To Do: What the Rich Do Everyday?

Can we have a friendly conversation here?  I don’t usually join heated debates, y’all say crazy things all the time and I just say to myself, “They be crazy!” and keep on scrolling. 

I ran across an article today that I felt conflicted about. I think it’s fair to look at in context and realize it’s coming from Dave Ramsey and his job is to help manage money and give wisdom in that regard. I don’t actually want to talk about whether or not this list is good to follow or if these principles should be integrated into your life, if you want to be rich.

What I’m trying to figure out is what to do with this list in light of a desire to live out the great commission. What of these things would one follow if the goal is to be Christ like? What of this list will not burn away when we stand before God?

What I don’t want to read is about how you worked hard for what you’ve earned and you deserve it. Nebakanezer tried that and he ended up eating grass in the fields.  Where does this list hold up to the missionary in Africa? Where does this list hold up to the family in the church seeking to honor God with all of their lives? If self-improvement is the goal, self-improvement to what end? 

I suppose this is a list looking at what wealthy people do and I am looking for a list of what godly people do. What things on the list would look the same? What things on the list would look different?

I bring this up because articles like these are articles that come across our path all the time in the church. On the surface they seem fine. Many things about them may be fine. Something about this leaves me unsettled.

So, TALK TO ME: If the goal is a life lived out and exhausted solely for the glory of God and the exaltation of Jesus, what do you do with this list?

And Remember: I don’t want to hear why this list is wise for living unless it’s wise for living the goal above!

20 Things the Rich Do Everyday

Seen & Heard: The Dark Thoughts of a Mother

ABC's of a Godly Woman

I heard you say it. Your voice trailed off and it was quickly passed over, but I heard it.

I caught your words, softly spoken, your mother’s heart seeping some of its life giving blood. A mother isn’t supposed to think such things, but your quiet confession was like a billboard for all to see. I recognized your words, I felt your bleeding heart. Like reading a book, you recited my own thoughts:

“Sometimes, I want to say, ‘Go ahead and take your life'”

I know, it’s ugly. How does a mother get to the place where she thinks such a thought? How does a child get to the place where the one bore them, in her own body, would have such a dark consideration pass through her mind?

Now you’ve said it, I heard you say it, and I want to tell you:

You’re very brave.

I was afraid to voice it. As if speaking could bring to life. As if the condemnation would be eminent if this awful, nightmare became a reality. Afraid, if I said such a thing, it would give my child license; permission, to do as Satan tempts. A mother’s heart readily accepts guilt for the frailty of her children, readily accepts

the weight of her own frailty.

The dark chaos of a desperate mother’s thoughts: At least the torment would be over. You would be free. I wouldn’t have to worry, I would know you are safe.

The One who speaks and brings life will tell you: you’re contemplating lies. Such hopeless ideas have no place before a holy God. To ponder such things is to belittle the pain of mothers, all over the earth, who weep and mourn over the child they long to hold again. These thoughts spit in the face of a God who gave His Son to set our sons and daughters free.

Don’t take the easy road.

Even in your mind, don’t take the easy road. Certain thoughts ought to be taken captive and this is certainly one of them. But,

should you let it slip by in your mind…

Well, it might be best to just say it. Just have it out. Then, we can look it over together; examine it. We could shine the light of God’s truth on it. I know darkness wells up in the weak moments, that’s why we have sister-friends to hold our hand in the storm. We’ll search the scriptures, we’ll pray, we’ll cry. The God who understands such tears – He’ll get you back to the place where you aren’t despairing of life.

You said it.

I’m glad you did.

Find peace dear mother, find strength, find hope to smile at the future: In Christ.

Give: Thanks – Pushing Past the Cliche

What to say on this eve of Thanksgiving.

There are thoughts, struggles of the mind and life that form themselves into words as I try to wrestle with, capture and learn from the things I see around me:

You cannot, nor should you seek to be every member of the body. Don’t despise the other members, you need them!

Don’t disregard the asset of your home as an essential location for ministry. Put on a pot of coffee, set another place at the table and look for opportunities. Faith and reality collide here and here the gospel is displayed in living color.

There’s the boy just back from another land, a boy tormented by the crying faces of orphans as they watch his departure. He finds his home and his heart here and yet there is that piece lost to children in a country far away. 

In all of this, two words keep coming into focus, two words pushing past the distracting thoughts:

Give Thanks.

A rich nation, a rich community, a rich girl, such Thanks-giving ought to pour and flow out of such as these. Give Thanks. This command, this simple command is pervasive to the scripture, everywhere we turn we find it. Why the selfishness? Un-thankful. Why the entitled mentality? Thank-less. Why do we, a stubborn people, turn our back on God? It’s all on account of pride swallowing the Thanks-giving in our hearts.

give
verb 

1.to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow:
2.to hand to someone: 
3.to place in someone’s care: 
4.to grant (permission, opportunity, etc.) to someone: 
5.to impart or communicate: 
We can give all of these in thanks to God:
  1. We Give: Thanks, voluntarily, not expecting anything in return, just pure gratitude for the abundance bestowed on us.

  2. We Give: Thanks with hands and hearts wide open in praise

  3. We Give: Thanks we place it right in your care, God. We are confused, in pain and suffering, but we trust you with those things and with our Thanks-giving.

  4. We Give: Thanks, do with it as you please in our hearts; in our lives. You are granted permission to take this thanks and run with it into the dark burrows of our hearts and the ugly places of our minds. Turn over stones, shine light.

  5. We Give: Thanks, with our voices to God. The sound of this Thanks-giving coming from our lips is a testimony to our hearts and a sweet sound to our Father. We feel thanks; we speak thanks.
What more can a people give to God than their lives, their hearts, and their lips filled with praise. In your house: give thanks. At your table: give thanks. In far away lands: give thanks. For everything: give thanks. More than a cliche, more than a holiday. How to turn a holiday into a Holy-day? Hearts toward the Father, hearts: giving thanks.

thanksgiving

Seen & Heard: Stashing Treasures

It’s a quiet Friday morning. The kids are off this week and so is our schedule. I’ve seen and heard so many great things this week, in the quiet of this morning I find myself calm, my mind blank, still.

I go through seasons where the whirlwind is so great I need to withdraw. I used to be able to do this by simply staying home; life isn’t so simple anymore. There are people everywhere. I often find myself so outside my comfort zone, so much stepping out by faith, so much being who and what I need to be, that I finally have to withdraw.  I find myself an introvert in a world that is seemingly filled with extroverts.

In the chaos. In the people. There are moments, really great moments, where hearts meet; love forms.  I dream of running off to live on a farm with Ann Voskamp where we could wax poetic about anything and everything, but the poem of these lives flowing in and out of my home cause my heart to overflow with love.

MOMENTS THIS WEEK

  • SUNDAY: Standing with my friend with tears in my eyes as she retells how God has been working in her mom. Chills, as I sense we are about to watch God do something amazing. (He did. He always does. It’s His nature)
  • MONDAY: My son explaining that his precious guitar strings, the ones we argue over who will pay for and if they really need to be changed, his beloved guitar strings? They are being worn down and worn out from worshiping God, with those in another country, the same God – in Spanish. What has become of his spare strings? He gave them away. By the way, if he comes home without a guitar strap or a capo, it’s because he plans to also leave those. What wonder is this?
  • TUESDAY: Sitting with 5 women as we finish out a study that drove us crazy with it’s frills, repetitiveness and nonsense, but laughing in wonder as we see how God was speaking anyway. Hearts opening as we share the impossible things in this life, things we have no control to change. Things we lay before The One who is victorious over all. Later, talking with another dear friend who just so happens to be a neighbor. Sharing life, encouraging one another. Days of talking over the backyard fence may be over, but we catch a glimpse of this community, christian community with this moment of encouragement in the afternoon.
  • WEDNESDAY: THIS:
wpid-1120132157a.jpg

This little one begs to be played with all day long. These two who stayed late, ate chips and salsa and lived life right beside us. Hurts, tears, pain, weights and all, we lay them before the King and then play Candy Land with a 3 year old. It’s how it’s supposed to be. 🙂

  • THURSDAY: Oh, Thursday. Too many things to recount in the rollercoaster day.  Hard, good talk with my husband. Meeting with a great pastor who lets me run with my ideas, helps me carry them out and helps me think clearly! I left this meeting rejoicing, it’s a beautiful thing when ministries in a church converse, talk, and work together. It’s for the good of the people, the good of the ministry, the good of the mission and it glorifies God, why don’t ministry leaders TALK more. Stop drawing lines between yours and mine and let’s work together already. Snuck out for tea and another, easier chat with my husband. Did my best to encourage some AMAZING women whom I am so blessed to walk this life with. They LOVE and then LOVE some more and I love to watch them LOVE! 🙂

That brings us to Friday and this quiet morning. There have been high highs and low lows, but as you can see, God is so, so faithful. I can’t focus on the drama or the incessant desire to withdraw, I have to focus on Stashing Treasures.

Happy Friday!

Celebrating Christmas in Books

christmasreading
I know I’ve written about books recently, but I just love them.  I’m not supposed to be using this arm and typing, but I can’t stay out of the game of life forever.

I’m gearing up for Christmas and that means checking out our Christmas Book Basket.  We like to spend time each day, as often as we can in December, reading from a selection of good books. I think it’s a great way to keep the season focused on the right things and a great way to disciple our children. Have you discovered that yet? Things that can’t be retained through teaching and lectures can be gently formed in minds by reading a book. Don’t overlook this powerful tool in the lives of those around you.

Here are some books I’m looking at for this season, as well as some that we already have and love.  I wish Amazon (or anyone) would cooperate and allow me to show book covers here, but they do not. So, I’ve linked to them on Amazon for your convenience below and also made a page on Goodreads.

Considering this Year:

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas: I’ll be reading through this book in the month of December.

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna: Ann Voskamp recommended this one, we shall see if I buy it.

The Christmas Thingamabob: Looks like an easy read, written by Mark Dever so it should be quality content.

A Better December: This is what caught my eye about this one: “A Better December is an ideal gift book for non-Christian friends and neighbors with a gradual, non-threatening introduction to the gospel.” That could be taken for good or bad.  Great to have a gospel gift to give to unbelievers, although I’m not always concerned about the gospel being non-threatening. What is more threatening than hell fire? This one will take some looking into.

Why Christmas? – We have the Why Easter? book in this series. This one is $1.99 in Kindle format!

Family Books

Christmas Tapestry: My good friend Linda gave us this book last year and we LOVED it. Read it more than once and made sure Dad read it too. Great book!

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent,Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent,Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent: We love all of these, we’ve yet to finish any of them, but they are a family favorite every year. We like to read this right before bed in December. We light candles, read a chapter and the kids take turns each night lighting and blowing out the candles and praying for the family.

Elementary Books

Silent Night: The Song and Its Story

A Christmas Carol (picture book edition): This is a beautiful copy of this story, that we really enjoyed.

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger: Bright and cheery, we had fun with this one!

Books for Olders

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas A daily advent reading that my Jr. Highers read through last year. This would be good for any adult too.

C Is for Christmas: The History, Personalities, and Meaning of Christ’s Birth: Great informative book on various topics of Christmas, kind of like a Christmas dictionary.

The Battle for Christmas (Vintage): This one also discusses various Christmas traditions, more history book than dictionary. Go to Goodreads with this one, it’s an interesting read about the puritans, but some didn’t make it to the end. 🙂

A Christmas Carol: A classic!

I’m sure there will be many more when I pull out all of our Christmas stuff, but this is enough to get planning. Josiah had a big chest that said Merry Christmas on it last night at Hobby Lobby, he wanted to buy and I said what for? 🙂 This might be just the thing.

Do tell me, PLEASE, what books your family enjoys at Christmas?

Seen & Heard: In Visions and Dreams

I slip into bed, having nothing specific on my mind. The days have been slow, nursing an injury; trying to muster some ambition to carry out tasks with one arm.

In the darkness, my eyes close. I nearly drift off.

It’s there. There, where I’m not asleep, nor awake, but taken into that surreal space between sleep and wakefulness.

lanterns

It’s there I see the line of windows with the curtains drawn back in no particular neatness. Out those windows, that appear suddenly to my left, I see the dark shadowy figure pass by. Passing quickly towards… what?  The door to the room is now the focal point of my vision. I can see the door to the room, the door wide open,

I see the darkness without.

The phrase comes to my mind, it suddenly makes itself known:

“It’s an open door to the enemy”

Just as quickly as this vividly flowing scene is brought before me, it’s gone.

lantern

I’m awake, wide awake. I find myself, again, in the dark. My voice sounds loud, my speech quick, as it breaks the silence of sleep. I recount this vision, this warning.

I know what this open door of darkness speaks to in my life; so I pray. I pray, not as one afraid, but as one intimately acquainted with the One who gave His flesh and blood. I pray, knowing I wrestle not against flesh and blood, as one who knows the Conqueror. As I pray, I give thanks. Thanks for messages in the dark to bring wisdom to light.

As the sun rises on a fresh day, warm rays shine over me. The darkness of night overwhelms, but the Light breaks through and He brings peace.

i'm a rose

I smile.

Seen & Heard – Reader’s Edition

Briana Simmons

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but she’s my dear cousin. Isn’t she cute? She likes to read so it kinda fits in with the theme. Actually, we read many, many of the same books growing up and passed novels all the time. Forget this caption, this picture totally applies!

Have you started on your 2014 reading list yet?

Crickets chirping…

I suppose I am the only one who does this, beginning in October!  Goodreads was the best invention ever, I think it could be made better, but it does it’s job adequately enough. I was going to write a post about writing your 2014 booklist for our church blog, but I changed to another topic instead.  By the way, when I posted my Take Your Parents to Church! article, my husband said it was better than my post for the church. I asked him why he didn’t say so when I asked him how it was?! He replied: “Well, you can’t really tell someone to re-write their entire blog!”  Now, I know that there should have been a black eye after this comment, but I remained very calm and replied: “You could have said to write more informally.” To which he replied: “Oh, yeah, well anyways, I really liked your Take Your Parents to Church post.” Thank you. I think.

Tangent done. Don’t you just love Friday posts? Don’t answer that.

2014 Booklist:

  1. Get a Goodreads – everyone’s doing it.
  2. Create a shelf called 2014 Reading List
  3. Think hard, look broadly, search for good books on VARIOUS categories. In 2013, I tried to read a biography, a book on marriage, a book on parenting, a theology book, a book on community etc. The key is to plan ahead so that you aren’t just reading Harry Potter all year long.
  4. Don’t be a slave to your list and feel free to change your list if you want throughout the year. Otherwise, it’s not any fun. Being a slave to a booklist is not fun.
  5. Read! I don’t finish my list, ever. In 2012 my list was titled: 2012 To Read List – Not Possible.
  6. I don’t suggest starting too many books at once, but right now I have 7 books going. That’s too many for me.

Books I Read in 2013

  1. The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler – LOVED this book. I’m still thinking back on it all the time and I’ll read this one again.
  2. Life Together – This was a life changer for me. By the way, we don’t have a clue what community, real community is about.
  3. Holiness – I read this and you know what is funny? I have NO IDEA what it was about. I think I liked it, I think it was a little bit difficult for me… wish I remembered..
  4. Washington: A Life – I haven’t finished this one, but I am really enjoying it.

That’s all. 4. I read other books, but they weren’t on my booklist so I won’t mention them here.

2014 is coming, time to start looking!

Oh, need a recommendation on where to find good books? Tim Challies writes book reviews, I’m pretty sure he reads books in his sleep. For a while, I banned him from my life because I believe he has an unnecessary bias against homeschooling and large families, he tends to stereotype in that area. However, I really can’t live without him so I look past that… until he writes a new unwarranted post about it!

Happy Friday!