Kim Jaggers

Kim Jaggers
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Party to be held--later

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

 John 16:33



Seventy years ago, he eloped with the preacher’s daughter.   With only a few dollars, my grandparents began their life together.  They have stuck it out through seventy years of good times, some really tough times, and taught us all what commitment looks like.   Now 92 and 89, they celebrated their 70th anniversary quietly at home.   As I spoke to my grandmother that night she told me, “We were going to have a party, but most all of our friends are already home.”   Already home….already home….what a sweet perspective on Heaven, and what a lesson on how to view this life--no matter what our age.


Most of us know we live in a “fallen world” where we have trouble.  Daily, we see evidence in the news and in our own lives.  Yet, we long for perfect don’t we?   We long to have everything comfortable and fixed around us.   I often look at my home and think, “The world may be messed up, but surely I can get this place just right”.  But try as we may, our earthly homes will never be perfect will they?   I can’t even seem to keep mine clean for two hours!   And, to be honest, it isn’t just my home I find myself trying to “fix”.   Often, my efforts to fix things turn to every unappealing circumstance that affects my family-- especially my children.   Yet, I find a crazy, precious peace when I manage to stop, and rest in the fact that Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world; but also that He can work that trouble into good (Rom 8:28) if we just give it to Him instead of trying to run from it or fix it ourselves.  How much time have I wasted (not praying), but trying to fix difficult things for my kids--when it is often those very hard things (when given to God) that bring the biggest, best lessons in this world that will never be perfect.


What if every day we would remember this is not our home?  What if we prayerfully looked at trouble as part of living, learning and growing in God-- instead of killing ourselves worrying about it, trying to fix it, or run from it?   What if we viewed each day as a day to store up treasures in Heaven; instead of spending countless hours trying to make perfect a temporary, earthly house?  What if we kept our eye on our Savior, strengthened ourselves with His Word every day, and remembered, with sweet anticipation, that this world is not our home?  Yes, we may occasionally feel like aliens and strangers by not keeping up with what everyone else is doing… but our perspective on our very temporary problems will change, and we will have peace.  


When we think about eternity with our King, the problems of this life don’t seem so big.  One day dust bunnies and smudges on my walls won’t matter at all.   Do they need to matter so much now?   But “this–is-not-our home” thinking is bigger than dust bunnies.  When we remember this life is but a breath (Job 7:7), and this world not our home (Heb 11:13); even hard things, like the death of those we dearly love who know the Lord, can be seen as a temporary moment where we are here and they are already “home”--party to be held there later.


Prayer:  Father, this is not easy stuff.   I want to keep my eyes on You and remember this life is not my home.   Will You help me to be filled daily with truth in Your Word?  Will You have the Holy Spirit remind me to focus on what is really important?   Will You help me to care about what You care about, and remember that you allow hard things often to teach me and those I love?  Will You bless me with the peace that comes from knowing You and remembering this world is not my home?  Thank You Lord.  I love you.  Amen.


And a request from me – Will you pray for this devotional?  Please pray that every word would be only what God would have me to write?  This e-devotional has been requested from women  all across the United States, and even in Kenya, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, India, Taiwan, UK, Malaysia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.   It is my desire that God alone be glorified, and that I would handle His precious Word carefully.   I am now posting this devotional on my blog- and on my facebook page – “Kim Jaggers Christian Speaker”.   Thank you for your prayers --what a wonderful God we serve!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Faith and Politics


 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14


My heart is heavy, and I have to confess I have been worried.   In forty days, America will once again vote for President, and the importance of this election seems very great as our country is in need of such healing.   We seem to have forsaken so many of the ideals of our founding fathers and strayed so far away from “one nation under God”.  And as Christians, we cannot separate our faith from our politics.  Tony Evans, in his “40 Days to Pray for the USA” day 5 says, “Under God, the government is to promote the conditions for the wellbeing of the citizenry for good while protecting the citizenry against the proliferation of evil. And since civil government is to operate under God, He – and not man – must be the ultimate standard of what is good or evil. This means that politics is fundamentally an ethical enterprise based on what is right and what is wrong. Therefore Christian voting should first and foremost be a spiritual issue.”  Indeed, it is my responsibility to look at the platforms of the two parties and prayerfully compare them to Biblical principles.  I will tell you, one more clearly represents Biblical principles and will get my vote. 


Yet, the healing our country needs requires so much more than a new party in office.  Over and over Scripture describes nations in need of healing by a merciful God.   I know you would agree with me that we are such a nation.  It saddens me how much Christians (not just the lost) resemble the godlessness described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “ But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power”.  Stop.   Read back over that.  I can tell you I don’t get very far in that list before I have to confess my own sin, and this is exactly what is needed for healing for ourselves, our families and our land.   God heals nations by healing His children.  Healing comes when HIS people, those called by HIS Name, humble THEMSELVES and pray, and turn from THEIR wicked ways (2 Chron 7:14).  God tells His children to repent.  He also tells us to pray.


Are you praying?  Are you praying for this country?  Are you praying for this election?  Are you asking God to heal our land?  Do you believe He can?  I know we have strayed far from our Biblical foundations—but until God says we are done—we are not done.  He can still bring revival and healing to America.   Let’s not be a people “having a form of godliness but denying its power”.  Will you join me and hundreds of thousands of other Christ followers across America and pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 for our nation?   Perhaps God is leading you to organize prayer in your community.   Listen to His voice.   Believe God can.  Speak His truth in love.  Yes, you may feel persecuted.  Paul says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12).   He goes on to say “ At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim 4:16-18).

Do you want to live that kind of stand-for-Jesus godly life?  Do you believe our nation needs healing?  Christian, now is the time…now is the time to repent, to pray, to ask BIG things of a big God and believe in His power. Will you join me?  Time is of the essence.   People all around us do not know our Savior.   The enemy is crouching at the door.   Now is not the time to retreat but to remember we are God’s soldiers.  Put on the full armor of God and stand.   May this be our prayer: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph 6:10-18)

(If you are in the East Tennessee area, I invite you to “United Awakening” --a call to pray for our nation -   Oct 25th, 6:30pm at World’s Fair Park Amphitheater, Knoxville.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something is happening all around us!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matt 11:28

Have you felt like things are getting crazy in our world?  I’d like to stick my head in the sand, concern myself with choosing the best toenail polish, or think about my next vacation… but I can’t.  Something is happening all around us.   Prophecies are being fulfilled.  The Kingdom of Heaven is advancing, and the enemy is turning up his guns.   Our everyday lives are filled with tribulation-- the economy is tanking, gas prices are rising, morality is ridiculed, families are falling apart, our country and what it has stood for is increasingly hated,  radical Islamists want to destroy us, natural disasters are increasing, and wars and rumors of wars abound.   Yet God told us all this would happen, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt 11:12).  God tells us to discern the “signs of the times” (Matt 16:3).  He tells us to look for birth pains (Matt 24 and Mark 13), and He tells us to pick our side – “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matt 11:23).

So what does this all mean?   What does it mean to discern the times and be on the side of Christ?  Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt 16:24).  He says, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt 10:38).   So how in the midst of this crazy world are we to follow God?    Jesus puts it in simple terms when He simply says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29).   Jesus says “Come to Me” in the midst of all the crazy, hard stuff; and as we are tempted to sit and wonder about all the things we don’t understand, Jesus emphatically cries, “Come to me and I will give you rest.”   He told us long ago, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).   If you want peace you have to run to Christ and the things He has spoken to you in His Word.  You have to know what He has told you.  And you have to do it.     

Are you resting in what He has told you?  Do you shudder when you turn on the news, look at your bank statement, or think about what your kids face every day in school?   Do you find yourself feeling defeated?   Do you want to jump in the bed and cover your head, or distract yourself with mindless TV?   God knows us and says instead, “You are the light of the world…. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14, 16).   Now is not the time to retreat!  Christian… NOW is NOT the time to retreat.   It is not the time to be politically correct… It is the time to courageously remember who you are in Christ and be “salt of the earth” (Matt 5:13) to a world who is in desperate need of a Savior and whose time may be very short!   Run to Jesus for yourselves and for your lost loved ones!  You are His soldier.   Pick up your sword (God’s Truth), strengthen yourself with daily bread (the Bible), and “encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day (of His Return) approaching.” (Heb 10:25).   As you deny yourself (and the temptation to run from all of this), as you take up your cross (and stand as a light to the world around you), you will find peace!  Real peace! You will find rest for your souls.   You were created with a purpose for such a time as this!   Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph 6:11) and speak truth in love so that others may give glory to the One, to the soon-coming-King, to whom all glory is owed!   What a victory we have in Jesus!

Prayer:  Oh Father, draw me near.  Clean me.  Use me.   Help me to daily live the life you would have me live so others will see You and give you glory!  Oh Father, have mercy on us.   Have mercy on our country.  Bring Revival and let it start with me.  Amen.



Thursday, September 6, 2012


For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain

Phil 1:21



A few weeks ago, I stood surrounded by row after row of white tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, yet my tear-filled eyes stayed fixed on the solitary, flag-draped coffin sitting atop the horse-drawn carriage.   The Air Force band played, soldiers stood in solemn salute, and the air space over our nation’s capital was shut down, so a B-1 Bomber could be flown over in honor of the General, my hero-cousin, Ron Henderson.   Six four-star generals attended his funeral, and many spoke in awe of his accomplishments, the greatest of which-- the way he died.   This star-of-our-family, soldier died fighting the good fight, but not on some distant shore.  He died slowly, painfully before friends, family and coworkers; and day after day, visibly wasting away, he continued to go to work at the Pentagon.  Ron’s coworker and fellow general recalled how person after person had come to him and asked why Ron, so visibly wasting away with cancer and gripped by pain would still come to work.  He remarked, “One day I just asked him”.  To this Ron responded, “I used to have to go to people to share my faith.   Now they are coming to me.   I have to be here for that next knock on the door”.  


Although my cousin accomplished so much in his life: rising from a daring pilot who put the B-1 on the map, to a commanding General overseeing operations around the world; Ron lived and died with his eye constantly on the only prize that matters. The General was called to many battles, but he called cancer his “great calling”.  His funeral verse was Phil 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.   To live for Ron was always an opportunity to point to Jesus Christ, and in dying, Jesus was truly his gain.   He called his Savior “faithful beyond words and worthy to be praised”. 


Ron would hate the accolades.  He would tell you he was just an ordinary man.  But Ron was an ordinary man always pointing to an extraordinary God…waiting for that next “knock” on the door.  I wonder are you and I intently listening for that next “knock’?   We live in a world desperately in need of a Savior.   Will they see Jesus in us?   Will we use each moment --even the hard ones, how about just the inconvenient ones, to point to Christ?   Will we look at this life as Ron did-- as a breath, but will our every breath be to give glory to our Lord?   Will we be able to face death with hope because we know we trade these failing earthly bodies for Heaven and Jesus?   I know you are busy.   I’m busy.   But this life is our one shot.   Does your heart break for the lost?  Aren’t you tired of sitting idly by passing person after person desperately trying to live life without a Savior and facing eternity in Hell without Him?  Won’t you join the fight?   Will you live, will you die for the One who died for you?    Oh, He is worth it.   To really live… is Christ.   To die is gain! And that is peace for a crazy, hard world!


Prayer:  Oh Lord, Only in You can pain be turned to praise.  Only in You can the lost find hope.  Only in You can death be finally defeated.  Oh Father, break the chains which hold me back from living my life so others can see You.   Break my heart for the lost.  Help me to love those around me enough to mention your Name.   Help me to remember each day is my chance to give you glory… and oh, Jesus how I owe you glory!   Amen.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Aug 31, 1996...the day my husband died, I think



Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you I have made you and I will carry you.  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isa 46:4


Sixteen years ago today my husband died…well, I think.   At least this is the date he went missing, but his body wasn’t found until September 5th.   There is so much I will never know.  His suicide left me grasping for answers but, in grasping for answers, I am not alone.  Many of us have faced things in our lives which have left us wrestling for answers.  If we let them, the questions can consume and paralyze us.  Yet, as my mind remembered what this date on the calendar once held, I awoke this morning to a beautiful rainbow.   Once again, right there in the midst of the questions and the pain, there is my God.   He hasn’t given me the answers to my questions; instead He has reminded me over and over of something better than answers --His promises. 


I wasted so much time looking for the answers.  “God, why did that happen?” and “God, could I have stopped it?” I choked through so many “what-ifs” and nearly drove myself and those around me crazy.   Yet God never promised me or you answers.  No, He promises us something so much better than answers, so much more healing…He promises us Himself.   He says “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deut 31:6).   He says “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).   Yes, He means life for eternity… but He also means life for THIS day we are living.   He means hope in the midst of pain.   He means joy in the moments we call life. 


I cannot tell you the date I finally surrendered my need for answers and rested in the promises of God.  But I can tell you the day I gave up my need to know all the “whys” was the day life moved on… it was the day peace and yes, even laughter came.   I wonder how many of you need to lay down your need for answers and pick up some peace.  I wonder how many of you need to decide today is the day to move forward to all the blessings from a God who says His plans for you are “exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20).   I don’t know what you have been through.  I don’t know what your questions are… but I know God is the answer.   Life can be hard; but God is always, always good.   There is rest when we choose to surrender our need for the answers and walk forward following our faithful God who alone can bring “beauty from ashes” (Isa 61:3). 


Prayer: Father, today I’m trading my pain for your peace.  I don’t have to know why, but I trust that you can use even the hard things in my life for good when I follow you with all I have.  Help me to do just that.  Help me to obey you and rest in the fact that you are good.   I love you Lord.   Thank you for always, always loving me with a perfect love.   May I give you glory…even in the things I don’t understand.   Amen.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Does it always have to be a place of pain?

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…

Isa 43:2

The air suddenly seemed heavier.  My heart began to race, and my breathing became harder.   Once again my mind raced back to that horrible time, and what had been a sunny day, became obliterated by painful memories.   Once again I found myself at a “pain place”.   Living in the same town where my husband took his life, my life still takes me to the place where the detectives told me they had found his body; and I sometimes have to drive very near the place where he killed himself.  Fifteen years have passed.  Life has moved on, and I have had many happy days… but something about these two places transport every emotion back to that gut-wrenching time.   These are my pain places.   We all have places that remind us of pain--where years-gone-by emotions can suddenly, almost physically, overwhelm us.  For some of us, it is as if we have built an altar there, and we worship that pain.  But do we have to? 

As I stood in one of my pain places last week, and began to feel my body shudder with those memories; God reminded me I had never stood there alone—“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isa 43:2.   God alone “heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3).   It was as if He was asking me to finally tear down that pain monument, and replace it with a monument to Him.   He beckoned me to walk in freedom-- even in this place which reminded me of so much pain.  He asked me to allow this pain place to cause me to worship all He has done for me rather than all the enemy had tried to do.  Remembering that God inhabits the praise of His people, I began to silently cry out praises to Him.  I thanked Him for picking up my broken heart, for providing for me and my little boys, and for carrying me when I did not think I could go on.   As I remembered God’s goodness, it was if the demons dropped their weapons and moved on.   The air began to feel lighter, and I began to notice the laughter of people around me.   Once again, my faithful Father brought victory out of darkness.   Once again, I looked up at Heaven and smiled-- remembering He is my refuge and an ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1) and places of trouble.   That day my place of pain became a place of praise.

Now I won’t lie.  I fully expect the next time I find myself (walking through the fire at my pain place)… I will remember the pain… but I won’t be consumed (I won’t be burned) by it.   I will instead praise my Father who has always been with me, and who is still teaching me to walk closer to Him.   He is peace, hope and joy.  And we can remember that not only in our places of victory… but maybe, even more, in our places of pain. 

Prayer:  Father, may those places of pain…those places where we received the bad news, those places where we have hurt so deeply serve to remind us of your faithfulness.   May we tear down the altars to the pain, and with your help, rebuild them as altars of praise.   As we stand in these places, may we be remember we, are indeed, still standing… because of You.   Thank you Lord that you alone can bring beauty from ashes in everything and at every place.  Amen. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pick a side... it is easier!

a double-minded man is unstable in all he does

James 1:8.

Every day we are faced with choices.   Sometimes I think we make those choices harder than they need to be, and drive ourselves crazy.   If I am a follower of Christ, I am to … follow Christ each day in everything.   Life comes barreling at us all, decisions have to be made, and it can be more than overwhelming if we don’t have a “true north”.  God is THE “true north” for every Christian, every day, and for every choice.  His ways are best.   He tells us truth will set us free, and He lays it all out in His Word.   Yet, too often, we take our eyes off Him.  We find ourselves trying to please everyone… and that is no place to live.  It will drive us crazy and make us look stupid.   The Bible says a “double-minded man is unstable in all he does” James 1:8.   Not only are people who try to please everyone viewed as unstable, they are often disliked.  When one spends all his time trying to please everyone he appears to simply have no true convictions at all….just think about the approval ratings of most politicians.  The Bible goes on to say God Himself is displeased with those who have “lukewarm” convictions (Rev 3:16).

Simply put-- pick a side.  When decisions come for you or your family – make a God-side choice not a world-side choice.   Don’t be double-minded and do one thing on Sunday and something entirely different the rest of the week.  Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Peace can be found when we put our decisions up to the test of God’s Word and only approve (do) those things that would be approved by Him—and this means everything—whether that be the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the way we talk, the business decisions we make, the clothes we wear and allow our children to wear, etc.  

And here is the really cool deal… when we make God-side choices we are choosing God’s side.  Romans 8:31-32 says “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”  What does this mean… if we choose God’s way He will take care of us.  He will be our confidence; and we will find ourselves free from the exhausting, fruitless, impossible task of pleasing the world and trying to please everyone.   So choose you this day… in this decision, in every decision… Who will you serve?  (p.s. there is a right answer). 

Prayer:  Father, You are right.  Your Word  is truth.   Teach me your way so that I may not sin against you.   Help me to follow you every day and in every way ….I don’t want to be double minded.   Thank you for showing my sin – times I pick the other side.  I want your protection.  I want your peace.   Help me to know your will and do it and teach my family the same thing.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

25 year-old Words on a Wipe-off board

“Whatever He says to you, do it”
John 2:5

A wipe-off board with the words, “God said yes!!!” sets
protected at my parent’s home almost 25 years after they were written. I remember reading them as a teenager wondering
briefly what God had said “yes” to and how my brother knew. While I struggled through the teenage years;
Chuck sought God daily through His Word, and found answers to his questions. Those words were a confirmation of a calling
on his life, and the beginning of a long, arduous journey to serve the Lord as
a Christian attorney with a mission to help explain and protect our rights to
share our faith. Grueling years of law
school, and working in a District Attorney’s office helped him gain knowledge;
but a relationship with the One who called him kept him going.

Today, the battle is fierce, the budget small, the spiritual
attacks daily, and the accolades few.
Yet, there is an unwavering confidence and a quiet strength to go on--
despite the persecution. This confident
determination doesn’t come from some personality trait, but rather from a love
for and eyes on Jesus. Oswald Chambers
says “faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ even when
I can’t see the way ahead.” And believe
me, there are many days Chuck can’t see the way ahead.

I don’t know what your call is…to raise godly children, to
lead a ministry, or to share your faith in a foreign land…but I bet there are
days you can’t see the way ahead. No
matter how noble, no matter how committed you are; if your commitment is to the
call, the result, or the ministry –your strength and your confidence will
surely fail. But if our commitment is to the Person of
Jesus Christ—if He is what we seek more than any other result; we will see Him
do things so much greater than we could ever imagine. Yes, there will be days where nothing seems
to be happening, and times when obedience seems to bring nothing but
trial. But it is especially in those
days that our love for our Savior (not our love for our call) will keep us
going; and it is then that we will see our Savior do mighty works in and
through us. His strength will never

Prayer: Oh Father, remind me daily that You are the
treasure I seek. I can do nothing
without You. Help me to seek You first. Direct my steps. Help me to walk out your will in the quiet
confidence that comes from a real, daily relationship with You. I love You Lord. Thank you for reminding me you are the
treasure. Amen.

If you
would like to know more about what Chuck does visit his new facebook page ( or copy
the link below into your browser) There you can learn about such things as our
kid’s rights to pray at school etc.!/ProjectSeveninc

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dont raise a godless fool!

There is no joy for the parent of a godless fool
Prov 17:21b

It is not easy. It takes time, but ignorance is not bliss. If you are a parent, you have a big job, and it is your job to do! God chose you to be your child’s parent. He has given you instruction in His Word, but if you do not take your job seriously… you may raise a godless fool who will bring you anything but joy.

Those are some hard, true words from God’s Word. Being a parent today is not an easy task. We all know it is true! We live in a world where wrong is right and right is wrong. It is easy to feel like an alien and stranger (even in church) when we choose to parent our kids to instill godly values in them. But can I encourage you? If you don’t want to raise a godless fool, if you want to choose joy for your kids and yourself –rather than heartache – be an alien! (I Pet 2:11) Be that parent who gets in your kid’s business, who can say “no”, and who seeks to be their parent rather than their friend. No doubt, you will hear “everyone else gets to” and “it isn’t fair”. Just take those words as confirmation you are doing the right thing! Remember the enemy has his sights set on the destruction of your children and he does not fight fair. Be “unfair” too --check your kid’s texts, get on their Facebook, get to know friends and their friends’ parents. Don’t let your kids go places unless you know what goes on there. Be careful about what you allow in your home – pay attention to the TV shows they watch and music they listen to. Police their time on the internet and the pictures they receive on their phones. Do you know “one out of five kids who are on the internet regularly is approached to have sex” (Conner 2005)? Furthermore, pornography use and “sexting” is growing rampantly among kids – in and out of the church. And can I just say as a mother of teenage boys - it is disheartening to do all I can to protect my sons’ eyes only to take them to church and see a teenage girl dressed in a way that leaves little to the imagination. We have to teach our daughters about modesty and our son’s the value of it. I want my daughter to attract a godly man, and in order to do so, she needs to dress like a godly woman. It is my job as her mother to teach her why this is important and to not allow her to purchase or wear clothing that is inappropriate regardless of what everyone else is doing. Help your kids know it is okay to be different. Remember - you are an alien, and you want your kids to be joyful, wise aliens as well! You have to be on guard, and you need to be wise. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Prayer: Father, you gave me my kids. You chose me to be their mom. Help me to parent them as you want me to. Give me wisdom and strength. Help me to protect, direct and parent my kids to choose your best. Please strengthen them to be aliens and strangers who choose to follow you rather than fools who try to live their lives outside of your will. Thank you Lord for loving them even more than I do. Thank you for equipping me to parent them as you have called me to do. Amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Knocked down from my "High Horse"

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matt 7:11

Have you ever had one of those rare conversations with your child where you felt like you “hit a home run”? Where you seemed to exude parental wisdom, impart Scripture, and even feel like your child “got it”. Have you swelled with pride only to be promptly knocked off your high horse when just a little later you find yourself living the lesson you just taught? Surely, someone knows what I am talking about!

Recently, one of my kids came to me to tell me he was praying to be more Christ-like in his behavior. A few days later, he was lied to by a friend. He was hurt and angry. After talking through his emotions and reminding him of his prayer request, I shared with him how God rarely just gives us attributes of Christ instantaneously when we ask; but instead gives us the opportunities to stretch into exhibiting them. We talked about how this situation was his opportunity to show forgiveness, to not “repay evil for evil” and to be more Christ-like. Sounds like a great day, right? It was until later that same day when I found myself aggravated by a situation which surely required more patience and self-control than any woman should have to exhibit! To be honest, I was just about ready to let the offending party “have it”, …and then… I heard …the awful sound of my own words ringing in my ears! I remembered my “son’s” lesson. Quite humbled, I caught myself before I reacted and smiled up at God thanking Him for the timely reminder. You see, I had been praying for more patience and self-control, and God had answered my prayer with an opportunity to develop those fruits of the Spirit. I am a slow learner, but God has taught me so much as I teach my children. He has put a “holy whack” to things in me which are not like His Son, and, let me tell you, He has many more things to work on. I wish I could tell you I always recognize the lesson during the lesson, but I am getting better at it and more thankful for it.

God is a patient Father who loves us perfectly. Being an imperfect parent and loving my kids like crazy only gives me a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Because He wants us to “get it” I am very sure He will keep sending the lessons until we do. I know He will because He loves us too much to leave us like we are. God only and always wants what is best for His children….and it sure helps to remember this when the lessons come. One thing I know-- the sooner we learn to recognize trials as opportunities to be more like His Son---the more peace, joy, and hope we will experience… and the less trouble we will get into with God and others! Just think, if we want what is best for our kids, if we want peace, hope and joy for them… don’t you know God wants it even more for each of us.

Prayer: Father, I know you have opportunities for me to learn some things and be more like your Son. Help me to see the lesson during the lesson. Help me to recognize the hurt, the aggravation, the unkindness, the day-that-didn’t-go-my-way as an opportunity to grow to be more like your Son. Thank you Lord for your patience. Thank you for loving me and not leaving me like I am. Amen.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

God's Favor

Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8

We all cheer when we see the “Tim Tebows” of our world--believers who give God the glory for the winning touch down, the lucrative job, business success, talented beautiful kids, long-lasting relationships and all the other things which seem to reflect God’s favor on our lives. It just seems natural to equate the appearance of things going well with God’s favor. Yet, I wonder if there isn’t a level of God’s favor which surpasses the favor we so readily attribute to those who are experiencing success. I wonder if God favors most those who He trusts with the failure, the loss, the sickness…the hard, gut-wrenching things. “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8. It is often because of the trial, the pain, the tragedy that those God favors, that those God trusts with the hard road, bring Him the most glory.

It is human nature to look at our lives and compare them to others. I have often imagined how I could give God glory and support ministry if he gave me a million dollars or if my child could play football like Tim Tebow. Yet, I am surrounded by saints who have seen their lives devastated by cancer, by job loss, and by loss of loved ones. I stand in awe as they call God “good” and tell me how much they love Him as their weakened bodies falter, their finances crumble, or their long-held dreams crash to the ground. I can’t help but think what favor God must have for those He trusts with such hard things. As I talk with them, one thing is common among them all…they live their lives knowing this life is not their home. They remember, like Job did, that this “life is but a breath” (Job 7:7). They seem energized by the opportunity to give God glory and point others to Him – this side of Heaven. Their pain is real, their days are hard, yet their hope is in a steadfast, faithful God; and His favor must surely rest on them as it did on Job.

I don’t know if this day will bring you happiness or pain, health or sickness, financial blessing or loss…but I do know this day is a chance to give God glory. I know holding onto Him is the only best way to find peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). I know we can be “more than conquerors” because Jesus loves us (Rom 8:37). We all have a choice when life says “fall apart”. Those who have been trusted with the hard, those who are favored by God can choose to believe God, live in His strength, and give Him glory…or miss the wonderful opportunity to see Him and point others to Him so they can see Him as He is -- more than faithful.

Next month, I will be speaking in New Jersey. One of the dear women on the leadership team for the event is walking a heart-breaking, hard road. Her godly husband, the love of her life, has been told his cancer has returned and there is little the doctors can do. Below is a prayerful poem he penned upon the news. What glory his words bring to our faithful Father. May we all be encouraged to look at our trials and find our God faithful as well.

Returning Menace

Though the cancer has returned, so much from God I’ve learned,
Not from the reading of His Truth, but, my life is His living proof,
Of my Lord’s Power and Grace, granting strength place to place,
Going through every trial and test, in the Lord Jesus I found rest,
Rest which only God could give, as through that trial I would live.

I learned, in God, just how I can, put my trust In God, even when,
Life situations turn for the worst, when I look to Christ Jesus first,
Especially when days were dark, God’s Grace always left a mark,
Sustaining me in grace and power, even through the darkest hour,
This as God proved in my life, a sustaining power of Jesus Christ.

In spite of cancer I’ve had health, which provides a greater wealth,
Far exceeding temporal prosperity, with gain acquired for eternity,
As His Grace is more than rife, working out His Purpose in my life,
Using my life just as God wills, while His Purpose The Lord fulfills,
And my cancer isn’t the story, but, God’s Grace, Power and Glory.

So, as my path again has turned, I will lean upon what I’ve learned,
My total health may not be restored, but, I’ll always have The Lord,
Who, as He helps me understand, guides me with His gentle Hand,
In things I cannot comprehend, as my present life draws to an end,
With ahead a glorious destiny, when with Christ, I step into Eternity.

(Copyright ©12/2011 Bob Gotti)

You can read more poems from Arlene and Bob’s faithful journey at