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 For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13,14

 Excerpt written by Rachelle Keppler, MMF Team

What if we start believing what God says about us? So often we believe what others say about us. In today’s world everyone has an opinion and a way to share it. We often ask people what they think. Why? Because we want to be liked, accepted and above all else, loved for whom we are. But who are we? Some of us have been molded by other people in our lives.
Let me tell you of a woman I met once. I was at a store picking up a few things and I got in line behind a woman who climbed from her motorized cart to retrieve her purchases. She stopped to look back at me and said, “I’m sorry I’m so slow.”
“You’re fine. Take your time. I’m in no hurry,” I answered with what I hoped was a reassuring smile.

But she apologized again as her items were rung up, saying, “I’m sorry, I’ve always been slow. My mother use to always say I was the slowest soul on earth.” As she climbed back into her cart her hunched shoulders drooped further as she said almost to herself, “It really hurt.”

I stood there a bit stunned, unsure what to do as she rode off. There have been 86,000 things I wish I had said or done in those moments but I did nothing. Nothing. What continues to break my heart is that this woman was at least 70 years old and she was still believing and holding onto a label given to her as a child. How many times have we done that? We take what someone says about us and we put it on. We drape it over our shoulders to see if it fits, and our minds usually make it fit. You’re told, “You’re fat” so you take that label and try it on: “Well, I’m not as skinny as so-n-so… I did eat 2 brownies yesterday…. I did gain a lot of weight while pregnant…” And so you leave that label hung over your shoulders. And the next one comes along; “You’re stupid” And you see how that one fits. “Well I wanted to go to Yale but was only accepted to a community college… I did get lost that one time while driving… I never get any of the questions on Jeopardy right…” And so we determine that label fits as well.

Soon the weight of all those labels stoops our shoulders, tugs the smile from our face, the laughter from our mouths and slows our steps. What once was a heart God could fill has become a heart full of lies. And they turn into sorrow, anger, and bitterness.

But what if we could change what labels we carry?

Write all the labels you answer to in your heart. You don’t have to share this list with anyone.

Read Psalm 139:1-16. What does God’s word say about you?

How does it compare with your list? What things are you struggling to accept in this passage?

Continue reading verses 17-24. Can you join David in his praise to God and ask for His help in searching your heart?

Now look at your list of labels again.  Does God’s Word affirm that you are truly defined by these labels? If not I urge you to take that list and burn it. Give Satan back his lies and ask God to show you how he sees you.

 

 

 

 

Song reference: , “Hello, My Name Is” by Matthew West

Posted in Faith

Setting Up the Pins

 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

Wash a shirt, fold it, put it away, put it on your child, take it off, wash it, fold it, put it away…

Get a cup, fill it up, give a drink, wash it, put it away, get it out again, fill it up again…

Change a diaper, wipe a mouth, pick up blocks, change another diaper, wipe a nose and a mouth, pick up cars…

Being a mom can be repetitious.  For sure!!!  You are barely done cleaning up from one meal before you have to start planning and prepping for the next meal.

Have you ever felt like your life is similar to a merry-go-round?  You are always moving but you keep seeing the same sights, never really getting anywhere?  Well, I want to encourage you, though some tasks may seem mundane, they are making a difference.  You are, in essence, setting up the pins for knocking them down.  But there are moments when life seems to stand still.  You can catch a glimpse of the stability and joy you are providing in the lives of your family by being consistent and dependable.  And someday down the road, your family will reap the benefits of how you persevered in setting “those pins” right back up every time they were knocked down.

Listen to Sara Groves’ “Setting Up the Pins”


What is the seemingly most mundane part of your role as a mother?

What can you do to make it more bearable? (For example: If folding the laundry bores you, try praying over each owner of the item you are folding.  If it is washing the dishes, make up a song you can sing to the Lord thanking Him for providing food for you.)

When has life slowed down for you where you realized that what you do “seems simple but it is really profound” (as Sara Groves says)?

List some things that you are thankful that you are able to do as a mom.  What would you miss out on if your child lived far away and meeting his/her needs was not your responsibility?  What joys would you miss out on if you were not a mom at all?

Praise God for the privilege it is to lovingly care for those around you.  Let your loved ones see you praising Him for giving you able hands so you can serve them in the stability that you provide!  Keep up the great work!  You are amazing!  Remember, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving,” because, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40.

 

 

Posted in Faith

Compassion

 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6

When she was 2, my first born daughter pushed another little girl down off the ladder of a slide so she could go first.  Even after seeing a bloody lip and getting a long lecture and punishment, my daughter still was preoccupied with the thought of getting back up to the top of that slide so she could have some fun.  I remember thinking compassion just might be the hardest lesson I would have to teach as a mom!  Only a few short years later, I could not believe she was the same girl!  When I tell that story today, no one can fathom it because my oldest daughter is so very caring, giving, and compassionate.  So what was the secret?  Oh, trust me, nothing I did!  It was Jesus.

Jesus showed compassion as he healed the leper, made the blind see, told Lazarus to rise, and refused to stone the woman caught in adultery.  In all He did, He was compassionate.  His heart for us was shown as He endured the ultimate act of compassion by going to the cross to bear our sin.  When we know Jesus, the Holy Spirit is able to impart a supernatural kindhearted love to us.  We are human, so we struggle with our thoughts still, but we have the ability to love the way we never thought we could.  While on this earth, a true sign of our compassion is if we have a heart for others’ souls.   We are called to love all people not because of what they have done or how sweet they are but simply because they are God’s children made in His image. We are concerned not only about others because we want our relationship with them to go smoothly, but because we care where they will spend eternity, and if they will get to experience the abundant life while here on earth. We have such a blessing to be in a personal relationship with Jesus.  We don’t want anyone to miss what we experience when we walk alongside His Majesty.

Read Matthew chapters 8 and 9.  What do you notice about the way Jesus treats others?  What do you think were some of the thoughts and feelings He was having?

Think of the names of some people that could use some kindness.

How can you and your family be used to express God’s compassion in a practical way to these people?

How is your faith being expressed through love toward your family, friends, and strangers this week?  Name some specific ways in which your love has let the love of Christ shine through you.

 Written by: Brooke Trumpower

 

 

 

Posted in Faith

Circles

Circles, By Anthem Lights

Posted in Uncategorized

Chasing Imperfection

 "Cease striving and know that I am God."   Psalm 46:10

Excerpt written by Valerie Hunter, MMF Team Member

Beautiful, warm sunshine coming in the windows highlights dust and little fingerprints on EVERYTHING. Good thing I let go of being a perfectionist…being a mommy is too much fun to waste time on that stuff!  I am chasing imperfection.
Yes, you read that right. I’m talking about pursuing IMPERFECTION, not perfection.

I want to be caught doing something with eternal, not temporal, purpose. This has probably become the most important one for me at this point. Chasing perfection in my home {achievements, image} is so temporary…especially in this season of having small children. I truly believe my Lord could return any day, and even if He doesn’t I know my days are numbered. When it’s my time to meet Him, I don’t want to be caught frustrated and exhausted trying to be perfect, because it’s never gonna happen. I don’t want to be caught nagging my kids or husband because there are toys everywhere and dirty dishes in the sink or complaining because we still have teal green carpet in the girls’ bedroom, or freaking out because nobody has any clean socks, or worrying about the preservatives in the mac n’cheese I make for dinner. I want to be caught doing something that might last into eternity. I want to be caught having fun, making memories, and loving the family that God has blessed me with, giving to those who need it so much more than me, and living joyfully in the fullness of a Savior that came so I don’t have to be perfect.
Perfection has cost. If I’m going to chase it, I either have to give up some things I value or try to do it all and be that nagging, frustrated, joyless wife/mom that I never wanted to be. There might be days where the cost goes unnoticed…days where everything falls into place and everything is in neat tidy order. But it won’t last. In this season of life, when I have four kids between the ages of 2 and 7, when too much of what I do in my house is undone within minutes, when I’m laying the foundation for whom my kids will become…that cost is too high. I’ve decided I’m not willing to pay it, even if it means that my house is a mess next time you come over. I’m going to love this life, especially this season of life {without worrying about what my house looks like, whether I’ve got the same muscle tone as I did before I had babies, or if I’ll ever earn my master’s degree}, and find joy in accomplishing more eternal tasks!
{Disclaimer: I am not perfect at being imperfect.}

 

What did you put your time and effort into this week?  Make a list of the things you did, placing the things that took up most of your hours at the top.

If you look at how your days are spent, what are you chasing?

Read Ecclesiastes Chapter 2.  What does verse 25 mean to you?

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Why? What is God teaching you about this verse?

Pray and search God’s Word to see how He would have you be a little more imperfect in the world’s eyes so you can be a little more like Jesus in His eyes.

Written by: Brooke Trumpower

Posted in Faith

Shine Like Stars- Separate to God

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Do everything without grumbling or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the skyas you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2:13-16

What would be the effect on our world if, instead of reacting to our circumstances by complaining, wringing our hands, or blaming and criticizing others, we separated ourselves to God in worship while we watched the world around us?  And then, as we gained God’s perspective and recognized His call to serve, we relied not on programs or techniques but on His power as we pursue those who are being held captive by the enemy?  Let’s find out.  – Anne Graham Lotz, Into the Word

Read Genesis chapters 13 and 14

How did Abram pursue Lot?  What was the outcome?

What is your greatest asset and your biggest strength when you see a loved one in turmoil?

It is hard to witness a friend or family member in pain- be it emotional or physical.  It is difficult to watch and not be able to get in and fix the situation.  But often times we simply cannot.  It seems like it is just not enough to assure your struggling friend you will be praying.  But what if you could do more?  Maybe God is ready to have you join Him in the battle, but you need to get your orders first.  If you don’t separate yourself from the world long enough to worship and draw closer to Him, long enough to hear His whisper, long enough to feel His heart, you might miss the very instructions He has for how He will put you to work.  You can grow not only from your own trials, but also from the trials of those around you.

Take some time today to sit silently with the Lord.  Ask Him what He wants to talk about.  What do you hear?

Then, wait and watch the world around you.  Let God reveal those that are being held captive by the enemy of our souls.  Ask Him how you can go to battle in the name of the Lord.

What does He bring to mind?

How does He ask you to join Him?

 Written by: Brooke Trumpower

 

 

Posted in Faith

Running Through Life

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”   1 Corinthians 9:24-25

I run.

I run to wake up.  I run to keep up.

I run to start over.  I run to refresh.

I run to lose myself and I run to find myself.

I run so I can escape and I escape so I can run.

Sometimes I sing when I run, sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry.

Sometimes I run for something.

Sometimes I run from something.

Sometimes I run to forget.

Sometimes I run to remember.

Sometimes I run to be with others and sometimes I run to be alone.

Sometimes I run slowly, sometimes I run slower… and sometimes, when I fall into step with my Lord… then I run fast.

What do you do to escape and refresh?

Look up Matthew 26:36, Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35.  What did Jesus do to escape and refresh?

Have you ever run so hard it hurt?  I mean it HURT… Everywhere!  I tell my runners that I coach in training, “If your arms and legs don’t feel like lead, if your head is not about to explode, if your stomach doesn’t feel like you are about to vomit, then you are not going fast enough!”  There are times for a nice relaxing run to take in the scenery.  But then there are times that you will grow spiritually from a good hard work out.  Pushing yourself mentally and physically results in pushing yourself spiritually.  There is something that comes alive when you work this intricately made body in a way that is beyond your understanding. When you are relying on God for training, it gives you a whole new realm of connection with your Creator.  Feeling physical fatigue but believing you can still finish requires faith.  If you have faith in what God can accomplish, you grow closer to the Lord.

 

How are you in “strict training” (as the above verse from 1 Corinthians states it) both physically and spiritually?

Written by: Brooke Trumpower

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Faith

Love Deeply

 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin.” -NIV   1 Peter 4:8

(Love as if your life depended on it. -The Message)

It doesn’t happen often. Thankfully. It doesn’t last for very long. Thankfully. The moment your car hits the black ice; the moment you feel yourself choking; the moment a fierce animal comes at you or the chill of someone following you on a dark street. In that instant, you wonder if you will survive. You fear it might all end this way. You feel that sinking feeling- as the people aboard the Titanic must have felt as the ship slowly went down. In that moment you ask God: Really? Is my time here going to end this way? But suddenly you see a life preserver. Out of nowhere there is a white ring in the water in front of you. All you have to do is grab onto that ring. The water is still surrounding you; it is still cold and choppy with waves. You will still have a long, hard swim back to shore. But the wave of relief that rolls over you is bigger than any tidal wave imaginable. Because you know you will survive. And you thank the Lord for loving you enough to spare you.

Every day God throws you that life preserver. He gives you peace in a trying situation. He gives you a way out of temptation. He gives you another chance after you fail. After all, He gave you His Son as the ultimate life preserver. While you were still in sin, He saved you. He saved you from paying the penalty of the choices you have made, separation from Him eternally.

Ultimately, God loves you in an amazing way. What we can learn from those fearful moments when we desperately need a life preserver is that God is showing us how to love in a supernatural way. What if you loved Him with your whole heart? What would your life look like if you loved Him urgently, gripping Him as you would that life ring?

Write about how your life might look differently.

What specific things can you change this week to start this deeper relationship?

What would it look like for you to love others in the same fashion? Loving those He put in your life to the extent that He designed? Imagine that God put each person in your life for the purpose of you showing love in a tangible way. The kind of love that He has shown you. The kind of love that would bring hope. The kind of love that would save a soul, literally.

Who did He put in your life that you can love deeply?

What can you do this week to love those people as if your life, and their lives, depended on it?  Might I suggest telling them about your personal relationship with Jesus and giving them the saving knowledge of Christ?  J  I will be praying for you!

Written by: Brooke Trumpower

 

Posted in Faith

God’s Not Dead!

God's Not Dead

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The Third Day

 “He is not here; He has risen!”   Luke 24:6

 

What is your purpose here on earth?  If you have ever read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, you have pondered that question.  Even if not, ponder it now.  Go ahead; what thoughts pop in your head?

When we take time to look at the big picture, it is inspiring.  But I have to be honest, it is overwhelming to me.  I want to soak in the Lord, let Him train me as I observe and study Him working around me and then get out there and join Him.  But the harsh reality is that I come up so short every single day.  I know you would tell me to cut myself some slack.  These years, with small children, they are busy.  But what if my time here on earth is up tomorrow?  What then?  Was God really able to use me for all that He designed me to be?  Most of the time, I totally blow it as a mom, as a wife, as a friend.  I just acted like a 3 year old toward my oldest son today.  No sweet mom here.  Those images in my mind of me happily serving my children out of joy and love?  Nope, out the window.  I feel quite defeated.  I am crushed.

I wonder what the disciples and Jesus’ family must have felt when they saw that huge rock rolled in front of the tomb?  Crushed?  Defeated?  How could this man that brought so much hope really be gone?  What happened to their dreams, their visions of what life would be like?

Read Luke 24:2-8: They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

Praise God that there is a “three days later!”

Jesus rose on the third day.  He conquered death.  He is now seated at the right hand of God and through the Holy Spirit, He lives in you.  There is victory in the third day! We can live triumphantly because we know how the story continues!

When have you felt defeated?

What happened on your “third day?”

If you are still waiting for your “third day,” (or for the future times in your life) how will the perspective of this victory over death help you to wait and watch?

Praise the Lord for His sacrifice so that we could have the promise that, not only would things be victorious 3 days later, but that we would have His Son as our Savior and His Holy Spirit as our Comforter.  It just does not get any better than that!  Spend some time basking in His love and blessing His Name.

Written by: Brooke Trumpower

 

 

Posted in Faith
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