“”But You, O Lord,
are a shield for me,
My glory and the One
who lifts up my head.”
Psalm 3:3 nkjv
“”But You, O Lord,
are a shield for me,
My glory and the One
who lifts up my head.”
Psalm 3:3 nkjv
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.” Proverbs 17:6 nkjv
PERFECTED, BY ERYNN SPROUSE
Available at Kaio Publications
ROASTED ARTICHOKES & SPINACH, AVOCADO & STRAWBERRY SALAD
by Stacy at A Delightful Home
POLISHING THE PULPIT
Dates: August 19-25, 2016
Location: Sevierville Convention Center, Sevierville, TN
Registration Now Open
Imagine, if you will, the joy that comes when a mom and dad find out that they are expecting a new child. Whether through pregnancy and birth or through the joy of adoption, the joy of such a blessing is overwhelming. Beyond measure, a true thrill to the heart.
Now imagine, if you will, that soon after learning of the impending child, they also learn that there may be a problem, whether physical, mental or developmental. How do you imagine, that feels? Could it be a mixture of both joy and pain? Is it perhaps sorrow and elation that joins together leaving confusion in the soul? Do you perceive that their could be worry, wonder and amazement?
Also imagine what the day of delivery might be like.
Parenting is joyous, but also challenging even for children born with no special need. Now consider the difficulties which may lie ahead for a parent with a special needs child. It will look different for each family. There most likely will be financial struggles, emotional struggles, and feelings of isolation. The realities of what the family is facing can put a strain on the marriage, a strain that far too often leads to separation or divorce.
The feelings can be overwhelming and the work that follows surely is so. From doctors appointments, special need therapies such as speech, occupational, fine and gross motor development, to vision care. Perhaps something as simple as feeding the child takes on a whole new meaning when parents are learning how to tube feed or faces a lifetime of diaper changes.
The idea that no one understands is certainly understandable. The idea that none helps, is, well, it’s sad beyond measure, especially for those who are members of the Lord’s body.
We are called to love one another, John 13:34-35. We are called to do unto others, Luke 6:31. We are called to show compassion, kindness, and longsuffering, Colossians 3:12. We are to bear one another’s burdens thus, fulfilling the law of Christ, Galatians 6:2.
If there are those among us who are feeling isolated, cast off, and without help or care, then we are failing to uphold the body of Christ, we are failing to fulfill the law of Christ.
“…Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.” Matthew 25:45 ASV
We must look past our own comfort and see to the needs and hearts of others. No special need parent in the Lord’s church should ever feel as if they have no help, no one to care, or that they aren’t needed, or a part of the Lord’s body.
But, often, too often, this is the case. Why? Most likely it is because we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to help or what is needed. But, that is simply an excuse because we must step outside of our own comforts and ask, show love, compassion and a listening ear, both to the parents and the child.
“And one of the multitude answered him, Teacher, I brought unto thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever it taketh him, it dasheth him down: and he foameth, and grindeth his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast it out; and they were not able. he answereth them and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him grievously; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long time is it since this hath come unto him? And he said, From a child And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst! All things are possible to him that believeth. Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. And when Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I command thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And having cried out, and torn him much, he came out: and the boy became as one dead; insomuch that the more part said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.” Mark 9:17-27 ASV.
While we can’t offer physical healing to our brothers and sisters in Christ for their child. We can offer them compassion, love, and kindness which can heal broken hearts, thus fulfilling the law of Christ.
This post written by Team Member: Renée
Words: The Power o Life or Death
Empowering God’s Women by Penny Kendall
Penny knows that some days are hard, and that discouragement and disappointment can surround you like a wave. She understands and wants to offer a bit of encouragement for your day.
“GOD’S WORD offers the breath of life and He admonishes our words to do the same.” — Penny J. Kendall
Join Penny on her blog and share your heart with her. She’ll offer you words of encouragment, hope and love.
When Silence is Just
by Jayla Sparks at Marvelously Modest
To say that wisdom is coming from youth seems like an oxymoron, but the reality is when one is trained up in the nurture of God’s word, wisdom is learned young. That’s what Jayla presents in this blog post about being cautious with our mouth. She uses an excellent Biblical illustration to show that it’s best to think before you speak.
“I believe that this is an issue we often justify and don’t really like to touch. How many times do we mistake going to our brothers and sisters for help, with gossiping?” – Jayla Sparks
Sisters, this is a post you don’t want to miss. You will be uplifted, nudged and gently, lovingly reminded of the importance of our words.
H&C Religious Supply is a Bible Book and religious supply store located in Chattanooga, TN. They provide resources for all ages, including workbooks, children’s curricula, study aids, teacher’s supplies, and much more. Since the 1970’s have served their local community by providing resources for churches and individuals seeking Bible study aids. Now, with their website they deliver to the needs of Bible students all over the world. Don’t miss, they have free shipping on all orders over $40.
Do you ever get stuck on how to serve? Do you think, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do? This is often where we can get hung up. Stuck in the I don’t know place.
But we can’t use the I don’t know place as an excuse to not do what the Lord has asked of us.
Serving can be simple acts or acts that require many hands to get the job done.
There are many people who need help. But, are we overlooking them? Or, do we think, well if they needed help, they’d ask. Too often, people are afraid to ask, or are embarrassed to admit they need help.
Remember that Christ asked us to be living sacrifices, Romans 12:1. Offering help can seem awkward, but that’s the part where we are to step outside of our comfort zone a bit.
Ideas for People to Serve
Service doesn’t have to look like big. In fact, some of the most loving acts of service are those tiny, small, seemingly, unnoticeable acts that get overlooked. Remember the example of Christ? He washed the disciples feet, John 13:12. He saw the leper, heard the cries of the blind beggar, healed the lame, He chose to be obedient to His Father and extend love to the outcasts, the weak, the infirm.
Without His example, we may do the same. But, we are Christians, Like-Christ. We are to be like Him in all that we do, say and how we love. When we offer service to others, it isn’t to bring glory to ourselves, it brings glory to Christ Jesus our Lord.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
A simple act of kindness begins in the heart. It begins by having a heart open to seeing where need lies.
These are just a few ideas. Hopefully, they will help you to think outside of your nervousness and realize that God places you where He will for the purposes of working in His kingdom.
— Written by Team Member Renée
We’re bringing you topics of interest from the Brotherhood around the web. Whether you are searching for preacher’s notes, sermon outlines, women’s devotionals or ideas for Bible classes, we want to bring you highlights from around the web as a weekly encouragement to both you and our members.
Bible Fun for Kids Lessons on Jesus
Debbie Jackson is known for her Bible Class lessons that are easy to utilize with all the free printables you need to complete a Sunday or Wednesday lesson. But when she pulls together a complete series of lessons that are based on teaching sound faith straight from the word of God, you can usually cover an entire quarters worth of lessons. This highlight is to let you know about Debbie’s latest series, Jesus, she has spanned a little over 2 months in this series, so far. But you can also search her categories for even more.
Sister Donna Faughn recently shared this very encouraging post that guides us to look around our congregations at those who influence us to be faithful. Like the Pillars of Faith we see recounted in Hebrews 11 we too can look around at our brothers and sisters and be reminded to be faithful to the Lord. They can be, if we have open eyes and hearts, living testaments of the faith that we have in Christ Jesus.
We encourage you, dear sisters, to read Donna’s words and be motivated to see faith in action all around you.
Preaching Help Sermon Outlines – Steve Higginbotham
Being the daughters, and wives of preachers, and one team member a preacher himself. We all are aware of the time, effort, research and study that goes into developing sermons, week after week. Which is why this week we want to feature a Preacher who shares his sermon outlines online for others to utilize. Brother Steve Higginbotham shares his weekly sermon outlines at PreachingHelp.org. They are categorized by year, and then each are listed and attached to a downloadable and printable pdf.
This post organized by Team Member – Renée.
Are you a woman who struggles with finding a balance between being a godly woman seeking God through study and prayer as well as fulfilling your role of being a homemaker, wife and mother? Just hearing the question may bring to mind the example of our Sister Mary and our Sister Martha and their story of how they chose to spend their time with and for Christ.
We all struggle with that balance. For them, well, they were two women. We, however are one. But the reality remains we want to choose the better part, but, we also have responsibilities. So how do we keep a clean and orderly home, provide meals for our families and still find time to study, pray, and serve the Lord within the church?
Our team member Sharla wondered the same thing. Then she came across this book: “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul.” by Sarah Mae. You can read more about the book here:Are You Mary or Martha?
Sharla discovered through this book that our goal should be to have an inviting home filled with love. The book is a guide to help you find the way to develop balance by offering you daily challenges, a Mary challenge and a Martha challenge.
So Sharla decided that it would be both fun and encouraging to start an online study group where women could encourage each other through the challenge.
“It’s really going to be a simple study and a simple house cleaning mission. I think the main purpose is to get everyone in the habit of reading their Bible and cleaning their house. It will also help women to not put so much pressure on themselves to think their house has to be perfect.” Sharla Orren
If you would like to join Sharla’s challenge group Join the 62 Day Bible & Cleaning Challenge.
It should be noted that while this book is written from a “christian” perspective, the author is not a member of the church of Christ. Sharla says that to join the group you are not required to purchase the book, but you may if you feel it will be beneficial to your ability to find this balance.
Posted by Team Member – Renée
“Jesus is Coming Soon” is one of those songs that we love to sing. It has such an upbeat tune, with the promise of Jesus’ return. But do we too often sing through it without considering the words behind the upbeat-ness of the song?
“Troublesome times are here.” Today, we think. But notice this song was written in 1942. There were certainly troublesome times in 1942. World War 2! Yet, again, in 2016 we find ourselves in troublesome times.
“Freedom we all hold dear, now is at stake.” True in 1942, true today. But, our freedom as Christians, lies in Christ. His promise is that His kingdom will stand forever. Our freedom in Him will last forever.
This upbeat song, we love to sing comes with a heavy dose of reality. This song is one of both promise, “Jesus is coming soon.” and one of doom, “Many will meet their doom.”
As Christians it’s easy for us to sing, “Troubles will soon be o’er, happy forever more.” because, that’s the promise we are all longing for, all waiting for, all hopeful for. But with that reality, with our hope, will come the doom for so many.
Yes, troublesome times are here, and many a heart is full of fear. But our faith is what will see us through the most troublesome of times. We do not know the hour or the day when Christ will return. God longs for all to come to repentance.
So during these troublesome times, we should be all the more diligent to be lights of His love, speaking His truth without fear.
Jesus is Coming Soon
by R.E. Winsett 1942
Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear,
Freedom we all hold dear, now is at stake.
Humbling your heart to God saves from the chastening rod.
Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake!
Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound.
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the sky,
Going where no one dies, Heavenward bound!
Troubles will soon be o’er, happy forever more,
When we meet on that shore, free from all care.
Rising up in the sky, telling this world goodbye,
Homeward we then will fly, glory to share.
Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound.
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the sky
We cannot allow ourselves to be struck cold by fear.
We must stand firm in our resolve to be followers of Christ. We must acknowledge that our freedom lies not in the laws of man but with the law of Christ. True freedom is the law that cleanses us from our sins and leads us to eternal glory.
Remember that we were not promised ease of life. We were told that if need be, we will be grieved by various trials.
1 Peter 1:36-9 NKJV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
As we face troublesome times, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NKJV.
–Written by Team Member Renée
There are times when a Christian woman may come to understand that God is opening her heart to mother a child who has not been born from her own body. Often these mothers are women in waiting, who find they are unable to bear children. Other times this desire grows in the hearts of moms who find they simply have more love to give. Either way, the work before them is filled with love, joy, stress, and at times a burden so profound that it makes it difficult to sleep at night.
These women seek to honor God by providing a home to a child in need. They do this through foster parenting, being a legal guardian, working in a children’s home as a house parent, or through the act of adoption. Regardless of how they come to it, the hill is rarely an easy one to climb. The support available is limited, at best, and friends who can truly understand are seemingly non-existent.
A mother who chooses to build her family by bringing children into her home and loving them regardless of any struggle that may come, has a selfless heart. It’s not easy.
Children who come into foster care, or group homes, or even are adoptable do so because, generally speaking, they are coming out of a difficult situation. Sometimes these children have been in abusive homes, neglectful homes, or have parents who are ill, in jail, or even deceased. These children are often struggling to breath and are overwhelmed by the circumstances of lives that they have no control over and suddenly they are removed from whatever bit of normalcy they know and are dropped into homes of complete strangers. While the strangers might appear to be nice, the child will wonder if they can be trusted, struggle to attach not knowing or understanding why they are there in the first place. Often, the child has no knowledge of what has taken place.
While children can be resilient, the fact is, they are innocent and tender souls who are hurting. They need loving, understanding arms and hearts, but don’t know or trust the ones that they are suddenly expected to live with and obey. They will test limits, rules, patience and love. They will distrust, rebel and disobey. They may have health struggles, mental illness or addictions that will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. And then, there is always the bit of niggling fear at the back of the mother’s mind that wonders, worries or even faces the reality of having to send a child back, back to their former life, back to their biological parents, back to their previous situation.
It’s not easy. In fact, it is hard. For those of you reading this who are IN this place, If you are a mom who prays through the night over a little soul that is hurting, if you are a mom who falls to her knees in fear that the child you’ve grown to love is in danger of being pulled out of your life, if you are a mom who has a broken heart because your child has a broken heart, or if you are a mom who weeps over the pain that your little one is in, either emotionally, physically or spiritually, then we offer you a small measure of encouragement.
But you dear sister in the Lord, are safe in the arms of the LORD your God. He loves you, knows you and can comfort you. He is your Strength, your Rock, your Shield. He is a High Tower who protects you and those you love. You CAN do all things through Him who gives you strength. Your sacrifice is not without merit because you are loving souls and seeking to train them up for His glory.
Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My loving kindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.
Psalm 144:1-2 NJKV
There are times when you will feel isolated, alone and as if no one understands. But you aren’t alone. Even though each situation is unique there is a commonality in the selfless act of extending love during heartache. There is fellowship in knowing that someone else has experienced a similar struggle. Here at R16:16 we have several bloggers in our directory who have become mothers through foster care, or adoption and we want to share their sites with those of you who need some encouragement.
This is the first A Mother’s Heart feature that will be available on the R16:16 Blog. We hope to encourage and support Christian mother’s in their roles and daily work. You may find blog features of women who write about motherhood, or articles of encouragement for various phases of motherhood. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas in comments.
Article written by: Renee Aleshire Brown, R16:16 Team Member