Category Archives: Christianity

19 Bible Verses for Pregnancy and Labor

While I was pregnant, I made this list of scriptures that I would read and pray over whenever I was feeling anxious or overwhelmed. I also planned on using them during my labor to help calm and relax me. It turns out I was too tired and delirious during labor to look at them, although I’m sure it would have helped, had I not gone into labor at 10 pm and been unable to sleep  once it had started.

Hopefully they can bring strength and comfort to you as well.19 Scriptures for Pregnancy and Labor

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)

All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.
(1 John 4:15, 16, 18 NLT)

God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7 CEV)

I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give. It isn’t like the peace this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.
(John 14:27 CEV)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
(Isaiah 26:3, 4 NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
(Romans 8:18 NLT)

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
(Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
(Psalms 18:1 NLT)

O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.
(Psalms 71:5-8 NLT)

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 NLT)

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
(Psalms 29:11 NLT)

As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
(Psalms 138:3 NLT)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
(Ephesians 3:16 NLT)

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!
(Exodus 15:2 NLT)

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”
(Isaiah 12:2 NLT)

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength…
(Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

 

Like a flashlight in the sunlight…

Tonight I spent the evening at the Laura Dester Shelter, which is our city’s emergency shelter for children. When the police pick up the kids from a house because of neglect, abuse, or their parents being arrested, the kids go the the shelter. The idea is then that the kids move out of the shelter and into a family environment, either with a relative or at a foster home. Apparently the babies are usually placed very quickly, but there are some kids who are older who can stay at the shelter for weeks and even months.

I spent tonight playing with kids who were 3-7 years old. They were normal kids who had probably experienced worse things in their little lives than I had in my whole life. We just hung out, ran around, played some games, and read some stories. I was surprised at how quickly they clung to me and climbed all over me. Everyone wanted love and attention. And it was so natural for me to spend time with each of these kids, individually and as a group. The sadness of the situation didn’t really hit me until I left.

Here’s my takeaway: I always pray for God to make me salt and light in the world, but in general I am in Christian surroundings. Basically I’m salt in a salt-shaker, or a flashlight in the sunlight. Salt is used to bring flavor and life to bland food, and lights are of the most use in the dark. I work with kids who are from good situations and safe homes every day. But I can also volunteer at the shelter and bring love and peace and life into the lives of kids who need that love a lot more desperately than the others.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

The Command of Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.

(John 15:12-17 NLT)

My community group is reading Radical by David Platt right now. Our last chapter talked about giving and blind spots in our spiritual lives.

This scripture hits home every time I read it. Jesus commands us to love each other the same way that He loves us: with our whole lives even if it kills us, in other words. Doing whatever it takes to share His love with the people of the world.

This is intense. We were talking just yesterday about what it would take for us to sell everything and give it to the poor as Jesus asked the rich young man to do in Matthew.

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

(Matthew 19:21, 22 NLT)

I pray that in my own life I am able to say no to possessions in order to say yes to Jesus. I know it’s possible to give more. We wondered how much should we give? How much should we save in wisdom without saving to the point of being greedy or hoarding?

The answer is probably give more than is comfortable. Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Love people around you extravagantly.

Lord Jesus, your love and sacrifice for me is so immense. I am intimidated by your command that I should love the people around me with that much love. Please open my eyes today to see who I can show your love to, and how to do it. Give me courage to be bold in loving others.

One Church, One Family, One Child

8046 children in Oklahoma were in the foster care system as of Jan. 1. On the front page of the Tulsa World today was an article about the 843 meth labs found in Oklahoma this past year, with 429 of them being in Tulsa. When the parents are arrested, the kids enter into DHS care. That is just one of the ways that children enter the foster care system. In Tulsa, the kids are picked up by the police and brought to the Laura Dester shelter. It is supposed to provide a temporary stop of a day or two. Instead, for some, it ends up being the place where they might spend weeks or months. They could be in a safe, stable family situation, only there are not enough foster families available for all the children.

Taking the child in his arms, [Jesus] said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
Mark 9:36-37

There is a solution that could take care of this issue. The solution was proposed at the 8046 Foster Care Conference: 1-1-1. If one child was taken care of by one family out of each one church in Oklahoma, there would be enough homes for every child in the DHS system to have a safe place to go.

“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.
Ezekiel 22:30

Right now those kids need families and churches to stand in the gap and fulfill our true responsibilities: to care for the orphans, just as God cared for us and adopted us when we needed His help the most. Thank God that He was so merciful to us to send Jesus. Now we have the opportunity to spread His love to these children that need love, more than anything else.

If you would like more information about getting involved in foster care of children, there are a few places you can go for more information. \

You could contact my church with questions, and there are also links to the necessary paperwork you would need if you wanted to start along the road to foster care:
http://www.tcabc.com/
foster@tcabc.com

You can visit the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Foster Care page:

http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/foster/

This is also a good site about foster care in Oklahoma, Bridge Family Resource Center:

http://www.okbridgefamilies.com/

 

Ambiguity

I’m concerned about the moral ambiguity of my generation. I’m concerned about the harm and pain that is caused from failing to set boundaries and from failing to value precious gifts. I want to share my own story because I think it’s important to be honest, especially now.

When I was a young teenager, I set a rule in my own life to live by. I would not kiss a boy until I was engaged to him and I would not have sex until I was married. This rule was influenced by many factors, The Bible, my parents, my church, and youth organizations. The real point was that I knew what limit I had set and it helped to set my decisions. As a teenager I had several opportunities to break my self-made rule, but I did not.

In college, I dated several different guys. They were each respectful of my boundaries and I am grateful and honor them for that. When I dated my husband, he respected my boundaries as well. After we had been dating for about five months, he was going to be gone for a week or two on a trip out of the country. We said goodbye and both were very broken up about our parting. He managed, with much effort, to cancel his trip and showed up at my family’s doorstep to see if he could spend that time with me instead. At that moment I knew that he loved me. He valued me more than his own plans and dreams. We were not engaged, but I knew that we would be. I kissed him.

We continued to date, and were eventually engaged. We were both virgins until after our wedding vows were made; promising to be faithful to each other until death. Together we made our vows. Together we sealed them. Together we keep them.

I tell this story not to brag on myself: quite the opposite. I was torn by my desires many times over the years from the point that I made my choice until now. At times I longed to go beyond my rule. I cared for my boyfriends, why shouldn’t I kiss them? I didn’t keep my rule because I was self-disciplined or good. I am sure that the only way I kept that promise was because I had asked God what I should do, and I continued to ask Him for his help and grace throughout the years. I believed that God’s way was the best choice I could make.

My generation has not all followed what God said about sex and marriage. But I can promise that those who have slept with multiple partners, lived together before marriage, had affairs during marriage, experienced break-ups, divorces, and separations: you have endured pain. That road is a road that God did not want you to have to travel, and will help you to stay off of in the future. He will forgive you and bring you through the heartache, the loneliness, and the loss. Only Jesus can carry it all for you. Only Jesus can give you the power and grace to walk with moral confidence and courage. I believe in living a moral and proper life, but I also believe that it is impossible apart from God being involved and at work in your life. Choosing to believe God is the first and most important decision that anyone: child, teen, or adult can make. I hope that making that choice will help you to make other wise choices, including living a life of morality, for your own sake and the sake of those you love.

They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.  That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Romans 1:25-32 (NLT)

 

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26 (NLT)

Awe and Wonder

While I drink my tea this morning, I’m sitting at my kitchen table gazing out at thousands of snowflakes falling. It’s said that no two snowflakes are the same. They all have a unique lattice structure, just as each human has a unique set of fingerprints. I heard yesterday that scientists are looking at the bacteria on our bodies and have discovered that we carry and spread our own unique set of bacteria on everything we touch.

It seems that creation is wired to show us how each any every part of our lives is unique. There are overarching patterns and themes, but every voice carries its own melody into the symphony. Continue reading Awe and Wonder