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How to Change a Bad Habit

I “momfessed” today that I yell at my kids.

This morning as I was reading in Ephesians 4, I saw a few things that made me think about my yelling, and what I need to do to be different.

1. In verse 21, we read that Paul is assuming the readers know Christ. So the information that follows is an exhortation and an instruction to believers (those who “have heard about him and were taught in him”.)

2. In verse 22, we are exhorted to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires”

So my yelling-self is part off my “old self”. When I am sinful and disconnected from the Lord (through lack of the Word and prayer), and when I am hungry and tired, and oh so fleshly, I yell at my children.

It sounds easy- just put off my old self. But when you stop and think How do I put off my old self?, it starts to look a wee bit more complicated. I think the key to “putting off” is found in the next part:

3. In verses 23 and 24, we see that the old self doesn’t just need to be “put off”, it needs to be replaced— “be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

4. A little further down, verse 29 really struck me in regards to my yelling:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

When I yell, I am not edifying my children. I am not edifying myself. It benefits no one. Those words (and the tone with which they are spoken) are not wholesome. They do not need to proceed from my mouth.

So, I prayed. Asking the Lord to help me put off the old self and put on the new self daily.

And  then I printed out Ephesians 4:29 and hung it up to be a reminder to me to only speak grace-giving words to my children. (I might post it up in every room of the house!)

Putting of the old and putting on the new is not an easy task. It takes daily prayer, daily truth from the Word, and constant work. But through God’s grace, bad habits (sin) can be put off and we can clothe ourselves with the new!

 

 

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Happy Birthday to Me {How to Reflect Upon Another Year}

Today is my birthday.

In youth, as one birthday ends and the year stretches out endlessly before us, we wish time would pick up the ticking pace. We want to reach sixteen and a driver’s license. We want to hit eighteen and graduation. We want to become twenty-one, and be an “adult”. As the birthdays start whizzing by, closer and closer together, we wish we could put on the brakes– at least slow the ride down some.

Today I’m 28. It feels so young and so old all at the same time. As I realize that I won’t have forever on this earth, that my days are passing and I’ll never get them back again, I want to make each day– and each new year count.

Today, I’m reflecting in prayer on the past year, and making plans for the next one. Asking the Lord to show me where I need to grow and where I need His help to improve. Thanking Him for a year full of joys and blessings. And maybe on your next birthday, you should too.

  • What was the event/day/happening/situation that brought me the most joy this past year?
  • What was the hardest challenge I had to face this year? How did I do?
  • Where do I see growth in myself since my last birthday?
  • In what areas am I struggling the most? Do I need to ask for help?
  • If I had to describe my year in one short sentence, what would it be?
  • What do I hope to accomplish this next year?
  • Where do I want to be on my next birthday? Physically? spiritually? emotionally? relationally?
  • What small changes do I want to make to my daily life?

So, happy birthday to me. And here’s to a great 28th year!


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Wisdom

Praying for wisdom is not a new thing for me.  In fact, during my motherhood journey, I find myself praying for wisdom at least a few times each week.  Lately though, it feels like I am begging God for wisdom in so many areas, on so many matters, every single day.  Sometimes that’s all I can eek out in prayer, “Lord, please give me wisdom…”

Are you in need of wisdom today?

…the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding. {Job 28:28}

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. {Psalm 111:10}

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. {Psalm 51:6}

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. {Psalm 90:12}

For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity… {Proverbs 2:6-7}

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. {James 1:5}

So:

  • If I need wisdom, I need to begin by fearing the Lord, and having a correct view of myself.
  • Wisdom is the Lord’s to give.
  • I can gain wisdom by asking of the Lord (without doubting).