Feb 26

What God Has Done

2010 at 1:31 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club | The FAM Club

Sunday concludes our 28-day challenge for the 5 O’Clock Club and the FAM Club. As of today, we have 959 members of The 5 O’Clock Club and 378 members of The FAM Club. Even if you didn’t participate in the challenge, you can still join the clubs at any time.

It’s been so exciting to hear from so many of you about how God has given you grace in your times of meeting with Him and in praying for your family. Please continue to share your testimonies for the encouragement of us all. You can submit a testimony for the clubs, and we’ll post them periodically as well.

Whatever growth in grace we’ve experienced this past month, may God receive all the glory!

“We glorify God, when we give God the glory of all that we do. So when we have done anything praiseworthy, we must hide ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the glory of all we have done to God.” Thomas Watson

“Lord…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Isaiah 26:12

(Friday Funnies coming later today)

Feb 25

Hands Down

2010 at 4:11 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Homemaking | Family Fun

(UPDATE 2/26:Links are fixed!)

My three little guys enjoy competition. Actually, truth be told, they LOVE to win. Games in our home are quite loud, filled with much laughter, and well, more then a few opportunities for sanctification!

hands downRecently our good friends, Don and Trish, passed down some games their children had outgrown. One particular game, Hands Down, has become a new family favorite.

Hands Down is a simple card game, easy enough for my 6 year old to understand and yet competitive enough to intrigue my 10 year old. It’s perfect for a family night, or if you’re snowed in (like we’ve been a lot lately!) or looking for something to keep your kids busy.

If games could talk, this one might ask to be sent back to its original owners. Hands Down arrived in pristine condition—all pieces assembled and box fully intact. It had enjoyed a peaceful existence. But it has not fared so well in our home. The box is already damaged and I’ve had to tape some of the cards back together.

But hey, that’s life at the Chesemores!

Feb 24

A Spiritual Highlight

2010 at 10:18 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The FAM Club

A reader, also named Nicole, sent in this FAM Club testimony:

Today has been such an amazing day. As a matter of fact, this week in general has been the highlight of my walk with the Lord (besides my conversion).

I am always asking the Lord to reveal himself to me, “Lord show me who you are, show me your glory.” I really believe the Lord has answered those prayers many times, but I haven’t always been paying attention.

On this 28-day FAM Club challenge, I am just in amazement of what the Lord has revealed to me. Its amazing what fasting does—this week I have been so sensitive to so many things in my life due to this time of discipline and prayer.

Just last night, as I was fighting away hunger pains and trying to go to sleep, I begin to pray for my family, calling some by name, some not. About 30 minutes later, I get a text around one o’clock in the morning from a cousin I was just praying for! She begins to share with me how she is running from the Lord and really wants to become a Christian. I am in awe. The Lord hears my prayers!

I know every case may not work out in this way, but mine did. The Lord revealed himself again, except this time I was so focused on prayer and fasting, that I was sensitive to pay attention. I shared the gospel with her again and invited her to come hang out with me and another young girl whom I meet with for Bible study.

It was neat to see her today, I have not seen her in 8 years! I shared my testimony of what my life was really like before Christ and even heard her story of wanting to walk with the Lord and not knowing how to let go of all of her competing loves. Oh, please pray she would be set free by knowing the truth—that God can change her, she can’t change herself!

We spent hours talking, even after Starbucks was closed. God has indeed reminded me that His arm is not to short to save. He has a plan for my cousin’s life. I can’t wait to watch it unfold!

Feb 23

Love Your “Enemy”

2010 at 12:37 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Motherhood

baby mjAt eighteen months, my sweet baby MJ is “coming into her own.” Theologically speaking, the doctrine of sin is on full display in her little life. Despite a limited vocabulary, she has no trouble communicating her demands or displeasures. Screams will suffice.

So when Mom shared this quote with me the other day, I had to smile—and thank God for the transforming effect of the gospel:

“Oftentimes parenting can feel like a battle. And the “enemy” is your two-year-old who’s just thrown their dinner on the floor (again); or your fifteen-year-old, who’s just slammed the door on you (again). But still your job is to show them what our Father in heaven is like. Yes, they need to learn to live under authority. But they also need to learn of a God who welcomes His enemies, loves His enemies and gives His life for his enemies.” (Gospel Centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll)

As you march toward mothering battles today, may God give you grace to welcome, love, and give your life for your little (or not so little) “enemy”—as Christ first loved and gave Himself for you.

Feb 22

Why Not “Why?”

2010 at 4:18 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Suffering

When we suffer, our first question is often “Why?”

Why me? Why this? Why now?

These are the questions Karen Sunday wanted to ask when she was recently diagnosed with cancer. But her husband, pastor David Sunday, encouraged her to ask some different questions:

Who are you, Lord?

What do you want to teach us about Yourself?

and,

How do you want to use us for Your glory?

Read about this pastor’s loving counsel to his wife in the midst of severe suffering. And please pray for this godly couple.

May God give us all grace to ask these God-glorifying questions.

The Right and Wrong Questions to Ask When You Get Cancer

On Suffering and Asking Who, What, and Where—Not Necessarily Why

Feb 19

Friday Funnies

2010 at 1:43 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Two of my friends—Kimm and Kim—both sent me these funny pictures…

Have a grace-filled weekend!

Carolyn for my daughters

This lady is getting ready to enter a public toilet in Houston…

woman bathroom

Now that you’ve seen the outside view, take a look at the inside view…

inside bathroom

It’s made entirely out of one-way glass! No one can see you from the outside, but when you are inside, it’s like sitting in a clear glass box! Now, would you? Could you?

————————

Next…A Painted Bathroom Floor

Tenth floor of a high-rise building…

Imagine you are at a party…

And then you have to visit the bathroom…

You open the door…

Now remember, the floor is just a painted floor!

high rise

Would you be able to walk into this bathroom?

————————

And finally,

This is a ceiling mural in a smoker’s lounge…

smoker lounge

Feb 18

Not the Ace of Cakes

2010 at 5:48 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Girltalkers

It’s birthday weekend here—Caly turns 4 on Saturday and Jack turns 7 on Sunday. (Funny fact: all three of our “oldests” were born in February—Andrew turned 10 just two weeks ago.)

Speaking of birthdays, I recently discovered that I’m one of the only moms in America who does not know how to make elaborate, theme cakes for her children’s birthdays.

I really thought it was just my super-artsy friends (and Chef Duff on the Food Network) who made Cinderella’s castle with turrets and a drawbridge or a life-sized Washington Redskins football helmet. But apparently, most moms can design, bake, and decorate their child’s cake of choice, no problem.

This was news to me! You see, I never had a fancy cake growing up. Mom—God bless her—tried her best. She even took a cake decorating class. But as she laughingly says—“it just didn’t take.”

So, like her mother before her, she decorated our cakes with edible candy letters that said “Happy Birthday!” with extra letters for the name, and little stars you could put candles in. We thought it was great. We didn’t know we were missing anything.

Being less artistic than my mother, I never even thought about making a fancy cake for my children—until last year when my son overheard that another kid was getting a “Thomas the Train” cake for his birthday (the things they pick up at church!).

So, I went to the grocery store bakery and blew half the birthday budget on a cake with an icing track and real trains. It was beautiful. And easy. And expensive.

lego cakeThis year I’m actually going to try this Lego cake. That’s because all I have to do is cut some big marshmallows in half, ice them, and stick them on top. I can handle that. I think. (I hope Jack still likes legos when he’s eighteen!)

But if the lego thing doesn’t work out, I can always rely on the edible candy letters, like my mother and grandmother before me. Because really, do I harbor deep-seated regret that my mom never made me a Strawberry Shortcake cake for my birthday? Not a bit.

Feb 17

Early Morning Grace

2010 at 4:41 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O'Clock Club

We received this exciting and funny email from Erin today and just had to share it with you. Read to the end if you (like me!) have trouble getting out of your warm bed each morning:

As a mom to 2 small children, I have been consistent at one thing for the past few years, and that is struggling to spend time with God. It has been a constant source of frustration and guilt for me, as I have focused on my lack of a quiet time and not the goodness and grace of a loving God. I have even attempted the 5 o’clock club before and failed miserably because of my motivations and dependence on myself.

Well, this time has been very different for me. I began rising early to spend time with God in January, so when I saw that your blog would be focusing on this for February, it was truly confirmation for me that God was drawing me into deeper communion with Him. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been for the accountability and encouragement of your blog over the past few weeks. I have more than enjoyed my times of rising early everyday and I am so thankful that God has given me His grace in this area.

My goal from the start was to get one load of laundry done and spend 45 minutes to an hour, reading, praying, etc. Getting the laundry done has been HUGE for serving my family. It is no longer a constant source of irritation…now it is a constant source of excitement.

I could go on and on about how meaningful my time with God has been (much more so than having the laundry done) but that would literally take several days. I am so grateful for what He has been showing me and the desire He has given me to pray for my friends and family. I am 31 years old, and can honestly say I have never experienced such a sweet time with my Savior! I am so, so, so, so grateful!

One more thing…I wanted to share something that has actually helped me get up in the mornings…it’s rather amusing! One of the hardest things about getting up, to me, is how cold it is! Getting out of a warm bed into cold air is no fun! I found myself wrapping up in a blanket every morning, but that often got in the way of folding the laundry or reading. Well, as sort of a gag gift, my husband bought me a Snuggie! I know, I know…A SNUGGIE?! BUT…it has been fantastic…I love getting out of my warm bed into my warm snuggie…what a fabulous invention!!! The only downside has been folding laundry filled with static while wrapped in a Snuggie…there have been a couple of times where I felt like I was being electrocuted…I guess that’s good if you’re having trouble waking up!

I included a picture of me in my Snuggie. I would have preferred pink, but my husband got blue…I think it is because secretly he wants to wear it, too!

snuggie

Feb 16

When the Going Gets Tough

2010 at 3:55 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Devotional Life | The 5 O'Clock Club

“How do you keep going with these disciplines when it is tough?” Dawn asked us last week:

“I really wanted to try it out but circumstances have only served to discourage me. The alarm waking my 3 year old so I spend the whole ‘quiet time’ is spent trying to settle him and stop him disturbing the others, then both we both have a harder day because of the extra tiredness. How do you keep on? I am convinced it is a good thing but feel like I am letting my whole family down because I am tired and so discouraged. Sorry just wonder if I am the only one who can’t work it out.”

You certainly aren’t the only one! All four of us know exactly how you feel! With small children, it is hard to do anything consistently. The only thing predictable about our days is that they are unpredictable! But here are a few ideas (all from Mom) that we’ve found helpful:

1. Change What You Can – Small, practical changes can make a big difference. Consider potential solutions like buying a quieter alarm clock or placing it where the kids are less likely to hear it. I’ve even set my phone alarm to ring and vibrate and then slept with it under my pillow! My husband and I have run “tests” to see what noises in the house (walking on hardwood, flushing toilet, opening closet) sound loudest in our kid’s rooms. And training our children to read books on their beds until a set time each morning has made a huge difference. However, some problems aren’t so easy to solve, that’s why it’s good to…

2. Have a “Plan B“ – If your ideal plan doesn’t work out, have a back-up plan in place. Plan “A” might be to meet with God before the children wake up; but if you’re up half the night with a sick baby, you need sleep in the morning! Plan “B” may be to read God’s Word and pray during your children’s naptime.

3. “Do What You Can”- If both “Plan A” and “Plan B” fail (which may happen often with small children!) then do what you can. Read this great story from Donald Whitney about how one mother’s hunger for God’s Word led to some creative solutions. Liberating and inspiring!

4. Try Again Tomorrow – Even if you only rise early two times each week you are doing more than if you never tried at all—that should encourage you!

5. Preach the Gospel to Yourself – This will lead to joy. God is not more pleased with us on the days we rise early or less pleased with us on days when we sleep late. We are accepted and approved because of Jesus Christ.

Finally, as Mom is fond of reminding us: this is a season. It will pass all too quickly and the three year old who wakes up early will be a thirteen year old who you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Until then, remember that God’s grace is more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:19). He daily bears us up, and promises that “as your days, so shall your strength be” (Ps. 68:19, Deut. 33:25).