Loving...

Because we are so organized, we have three boys and three girls. Not only are we divided evenly, we are orderly too. The Koehler family begins with a boy and then we rotate every other so that each boy is followed by a girl. Many ask me if boys are easier to raise or girls. I have no idea! I thoroughly enjoy the boys and the girls and both drive me crazy. Summer brings college kids home, and my younger children want to join in the fun and crazy of summer schedules and late nights. With everyone home and their friends crashing in often, we have many personalities and opinions flying around the house. Most days it's fun, but sometimes in the name of "fun" unkind words are said or stories from the past are shared that younger kids aren't ready for the world to know. Sometimes our families can be hard to love whether it's our blood relations or our family in Christ. In Colossians Paul says this about the church in the city of Colosse, "for we have heard that you trust in Christ Jesus and that you love all of God's people." This verse made me stop and ask how do they love all God's people? Loving isn't easy. Paul than answers my question by saying, "You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven..." I am extremely guilty of focusing on today and my calendar and not the joy of heaven. Heaven sounds far, but I was talking to a friend who may be losing her house. She said it's tough, but I know I have a home in heaven. Prospective changes today. If my focus is on the joy of heaven, I can be more loving and patient with people. Let's love all God's people. 

Change...

As I read, listen, and talk, I find many discouraged with life, news, finances, and politics. Doom and gloom are high on the list of conversation starters currently. Honestly, most of the discussions that fall outside of my small world, I don't have the knowledge to offer appropriate help or thoughts. Sometimes the outlook looks slightly hopeless. Even though I don't have answers, God does. God holds the passwords for all solutions. Paul says the following: "This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners." The Good News is the answer...God's answer. The Good News is changing lives everywhere. Certain answers and solutions are perplexing, but the Good News still changes lives. The Good News gives hope. In the midst of arduous times let's share the Good News. God's love still changes lives and brings peace that can't be replicated.

Worry...

How do you feel if you need to complete a task, and you are running out of time?
How do you feel if your child is struggling in school?
How do you feel when money is running low?
How do you feel when the prognosis at the doctor's is questionable?
How do you feel when you need to speak up about an issue that won't be well accepted?
All these scenarios and many more can cause worry to begin it's work in our hearts and minds. Sometimes worry sneaks in, and we don't even realize how much worry is building up until something breaks or anxiety takes over our hearts. God knows how we process our journey, and he tells us in Philippines 4:6-7 how to handle life. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." God wants us to put off worry and pray instead. So every time we start to think, why are more tests needed, or this is a bad sign, we stop and pray. We keep praying until we stop worrying, or until we can stop being consumed by our thoughts of doubt and fear. Then we tell God what we need and thank him for all he has done. If we do this, peace will come. God's peace will guard our hearts and minds. Simply...pray when we feel like worrying. The result will be PEACE. 

Favorites...

I have a few favorites in my life. I love flowers. I love reading to my kids. I love dates with my husband. I love family movie night. I love my family all home. I love celebrating. I love summer vacations. I love the beach. I love the verses in Proverbs 3:1-4. "My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life. Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace, write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation." Amid these four verses are our family verses which begin with never let loyalty and kindness get away from you. Loyalty and kindness are the keys to easier relationships and a good reputation. How would you rate your loyalty on a scale of 1 to 10? When I think of loyalty, I think of my boys still loving the Chicago Bears and Bulls even when the record is dreadful. They follow, watch, and talk about each win and loss with great hope of a change next season. People may be a little more difficult to love in the same way as a team, but we need to picture them in the right team color and keep cheering. Kindness is a word that just keeps popping up everywhere in my life and in my Bible reading. Be kind. Being kind means that there is much that is left unsaid, and there is much that needs to be said that we may just assume others already know. Saying kind words and doing kind actions help all of life tremendously. Let's be kind and loyal. It benefits others, and there is a great advantage to us too.

Sinners...

Some days I am still surprised at the amount of sin that happens in the Koehler family. Today at a track meet, two of my children were so crabby, selfish, and whiny! It was quite frustrating. But the sad reality is that I know my children closely resemble their parents in many ways including their faults and sin. Our sin undoubtedly trips us up and causes us to be undesirable. At least sin in young children can be comical occasionally, but as adults sin is disastrous. My children aren't the only ones who have rough days. Generally we all have those days where we wish we could scream and throw a fit, but the site would not be pretty. So what do we do with a the anger and frustration that piles up on the inside of us and causes us to sin? Hebrews says, "And I will forgive their wrongdoing; and I will never again remember their sins." (8:12) God forgives us for all our fits we throw, all the unkind words, and all the sin. Because God promises that he will never again remember our sin, we each have a fresh, clean card for a new start. We confess, and we are clean. If a holy, perfect God can forgive all our junk, I also believe we should forgive each other completely. Let's follow God's pattern and forgive each other. Clean, new starts are the best way to begin a day.

Talking....

Sometimes it's just good to talk and share how you feel. Tonight at our life group meeting, it was a time of people needing to simply express what was on their heart. Even though it's only Tuesday, the week has been long and tiring. Sharing life is healthy for our hearts and minds. We need each other! But what about the days when we can't be together? Many days openness may not be possible, and then we can feel trapped and isolated. God knows we need connection, and he has provided it through others and Jesus. "He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, untainted by sin. He has now been set apart from sinners, and he has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. (Hebrews 7:26) Our high priest is Jesus, and he is perfect. Nothing we say is to heavy, to personal, or to emotional. I hope you have time this week to share your heart with a friend, but let's remember we have a high priest who loves us and is ready to listen.

Safe...

I had the chance to walk along a quiet, cold beach a week ago, and it made me excited about summer. The ocean in any season is breath-taking though. The ocean water never stops which makes it mesmerizing to watch. Life doesn't stop either, but sometimes I wish it did. A pause button would be helpful because I struggle enjoying, comprehending, and handling life some days. Life is filled with decisions, changes, excitement, and sadness. Do you need a break? Are you craving some stability? "So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence." (Hebrews 6:18)  God is our safe refuge, and he never breaks his promise. Rest. Truly stop and rest in him...safe and sound.