Friday, March 10, 2017

Easy DIY Farm Table {A Family Project}

Old becomes new in a few, simple steps!

Every once in a while, my family finds an idea we just have to copy. This time, my daughter, Mariah, found an easy farm table we could do on a dime for her new, and very empty, apartment!

Stop by my friend, Karen Ehman’s site today, where I share step by step instructions how you can duplicate our last family project.

Lynn

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

5 Ways to Use Our Words for Good

5 Ways to Use Our Words for Good

 

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, You Said What?welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

Ok … maybe I’m the only one who gets herself in trouble with her words.

Honestly, you would think after working on this issue for basically a lifetime, I’d be further along than I am!

Sunday, while in the car with my husband, he asked, “Why are you so quiet?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to be vulnerable at that moment; not sure he would get it.

I was quiet because I was scared.

Last week, the words that had come out of my mouth, words that weren’t malicious, just not thought all the way through, had hurt two people I love like crazy.

I was quiet, because I was afraid I would do it again; unintentionally use my words to wound.

So, friend, I’m writing 5 Ways to Use Our Words for Good this morning, because this is a study I desperately need.

Want to dig into God’s word with me? I think after seeing what He says, we can better watch what we say!

5 Ways to Use Your Words for Good

1. Bring Life.                                                                                                                                                                                                       Proverbs 18:21 tells us:  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (ESV)

I have to remind myself continually of the power of my words. They have the ability to breathe new life into a person’s heart and at the same time to bring a final blow.

Lord, help me to bring life with my words today. 

2. Bring encouragement.

Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  (ESV) Corrupting isn’t a word we probably use often. It means spoiled, tainted, perverted. If what I am about to say spoils or taints the hearers mind-picture of another person or a situation, it’s not good. So I shouldn’t say it.

Lord, empower me to bring encouragement and build another person up today. 

3. Bring healing.

Every day brings with it plenty of hardships and hurts. When we run our words by the wisdom of God first, we can be a person who brings healing to others, rather than adding to those wounded places. “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)

Lord, use me and my words to deliver healing to a hurting heart today.

4. Bring health.

Is there someone I can bring a smile to, add a bit of sweetness to their day? By all means, do it! I once heard, “If you have a good thought or a compliment come through your mind, by all means, share it!” It is so easy to say, “I like your hair” or “You have a beautiful smile.” Share some sweetness today!

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)

Lord, open my eyes to the one I can speak sweetness today!

5. Bring a soft answer.

Not every conversation we have can be wrapped up in a pink bow. If that was the case, it would mean sometimes we weren’t being honest, someone is doing some stuffing or both! (Not that I’ve ever done that! ) Yet, as we learn to be honest about our thoughts and feelings, we can do so in a way that is kind, gracious and gentle. Sarcasm nor screaming may feel good at the time, but I’ve seen it gets a gal nowhere. A respectful delivery of an honest word can help us to be heard.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

Lord, when I want to raise my voice in order to feel heard, remind me to speak respectfully today. 

Maybe we could use these reminders for more than just reading right now? If you’re like me, and you sometimes forget by noon what you read in the morning. Set an alarm on your phone to come back and review His words during lunch today or right before you get to serve someone. The more we get His words in our hearts, the more His words will be the words we say.

Which one of these “for good” steps stands out most to you today? I’d love to hear in the comments below. 

Lynn

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How to Make Sure Your Husband Doesn’t Feel Like An Afterthought

Give your children the security of knowing their parents love each other.

 

 Today I’m so excited to have as my guest, Sharon Jaynes, a conference speaker, author of 21 books, and devotion writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Girlfriends in God. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage, includes over 250 ways to romance your man. She’s been romancing her husband, Steve, for 37 years. They call NC home.

Here’s Sharon:

Remember that old childhood chant,

(Girl’s name) and (boy’s name) sitting in the tree

K-i-s-s-i-n-g.

First comes love, Then comes marriage, Then comes baby in the baby carriage.

 

Did you ever wonder why there wasn’t a second verse?

I think a lot of husbands do.

I’ll admit, when my son, Steven, came into the world, it was a challenge not to pour all my energy and attention into that little bundle of love that held my heart in his tiny hand. I think there were times when my husband wondered where he fit in once our first child was born. And he’s not the only guy who’s felt that way.

Rob Parsons, author of The Sixty Minute Marriage Builder, wrote about the adjustment his marriage went through after the birth of their first child.

“I have sympathy for the person who said, “Insanity is hereditary—you get it from your kids!” I don’t think I could love my children more, but why didn’t anybody warn my wife and me of the changes they were going to cause in our relationship? One minute Diane and I were spending our evenings taking walks together, visiting friends, and reading in front of the fire. The next we were walking the halls at midnight singing nursery rhymes and dealing with postpartum depression—in me!”1

A mother should never feel guilty for putting her husband before her children. I grew up in a very volatile home where my parents fought on a regular basis. They vacillated between heated arguments and passive-aggressive silence. I felt like our home was teetering on a fault-line and I never knew when the big one was going to hit. There were many.

As a child, I would have given anything to know my parents loved each other—that my daddy was Mom’s priority and my mom was his. When I was six years old, my favorite aunt took me shopping to buy my mom a present, and I picked out a very revealing nightgown. Everyone got a big laugh out of my selection. But in my little girl heart, I thought that if my mom wore the nightie, then maybe dad would like her. Then maybe she would like him. And maybe everything would be OK.

Security. That’s what I wanted.

So when my son, Steven, was born, I wanted to make sure that he knew that his mommy and daddy were crazy about each other…and always would be. Obviously, a child requires more time and energy than a grown man, but a skillful wife assures her guy he is still number one in her heart.

How to Make Sure Your Husband Doesn't Feel Like an Afterthought

Here are a few ideas from my book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage, to let your husband know that he’s now an afterthought, but still holds the key to your heart.

  • Text your husband a love note with a hashtag such as #crazyaboutmyman, #crazyinlove, #hunkyhusband, or #happywife.
  • Sneak his car to the car wash. Then leave a note on the steering wheel that says, “I love you. Enjoy your clean car today!”
  • Purchase a bottle of the cologne he wore when you were dating and give it to him as a surprise. Just the idea that you remembered it will stir his heart. He’ll feel like Romeo just putting it on.
  •  Go by his workplace and slip a “ticket” under his windshield wiper. Write the following: “You have been cited for being the most amazing man in the world.” Sign it, Officer (your name).
  •  Plan a date night at your favorite restaurant or even an overnight in a hotel. Give your husband a note that says, “I want you all to myself.” Don’t talk about the kids for at least 24 hours.

Sharon would like to send a copy A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage to one of my readers!

 

This contest is over and the winner is Lynne who posted February 8, 2017 at 8:40 a.m. Thank you to all who participated!

1 Rob Parsons, “Don’t Let Your Baby Drive You Apart,” Focus on the Family, February 1998, 12.
Lynn

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love: 5 Verses We All Need to Know

The fill your heart needs!

 

One of the most powerful truths I learned as a young woman fresh out of school was the power my mind had when it came to my thoughts.

Before God brought some amazing friends in my life who taught me how to soak my mind in God’s truth, I would allow my heart to be saturated in thoughts that naturally flowed out of rejection:

I am not wanted.

What’s wrong with me?

No wonder they don’t like. 

These thoughts had the power to beat me down and hold me back from reaching my fullest potential.

Thankfully, when God brought some women into my life who lovingly showed me I was allowing my mind to go to the wrong place, I listened. I wrote out the verses they shared with me on index cards and I carried them with me everywhere. For years, I read these verses between classes, on my desk at work, on my mirror in my room.

Any place where my mind had the opportunity to wander,

I placed God’s word in it’s way.

When we work God’s word into the inner places of our hearts and minds, His love transforms us. Knowing we are wanted weaves into our very being His confidence and the power to move from rejection to transformation. The self-conscious woman who was suspicious and defensive began to fade as the woman He created me to be began to grow.

So here they are. My favorite five verses on how, through His love, Jesus sees us:

His Revolutionary Love 

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”     Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

“My lover is mine and I am his …”   Song of Solomon 2:15a (NIV)

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you.”  Song of Solomon 4:7 (NASB)

“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”  Psalm 45:11 (NIV)

“God decided in advance to adopt us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do and it gave him great pleasure!”   Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

Finding Jesus to be the filler of my love gap made all the difference!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You are loved!

Lynn

Monday, February 6, 2017

You Are Wanted

Jesus, I am Your's; You are mine.

Growing up, there were many Valentine’s Days I wished would have never happened. In elementary school, it was the year with the long walk home from school. My red paper-covered box, which contained no Valentine from my favorite crush, felt heavy for being so empty.

Maybe when I am a teenager my love life will get better, I hoped.

My hope was in vain. In fact, if I had known how my first Valentine’s Day in high school was going to play out, I would have just stayed home. Our student council decided Valentine’s Day was the perfect time to host a fundraiser. Students could purchase flowers to be delivered: yellow to your best friend, red to the one you love and white to the one you wanted to ask out.

First period — the predictable yellow carnation arrived with a note from my best friend. Not the color I was looking for. Second period — no flower. Third period — no flower. Is there any way I can get out early? I asked myself as my nemesis waltzed in, arms loaded with flowers.

By fourth period, I was begging for the day to end when in came the delivery girl. “Lynn Martin.”

Me?

I sprinted to the front, grabbed the white flower and glided back to my seat. The base drum of my heart pounded through my blouse while my mind spun: Who could this be from? My eyes quickly scanned the note: “I’d like to ask you out. -Scott.” Scott? As in a senior?

My excitement lasted only long enough for logic to set in. He’s a senior somebody; I’m a sophomore nobody. This has to be a joke, I told myself. Shoving the flower and note in my bag, I shoved down my broken heart too. I just hope nobody saw me was all I could think.

That was the year I began to ask a lot of questions, my heart crushed by my crush: Why doesn’t he ask me out? What does she have that I don’t? Why doesn’t he want me? Answering the question, What’s wrong with me? became my mission.

Whether it’s a memory from long ago or a pain as fresh as yesterday, we’ve all experienced rejection in one form or another. We’ve all wanted to be wanted — whether it was by a boy, a club, a friend or a group.

However, the truth is we’ve always been wanted and always belonged … to the Lord.

In other words, we belong to Love Himself. As Song of Solomon 2:16 tells us,

“My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 2:16 (NIV)

While others have rejected us, He wholeheartedly accepts us. Let that soak in for just a moment. Say it out loud. I am His.

What we have longed for and still want today, we already have. Friend, we belong.

The truth that I didn’t have to search to belong, or struggle to find love and be loved, completely changed me.

Jesus, I am Yours. You are mine. Thank You for loving me and filling my heart with exactly what I have always wanted — to be wanted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Valentine’s Day is hard on many, but especially young women who so want to experience being loved and cherished. They desperately need to know that they are!

In  His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year I teach young women how Jesus’ unchanging love changes absolutely everything. They don’t have to wait to be chosen or belong; they already do!

Maybe this is exactly what that young women in your life needs to hear this Valentine’s Day? Will you make an invest in her heart?

Tomorrow, I’ll share a few verses you can tuck into that Valentine’s Day card to let her know she is absolutely loved!

 

Lynn

Friday, January 27, 2017

Unite Don’t Fight {GIVE AWAY DAY}

 

Live Full; Walk Free - Unite Don't Fight

Earlier this month, I shared with you some steps I was taking to change up my quiet time each day.

Cindy Bultema‘s new Bible Study, Live Full; Walk Free has been a part of that change. I wanted to give you a sneak peek at Chapter 2 of Live Full Walk Free and give you an opportunity to win a copy of the Bible study plus the DVD teaching {see below}.

 

Unite Don’t Fight

 

Bullying stinks!

I don’t know about you, but when my kids are the ones being picked on, Mama feels all the feelings. I’m talking anger, hurt, and, in this particular case, bafflement, at who was doing the bullying and who didn’t step in to stop it.

My youngest daughter had a bit of a lisp, and some of the boys on the school bus were making of her. They would tease her, call her names, and mimic her talking with her lisp, of course exaggerating. Spit actually flew from their middle school mouths to my little girl’s face!

She came home in a puddle of humiliation.

I wanted to climb aboard the yellow bus like a mildly deranged mama bear and have a swipe or two at those hooligans, but of course, I restrained myself. (I aspire to be sanely involved with my children’s conflicts.) I prayed for grace, forgiveness, and wisdom, because the main instigator was the son of a friend. Yikes!

And my son was a witness to what had been happening to his sister.

“Sweetie, what did you do when those mean boys were picking on her?”

My usually reliable son averted his eyes and lowered his head.

“Nothing.”

Sweet Molasses! I wanted to jump out of my skin. But motherhood is all about gulping those deep breaths and praying those ‘Help me, now!’ prayers. “Nothing? You watched your sister get spit on and you did nothing? Help me understand.”

Before he could respond, I kept going (as moms do):

“Honey, we belong to the same family—we are Bultemas. We stick together. Family doesn’t stand by and do nothing when our sister or our brother needs help. Family members take care of each other.”

I was trying to teach my son about family, about unity and how to pursue it in our broken, hurting world.

The bus drama with my daughter sparked negative emotions in me, but it was also an opportunity to remember I am called to pursue unity, with bullies and moms of bullies, and with my siblings in Christ.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” I Corinthians 1:10

“Unity” is kind of a churchy word, but like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, it just means agreeing with one another, with no divisions, no conflict. (“Division” in ancient Greek has a connotation of ripping or tearing fabric, so literally Paul begged the church members in Corinth to not be ripped apart.)

But…drama and conflict come up all the time—can I get a witness?

It pops up with friends, kids, siblings, and between husbands and wives. It flares on the playground, the workplace, the big yellow school bus.

We can’t avoid conflict, but we do get to choose how to deal with it. Do we make the rip worse or do we do all we can to mend, to heal?

When he wrote his letter, Paul knew the local church in this Greek city was a hot mess of overblown drama and bitter contention. Four cliques had formed—Team Paul, Team Apollos, Team Cephas (or Peter), and Team Jesus, a group which boasted that they were above all the petty squabbling. Each was sure they were right and everyone else was wrong. (Sound familiar in our current culture?) Church members were even suing each other!

I love how Paul writes his letter with a pastor’s heart, using family language. No less than twenty times Paul addresses his “brothers and sisters,” his “adelphos” in Greek. His loving yet firm tone is one we might use if we were going out for coffee with a sibling or a friend who had lost their way. “Oh, friend…I love you, but this has got to stop.”

Let…“there be no divisions among you,” Paul writes.

No drama.

No he said/she said

No spitting on each other.

No hurting each other!

“…be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Build each other up.

Gently, patiently, kindly.

At peace.

Get up ev’rybody and sing!

Okay, so that last line is not technically in the verse, but this whole discussion of getting along in the family of God gives me a flashback to fourth grade. The roller rink, my Shaun Cassidy satin jacket and bell bottom jeans. And “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge:

“We are family

I got all sisters with me

We are family

Get up ev-rybody and sing!”

Great song, and even greater message.

By the way, the instigator in my girl’s bus drama? With his mom’s encouragement, he came over and apologized, giving my daughter a bookstore gift card he bought with his own money. Grace ruled, and harmony was restored.

Life delivers many reasons to be at odds with our sisters (and our brothers). Let’s look for ways to be at one with them, instead. Let’s also look for ways to be family to each other, to stand up for each other as dearly loved daughters and sons of a Good Father. Because family takes care of each other, always.

Lord, forgive us for believing the lies of the enemy that tear us apart as your own children. Help us be peacemakers, drama diffusers, and restorers in every way. Thank You that you designed us for unity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Cindy Bultema's live full; WALK FREE

Cindy’s latest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World was released in December 2016 at Thomas Nelson. For a sneak peek of the DVD teaching that enhances chapter 2’s study watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4AfjzaDYxQ&t=156s. Visit Cindy on her blog to download a FREE sample chapter of Live Full Walk Free, along with a set of A-Z scripture cards: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/.

 

Cindy would like to send a copy of Live Full; Walk Free plus the DVD teaching to one of my readers!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on February 1st,  so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}

 

*************The winner is Noelle who posted on 1/26/17 at 4:46 p.m. Congratulations, Noelle!******************

 

Lynn

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Prayers for Your Girl {Day 9}

Prayers for Your Girl {Day 9}

Day 9: Self-control

Father, may my girl practice self-control, not allow feelings-driven thoughts to overrule Your wisdom-living words in her life. Amen

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians12:9–10) (NIV)

 

Thank you so much for joining me here for the past 9 days of praying for our girls.
I’ve put together all 9 in one beautiful download. Written as a part from the heart of your girl, this would make a gorgeous gift, investing in her heart as she grows in her relationship with the Lord in 2017.

To get your’s free “9 Prayers to Pray Over Your Girl”, just follow this link to find this freebie and more for freebies for investing in your girl!

http://www.lynncowell.com/freebies

Lynn

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Prayers for Your Girl {Day 8}

Prayers for Your Girl {Day 8}

Day 8: Gentleness

God, teach my girl to lean into Your gentleness learning to become gentle with herself so she can be gentle with others. Amen

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1–2) (NIV)

 

 

If you would like to get these prayers directly to your email box, just sign up here.

Lynn

Monday, January 23, 2017

Prayers to Pray for Your Girl {Day 7}

Prayers Day 7

Day 7: Faithfulness {Prayers For Your Girl}

Jesus, may my girl fight to be faithful in all she does, not quick to quit one thing in order to snatch something “better.” Amen

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3) (NIV)

If you would like to get these prayers directly to your email box, just sign up here.

Lynn

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Prayers to Pray for Your Girl {Day 6}

Prayers to Pray for Your Girl {Day 6}

Day 6: Goodness {Prayers For Your Girl}

God, may my girl choose goodness and stand strong, not just go along with culture. Amen

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:3–4) (NIV)

 

If you would like to get these prayers directly to your email box, just sign up here.

Lynn