Blog

For Adults

How Do You Feel About Laundry

By: Dawn Elliot

In a recent conversation with a young newlywed, she was lamenting how much laundry her new husband generated and how much she hated doing laundry. As we chatted, I shared with her two things.

First, I reminded her of how long she had prayed for her husband and how God had answered her prayer by allowing her to marry this godly man that she loved. Philippians 2:14 tells us to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Is that always easy? Absolutely not. It takes practice. And do you know how our children best learn this? When we model it. I never remember my mom complaining about household tasks, even when we came in late at night after a basketball game with dirty uniforms. She happily washed them and had them ready for the next day. Her example reminds me not to complain about household tasks but to thank God for the blessing of family and the love and the work that comes with that blessing.

Secondly, I challenged her to think of doing her husband’s mountain of laundry with an attitude of service. Galatians 5:13 reminds us to “through love serve one another.” It goes on in verse 14 to tell us that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Any command in Scripture should start in our own homes. Where better to put the principles of Scripture into practice than with the ones that we love the most. I will quickly admit that this “practice” is not always easy. I prayed for boys; I got boys. Do you know what comes with boys? A filthy bathroom. Bathroom cleaning is not my favorite chore, but it is definitely a way for me to practice serving my family with love.

While the world tells us to focus on ourselves, God’s Word tells us to serve one another in love without grumbling.  

What about you? How do you feel about laundry?

For Girls

Learning to Love Laundry

By: Rachel Violanti

Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning. Did you roll your eyes when you read at least one of those? I would have a few years ago, but then I met Dawn Elliott. One of our first interactions was her “momming” me, telling me to be careful not to fall off a ladder I was using. I thought that was odd because I obviously knew not to fall off the ladder. But what I would come to learn is that she has a heart for young people, and I had so much to learn from her.

I vividly remember complaining to her that I had double the laundry to do now that I am married. She reminded me that I have a husband I love, and we both have clothes to wear. She reminded me of Galatians 5:13, which says: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” That verse doesn’t say to serve one another and grumble about it or serve one another with resentment. Serve one another humbly in love. I don’t have to do laundry; I get to do laundry. Is this always my attitude? No. However, it warms my heart to think I have women in the faith who have been through the same stages of life that will keep me accountable.

This attitude of service works both ways in our marriage. Neither spouse is perfect, but we strive to serve each other humbly in love. If you think, “I’m not married; this isn’t for me.” Think again. When a friend asks for help cleaning her house when you just sat down to watch a movie, going to her house is to serve her humbly in love. This mindset can apply to all our relationships. The best example we have is Jesus – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) Jesus served us humbly in love when He died in our place. Now it is our turn to emulate the characteristics of Jesus to others.

For Girls

Apples of Gold

by: Destinee Payne

There are things we can do to guard ourselves against speaking with iniquity. Our tongue is compared to forest fire and deadly poison in James 3. We need to be in the habit of professing God’s word and having reverence in our speech to guard against speaking with iniquity. We need to profess our Jesus on our lips. We need to be in the habit of telling of the great things God has done and giving Him the glory.

Proverbs 25:11 states “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I love this verse! I can just imagine a setting of a beautiful apple orchard where all the trees are silver, the ground is silver, and the sky is silver. There on the trees are beautiful golden apples that stand out perfectly! How beautiful is it for a young woman to speak of her precious Creator.

Younger girls, as well as women, feel it is cheesy or corny to talk about God and praise Him with joy. It’s almost uncomfortable to express our faithfulness to God in daily conversation. This isn’t just with non-believers, it is even among fellow believers. I ask those of you who are older to encourage younger women by speaking about God with them. Ask them what they have seen God doing in their lives. Tell them what you have seen God doing in yours. Praise Him together.

I challenge you younger women to express praise to God verbally. If you’re having a great day, say it with your lips, “God is good!” We might often think that, but saying it is much more forward. Aren’t we scared of that? Read scripture out loud. Praise God by reading the Psalms of David. David was not ashamed, and he spoke often of praising his God. Psalms 9:1 says “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” This should be the song of our own lips. There are many other verses like this in Psalms. I challenge you to go to a quiet place and proclaim them out loud.

If we push ourselves to be in the habit of praising God with our lips and sharing our reverence for His holiness with others, we guard ourselves

against speaking out of place. We are not perfect and will not always be successful. However, I believe that if we have apples of gold constantly on our lips, it makes it very difficult for the worm to find its way in.

Ask yourself, “How often do I speak of my Jesus?” It’s easy to talk about the things we love like our friends, our hobbies, or other things. If we love Jesus so much, shouldn’t we be talking about Him? How often do you converse with others about your Creator? I challenge you as I challenge myself to use our tongues, not to start fires, but to praise our God.

For Adults

Time

By: Anna Fox

“I just don’t have enough time.” “There are not enough hours in the day.” These phrases quickly roll off our tongues, yet if we listed how we utilized our day, it would often show we wasted a lot of time. What are we passing down to the next generation in this state of busyness? I work with ages 0-18 and have heard, “I just don’t have enough time” from every age group. This phrase has been paired with not enough time to do personal devotions, our family is too busy to do family devotions, and we don’t have enough time to come to small groups.

Do we utilize our time in a way that teaches the next generation that our walk with Christ is essential and intentional? Does it teach that we see the importance of obeying Scripture about being faithful to the local church and fellowshipping with other believers? When they become adults, will they know the importance of having a walk with Christ, attending church, and serving in their local church? Or is our lifestyle teaching them that Jesus died for us so that we can live for Him when it is convenient?

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Another version says, “So be careful how you live. Do not live like ignorant people, but likewise people. Make good use of every opportunity you have because these are evil days.” Biblical stewardship is more than being good stewards of our finances and resources; being a good steward also includes time. The word steward is seen in Scripture as referring to a person (servant) entrusted with great responsibility for his master’s belongings. We are to make the most of the time the Lord has given us.

All things belong to Him, including our time. When we realize that our purpose on earth is bringing God glory and that He should be part of everything we do, does that change our perspective on how we view time?

The girls in your life are trying to navigate school, homework, sports, band, church, and their walk with Christ, and it becomes overwhelming. Our job as mentors, parents, and adult figures in their lives is to help them develop a biblical worldview. We should be teaching them that everything we do must be filtered through Scripture and seeking where the Lord is at work and joining Him.

Here are some practical ways to help them navigate this:

  1. Be honest with the girls in your life about your struggles with being a good steward
  2. of time. Start the discussion that our days belong to the Lord, and we are to make
  3. the most of our time and be good stewards.
  4. Have a practical discussion on how your family will adjust to allow the Lord to be
  5. Lord of ALL things in your life and family’s life.
  6. Ask your teen what areas they struggle with regarding time and help them navigate
  7. that through a biblical worldview with practical solutions.
  8. Have intentional daily, spiritual talks with your teen. It does not have to be a sit-
  9. down family devotion, but instead, in everyday situations, talk about what the
  10. Scriptures say and how you can obey it.
  11. Take time to self-reflect on what your family’s lifestyle teaches about the
  12. importance of church attendance, small group or Sunday school, serving in the local church, and then adjust.

Serve together as a family. Create a bond with your teen in the local church that goes beyond youth group so that when they become adults, they stay connected because they already are connected. Teach them that if they are believers, they have a spiritual gift that needs to be utilized in the local church.

We only have one life to live for Christ. He has entrusted us with these girls to be their parents or mentor. Make the most of the time you have with them by teaching them how to make the most of their time by serving Christ in all areas of life.

For Girls

Time

By: Catie York

When you hear the phrase “good steward,” what do you think of? As believers, we may often focus strictly on how we use our money and physical resources for God. In scripture, the word steward originally referred to a person (often a servant) entrusted with great responsibility over his master’s belongings.

Christ is our Lord and Savior; He is our Master! If we truly viewed Him as our Master, we would come to realize that all things belong to Him. This means that as His good stewards we are entrusted with great responsibility to dedicate to Him not only our physical resources, but also our immaterial ones. Our immaterial resources include, but are not limited to, our focus, efforts, dedication, priorities, and time.

It can be more difficult to dedicate the immaterial things to God – especially our time. In your life as a young woman, there are so many things calling out for your attention. It may seem that you are busier now more than ever before. To be honest, as you become an adult it will continue to feel that way. Know that in each moment, God is with us! It is up to us to determine how we will spend our time and focus our attention. Take a moment to really self-reflect and ask yourself:

Am I being responsible with the time that I am being entrusted with?

How do my priorities show that I desire to be a good steward of my Master?

Do I have the dedication expected of a good steward?

What resources (physical and immaterial) am I offering to my Master?

If your answers are disappointing or seem less than that of a good steward – know that you are not alone. There is an abundance of grace poured over you! Take this time to lean into the Lord, allow Him to encourage and build you up. If your answers indicate, you do have the qualities of a good steward – I urge and challenge you to find new ways of offering your whole life to God as His humble servant. Being a good steward of our time means intentionally focusing and acting on each opportunity God entrusts with us. This means that we are more than just awake and in attendance at church on Sunday. It is more than just having fun and goofing off with friends at youth group meetings.

Being a good steward of our time means that we show our Master we are trustworthy, we responsibly care for the time He gives us, and we desire to dedicate our lives to Him as His servants. We do this by engaging with Him, growing a deep, personal, and intentional relationship with Him. We learn to grow with Him and bring honor and glory to Him in all things we do – not some, but all. I encourage you to choose now to dedicate each moment of your time to being His good steward. I pray you come to see His love, peace, provision, and blessing clothed over your life.

For Girls

Treasure Of Your Heart

Destinee Payne

The treasure of our hearts comes out in our words. As imperfect humans, we will not be able to say the right thing all the time. We will not glorify God in everything we say. To guard against speaking this way, we first need to make sure the treasures of our hearts are the right things. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34-35, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

Jesus is talking to the Pharisees who were religiously proud and were deceptive. Jesus knew what the treasures of their hearts were, and it was not good.

This sounds pretty intense if we are trying to apply it to ourselves. I mean Jesus called them “Brood of vipers!” Those are poisonous snakes! You might think “Well, I don’t speak evil.” Or “I don’t have anything terrible like that in my heart.” You might not have the heart of a Pharisee, but there are still other things in our hearts that can cause us to stumble in our speech and in our witness for Christ.

I want you to think about this. What is the treasure of your heart? What is the most valuable and precious thing to you? We need to evaluate ourselves and see if there are things we concern ourselves with too much.

You also might be asking “How do those things affect the way I talk?” Well, too much of something and we can get caught up in all the things we really want. We might begin to put our dreams for ourselves ahead of others. When we have all this selfishness, it comes out in what we say. Maybe we brag about the things we have to our friends or complain about the things we don’t. Maybe we point out the flaws of others and become gossipers. Whatever it is, it might seem harmless, but words have a tremendous impact and could hurt others and our witness for Christ.

I say all of this from my own personal experience and my own personal desires. I’ve noticed at times I get so caught up in what I want, I fail to see what others need.

Jesus wants our full heart and our full attention and devotion. Jesus says in Matthew 22:37 “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” If we let these other things take priority, are we not disobeying the greatest commandment? Are we not opening ourselves up to speaking with iniquity? We need to first put our priorities in check. Ask about others. Put your wants aside for a moment. We need to make sure that the only thing consuming our hearts is Jesus!

For Girls

Thorn In The Flesh

By: Debbie Driscoll

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Many of us suffer from having a thorn in our flesh, just like the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12. For some of us, this thorn could be a bad relationship that we are dealing with, for others it could be a physical weakness, yet for others it could be an issue of personal sin. Whatever the struggle, thorns are never fun to live with. They are annoying and, most of the time, quite painful.

Nobody likes to have thorns in their flesh. I remember getting one stuck in the palm of my hand not that long ago. Immediately, all I could think of or wanted to do was getting that thorn out of my skin. I did not care how, I just wanted it out! I started looking around for tweezers and needles, and, once I found them, I used them to poke at my skin, with the hopes of getting that little intruder out of my body. Of course, in my impatience and desire to get rid of the pain at all costs, I ended up causing more damage (and pain) to myself by using my non-disinfected instruments too hastily and without caution. Not only did I fail to take out the thorn, but I managed to create a deep wound in my hand that took several days to heal.

Don’t we do this in our walk with God, too? So often, when we get a “thorn in the flesh,” we start poking at it, trying to remove the source of pain with our own strength. However, just as Paul teaches, sometimes God allows thorns in our flesh in order to use them to mold our character. It is in those moments of discomfort that God reminds us of His sufficient grace in our lives. Thus, when a moment of weakness arises, may we refuse to rely on our own strength, and instead allow God’s strength to sustain us and His abounding grace to take care of us in our pain. 

For Girls

Riding to Victory

By: Brittany Hernandez

A couple months ago my husband and I bought bikes. I totally got a purple mom bike with a basket. Its pretty much amazing. I try to at least 4-5 times through out the week go on an evening bike ride ALONE!

I like to take 30-60 min and ride around town and listen to some worship music and just pray. At first it was a little difficult. Those hills were killing my legs. To be honest I was not enjoying it but I knew I needed the time alone, and I was getting a work out in.

What I have started to notice is those hills getting a little easier to climb, and noticed that when I continue to peddle downhill I build up momentum for the next hill. This may sound silly to you, but the other night as I was ridding I felt like God was showing me a picture of life. There are always hills to climb. Some small, some a little bit larger. But at some point you start to go back down. How true is that in life.

Sometimes we have battles and mountains we have to climb. Sometimes we are down low in the valley trying to get up the mountain but the pain is so much to endure it seems impossible. But, the more we peruse and keep pushing upward and the more consistent we stay in the word and prayer the more momentum we have when we have to climb. I don’t know where you are at right now. I don’t know if you are just getting started or have been peddling like crazy. I do know you have to start somewhere and stay disciplined. But with hard work and the determination to life a life of victory and truth you can do it.

So if you are trying to peddle out of the valley up the hill and you are tired, keep pushing. Do not give up. Greater is He! It is worth the climb and the pain of the ride. When the ride is over, there is victory.

For Adults

Riding To Victory

By: Brittany Hernandez

A couple months ago my husband and I bought bikes. I totally got a purple mom bike with a basket. Its pretty much amazing. I try to at least 4-5 times through out the week go on an evening bike ride ALONE!

I like to take 30-60 min and ride around town and listen to some worship music and just pray. At first it was a little difficult. Those hills were killing my legs. To be honest I was not enjoying it but I knew I needed the time alone, and I was getting a work out in.

What I have started to notice is those hills getting a little easier to climb, and noticed that when I continue to peddle downhill I build up momentum for the next hill. This may sound silly to you, but the other night as I was ridding I felt like God was showing me a picture of life. There are always hills to climb. Some small, some a little bit larger. But at some point you start to go back down. How true is that in life.

Sometimes we have battles and mountains we have to climb. Sometimes we are down low in the valley trying to get up the mountain but the pain is so much to endure it seems impossible. But, the more we peruse and keep pushing upward and the more consistent we stay in the word and prayer the more momentum we have when we have to climb. I don’t know where you are at right now. I don’t know if you are just getting started or have been peddling like crazy. I do know you have to start somewhere and stay disciplined. But with hard work and the determination to life a life of victory and truth you can do it.

So if you are trying to peddle out of the valley up the hill and you are tired, keep pushing. Do not give up. Greater is He! It is worth the climb and the pain of the ride. When the ride is over, there is victory.

For Adults

The Promises of God

Promises can be found all over the place!  Ads on television promise everything from to beautiful white teeth to cars that parallel park themselves. Pill bottles promise you’ll lose 20 pounds or have more energy. Sometimes your children promise “I’ll feed him and walk him and clean up after him!” when a new puppy is in question. If you think back over your life, memories of promises broken stick with you much longer than promises kept. We expect promises to be kept, and when they aren’t it causes disappointment and discouragement. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.

Christmas reminds us of the biggest, best promise kept! The promise of a Savior and the hope of eternal life with the God who created us. Talk about hope! Because that’s what promises really are – a reason to hope. Those promises, all that hope, is found throughout scripture. The Bible is full of hope for our everyday lives, hope for our future, hope for answers to our dilemmas and wisdom to navigate our lives.

Knowing and recognizing the kept promises of God can be a great thing to share with your daughter. Look for opportunities to point out how God provides, and when He keeps His promises.  Talk about the promises, use them to reassure, quote them to encourage, and refer to them when there are decisions to be made.  To do this, you have to know the promises and recognize them yourself.  Maybe you could make it a point in your devotional time this coming year to search out, memorize, and meditate on God’s promises. Perhaps you’ll want to list them, and note examples from your own life experiences of God’s faithfulness.  Then look for opportunities to share those with your daughter.  Help her see that they apply to her too, if she’s a child of God. Help her to recognize God working in her life.

Seeing God’s faithfulness should also make us more careful with our own promises.  If you promise to pray for someone, pray, maybe stopping right where you are to bring their need to the Lord. If you promise someone an answer “soon”, figure it out and give them their answer. If you make a promise to your children that you are then not able to keep, explain why and offer an alternative solution. Since we know kids learn by what they see in our lives everyday, help them learn trust and respect by keeping your word. Try not to make promises to your kids that you can’t be sure you can keep, perhaps telling them you will “do your best”. When your daughter experiences a broken promise from a friend, a boy, or a teacher, talk to her about resilience, forgiveness, and learning how to how to deal with disappointment.

This Christmas, undoubtedly there will be some “promises kept” and some “hope deferred” in all those packages under the tree, but let’s make sure to emphasize as much as we can the incredible promise God kept on that first Christmas!