I am moving back to BLOGGER!

I’ve been here since August of 2013 and have given it my best but can not do what I want without paying yearly packages and extra fees….So for now I am going back to blogger where I can  create and do my blog the way I want without extra cost! Thank you so much for those of you who are new followers and I would ask that if you have enjoyed my writings to please come on over and join me at http://www.sharonbrobst.com.

 

Again THANK YOU!!

Fight for Community

Today I had a conversation with a friend. My heart hasn’t been right, it was hurt. Our relationship  had been affected. I had let insecurities and other people speak their own insecurities and lies into my heart.  People's mandala - 12 handsFor weeks I had allowed the hurt to fester and grow. I was dangerously close to allowing the hurt pour out to others in anger and criticism. I was close to writing him off and being “done”.

But God loves His people. He doesn’t not want His children fighting against one another so He convicted my heart. His Spirit convicted me to the point that I had to make things right. I had to talk to my friend. I needed to share my insecurities, the lies I had believed and the things I had began to listen to from others.

To be honest this was not easy. It was very difficult. I was fearful of how he might react. I didn’t want to hurt him, but most of all I hated the thought of his disappointment. But his response was graceful. There was no condemnation or judgment. He listened as I shared my hurt, and my frustration.

He then walked me through three things. He helped me remember…

What he has done in the past. He reminded me of circumstances, and life decisions that spoke of his character. He reminded me of his consistency in his choices and the living out of his life.

His heart. He shared his heart with me. First he shared with me what I already knew about his heart, then he shared the things God was showing him.

Who our enemy is. He reminded me that we fight the same enemy and that enemy would do anything to stop the work that is being done in God’s kingdom. He reminded me that our enemy loves nothing more than to create friction and undercurrents in order to divide the body of Christ. He doesn’t want God’s people getting along.

There are parts of me that could go to the place I so often go and that is shame. I could beat myself up inside for forgetting who I know my friend to be. I have known him for a long time. We have worked along side together in ministry. Our families have broken the bread of fellowship together. I should know better. I could allow shame to cause me to withdraw, but I will choose to rejoice that Christ’s love won and the enemy was defeated in this battle.

As I have thought about this today it became very clear how easy it is for all of us to do this with our relationships (and with God). We let little things grow into big things. We do not confront and we forget.

So going forward I choose to do better.

I choose to go to my friend (or to God) immediately when I have doubts. No matter how small or petty I may think my insecurities or doubts are I will value relationship over looking foolish.

I choose to always remember who I know them to be. I will always choose to believe they want God’s best for me and would never harm me on purpose.

I choose to remember that our enemy seeks to destroy all healthy, godly relationships among God’s children.

I choose to believe that my friends, just like God, we always respond in grace and love not matter how silly my insecurities are.

Let us all remember to guard our relationship with our brothers and sister in Christ. Let us remember that we all fight the same battle…the same enemy.

What about you? Are you willing to go to your friend, your brother or sister in Christ, your pastor, Bible study leader or church leadership and fight for community. Are you willing to humble yourself and die to pride so that the body of God will be guarded? Will you, at all cost, protect the community of Christ against an enemy that seeks to destroy?

Who do you need to talk to today?

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves ;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Phil 2:1-4

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:19

Who is in Control?

Who is in conrtolThere is a constant war that takes place inside me. It most likely takes place in you also. At times the war is very evident, it shows in our actions and attitudes that the war in raging inside. Other times it’s less noticeable and almost seems  we’ve won the war.

The war is control. The players are God and self. Self wants it’s own way. It wants to know the next step in life. Self wants to control. God also wants control. He wants to be the final authority in our lives. He wants us to live by faith and trust His will.

Sometimes it’s hard to clearly see who is in control. We think we are allowing God to lead but in reality it is self. We get really good at playing the game so that it appears we are walking by faith, but it’s all a ruse. And before we know it we are in an all out war for control.

Self or God, who is in control? How can we be sure? Ephesians 4 helps us understand how to do a self check to be sure we are walking a life of surrender to God and not a life controlled by self.

Here are 5 things that will be evident in my life if God is in control and not self.

  1. Unity. (1-10) You will have a desire to live in unity with other believers. You will guard the unity of Christ’s Church.
  2. Discipleship. (11-16)You will live a life that desires to teach and train fellow believers ,using your gifts from God, in order to help them grow up in Christ. You will have a deep desire to see other believers to grow  and mature in their faith.
  3. Holiness. (17-24)You will no longer live the life you did before Christ. There will be clear evidence in your life that you are becoming more and more like Christ and the things of the world no longer hold you in bondage.
  4. Fight Sin. (25-29) You will not longer desire to sin but will fight daily to eradicate it from your life. When you do sin it will grieve you and you’ll seek reconciliation quickly.
  5. Seek Forgiveness. (30-32) You will make your relationship with God a priority and will seek forgiveness quickly. There will be a spirit of kindness, love and forgiveness about you. You will quickly seek forgiveness when there has been an offense against God and others.

Of course there are many other things that could be listed, but this list from Ephesians four covers much. Bottom line is that if God is in control there will be evidence of a life lived in the “new nature”. You will desire to be obedient to His word regardless of the cost. You will surrender your will completely to the will of God. The “old nature” is evident when we live a life of self-centeredness, pride, and are defensive and self-gratifying.

Who is in control of you life today? What about tomorrow? Next week? This is a check list we need to constantly hold up to see how we are doing. It’s all too easy to slip into a life of thinking and living for self and not God.

Oh Father I need help to live a life filled with the Spirit. My flesh, my desires can not be denied apart from You. If I am not constantly surrendering my life, my desires to you then my flesh is more than willing to take over. Forgive me Father for living those moments in the flesh when unity has been sacrificed and sin has taken over. Help me to forgive and to ask my brothers and sisters who I have offended to forgive me. Help me to guard the unity of Your church. Show me those places I could use my gifts to help Your people grow. Show me those areas I need to grow up and help me be teachable in those places that I need to change and grow. Thank you for Your patience and that you never give up. Amen

He Cares For Your Soul

I love how God brings reminders of truth to us just when we need it. God brought Psalm 142:4 across my path today which says, “Look to the right and see ; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.”  and I had to go look it up.

Who was speaking? Why was he feeling that no one cares for his soul? What did he do? What did God do? These are the questions that ran through my mind.

ps 142Psalm 146 is a prayer that was prayed by David when he was in a cave trying to hide from Saul. David was being pursued by Saul whose intentions were to harm him. I can only imagine how alone he may have felt.

Saul was once a friend who now sought to kill him. It’s one thing to be hated by an enemy who is a stranger, but to have a friend turn on him must have been hard.

Psalm 142 says, “I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.  I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.  Look to the right and see ; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.  I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. “Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are too strong for me.  “Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me.”   

I can feel the emotions of David as he cries out to God. I have been in places where I felt overwhelmed, trapped, and felt the there was no one who cares for my soul. But I am encouraged by David’s reminder that in those times we can take comfort in knowing God sees us, God is our refuge, He hears us and will deliver us.

So may we cry out with David to God in those times that we are troubled in mind, body, or soul and pray this prayer and be comforted by a God who will care for our soul.

He Will Never Leave

Walking on the Sidewalk --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

I don’t know about you but I am often forgetful. In the midst of living this life I forget that God is bigger, stronger, and keeps His promises. He is not like those of the world He does not leave us, forget us, disappoint us, and hurt us. Sure those of this world who love us and care about us do not mean to do those things either and yet we all do fail one another. So what shall we do in order to not become discouraged?

My dear sisters if you find yourself in a place today of forgetfulness remember that you are not alone! He walks with you.

I pray these reminders of truth will encourage you. Regardless of what life may bring, whether joy or sorrows, He walks with you.

Gen 28:15
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Joshua 1:5
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Romans 8:35 -39
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Heb 13:5b
… “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”

His Grace is Enough

Woman on Beach Looking at Ocean --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis There are days I am overwhelmed with this life.

All sorts of doubts plague my mind.

I am assaulted with lies and insults within.

My self talk seems bent on destroying the truth I know.

I see my weaknesses.

I understand the powerlessness of self to be different than I am.

Then I am reminded that Christ has said, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

But still I strive to be, to change and yet it is impossible apart from His grace. It is His work in me that I must surrender to. So I choose to glory in my weaknesses knowing that it is the power of Christ dwelling in me that can change me.

So I must choose to surrender to His power, His grace, for it alone is enough. It’s all I need.

“…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Motherhood, in Life and Ministry

motherhoodlifeministryThere were days when my boys were young that I was just tired and wanted to run away. I didn’t want to even hear the word “mommy”. I didn’t want to be a mother. In fact, I was one of those girls who grew up saying I’d never have children. I often wondered what God was thinking when He allowed me to be a mother. I would grow weary of doing for my children without appreciation or notice.

Then God, in His faithfulness and gentle ways would cause my heart to look upon those precious faces and my heart would remember truth. The truth that His did call me to be a mother. He placed these precious, loud, curious, rough and tumble boys into my arms with a heavenly purpose in mind. Yes God desires us mothers to raise them for Him, to teach them the word and show them the love of the Father but children also teach us.

They teach us to be a mother. They show us the Father and help us to understand His love, patience, mercy and grace. So often we, as mothers, get so caught up in trying to do and be what we think a good mother would do and be that we forget the lessons that God is trying to teach us through our raising children.

In those moments that I wanted to run, give up and give in I learned to run to God. I learned that it was in His strength I could go another day. It was because of Him and what He was doing in my heart that I would learn to keep on fighting for my children. After all if I wasn’t teaching them, loving them, holding them, praying with and for them who would? No one. I was the one God called. I would be the one who would lead them.

Over seven years ago when I led me into women’s ministry I found these same emotions arising. I would become weary of being a spiritual mother. I would become frustrated in the fighting for “children” who seemed to not care. Day after day I would fight battles within and outside that threatened to rendered me useless. My enemies, were my flesh, Satan, the world and the very ones I was trying to minister to. The lies, betrayals, gossip and criticism at times brought great bouts of  discouragement. I wanted to quit, run away and give up.

But God has called me, and so, just like when I felt this way raising my boys, I learned to once again run to Him. God, once again being faithful, reminded me that it’s not about me, or how I am feeling. It’s about them, what’s best for them, what they need. It’s about  who they need me to be – who God expects me to be. I was reminded that I have a God who empowers me to do that which He has called me to do. He called me to be a mother. This my dear friends is a blessing – a high calling. And I had learned that God will enable me to rise above my flesh and do what He has called me to do.

So today God continues to call me into “Mothering”. As I look back I can see how all the lessons beforehand led up to this role as a” mother”. The women God brings to me today are broken, many know nothing of God let alone what it means to be loved by a mother. God is calling me to mother His lost children. Children who do not know Him or know very little about Him. These women, these young girls need to see and experience what being a mother really is about. They need to hear the truth, not only about being a mother but about their heavenly Father. They need to know they are heard, seen and understood. They need mothers who have not only “been there” but who are real and honest about the struggles, and heartache of mothering.

This journey has only begun and I stand with great anticipation to see all that God will do. I am thrilled to serve God in this way. I am humbled that He has chosen me to help Him save these girls and their unborn babies. Working in a pregnancy center will bring new, hard challenges I know and I fully realize that there will be day that I will not  “feel” like fighting for them. I will grow weary and feel  like giving up.

And yet, I have learned who to run to and I will rise in confidence of who Christ says I am and believe the truth of what I KNOW – not what I feel or the lies that the enemy would have me believe – I will stand on the truth of who Christ is and the truth of what His word says.

I will think like a mother, sacrifice like a mother, love like a mother. I will fight like a mother! I will fight with God to help save a generation that does not know Him.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com by greyerbaby

Mourning Until Heaven

On Friday I was talking to a friend about the death of a parent. We have both lost our dads. He asked me how long do you mourn? I said “until heaven”.

Stuart Miles, published on 26 August 2011<br />Stock Photo - image ID: 10055137It is true that it gets easier and the missing of them gets less painful. It is true that as time goes on we adjust and learn to live without them. We will live days, weeks, and months without thinking of the loss.

It is true that there are still moments of mourning, remembering, tears, and sorrow. These moments will come unbidden and when you least expect it. I remember one day drive down the road and the tears just began to flow, then I began to sob. I missed my father.

My Father has been gone for over 40 years and it has taken me almost that time to realize that it’s okay to stop and remember, to mourn once again and then move on. It is not a sign of weakness. It is not a sign that you haven’t gotten “over it”. It’s just part of the mourning of a loved one.

When we lose someone we love deeply there will always be moments that we need to breathe in the memories of the one we have lost and as we breathe in those memories there may be a tear or two. It’s a sign of loving deeply.

So give yourself permission to remember. To mourn. In the midst of it all allow the Spirit of God to bring comfort once more.

A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecc. 3:4)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor 1:3,4)

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles, at www.freedigitalphotos.net

3 Ways to Help Create an Eternal View in our Children

Ambro, published on 02 November 2011<br />Stock Photo - image ID: 10063272Anytime we look back over our life we often see so much clearer. There are many things I wish I would have done, or not done, as a mother. I wish I would have seen then what I see now as the most important seed to plant in their young hearts. I don’t suppose I did it all wrong, they both are serving the Lord and following Him. But I can’t help but wonder if I could have done a better job cultivating eternity in their hearts. Could I have done better teaching them to live with an eternal perception? Could I have done more to help them live a life pursing eternal rewards instead of the worldly rewards?

Here are a few things that I believe give our children a better start to living with an eternal perspective. These are things I have done, seen modeled and wish I would have done better.

The first two things I see come from Duet 11:18-20 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul ; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons,talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”

1. Make time for God. This does not mean take them to church every Sunday or make sure they attend Sunday School, Awana, VBS, and have family devotions, although all of these things are good and valuable. But the problem comes when we separate “religious” training and our everyday life. If all that we do is the above without including God in the everyday moments of life then we begin a pattern of separating the sacred and the secular.

God should be spoke of daily, not in a forced way but in a way that is natural. A parent should look for ways to point their children to God in the everyday ordinary ways. Look for teachable moments. Look for opportunities to teach your children about God’s character and His truth.

For example, during the summer my granddaughter and I were outside when she spotted a bunny. She was so excited and began chasing it. She said to me after she realized she wasn’t going to catch it, “Nana I wish I could catch him and take care of him, he is so cute and cuddly!” My response to her was, “Isn’t it wonderful that God created something so cute and cuddly! God will take care of him because God cares for all the animals he created.” From there she began to ask questions about God and wanted to know others things He created. It was a small thing, and yet it planted truth in her little heart and opened up a conversation about the Creator God.

2. Make time for family. This is so important. Today in the pursuit of the “American Dream” we have lost the importance of the family unit. Quality and quantity time has been replaced with mom and dad pursuing their careers, and children pursuing sports, dance, music and the next top video game.

Today more than ever I believe the family is being sacrificed. Family no longer spend much time together. They are busy running to sport games, dance recitals, karate, and so much more that there just isn’t time for the family to sit together at meal time. Our family tried to spend several meals a week eating together around the table. I still cherish those meal times. It was there that we had wonderful conversations, laughed until we hurt and yes we even had some of out biggest arguments. But the point is we were talking, sharing and together.

Another way to build the family up is “unplugging”. Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and go for a hike, a picnic , go to the beach or camping for the weekend. As a family we loved all these things and our boys still speak of them with fond memories. Our boys didn’t have cell phones until they were about sixteen and driving, but even then it was before texting and the ability to get online with your phone. Today I think in order to help with the unplugging I would lock all phones in the car or maybe only carry one in case of emergency. (just a thought)

Be willing to make sacrifices for the family. What I mean is in light of every decision you make as husband and wife make sure you are putting the family first. I remember on one occasion when my husband had the opportunity to take a better paying job, it would have meant a lot more money and more opportunity for moving up. We talked and prayed about it for quite some time. Are boys were older and so we talked to them about it too. I remember one of them saying something about if we have more money they could have more things. THINGS. That wasn’t what we wanted for our children.

My husband ended up not pursuing the job for one reason, the family. This job would mean more traveling and more hours. Instead of being away from the family 40-50 hrs a week it would be 60-70 hrs. They let him know up front that those kind of hours would be expected. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice his family. As a result of that decision when it was our son’s senior year he was able to attend every home and away basketball game. He was also able to be there for every soccer game for our other sons senior year. My husband was able to be an involved father even during those moments that they might not care if dad was there or not.

3. Make time for others. John 13:34 reminds us that we are to “ love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  Galatians 5:13b says “…but through love serve one another.” We had an advantage in teaching our children to serve others since they grew up next to their grandparents. Even when they were quite young they would be over there helping in the garden, cleaning up the yard and collecting eggs from the chickens. As they grew there help increased to chopping wood, mowing, getting snakes out of the house and many other needed chores. They loved helping their Pop-Pop and rarely was it something they were “made to do”. The advantage of this was them learning to serve.

There were other ways we tried to help instill this principle also, like serving in shelters, helping with Angel Tree, mission trips, and serving a summer camp. I remember our youngest son desiring to serve at a youth camp for inner city kids the summer after his senior year of High School. We weren’t thrilled with the idea due to the fact that there would be little to no money saved for college, but we allowed him to go and it was life changing for him. He also had the opportunity when he was 15 to go to Japan on a trip to teach soccer and share Christ, it was another life changing trip. These opportunities should be encouraged even when we as parents may feel they should be pursuing a job or other things. It’s in service to others that our children learn the joy of serving the Lord and making sacrifices to do so.

As I said above, we didn’t do these things perfectly. I wish we would have spent more time in all three areas. I wish we wouldn’t have “bought” into the worlds views when it came to what was important to spend our time on. Our boys were involved in school and outside activities but God, family and others always were most important. We weren’t willing to make sacrifices in these areas, which included our children not being able to play in town sport leagues because they would have to play on Sunday.

Yes I know, I can hear the arguments now! But you know what? Our boys still played school sports in High School, and one even got offered a scholarship to play in college. (Unfortunately he blew his knee out his senior year and the scholarship offer was taken back.)

I am sure there is so much more to this topic of creating an eternal view in the hearts of our children, but I think these three things are a good start.

Called to Live and Preach Christ

There is a quote that has often bothered me. It just didn’t sit right in my heart. The quote is often attributed to Francis of Assisi and says “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”

Quite honestly it just doesn’t make sense to me.  I mean if my neighbor sees me living my life in service to others and being a good neighbor, loving those I homelessmeet, all he will think is that I’m a nice person. He doesn’t  come to know the content of the gospel  simply by watching me live my life.

Shouldn’t  I also speak the gospel so that he will know?

So, I sat down to do some research on the quote. I wanted to know the context of the quote. Maybe the context had been distorted over the years. Interestingly enough what I found was that Francis of Assisi never said it. Read more here.

Mark Galli of Christianity Today says this about the quote, “First, no biography written within the first 200 years of his death contains the saying. It’s not likely that a pithy quote like this would have been missed by his earliest disciples. Second, in his day, Francis was known as much for his preaching as for his lifestyle.”1

I love what Jeremy Carr writes about the quote on his blog One Thing, “ While it commends us to live out the Gospel through our life, it falls short of what it means to preach the Gospel and it actually makes no sense at all. I recently heard D. A. Carson comment that it would be like telling a news reporter to “Give the news and if necessary use words.” After all Gospel means good news. News is something you tell people.”

Some might say who cares who said it, after all it’s still a good statement. Maybe,  but I wouldn’t want someone to say I said something when I didn’t, or take something I said and misquote it. Would you?  I imagine not. So it is import to understand that Francis of Assisi did not say this.

But is it a good quote regardless of who said it? I really struggle with that in light of what scripture says. God’s word is very clear that we are to live out the gospel and we are to preach the gospel.

We live the gospel when we love one another. What if the body of Christ so loved one another that they actually did 1 Thess 5:11-13 and encouraged, built up, showed appreciation, encouraged the fainthearted, helped the weak, was patient, and sought what was good for one another. Wouldn’t that speak volumes to the world if they saw the church living out the gospel in such a way? So yes,  we absolutely must live out the gospel before the world.

We are also told to preach the gospel. Jesus tells the disciple to “go preach the gospel.” (Mark 16:15) and Paul says “for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Cor 9:16) In fact as I searched scripture (but did not do an in-depth study) it seems that the New Testament writers often preached the gospel to those outside of the body. They did not leave it up to the idea that “if I just live right before them they will know I am a believer”. No they PREACHED Jesus! (2 Cor 10:16; Rom 15:20; Mark 15:15)

A quick look at 1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” John is telling us that if we speak love only with words and no actions it is not love. When taking the gospel to a dark world we need to both live and preach the gospel. It’s not one or the other. We are called to live and love as Jesus did. He IS our example.

My dear beloved, Jesus both lived and spoke the gospel. His life both showed and spoke the love of the Father. We should go and do likewise.

1 http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/mayweb-only/120-42.0.html