Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chosen By God and the Battle That Ensues

In our discussion today about prayer these were Levi's thoughts.....

Me:  Does God always answer our prayers exactly how we think?  When we started our adoption I asked God for a little girl.

Levi:  I'm glad God gave us a boy because I'm a HE-Man women hater!

Family:  *Hysterical laughter*

I appreciate these moments of honesty and humor in my day because though my writing may give you the impression that I am a very serious person, I am NOT.  I am sarcastic and funny and striving to never be too serious UNLESS the situation calls for it.   With that said I find my thoughts are awfully serious lately and that the lightheartedness in my spirit is just not there.

Our struggles with our "little answer to prayer" are many and they are real and they call for serious action.  Mostly I need to pray, but often I fret.  I need to be loving, but I am unkind and harsh.  I need to be forgiving, but I am reluctant.

On the outside looking in our adopted son Toby is doing quite well and he seems adjusted to family life.  Then we go and do something out of the ordinary like go camping or have a sleepover with friends or go out for dinner or school ends for the year and all normal is thrown out the window.  After reading this blog post about a heart of stone I felt a little less crazy.  We are not alone in this struggle and perhaps the things I thought were the real struggle are only symptoms to the REAL struggle.

Unlike the blog post I mentioned no vision has been cast for what future lays ahead for my son.  He may not be destined to be a speaker to nations or even to a small crowd.  This does not change the truth that God has called him to be his own.  I can be bold in making this claim because God choose our family to adopt him.  God choose a flawed, but saved family to adopt Toby therefore I make the bold claim that Toby too has been chosen by God to be HIS child. 

Now this is what the LORD says-the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

It is this truth that stands at odds with what the Liar of all Liars (John 8:44) would want to happen.  He is a destroyer of families, a liar and the lord of death.  His name is Satan and he has no claim on my son, but this does not stop him from trying.  A battle is going on for the heart of my son.  If he is given the opportunity to lie or tell the truth he will more than likely lie.  If he has to obey or disobey, he will likely disobey.  You may be thinking that is not all too different than your child and that may be true.  I can see a difference in my other children's disobedience.  I have one who is stubborn and determined that he is right no matter what I have said.  I have one who lacks self control and therefore struggles to obey.  I have one who is 3(enough said).  He is a blog post to himself!  Then there is Toby he seems to not even understand himself why he lies or why he will not listen.  He beats his fists against his forehead and clenches his eyes shut and will not tell me why.  He chooses to be by himself rather than the family.  He will play with strangers, but not his own brothers.  He can be affectionate towards those he sees from time to time, but not his own parents.  So much of this goes unseen and yet the battle rages on.

There is a battle going on for his heart. And so I hold onto these promises from God.....

Everyone the Father gives Me[Jesus], and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.  
John 6:37   

 "If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  John 8:31b-32

For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  Acts 2:39

These words I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children.  Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down an when you get up.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 

......and I teach them to my children both adopted and biological.  I hold onto them because they are the very life I breath.  I am tired and I am struggling, but of this I am sure, God will win this battle for ALL my children.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Broken Hallelujah!

I have listened to that song Broken Hallelujah so many times lately either because of my own circumstances or being in prayer and feeling at a loss for someone else.  Many times our praises lifted to God are broken and frail.  We are broken and frail.  If we were to count the number of times we lifted hands to heaven in a desperate state versus from a place of steady ground the first would far outweigh it!

Are you struggling to see how God is working or how he could possibly bring beauty from these particular ashes?  I learned of a very dire situation for a friend this week and walked to my Bible praying that God would lead me to a verse that would reveal a piece of his heart in this situation.  As the song plays read the Psalm aloud as your prayer of praise.

Psalm 146

My soul, praise the LORD.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing to my God as long as I live.
Do not trust in nobles,
in man, who cannot save.
When his breath leaves him, 
he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans die.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever,
executing justice for the exploited
and giving food to the hungry.
The LORD frees prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD raises up those
who are oppressed.
The LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects foreigners
and helps the fatherless
and the widow,
but He frustrates the ways 
of the wicked.
The LORD reigns forever;
Zion, your God reigns for all generations.

We begin and end with Hallelujah, a word that means praise Yahweh!  Our lives should be as such.  The middle is a mystery, a journey that God has mapped out and often we cannot see the route or even the next destination, but we can firmly hold the LORD's hand who as this Psalm says:

rises up
reigns forever!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lessons from a Country Concert

To the boy following the girl around:

Stop looking at her assets.  Hold your chin up high and take the lead.  Find a girl who respects herself enough to cover up a bit and one who will follow you.  Your time is quickly coming when you will soon be a man.  Our world has enough men with downcast eyes and defeated looks.  We need men who will stand up, take charge and lead their families as Godly men leading as servants and wise decisive individuals worthy of a women's respect. 

To the girl with the purse longer than her shorts:

You are not alone.  You are not the only one suffering from this shortage.  Apparently the US is in a great textile shortage.  Fabric must be spared and there is not enough to go around.  We must campaign for our right to proper clothing.  Oh, wait!  What we really must do is find value in who God made us and not seek to gain our value from what we have to show off or offer or sacrifice in return for some looks, some attention or worse yet our very bodies.  Trust me when I say it is not worth it.  That cannot be easily undone. 

To the parents of the little girl left sitting in her seat:

A glance in her direction every-now and again does not count as supervision.  You are out in PUBLIC.  No one else has your daughters best interest at heart.  You should!  A few beers and being closer to the stage are not worth what could happen if you turn your back too long.  Children are a gift from God, a gift that often feels like a burden, but still your burden to bear.  You only get this one chance to do it right.  Don't screw it up!  Let her be a kid and not the one who had to grow up watching her parents always pick something else over her.

Perhaps no one who reads this blog falls into any of these categories or like me maybe you used to, but maybe there is still a lesson to be learned.  If you have children in your care teach them who God desires them to be.  Teach them to honor God, possess self control, love others and that it's OK to be different than the rest of the world.  Teach them to be the girl who is ACTUALLY dressed at the country concert and looks stunning.  Teach them to be the boy who holds his girl's hands and guides her threw the mob of people so she can go the bathroom for the 100th time.  Be the parent who would rather sit and only hear the show, but certain that your daughter is safe.  Be a Titus 2 Christian in a very confused and aimless generation.

 Titus 2:1-8
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Friday, May 23, 2014

When You Feel Completely and Totally Overwhelmed

I miss my writing.  I miss putting my thoughts down and sorting out my feelings with words.  And I miss keeping track of what is going on in the Robbins household through journaling.  Perhaps it is not that I am too busy, but that I would choose not to remember all of these days.  Now I am not so sure that is completely true because I know in my head that even in the trials of life we need to be able to look and remember how God has guided us and seen us through.

There are just so many things I want to share and to tell of the ways God has held us and provided for us.  At the moment my husband is preparing to go on a summer mission trip with our church.  He has grown us and stretched our idea of his provision.  This trip has taken both time and money, both of which seem to be in short supply around here, but yet we open our arms wide and say, "God use this for your glory."  He has given us wisdom to turn down a volunteer job for Chris, working in an area he is passionate because God has said, "not now."  He has also planted the seed for Chris to return to school in the fall.

In between teaching school and chasing a toddler I have been listing items on ebay and selling Norwex as a means to bring in a little more funds.  Sales are not exactly booming, but it does help fill in some gaps.  God loves to provide just enough for us, it keeps our hands and eyes ever postured towards his provision and great supply.

And then there is the ick, the struggle and the everyday life that makes it's way through the beautiful places that I have not totally figured out how to turn from sorrow to joy.

Do you ever feel like it's just one struggle to the next?  One thing after another with no break in between?  The enemy stands opposed to any growth of our faith and any desire to surrender to our Lord's will.  He stands ready to attack any chance he gets to thwart the plans of God's people.  He apparently has not read the end of the story.  He doesn't win!  He doesn't succeed and God finishes him once and for all.  Too bad he hasn't caught on and given up as easily as I do sometimes.  My spirit, the Holy living spirit that God has put in my heart rallies me on, but my flesh easily gives in to fear and doubt. 

The struggles continued and peace was hard to find.  I delve into prayer and scripture, begging God not to let go when I was too weak to hold on to his promises.  You can know in your heart that they are true and moments would be fine, and then just like THAT you are swimming in fear.  What a reminder of how fallen we are and how desperately we need God to carry us!

On one particular day I grabbed my Bible clenched it into my chest as if giving a bear hug to God.  I had no other place to go to find peace, but there.  Making my way up to my room and my big comfy chair I asked God to lead me, to show me a part of his word that I could cling to that day.  And like he ALWAYS does, he provided.

He provided peace.

He provided hope.

He provided assurance of his sovereignty.

The next day a huge thunderstorm came through our area bringing with it hail and lots of rain, but just as quickly as it rolled in, it passed and the sun came out.  And not only did the sun reappear, but a rainbow.  This rainbow was different though.  Looking out my front door I could see the beginning and the end.  It was displayed in all of it's glory right in front of my house, for me and my family.  I am thankful that God does not grow weary in reminding us of His promises and His faithfulness because I don't know about you, but it seems I need a lot of reminders!

I would love to share with you my list of scriptures that God is using in my life right now.  Maybe you are struggling too.  Has the enemy set up camp in your backyard?  Does the truth look like a muddy mess right now?  Are you under spiritual attack?  Don't feel crazy or alone.  The battle we are in is very much real, but truly we fight with better weapons!

Psalm 64
Romans 8:28
Psalm 1
Psalm 145
James 1
Matthew 5:1-12

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Taking out the Trash

Talking with my children about the real things of life, like garbage trucks, an animals niche or what makes up a population often leads us to talk about God.  To be honest I am not sure what the exact path was in this discussion, but it lead to God either way as it so often does in my house.

"These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  
Repeat them to your children. 
 Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, 
when you lie down and when you get up."  
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Sometimes explaining the things of God to my kids puts in on a level even my stubborn heart can appreciate.  It went something like this.......

The sin in our lives is a lot like garbage.  We can all picture the ugly and dirty nature of that.  We don't like to see it so we put it in bags, in cans and then as it piles up we tie it off and put it outside in another can hidden from sight.  We buy screens to make our trash cans look more concealed, we purchase fancy trash cans for inside our house and many of us pay to have someone take our trash away.

At some point the trash has to go to the curb.

Someone has to come and pick it up.

The empty can needs to be put away so the process can start all over agian. 

"Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; 
according to Your abundant compassion, blot our my rebellion. 
 Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.  
For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me."
 Psalm 51: 1-3

Our sin piles up.  We live in a fallen world for scripture says, "all have fallen short of the glory of God" and are in desperate need of a savior.  In a way we need the garbage taken out and in an even more impossible way we need someone to haul if off to the dump. 

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."  
Psalm 103:12

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us ours sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  1John 1:9

"The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy."  Proverbs 28:13

God is ALWAYS ready and willing to come by and remove the garbage from your heart, but we have the responsibilty to put it out at the curb for collection by means of confession.

The days of Lent are drawing to an end and Easter is in sight, but the days of confession never come to a close as long as we are here.  Our need for forgiveness continues.  But His willingness likewise is without end!

Gotta run!  I hear the trash truck coming and I have some things I need to haul out to the curb!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Praying for an Undivided Heart

Breaking Free.  A Journey to Being Truly Satisfied.
Day 10

Bible passage: Psalm 86:11-13

My body is a temple of the Living God.  By not taking care of it I am not caring for his temple.  Though I wanted to avoid it, and solely focus on the healthy eating, according to the devotion today exercising needs to be part of the plan.  I have lots of excuses.  I have lots of young kids and little extra time.  The time I do have I would rather relax.  It’s time for me to make a change in this area.  Giving up this struggle to God is supposed to hurt and I am to deny myself and surrender to him.  I am offering up my me time, the time at night I spend staying up late to relax rather than go to bed.  The early morning hours I lay in bed getting a little more sleep I also give to him.  This is my sacrifice.  I have long used the excuse that I am a night owl.  If I am honest with myself I am neither productive nor more rested with my late nights and not so early morning routines. 
Praying the scriptures is a powerful and effective means of communication with our Lord.  It's something that automatically connects us with God, we are praying His very words.  We can be certain that we are praying in accordance with His will because His words are TRUTH AND LIFE!

Let's pray together today for the courage to live an undivided life, a life devoted to Christ, to caring for our bodies as his holy dwelling and also for the desire to give God all the praise and glory for even the tiniest shred of goodness and blessing in us.

"Teach me Your way, Yahweh, and I will live by Your truth. 
Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name. 
 I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your name forever.
 For Your faithful love for me is great, and You deliver my life from the depths of Sheol."
Psalm 86:11-17 HCSB
My journal companion while working through the Made to Crave 21 day challenge and the book Made to Crave.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Choices

Breaking Free.  A Journey to Being Truly Satisfied.
Day 9

Bible Passage Galatians 5:22-23

It is easy for me to see that I am lacking self-control and not because I try so hard and I just can’t seem to stop myself.  I can feel that I really don’t want to let go and yield to the healthier choice whether that be not having seconds, a healthy option for a snack or going to bed at a reasonable hour.  Do I not want it bad enough or is the problem with me being too satisfied with the way things are?  I don’t want hard and I don’t desire to be uncomfortable, let alone in pain over the loss of my stuff or in this case some food and unhealthy habits.  Today I pray for dissatisfaction with my current state of being.  I want to have my feathers ruffled and a little bit of discomfort if that’s what it will take to have lasting change and a deeper relationship with my Lord.  This has gone on long enough. 
My journal companion while working through the Made to Crave 21 day challenge and the book Made to Crave.