📖 ✝️ 🙏🏼 For my Grace Bible Fellowship – Gunter TX folks and anyone else interested. We looked at these 2 graphics together on Sunday. You may have seen them before but this time we looked at them especially in regards to prayer.
Regardless of faith affiliation, it seems like most people pray at some level. But for followers of Christ and students of the Word there ought to be a depth of prayer in our life, likened to what we see in the Psalms, where lay our heart out before God, being reverent, but also honest, genuine and vulnerable with Him. Sometimes though, a growing understanding of God’s is Holiness, and our own sinfulness can actually cause us to lack confidence in going before God in prayer. If we aren’t careful, the more we learn about God the more daunting prayer can seem. It shouldn’t be that way. The 2 graphics help us see that we need a ever-growing view and appreciation for the Cross of Christ and what he has done for us by His death, burial and resurrection. The cross isnt just the starting point of Christian faith, it’s the central, focal point from start to finish. When we remember that we are justified and also come before God on the basis of what Christ has done, not our own merit, we can approach our Heavenly Father with boldness, and confidence in deep ,meaningful, God-glorifying, helpful prayer. Remember, Romans 8:1 says there is NO CONDEMNATION of those who are in Christ Jesus.
Hope you find this helpful! Keep looking up!
I started a podcast! DadLife360: Helping dads grow in faithfulness to God and their families.
Here’s a link to the latest episode (5) on Spotify: Composure In The Stands
Or listen on AnchorFM here: Composure In The Stands (Anchor)
If you’d like to subscribe, here’s the Spotify page link: https://open.spotify.com/show/4E69jZeDvWKVdhUuz8sXDF
And here’s the AnchorFM page link: https://anchor.fm/roylayman
Tell y’all a quick Christmas Season story about this picture—
On December 3, 2019 after about 9 months of training classes and a couple months of prayerful waiting, we got our first foster placement. A newborn baby boy. We drove to the hospital and brought him home straight from there. He was so little he could sit in the palm of my hand with room to grow.
The days that followed were surreal. Sleepless nights awakened us to the fact that 1) we’re not as young as we use to be 😆 and 2) This little man had our heart in ways we couldn’t describe or control 😳.
Foster parenting by definition is temporary. You can imagine the thoughts we had. We didn’t know what his future held or how long we’d have him. Another day? A week? Maybe a year? But amid all the uncertainties and exhaustion, there was also an unexplainable joy. The kind of joy that you only get when you’re in the middle of something completely nuts but you know it’s also right where God wants you to be.
The rest of December 2019 was a blur for us. Christmas morning came, and as gift to Casey I’d printed off some pictures of her and the baby boy, who was still less than a month old. No big deal right? Just a few pictures printed at CVS 😆 She opened the gift and looked at me and we locked eyes and both instantly teared up, hugged for a while, and just had a moment while our other 4 kids looked on.
In hindsight it was a moment of clarity. For Casey and I, having actual printed pictures meant a lot. Regardless of what happened going forward, this little man was a part of us, forever. We were preserving these memories and hanging on. We were all in with this journey. Not knowing what the future held, those simple printed pictures were a tangible expression of our commitment to him, together.
A year and a couple months later, by God’s grace, Luka’s adoption was final. God knew all along. Those pictures will always hold special significance and make for some precious Christmas memories for us.
Luka turned 2 this month. What a journey. What an amazing God. What a gift. What a Christmas 🎄 ✝️ 🙏🏼
Holidays are meant to be a time of celebration but they can be tough — family conflict, added stress, feeling depressed 🥺 But 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 📖 has great wisdom for how to approach holidays: FORGIVE. REJOICE. PRAY. BE THANKFUL.
📖 v15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
1️⃣ FORGIVE. Don’t let old feuds keep you from loved ones. Forgive ‘em. Do they deserve it? Probably not, but we didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness in Christ either. The word forgive literally means to send away. Send that grudge packing and kill em with kindness! 🤝
📖 v16 Rejoice always…
2️⃣ REJOICE. Be happy for the good fortune of others and celebrate with them. 🎉
📖 v17 pray without ceasing…
3️⃣ PRAY. Pray more and worry less. Prayer is active fellowship with God. Keep talking He’s listening. 🙏🏼
📖 v18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
4️⃣ BE THANKFUL. Not just for temporal, surface level stuff — be thankful for Jesus Christ, His finished work on the Cross, Eternity, and who you are in Him. He’s ALWAYS the biggest reason to be thankful, and He never changes! 🤲🏼 ✝️
✔️ FORGIVE ✔️REJOICE ✔️PRAY ✔️BE THANKFUL
Last night I heard my wife tell a friend of ours and fellow foster mom “My only regret about fostering is that we didn’t do it sooner.” Our friend wholeheartedly agreed.
We realize it’s not for everyone in every season, but now might be a great time to consider getting involved in foster care in some way! There are lots of opportunities to help with foster care, many that don’t involve having kids move into your home.
Here’s 7️⃣ Reasons to consider getting involved foster care:
1️⃣ It honors God — James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” Anytime we help others who can’t return the favor we are in harmony with the heart of God. Our purpose in life is to glorify Him and when we do it’s deeply rewarding and satisfying. 🎯
2️⃣ It’s needed — A July 2021 Texas Tribune article stated “The number of Texas foster children placed in unlicensed facilities, like motels, churches and offices, surpassed 400 in June 2021” All of these aren’t due to a lack of foster homes, but that definitely contributes to the challenges of finding placements for these kids. 🤲🏼
3️⃣ Kids are awesome — with the right perspective it’s always refreshing to be around kids. They’re genuine, affectionate, and fun, and we all need more of that in our lives. 🤩
4️⃣ Fostering is a ministry the whole family can participate in. Before we started this journey we talked to our bio kids and got them on board. They’ve been more than ok with it, they’re a huge help. It’s a family adventure. 👨👩👧👦
5️⃣ It will draw you closer to Jesus — fostering is very difficult at times. Difficulties draw us closer to our Savior. Jesus understands every stress and emotion we go through. Fostering has brought us to our knees in prayer in a whole new way, and that’s a good thing. (Sometimes in our culture we think the entire goal of life is personal gain and comfort. How’s that working out for us? It doesn’t draw us closer to Jesus) ✝️
6️⃣ If you’re married it will unify you and your spouse — We always feel a little guilty going to a Christian marriage seminar or conference because we know they’re going to talk about the importance of a “date night” like it’s John 3:16 😆. We get few dates a year but fall wayyy short of the standards of most. But even though we’re not great at frequent date nights, we do see the value in doing things TOGETHER. For us, we’re never closer as a couple than when we’re serving TOGETHER in Christ’s name. Fostering has definitely unified us like never before. 👩❤️👨
7️⃣ It will open your eyes to hurts that need your help and prayers — The fact that we have a state entity called CPS or even a foster care system in place is heartbreaking. Even though we had friends who fostered, we had no idea of some of the pain and challenges going on in foster care until we got involved ourselves. It’s good to be made more aware and learn how to better pray for our broken world. ❤️ 🙏🏼
Hey, we’re far from experts, but if we can ever answer any questions for you about fostering or just pray with you, or help you consider fostering in any way, please let us know. It’s normal to have lots of questions and it’s not something to rush into! It honestly took us years to warm up to fostering. And like I said, we wish we’d started sooner. If we can help someone through the process of getting involved, we will! 📧: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lessons from Luka —
I love my son. And because I love him I keep him from some things, including the busy 2 lane highway that runs in front of our house. If I didn’t stop him he’d literally play in traffic. To him it looks reasonable, but I know better.
The same can be true of things our Heavenly Father withholds from us. They seem reasonable to us, but He knows better.
Here’s where Luka teaches us, even though he gets mad at me for not giving him his way, he reaches out to me for comfort. He gets so mad he’s moved to tears, but his instinct is still to reach for me to dry those tears. I know he’ll grow out of it. But for now, he serves as an example.
God doesn’t give us everything we want. He protects and we don’t get it. When that happens we can get confused and frustrated and turn away from Him, or trust Him can bring our hurt to Him and let Him comfort us.
It’s important to remember that, like little kids, we don’t see the big picture. He does. And while it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, He loves us way more than I love my kids. His love is a perfect fatherly love. His way is the perfect way. We can trust Him. We should go to Him for comfort.
COMMITMENT IS UNDERRATED.
The value of commitment has fallen on hard times. Feelings and novelty often rule the day. We reason, if I’m not feeling settled and satisfied, I must need to move on to something new. Wrong 😑 Most of the time we don’t need something new. We just need to re-up our commitment to what we already have.
It’s amazing how resolved commitment can change our perspective. If I know I’m committed to something, why bellyache about it, doubt it, or be casual about the energy I give it? Commitment informs attitude. Attitude informs effort. If we’re being honest, commitment, attitude and effort are about the only things we have any control over.
Ultimately we commit to our relationships and responsibilities knowing they’re from the Lord! He has us where we are, doing what we’re doing, sharing life with the people he’s placed us with, for a reason. Who are we to critique His providence or take it for granted.
It’s Monday 11/1/21. It’s a great day for renewed COMMITMENT.
•Make a COMMITMENT to care for your spouse sacrificially
•Make a COMMITMENT to parent your kids with love and intentionality
•Make a COMMITMENT to your place of employment, to do your job with excellence
•Make a COMMITMENT to serve your community however you can
•Make a COMMITMENT to do the right thing, even if no one else does or no one else sees it.
Make all of these commitments (and more) under the banner of the most important commitment of all:
Make a COMMITMENT to honor God by loving Him and loving others (Matthew 22:37-39)
As part of a lesson I have done a few times over Psalm 119, I’ve shared several Bible verse references that I’ve found helpful for different situations. A couple times I’ve had someone ask me to share that list afterwards. I figure if they found it helpful maybe some of y’all will too. It’s obviously not exhaustive or perfect. I honestly just wrote these down to use as an example. I love the Bible and if this helps someone better navigate it then see below:
Psalm 119:12 says “Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!” A statute is a decree from God. It is the way the divine lawgiver has seen fit for things to be. Notice the author of Psalm 119 is asking for the Lord to TEACH him his STATUTES. In effect, he’s asking God to instruct him on the way things are supposed to be. We should follow his example and ask God to teach us his statutes. The Bible has a lifetime of life-shaping learning for us. It answers the BIG questions of life. Like, who am I? Why am I here? What is wrong with the world? And what can be done about it?
Mainly, and most importantly, we find in the Bible, the story of Redemption that is found only in Christ Jesus and his finished work on the cross for our sins, giving us eternal life by faith in Him. That’s the meta narrative. And you can find the thread of Jesus’s story of redemption running from Genesis to Revelation. As the kid’s ‘Jesus Storybook Bible’ says “Every story whispers his name.” The Bible is all about Jesus.
But also in the Bible we find out how life works and how God interacts with his people. How God would have you to respond in different situations. Here’s some Bible references that I go to for different situations:
James 3 teaches you the importance of what you say and the words that you use
1 Cor 13 – shows me what real love looks like
Proverbs 6 would tell me not to be lazy
When I wonder if my life is in line with Jesus teaching I think of Matthew ch’s 5-7
When I think of death I think of John 14 and 2 Tim 4
When I want for things I know I dont need I can think of Matthew 6
When I’m tempted to forget what’s most important I can think of Romans 1:16
When I feel like my life isnt producing what it should I think of John 15
When I wonder if I am the only one facing this level of temptation, I think of 1Cor 10:13
When I think I just can’t take another thing I think of Philippians 4
When I think i’m suffering I think of Job
When I feel afraid I think of Psalm 23
When I doubt my salvation I think of 1 John 5:11-12
When I look at how much fun it seems the word is having in sin I think of Psalm 16:11
When I think of how I can share the good news of Jesus Christ I think of Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9, Romans 12:1-2
When I start to think it’s not worth it I can think of 1Cor 2:9
When I start thinking kids are a burden and not a blessing I think of Psalm 127
When I want a picture of the way a mans life ought to be i look at Psalm 128
When I think of the tip of theological significance, I think of Romans 3:21-26
When I want to say I can’t do it bc I lack ability I think of Moses
When I lack courage I think of Joshua 1
When I wanna run from my calling I think of Jonah
When I wanna shoot off at the mouth too quick I think of Peter
When I feel alone and betrayed I think of Joseph ch 37-39
When I want a heart for God I think of David and 1 Samuel
When I think of marriage I think Eph 5
I know theres a ton more, but these are some examples of places in the Bible that I go to often, in my Bible and also in my head and heart.