Faith

Because He first loved us

The Monday After Mother’s Day

Four empty spaces from the boxes where my boys keep their matchbox cars.

Rhonda Franz, Monday after Mother's Day

Cars that zip and zoom and cars they fight over and collect and cars we find under the couch and under our feet and cars I stash in my purse for long waiting room visits. Cars they race and crash and skid down the hallway in our house. Toys that never get old, no matter how old the boys get.

A couple of weeks ago, through friends with Arkansas Women Bloggers, we found out about a family with a young boy in Vilonia, Arkansas who had lost his home, and everything in it, in the April 2014 tornado.

We had the opportunity to gather up and give some clothes and other specific items the family needed away. I had shown my boys the footage of the tornado damage that morning, and we had prayed for the victims. And a few hours later, here was our chance to help. I mentioned that the boy had lost his toys, and that it might be cool for him to have a few things replaced.

Like matchbox cars.

My two oldest immediately and generously pulled some cars out of their boxes to give away to this boy. And they picked nice cars: cars they liked that weren’t scratched up or worn down.

I told my children how they acted like the good Samaritan, a story they know well. It’s a reminder that generosity to others doesn’t have to be part of a 501 (c) organization. It doesn’t have to be highly planned or organized; it should be part of our lifestyle as we reflect the love of Christ.

Others’ needs are often immediate, and the Lord gives us the opportunity to help as an everyday kindness. Right away. Which, with our kind of family schedule, is sometimes the best way we can help. We loaded up our goods and drove it to someone who was doing pick ups all over the area from others and delivering the donations for us.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 

(Matthew 25:35-40 NIV)

 

I can’t lie. for Mother’s Day, I loved all three boys jumping into my bed Sunday morning, presenting me with earrings,  homemade cards, and bath salts. I loved the morning we spent together the day before at our local farmer’s market and out to eat and outside to play.

But my sons giving away precious toys to a child they haven’t met, whose name they didn’t know, whose picture they hadn’t even seen - best early Mother’s Day gift.

Ever.

 

It’s a Good, Good Friday

Good Friday: one of three days that bring remembrance for the salvation of all mankind. A lifetime came before the three days, where Christ walked, and talked, and told. And gave instructions and lived the example. The example of how we can live out those three days in our every day.

rhonda franz, coffeehouse mom, good friday, easter

While Christ was on the cross, he was forgiving, at that very moment, the very people who were crucifying Him, hurting Him, yelling insults at Him, and unbelieving Him.

Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

Do we forgive others quickly? Do we love Jesus by showing His love to others, whether they love Jesus or not? Do we demonstrate kindness by sharing, giving, helping? Do we love by showing restraint? 

(For our kids: Do I share my Legos? Do I come to the aid of the kids in school other kids are teasing?)

Do I demonstrate examples of love and service to my children in the way I speak to them, respond to them?

“A godly live should serve as a witness for the message we proclaim.” (Ed Stetzer, with Christianity Today)Have I shared the love of Christ with those around me, and told them of the hope we have in Christ? I Peter 3:15

The criminal on the cross believed in Christ, rather than in his works. He humbled himself, and knew in that instant that he was undeserving of Christ’s mercy.

Yet he received it. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

Do we believe that we come to Christ by His saving grace alone, brought forth from the Father through the death of His Son?

Jesus committed his spirit to the Lord.

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:36

Can we commit our spirits, daily, to God? Will we take up our cross every morning? Our exhaustion, our marriages, our jobs, our parenthood, our discontent, our unhealth? Matthew 16:24

We can. Because He loved us first. And because He rose, and because He is Hope and Love.

Easter is upon us.

 

All Bible scriptures from the New International Version (NIV)

 

 

Sweating the Small Stuff

Coffee House Mom

It’s listening to my son make super hero noises in the bathroom while he is brushing his teeth, the 6.2 minutes when all three children are reading one book together (in peace), watching my sons become the cutest boy band ever with their perfect rhythm, and air guitars, swaying and singing in front of the fireplace.

It’s also the spilled supper plate, the dropped (and broken) pitcher, the kid who breaks free from your hand and runs into the parking lot.

The big things, the tragedies, the successes may, in part, define us and our character in big ways. But we live those out in the minutes and hours of the day and the days of the week. Our choices, our habits, our work for His glory.

The daily grind is how we live our lives.

It’s the encouragement and advice and instructions of the Proverbs: sometimes, seemingly small stuff. All added up, though, the sum is great, but the sum hasn’t come yet. While we’re alive, we are still working on the parts: our attitude, how we love our families, how we raise our children.

Perhaps not-so-small stuff after all. Don’t sweat too much. Don’t take every moment too seriously, Laugh at yourself.

But a little perspiration is in order. Live obediently. Give weaknesses to Him. Seek joy in the little, and heed His words to work hard and plan well and build up a house and extend kind hands to others.

That will get you sweating, just enough.

Small is the word todayJoin Lisa-Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday.

Choosing to See the Goodness of the Lord

Rhonda Franz, coffee house mom

Psalm 27:13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (NIV)

Such a glorious statement, but have you read the whole chapter? David has been fearful. His enemies are surrounding him.

After pleading and lamenting, he is now calling out to the Lord, speaking about his head being lifted up and staying confident and claiming the Lord as the stronghold of his life.

No army is after me (except for those who prowl with The Enemy), but this I am reminded of in battles and circumstances  - those things that sap my energy, wear on my spirit, feed my weaknesses of anxiety and discontent, and add to the pit in my stomach.

  • Land of the living:  My battery dies in the car ride line at school
  • Goodness of the Lord: the man behind me gave me a jump start, my dad taught me to keep jumper cables in my car, my battery was still under warranty and our mechanic replaced it.
  • Land of the living: I lock my keys in the car at soccer practice while my husband is out of town.
  • Goodness of the Lord: I have the $$ to pay the locksmith, there is such a thing as a locksmith.
  • Land of the living: My child has had a day of meltdowns, and it is all I can do not to have one myself. Eventually, I fail.
  • Goodness of the Lord: There is time in the day left to love on him, choose to see him for the blessing he is, forgiveness is real and immediate from the Lord.
  • Land of the living: Circumstances weigh heavy, emotions run rampant, shame is present, disappointments are overwhelming, and relationships are in peril.
  • Goodness of the Lord: The sun is shining, His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), He is in control, even when I’m not, especially when I’m not.

In these moments, I am reminded to stop and remember the Stronghold. Find that to be thankful for. Choose to see the goodness of the Lord.

Maybe an army is after you. It could be fear or anger or shame or just rotten things going on. It could be a lousy marriage relationship or the loss of a job.

What are your Land of the Living moments? How do you choose to remember and meditate God’s goodness?

The beautiful picture of Scripture courtesy of Billy Alexander on stock.xchng