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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Featured Image by: freestocks.org on Unsplash.com

Consistency

Have you ever wondered why REMINDERS are vital? I sure have. I constantly need to be reminded of almost everything. I think I have short-term memory, which is why when I am asked to do something, I either need to write it down or get it done right then and there… If I don’t, I will forget about it.

Am I the only one like that? Please tell me I am not alone…

A while back, I wrote my first post for my Building Blocks of Better Parenting SeriesLiking, Loving, & Laboring. Well, today will be about Consistency.

I have an almost 3-year old toddler (LG) and a 1-year old (AJ). My LG has been growing up way too fast…She’s so imaginative and girly. She loves to pretend she is EVERY PRINCESS and that she is having tea with her friends… A few weeks ago, I was face timing my Mom who lives in Michigan and my LG comes up to me with her backpack on and says, “Bye!” I asked her where she was going and she said, “To the airport…”

I respond, “Aww…are you going to visit ‘Grandma G’ in Michigan?

She replies, “Yes, Mommy… Bye!”

I respond, “Bye, Baby. I love you!”

WOW!!!  I mean where did this girl even learn the word, “airport” from? It’s pretty awesome though!

I can’t even remember when my husband and I started teaching her to pray… but we pray before we eat and before we go to sleep and if LG & AJ are watching something on YOUTUBE Kids, we tell them to PAUSE it.

WHY? Simply, because we want them to understand the importance and seriousness of praying. 

Maybe a year ago or so, my MIL was surprised when she was babysitting LG. They were about to eat and LG already knew that she was supposed to PAUSE if she was watching or doing something… and she did. When I was told this, I knew that my husband and I were doing at least ONE THING right in this parenting journey. (Can I get an ‘AMEN’?!?)

Now, does that mean that she doesn’t need to be reminded? Of course not. Right now, we are CONSTANTLY REMINDING her to say, “Please & Thank you.” I mean, if you haven’t experienced it yet, children can be very demanding! My LG will sometimes say, “Mommy, get it!”and being the “Firm Mommy” that I’ve always wanted to be (haha), I reply, “I’m sorry, LG… what did you say?” She repeats it and I respond with, “Mommy, may you please help me get it?”

The first time she TOLD me to do something, I was like… “Uhh… I’m sorry, you don’t TELL Mommy what to do. You can ASK Mommy something…but you don’t DEMAND.”

WHY? Because as the parent, YOU are the one that should have the AUTHORITY. Of course, you don’t abuse that authority… but you use it to eventually train them to know and understand that there is a Higher Authority – God.

So for all those parents who may be wondering if you’re doing things right, if there’s anything I can say, it’s BE CONSISTENT & be consistent in teaching and training the right way. Many parents are consistent but if they’re not careful, the have the wrong consistency. Think about it like cooking… there are different foods that require certain types of consistency. Have you ever had a milkshake that had the wrong consistency – that was watery and wasn’t thick enough? I might have… and it wasn’t very desirable! (But the ones pictured below look delicious!)

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“Failure to have the right consistency results in the incorrect desired product.”

As Christians, my husband and I use the Bible as our guide…and we use it to help us raise our children the right way. Does that mean that my girls are going to be perfect or “holy-holy?” Not necessarily. But the Bible does say in Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I know we have a while until our kids are old enough to think for themselves and make their own decisions but the time may be here sooner than we know and it’s our duty (and privilege) to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

QUOTES FOR REINFORCEMENT:

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”  Anthony Robbins
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn
“It’s not what we do once—it’s what we do once a day…day in and day out…every day that brings lasting change into our lives.” Toni Sorenson
“Consistency, constancy, and undeviating diligence to maintain Christian character are a must if the older generation is to command respect, or even a hearing, from the young.” Billy Graham

So, whether you’re the “role-model” parent, the parent that’s struggling to train your children the right way, a new parent, an “honorary” (foster) parent, or one that’s always desired to be parent but can’t have children, please remember that PARENTING is not an overnight thing. It takes work and many times, results don’t appear until years later.

It’s a continuous process and one that requires doing the same things, day in and day out.

So, Mom, Dad, STICK WITH IT and know that what you’re doing matters and is worth it.

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 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

 

***Featured photo by David Straight on Unsplash!