Gifts

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 NASB

 

Have you ever noticed how children love gifts? By the way, it is not just children that love gifts.

I love gifts. I love giving them and I love receiving them.

In my possession I have some very precious gifts that have been given to me, over the years, by my children, husband, and friends. I have also in my possession a number of treasured drawings given to me by my children, and I have every card my husband has ever given me. I not only have them, I hold them and have taken them into my heart. Even if I no longer had those as physical items, I would have them in my heart. I have received them fully and gratefully.

I want you to image something……

God has send you something. I arrived just when you needed it.

It arrives on your doorstep and you place it on the table in front of you. You know what is in the box because you asked for it. You know it is from God, because it has all the markings of something that comes from God. But you have concerns and doubts.

That afternoon, a friend drops by to see you. They point to the package on the table and the conversation goes like this –

 

“What is that?”

“It is what I asked for, God sent it.”

“Well, why is it sitting on the table. Open it.”

“Yeah..um… you see I am not really sure it is for me. I am not really sure that it is what I asked for. In fact,

I don’t think I should have asked for it.”

“Oh, so you don’t like it.”

“No.. it is more like I really wasn’t expecting God to answer.”

“Oh. (silence for a few minutes) But you have it now, and He did answer.”

“Yeah, I think I might sent it back.”

Would you think that this conversation is weird? The interesting part is that we probably do this to God all the time, we ask for something and then we either question it or don’t receive it because we don’t believe.

I was reading James Chapter one, the other day, and I felt to look up what a couple of words in what they mean in the Greek language. Now please understand that I am not a Greek scholar, but I can read what someone else says about a word.

The scripture I was reading was this –

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 NASB

The two words I looked up were “wisdom” and “receive”.

According to Strong’s Concordance wisdom means “wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual)” Receive means “to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it. To take what is one’s own, to take to one’s self, to make one’s own” The Greek word that is translated into “receive” is the same word that is translated into “receive” in Mathew 7:8, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

We have a generous God who gives us the wisdom not only for big spiritual things we don’t understand, but for both daily life and living.  We not only have to ask for it, but we have to take a hold of it as if it is yours.

King Solomon asked for wisdom, and God gave Him wisdom. People knew that the wisdom that he had was from God. In fact, the Queen of Sheba acknowledged that it was from God. 1 Kings 10:6-9

God is about giving His children good things, and I am not talking about money and possessions. I am talking about a life, a heart, a mind and a spirit that is different from what is in this world. This is why Jesus died on the cross, not only that we accept His salvation, but become new and constantly renewed with the Holy Spirit counsel and power.

It is not only wisdom we should ask for, we should ask for healing, understanding, fruits and gifts of the Spirit etc. We should eagerly and expectantly know of it’s arrival and receive it with open and grateful hearts, moving with faith into the character of person God knows we can become.

My questions are these-

How many times do you ask God for something and then do not believe?

How many times do you ask God to change you and then reject the change?

How many times do you receive from God, only to wonder if you are worth what He has sent?

How many times does He keep giving us His everything and we accept nothing?

God remains generous, giving, faithful and loving. He knows you and He knows me. Even after this life He offers us eternity but understand this… it is a gift that is only there to accept receive and take a hold of, before death.

When we need help it is all about the asking. When God gives, it is all about our ability to receive, to take in, to hold. It is about our unwavering faith in the One who sent it.

A little bit further down in James chapter 1 is this verse.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Not only every good gift, but every perfect gift as well. God is not like the shifting shadows, and we can trust Him.

Many times, I have asked Him for wisdom, and many times I have been grateful of what He has given to me and shown me. As a mum of teenage boys, wife, women’s ministry leader, author, and friend I find that my own wisdom is lacking, but God gives insight (and sometimes the ability to say sorry) to help me through.

I had an incident the other day that really upset me. I had approached someone to speak to them on a matter, and before I had finished the person got very angry. The person presumed that I has talking about something entirely different, and no matter how much I protested and tried to finish what I was trying to say, the person just kept talking over me. I sat there shaking and trying to figure out what I was going to say to help the situation. Finally, when he stopped speaking, I told him I was sorry for upsetting him, because I realized that even though I had not done what he was mad about, he was obviously very emotional about what he thought I was going to say. He was hurting, defensive and unable to have the amount of self control that he usually had. Wisdom required that I walk away after that and leave it be.

In the days following, the rippling effects from his outburst has filtered through to me. Many people heard his words, but not mine. I have felt the pain of the gossip and presumption that often goes with a small community. For this I pray for wisdom, as there is nothing I can do about what others think. There is something that I can do about how I feel. Pray. I am not sure why this is happening, but it did. At the moment wisdom would seem to be that I let it go. Yet every part of me is wanting to defend myself. When we ask for wisdom, it is not about God seeing it our way, it is about what God sees and He wants to do with something. God will defend me, or give me the words to defend myself.

Later that day, another scripture came to mind. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” James 3:17 NLT

Sometimes we receive what we don’t understand, and the words we speak seem to be not the way we would usually do something. Other times it is the ability to see something more and knowledge that we know is not ours. Whatever He places in your heart to say or do, just know that God is faithful to His promises.

I am so grateful that I have personally found Him faithful. Even when He didn’t answer my requests as I thought He would. Every time I have ever told God that He didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought He should have, I have later found He was right…of course.

My prayer for you is that you will know Him as the perfect gift giver and the one who knows you to give you what you need (even if it is not what you asked for). Don’t be afraid to both ask and receive. Receive in faith. Pick it up, take a hold of it and cherish the Gift Giver and the gift.

 

Be blessed. (Please read editor note below)

 

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Hi everyone, I want to thank you for taking time to read what God has laid upon my heart to write in these blogs. I apologize that the blogs are less regular then previously.

This year have revealed itself to be a new season of growth and change. The end of last year saw a lot of changes in so many areas of my life and to add to this I have found myself with a lot more writing and ministry. My life as a wife and mum has been so very busy as my teenagers take on work and extra sport and schooling and as my husband’s life has become busier. It has  been necessary to personally take on some part time work to help pay for the cost associated with both ministry and personal. Unfortunately this means that something in my life has had to be reduced.

My blog page and the writings will still happen, just not every week. At the moment it is once every two to three weeks.

Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate hearing from the people who read this blog. I love to hear your comments and things you share about your life. I have had a lot of people ask for prayer, please do know that I do pray for you. Our God is a good God, and for this I am so very grateful. Be blessed and stand strong.

Ruth

The Joys of Boys

 

My household is chaotic most of the time. One of the joys of boys is that the house is never quiet… sometimes even when they are asleep! I came across a meme the other day and it goes like this –

“Boys – Noise with dirt on it.”

Alas, it is soooooo true!

The other day I came inside to witness them engaged in a wrestling match, they had each other in a headlock. Both laughing, both trying to win. Not one of them was going to let go and not one of them was prepared to admit defeat. I walked up to them and told them to let go. My eldest gave me his cheekiest grin and said, “It’s all good Ma, he can still breath.” “Yeah, he not dead yet” came the muffled voice of the younger son as he pounded his older brother’s stomach. When I said nothing they both looked at me unashamed and unmoved by my command to stop. I glared at them and they let go of each other and fled to their separate rooms, hooting, and shouting at each other.

This morning I was needing my eldest to come to me in another room, I called with no response. The younger son said to me “I’ll go get him.” “Thanks,” I said. But just as he got almost out of earshot I heard him say, “I’m gonna smack him one!!”  Before I could get out of the room, I heard my eldest yell in surprise and my youngest laugh and then run for his room. Mmmmm.. I should have done it myself!!

My youngest, one time, announced to me that he had “flogged his guts out” in a footy game. Not my words or words that would come from my mouth, but amusing and interesting way of talking. It certainly said a lot about the game he played.

The years that have been mine as a mum of boys, have been my pleasure. It has also been my frustration, my fear, my tears and my laughter. My children make me laugh and cry. Sometimes I have never been more frustrated then when trying to communicate with them when they are not listening and never more grateful when they communicate well and share their heart.  I seem to spend my days protecting them from each other and the world. From the moment I held them in my arms, I was blessed. I love my two sons but they challenge me to be a better parent, to hold my tongue and not speak, to pray, and to have patience.

The cupboards are always empty, and my weekends are full of teenage boys and football… and I would have it no other way. From the time they open their eyes to the moment they close them, they are on the go. They are noisy and competitive, natural born risk takers, and they think their jokes are very funny – especially if their mum is on the end of it.  I rarely have any moments as a person, let alone as a female.

About a year ago, I sat in a hospital x-ray waiting room. There was a line of boys and their mum’s sitting in the chairs. The blood and bandages said it all. We were soon joined by another lady in a hospital wheelchair… and without a child. Suddenly she turned to me, “what is your son here for?” I told her. A grin spread across her face. One by one she spoke to the other ladies in the room. Each one had a son that had just been injured doing some daring feat or “mad move” in a sports game. Soon the boys were all grinning at each other and the mum’s nodded their head at each other and compared the fright that they had just had. The commonness was the same – boys had been at it again.

I was sitting talking to a young friend of mine the other day. She, like myself, has two boys. I see a lot of my boys in hers. Her older one is very like my son at that age and the same with her younger one. If there was one thing that I could encourage her with was that her boys are normal. It was the same advice that I received from an older mum years ago.

Boys are different to girls, and while you cannot put any child into a box as say that this is what a “boy” is like. Most boys are the same but with the same varieties that come with all human beings. My boys are like chalk and cheese. This is good. They need to learn how to exist in a world made of different people.

Yet despite their difference I want my boys to learn and grow not only as they are designed to be but to have good character, good standards and good morals. I want them to love God…and others – especially each other. I want them to be faithful, dependable, caring, loving, kind with a good dash of humour. I am concerned for my young men. I see them grow up in a world that is changing fast, and not always for the good. I pray for them and I have asked God to develop in them a heart that is strong, that will weather the storms in life without failing. It is a world that condemns men for being men (and women for being women). The list that I would pray for them is very long indeed. Yet I have placed them in the hands of the One who knew them before I did and I know that He alone will guide them. Who they turn out to be will have very little to do with me and everything to do with the people they are and the mercy and love of their Creator.

I came across a scripture this morning when I was doing my bible reading – Isaiah 28:23-29 NIV (italics and highlights mine) –

 

Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention.

Does a farmer always plow and never sow?   Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?

Does he not finally plant his seeds— black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—

each in its proper way, and each in its proper place?

The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.

A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin; rather, it is beaten with a light stick.

A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.

Grain for bread is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.

He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn’t pulverize it.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.

 

I highlight sections for you to think on. If God teaches the farmer, does He not teach the mother too? Does God also give us wisdom and understanding? Maybe we say this – “The mother knows just what to do, for God has given her understanding.” Or “The Lord is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the mother great wisdom.”

To you mums of boys, mothers of men, pray for your sons. Hand them over to their Maker. Ask God to give you wisdom in how to bring them up. I don’t know if I am doing the right thing with them, but I trust that the God who matures and grows me – will do the same for them.

I am not saying it is worse to have an all-boys household, or that it is easier to have girls. I am not saying that boys can sometimes be quiet and not outdoorsy. I am simply saying this – it is different. You mum’s who have all girl households, or those that have mixed household -you can speak from your experiences. I am speaking from a household of very “manly men”. It is sometimes exhausting being a woman in that atmosphere, but sometimes it is just being exhausting being a mum…or a maybe a man… or is it that it is exhausting being human?

Each one of us need to look at others with the understanding that each human is different. This is good. This is excellent. Different means that we will not be being the same. Different needs to be celebrated. My boys are like chalk and cheese in just about everything. They bring such diversity with their strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes that diversity causes fights and chaos. Yet even with their differences there are “same-nesses” and “likenesses”. The same with all of us.

Encouragement is a good thing. Knowing that others know what we go through helps us feel not so alone. Just as I shared in a story above, all the mums were sitting in their own little world in the hospital waiting room until someone comes along and helps us to see that we are not alone.

Be confident Child of God that you are not alone. It might be exhausting, but we can find others like ourselves and find others that are different. We have a God who cares and who will teach us.

You are not alone mums of boys and mums of girls. Just look around you. Be encouraged that your world is very like someone else. There is another very important thing to remember – God is with you and He will teach you. The joys of boys is that you will spend a lot of times on your knees – and that can only be a good thing.

Be confident and encouraged as you be the mum that only you can be. Trust that God will guide you and your children. Love your children, love your life, love God and be blessed.

Confrontation

 

Ok. If you are like me and read the title of this blog, it is possible you recoiled. To confront is hard, and for some of us it is nearly impossible.

Confrontation, for some of us, can bring experiences of upset, heartache and stress. For others, they may not like to confront, just simply because it means that it is unpleasant. There are others who feel that it is their obligation to confront, and feel no sense of either joy or sadness at the thought.

I have just had a few days of confronting and being confronted. I have just spent a few years trying to confront a problem to bring about change… and nothing has happened. For those that know me, I was trying to be a gentle as I could while not trying to upset too many.

I do not like confrontation… I will run from it.

However, I will confront. I do not like to see people suffer and I don’t like bullies treating others badly. These two things get my back up. I have a favourite saying – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Yesterday a memory post came up on my Facebook feed. It was a quote from Lisa Bevere from Messenger International. On the 2nd March 2016, I had shared her Facebook post from that day on my Facebook page. The  words were simple but effective…

What you do not CONFRONT will not CHANGE.

Posted by Lisa Bevere on Tuesday, 1 March 2016

It was interesting that for that exactly a year ago, I found a reason to share this, and yesterday I needed to hear it.

Today, the pain of having to be confrontive (yes, I know there is no such word, but it seems appropriate) for three days straight was sitting wearily in my heart. I hated it. But yet for anything to change it needed to happen. Now I have to leave the rest to see if there is change.

You cannot make people change. There is a saying that goes like this – “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” Another larrikin one time said, “yes, but you can run him until he is thirsty.”

People will only change often if it suits them and it will make their life better…even if that is to shut you up! But I often wonder this…

Will the change be long lasting and permanent?

This is the other point I want to make, if you do not confront, you cannot sit back and complain about no change. Simple… as… that!

There is no way we can look at a situation going on in front of our eyes and not do or say something, and then think we have the right to whinge and complain. Sorry, that is not an option.

The final point I feel to make today is this….

Why do you want to confront? Are you going to do it with as much compassion and love that you would expect for yourself, while keeping the integrity and steadfastness for the need to change?

I can’t answer for you, I can only answer for me. I hope over time people would see me not as unmerciful and obnoxious (demanding that I am right) but caring, concerned, and confronting them while allowing that their dignity is firmly in place.

I can only hope and pray for more wisdom, along with the heart to respond correctly to another person’s confrontation of my own need to change.

 

Be blessed.