Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for the ‘The Heart of the Home’ Category

Rock or Sand?

(Note:  God’s Beloved Daughter, devotional and monthly Bible study, is being published!  It should be available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com at the beginning of the New Year.  Today’s entry will be my final blog.   Please pray along with me that its publication will touch many lives for the Kingdom.)

As the heart of your home, you are the determiner of its foundation.  Jesus tells us the result of purposefully putting the Word into practice.  A home founded upon the rock of God’s established principles and expectations will not fall when storms come.  But “great and complete” will be the fall of the home of those who choose not to honor the Word.  This is not simply metaphorical warning.  See how the Message Bible relates the message:

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.  They are foundational words, words to build a life on.  If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his home on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit – but nothing moved that house.  It was fixed to the rock.  But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.  When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.  (Matthew 7:24-27)

Jesus is “upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty Word of power” (Hebrews 1:3).

John 1:3 – All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.”

Ephesians 1:9 –Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention} which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in Heaven and things on  the earth.

The world we live in was made through Jesus, through the Living Word of God (past). And through that Word He continues to uphold, guide, maintain and propel the universe (present).    Further, everything will ultimately come together (be consummated) in Him (future).  Everything in this world came through, is through, and will be through Jesus.

So when our Lord tells us of the importance of building our lives, our homes, our families on the rock of that Truth, on the rock of faith in that reality, we can readily see not only the value of that admonition, but its paramount importance in the face of creation reality. To build on any other foundation, on the shifting sand of any other set of values, is the preamble to collapse and to a “great and complete” fall.

“The wise woman builds her home” (Proverbs 14:1) on the rock. She raises her family upon the rock, settles their future upon the rock.  Allow the Truth of the Word in its entirety to inform your choices and your words today.

 

God’s Word on the subject

Matthew 7:24-27                     Ephesians 1:9

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A Gentle, Peaceful Spirit – Part Two

This certainly deserves a second look.  It is so very important, given our Father’s directives, that we carefully monitor and maintain our daily environment in peace.  The establishment of a home whose characteristics emulate and therefore honor God is our responsibility.  Training up our children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6)  [ I met a woman whose standard in her home was to say to her children, “Yes, you may watch television, but first you must read the Bible for the same period of time you want to watch TV today!] , “honoring and esteeming” our husbands (“loving and admiring them exceedingly”!) [Ephesians 5:33], guarding and watching carefully in the Spirit for any issue or person attempting to disrupt (or any approaching problem which the Holy Spirit advises about requiring prayer – John 16:13) – all of these call for a vigilance in both prayer and the established standards of Heaven.

All of this is done most effectively, most powerfully, through our gentle, courteous, and peaceful spirits.  It seems counter-intuitive to some that we overcome and disarm obstinate selfishness in others through gentle humility in ourselves, hateful and detestable behavior with a calm and peaceful demeanor, and malice, jealousy, and selfish disdain for the rights of others with love and prayer. But that is how our Father expects us to walk before Him. It matters not what others do, what they say, or how they act.  Our relationship with our Heavenly Father requires our obedience to His methods and expectations   The Word tells us that “a gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4).   In the face of opposition we are to “…be forebearing (yielding, gentle and conciliatory) and …show unqualified courtesy toward everyone” (Titus 3:2). [See End Note]

The wisdom that we receive from God is:

…pure (undefiled)…peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle)…full of compassion and good fruits… free from doubts, wavering and insincerity (James 3:17).

There is strength in the godly standard.  In the realm of the Spirit there is no strength at all in negative, evil, and selfish behavior.  It may be loud, but it is only fleshly excess and the language of a defeated foe.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against…spiritual forces of wickedness… (Ephesians 6:12)

The Word is telling us here that inappropriate, ungodly behavior of people in our lives is a direct result of their spirits being alive to Satan and not to God.  They have not yet been transformed by righteousness and informed by God’s Word and Holy Spirit.  They deserve our prayer and our consistent example of godliness.  It is the purposeful stand of a gentle and peaceful spirit that confidently “warns away fear, doubt, and distrust”(Proverbs 31:18), opposition, bullying and agitation.  Take your stand in peace and let your gentle words bring healing.

End Note:  I feel led by the Holy Spirit to add this.  Faith in God’s Word and a growing awareness of the Truth, power, and living quality of Its effectiveness in the life of a believer is the result of time spent with Him, time hearing and hearing and hearing strong Gospel teaching, time getting to recognize His voice and leading, and seeing (experiencing) the results of standing in faith.  If you find yourself dealing with very negative situations from people in your life and are a new believer, reach out for godly counsel, for a strong church, and ask the Lord to reveal to your heart strategy to deal with your current issues.  Do not remain in an abusive situation.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 15:4               Titus 3:2-4  

A Gentle, Peaceful Spirit – Part One

Gentle – Having qualities considered appropriate to those of good birth; refined, polite, generous, kind

We have all encountered people in our lives whose response to a variety of life events is unpredictably erratic.  Never sure of their emotional temperature on any given day, we tread cautiously in their presence – watching our words, avoiding troubling topics, and carefully censoring our interactions.  How sad that honest conversation addressing important life issues often takes second place to maintaining an uneasy peace; how inappropriate and absolutely evil that godly standards are lowered to accommodate sin.  That’s too much power for one person to hold over another!  (I am not speaking here of choosing the appropriate time to hold important conversations.  I often recognize when someone is not ready to receive counsel or address a concern. There is wisdom in recognizing the auspicious moment!  No, I am speaking here of emotional bullying or selfish insistence on getting their own way.)

In our home environment such a situation creates ongoing turmoil and uneasy spirits.  Left unaddressed, the nurturing environment that home is supposed to provide is overshadowed and ultimately transformed into uneasiness and chaos – an effective breeding ground for the enemy’s purposes. Home, then, is no longer a peaceful haven to enable positive growth; it is no longer a trustworthy place.  Whether it is a parent or a child creating such discord within the family (or a friend or colleague creating such discord within a relationship or within the workplace), the cause is the enemy’s, the remedy is the Lord’s.  (Never doubt that the joint condition of absence of peace and the presence of discord has its root in the actions of the enemy.  Flesh might pick it up and run with it, but the first cause is Satan and the sinful nature – Ephesians 6:12).

No matter what the enemy tries to throw at you, your way must be the way of peace, gentleness and love for therein lies the faith response.  These are Heaven’s remedies and “tactics” against which he may not prevail.

1 Peter 3:11 …search for peace (harmony, undisturedness from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellow men and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]

Obedience to the Lord on this matter is key.  Prayer, both in the Spirit and with your understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15), will give you the answer.  You are to have dominion in the area assigned to you.  You are to recognize the tactics and devices of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11), and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit overcome them. You are to stand on His Word and, with a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), allow God to heal and restore.  You are to speak forth God’s powerful Word in unqualified expectation that what the enemy meant for harm God will reverse and turn around for His glory and your blessing.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Ephesians 4:2              2 Timothy 2:25                1 Peter 3:4, 11-13

Her Children Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

Note:  This is addressed to mothers in their homes, future mothers, and, yes, single women whose godly lives and choices honor our Father.  Our lives are a living epistle “to be known (perceived, recognized) and read by everybody.” (2 Corinthians 3:2).  This is a message for mother to daughter or for sister-in-Christ to sister-in-Christ.

This is such a rich promise when it comes to the establishment of a godly home.  As the heart of your home, your role in the lives of your children has generational and eternal repercussions.  I have said previously that from the moment my children were born they understood three things – Jim and I loved them dearly, we respected the people that they were and that they would become, and we were in charge.  And they clearly thrived within that knowing.

In our Ephesians 6 verses today (“God’s Word on the subject”), children are instructed by the Lord to:

Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother –this is the first commandment with a promise- that all may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.

While these instructions are directed to the children – their behavior and heart attitude – we play a directional role here for it is our consistent, loving expectation of their obedience to this admonition that successfully guides them through their formative years.  As God’s representatives (Ephesians 6:1) we mirror in their lives God’s relationship with us.  God says to us, “These are my expectations – walk in them and be blessed.”  We are to raise up our children in a similar manner. The great love God holds for His children, the standard of excellence He expects, and the affectionate and watchful caring (1 Peter 5:7) that He daily provides – these are to define our shepherding of our children. And within that safe, loving haven, within those nurturing parameters they grow up into the full, complete knowledge of the Lord.  God’s promise is that when we train them up in this way, they will not go astray (Proverbs 22:6).

And looking back over the lives they have lived in your home, the godly instruction they have received, the daily expressed and extended love, and their developing faith, they will rise up and call you blessed!  Allow the Holy Spirit to instruct you in your parenting, and in the unique needs of each of your children.  Speak the Word over your children.  Hold them to God’s standards.  Proclaim excellent and princely things over their lives.  Daily you touch the generations to come and eternal things when you step up into your calling as God’s representatives in the lives of your children.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 31:28              Ephesians 6:1-4

Taking Dominion – Part Two

One day, during my years as a family daycare provider, a young mother came into my home to pick up her toddler daughter.  She also had an elementary-school-aged-son whom she had left in the car.  He had misbehaved in some fashion and his punishment had been to wait behind in the car.  As she entered my home, in his anger he “laid on the car horn” for a long while.  Then we heard the car door slam and angry, stomping steps up my front stairs.  He stormed into my living room, marched up to his mother with a scowl on his face, punched her in the arm, and shouted an obscenity at her.  Wide-eyed, she looked at him and then at me, shrugging as if to say, “What can I do with this boy?”

I, however, knew exactly what to do.  I looked directly at this ten or eleven year old boy and said, sternly, “No one talks to their mother like that in my home.  Leave my home at once.”  He looked at me and then questioningly at his mother – once again she shrugged, and he walked out of my home back to his car.

About a week later he accompanied his mother into my home to pick up his sister.  As he entered my living room, he looked directly at me, and with no negative attitude, no mockery, he openly and honestly said, “Hello Mrs. Grodecki. Is there anything that I can do for you?”

What caused this “wayward lad” such a turn around? He saw what respect looked like.  He had visited someplace where godly standards prevailed.  And I truly believe that he understood, through my stern rebuke, that I respected the person he could become; that I demanded better of him than he was giving. And while I had demanded respect from him for his mother – her role in his life as his parent required that (Ephesians 6:1-3) – her behavior as his parent did not!  Clearly he had said these disrespectful words to her in my presence because he did not expect any repercussions!  What experiences in his life prior to that moment led him to believe that nothing would come of his rudeness?  Where were the other authorities in his life – grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers?  Was there no one in his life whose expected standards gave him pause?

Over the years I have, and you have, seen many children floundering within the unstable parameters of minimal and inconsistent adult supervision and expectation.  From the moment my children were born they understood three basic and foundational things – they were loved and cherished, they were respected, and their father and I were in charge.    Taking dominion in your home and in the lives of your children requires a steady vigilance, a spiritual alertness, and an unwavering standard.  Do not intermingle godly principles with the weak and flawed and ultimately harmful attitudes of the world.  Honor God, and He will establish your steps and the steps of your children.  (Psalm 37:23)  Walk within your house in integrity and with a blameless heart. (Psalm 101:2)

Proverbs 29:15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. [Message Bible]

Proverbs 29:17Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did- they’ll turn out delightful to live with. [Message Bible]

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7           Joshua 24:15                Psalm 37:23

Psalm 101:2                          Proverbs 4:26

Taking Dominion – Part One

For quite a few years while my daughter was young I ran a family day care in my home.  Many young children and their mothers came into my home throughout those years.  I had the opportunity to witness many family dynamics.  Some mothers were quite comfortable in their parenting role, many were not.

One young, single mom brought her toddler into my home one morning still in his pajamas.  “He wouldn’t let me get him dressed this morning,” she explained.  I looked at this grown up young woman and this not-even-two-year-old young man and said (incredulously), “He wouldn’t let you?”  And I thought that unless something drastically changes, this small child was on his way into rebellious growing-up years, kicking out against weakly established limits trying to desperately find out if anyone besides himself was “in charge“ in his world.  Children need to feel safe and cared for.  They need the adults in their lives to take dominion.  And to the best of my ability I shared that with the young mother that day.

Recently, I spoke with a sister-in-Christ with four grown (teenage) children.  She was concerned and frustrated with the behavior and lifestyle of her youngest.  Dark and depressed moods, a withdrawn and disinterested demeanor, sullen and uncommunicative – all of these warning signs increased as time went by.  Although a professed Christian, he listened to hard-metal rock music quite consistently, the lyrics ungodly and blasphemous, the music jarring and unsettling.  This mother asked for prayer for the situation – for her son.  She had gotten to the point where she was walking around the outside perimeter of the house, praying in the Spirit – her modern day wall of Jericho – trying to take charge in the spirit realm.  And yet the simplest and most effective thing she could do – ordained of God – was to take dominion in the life of her son (Proverbs 22;6, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15), to raise him up in the way he should go, to instruct him and give him understanding of what faith in Christ both looks like and requires, to rear him tenderly “in the training and discipline and the counsel and the admonition of the Lord”, to make clear that under her roof only godly behavior and activity was acceptable- “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)  -this is her God ordained dominion. (Genesis 1:28).  Then she would do him only good, then she would help set his path aright, then she would lay a foundation in his heart and mind of God’s standard.  And we prayed together with those admonitions in place.

One of the attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman – the “capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman (verse 10) is “she looks well to how things go in her household” (verse 27).  In other words, she is spiritually alert to what is going on in her household.   Have dominion over that which God has given you to tend.  Insist daily on God’s standards for your family.  Anything less ushers in the tactics of the enemy.

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 31:26-27           Ephesians 6:4             Titus 2:3-5 

Because of What Jesus Did

You’ve heard the phrase “too good to be true!”  It seems so jaded, doesn’t it?  And yet many operate under its influence.  Most of us don’t awaken to face the new day filled with the anticipation of goodness coming our way; with the assumption that all will be well today.  We don’t joyfully bound out of the bed filled with an expectation that every moment, every encounter, every path taken will bless us exceedingly.

And yet, according to Scripture, why not?  As God’s beloved daughter, filled with His Spirit, you have stepped over into eternity.  Your focus is different.  Your perspective is changed.  You are that “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ Jesus.  You have inherited “glad tidings” (Acts 14:7), “the fresh and new has come”.

Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name.” [Emphasis mine]

Now there’s an attitude to wake up with in the morning!  A heart filled with such gratitude colors your every action, your home life, and your representation of what life with Jesus is all about.  When the heart of the home is filled with such assurance and understanding, you are truly building a heavenly atmosphere. Because of what Jesus did we are in right standing with our Father.  Because of what Jesus did sin no longer defeats us (1 John 2:1), health is our birthright (Mark 5:34) and daily provision a promise we can expect to be fulfilled (3 John 1:2, Joshua 1:7-8).  Because of what Jesus did the power of our enemy, Satan, is disarmed (Colossians 2:15), vanquished (Ephesians 4:8), and brought to nought and made of no effect (Hebrews 2:14).  Because of what Jesus did we walk in freedom (Romans 8:21).

Galatians 5:1 –“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”

Because of what Jesus did!  If you will keep your heart and mind resting on this truth, if you will cast down (1 Peter 5:7) every thing in your life that lifts itself up against God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5), you will certainly disprove “too good to be true!”.

Our Father is always only good to His children (Psalm 34:8, 1 Peter 2:2-3).  Whenever a care, anxiety, or fear presents itself, turn immediately and consider Jesus – His love for you, His faithfulness, His power  – “He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully”  You are no longer your own, entirely responsible for the outcome of your days – you are His, bought with a precious price (1 Corinthians 7:23).  You are under His care now.  It is so good and it is all true!

God’s Word on the subject:

   Acts 14:7                     2 Corinthians 5:17             Galatians 5:1

 Hebrews 13:15

More Precious Than Jewels, Rubies and Pearls

Family life today is often disjointed, scattered, dysfunctional, and even for some non-existent.  Ungodly behavior is accepted and acceptable.  Many are tolerant of behaviors that clearly mock God’s Word.  It entertains us in television series, movie plots, and popular fiction.  Its prevalence desensitizes our sense of righteousness.  We explain away evil as simply the evolving mores of the age.  In fact, it is no longer called “evil”; it is personal choice, political correctness, and the necessary outcomes of our multicultural, all-inclusive, “open-minded”, “enlightened” society.  Every single one of those last four terms have positive implications, but not if they err on the side of forces dedicated to rebellion against God.  How far we have fallen from God’s standards and purposes for a family!

Genesis 2:24- Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Malachi 2:15 – …And why [did God make you two] one?  Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union].

Proverbs 31:10-31  has much to teach us about you, the heart of your home.  First, we must realize that, as God’s daughters, dedicated to His service, we are quite few and far between in this world!  You are “far more precious than jewels” and your “value is far above rubies and pearls.” For who, indeed can find that “capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman”? (Verse 10)  Do you see yourself in the light of God’s Word?

It is a very slippery slope to “nod and wink” at the compromised moral attitudes that surround us.  For where, indeed, do we draw a line in the sand and say, “This far, and no farther”?  When we take a stand in our homes and for our families, our children, to do it God’s way, according to His Word, choices will become clearer, standards will be set higher, and godly principles will replace worldly error.  But if we buy into the political correctness of the world around us – godless conversation, actions, attitudes, and moral relativity – we misrepresent our Father and create, within our homes and for our families, a weakened foundation, a confused vision, and a tottering standard.

Our children will thrive on our firm commitment to God’s standards.  It will inform their behavior, their decision-making, and their “peace and undisturbed composure” (Isaiah 54:13)   There is a right and a wrong in God’s kingdom in all areas of life.  Bless your children, your family, your friends and acquaintances with that knowledge.  As we seek from God the “straight and right way for us, our little ones, and all our possessions” (Ezra 8:21), He will show us the path of life where there is “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 17:11).

Hosea 14:9Who is wise that he may understand these things?  Prudent, that he may know them?  For the ways of the Lord are right and the [uncompromisingly]  just shall walk in them, but transgressors shall stumble and fall in them.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Genesis 2:24          Proverbs 31:10               Malachi 2:13-17

Build Your Home

Being a creative being is a direct emulation of your Father.  Every moment brings a choice to positively or negatively affect your world.  There are no stagnant moments, no periods of time during which what you do or think doesn’t matter.  For even in quiet, seemingly unproductive, stretches of time, your thoughts, your mood, your expectations either honor God and grow you, or deny His Word and defeat you. Both are creative results – and you are the creative force – positively or negatively.

There is no grey area here.  With our hearts and minds centered on God – His Word, His love, His ultimate purpose to prosper you and do you only good – every moment of this day shines with potential and positive promise.  You think God’s thoughts and you speak God’s Words.  Because you know beyond any doubt that He is here with you – lovingly for your success, guiding you, teaching you, counseling you (John 15:26) – a grateful heart, a joyful spirit, and a purposefully attentive ear help you create peace and beauty in your home, your work place – your heart.  And the ripple effect of that choice blesses many.

Proverbs 14:1 – Every wise woman builds her house…

Alternatively, with our hearts and minds not attending to God we become self-referential and fill up our moments, words, and thoughts with worldly beliefs, fleshly concerns, and Satan’s weapons and tactics raised against us.  This contrast is not an oversimplification.  You are either looking to God or you are looking in the opposite direction.  Your fulfillment, your purpose, your identity is either as God’s beloved daughter, or it is not.

He who does not gather with Me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)

The end of Proverbs 14:1 says:

…but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

Fill your heart, your home, and your activities today with the clear, absolute sense of God’s presence.  Create beauty with your Father.

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Proverbs 14:1             Matthew 12:30             John 15:26

The Home of the Consistently, Uncompromisingly Righteous – Part Two

“Get your Bible.  I want to show you why My people are not receiving the fulfillment of My promises.  I want you to see why they are not receiving health and healing, why they aren‘t receiving prosperity and riches.”  (Secrets of Powerful Prayer– Cameneti and Hammond).

That certainly grabs your attention, doesn’t it!  The verse God led the author to was Psalm 112:1:

Praise the Lord!  (Hallelujah!)  Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.

The Lord goes on to speak, throughout Psalm 112, of all of the benefits inherent in the lives of those who live according to Verse 1.  Honoring God in your life, in your family, in your home starts with this.  Praise the Lord!  Worship Him!  Delight greatly in Him!

Again, from Secrets to Powerful Prayer:

“You can tell which people are doing business with God on a regular basis, because they’re always praising Him.  They always have something going with God to praise Him for.”

You are the heart of your home.  May the heart of the heart of the home be continually filled with gratitude, praise, thanksgiving and a joyful recognition that all that you are that is good, all that you have that is a blessing, and all that you will successfully become is our Father’s handiwork.

Be a daughter who leans the entire weight of your personality over onto God in praise and thanksgiving, who casts every concern once and for all over onto Him, who consistently raises up you children in the nurture and the “training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), who stands uncompromisingly on His Word.  And praise, praise, praise!

 

God’s Word on the subject:

Psalm 112                Hebrews 13:15