits of my doing so.

Amazingly, all of us have the same amount of time. It may seem as if some have “more” time than others because of how “un-busy” others may seem. However, being busy doesn’t always guarantee or produce good time management. Someone reminded me to “not be so busy with other people’s business.” With the day and age we live in, it is so easy to get involved with other people’s lives whom we have no business getting involved in.

Instead is us being busy with other peoples’ business, let’s get busy about the Father’s business. 

Three ways I have determined to improve on this month are:

I. SPEND TIME IN GOD’S WORD

Make Bible Reading time a Priority

I have found spending time in Bible Reading to be very encouraging and productive. One choice I made for this month is not to go on social media UNLESS I have already spent time in God’s Word. With two toddlers and a somewhat-demanding job, it is vital, I mean VITAL for me to have that time with Jesus. Does it always guarantee that my day will be great or go smoothly? Absolutely not. But that time spent in God’s Word is necessary in order for me to grow spiritually and to be the Christian, the wife, and the mom that God designed me to be.

Does prioritizing mean ALWAYS doing it in the morning? Honestly, no. I don’t always read my Bible in the morning. Sometimes, I read it in the evening before I go to bed. However, I have found that reading it in the morning is one step closer to having a great day (now, I didn’t say perfect). There have been times when I read my Bible and had a horrible day. Does that mean I blame it on my Bible reading? Of course not! Having a horrible day is a choice. Problems, distractions, or unnecessary situations will come up and they may even be out of our control but how we choose to handle them will determine HOW our day will turn out. Not only is reading the Bible important, but meditating on it as well.

II. STRENGTHEN MY WALK 

Memorize & Meditate on Bible Verses

Memorizing verses is tedious and takes discipline and consistency. If you’re anything like me, it takes a lot of work to memorize. Some have a photographic memory and they can memorize verses in no time. But no matter how hard or easy it is for anyone, we can all benefit from memorizing verses.

Some ways that have helped me with memorizing verses are:

     1) Having Motions. This is especially helpful when my husband and I are working with children because most children love having visuals or something to associate a certain word(s) with.

For example, any time a verse has the word “God” or “Heaven,” I point up.

    2) Walking Around or Making up a Song. Having a rhythm and beat to go with certain words also helps with memorizing. Sometimes, I emphasize by stomping on certain words. Sometimes, I just make a random “song” or remember Scripture songs I learned in church or college (I am definitely not musically-inclined).

    3) Making Time Each Week. Review is key to retaining Bible verses. Now, I can’t say that I have always made time each week for Bible memory.

In fact, I’ll be honest with you. I started memorizing some verses from Psalm 119 towards the end of LAST YEAR but stopped because….LIFE happened (and it will continue to happen so just DON’T GIVE UP!

With this new year, I decided to continue with them instead of starting another set. You can find those verses here!

Memorizing can have amazing rewards and benefits. Psalm 119:11 is one of the verses that I memorized from the set I was working on and if there is anything you would like to get from memorizing verses, it’s mentioned in this verse.

Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” 

In addition, meditating on God’s Word is something that pleases Him.

Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Not only should we make time for Bible reading and Bible memorizing, but lastly, we should spend time in Prayer.

III. SEEK GOD’S FACE

Motivate Through Prayer

As a Christian, I admit that I don’t use this “tool” of prayer as often as I should. Yes, I pray for my food; yes, I pray before I go to sleep; yes, I pray at our church’s midweek prayer meeting; yes, I pray when I’m at my lowest, and I pray whenever people have requests. However, I do realize that sometimes my prayers can be too general or repetitive.

This year, my husband and I have truly enjoyed hearing our older daughter pray. She has learned from us and has even copied our “style” which can be good and bad at the same time. We don’t want her getting used to praying just one certain way. We want her to eventually understand that praying is coming before the very throne of God. Prayer should be a special time because we are seeking the very face of God and are sincere about our prayers. 

Have you ever kept a record of your prayer requests and crossed off those that the Lord answered? My mother-in-law does a great job with this. I remember her showing me a few of her prayer journals – going back to when she would pray for her eldest son (who is my husband now) to find the wife that God had for him. I even saw some silly requests but our God has a sense of humor and can answer even the silliest requests.

Going back and seeing all the prayers through the years and how God was faithful to answer them should motivate us to keep praying. Isn’t our God just awesome to give us what we need and many times what we want? So, may we take advantage of the tool of prayer this year and not underestimate our Almighty, All-Powerful God.

 

Until next time,

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