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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Intentional Living: Week 6

this was my last week of sunday school!
i really enjoyed everything that God showed me through this study, and i so appreciate all of the encouragement from those of you who have been following!

this week's lesson was on being an intentional witness.

*Being an intentional witness has to start with being an intentional woman!

as i was thinking about how to approach this topic, i realized that no matter what kind of method or training you might have on proper witnessing techniques, nothing would matter if you are not an intentional woman yourself!

let's face it...
if you are constantly walking around miserable...complaining about your rotten husband, how terrible your kids are, how your finances are falling apart...will anyone have any desire to even know a God who would allow his children to live such miserable lives?

i don't think so!

the point is simple.
while i do not ever claim to have a perfect life, i do claim to have a perfectly amazing relationship with a perfect loving Father who takes care of all my needs and gives me hope to even continue living.

i feel that if we focus more on the following four points, our witness will be what it should be.

after reading 1 peter chapter 3...wow. just wow.
it is so convicting!!
i mean, just this verse alone can transform your whole entire life-
"whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit."

do you desire to love your life, or hate it?

do you end up loving it or hating it?

if you hate it? maybe you should try keeping your tongue from evil!
seems simple enough, right??

i feel like this is where satan has us.
we get so wrapped up in things that are going on in our christian circles (backbiting, judging, criticizing) that we are not focused on the lost.

the ones that need salvation!

i am not even focusing on these other people because i am so wrapped up in my own problems with SISTERS IN CHRIST!

Focus on yourself!

how are you treating other people?
i read a verse in psalm 119 that really hit me. it said
i hate every vain thought, but thy law do i love.

wow. every vain thought?
i think i have a lot of those!

is it just me? or do you have imaginary conversations in your head too?
you know..those long conversations where you are telling a person off for the way they are mistreating you?
i mean...you are never going to actually have this conversation, but for some reason we actually think it makes us feel better to have it in our head!
i was just having one sunday morning as i was straightening my hair!

and then i had to stop myself and say...wow.

if i had just spent those last 5 minutes praying for someone that i know that needs Christ, imagine all the power that would have been there!!

2. Your Salvation
how often do you focus on what you have in salvation?

we were enemies of Christ! (Colossians 1:21)
we were foolish, disobedient haters! (Titus 3:3)

this was me.
but because of Jesus death and payment for my sins,

where i was once far off, i have now been brought near to Christ!


just to think about the peace that have, knowing that no matter what happens, i will never be alone. Jesus promises to NEVER leave me or forsake me!

it's unreal that i can go to bed at night and know that if i don't wake up tomorrow? i am 100% sure that i would be in heaven. i mean...100% sure!

i don't want to ever take that for granted!

i talked about the verse in 2 Timothy 3:12 where it says that all who live godly will suffer persecution.
i remember my dad saying to me when i was in high school, that he was always a little nervous if everyone liked me, and i was never having any problems with people!


because maybe that meant that i wasn't taking a stand to do what was right!
pretty deep thought!
how are people treating you right now?

i brought out how the only attribute of God that is mentioned three times in a row is his holiness.

it is never said that God is loving, loving, loving.
or faithful, faithful, faithful.

God is holy.

*God reveals His holiness by showing His utter hatred of all that is unholy.

what do we do with all that is unholy?

put up our feet and get out the popcorn!!

we laugh at sin!
we pay money to watch it, and laugh at it!

maybe we could stand to change our thinking a bit on this one!

3. Others
i should always be thinking of others!
who did Christ come to die for?

-sinners (Romans 5:8)
-the ungodly (Romans 5:6)
and Ecclesiastes 7 tells us that there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin!

Jesus had compassion on others.
He showed compassion to the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, but then did what...

told her to go and sin no more!

we are to have mercy and compassion, combined with truth!

*mercy without truth is compromise

we are not doing anyone any favors by just being merciful.

a lot of people can be nice, but it's not really nice people that we need!

we need people who are going to stand on a foundation of truth! (God's Word)
not their opinion...

and lovingly help people with their problems!

4. Hell/Tribulation
this is an interesting thing to think about focusing on.
but it will definitely change your way of thinking!

Hell is a real placed, that is described as
-everlasting fire
-fire that will never be quenched
-a place with wailing and gnashing of teeth
-outer darkness

those are just a few of the descriptions.
it's serious!
and it's real.

the tribulation will be a time where all christians (and children who have not reached an age of accountability) will be removed from the earth suddenly.

then there will be earthquakes, hail, fire, the water will turn to blood, and things will be happening all around that we can honestly, hardly even fathom.

think about someone you love and care about going through any of the above things i just mentioned!

*if you understand what hell is really like - you will be a more intentional witness!

i hope that through all of my thoughts on this, you have seen at least one thing that you can do differently to really live an intentional life.

i know i have seen so many ways that i can change to be more like Christ!

and that is my goal!

to live every day to please Jesus.

the awesome part about it is, that when i do that?

he blesses me and gives me more than i could ever hope or imagine.

pretty sweet deal for me!

*never dread any consequence resulting from absolute obedience to God's command

what are you waiting for?

is there something that you know you need to do differently, but are just afraid that it will be too hard?

maybe you're afraid of what people will say about you, or think of you.

forget about all of that!!

do it!

trust God!

Give your life completely to Him.

trust me...

your life will never. ever. be the same.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

bryce...and a couple other little things

today was such an exciting day!
we got to pick up bryce at the airport!!

the boys made a banner, and we got balloons...and greeted  him when he came off the plane!
it was such an amazing answer to prayer to even see him!

so thankful for the amazing, healing God that i serve.
so thankful.

yesterday was my last sunday of teaching my intentional living classes.
(i will try and post the notes by tomorrow!)
on the way to church (i walk to church, since it's in my front yard!)
i was having aj hold my hand so that i wouldn't fall in my heels!
i said something about it being my last class, and he all of a sudden said...
"so God, please help mom as she teaches today..." an continued to pray for my class, that it would go smoothly and that i would say the right words.

it brought me to tears.
it was so sweet that at the age of 10, he is already being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and comfortable enough to pray out loud for me!

tonight when i was putting riley to bed, he held up his little teddy bear (who was dressed like a pirate), and whispered

"mom..look at my teddy bear! he is so godly! he has the sword of the Spirit, and the breastplate of righteousness!"

he is one funny little boy!

a lot has been going on in my life lately.
i feel like i have not really been saying a whole lot about what all that stuff is!

tonight is not the night, because it's almost midnight,  but i will be updating on a little bit more about my life and what God has been teaching me, and everything He is doing.

i am always amazed by the fact that God loves me.


and i leave you with that very thought.

think about it!

dwell on it!

let your entire day be changed with the very thought that the God who created this entire world...


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Intentional Living: Week 5 - let's try this again

ok. i'm gonna try this again. let's see what happens!
i am all prepared for tomorrow's class on being an intentional witness, so i thought i should get week 5 on here before i do week 6!

last week's lesson was on being an intentional pray-er.
this one was honestly hard for me, because i don't feel like i have a handle on it!
i want to. 
but i always feel like i fall short on this one!

i find myself being tempted to start thinking that God was different in the old testament times, and that is why those verses don't apply to me.
until i remembered this one - Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!
so those promises about calling to God, and him answering us (jeremiah 33:3) MUST be true!

*satan deceives us into thinking that prayer is not that important, because he knows that the power in our prayers destroys all his plans!

1.Focus -
-what does God say about you?
i had the class look up some verses on this one on their own. this is the habit that i want to form, and that i want everyone to form! 
looking to God's Word for every. single. problem!
i love romans 8:38-39 that says "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
my problem starts in the very first sentence of this verse - I AM NOT ALWAYS CONVINCED!
i start doubting God's love for me! 
how could i ever?

when you read 1 corinthians 13, in relation to romans 8:38-39, you will be blown away!
it's hard to imagine anyone having that kind of love.
but God does!
and it's towards Y-O-U!!!

i have enjoyed reading this book by andrew murray.  i read a section out of it in class, that basically talks about trusting the promisER, not just the promise itself!
see...every promise that we take and run with, has at least a little of our own deceitful heart, or selfish desires that taint it! 
therefore, sometimes we even see the promise itself as wrong!
it is God himself, not the promise that we need to be fully trusting in!

2. Failure
i think there are 2 main problems that cause our prayers to fail.
a. we don't confess enough. - Ps. 66:18.
if we have sin in our hearts, God does not hear us!

maybe your prayers really are just hitting the ceiling!!
we should be confessing our sins to God every day!
every hour sometimes!
1 John 1:9 is written to the christian!
it says that if we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins...
this verse proves that we do sin, and this verse proves that we need to confess!
b. we don't love people enough!
we are told in isaiah 58 about the way we are supposed to love people.
we are told to share our food with the hungry, provide the poor wanderer with shelter, clothe the naked...then...you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and he will say here i am!


*God's promises to us are in if...then scenario! we must fulfill our part of the equation for the relationship to be in its proper working order! 

why do we expect God to treat us a certain way, if we can even treat people a certain way??

3. Faith
james 5:16 tells us that the prayers of a righteous man:
avails much...which means, it has great power!

i have been talking to the boys about this a lot lately.
they are asking questions about prayer.  about not seeing answers to prayers they are praying, and about why we need to pray since God already knows our thoughts anyways!

sometimes... i can understand and explain things clearly.

and sometimes?

i have to just say

*maybe i will never completely understand it, but this much i know. when i am fearing God, my prayers will have power, because God says so!
end of story!

i absolutely love the story in daniel chapter 9.
it amazes me every time i study it.

Daniel starts out praying by repenting of his sins, and the sins of his people.
it says in verse 23 that the angel tells daniel - as soon as he began to pray, God started answering his prayer!!

in chapter 10 it tells us again that as soon as daniel began praying, God started answering. then it says that satan sent a demon to delay the angels response!

God starts to answer our prayers from the second we pray them!
this is such a comfort to me, and i hope to you too!

the next time you start praying, realize - that God listens right away, and starts answering!
sometimes, the answer is going to take longer than we want, but it does not mean that God is just waiting this one out!

he is already working!

then remember that satan can delay the answer!

*if satan can get the answer delayed, he can get us discouraged. if he can get us discouraged, he can get us to stop!

it also amazed me to realize that when daniel...just a man like daniel...started to pray - war broke out between the demons and the angels!!
what this means to me is,

*when we pray, it is more than just a conversation. 
It is war!

this has stuck with me all week.
each time i tuck the boys in to bed at night, and start praying for their purity?
i picture satan going buck-wild trying to stop that one!!

when i start praying for this huge request that i have been praying for for a while?
i picture the angel starting to come and give me my request, and a demon trying to hold things up.
it's unreal to picture!

so here are my questions...

-do you know what God thinks of you? or are you stuck in who you are based on your own thoughts? read 1 corinthians 13, and be amazed.

-are you failing in any areas that you can change? are you showing Christ's love to the poor, the lowly? are you confessing regularly?

-do you believe that God will answer you? that he always does what he says he will do? and that your prayers have incredible power?

i hope that you have found this encouraging and challenging.

i must not believe that prayer is as powerful as God says it is!

i must not, because if i did..i would be praying a lot more!

i want to believe.
i want to pray more.
i want to start right now!!

i hope you do too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Intentional Living: Week 5 - put on hold


i literally just spent over a half an hour typing up this weeks class, and i hit one button and the entire thing was deleted!!

i can not believe that.

i am going away for the night, so i guess this will have to wait!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Just a reminder...

try it out for yourself...HE is the only one who will never let you down!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

soccer saturday

yesterday was a full day of soccer!
we left at 9:00 and drove about 2 hours up maine (ha) to aj's tournament.
we also took one of his teammates and his brother with us!
i was slightly outnumbered...but i didn't mind at all.

the boys tied their first game

while the younger boys played some lacrosse

then we went to a park for some lunch, until the second game that started later in the day

it was a gorgeous day, and we were really enjoying the sunshine!
the next game ended in a loss, but the boys played great, and they are a lot of fun to watch!

they played hard, and they were super tired at the end of the day... you'll see what i mean in a minute!

we stopped for supper, then stopped a little later for ice cream.
um. ya.
here's what that turned into!

we all slept good last night!
can't wait for many more fun soccer tournaments!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a plethora of pictures

i finally finished going through all the pictures from our visit with my brother and all of my side of the family.
there was a lot!

here is my older sister erika, her husband matt and their 7 kids
brianna, cameron, alissa, caleb, andrew, leah and micah

then my younger brother ron and his wife bobbi and their daughter, lilla

and my younger sister melanie, her husband chad and their son, callen.

the rest of these could've been in better order, but it was just taking me so much time that i decided to just throw all of them on!

and this is becoming the longest post of all time...

and there they all are.
my family in all its glory.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Intentional Living: Week Three. "Being an Intentional Mom"

this week's lesson was probably one of the most difficult to prepare for, because i am so passionate about this topic! i could teach a six-week class on this topic alone! it was hard to condense everything i wanted to say into one, one-hour class!

i can not tell you how many times i have heard moms say that they just have no idea what to do with their kids.
that they wish they was an instruction manual
and on and on..
i love the fact that i have THE instruction manual that gives us everything we need to know to raise kids!
i am a very black and white kind of person.
i think there are a lot fewer "gray areas" than most people think!

i started out telling my class that they had to erase anything you've ever heard about raising kids, including...but not limited to:
terrible 2's, phases, stages and rebellious teenagers.
these are not biblical!
when we start buying these lies, we give up before we even start, and just settle into the belief that we are going to have to wait out this phase, just like every. other. parent.


not this parent!

*if you are not an intentional woman, you can not be an intentional mom!

my main 2 passages were out of Deuteronomy. 
i love and adore the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 31:12-13 says:

"Gather the people together...that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law; and that their children, who have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live."

i first gave three points of the responsibility of the mom to herself:
1. hear
in order to be in a position to obey God, we need to put ourselves in the right places.
-reading our Bibles
-attending church
-listening to godly music
-surrounding ourselves with godly, positive influences

2. learn to fear
this does not come naturally! 
*if you do not trust God completely with your life, you can not expect your kids to trust God completely with theirs!
i shared Psalms 16:5-6
it says this.
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen for me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

i drew this awesome sketch. ha.

this was my point. this is our lot. the lines in this square. God says that HE is maintaining my lot, and that the lines are in pleasant places. 
this means a few things...
God is saying that my lot and my boundaries are in pleasant places. 
HE knows.
this also means that everything that comes inside my particular lot can only get in if God allows them there!
again...HE knows!
by complaining about what is in our lot, and changing the way we live because of our past, we are ultimately saying that we don't trust God. period.
this will affect our children's trust of God as well!

3.Observe to do
matthew 7:24 is the passage i used for this point.
we need to do more than just hear God's words. we need to obey God's words as well.
matthew 7 talks about the wise man and the foolish man. interesting read, or re-read!

next is the responsibility of the mom to her child
Deuteronomy 6:7-8

i love these verses that i found on this point.
I John 5:3 says that this is the love of God: to keep his commands. And his commands...
listen to this...
are not burdensome!
Jeremiah 32 tells us that in obeying God's word, his blessing will be that it will go well with us and our children!
Deuteronomy 6:24 says that if we obey God's word, we will ALWAYS prosper!
is that how we show our kids (and our friends) what God is all about?
or do they end up thinking that this is just a religion.
a set of rules
God's commands are NOT burdensome!! they are always always for our good!
do our kids see us getting up on sunday morning grumbling and yelling at them because we have to go to church? or do they see us getting up with a smile, so excited that we get to go and worship God with other people who have the same desire as us? 
how about our Bible reading?
do they see us grudgingly reading because we have to?
how about respecting our husbands?
is it with eye rolls, and mouthing off?
or is it with joy, because we know that if we obey WE are the ones who will be blessed?

we are showing our kids from an early age what God's commands are all about with our words, but mostly with our actions.
i never missed a church service growing up, but i was never "dragged" to church. 
my parents loved going to church, and it was just what our family did! 
not optional.
not complaining,
just a given.
that has definitely affected how i feel about church today!

Deuteronomy 31:13 - always, always, always be talking about what God has done! 
so your kids won't forget (and so YOU won't forget!) remind them of God's love, protection, and power!
(you can start this when your kids are super little. teach them bible verses early! "children obey" "be ye kind" are easy starters!)

have God's word readily available all over your house! 
have your kids find verses that pertain to whatever they are going through and write them down and hang them on their wall!

i finished the class with three do nots, and three do's.
here are the do nots:
1.do not ever talk bad about your husband to your kids. ever. (praise him to them!)
2. do not ever talk bad about your kids to anyone!
3. do not ever be too prideful to say i'm sorry
(i ask the boys as i'm tucking them in at night..did i do anything that made you sad today, or anything that hurt your feelings? be ready for an honest answer, and be ready to say sorry!)

the do's:
1. do get into the habit of praising your kids
2. do pray for your kids daily
(find a verse that you can pray over them for that week, for this time in their life, for their future spouse, etc.)
3. do use the Bible in a practical way
always be reminding them of how God's word is for today! it is practical, and it is all they need!

sorry this one was so long. i told you i had a lot to say!

i am so thankful for the instruction manual God gave us for raising our kids.
i am always available to give advice if anyone needs it...i would love to, to be honest!
i have an article i wrote on child-discipline that i am happy to give to anyone who would like it.
please feel free to email me, ajnrileysmommy @ hotmail (dot com) or facebook me here

let's be intentional moms together!!


i love the song healer
here are the lyrics:

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You


I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need


Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

remember when i told you about my friend bryce and his car accident?
you can read about that here

and then i showed you pictures of his car, after i got back from visiting him in florida?
you can see those here

i can hardly even believe the words that i am about to type, 
but he is flying here in 2 weeks to stay with us while he continues therapy!!

is God amazing or what?
that's my God. 
the healing God.
the compassionate God
the Great Physician!
the God that i entrust my entire life to.

he certainly is more than enough for me...
Jesus you're all I need!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

when you laugh till you cry

that's what we do

i love watching my mom laugh so hard that she starts crying.

i think she passed that down to us

pretty much any time after 10pm, i may be doing the same thing!!

i loved looking at all these family pictures, because i so recognized my mom's laugh with tears!

adam was our photographer...and he always does a great job of getting the true emotion out of people!

and notice how my dad doesn't change expression the entire time!

i love these.

to death.

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