Only Christ

We all do it.

We get caught up in what this world deems as important. We base our worth on the number of Twitter followers we currently have. We judge the importance of what we do by the amount of accolades we receive. We view our writing as only as good as the number of comments we get that day. The reality is, however, that none of that matters. Do you hear me? Your blog stats do not amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. (I have said that phrase a million times, but it looks really weird in print. But, just for the record, a hill of beans? Not worth much.)belikechrist

I was really convicted of this truth in my Bible reading this morning. Today’s reading included this verse:

The wicked wander everywhere,
and what is worthless is exalted by the human race. – Psalm 12:8

Anyone besides me been exalting some worthless things? 

We exalt people, beauty, wealth, fame, etc. We find our worth in how big our home is, how cute our children are or how many big names we can drop on social media.

We have been busy lifting up some things that thieves can break in and steal and moth and rust can destroy.

The picture in this post was drawn by one of daughters and she asked that it be put on the bulletin board above her school desk. It serves as a reminder to me that only Christ is worthy of exaltation and honor.

Turn my eyes
from looking at what is worthless;
give me life in Your ways. – Psalm 119:37

What do you have your gaze focused on, today? If it isn’t Christ, it is worthless.

 

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Enthusiastic Devotion

I have never thought of myself as a lazy person.

My parents are, and always have been, hard working people.  They do not believe in missing work nor do they believe in half-hearted efforts.  So, I have always strived to do things well.

But, lately, I have gotten lazy…in my spiritual walk. I’m not sure how it happened, but I have allowed other areas of my life to overwhelm me and overshadow Him.

I was recently told something that has really made me stop and think.  If your Christian walk has become drudgery to you, you are not going about it in the right way.  Without the right attitude, the actions mean nothing.

Paul said it like this.

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men. – Colossians 3:23 HCSB

When was the last time I was enthusiastic about something that did not involve reality television or cheesecake?

We must be passionate in our pursuit of Christ.  We must be intentional in our study of His Word.  We must be enthusiastic in our devotion.

Maybe that is why we are to welcome the kingdom of God like a little child (Luke 18:17.) Aren’t children just enthusiastic about everything?  I pray that it would be so for me.

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Nothing But Shadows

I was heartbroken for her.  She was a beautiful, godly woman who had just buried her adult son the week before.  I sat in the pew behind her.

God, what do I say to her?  Nothing.  There is nothing to say.

So, when she stood and turned around, we made eye contact and I just hugged her.  I squeezed her and I rubbed the back of her head.

She whispered into my neck, “You never expect to bury your children.  You’re not supposed to bury your children.”

Even though… – Psalm 23:4

I love those words.  Even though I feel like the pain will overwhelm me, I know He is near.   Even though I can’t see beyond the trial that looms, I will listen for His voice.  Even though the disappointment is great, He is greater.  Those are good words – even though.

Even though I walk through the valley... – Psalm 23:4

Another good word?  Through.  Our trials, though painful and heart-wrenching, are but temporary.  We are moving. on. through.  God will redeem everything.  He will restore.  This thing does not end here.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... – Psalm 23:4

When I tuck my girls in bed at night I leave their door cracked.  I also leave the light on in the closet so that it’s not so dark in their room.  A couple weeks ago, I was called into their room.  I found them in the same bed staring at a shadow on the bedroom wall.  They wanted to know what it was because it looked like it could be a monster.

I explained to them that, although it did look scary, they did not have to be afraid because it was just a shadow. The truth, however, is that it can be scary in the shadows.  I take comfort in knowing that the shadow of death is all that we face.  He has delivered us so that we never face the real thing.  Death has been swallowed.  God has taken away the sting.

This thing called life is hard. It’s dang hard. Just remember that we are only passing through. Pain is real and there is no denying the hurt and heartbreak. But, we’re just living in the shadows.

Soon, we will see Him face to face.

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

 

Idol Lies

My life used to be business casual and morning meetings. I balanced budgets and kept the boss’ calendar. It was a great job that came with a great salary and lots of perks. My peeps and I would gather around the coffee pot at 8:00 a.m. and discuss the latest happenings on Survivor. Life was good. Yet, I was not satisfied.

roses1

I desperately wanted to be home with my babies. It was a desire that consumed most of my thoughts. I was convinced that everything would be better if I could just have that one thing. And that one thing? It became an idol in my heart.

Imagine my absolute delight when, after a decade of prayer, God opened a door for me to stay home. Suddenly, I was doing carpool and having play dates. I was baking cookies and staying in my pajamas on rainy mornings. I had my heart’s desire.

There is something about an idol, though. An idol lies and it never satisfies. I had focused on this one desire for so long. So, now what?

My life became comfy clothes and cartoons. My work peeps were gathering around coffee pots without me. I no longer was watching Survivor and no one was really interested in the latest adventures of Dora the Explorer. I had what I wanted and life was good. Yet, I was not satisfied.

I found myself holding the golden calf only to discover that it was a lie.

Anxiety began to set in. I couldn’t admit to anyone that I was not content. As much as I had cried over my desire to stay home, anything less than over the moon giddiness would make me look foolish.

There was a time in my life when I would sleep with my Bible under my pillow. I was so in love with Jesus and I just could not get enough. Sometimes, I would wake up in the middle of the night just to read a verse or two. I would write my own Bible studies and was constantly memorizing Scripture.

Christ was all I wanted and I was satisfied.

Somewhere along the way, however, “all I wanted” became Christ AND…

All I want is Christ and a boyfriend.

All I want is Christ and a good job.

All I want is Christ and an engagement ring.

All I want is Christ and a baby.

All I want is Christ and to be a stay-at-home mom.

All I want…

But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. – Revelation 2:4

I didn’t realize it but I was slowly abandoning my first love. An idol doesn’t kidnap you and drag you away. It lures, little by little. Before I knew it, I was a million miles away from the college girl with the Bible under her pillow.

Here’s the good news, though. Christ never abandons us. We can stop chasing the idols. We can return to our first love. He always wants us back.

 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. – Revelation 2:5

  • We must realize that we have strayed.
  • We must repent of our infidelity.
  • We must return to the lover of our soul.

Whatever it is that your heart longs for, if it isn’t Christ, it isn’t enough. An idol will promise satisfaction that it can not deliver. An idol will lure you away one lie at time.

He forgives all your sin;
He heals all your diseases.
He redeems your life from the Pit;
He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.
He satisfies you with goodness – Psalm 103:3-5

If you are struggling to find contentment and satisfaction, maybe you have been looking in the wrong places.

 (A few weeks ago, I posted this on my personal blog and it became the most shared post in my four years of blogging. Turns out, I’m not the only one who knows a little something about idols. Maybe you can relate, too?)

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Mid-Week Links:The Let-the-Sunshine-in Edition

I hope the sun is shining where you are, my friends. Open the blinds and let it in. Turn up the radio while you wash the dishes. Walk outside in your bare feet. Sit down with a cup of coffee and read something inspiring. (I just happen to have some lovely links for you.) Begin a list of a thousand gifts.

Whatever else this day brings your way, I pray you get a chance to see the Son.

You are loved by the King!

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Roll Call!

Our HomeLife family is growing so fast, y’all. We have almost 900 new followers on Facebook just in the last few months. We would love to get to know everyone  a little bit better. Leave a comment and let everyone know what city/state (or country!) you call home.

As you leave a comment, please pause for just a moment and pray for the person who left a comment before you. Let’s be an online community that loves on and lifts up one another! 

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25homelife logo

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

It’s Summer Bible Study Time!

I am all about a good Bible study. Back in the day, it didn’t matter the topic or time, I would be at the church with Bible and highlighter in hand. There is something fabulously exciting about beginning a new adventure in the Word, isn’t there?

Then, I had a baby and another and another and another. Let’s see: 1 baby + 3 anothers…yeah, that’s right. Suddenly, it was difficult to get to that 9:00 a.m. class. Even with childcare, I had no place for my school age children since I homeschool. Then, there were the evening classes. Childcare wasn’t a problem since my husband was home. Those classes, however, usually fell right in the middle of my serving up supper, run the kids through the bath, collapse on the couch exhausted time. Come on, now. You know what I’m talking about. 

And that, my sweet friends, is what I love about Beth Moore’s Summer Siesta Bible study. You can do it in a group. You can do it all alone, on your couch and in your jammies.

I know y’all are all kinds of busy and tired. You work hard for a living. You take care of little ones. You chauffeur big ones. You help out parents and sibling. You babysit grandbabies. You volunteer. You serve. You are a grilled cheese making, laundry folding, coffee drinking machine! And, just maybe, you need to be refreshed.

If so, I want you. Yes, you. I want you to be in my group this summer. Let’s have a HomeLife Bible study group and let’s join the other siestas. If you are interested in signing up for Beth’s Summer Bible study, hop on over to her blog and do so. Then, comment on this post with your name and, maybe, your city or state. That way, we can see who is in our little group.

Then, I’ll hop on here once a week and we’ll chat about what God has said to each of us. I sure hope you’ll join me!

Happy Friday, sweet friends!

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Choose Joy

One day, I found the Gitzen Girl blog by accident. I fell in love with Sara Frankl and her spirit. Due to a chronic illness, Sara was physically confined to her condo. Thousands were forever changed by the love and encouragement they received from her. Sara’s motto of “Choose Joy” has become a mantra for many in the blogging community.

On September 24, 2011, Sara got to meet her Jesus face to face and her joy was made complete.

Today, she would have been 40 years old. This is a video that many in the blogging community participated in to honor Sara in the months following her passing.

I encourage you to Choose Joy, friends.

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

God can still feed a multitude.

Sometimes, we focus our eyes on the visible.  We get all caught up in our circumstances and forget that we serve a mighty God whose power knows no limits.  We look at the problems around us and decide that they are insurmountable.  Even the disciples were guilty of underestimating God.

*Matthew 15:32-38

These men had been following Christ.  They had listened to His teachings and witnessed His healings.  Yet, when it came to feeding the multitude before them, they were quick to consider it impossible.  They looked at the crowd, looked at their food supply and concluded that it would never work.

There are a couple of lessons to be learned from this passage.

  • God is not oblivious to the needs of His children.

This massive crowd had been following Jesus for three days and He knew they were hungry.  It doesn’t say that they complained to him about their hunger.  They didn’t moan and groan about the lack of food.  He just knew what they needed.

For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. – Matthew 6:8

  • Even the most devoted believers can not comprehend the power of the Lord.

Even the disciples would often forget…

The disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in this desolate place to fill such a crowd?” – Matthew 15:33

They were seated next to God Himself, looked at the circumstances and basically said, “Nothing can be done here.”

That sounds ridiculous, but don’t we do the same thing?  Look around, God.  This is my situation and there is no solution in sight.  How can any good be found in this desolate place in which I find myself?

  • God Provides.

God is not just enough. He is more than enough.  He does not just take the edge off the pain or hunger. He completely satisfies.  When God fills our cup, it overflows (Psalm 23:5.)  And, when He feeds us, we are filled.

They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. – Matthew 15:37 NIV

They were satisfied.

He could have provided just enough.  He is God, after all.  He knew exactly how much each person could and would eat.  But He made sure there were leftovers.

Sometimes, God doesn’t just show up.  Sometimes, He flat out shows off.  Not for Himself, but for us. He knows that there are times when we need a reminder of the bigness of our God.

So, whatever trial you face today, He is bigger. He is more than enough. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He still heals. He still forgives. He still comforts the lonely and broken. God can still feed a multitude.

You are loved.

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

The Right Choice

Luke 10:38-42

Mothering, homeschooling, housekeeping, writing, working, volunteer work – all good things. They are ways in which most of us serve. Often, just when we’re expecting a pat on the back, Scripture can step on our toes. Not everything good is best and sometimes priorities get all out of whack. Sometimes, a person needs to be reminded.

Christ followers are called to more than acts of service. We are called to be servants. Yes, there is a difference. Being a servant has to do with attitude more than actions. In order to have the proper attitude, we must spend time with the master.

We have all done it. We have grumbled because someone did not adequately acknowledge our acts of service. We follow the letter, but not the spirit, of the command to serve others. During this conversation with Martha, we find that we cannot serve properly until we have spent time with the Lord. A true servant is, first and foremost, a worshiper.

If we do not put worship ahead of service, two things will happen:

  1. We will become distracted. 
  2. We will become bitter.

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” – Luke 10:40

Do you see it? Martha was distracted with much servingIf we are not people of worship, our acts of service distract us from the savior. We become distracted and then we become bitter. I’ll admit to having a little Martha in me. I’m not proud of it. Lord, don’t you see all that I’m doing? Lord, why doesn’t so-and-so have to take care of these things? Blah, blah, blah. Trust me, it’s not pretty. So, without worship, servants become distracted and bitter.

Why worship?

  1. It is the only thing necessary.
  2. It will not be taken away.

The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42

Worship is necessary. The Lord said that Mary, the worshiper, made the right choice. Mary made the better choice. Worship ensures that our hearts are right and that the motives behind our acts of service are pure.

Let’s make sure we are making the better choice. The goal is not to be servants, but to be worshipers who serve.

~~~~

me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.