The gift of a friend who tells you the truth (& when your boots need polishing…)

Last Sunday, a man in our church took me by the side after our communion meal and said:

“I’m going to tell you something that my dad always told me.”

“Oh really?” I asked, curious as to what he’d say.

“Always keep your boots polished,” he smiled.

I looked down at my brown cowgirl boots that I’ve had now for four years and haven’t polished even once.

“Oh yeah, they do need polishing, huh?” I said.

I looked at his black boots and they were in great shape.

That was all the conversation entailed. The funny thing is that I could’ve taken offense to his comment or been embarrassed but I knew better than that. He was telling me the truth as my elder and someone I admire and respect.

That encounter reminded me of the precious gift of truth-tellers in our lives. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about being cautious of the friend that only speaks flattery to you with their lips. That only tells you what you want to hear- not what you need to hear, sugarcoating reality.

A true friend will openly correct you from a genuine, caring heart (Proverbs 27:5-6). You can trust this kind of friend because ultimately, she cares for you and has your best interest at heart. She’s looking out for you and wants success and blessing in your life.

But, ouch, correction isn’t fun! It really stings initially. Our pride wants to protect the places we’d prefer to not let anyone know about. The places we’d rather not have a friend check in on. How we’re:

  • respecting and loving our husbands?
  • treating our children with kindness?
  • practicing self-control in eating, drinking, social media, Netflix, Instagram and more?
  • using our time, talents, and treasure for God’s kingdom and not the kingdom of self?
  • sharing the gospel and love of Christ with those God has put in our path?
  • controlling our tongue from gossip and listening to gossip?
  • using our words to build others up, and not tear down?
  • stewarding all the resources and gifts God has given?

I’m grateful for how God has used friends in my life over the years to sharpen and encourage me in my faith when I was teetering and open my eyes to behaviors and habits I didn’t see. I thank God for friends who’ve shown me scriptures about why I can’t put my hope in the things of this world, but I can in Christ alone. He’s used friends to help strengthen my marriage and my relationship with my kids and to remind me of his goodness when I was falling short on grace. He’s used friends to show me love and not condemnation (after already beating myself up a thousand times).

A friend that corrects you is one of the greatest gifts you could ever have in your life. Thank the Lord for her. Be that kind of friend in return – one who doesn’t simply hide what needs to be said but will tell the truth in love from a genuine and caring heart.

And by all means, if your boots need polishing too, go spoil yourself!

Blessings,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Why it’s actually okay to release control of your life

Ensenada, Mexico

Earlier this year my husband and I embarked on a 3-day cruise to celebrate our 12-year anniversary. On the first night in our cabin, intense fear woke me up in the middle of the night. As I looked out our window I could barely see the ocean waves. I was worried the ship would sink and rehearsed the emergency exit plan in my head.

The lack of control I felt from being on the open water paralyzed me and it didn’t help that I wasn’t fully awake. Were we crazy to take this vacation and entrust our very life to the captain in charge?

That experience got me thinking about faith and how often we can feel like we’re losing a sense of control when we place our trust in Jesus – who we can’t see on a daily basis.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to, “Follow me,” (Matt 4:19) Scripture says that immediatelythey left their nets and followed him. They left their comforts, all that was normal in their trade as fishermen, and what they could control.

I’m guessing they weren’t thinking: At this time and on this day, the Messiah will come out of nowhere and meet us where we’re at…They were not expecting that at all. But that is what happened. Jesus came out of nowhere into their lives and met them right where they were.

Peter and Andrew handed over their life to the One who was greater. They surrendered their life to become a learner of Jesus even when they didn’t exactly understand what that meant.

The truth is that releasing control of our life is the means by which we’re truly free and able to experience deeper intimacy with Jesus. Even as much as our hands want to hold tightly to what we think provides security, Jesus tells us where our ultimate hope is found:

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – (Matt 10:39)

The truth is that I love holding on tightly to my life (my loves, wants, wishes, desires, needs) and thinking only about my inner circle. Yet Jesus calls me to something better. He calls me to seek His kingdom first and then all these things will be given. He calls me to step out of the boat and join him in his mission of winning broken and lost souls for eternity. He calls me to love, selflessness, and servanthood where he’s placed me. That can be both scary and inconvenient.

Placing our faith in Jesus can be terrifying because of the unknown. What will happen if I diligently follow Christ with my life? How will I learn to deal with stresses if I go to Jesus instead of my current coping mechanisms? Does this mean anything for my personal goals and career? What will people think and say when I try to engage them with the gospel? And the list goes on…

When you surrender, Jesus gives you new desires and tastes. What was once pleasing and attractive to your eyes will not be anymore. The intense desire to please others and find your identity in material things begins to lessen. Your mission is no longer self, but to serve your Savior. You become more concerned with living for eternity rather than how many “likes” you have in a day.

You’ll begin to find joy and excitement from continually asking the Lord, where can I serve you today? What can I give away for your kingdom? The unknown becomes an adventure.

He’ll also equip you for exactly what you need in the moment – whether that means reaching out to a stranger, seeking forgiveness, inviting a friend to church, giving up an addiction, seeking counsel, changing your circle of friends, opening up your home to your neighbors, seeking healing in your marriage, confessing sin, investing in an “unlovable” person, starting a ministry from scratch, using buried talents and gifts to build the body of Christ, and more.

On the cruise ship that night, I was stressed out. But before I knew it, it was 8:00 am, the sun was shining, and the boat was docking safely to the Baja shore. Even in my anxieties, the captain knew exactly what he was doing and the next night I slept peacefully.

When we release control and trust in God as our sovereign Creator and Father who loves and cares deeply for us, we can rest easy knowing that the plans he has for us are for our good even when we can’t see the future ahead.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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If you’re experiencing a season of loneliness

Not long ago, my husband and I went through a wave of change in our network of friends. Five families we were close to have moved away all in the same time frame. It wasn’t long before we noticed that God was taking us through a season of having to depend solely on him.

There was another situation when I was uninvited from a get together. A friend felt I’d feel more comfortable not attending this particular event with her friends. I trusted she was right but was tempted to doubt God. He reminded me of his faithfulness and that I wasn’t alone even when it felt a little unwelcoming and awkward.

The truth is that God created us to know others and be known by others no matter our age. We also have a deep longing to be loved by others. Perhaps you know the feeling of:

  • sitting in a sterile room hearing only the hum of the air conditioner
  • attending an event with hundreds of people not knowing anyone
  • scrolling through your friends’ highlight reels of their Disneyworld vacation while you’re sitting on the couch.
  • reaching out to someone but there’s no reciprocation.
  • not being satisfied with the often shallowness of social media and needing face-to-face fellowship with a friend.
  • Requesting, “Table for one please,” at a restaurant you love.

In God’s word and prayer, I’ve found his comfort and I’m reminded that he is with me.

He’s my source of satisfaction and joy. He’s been teaching me truths about contentment that I would’ve never known otherwise. Not just with my circumstances, but contentment in my relationship with Him.

I’ve been asking myself these hard questions: Is he truly enough? At the end of my life, when I will meet Jesus face-to-face, is he all I need, and do I live like it here on earth?

I’m also learning what it means to be intentional and invite others instead of waiting to be invited. I’m able to teach these life lessons to my kids too. Jesus pursues us every day, am I pursuing others with his love and life-changing gospel?

I’m still waiting on prayers to be answered but I’ve found myself anticipating in this time to keep learning more about God, his character, and love for me. In the waiting, Jesus is showing me new depths of how he felt when he walked this earth among people who didn’t always understand, accept, or include Him. He experienced intense periods of loneliness too.

In her new song “You Say,” Lauren Daigle writes,

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

I believe what God says of me. If I will only live it.

That I am His. And His love is enough in times of loneliness and in times of deep companionship and community.

Do you believe it too?

— I enjoyed talking recently with the editors at Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage and discussing this article. You can listen to a clip of the audio interview here. 

 

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Why Godliness is Worth Pursuing More than Body Image

Not long ago, my husband and I began a strict eating plan that has radically changed much of our lifestyle, eating habits, and various sugar addictions. With summer here we’ve also been exercising outdoors more often. Even though it’s painful at times, we’ve felt amazing on the plan and are learning a lot together.

In our home I made a comment the other day about still needing to get my baby weight off (from four years ago) and I could see my inquisitive nine-year-old John thinking in his head about my words. He looked in my eyes and said,

“Mom, but then if you do that, you won’t have anything left to remember us as babies.”

I laughed and told him how I appreciated his viewpoint and thoughtfulness.

A challenge for me right now in the midst of tackling my health and weight loss goals is focusing too much on the outward and physical part of my body. The Lord is constantly reminding me that one day this body will go to the grave. It will not last forever. And while I’m to be a good steward of it and offer it to God each and every day, my ultimate hope is not in my body image or the image I desire for it to be. Nor is my hope found in comparing myself to another person’s outward appearance.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Make no mistake. God desires for us to take good care of our bodies – the Holy Spirit resides in us. But Scripture says that bodily training has only some value in comparison to what growing and training in godliness offers. It reaps dividends not only in our life now, but in heaven when we’ll be given brand new bodies.

So what is the one place you can put your hope in? You better believe that it’s godliness in every way.

Growing in godliness through confessing sin, pursuing reconciliation with others, living out the gospel, loving one another, engaging in Bible studies, growing our prayer lives, knowing others beyond mere talk about the weather, practicing what we’re learning in God’s word, bearing one another’s burdens, and allowing Jesus to form and shape us into his image… These are all just a few ways we can begin stretching our spiritual muscles and focusing not on earthly things but on what will last forever.

If we spent more time focusing on the spiritual matters of our heart, can you imagine how strong spiritually we’d be? If we spent more time looking at the mirror to our soul – God’s precious Word – than we do looking at our body image each day, I’m convinced we’d see huge steps of growth in our walk with Christ. The peace, satisfaction, wholeness, love, and joy we’ve been longing for would be a reality. Our hearts and minds would be renewed.

Getting to what’s at the heart of your spiritual life is what the Lord ultimately desires for your life… As Jesus said to his disciples, so he says to you and me: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22-23).  

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:29-31).

Your heavenly father knows your needs (yes, even bodily), and will provide abundantly for you as you seek his Kingdom first in your life.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to Raising Girls Who Live Out Kindness and Courage

This summer, my girls have enjoyed watching Cinderella (the 2015 film with Lily James). I’ve found myself quoting the movie to my girls a lot when they haven’t been getting along.

At the beginning of the film when Ella’s mother is on her deathbed, she says:

Ella, my darling. I want to tell you a secret, a great secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. You must always remember this: Have courage and be kind.”

Those last five words are what I’ve been saying a lot around my home.

Sinners Sin

Little did Ella know that her golden childhood would fade away as she grew older. She was banished to an attic and mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. But in spite of it all, she stood strong in the midst of adversity and clung to the words of her mother. We know how the rest of the story goes when she meets the handsome prince.

In real life, the truth is that we can all be like the angry stepmother when life tastes bitter. We were born sinners, therefore, we sin. We know very well that as moms, we ourselves aren’t always understanding and kind but we desire for our girls to be!

I was talking with my friend the other day who’s dealing with hitting, pinching, name-calling, and sassy attitudes. The attitudes can impact the entire household and make you fear how they’ll treat others who aren’t their siblings. I felt better that we weren’t the only ones dealing with non-princess-like behavior.

Seeking Jesus Alone

So often we try to find the next good parenting book, podcast, and inspirational quote. We seek counsel from all over, and more in how to raise godly girls. Many times, those are good things- don’t get me wrong as I’ve taken advantage of all those.

But how often do I first seek what Jesus has to say in his precious word about the attitudes and actions in our home? How often am I on my knees for my child’s wayward heart? And better yet, for my own heart that can be filled with pride?

In God’s Word, Jesus speaks to us. His word is alive and active—convicting us and revealing the depths of who we really are. It shows us how to live. In my own power, I don’t have the ability to change my child’s heart, but Jesus does. When I desire to see love in their hearts that I desperately desire, I must take them to the very source of kindness, love, peace, joy, gentleness, and self-control—Jesus alone. I must do the hard work of asking God to search my heart to see if there are any offensive ways in me. (Psalm 139:23-24).

A Work of God to Produce Kindness & Love

This cannot be done in my own strength or my girls’ unique abilities. It’s a work of God to transform their little hearts, making them moldable to his ways. But yes, let’s keep reinforcing the good truths even found in Cinderella.

Let’s keep encouraging our girls to do the right thing by including others, building each other up, speaking words that are sweet to the soul, not holding grudges, forgiving one another, making new friends feel welcome, choosing the narrow road, standing up for truth, being a friend to the lonely, and more. Let them see that we do these things in our lives, too.

Let’s not grow weary in teaching and modeling truth to them when it gets discouraging. Let’s be quick to ask forgiveness when we fail every day and lean on new mercies the next day.

Let’s remember that we’re sinners but we serve a great Savior who has washed our sins away, loved us in our mess, and saved us out of bondage. He is the King who has come to rescue us from our depravity.

Let’s keep reminding our girls that the greatest secret that will carry them through all of life’s trials is having an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – the One who has the power to change the hardest heart.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

** This article was first published on TheCourage.com 


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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Four Spiritual Lessons Learned from My Daughter’s First Swim Meet

“But I don’t want to go!” My seven-year-old Rebekah screamed as I woke her up at the crack of dawn for her very first swim meet of the summer season. She hid under her covers in a ball.

“Let’s go.”  I said. “We’re going right now. Everyone’s waiting in the car.”

“I don’t want to. I don’t want to!”

I pulled off her purple and white floral sheets and looked into her blue/green eyes. “Rebekah, you’ve practiced. You’re ready for this. Your coach Brenda says you’re ready too. Will you trust us?”

“But what if I can’t swim the whole lap? The water is going to be cold. No. I’m not doing it!”

After lots of dialogue and struggle, we drove to the meet. She remained nervous and anxious when we arrived and refused to let me help her put her cap on. I grew unsure of what we committed to. Will she back out of racing because she’s too scared?

In no time, my friend Trisha scooped Bekah up in her arms and carried her to the tent where she’d wait for her heat to be called. Coach Brenda let Rebekah be her “helper” and she coached her on what it would be like on the starting block. She showed her exactly what to do.

After “Swimmer’s, take your mark!” and the buzzer went off she jumped into the water and swam the 25 Freestyle. She didn’t stop at all and had a smile on her face at the end. I felt relieved and was so proud of her for overcoming her fears.

She swam her backstroke and relay races with no complaints. Getting a free sugary snow cone from winning a heat helped too. This new experience taught me a whole lot about our faith in Jesus- more than I even realized. Here are a few lessons:

1. We must be willing to risk something. 

Signing my child up for swim league took a risk on my part. What if she doesn’t like it? What if she can’t do the hard work? What if, what if, what if… At some point, we just had to commit, and I needed cooperation from her. Rebekah had to risk diving into unchartered territory of the unknown.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we don’t always know what he will ask of us. Will he ask me to give up an addiction, lifestyle, or way of living? Will he ask me to step out of my comfort zone and love on someone different than me? Will I have to suffer or struggle for a season of my life? Whatever Jesus calls us to do, we have to embrace risk and not run from it in fear. If we’re not risking something, we’re not fully living.

2. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others.

I found myself looking at the seasoned swimmers. I’d been a swimmer my whole life and knew Rebekah would enjoy it too, but I had to remember this was her first meet. Butterflies were in her stomach, there were lots of people cheering on the bleachers, and anything new can bring anxiety. She had to swim her race – not anyone else’s. And thankfully a few seasoned moms shared with me their own stories of their kids at one point needing a barf bag before races! It made me feel better that we weren’t necessarily unique.

In our faith, we’re all on different journeys. We struggle to various degrees. Our spiritual gifting and disciplines are all unique and that’s how God intended it to be. We need to be content with where we’re at and not wish we were in another person’s lane. God has us right where he wants us and is growing us in his timing.

3. We need each other.

Before my daughter’s first race, there was only so much I could do as her mom to encourage her heart to be strong. It was because of the help of my friends and her coach (and prayer!) that ultimately gave her the courage to work through her fears.

In our faith, we’re crazy to think we can walk this life without anyone by our side. On the days we think we’re crazy for following this man Jesus, we need to know that we’re not, in fact, lunatics. God has given us the gift of each other to remind us of his goodness and love and that we’re placing our faith in the person of Jesus. He is with us. He uses others to show us his grace in amazing ways. There’s such a beauty in leaning on others for help and strength. It’s up to us to accept that support.

4. We’re racing to win the prize.

Just as swimmers race to win or beat their previous time, in our faith we’re called to win the prize. Throughout scripture the Apostle Paul talks about the need for self-discipline. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he says to run the race of faith in such a way to win the prize. He says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Following Jesus and placing our faith in him requires strict training – yes, this is contrary to popular theology today. We aren’t running this race of faith aimlessly, to always “feel good” or with an apathetic attitude. We have a goal to share the gospel with others and to live it out until the Lord takes us home to be with him forever. We’re racing to win the prize. The race is final, not a warm-up before the real thing. Our calling as believers is indeed a high calling and we’re not racing for a temporary crown, but an imperishable crown. And our final goal is Jesus himself.

A few days after the swim meet, Rebekah received her first medal. “Ohhh!” she said as I handed it to her. She put it around her neck and smiled at it. She now understood that her hard work in all those practices resulted in something.

The initial risk was now a reward to behold.

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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How we can still sing to God in our sorrows

As I stood on the other end of the line, frustration and anger burned within me. “They did what?” I asked my mom while we were away at a pastor’s conference for the purpose of being renewed and equipped in God’s word.

“Hannah and Will ran from me and hid under your Suburban and ended up getting oil all over themselves,” she said in a struggling, battle-worn tone as any mom or grandma would.

This was just one of the many incidents of disobedience she’d endured while keeping our four kids. Not only after praying it would all get better, on our way back we were delayed in coming to my mom’s aid due to a blizzard that shut down the roads and caused power outages.

I found myself crying out to God. When will it get better for her, Lord? When will my kids have a heart of submission and obedience? What do I need to do differently? I remembered Psalm 13 when David asks, How long, Oh Lord? How long?

After we ended the call, I tried my best to focus on the time we had at hand with our friends among wonderful teaching and preaching and to trust in the Lord’s provision. I recognized the spiritual warfare too. But still in the back of my mind I found myself asking:

How Long, Oh Lord?

Have you ever found yourself in a similar place as the Psalmist David? More specifically, he cries out in Psalm 13:1-3:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day? 

Perhaps you feel neglected and forgotten by God. Your prayers are hitting the roof, a thousand times over. You don’t see God’s face, hear his voice, or receive his words and counsel. So you feel the only thing left is to look for counsel in your own soul (and you know that never satisfies). You reside with sorrow in your heart all day long like David.

All of us go through these seasons in our soul whether through motherhood, marriage, family life, relationships, the loss of a loved one, broken friendships, and more. David understood that place, God did, and he understands our state too. There are times we need to acknowledge the state of our being and the sorrow within us- to question God and plead for answers because we are absolutely dependent on Him for our very life, breath, and hope. We’re dependent on him to lift our heads out of the muck.

Your Steadfast Love for Me

At the end of Psalm 13 in verse 5 David says, “ButI have trusted in your steadfast love;”

No matter the danger, difficulty, fear of death, and enemies surrounding him, he could place his faith and trust in God’s love for him.

And so can we. We can trust in God’s love that holds us fast. It’s not that we’re so good at holding on to him but he is holding us securely. His love is unmovable and unwavering even when we’re changing like the tides.

David continues:

“My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.” – Psalm 13:5-6

His love alone gives us a reason to sing in our sorrows. A love that suffered, died on the cross, and rose again so that we could be set free from sin. Because he saved us and redeemed our life, we have joy. And one day, he will make all things new. Our hearts can sing because he is still good, gracious, and liberal in bestowing gifts on us each and every day.

I will Sing in my Sorrow

My kids didn’t exactly improve their behavior from the “rolling around in oil” episode and they had to face serious consequences when we got home, but I thank God for my mom’s humility, patience, grace, and sacrifice to love my children unconditionally. They asked for her forgiveness and understood how their sin was not okay and grieves God.

I thank God that my husband and I were spiritually fed and able to learn together for our ministry. There’s still pain in my heart in the longing for my children to obey immediately, but I know God hasn’t forgotten me as a mom. I know he is changing me in the sanctification process, too, and something beautiful will come out of it all.

I can still sing to Christ in the sorrows- great or small. His face will not be hidden forever and he knows me by name.

For his anger endures but a moment; in his will is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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Parents, why we need to be praying for our children more than ever

This week, another American flag has been lowered to half staff. Another mass school shooting has hit our land, where two students were killed and 18 injured by a 15-year-old male student with a handgun in Benton, Kentucky not far from Nashville. This tragedy comes shortly after the recent Texas and Louisiana school shootings. Our nation has experienced 13 school shootings this year. Even though the news headlines now seem quiet, the hurt and pain is still greater than ever in that small Kentucky town.

My heart sinks as a parent with two children in school and two preschool-aged children soon to make their way through elementary doors. In light of recent news, I’m reminded more than ever about the spiritual battle at hand and how desperately our children need our prayers each and every day.

Ephesians 6:12 says that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Parents, we are not fighting a battle that is merely flesh and blood, but a spiritual one. We’d be foolish to think we can fight the battles that are upon our children today with merely physical armor. These battles can only be fought spiritually through our prayers.

In prayer, we plead with Jesus to bring refreshing rains of healing and restoration to our nation again– to the hearts of families that desperately need a Savior. On our knees, we cover our children in God’s protection, love, and security. In calling on our Redeemer, we humble ourselves and turn to the One who is able to do far more than we’re capable of with our finite hands.
Parents, we have the tremendous privilege, by the shed blood of Jesus, to regularly go to the throne of grace in confidence that God will hear us when we cry out to Him. May the healing in our land that we long for first start with us. And even if our prayers are broken and our words are stuttering, make no mistake, that is still a beautiful thing.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Wake us up from our spiritual slumber, oh God. Forgive us from our apathy and transform us into praying parents who are on the battle lines, engaged in the war at hand not idle to the enemies tactics.

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:14

Raise up people who will lead prayer groups inside the walls of our schools, in our churches, communities, and all over our nation. Raise up people who will mentor hurting children and who will love children living in broken homes who need to know how accepted and loved they are by our heavenly Father. Raise up teachers, administration, and students who are serious about following you. Help us to listen to you if we are to be that very leader in our community.

Dear God, raise up a generation who will not turn to guns but to the Word of God for their ultimate hope and rescue. May we as parents allow the gospel to pierce the darkness and bring its saving light. Turn our hearts to seek you first and fill our schools with joy, peace, love, kindness, and hope once again.

In your name we pray, Amen.

This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s, TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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The one thing your morning routine desperately needs

It’s the kind of question that comes once in a while and when I’m not prepared for it, I’m convicted.

“How’s your time in the word?” one of my closest friends texted recently. She’s the kind of friend that has full permission to ask the hard questions. We’ve built that trust with one another over the last decade. I won’t be judged by giving her an honest answer.

“Not good,” I wrote. “I need to make the sacrifice and just make it happen.”

Laziness and slothfulness is sometimes my natural bent. Discipline hurts; like lifting 15 pound weights when you haven’t set foot in the gym for the last five years.

In my heart I knew I was suffering from not making my time with Jesus priority. Instead, I was filling my time with exercise, cleaning my house, Facebook news feeds, meeting with others, taking care of my family, and working on writing projects – all of which are beneficial and necessary in their own way. But opening my Bible, journal, and spending time in prayer which I know is what always feeds my spirit, was not at the top of my to-do list.

I was addicted to busyness and productivity – a common issue for many of us. It’s practically become our identity – all the more with technology today. But it was hurting my spirit, and it took a friend that cared deeply for me to tell me not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed. And knowing that she’s a woman of the word and prayer, her gentle prodding encouraged me to begin cutting out the clutter.

The next morning I decided to get up with my husband in the early hours of the morning and open my Bible with him. I downloaded a reading plan from the Bible app (Authentic Prayer by James MacDonald) and joined friends who are reading along in the app too. I dug out my journal and wrote prayer requests for family and friends.

See, we have a choice every day to fill our schedules or our souls first. We decide what takes precedence. And Satan would do anything to keep you from being in God’s word enjoying intimate fellowship and communion with the lover of your soul.

I once heard a pastor say that if we’re too busy not to pray or be in the Word, we’re simply too busy. We may need to take a hard look at our priorities and schedules to see what needs decluttering. This might mean unplugging from our devices, deciding to pull our kids out of sports so we can eat dinner around the table again, or weeding out anything making us ineffective and overwhelmed. They could be good things too, which may require a sacrifice (that could hurt!).

That morning while in God’s word, my kids came upstairs with bellies growling for breakfast. I was ready to face them and the day ahead. The quiet time fueled my faith and satisfied my hungry soul. I wasn’t so quick to act in my flesh either. I didn’t realize how much I missed being with Jesus until he opened my eyes to see my desperate need.

The depressed mood I’d been in for several days was gone and I was reminded of my purpose again. Joy had returned to my heart and my eyes shifted from being consumed with self, to serving others.

The more we feed our spirit and put Jesus first, the more we’ll desire to hear from the Lord and we won’t settle for less. Our schedules lose the power they once had over us.

So, I’ll now turn the question to you, “How’s your time in the Word?”

This article was originally published on TheCourage


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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Dear Children: Why Your Words Matter

Before bed time a few days ago, my nine-year-old son John told me for the first time that he wanted to go on a mission’s trip to Africa. My husband went last year with our church to a village our church body supports in Uganda. My heart filled with joy that John had a desire to venture to a world different than his own and experience the joy that both my husband and I have had visiting the beautiful continent at different times in our lives.

Then the next day, news headlines were filled with the derogatory remark about other countries which I’m sure you’re familiar with by now. This isn’t a post about our president, politics or the context of those words, but as I watched the writing on the screen, I felt a pit in my stomach.
Ouch.

I was hoping John wouldn’t see the headlines and ask questions about it. He hasn’t yet, but regardless, I want my kids to know why our words matter so much. I need the reminder too.

First, I’ll say we’re no perfect home or family. Words fly carelessly around the air at times unbridled and we have to harness them back in. As a mom of four with emotions and a strong-will, I’m reminded daily of my need for Jesus in controlling my tongue. We’re on training ground every, single day in our home. I fall short and need him desperately. I think of Psalm 141:3: Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 

Dear John, Rebekah, Hannah & Will, you must know this about your words:

The book of James dedicates time talking about the power of your tongue. Scripture says it’s a small member of your body yet boasts great things. Your tongue can even direct the course of your life like a rudder that turns a ship. Your words also have the potential to cause a forest fire of trouble by only one tiny match. Can you imagine that?

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

Words have the ability to pierce like a sword and wound unlike anything in this world. What springs forth from your lips matter because God’s word says so. Your words don’t go without consequence. If you want to live the good life, an abundant life full of blessing and peace, you must do what Scripture says and avoid evil.

If you want to see good days ahead, you must keep your tongue from evil and deceitful speech (1 Peter 3:10).

Your words mean something because they matter to God – for the sake of his name and others. They matter because when you carry and claim the name of Jesus, you represent him. Take seriously that others are made in his image and are to be valued and honored. When you fall short from doing the right thing, confess and turn away from your sin promptly.

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created him (Gen 1:27).

Your words matter because God loves all ethnicities. God has a heart for all nations to know and love him just as he loves them. He can use your words to reach those far from him. Strife, lying, bullying, perverted speech, gossip, slander, and rage are not a part of God’s plan and won’t bring goodness and blessing in your life. Use your words to show compassion, kindness, understanding, and build up the heart of another.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

Your words matter because they reveal the true condition of your heart. Your heart is desperately sick without a Savior. Jesus says that it’s not what goes into someone’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth (Matt. 15:11). Be mindful of what’s really going on inside your heart (frustration, jealousy, anger, pride, etc.) and seek to deal with it before you speak.

Thankfully, your words also have the power of LIFE and the ability to crush lies.

Your words can build up, restore, renew, move others toward action, bring hope, heal wounds, rescue from sin, instill joy, and bring forth something that once did not exist. God formed creation into being with the very words from his mouth:

“Let there be light,” and there was light (Gen. 1:3).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

“Will you forgive me?” are sometimes the only words you need to ask someone. The power of these four words have restored friendships, reconciled marriages, and brought happiness and peace to the playground once again.

Use your words for healing and not towards harm. Don’t let your words be hollow either – if something needs to be said for the good of another, say it. Follow Jesus as your ultimate example. Be children who speak LIFE and live it out by God’s strength working in and through you. 

I love you,

Mom

** You’re welcome to use the letter portion of this post & change the names for your own children for your personal use. 


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is a regular contributor for Kirk Cameron’s site TheCourage and For the Family. She is also the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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