Virtue: A Heart for Missions

 

aim. assignment. calling. quest. purpose; a person's task, responsibility = MISSION

"Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among ALL peoples." Psalm 96:3

I love this scripture for two reasons:

First, we are called to "declare His glory" -- make known clearly HIS importance and greatness.  How do we make this clearly known?  By sharing it with others; our personal experience our testimony of faith, His promises, the Truth.

Second, "among ALL peoples" -- everyone everywhere!  Near and far.  In our "world" big and small. In our homes, our families, at work, in friendships, with strangers.  Our mission field is our daily living.  It can be in another country or in our neighborhoods.

We talked about this today, once again, on our way to school.

I gave my boys specific examples of what this looks like.  We talked about missionaries over seas in other countries and local mission work; inner city missions.  We talked about people we know who are actively in "missions."  We discussed being a part of mission work, like volunteering for feed my starving children, or giving money to organizations who focus on missions and outreach.

Lastly we discussed our personal opportunities daily to serve, to be a part in "mission" work.

Then my youngest nugget said, "I think we got it, Mom, alright?"  And our conversation ended.  The final virtue on the 31 day journey.  It won't stop here, that's for sure.  But today's virtue is our reminder to...

...LET OUR LIGHT SHINE!!

I pray, "Lord, please help my children to develop a desire to see Your glory declared among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among the peoples. And Father, may I be a bright example of this virtue in my life -- that others may come to know You better through sharing my experience, strength, and hope that ONLY comes from You. Amen."

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You've just read day 31 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Gratitude

A L W A Y S...OVERflowing?  Um, not this morning.  I didn't see an ounce of thankfulness OR giving thanks this morning on our drive to school as I attempted to talk about today's virtue.  The "attitude of gratitude" was no where to be found.

The fastest way to shift an attitude or gain a new perspective is appreciation.  3 simple ways to do this are:

Look for the good -- identify 3 things.
Speak 5 things you're grateful for.
Write a gratitude list -- 10 blessings.

I do this frequently.  I encourage my children to do this often.  I coach others out of pity parties with this method.

Gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful -- being is to live and breath, to do, to continue, to always.  To remain and stay and stand grateful and thankful.  WOW...what a wonderful place to rest, in gratitude...

...IF ONLY it were that easy.

Unfortunately our "humanness" kicks in and blinders cover our eyes.  Sadly selfishness takes over and we focus on what we "don't have" not what we have.  This is real, but we can all grow in this virtue.  Our children can grow in this area as we lead by example.

I am grateful for these 31 Biblical Virtues -- God is revealing Himself to me in a special, gracious way as I seek to learn and understand Him more.

"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20

Every good and perfect gift is from above

"rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:7

I pray, "Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Father, open my eyes to see even the smallest of things to be grateful for. Amen."

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You've just read day 30 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Prayerfullness

Maybe I'm a "late bloomer" -- but it wasn't until December 2010 that I grasped the true significance of prayer.  Since then I've experienced the sweetness, the comfort, the peace that comes from the Lord when I "pray continually" 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

I started whispering this simple prayer...

Father, Open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my heart to know what Your plan and Your will is. Amen

...about two years prior to December 2010 when my life had become unmanageable and out of control.

I had the desire to draw near to Him, yet I felt so far away.  Any other prayer that I attempted to lift up seemed to hit the ceiling -- but this one, it was a desperate cry for help.  It was a step towards surrender and clarity.

Now, I feel that I could write a whole book on prayer.  I've learned so much through asking Him to open my eyes, ears, and heart...I pray all. day. long.

I'm a "popcorn prayer" kind of girl.  I pray about anything and everything -- my prayers are a conversation with Him, my Heavenly Father, my Daddy, my Supplier, my Provider, my Healer, my Comforter, my Wisdom, My Restorer, my Everything.  He is not one-dimensional to me.

I enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I enter His courts with praise, I rejoice with Him over every "WIN" whether it's big or small, I pour out my heartaches, I cry on my knees and lay my fears at His feet, I humbly repent my wrongs, my sin, my shortcomings, I pray about what I can see and what I cannot see, I wake up every morning and pray, "YES!  Lead me, show me what You want me to do today.  I will go, send me!"

I pray with others and for other...I go for prayer and allow others to pray for me.  I cannot imagine my life today without prayer.  Often times, my prayers are bold -- I circle each dream, each promise with prayer.  Often times my prayers are simple and seemingly insignificant.  But what I've found is He hears them all and cares about every single detail, even our smallest need...

...my list is extremely long of answered prayers

This is what prayerfullness means to me -- God continues to mold me, shape me, and take me to new places in this area and I am loving the journey.  As I learn and grow, I teach my nuggets.  We pray together, I pray over them, they pray form me, for others, for situations.  I've taught them my simple prayer, "Father, Open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my heart to know what Your plan and Your will is. Amen"  My hope is that above all else, they would walk with Him according to His will.

I pray, "Grant, Lord, that my children's lives may be marked by prayerfullness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers."

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You've just read day 29 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Self-Discipline


It takes self-disciplne to teach and set the example of self-discipline.

This was a difficult virtue to explain to my nuggets.  Our conversation this morning on the drive to school ended in me feeling frustrated and speechless.  My oldest son said, "See mom?  This is what happens when we talk about these things -- lets just stop.  Pleeeaaaassssseeeeee!"

We did, for today -- but what I'm learning as I journey through all of these virtues is how valuable they are, not only for my children, but for me too!  These virtues are significant and the desire is burning inside of me to continue praying specifically for my children.  Also, I'm seeing more windows of opportunity to give examples as we are living, not just during these specific conversations.

With that, I will share what I've discovered as I grow in this virtue is that discipline cultivates freedom.  I agree with this statement by Stephen R. Covey, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions” -- self-discipline is linked to self-control and when this fruit of the Spirit is alive in our lives we experience the other fruits of the Spirit abundantly.

Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It require you to connect today's actions to tomorrow's results. There's a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which. - Gary Ryan Blair

How do we develop this discipline of self?

  1. Willingness -- deciding and committing to do something different to get a different result.
  2. We need to get to know who. we. are. -- awareness is crucial.  What are your needs, your strengths, your weaknesses?  What areas of your life need discipline?  What's preventing you currently from doing what you need to do or fulfilling your dreams and desires?
  3. Courage to keep on persevering through the difficult times.  Mastering yourself is true power, but it will not be easy. Developing new habits, breaking old ones, discovering truth -- these things take intentional consistent action and you must press through
  4. Accountability and Encouragement from you.  Yes, that's right self-accountability through a firm commitment and self-encouragment through positive thinking is vital.  {Self-talk and goals}
  5. Last but certainly not least God -- He is our strength and will walk with us as we continue to seek His will and purpose for our lives.

I pray, "Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right, just, and fair.  May I grow in self-discipline and experience the freedom that comes from it. Amen"

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You've just read day 28 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Passion for God

We determined what the boys were passionate about on our way to school this morning:

Zach = coin collection and hockey
Zane = video games and football

I asked them, how did you develop a passion for these things?  They both agreed that it grew through spending a lot of time doing them and focusing on them. <-- YES...passion grows when we discover something that we like and develop a "relationship" with it.

The same is true with God.

I took me over 30 years to figure this out; to develop a strong emotion, strong interest, a deep love for Him.  Now, that I've experienced Him, I never live with out.  I cling to Him and pursue Him -- He shows up and is faithful.  I may not always like what I discover as I seek Him, it's not always easy, but it sure is worth it.

I explained this to my little nuggets -- I shared with them the importance of getting to know God's character and who He is -- I explained how we do it, through reading His word, through prayer and meditation, by whispering the simply prayer we pray ofter, "Father, open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to know what your plan and will is for my life." -- by asking Him to reveal Himself to us.

"I cling to You; Your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:8

I pray, "Lord, please instill in my children a soul that 'followeth hard after thee,' one that clings passionately to You.  And Father, may my passion for You continue to grow as we walk together and I seek You first, may my passion overflow and may others see You through me, desiring more of You in their lives. Amen."

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You've just read day 27 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Willingness & Ability to Work

I think the key word here is willingness.  Why?  Because this is a choice, it is cheerfully consenting or ready.  I see a lack of willingness under our roof...all. the. time.

I had my first official job outside the home when I was 15.  I worked at Arby's, glamourous I know.  The uniform was fabulous back in the day, not.  I loved working the drive-thru and running the cash register.  I disliked wiping down the tables in the dining area, emptying out the garbage, and cleaning the bathrooms, so gross...

...but I did it. willingness.

I was responsible, I showed up on time and didn't call in sick.  I was a hard worker with good work ethic.  I loved to work and connect with others.

I know my parents would be the first to tell you that when it came to doing things around the house to contribute to the family, like pick up after myself, clean my room, put away clean clothes, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, vacuum, and dust -- I rolled my eyes.  I talked about how life wasn't fair.  I was not full of and overflowing with willingness. {UNLESS, I knew I would get something of significant value in return}...

...I complained. unwilling.

The ability to work is a priceless gift, the blessing.  My heart breaks for those who are willing to work, but don't have the ability.  Who truly and authentically don't have the power to act or perform.

I can't wrap my arms around or comprehend why those who have the ability, those who are fully capable, competent, skilled, and talented -- choose not to work, who are unwilling to do what it takes to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.

I am so grateful that God has blessed me and my children with the ability to work.

I've seen people get into a rut of unwillingness -- I've seen an attitude of entitlement spring up in all ages which feeds the unwillingness.  I've seen pride and ego steal willingness from those who once were willing to work who are fully capable and have the ability.  I've seen anger, resentment, and bitterness build up in people's lives that blocks the attitude willingness to work because of a past experience.

We are all called to be responsible and carry our own load when we are blessed and gifted with the ability.

I share this scripture frequently with my boys with the hope that they will always remember; we have an audience of ONE...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." Colossians 3:23

I pray, "Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.  And Father, my they embrace the significance of their ability; the strength, talents, skill, and capacity you've given them to be of service and work.  May I be a living example of this virtue for them.  Amen."

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You've just read day 26 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Hope

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” - Albert Einstein

To believe, desire, or trust is...

...HOPE

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best is...

...HOPE

Hope is found in dreams, promises, goals, optimism, reward, anticipation, expectation, faith.  Without it comes despair, disbelief, discouragement, hopelessness, pessimism -- darkness.

When we place our hope in the Lord -- we are guaranteed and promised by the God of the Universe. He cannot lie.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” Titus 1:2

For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;“ Colossians 1:5

I didn't unpack this virtue today with my boys, I just didn't -- partly because it challenged me and I didn't really know how to explain hope to them when they are for the most part extremely hopeful.  They dream, they anticipate, they believe in promises, they are optimistic, expectant -- they have hope.

Digging into this for myself, I'm seeing now the examples that I can share with them.  But my hope, is that they will always have hope and that no matter what life has in store for them that they would look up -- and find hope in Him.

There is hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
There is hope for every man

There is love that never dies
There is peace in troubled times
Will we help them understand
Jesus is hope for every man

{Every Man by Casting Crowns}

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

I pray, "May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen"

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You've just read day 25 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

--> To start at the beginning and see the initial invitation/announcement about this series, click HERE


Virtue: Servant's Heart

A person who waits on another.  Someone who is helpful, who assists or attends to needs, or is of service.  To have a servant's heart, in my opinion, is to...

...be mindful and aware of others.

To be alert and willing to be available if need be in some capacity.  To have a servant's heart is to have no earthly strings attached when some level of action is taken; freely giving without expectation.

This quote describes a servant's heart...

"Work for a cause, NOT for applause. Live life to express, NOT to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt." - Unknown

We are blessed with two very special people in our lives who truly have servant's hearts; my parents.  They are my kid's grandparents, and my husband's in-laws.  They just so happen to be staying with us in our home for a couple of weeks and the boys realized this virtue in their grandparents this morning during our discussion.

My mom wakes up each morning and makes everyone breakfast.  She's doing the grocery shopping, organizing spaces of clutter, doing laundry, and last night she made dinner for all of us -- set the table, and cleaned up!  She does this all with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.  Additionally, she's been working with Zach on his country report for school...

...just because she wants to be of service.

My dad, he's handy and will embrace any project we put on his plate.  He's helpful to not only us, but I see him offer his gifts and talents to my mom's sisters, my friends, my siblings.  Anyone who needs a handy-man or who has a "honey-do-list" he will tackle it and...

...whistle while he works.

I love my parents.  They continue to set a very good example of this virtue for me and my children.  What a blessing.

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people" Ephesians 6:7

I pray, "God please help my children develop servant's hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.  And Father, give me strength to grow in this virtue and to keep my eyes focused on You, may You be my audience of One."

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You've just read day 24 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Faith

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you." Luke 17:5-6

I love how God is so willing to work with what little we can offer.  The following scriptures and quotes describe what faith is and what faith can do...

  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  - Hebrews 11:1
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.  - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Great strength comes from faith in God.  - Zechariah 12:5
  • As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.  - Emmanuel Teney
  • All things are possible to him that believes.  - Mark 9:23

As I draw near to God, learn more about His character, experience His goodness and His faithfulness in my life...

...my faith increases.

"I pray, that faith will find root and grow in my children's hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them. And Father, continue to increase my faith, that I may be an example to others of a women who lives by faith.  Great is Thy faithfulness! Amen."

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You've just read day 23 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

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Virtue: Contentment

The first thought I had this morning when I read today's virtue:  Slap my wrist, and send me to the corner for a time out.  <-- I know this sounds harsh and not full of compassion and grace and all the previous virtues, but this beloved daughter of Jesus needs some serious work in this area.

Contentment, my boys had no clue what this word meant...

...go figure.

Why would they when we live in the land of more, more, more and when nothing ever seems to be enough.  Why would they when their mother struggles with this in her own life and has yet to clearly understand and grasp "the secret of being content in any and every situation" -- why does this have to be a secret?  Come on...

...let me into that dwelling place.

I was able to give the boys several examples of dis-contentment on our drive to school this morning. Again, thanks to the obsessive mother who will not let the virtue discussion cease.  This is one of them:

Zane: "Mom, can we go to a really big store that sells only air soft guns?  Because I need a new air soft gun."
Me: "Really?  How many air soft guns do you have right now?"
Zane: "Um...lets see, I've got 3, yep 3."
Me: "Why are you not happy with the three you have?  You see, this is an example of today's virtue sweetie, we should be grateful for what we have -- happy that you have 3 air soft guns."
Zane: "Seriously mom, why do you gotta be like this?"
Me:  silence, no words...just thoughts, just a quiet reflection and a little sadness actually.

We talked about needs vs. wants.

We talked about how less is more, yet it isn't because we think more with satisfy.

We got on the topic of complaining and comparing and how this stirs up discontentment and how we need to make a gratitude list and how there are homeless people everywhere, and there are starving people in the world, in our cities.  We covered a variety of things surrounding the virtue.

There was no need to look up the word today in the dictionary -- I know first hand what contentment is NOT and how grateful I am today for this awakening and new awareness.  The kids know now too, the discussion will not stop here, that's for sure.

I know the secret, actually, it's through HIM!  I'm just growing and being refined and I like it, I really do.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:12-13

I pray, "Father, teach me and my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives us strength. Amen"

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You've just read day 22 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

--> To start at the beginning and see the initial invitation/announcement about this series, click HERE