2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
My father reminds me often of the importance of rewarding my sons for good behavior and performance. He says sometimes children need an incentive to do the right thing. It’s funny how parents change when they become grandparents. As a child, I was expected to do the right thing and my reward was the absence of a butt-whipping. Nevertheless, I found Daddy’s counsel to be correct as I examined my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. My increasing desire and determination to live a life of obedience has offered God’s favor and blessings above and beyond what I ever imagined. I am spoiled rotten and I stand in awe as I watch God work in and through my life. I’ve taken my father’s advice and my boys have a growing desire to perform in excellence – sometimes. I too, am drawn closer to God with a greater yearning to be set apart and walk the straight and narrow.
My obedience was tested this morning as I struggled with the decision to exercise. Hmmm…dare I pick and choose when and how to be obedient? God wants complete obedience - in every area of my life, even exercising my temple. When I thought of His goodness; I didn’t hesitate to complete my daily temple maintenance. God’s favor on my life deserves more than I can ever give back, so I give God my life – a life of obedience. My blessings are distributed according to my level of obedience.
Joshua 1:7 (NIV)
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Shhh, please don't tell anyone, but the one thing I've tried hardest to avoid has happened....I'm extremely busy. If I place one more thing on my plate, I know it'll crack. I attended a Women’s Conference this weekend and a few ladies put on a skit sharing the importance of running the race for Jesus. Can you imagine running a race and feeling exhausted only to find out you ran the race in vain? Have mercy! I don’t have the energy and I sure don’t have the time to do anything just for the sake of doing it. On the last morning of the conference and my last opportunity to sleep in, I was led to wake up at 5 a.m. to find the gym and do some temple maintenance. Afterwards, I found a quiet place to commune with God and renew my mind. One good thing about my busyness is I’ve realized my mind is my greatest gift and it should be given back to God entirely. Trying to plan and complete tasks on my own only makes me an absent-minded, impulsive thinking, distracted wife and Mother running a worldly race – yuck! In order to keep my plate and my mind from cracking, I must keep my mind on God – not my to-do list or my circumstances. This spiritual focus makes a huge difference in my busy days and the race isn’t so exhausting when I keep my mind on Him. When things don’t go as planned or unexpected trials try to shake me, my mind is already in the right place. Wife, Mother, daughter, sister, teacher, and Peace Baker are just a few of the duties on my plate and I thank God for this unusual season of busyness. Busyness isn’t such a bad thing when we keep our mind on Him.
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
While preparing strawberries for strawberry shortcake yesterday, my pre-teen stood next to me craving and admiring his favorite fruit. I knew he wanted one by his sounds and expressive comments of how big, juicy, and red they looked. Just as I was about to share one with him, he said, “Mama, I can’t resist!” Wrong words for this Mama! I told him one day he would feel the same way about girls. Looking confused, he asked, “Really?” I explained to him how men will sometimes admire a woman’s body and looks and forget about the awesomeness of God’s creation and a woman’s purpose. I shared the importance of keeping our emotions under control and resisting temptation from flesh enticing items. Poor little boy, he just wanted a strawberry, yet I had to take advantage of this awesome opportunity to share - especially since my number one temptation is food. Yes, I am very familiar with the struggle to resist popping a brownie or cookie into my mouth. When did food start talking? It sure talks to me as it lures me in its presence to partake in its pleasure. It is only through the power of God that I can bake and actually have some to share once I leave the kitchen. It is only through the power of God that I can pray and fast and still prepare a meal for my family. It is only through the power of God that I can resist any temptation from my fleshy desires. I am weak; yet remaining prayerful and Christ-controlled gives me the power I need to resist. - there is no other way. Did my son get a strawberry? No, yet he had more than his share of strawberry shortcake and he'll never look at a strawberry the same!
Mark 14:38 (NIV)
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."