Appetites

I’ve been living the gluten-free lifestyle for almost two years now. It took some time adjusting to different recipes and what stores carried the gluten-free food I was looking for. There’s always more to learn. Not only am I comfortable cooking this way now, but I really enjoy knowing I’m feeding my family healthy food. Along with the switch to gluten-free I went healthier all together. I stay away from processed foods and try to eat as natural as possible. I was amazed how much gluten-free junk food I found. I’ve learned so much about reading labels and what really goes in our food.

When I talk to people about gluten-free most people think it would stink to have to eat that way. They think there are so many foods they wouldn’t want to give up. There was a time early on when I would get frustrated at all the things I couldn’t have. I got hungry easily because I wasn’t sure what to replace the old food with. It was just a matter of changing my perspective not on what I couldn’t have but what I could have. After awhile my appetite changed too. I no longer hungered for the things I couldn’t have. The few times my mind would think I wanted the food I used to eat I would remember my stomachaches. My digestive system would gurgle as food went sluggishly through. I didn’t realize there was a better way to live. Had I known, I would have changed what I ate years ago. I ate because I knew I had to. I ate wheat bread because I thought it was a healthy decision. I didn’t know that it was the very thing that was harming me. My stomach always hurt. I just accepted it as a way of life but when the symptoms became more serious I had to take a deeper look at what was wrong.

So when people mention what I have to give up, what I think of is the stomach pains. I think of the low energy level I had. I think of feeling like I had a brick in my gut weighing me down. Those are the things I had to give up. I feel so much better now. I don’t have constant pain. My energy level is up and I still feel light after I eat. It’s like I have been given back life.

As I journey in my walk with Christ I hear people saying they don’t want to give up certain parts of life to live for Christ. Some of those people aren’t Christians and they chose not to be because the things they think they would miss. Others are Christians but still hold on to a few things from their old way of life.

Similar to when I was eating wheat bread because I thought that was a healthy choice for me, sometimes in our Christian walk we can be hurting our self without knowing it by clinging to our old way of life. We accept thoughts or attitudes as normal. It’s not until we have more problems in life that we seek to find out what is wrong. When we press in and seek God for answers He is faithful to shine His light on areas we need to remove. Many of these things require a change of perspective. A willingness to turn from what is hurting us and say yes to the Lord’s way. When we turn we become cleansed and healed but only to the degree we abandon what’s been poisoning us. It’s a matter of dying to yourself and your desires. Trading them in for God’s way of life. Sticking with it for the long haul.

Many times when people change to a gluten free diet they do it for awhile. Then after feeling better a few months little by little they start eating what they were eating before. Then they feel icky again. People do the same in their Christian walk. They do a full turn from their old appetites but after awhile of being delivered they forget the pain and heartache of their old way of life and begin letting past habits in little by little. Then they say the Christian life doesn’t work and walk away. You must be faithful in your new way of living to reap the life-giving benefits. Time and time again the Lord told the Israelites to be faithful in all He was commanding them to do then it would be well with them. When they fell away they would reap the consequences.

After awhile your appetites change for what you desire. The way you talk changes. The way you think changes. You won’t desire to watch the same shows anymore. Your outlook completely changes, if you let the Lord change you. Some people think that following Christ is boring. Following Christ is anything but boring. It’s quite an adventure. The joy and peace you receive is immeasurable. When God’s love surrounds you and the anointing of His Holy Spirit falls on you it’s AMAZING! You thought you were living before but now everything is fuller…richer. Life comes alive and you don’t desire the old way of life anymore. When you fall so in love with Jesus you don’t desire what hurts Him.

Some people want to know how much they can do in their walk with Christ without crossing over the line into sin or disobedience. They want to be saved but give up as little as they can. That’s the wrong perspective. Once you’ve tasted goodness you don’t want to be even close to “the line” of being worldly anymore.

I invite you to come into the presence of the Lord. Feel His all consuming love for you. Let it fill you with a passion for Him that is undying. Come and taste His goodness. You’ll never hunger for anything else again. Once you’ve tasted what He has to offer you nothing else will ever satisfy you. It’s the difference between eating the finest steak as opposed to eating processed chicken nuggets. There’s really no comparison. Though you may struggle with your flesh trying to get you back to your old your habits, your desires will be for the Lord. With His Holy Spirit leading you flesh will not win.

This is a great challenge for many but the rewards are great. Some areas in our lives are easier to submit to the Lord then others. That’s why we need other believers to encourage us along in our walk with the Lord. Everyone can go deeper with the Lord, myself included. I want to encourage you to dive all in with the Lord. It’s worth it. He is worth it.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I Peter 2:3-4 (NIV)

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:25 (NLT)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly the realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

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Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Self Control

Here it is, the last fruit of the Spirit, self control. To demonstrate to the kids what self control is I got out the bubbles. I blew a few bubbles and let them pop them. Then I challenged them to not pop the bubbles the next time I blew some. I made sure everyone understood what they were to do. I blew the bubbles. It was fun to watch my 7yr old son concentrate so hard on not popping the bubbles. He did good though. He didn’t pop any. Then I explained that’s what self control is. When you control yourself and don’t do something you know you shouldn’t.

For the fruit this week I chose the apple because Adam and Eve did not show self control and ate the fruit anyway, which commonly is said to be an apple. I read the kids the story of the garden of Eden from one of their children’s books. Then we colored, cut and taped our paper apples to our paper fruit baskets. P1000758

Our verse this week was Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) A man who can’t control himself is like a city whose walls are broken down. So for day two I built a fort in the boys’ room with foam blocks and other fort type toys my boys have. I brought my kids in the boys’ room and talked to them about how we need to protect ourselves from the enemy like cities used to be protected with walls. When we lose control of ourselves we are unprotected from attacks.

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On day three I read to them the temptation of Christ from the International Children’s Devotional Bible. (It can also be found in Matthew 4:1-11) I explained to them how Jesus got it right. He did not fall to temptation but kept self control. He did this by knowing Scripture and what it meant.

Day four the kids learned what to do to keep self control. They made a stop light out of construction paper. The red stop reminds us to stop. The yellow reminds us to think about the choices we are going to make. Is it a good choice or a bad choice? After choosing you go to green. The green light is when we act on the decision you made. Then my kids colored a picture of self control I found at ministry-to-children.com.  P1000803
For treats this week the kids had apples, gluten-free apple crisp and applesauce. I only had four days this week because we are back to the full swing of school and I have another devotional I do on Tuesdays.

I enjoyed doing this series with my kids. It turned out to be more then lessons on fruit of the Spirit but also a character study. It’s important to stress that these are fruit of the Spirit. On our own we will not do a great job at producing these qualities. Not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)
Also no amount of good qualities will get you in right standing with the Lord. It’s by faith that we are saved not by works. The fruit of a persons life is simply the evidence of who we are surrendered to.

I also really enjoyed sharing what we did with all of you. I hope I gave someone some ideas on how to teach the fruit of the Spirit.

Well Done!

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God designed us each with our own unique talents, strengths, abilities and experiences. He planned out things we should do for Him before the world began.

Discovering things God designed me for is exciting. Discovering what He didn’t design me for is freeing. Right smack in the middle of all these exciting and freeing discoveries is, that part of God’s plan for me is to be a mother. The world so downplays being a mom or a parent that sometimes I buy into the lie that having kids is on the side of all these other things God created me for. I think that once the kids get out of the house I can fully take hold of my big purposes. While it may be true I’ll have more time when the kids move out, the rest of that is a lie.

Motherhood… parenthood is in the middle of God’s plans. It’s not a side thought to keep me busy. It is a big part of my purpose. These four lives I’ve been entrusted with are not only precious to me but also to God.

Moms, it’s so important that you know your job is not little or insignificant. Especially to the stay-at-home moms who have no official job title. It’s easy for those moms to think they are worth less then other women. The words “just a mom” need to be erased from our speech. I understand the world you’re in. I’m right there with you. Tomorrow when you get up, not long after your feet touch the floor, little eyes will be peering up at you ready for a new day. Depending on the season of motherhood you’re in your day may be filled with diaper changing, potty-training, nursing, laundry, picking up toys off the floor, brushing food out of hair, trying to keep up with filling empty tummies, answering questions of young inquisitive minds, listening to made up stories, and settling sibling quarrels just to name a few. Often times with more then one of these going on at the same time. When you add homeschooling into the mix, as in my case, it makes the day even more interesting.

Hear me when I say, it’s not just another day of potty-training or helping with homework. You are laying foundations. A solid rock in an unstable world. A place where their foot will not slip. Where winds and the current of this crooked generation will not sweep them away or steal their hearts because the Word of God is part of the very marrow that flows through their bones. They’ve been taught the truth of God’s Word from infancy because you, their mother, showed it to them.

Shower them with love.
Love them for a lifetime.
You are their mother.
In you, their life was created.
From you, they drank and were nourished.
From you they still drink as you pour into them words of life.
Words that will last a lifetime.
Words that will guide them and guard their hearts.
Your words, your voice will be echoed in their spirit
when they are in trouble,
when they need help,
when they need love.
Let your words be from the mouth of God.

As we teach our children God’s ways we are laying their foundations in biblical truths. As we teach them to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit we are training them for the battle that already is raging for their hearts.

You are their comforter, counselor, nurse, cook, housekeeper, playmate, referee, teacher, and taxi. To them you are all these things and so much more. You are their mom. You are their world. And you are beautiful. Their little minds don’t look at your flaws. If they see flaws, they look right past them to your heart of love for them. They see you at your best and your worst and still love you.

The Lord isn’t looking for a perfect mom who has it all together to reach your children. So stop comparing yourself to what you think everyone else is doing. He’s looking for a woman who will raise her children in the ways of the Lord. He’s looking for you. You are so beautiful to the Lord. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is right their with you to help you through. He knows every sacrifice you’ve made to be the mom you are. On those days you feel like you’re doing a thankless job remember God sees everything you do that no one else sees. He smiles and is pleased. Well done, good and faithful daughter. Well done!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9 (International Standard Version)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)