God's Power is for You!

Ephes. 3:20 (NLT) Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Great to Wait

It’s Great To Wait
By, Toni Smothers

Did you know that there are actually sixth grade, 12 year old children, who are sexually active? This remark may seem alarmist and I'm sure this is not representative of the norm, but according to the division of family services in Florida, it is true.

Additionally, sixty percent of teens have had sex, twenty-five have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and twenty percent of the girls have become pregnant by age eighteen? Why?

Puberty starts a lot earlier than it did years ago. Currently, hormones can begin raging at 12 – 13 years of age. Prime time media blares significant underlying, as well as blatant in-your-face sexual content. Sex saturates the music media. Peers exhort a very strong influence in favor of sexual freedom. Teens think that digital and oral sex are not "real sex" and so they can’t get a STD doing it. Then there’s alcohol and drugs at parties, which ends up in non-characteristic choices, as well as in date rape. Alcohol and drugs give guys more courage and makes girls more willing or so doped up that they don’t even know what’s going on.

The cliche is often, “If you love me, you’ll have sex with me.” Ah, but where’s the respect? Love is long and deep and wide and it shouldn’t be cheapened by a one night ride or a short lived passion - That only leads to guilt and broken hearts. Respecting your partner, committing your life long goals and dreams to them is the way true love grows into maturity.

So in our present culture, how do teens keep their faith and lives uncontaminated? It’s not like you can go hide under a rock until you become the right age for marriage. Every day, some outside influence is trying to make you think that having babies and STDs is no big deal. You've got to know that isn't true. Those issues are huge!

Too many teens think, “It couldn’t happen to me.” But thinking like that is unrealistic - There are no such exemptions. We reap what we sow.

Read what part of the 119th Psalm in the Bible says: “Happy are people of integrity, who follow the law of the Lord. Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.” (v. 1-3 NIV)

Easier said then done, right? Maybe. But please realize that God wants only the best for you - He wants you to remain pure. You are so precious to him. Believe that, God’s Word, the Bible, is the only sure guide for living an abundant life. The 9th verse of Psalm 119 both asks and answers a relevant question. “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying God's Word and following its rules.”

Is it easy? No way - Is it right? Absolutely!

Without guidelines, actual reasons to choose abstinence, kids can begin to get comfortable in a dangerous fog of immorality. Everywhere you look, you find temptation to make bad choices. What does a young person do? You can't figure all this out on your own. You need counsel and strength more dynamic than the tempting influences that abound. Where can you find that strength and wisdom? By reading God’s Word and doing what it says

Most people, young or old, resist rules because we think they will restrict us from doing what we want. At first glance, then, it may seem strange to hear the psalmist talk of rejoicing in following God’s laws. But God’s laws were given to free us from doing what might cripple us and keep us from being our best. God’s directives help us follow his path and avoid paths that lead to terrible consequences that can destroy our future. Check out 2 Samuel 13:14-22 for a nice example of devastation as a consequence of impure relations.

Keep the precious gift of your most intimate self for that wonderful person yet to come, your one true love, your spouse!

And, listen .. . . if you’ve already fouled up, realize that it will never be too late to pour out your heart to your loving Father. His mercy is waiting just for you. He will help you make a decision today to reclaim yourself for your spouse-to-be and to abstain from sex from here on out. May God bless your choices and your hearts. Don't be bullied by peer pressure - It’s great to wait!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trip to Charlotte (9-27-10)

Dave and I are on our way home from Charlotte. Our kids were getting over a cold a few days before our arrival. Apparently, a few stubborn bugs, nastily hung around just for us. Well anyway, Dave came down with a sore throat and some congestion and then a few days after that, I got an upper respiratory thingy that has made me quite miserable. My wretched nose has been spewing non-stop.

So, now that we are on the road, stuck in our car eleven hours a day for two days, with this monster cold, I’ve resorted to whining, in-between my sniveling - two behaviors that I truly loath in others. Opps! (Are we there yet?)

Today, Dave is better and I’ve graduated to coughing my stuffy face off. Meanwhile, my previously adorable Chihuahua has been shedding more than she ever has before. In other words, if we had an allergy to dogs, we would be dead by now! (Umm… what was that I said about whining?) Our little, “Princess Sweet Pea,” is still adorable. I’m just a little grumpy, I guess.

The very wonderful part of our trip was about visiting our kids and spending time caring for our grand babies. Our daughter, Jenna, was gracious and welcoming, as she usually is and our son, Wade, spent time with David, installing a new cooling coil, since the old one had a slow leak. David is so good at most anything mechanical or electrical. He has been a blessing to all our kids as they grew, maintaining all our vehicles, and fixing different things for us. He is still the same: He loves to help out and make our lives easier and our expenses less.

We went to one of Wade’s softball games. We sat in lawn chairs, while eating candy and sipping sodas. It brought back memories of those many hours spent at Little League games, watching our kids play their little hearts out. I can remember secretly thinking back then that I’d surely die of, just-one-more-season of Little League, as I’d cheer Wade and his brother on.

Wade is still that person who puts his whole heart into what he undertakes – Even with his MS, he devised a contraption that is strapped to his shoulder with a bungee-type cord that goes down his back and snaps to a gripper around his foot. This thing-a-ma-gig enables him to run around the bases. It made me so proud of him to watch. He got on base every time he was up and made it all the way around the bases. It doesn’t always work, so there are those times he trips and falls, while the umpire calls him out. That’s the price he’s willing to pay so that he can be a team player. (Notice, unlike his mom, Wade doesn’t whine about much!) He’s funny too. He always refers to himself as, “the good son.” He’s a joy to my heart and it does wonders for me to get to spend time with him and his wonderful family.

Sophia is two, (going on ten), and puts all her parent’s expectations in the dust - She is super bright and did not come with instructions! Since I parented her dad, I get no small pleasure in witnessing him “choosing his battles,” as I once did. Life sure can be funny sometimes.

Their newest addition, Mersades Marie, is now three months old. Of course, we find her to be precious and gorgeous, but Sadie, (her nickname), is so engaging and charming. She spends a lot of her awake time in a delightful mood. We just love her.

Anyway, our trip was great and God richly blessed us with our beautiful family and with the deep, pure love only found in His merciful grace.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Knowing God’s Will

How many times have you whispered to God? “Please, Father, show me your perfect will for my life.” I’ll bet you have earnestly prayed that prayer – I know I have. But what makes us so bold? Is it our pious lifestyles? Yeah, right! Well, then…why do we think we are ready to follow His will even more specifically than what the Bible already tells us?

Don’t we have to be obedient to His word first? You might think that literally living out our lives as He would have us do is an impossibly tall order – And you’d be right. But, is it possible? Jesus did it. The Holy Spirit is always available to help us. Still...who among us can imitate all that Jesus taught? (Just think of His sermon on the mount, or His capacity to forgive!)

Our obedience is the first order of business. God isn’t going to reveal His plan for us while there are still things clinging to our sin nature that knowingly violate His authority over our choices. You are probably as aware as I am that you’re not doing everything according to His Word… things we know aren’t in His will.

Listen, I’m not throwing any stones here - It’s just that we sometimes don’t think through what we are asking God in prayer. Why would God show us more if there’s disobedience in our lives? He wants us to get the basics right first. Do you ever tell any half-truths? We like to call our lying something else so we can feel better about our less than honest remarks. Do you ever get inappropriately angry? I know I have to count to ten more often then I’d like to admit. And then there are all the times my anger gets the best of me and I just say or do the wrong thing. How about you?

I think that we must take the first step of asking God to help us actually do what His Word tells us. We need to admit our need and lean completely on Him. He will gradually mold and make us better, as He helps us discover His will and empowers us to actually do God’s will…“on earth as it is in heaven.”

May God’s peace and joy enfold you throughout your journey!