Honor Your Parents

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“…Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Parents… They give us the gift of life, love us, and care for us. Loving us when we are unlovable; faithfully, unconditionally, never asking for anything in return. Today, we see less and less respect and honor shown towards our elders in families everywhere.

God included the responsibility for honoring one’s parents in the Ten Commandments. There were no exceptions listed, even if your parents were terrible, this is still God’s Word to you. As long as one’s parents are alive, the responsibility to honor them remains. Think about this: God himself promises that if you will honor your parents you will have a long and blessed life. What a promise! Regardless of your age, consider your responsibility to honor your parents. We need to learn from Scripture what God means by “honoring” our parents, so we can honor our parents and be blessed with a long and fruitful life.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

The temptation in life, especially in young and middle adulthood, is to get so busy with life that we take our parents for granted. But instead of taking them for granted the scriptures teach us its time to begin investing our time in them just as they invested their time in us. There are a lot of acts of kindness you can perform but just spending time with them is first on the list. Honoring your parents is not just speaking politely to them, or telling others that they are great parents. If your parents have needs, you should help them. In this way, according to Jesus, you are showing them honor.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

Take a moment to look at the way you are treating your parents. This means in thoughts and deeds. Not just how you act towards them when you are around them, but also examine your thoughts, how it is you think and feel about your parents in your heart. Examine yourself closely and see if there are any changes that need to be made to line your life up with God’s word. If changes in attitude are needed, then ask God to help and begin to make those changes today. Reality for many of you is that you have parents that do not treat you very well; nonetheless, you are still called by God to respect your parents. By respecting your parents even when you do not feel they deserve your respect, allows God to work on your behalf because you have been obedient to his word.

Remember that if you sacrifice one thing for them, they will sacrifice another million for you. Keep that in mind and you’ll love them even more. Call/text/email things to them often, make them a part of your world. Show them that you value them and care. Parents love nothing more than talking to you. One way to start following the command is to pray for them daily. Finally, just love them a little bit more every day! You too will stand in their shoes one day.

Father, thank you for the gift of children. I pray that as my children grow older they will also grow in their desire to seek after You and obey your commandments. Keep a humble heart in all parents toward their children, and children towards their parents. In your name Lord, Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Serving The Lord With Excellence

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

How does a Christian develop a spirit of excellence in a day when almost anything can be passed off as good enough? Excellence does not necessarily mean the absence of mistakes. There is a difference between striving for perfection versus endeavoring to be excellent. Achieving excellence is an impossible task without the love of our Lord. A person who strives for excellence doesn’t give up when he makes mistakes, and he doesn’t avoid tasks for fear of failure. The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

Excellence means giving your maximum in everything that you do. Many people give their minimum to God. We are called to strive for excellence in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. Non-Christians are watching to see what kind of a difference Jesus is making in your life; you can point others to Him by being diligent in your tasks. Do you know you can do God’s work shoddily, and in the process stir up His anger against you? Our Lord Jesus Christ served God with passion. His zeal was overwhelming. Jesus would have been doing everything with His whole heart so that the Father may be glorified.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Excellence is a reflection of the God we serve. Always remember that to pursue excellence in your works is to rely on the grace of God’s hand in all you do. To be excellent at whatever God has called you to do, you must first ask for His strength to accomplish the task and His endurance to complete it. Prayer is an important part of pursing excellence; you cannot do it on your own. Excellence cannot be achieved by personal merit, but only through divine grace. His divine power has granted this to us, but we must come to Him in prayer. Make a commitment to excellence today! Strive to be a faithful bearer of the image of a perfect God.

Lord, help me to walk excellently before You in speech and in service so that I may be more effective in your ministry to others. Thank you for the perfect example that you sent us in Your Son. Help us to be worthy of our task. In your Name, Amen

Sweet Blessings

Light My Fire

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

We, as women, have such powerful ability within our lives to inspire or expire the hope in those around us. We can light a fire of rejoicing or just as quickly extinguish it. Life, with its problems and pain can easily steal your joy. When you spend too much time dwelling on these problems the negativity will begin to flow out to everyone you touch. It’s like a virus that instead of providing encouragement and inspiration leaves only a trail of desolation. When we profess to be Godly women, we are representing Him daily. People watch how we live, what we say, how we react.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

As Christians, we hear a lot about ‘Godly behavior’, but often wonder what that actually means. We are called to live to a higher standard, because we are representatives of God on Earth. So striving to live a God-centered life is important, because when we exhibit Godly behavior we are providing a good witness to those around us. By being a shining example of goodness, honesty, kindness and love, we show what a relationship with God is like. What a great responsibility and honor we have as Godly women. Our Father planted within His daughters such a power to bring hope to others. Especially during times of great despair. He instructs us to pray together, to hold each other up with positive attitudes, joyful hearts and spiritual courage.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastics 4:12

Heavenly Father, please give Godly women of today a heart to always display good behavior. So that we will bring honor and glory to you. Help our lights to shine far ahead of us and our speech to always be edifying to others. We thank you for loving us. In Your precious name. Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Father God

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

‘The foolish man sees happiness in the distance, a wise man grows it under his feet.’

We are blessed in our family with six sons that I believe are wonderful examples of Fatherhood! I would be remiss if I did not add my wonderful husband to that number. Today, we live in a somewhat different era where fathers are called to be more hands on dads. Not to mistake that for loving their children more. More moms today are working full time, with many of them earning the majority of the income. It has been a delightful joy to watch our sons step into the role of caregivers. It amazes me what a great job they have done with that responsibility. The Bible teaches us that Gods love is like the love of a father. It is full of instructions on how to raise our children.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

We are all children of [Abba] God. What better example for us as a parent then to see how much He nurtures us and comforts us when we are in pain. How He distinctly gives us boundaries to follow so that our trials will be bearable. How He often picks us up and carries us when we can not take another step. How He heals our illnesses and shelters us from storms of life. How He loves us and how he gently corrects us so we will learn from our mistakes to be a better person. How He gifts us with so much more then we could ever deserve. How He has promised us an inheritance of eternal life with Him in Heaven. What an awesome Father that loves us so unconditionally and promises to never leave us alone. What a perfect example of Fatherhood! A Heavenly Parent who loves you with an everlasting love!

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Father God, knowing that we all belong to You gives us great comfort, joy and assurance. Help us to live each day in the fullness of the inheritance You supply for us as Your children. Amen

‘Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.’

Sweet Blessings

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

While you’re cleaning out closets and sweeping under the furniture, think about this: Spring cleaning, while worth the effort, will only last for a season, but spiritual cleansing could have an eternal influence. So don’t just dust behind those book shelves, dust off that favorite Bible and get ready for a spiritual spring cleaning. When we allow unhealthy thoughts and attitudes to pile up in our heart it can become a catch-all for clutter and junk. When we have a messed-up heart that harbors incorrect attitudes or contaminated thoughts they eventually lead to self destructive behavior. There are times that we need to do a little ‘spring cleaning’ in our hearts.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Take a break from the business of life; take inventory of all of the ways you are spending time. Do your commitments reflect the things that you value the most? God, Family, Loving others? We need to check our hearts and look for anything that could cause disorder, preventing us from living godly lives.

“It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Titus 2:12

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to see His ways…Psalm 119:37 “Turn my life away from worthless things.” Spend time studying God’s word, knowing and seeking His wisdom, and showing love to others. Get rid of anything that keeps you from spending time with The Lord. Meditate on the scripture and fill your heart with worship and praise. When our hearts are clean, the gospel will shine from every corner of our lives.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

Sweet Blessings

Finding Contentment

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am in to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

I have always thought that monetary things would give me Contentment. I grew up believing that to ‘have it all’ meant owning a nice home, having a perfect family, beautiful cloths, lots of friends and many possessions. I would always get so excited about ‘newness’ anything that I bought or accomplishments in my life. The only problem was that exciting feeling only lasted a few days and then the need to experience it would creep back in. Eventually, I would be searching for something new to replace that lost euphoric feeling.

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15

I began to realize that we will never be fulfilled through having monetary things like homes, cars, cloths, or vacations. Nor will we ever be content through life changing events. If we try to find meaning in our accomplishments rather than God, we will never be satisfied, and everything we pursue will disappoint us.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out” 1Timothy 6:6-7

Lets not let our longings spoil our living. Earthly ‘stuff’ will never give us contentment. Not even our family, who we love more then life itself. I wasted so many years of my life chasing peace, harmony and contentment, looking in all the wrong directions. I finally realized that the only way to attain that feeling of ‘perfect contentment’ was by making God the center of my life. God wants us to have all the desires of our heart, and that requires putting him first in our lives and trusting that he will supply all our needs according to his grace. It is only by living a Christ centered life that we find perfect contentment.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1Timothy 6:6

Sweet Blessings

Show Me the Way Home

by Kim McDougal

“My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” -Proverbs 4:20-23

Reading was never easy for me in school. I just didn’t like to read when I was a kid. As I got older, that began to change. I ended up with a bookcase full of the written word…I loved reading a lot of Christian fictional books and even some of my books were of poetry or devotionals. But no other book in the world has ever affected me and got to read more than The Holy Bible. The Bible isn’t just words on a sheet of paper. To me, it’s my canvas for life…it’s the daily air my soul needs, it contains all the medicine I need for everyday living. Imagine for a moment, God took the time to inspire writers to put His words into these books of the Bible just so you and I wouldn’t muddle through life and have no direction.

Just like with assembling a piece of furniture or buying electronic equipment, normally it isn’t shipped without instructions, diagrams, and/or a manual. Why? How else would you know how to use it or put it together? The Holy Bible is your instruction guide. It contains words of inspiration, examples of men and women who had to trust God just like you and I, warnings to help us stay away from negative forces, encouragement for our souls, and it does so much more.

If we take time to actually let God’s words penetrate into our heart, we’ll find ourselves growing closer and closer to Him. No other words in any book has the power to affect us like the Bible does. God’s power exists in every chapter, every verse. He even gives us a map to future events so we have an idea of what’s to come. God didn’t save us and then leave us to “figure life out on our own.” He loves you and I so much that He has kept the Bible alive for thousands of years, think about that for a moment…. Hollywood can’t even keep movies from the early 1900’s intact….paintings and movie reels lost forever, but NOT The Bible! Now, that’s a miracle! God refused to let anything happen to His word and we should be so grateful to have His Bible with us everyday especially if we live in the U.S. Just think, some countries consider it unlawful to carry or quote from The Holy Bible. We need to keep our Christian brothers and sisters who live in these countries in our prayers often.

Today, when you pick up your Bible to read, ask God for understanding and let His words sink deep into your heart. Take the time to meditate as you read and if you do this, God will bless you and will direct your way, He will give you wisdom and His word will give you life and healing.

Use Our Mouths for Good

by Kim McDougal

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” – Proverbs 15:1,2 KJV

Some things just don’t need to be said. For instance, when my hubby would forget to turn out the lights in the bathroom after he was finished, I would find the lights on and grumble, “why didn’t he turn off the lights?!” All I need to do is turn out the lights. We forget things sometimes, and he doesn’t intentionally leave them on to get me upset! But, I had a bad habit of speaking out like that and I’ve since learned that my mouth is something I have to tame. If I go to hubby and tell him off about the bathroom lights, it won’t be long before we’re in an argument. And over what? It’s not that serious! Now, I know that’s a simple example. You may have had a situation where it’s much more intense and you’ve had to control what you say to keep the situation from getting out of hand.

The truth is we are emotional beings. And, we have to be careful to search ourselves when we’re about to say something. Our words have life folks. We can speak life into someone as much as we can speak death and we can speak life or death in our own lives. Our passage today says, “a soft answer turns away wrath…” All this means is “take time to consider your response BEFORE you speak.” Will your words harm or help that person? Will they be able to receive what you’re saying and try to make positive changes?, OR will they walk away in disgust? It’s so important that our mouths are used to edify (uplift, build up, encourage) others and glorify (praise, give the credit to) God. When I think of all the people in prisons, how many of them are there because their anger and words turned deadly? God understands that we are emotional, He just cautions us not to let the negative emotions overwhelm us.

And what about using our mouths to speak wisdom? The second half of our scripture talks about this. Wisdom comes from God. When we take our time to speak what God would have us say, we’re speaking and using His knowledge correctly. We’re not just saying whatever we want with no regard to how those words will be received. Think about it…how do you respond to words spoken? Do you want someone to speak down to you, in a scornful way? Or, do you like someone to speak to you with genuine love and concern? Even if I have to hear something hard to deal with, I’d rather it come through love and support. So, let us pray earnestly everyday that we take more time to consider our words BEFORE we speak.