I am so excited to share that Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller will be at Central Baptist Church on Thursday, October 20th for a parenting seminar!
I have read almost all of their material and when a parent needs help with their child this is the direction I point them. I truly believe it is the best practical parenting advice that spans the age range of two years old to eighteen years old and it is not rules or step program based. It also takes into consideration that EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT.
They also keep their seminars AFFORDABLE!
To attend is $20 per individual and $30 per couple.
There will also be childcare and classes for children 12 years old and younger.
This seminar is only 3 weeks away so get registered today!
When: Thursday, October 20th / 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: Central Baptist Church (2801 Hwy 31 S Decatur, AL 35603)
“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
I attempted to nurse both of my biological children. With my first, my milk just never seemed to come in enough to keep my child satisfied. I ended up giving up when she was close to three months old and feeding her cereal and formula to keep her full. With my youngest, I had plenty of milk. I was abundantly blessed with it. I can remember waking up in the middle of the night in pain because I NEEDED my daughter to nurse. Even if she was sleeping peacefully through the night, I simply could not stay lost in my own dreamworld because my body remembered my nursing child even as I tried to sleep.
When I read this verse in Isaiah, “Can a woman forget her nursing child…” I remember these nights and this feeling and the impact of this verse and the point the Lord is trying to make resonates within my soul and then I read the second part of that verse and it hits like a brick across my heart… “even these may forget, but I will not forget you.”
According to noheatstroke.org six hundred and ninety-three children have died in the past eighteen years from being left behind in a vehicle. Four hundred and eighty five of those were two years old and younger. These would have all been considered nursing age children in the days that Isaiah spoke these words. We live in a day where we are so distracted that we are forgetting our nursing children. We are living in the “even these” of Isaiah 49:15.
We can be so rushed, so scheduled, so routined, so focused on the next thing and scattered about everything that we forget the most important things, but our God calls out to us and says, even these… even a mother her nursing child… even these may forget but I will not forget you.
Has life ever made you feel like you have been forgotten? Have you ever just sat and felt like the world was going on without you as if you were not even there? Have you ever been abandoned in a time of need when those you expected to come to you did not… when those that said they would be there were not? No doubt we all have at some point and time in our life.
But God never forgets us. Never. He says that we are inscribed in the palm of His hands…
Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
No matter how forgotten we may feel… our feelings lie. If we belong to God in and through Christ then He is in us and we are in Him and we are His. Though He has the entire world to rule sovereignly over. Though He commands the sun to rise and set and the waves to go so far. Though He is there to care for the sparrow and guard the ostriches eggs. Though He watches over the walls of nations and the makeshift tent of the refugee. He is never too distracted, rushed, or scattered to leave any of His children behind. We will never be forgotten by our Savior because He is never separated from us. He never leaves us and He never forsakes us… and He never ever forgets us.
I was listening to an episode of Real Life this morning and in his message Phil Waldrep shared a quote of advice concerning dealing with issues. He shared how a someone told him once that a bulldog can whip a skunk but it isn’t worth the fight. This is one of the hard lessons that the Lord has taught me in my walk with Him.
When we hear wrong thinking and wrong speaking especially when it concerns us we often are ready to come in like a bulldog and chase that skunk down and tear them to bits. However, in doing so we are the ones who walk away stinking to high heaven and the stench runs deep and doesn’t easily wash off. As a matter of fact it sticks to anyone in our vicinity. It is a smell that will linger in our own nostrils for days to come.
In 1 Corinthians Paul is writing the church in Corinth because they are dealing with a lot of issues. They seem to be stirred up over things that need not be and ignoring things that should be stirred up about and addressing immediately. It’s really not unlike many of our present churches and actually even our nation today.
I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren
1 Corinthians 6:5-8
When I was children’s minister I taught a VBS that discussed what the curriculum called the D-darts of the devil. I have never forgotten this lesson. It was meant to teach kids, but it taught me as well. The D-darts of the devil–doubt, depression, deception, distraction, disappointment, discouragement–are all tools that he uses to detour us off God’s path and purpose for our lives. He wants to destroy us and our witness for Christ and His gospel and he will use all his means to do so.
His method of distraction is best seen in his ability to get us all riled up over something that in the light of eternity does not amount to a hill of beans. I have learned that I simply am not going to argue with someone concerning opinions. I’m not going to debate on social media where someone cannot see the countenance of my face or hear the tone of my voice. I also am not going to give a watching world a reason to hate the church of my Jesus simply because some of her brothers and sisters are illegitimate or immature.
There are things worth fighting for and defending, but if the only reason you are opening your mouth is because you see yourself as the bulldog and you know that you can use your teeth to whip what you deem to be a skunk… you, my friend, are the one that will walk away in a great stench and the watching world will run to the rescue of the wounded skunk.
I have exciting news! I have just been invited to come on staff with FCA of North Alabama! I will be the first female staff member ever in this area. My ministry focus will be to the female athletes and coaches in the school campuses in four counties – Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence, and Winston.
My family and I have been praying about this opportunity for almost nine months and we are so excited that the Lord has chosen to open this door. Every time I would share with someone what this position with FCA would look like my heart would stir within me with anticipation and I would find myself getting more and more excited about the possibility.
I know what a difference it would have made in my life as an athlete and as a teenage girl to have had someone speaking truth and love into my life during this time. It wasn’t that my parents were not, it just simply is that sometimes it needs to be coming from others as well, especially at this age in life.
I am also looking forward to the opportunity to be able to love on our female coaches! I want to be able to be there to encourage them and help them stay focused on why they chose to be a teacher to begin with and why they chose to coach. Coaches have a wide open door of influence in students lives. They have the opportunity to impact the heart and mind of a student that will stay with them long after their playing days are over. Coaching is something that a teacher does on top of their regular teaching obligations and family responsibilities so they, no doubt, need this time of encouragement.
I am beyond excited about this new adventure! However, I need your help. I will not be able to reach into the lives of these ladies without you. Will you partner with me to make this happen?
As you read this, will you just stop right here and ask the Lord if He is leading you to join my team. I need you on my team. I need you to join me on this journey. If you are reading this, it is not by accident.
I need those who are willing to commit to monthly support. I need those who are willing to give yearly or bi-yearly support. I need those who can give $500 a month and those who can give $10 a month. I need those who can give anywhere in between. I need businesses and churches and individuals that are called and willing to partner with me.
Are you already giving to FCA? Will you consider donating those funds in my name and supporting me?
I have less than a month to get this ball going so that I can get on the field by October 1st! Will you get me on that field? The fields are white for harvest and this laborer is ready to work.
If you can’t give right now will you commit to pray for me and this new ministry within FCA?
If you need more information I would love to meet with you and share my heart and vision for this ministry.
If you are led to donate and you do so, please let me know so that I can let you know my gratitude for your giving.
If you commit to pray, please let me know so that I can thank the Lord for you and pray for you in return.
Simply send me an email to email@example.com
If you are ready to donate simply click “Partner With Nicole” and write “For Nicole Vaughn” in the Notes box.
According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
It was in 1884 that the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
Today Labor Day in America is celebrated with food and fun with family and friends and shopping sales. Labor Day was put in to effect by our country to celebrate and honor the American worker. This day was set aside for the nation to be able to affirm and acknowledge that they knew that America had become the great nation that it was because of the work ethic and integrity of the American who worked in the fields, in industries, in education, in medicine, and so on.
The ability to labor and the willingness to accept the responsibility to do so is a gift of our Creator God.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;male and female He created them.God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Of course after the fall that gift of work and responsibility became a little more laborious…
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
Because Adam chose to listen to the words of his wife who had been deceived by Satan instead of obeying the words that he himself had heard straight from God, sin entered the world. Sin brings death and that death also included the death of the earth and things of the earth. Everything that we can see with our physical eyes or touch with our physical hands is dying or already dead.
Before sin there was only enjoyment in caring for the earth that God created because there was never a fear of death creeping in and destroying the work of your hands. After the fall it was no longer just cultivating the growth but fighting to keep it alive. After the fall came the times when you worked for months and even years to get something exactly right and you could actually enjoy the fruit of your labors to have a locust attack, a drought, a fire, a thief, a murderer come in and destroy it or you right before your eyes. Then all that you worked for was gone.
This is why King Solomon wrote:
I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees.I bought male and female slaves and I had home born slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.
Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
What King Solomon realized is that if we labor for the things of this world and for our own pleasures and glory we will spend our lives being miserable and unsatisfied. Yet, labor in itself is good.
Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.
It’s not the labor that is in vain it is rather the what we are laboring for and the why of our labor. Work is a gift from God. The ability to know that we are gifted with minds and bodies that are all uniquely qualified for certain tasks and when we put them at work together we can see amazing and satisfying results is indeed a gift of God. It is a beautiful expression of His image that we are created in.
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Genesis 1:31 – 2:2
There is something about completion that gives us rest that satisfies. Having a thought or vision of something and starting it and seeing it completed brings a sense of well being in our souls that causes us to step back and take a deep breathe and simply, at least for the moment, be still. Just like our Creator God, our Heavenly Father did in the beginning and just as our Lord Jesus did on the cross when He said it is finished.
So if we labor after things and for the admiration of man we will never be satisfied with our labor and we will never rest. There are always more things and man is fickle. This world is like a bottomless pit and it doesn’t matter how much effort you dump into it, it is never full. Just think of the simplest thing like our current technology. Before you even know how to utilize all the amenities of your new smart phone, an announcement comes out that the one in your hand is outdated and there is bigger and better available.
If we labor for things we labor in vain. If we labor for ourselves we labor in vain. However, if we labor for the honor and glory of God we labor with purpose.
In Luke 10:2 we read of Jesus speaking to His disciples,
And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Then in the book of Colossians Paul writes,
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
In the beginning God began His work and on the sixth day He completed all His work and then He rested. Our Creator God worked to complete not compete. He has called us to do the very same thing.
This labor day I challenge you to stop and evaluate your heart and your labors. Why do you do what you do?
Do you see a point of completion in your endeavors or is it a never ending striving after something that can never be finished?
At the end of your days will you be able to say that you have not labored in vain?
Is the goal of your labors to compete with those you see to have more of and in this world than you or is it to complete the present task that has been set before you?
Do you labor for the glory and honor of God or for yourself?
Are you laboring in the fields of God to see others complete in Christ?
What would change in your life and in your home if you worked to complete with God instead of compete with man?
Have you ever wondered if your kids could grasp the doctrine of salvation? Have you been taught that they are just too young to understand the depth of the Scriptures? Or perhaps you know that they can understand and learn the beautiful truths of their Creator God in meat form and are simply frustrated with the current milk market for children’s Bible study curriculum.
I have spent the summer getting a study that I wrote through the book of Romans in workbook form. It has been available on Kindle for over a year, but now this series can be ordered in a ready to use workbook. This study will take your child through the entire book of Romans verse by verse. Yes! In this study I have tackled all the hard questions and prayerfully have done so in a way that will help your child understand them.
Here is what some are saying about this study:
“Nicole did a great job getting to the “meat” of the text. I would recommend this study to parents who would like to take their children to a deeper understanding of the biblical truths taught in Romans.”
Dr. Rob Jackson
Central Baptist Church
“This study not only pulls out riches from the Word but also teaches people how to. Nicole models proper Scripture interpretation (hermeneutics) through the use of who, what, when, where, why and how questions. She also leads the reader to compare Scripture with Scripture in order to properly interpret. After each section of study she adds a “Think About It” section to lead the reader into application. In addition, she adds occasional word studies and Greek words to help a children’s ministry leader, Sunday school teacher, or small group leader better teach and facilitate discussion of the text.
If you’re looking for an inductive study of Romans, this is a great one to pick up! It is the first of five. I look forward to checking out the others!”
Chaplain and visiting professor at Handong Global University
Pastor at Handong International Congregation
Pohang, South Korea
“Excellent study – I’ve used it for a teen study but have learned a lot myself as an adult going through the material.”
Below are the direct links to purchase this series for yourself!
I am also attaching a free PDF download of the first book so that you can see how the workbook is written and how you can use it at home or with a class.
I am also available to come and share this material with your church and to come and work with any of your children’s leaders or parents in helping them learn how to take their children deeper into the Scriptures. I love teaching! I have worked with preschoolers through adults and I can stand before you in full assurance and say that your kids are hungry for the same truth that you as an adult are hungry for.
If you are looking for a speaker for a children’s event or conference that will take your kids deeper and grow them in the grace and knowledge of God then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get something scheduled!
I have had this post on my heart for several weeks. I had originally planned for this to be a video post, but I have to “get ready” for one of those. I simply can’t bring myself to make a video in my make shift pajamas, puffy eyes, and bed head before I have had at least two cups of coffee in me. This early morning time is usually the only time that I am not on the go so opportunities for a live video are slim with me. Then yesterday, when I was reading in the book of Job as I waited on one of my girls to check out some research material from our public library, I was reminded again of this being on my heart…
The verse in Job that I read was:
He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Job 6:14, ESV
Kindness. It’s a simple thing. Yet it appears to be so difficult for us to put into action. It’s difficult because it is an attribute of God. It is a fruit of the Spirit of God. This is why God does not simply recommend it, but demands it of His children.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8, NASB
A little more than a month ago I got blindsided by a question like accusation that came out of left field. I was taking a friend to meet someone and drop off some information about Proven Path and our women’s conference Relentless. This person looked at us both and asked, “Are you Genesis people?” We just looked at one another not really sure what they were asking. I reminded this person that I had written a book on Genesis and we both responded that if they meant did we believe the book of Genesis, then yes we were “Genesis people”. This person went on to question us about the new Ark exhibit at the Creation museum because they were very concerned about the dinosaurs and the age of the earth and they shared how they refused to even go see this exhibit because the whole thing was crazy.
Let me remind you this person professes to be a Christian. Therefore, in that moment I had a choice to make. I could begin an argument or I could choose kindness.
I chose to grab this person’s hand and look them in the eye and say, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came to this earth born of virgin, that He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day and it is only through Him that we can be saved.” They said, “Well yes!”. I then said, “Then that’s all that matters. None of this other stuff is a deal breaker with God.” She looked at me, then said, “But for some people it is.” I said, “I know.” At that moment peace was restored and we left with smiles and see you next times and talk to you soons.
Then just a few weeks after this encounter I had another. Our family was visiting at a church that is not of our denomination. I do not know if the one preaching knew the denomination that we attended or not, but apparently within his message of sharing he talked about another pastor that he met with regularly that others questioned why he did so. He claimed he met with him, because all he could do was teach the guy and hopefully one day he would learn.
The preacher he was meeting with was of our denomination. Several years ago, I would have awakened to this conversation and would have jumped to the defense with Scripture upon Scripture. However, somehow God chose for this comment to sail right over my head. My children said they held their breath waiting on me to say something, but I never even knew he said it until the ride home.
I have had to stop reading several bloggers that I used to enjoy because I am saddened by the amount of sarcasm and the lack of kindness. Please know that I am very much aware that if you were to scroll through the earlier years of my blogging days you would find posts that could be seen as unkind. I have been the “unkind” Christian who just so wanted you to know my Jesus that I became frustrated and irritating when I couldn’t get you to see and believe what I wanted you to see and believe. This was wrong of me and I have prayed that the Lord would forgive me and redeem my sad attempt and immaturity and bring those individuals that I possibly could have scared away to salvation in spite of me.
In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes,
that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you maybe puffed up in favor of one against another.
Most of our denominational differences is due to us going beyond what it is written. We actually think we have been given some special insight and it is our mission from God to make sure that everyone else sees it the way we do. We can become quite nasty and forceful with this mission and will even disassociate ourselves from anyone that we cannot convince to see things our way.
I have learned that most of the time it is better to be kind than proven right. When being right becomes more important than the relationship, or potential for relationship, then we are walking on dangerous ground. Even, and especially when, we are talking with someone who is not simply of a different denomination but a completely different faith. The gospel is here because of a pursued relationship and it continues because of relationships. We are supposed to be ministers of reconciliation not confrontation. No one has ever been quarreled to Christ.
In Proverbs 20:3 read,
It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.
We look like fools to the world when we as brothers and sisters in Christ argue with one another. What does it say about us to a watching world if we are willing to destroy one another over things that are temporary.
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.
Have you ever been at a family’s gathering, and you were not a member of this family, and then the family begins arguing with one another over something that you know nothing about and are not a part of? How did it make you feel? How did it affect the way you saw them? Did it make you want to come back and visit again?
When I read the Scriptures there are things that are clear as crystal to me and then there are things that are clear as mud. There are things that I thought I understood perfectly and then God opened my eyes and I realized that due to my own personal environment and perspective I was missing something beautiful that when it was shared with me from someone who saw it through a different eye I was finally able to see. However, had I not been willing to listen to their perspective I would have missed it completely.
In the book of 2 Chronicles we read of King Uzziah. Uzziah was a good king. He loved the Lord and walked in His ways and the Lord blessed him because of it. Then in his blessings he became arrogant.
But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
2 Chronicles 26:16
Uzziah grew strong and he left kindness at the door. He quit listening to others who were serving the same Lord and decided that he had the direct line to God and everyone else and their knowledge and voice was invalid. He would not listen to the correction of the priests.
But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged…
2 Chronicles 26:19
Beloved, there is a problem with our hearts when we become enraged with one another. The Scripture is quite clear that those who are walking in the Spirit are exhibiting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). So if something said or done has led us to check any of those off at the door then there is a problem. The problem is usually our own pride.
If the majority of our religious conversations is to prove our interpretation and denominations doctrinal stance over another’s then we are way off base from what Jesus commanded us to do and we have lost focus of our calling.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
We have a hurting and dying world at our fingertips that needs the gospel. It was the kindness of God that brought us to repentance not someone proving their denominational stance. When Paul was discipling Timothy he said,
I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:15-16
Paul also sat down in counsel with the early apostles as they sought the guidance of the Lord as to what they needed to require of those who believed the gospel and were coming from a non-Biblical background and in the book of Acts we read,
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
I read some comments on blogs and I cringe. I read them and I know that if that thread of commentary was the only piece of Christian interaction that I ever experienced, I would not want to be a Christian. This is not how we are to represent Christ to the world.
Let us not be guilty of laying burdens on others that the Holy Spirit did not lay. Let us not become guilty of becoming so arrogant that we refuse to listen to others. Let us not become guilty of being unkind simply because someone does not agree with us. Let us not become guilty of being a stumbling block for the gospel because we are quarreling with one another.
God doesn’t need us to fight for Him. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of convicting a soul. Jesus didn’t ask us to make converts. He asked us to make disciples.
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Therefore, precious one, always stay humble and kind because Jesus said that we would be known as His disciples by our love for one another.
It’s August! It’s back to school month for most children everywhere in our area. This month Mommas will be sending their kids into school firsts. Perhaps this will be your baby’s first day at preschool, or kindergarten, or elementary, or high school, or even college. Maybe this month will be your child’s first day at a new school or just a first day at the next grade in an old school. Perhaps you are jumping into a brand new adventure and this month will be your kids first day to homeschool. Perhaps you already do homeschool, yet your kids are moving up into the next group in your church or school co-op. A new minister, a new Sunday School class, a new group of kids… so many influencers that you do not yet know surrounding them and becoming their leaders and/or peer group.
It doesn’t matter what your August looks like you can still feel it. The angst of the new, the apprehension of letting go, the wondering of are we making the right choice. The mix of joy as you see them growing up and the deep strange sorrow of knowing that they ARE growing up. Oh how we can see the so many things that will be left behind in the land of smiling tear-filled memories as we watch them take each new step into the world of firsts. Yet, how proud we are as we see them walk into those firsts. How desperately we pray that they will make wise choices while they are there. Or at least quickly learn from their mistakes so that they don’t have to spend forty years circling the same mountain!
As I spent time in the Word this morning I read a passage in 1 Corinthiansthat spoke to my heart concerning my children and I wanted to share it with you…
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that youare God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:5:17, ESV
Now let me share with you how this translated to my heart this morning…
Yes, you are sending your child into their next unknown. It’s unknown to you and it’s unknown to them, but it’s not unknown to Me. You, dear Momma, are my fellow workman. You simply plant or water, as do the others that are in your child’s life, I alone am the One who causes the growth.
Your child is My field and My building. According to My grace that I have given you, like a skilled master builder, you have been laying a foundation. Now you have to sit back and watch others build on that foundation. Do so in the trust of knowing that no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.
You have taught them and are teaching them the truth of My Word. You continue to plant and water. You continue to be a workman with Me. Remember that we are One, you and Me, we are in this together. It’s not all on you. You are actually nothing apart from Me. So trust Me to guard the foundation of Christ that has been laid in the heart of your child.
Know that others will build on it. Some will build with gold, silver, and precious stones. Some will build with wood, hay, and straw. Trust that I will reveal what is of value and is strong enough to become a part of the foundation. There will be moments when others try to place wood, hay, and straw on that foundation, but I will remove it. My fire will test it and what cannot withstand the test of My fire will be burned up and cleaned away, so that only what is of Christ will remain. If I have to burn it down to the foundation itself, I will, but the foundation will never be destroyed.
Dear sweet Momma, do you not know that your child is My temple? My Spirit dwells within them. Do you not know that if anyone, ANYONE, tries to destroy My temple, I will destroy them? My temple is holy and your child is My temple. So please, just keep planting and watering and working My field and trust Me to protect the building and bring the harvest.
And Momma don’t forget that you are My field and My building too. You too are My temple, and I will also be watching over You.
But they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.
2 Kings 21:9
This morning in my quiet time with the Lord I was reading in the book of 2 Chronicles about Manasseh. Manasseh is the son of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a mostly good King of Judah, but he went through a time of being too big for his britches and unfortunately the pride he walked in during his old age greatly influenced his son Manasseh.
Manasseh began to reign as king when he was only twelve years old. He was more wicked than any king that ever sat on the throne of Judah. He rebuilt all the altars of idol worship that Hezekiah had torn down and added new ones. He even built altars INSIDE the temple of the Lord that Solomon had built to honor his father, King David, and to honor the One True Living God. Manasseh sacrificed his own sons to demons and practiced witchcraft and divination and dealt with mediums and spiritists (2 Kings 21:6).
Basically, if God was for it, then Manasseh was against it. Manasseh murdered his sons and walked with demons and was proud of it. He was so proud of it that he encouraged an entire nation to do the same. One man with the influence of darkness and deception through the power of seduction was able to turn the hearts of thousands away from the God who had faithfully delivered, redeemed, and provided for them over and over again.
Surely God was done. Surely these sins that Manasseh had committed were unforgivable, Surely there was nothing but wrath left for this king of Judah that walked in such abominable wickedness. After all, the Lord had tried. He had spoken to Manasseh over and over again, yet was ignored. For Manasseh nor the people paid any attention to the Word of God (2 Chronicles 33:10).
That is until the Lord sent the Assyrians. Manasseh was taken captive with hooks and bound with bronze chains and was brought to Babylon. Here Manasseh’s pride was humbled. Here Manasseh cried out with all his heart to the God of his father. The God that he had rejected, ignored, and abhorred was the only one who could deliverer him from his chains.
(There is something about visible chains that helps us realize the invisible chains that held us all along but we were too deceived to see.)
Do you know what the crazy thing is? God heard him! This one that murdered his sons and walked with demons and encouraged an entire nation to follow in his ways, God heard him. God heard him and God forgave him.
When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
2 Chronicles 33:13
From that moment on Manasseh set out to destroy all the idols he had built and he ordered Judah to serve the Lord. He turned his heart fully to God and tried to encourage the nation to do the same. I can imagine the tear filled prayers of Manasseh as he entreated the Lord to protect his sons from his mistakes. I imagine this was his prayer because of what I see in the Word of God after his death.
After Manasseh’s death his son Amon became king. Amon was going to lead the people right back down the path of destruction. The Lord gave Amon two years to repent and return. When he continued to refuse, then the Lord allowed him to be removed from the throne. This is when Josiah, at eight years old, would become king and the greatest revival that Israel has ever known would begin (2 Kings 23:21-22). God would honor the prayers of the humbled heart of Manasseh through his grandson.
So beloved what does this recorded information mean for us?
There is no sin too great that God’s grace cannot reach. So never write anyone off! Keep praying.
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our choices come with consequences but God’s is able to redeem our consequences for His glory. Keep praying!
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
It doesn’t matter how bad the situation seems, how lost the nation appears to be, nothing is impossible with our God. Keep praying!
They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it.
2 Chronicles 24:13
In Luke 10:2 Jesus looks at His disciples and says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…” Therefore beloved, let us look at our hands and ask, are they engaged in the work of the Lord? Are my hands a part of the repairing and restoring and strengthening of the house of God? However, in order for us to ask this we must first consider where is this house of God, or what is this house of God, or who is this house of God.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
The house of God are the people of God. Those who trust in His Son and call upon Him for salvation are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). Those who are filled with His Spirit “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5). In order to be a worker on His house, a laborer in His field, we must be a preacher, a proclaimer, of His gospel.
AndHe came and preachedpeace to you who werefar away, and peace to those who werenear;for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holytemple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
The purpose of my hands is to be engaged in the work of the Lord. As a part of His house my hands are to be a part of the repairing and restoring and strengthening of the house of God. If the house of God is built by the living stones of people who are alive with the Spirit of God, then the only way I can lay a brick is to share the truth of the gospel. The only way I can repair, restore, and strengthen a stone is to minister to a living heart that has been laid in the constructing of His house.
The bottom line is that if I am to be a worker of the Lord then I must be engaged with people. I must be willing to proclaim the hope of the gospel of Christ. I must be willing to go out and gather the stones that the Lord Himself will breathe life into and cause to call out His praise. I must be willing to get down on my knees in the muck of the lives of broken people and apply the mortar and grout of the Word of God that binds us to each other and to Him. I must be willing to search for the cracks and fill them with the truth of His love through the power of His Spirt that seals us for all eternity to His house.
Oh, let us be engaged in the work.
Let us be laborers.
Let us remember that Jesus died for people.
Let us remember that this world is not our home. We are not to be consumed with laboring for the things of this world, but for the eternal souls of those created in the image of God. We are to remember that better is one day in His courts, in His house, than a thousand elsewhere. Our hope, our confidence, is in Him whose house we are if we hold fast firm until the end. Let us hold fast. Let us stay focused on our calling and on our work and keep laboring, one stone at a time, brick by brick, until the builder of the house, our God, says that it is complete.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, but remember that in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
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The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn