Where Did the Beacon Go?

For centuries the church used by God has been called a beacon of light. Where does this come from? I’m glad you asked.

According to Merriam Webster, the term beacon was first used in the fourteenth century, meaning to signal by fire on a hill, tower or pole. Later a beacon became known as a light of guidance, like a lighthouse.

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A lighthouse beacon is salvation to ships at sea. If a ship ignores the guidance from the lighthouse, their death is a good possibility, wreckage and lost cargo a surety.

Imagine with me, if you will, we are on a cruise ship returning to port. However, several miles offshore a storm brews, knocking the ship off course.

The sky and the water look the same. Black. Yet in the distance…there. There it is. A shimmer of hope. A light in the darkness. The captain makes the necessary adjustments to keep his crew and passengers safe.

The church is to be a light of hope. A refuge for those about to crash in the storms of life. She is to be a warning of impending danger.

Today, that does not seem to be the case.

An alarming number of Christians in America do not want warnings of the dangers of sin. No, we do not want to be held to God’s standard of living. Many want what they want and do not care about others. Thankfully, this is not true of all of us. I praise God there are those who faithfully seek the Father’s will and walk in obedience.

Many want to be made to feel good. They want their participation trophy, believing in God, but not wanting to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Savior.  The bible says the demons believe there is on true God and tremble, James 2:19. The demons have more fear of God than many who claim to be Christians.

Demons acknowledge God, but cannot receive salvation. Salvation is more than just intellectual belief that God is real. It is realizing I am a sinner who needs Christ to take away my sin and to give me the strength to live the life He wants. This is what the Christian walk is about. Surrendering my wants, wishes, dreams, and problems to the perfect plan of God.

Often, when we don’t get our way, we have a temper tantrum instead of surrendering to the Father, as Jesus did.

We act like spoiled children, lashing out and manipulating to get our way. We don’t seem to realize, until it is too late, the hurt we cause. There are those few, however, who only care about themselves and are not concerned with the well being of others.

We don’t understand Satan can use us like puppets on a string, to bring strife and discord to destroy the body of Christ.

Ephesians 6:12 (NASB) reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the powers, against world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Many Christians do not believe we are in a battle. What I have seen happen recently most definitely has been a spiritual battle of huge proportions.

God’s anointing was on our church. We were destined to shine brightly with the message of Jesus Christ. God opened doors around the world for us to share the Good News. The enemy has successfully shut that down.

Now, this church, once a beacon of hope to the hopeless, and a place for the wounded to be healed and used mightily by God around the world, is on the brink of closing. Satan has won this battle, so it would appear, at least for now.

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples because you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NASB. This was not just for the eleven apostles. No. It is a charge to us as well. Obeying this command, along with others, has fallen by they wayside.

Why?

We have forgotten who God really is. Isaiah 6:1-8 reminds us of God’s holiness. He is so holy that even the cherubim hid their faces. They could not look upon God’s face.  Isaiah said, “Woe unto me for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips..”

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How would I respond to actually standing before God’s throne? I don’t know. I think I would be afraid.

What would you do if you stood, right now, before God’s throne as described in Isaiah? Share in the comment section how you think you might respond if you were in Isaiah’s shoes.

My challenge to you is to learn from our errors. Be the light. Be the beacon of hope. Be the love of Christ to all people. Be all the church, the body of Christ, is meant to be.

Most importantly be Jesus in word and deed so the church, your church, will be the beacon that ours has failed to be.

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The Love of a Mom (Part 3)

Here we are on a topic many moms seem to not like…

TEENAGERS!

I happen to love teenagers, most of the time. They really are a lot of fun. I have laughed until I cried with my teens. Yes, there is attitude. Yes, they will argue with a stump. Yes, there is drama (for boys as well as girls). Yes, boys lose their ever loving minds. Yes, it is true, the only difference between teenagers and toddlers is their size. Yet, this phase can be so amazing. So, let’s jump in and discover how moms love their teens.

You’ve heard or seen commercials for businesses saying, “Location, Location, Location.” To have a great relationship with your teens it’s all about Communication, Communication, Communication. They liked late night conversations. Just you and them.

I have had many–did I say many? Yes, many conversations after midnight and well into the early morning hours with my teenagers. I would be bleary-eyed and easing my way down the hall, as a hint that I was finished. I would let them know I felt their pain, and at one time I was a teenager, too, maybe way back\

Nearly eight years ago, my family went to spend Thanksgiving with one of my sons and new daughter-in-law. The weekend after, we spent a couple of days with some old friends. As we were leaving, my friend’s husband said to me, “You guys are lucky to have teenagers and young adult children who want to vacation with you.” Of course, I told him thank you.

On the drive home, I mulled that over. God reminded me that “luck” had nothing to do with it. I had invested many long nights in conversation and crazy days homeschooling, to make my teens feel valued, and loved.

Now, let me say, I know that there are times, when we give it our all, but our teens have a mind of their own and make choices that are not the best. Good parents have prodigal children. My heart goes out to you if you have one. I have two. I am praying God brings them back to Him. Please know I feel your pain and know that as mom I want so much more for my kids than the choices I see them make at times. With that being said, my point here is, I invested a great deal of blood, sweat, tears, and time into my teens.

I let them learn by their mistakes and tried not to say, “I told you so”. When they would go to a friend’s house or to a party I would tell them that if anything went down that made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to call me and I would come get them. They could put all the blame on me and tell their friends that their crazy mom was making them leave and act like they were mad, if that’s what they needed to do. I would not ask questions, and would not hound them about me being right. They never had the need to call, but some of them expressed later, they were glad that option was on that table because it made them feel safe and trusted.

One thing I found to be a challenge (aside from the attitude of them being so smart and me dumb as a stump) is how my teens like to parse words. “You can’t wear shorts to church on Sunday morning.” Plain and to the point, right? My teen would go change and come back with another pair of shorts on. My response, “I said you could not wear shorts to church.” Teen’s response,”These are not the same shorts. You said I couldn’t wear those shorts, not these shorts.” I learned I had to spell things out very carefully to avoid being pulled into their bantering. I have one teen left at home and he is surprised at the things I know. I have to remind him that there were five before him, so I am well versed in teens.

Teenagers need and crave attention from you. They need to know they are somebody special. This doesn’t take much, spend time in their world. Try playing a game, go for ice cream or even learning to play Thumb War. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, they simply want to be with you.

One last thing I want to share. As my teens were approaching adulthood, I would have serious talks with them about their future. I would say things like, “I will always love you, no matter what. I may get angry about your choices, but my love for you will never come into question.” The other statement I have is, “No matter how bad you blow it, with God, we can figure out how to fix it. Nothing, except death, cannot be fixed. Consequences will still be there but there is always compassion and forgiveness with me and with God.”

If you have teenagers, what are some of the things you have said to encourage them? What verse has God given you encourage you as you raise a teenager?

Y’all have a blessed day,

Norma Poore

Faith, Family, Friends, where the heart is encouraged.

The Dreaded F Word

The dreaded F word, FEAR. It rears its ugly head often in my life, even though God says do not fear. I find it interesting that there are approximately 365 verses about not fearing, according to my Google search. Hmm. One for each day of the year, yet the struggle continues.

What is one to do with this thing that is more than simply an F word? This thing that, at times, is crippling, it controls and manipulates. Where did it come from?

Fear began in the Garden of Eden. Eden was perfect, as was Adam and Eve. One day, Satan walked into the Garden and began asking Eve questions. These questions were specifically designed to create doubt and fear in her heart. Doubt that God’s word was trustworthy and fear that God was holding out on her. There it all began.

Fear is one of the biggest weapons the enemy of my soul uses to keep me from experiencing God’s best for me. Keeps me from seeing my dreams come to fruition. Stops me from being the writer He has called me to be.

This past year, I have learned so much about spiritual warfare and how to defeat the enemy. Sadly, he can’t be defeated once and for all just yet, but he will be in the end when Jesus casts him into the lake of fire forever. Woohoo! Hallelujah!!

However, in the mean time, God has given us tools to defeat the enemy whenever he rears his ugly, lying, deceitful, puny head. Jesus is the example. Satan came to him three times in the wilderness, as well as throughout His earthly ministry. What did Jesus do each time? He quoted scripture to him and told him to be gone. This is the pattern we are to use when the enemy attacks.

Being able to rebuke the enemy is good, but not good enough. I had to learn who I am in Christ. I have been a Christian for over thirty-five years. I have never questioned my salvation, but it has taken me a long time to fully understand–well as much as possible with this finite brain trying understand the infinite God–how God sees me.

He loves me and lavishes His grace on me. He sees me as already complete in Christ. He sees me seated with Christ in heavenly places, according to Ephesians 2:6, with all things under my feet because I am in Christ and all things are under His feet and subject to Him.  I am created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that I should walk in them, Ephesians 2:10. As I allowed these words of His to grab my heart, resonate in my mind, and renew my soul, I began to change.

I am still benefiting from this even today. I have a new ability to walk in the path He has before me. I can boldly say that I know I am exactly where God wants me. I am in the center of His will. Here, there is no fear because perfect love casts out all fear. When fear tries to assault me, I say these verses out loud with total confidence, to the enemy of my soul. This is followed up with praise to my Savior; then fear and doubt are gone.

Now, with this renewed assurance of who I am; whose I am; and how the Father sees me, I am confidently moving forward with my writing. This confidence spurred me on to sign up for my first writers’ conference, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

I am excited beyond words. Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. Expecting God to show me great and mighty things that I do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).  I have heard that this conference has changed writers’ lives. So, I am going expecting to have my cup filled to overflowing. I have also joined a local critique group, which is totally wonderful. I am learning so much from this group which consists of published authors and beginners. It is definitely a well rounded group.

I would be remiss to not only praise God for bringing me out of fear but also for giving me a group of ladies that blesses me beyond measure. These gals are so very precious to me. They will never fully understand the depths to which they have touched my life, whether in writing or with an urgent matter that needs prayer. These ladies are amazing. We met a little over a year ago on Jerry Jenkins’ Writers Guild, we call ourselves Faith Writers (not to be confused with faithwriters.com). God has knit our hearts together in a remarkable way.

This is amazing to me because we are literally scattered around the world–China, Czech Republic, Canada, and all over the U.S.–yet there is a connection that honestly cannot be explained. I would not be following my dream of writing, if God had not placed them before me. Thinking of them and how much they mean to me brings tears of joy and thankfulness. Thank you Faith Writers for believing in me and spurring me on!

I have made some changes to my site and have changed my theme to “Faith, Family, and Friends”; these three encourage my heart and I am trusting God to use this blog to encourage yours.

Let me know how God has helped you to overcome the dreaded F word, and how I can pray for you.

I dedicate this post and this blog site to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I can think or even imagine! May my writing glorify You.

Norma

 

The Love of a Mom (Part 2)

As promised last week, today I want to talk with you about tweeners. A tweener is a young person that is between ten and twelve years old. They are called tweeners due to the fact that they are between being a child and a teenager.

This particular time of life can be extremely frustrating, taxing, emotional, and yet fun. Well, the fun is listed last due to the fact that often fun is the last thing a mom might feel like doing in this phase of their child’s life.

This phase has what I call “the mouth”. Some call it attitude, some call it hormones, some call it normal preteen behavior, but I call it “the mouth” for the simple reason that this is the time where our sweet loving children begin to argue about everything. This arguing is due to the fact that they are starting to be smarter than mom, at least they think so.

They are fulling understanding that they are no longer a child and are smelling adulthood on the horizon. These once sweet, kind, loving child becomes an emotional wreck. With the influx of hormones comes raw emotion, usually worn on their sleeves and kids that seemed to be stable are suddenly appearing to be creatures from another world.

We can become frustrated and even a bit harsh in how we handle this phase of our kids and should tread softly, cautiously, and most importantly, prayerfully. The reason for caution is that this is a time when things can be said in the heat of the moment that cannot be taken back.

First, I would encourage you to take a very deep breath. Hold it. Hold it. Hold i-t. Now slowly exhale. This phase will lead eventually to adulthood. I have found, through trial and error (mostly error) that the kinder and softer I can keep my voice and tone, the more I accomplish. There are times when I can’t get a word in edgewise at which point, depending on the situation, a loud shout might be what will get their attention. This shout can cause their mouth to hang open in quiet shock or they may be stunned in to closing their lips, so that I may clarify what  I am trying to say, command, or unstruct.

Let  me take a moment to here to say that in no way, shape, or form do I condone abuse, emotional or physical. I do not condone belittling or berating another person; child or adult. We are to be encouragers to all people, especially our children.

We are to teach and affirm that they are created in the likeness of God and His creation is beautiful, and He has never said “Oops”.  Our children are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, as stated by King David in Psalm 139:14 and should be treated at such.

Now that I have that off my chest, let me get back to the matter at hand. The tweener stage can be difficult.  There are times when mom loses her cool. I remember one time I was talking with my pastor about being so discouraged because of how bad I blew an opportunity to teach my child something good. My pastor’s response to me was that they can still see something good.

He told me to go back to my child and say that I was sorry for not handling the situation in a way that honored God and by doing this I would demonstrate what I want them to learn. They will also see right before them an example of humility and grace. So, I asked my child to forgive me.

My heart was so humbled when this preteen told me, “Of course you are forgiven. I love you.” That became the teachable moment, not our fight. I received very wise counsel that day, of which I have not forgotten. Yes, I am mom, but I am also human and I don’t always do things the right way. In my pride, I want to gloss over and minimize my sin but that is not what my heavenly Father wants me to do.

It is humbling to apologize and ask forgiveness for losing your temper to you child, not matter their age. I do know that this will strengthen their respect, love, and honor of you. Your child will think it is pretty cool that they were asked to forgive and pray for you. You may even want to read them this verse, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much,” James 5:16 (NASB).

You are teaching your young person two things when you confess sin and ask for forgiveness: first you are teaching them how to confess sin and secondly, you are teaching them to forgive others. They learn the joy of forgiving, and the release from the burden of sin when they confess and are forgiven.

The other thing to remember when dealing with hormone laden children is that this too shall pass. The hormones will balance out, but in the mean time, pick your battles carefully. Will what you are about to have a battle over, make a difference tomorrow or in eternity? This thought applies to most areas of tweener life EXCEPT respect.

In the bible, respect is commanded to be given to those in authority over us which includes our parents. Respect and obedience are the two commands God gives children. These two are non-negotiables. Be sure that your rules, expectations, demands, are age and child appropriate. I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson say one time that we shouldn’t punish our children for childish behavior, but rather for disobedience.

As a mom, my heart is to love, encourage, and train my children to become fully functioning adults. I want them to succeed, I really do. Some days, however, I wonder if they will live to see their next birthday (figuratively speaking, of course). I have to be careful not to get caught in their emotional roller coaster with them. This causes me to lose my footing and come crashing down right beside them. My main defense is to stay in God’s word and in prayer which are our source for encouragement and wisdom.

I have a friend or two who have children older than mine. They have already come through the different stages with their children and I look to them for wise counsel, to help me laugh at myself, and help me see that it will all be okay.

Stay true to yourself. What I mean by this is be the person God wants you to be. Don’t feel like you have to be like other moms because they seem to have it so together. I can tell you for sure, that she is struggling just like you. Perhaps she is good at hiding her struggles.

I have told my kids many times in the past, that every family has issues. Some have bigger or more issues than others, but there is no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how good they may look on the outside.

My second oldest son, when he was a tweener had a friend whose family would travel often. It appeared that they had more money than us and seemed to have a perfect life. My son would tell me he wished we could be like them. Well, as time went on, my son had been with them on multiple outings, thus getting to know them better. He began to see, first hand, what I was telling him was true. He ended up telling me that they could have their money, travel, and seemingly cool life, that he would rather have his family than be like his friend’s. So, even though he thought I was being harsh, God showed him, through time with this family, that all families struggle.

In staying true to yourself, allow yourself some you time. It is okay for a little down time for you. Maybe send the little sweeties to their rooms early one night and take a long, warm bath, followed by reading a book or watching your favorite chic flick. Maybe you could have an evening with other moms. My favorite was to have date night with their dad. It is very important to spend time with your husband enjoying each others company without the distractions of home. Make him remember why he chose you and that you still think he hung the moon. One day your sweet children will leave and you want a marriage that will out live having children in the home.

Make your marriage the center of the home and not the children. I like to make a point, sometimes, of serving my husband first, or making a big deal about his arriving home, to show the children what true love looks like.  I believe this honors and pleases God. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying to neglect your children. I am saying BALANCE. You and your husband chose to be married to be together; before, during, and after children. So, let your man know he IS the man. Hubba bubba (I’m not talking about gum here) These are a few of the things God will use to recharge your mom battery and give you the stamina needed to face another day. Not just face it, but live it in grace, love, and have a sound mind. Showing your kids how to do family life the real way, God’s way.

The last thing I would say, and this will continue over to the Part 3, is to communicate. In my experience, I have found that it is crucial to always keep the communication flowing. I am a talker and three of my six are talkers, too. We process by talking. The other three are weird like their dad (just kidding) and are thinkers. I found it didn’t matter which one of these they were, there were always opportunities to talk and to share.

I had to learn not to lecture, but to converse and listen.  My children wanted to know that I heard them, so I would say things like “this is what I heard you say…tell me if I heard you correctly”. I was surprised sometimes at their reactions. It was clear they were surprised that I would ask. Frequently, I heard correctly, but occasionally I didn’t. So, by asking, this would give him/her the opportunity to clarify what they were trying to say.

I also told my children at this stage that they could say anything to me, that they disagreed or thought I was being unfair, as long as it was said with respect. I gave them the opportunity to learn how to have a voice and be heard.

So, until next time when I will talk about a mom’s heart for her teenager, may God bless you and your family with grace and good conversation!

What are some of the things you do to recharge your mom battery?

 

 

The Love of a Mom (Part 1)

Moms have been around since the beginning of time. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and languages, but she is the person most of us hold very near and dear to our hearts. Some moms work, some stay home, some are married, and some are single. My point here is being a mom is different for each of us.

Most of us parent the way we were parented with a few changes here and there of the things we thought unjust when we were kids. For example, when I was a young child (in the 1960’s) if I didn’t eat my dinner/supper in a timely manner then a specific time would be determined for me to finish eating by and if did not finish, I would have to go to bed early. Now to me (an extremely picky eater), this is cruel and unusual punishment and therefore have not done that to my children. My mom was doing what she thought was best. She was genuinely concerned that I would get the scurvy (a disease caused by lack of vitamin C) from being malnourished, so she made me eat vegetables…ugh.

Before I continue,  I need to share something with you that will lend credence to what I am going to share in this and future posts. You see, I am adopted. I have called three different women “mom” in my life. The first one was my biological mother. I honestly do not remember her or anything about the first three years of my life.

Then things got a bit out of sorts and I was placed in foster care. I lived in one foster home for a little over three years. This lady had become “mom” to me. By the time she died (when I was six) she was the only mom I knew.

Fast forward about a year and two more foster families; I was placed in my “forever” home. Over time, I began to call this lady “mom”. God knew what He was doing when He placed me there. I learned how to be a wife and mom by watching her as I grew up. I learned what unconditional love is all about…I saw it in living color every day. Was it perfect? No. Would I change any of it? No. God’s plans are always perfect. This family was the perfect match for me.

I have had my fair share of examples of “mom”.  Each one was different in personality, in stature, and in looks; but they all showed me love and parented me the best way they knew how.

When I became a mom for the first time, I wondered why God did not include and owner’s manual with the first child, maybe a little book attached to their ankle. I mean, let’s be real, that would have been really nice to have. One day I realized that I do have an owner’s manual; the bible.

As I began to read my bible as a mom, there were things that jumped out to me I hadn’t noticed before. Things like “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it,” Proverbs 22:6. I found Proverbs was full of great wisdom on rearing children.

The New Testament is full of parental nuggets. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” Ephesians 6:4. A popular one for parents is, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which if the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth,” Ephesians 6:1.  I want to encourage you, there is a manual that helps and is full encouragement.

So, back to being a mom. You might be like me. You have had a good example of a mom, you are a believer in Jesus Christ, trust in the bible for teaching, encouragement, and help in time of need. Now, you have these precious gifts from God that He calls blessings.

The task of being a mom, at times, is unrelenting. If you are a stay at home mom, you are around these sweet darlings 24/7. The tasks are the same day in and day out. If we are not careful they become mundane, robotic in nature, and we can miss the precious moments that are in the everyday, the mundane.

If you are a working mom you have a different stress. You have the stress of juggling two full time jobs, so there is the constant feel of never having enough time in a day to do all that is expected of you, as well as the guilt that many working moms feel leaving their child(ren) in the care of another. While they struggle with juggles their work and home responsibilities, they can miss some of the precious moments which adds to their guilt.

Whether a stay at home or a working mom, the task of rearing children is not easy. “Parenting,” says Dr. James Dobson (founder of Focus on the Family,) “isn’t for cowards”. No truer statement has ever been said.

How do we moms make sure we don’t miss those precious moments? Well, we have to remember that one day, this little one will be all grown up. Even though some of the stages they go through feel like they will last forever, I promise you they won’t. In the blink of an eye, your child will be an adult (trust me, I have four adult children). So, cherish each stage of your child’s life, find something fun…even when it is hard and there doesn’t seem to be anything to cherish, do it anyway. Look for cute. Look for amazement at the things as they do. Look at how they act like you. Ask God to help you find the precious among the mundane.

How has God helped you to find the precious among the mundane?

How has He encouraged your mom’s heart today?

Blessings,

Norma

 

 

 

 

I’m a Mom

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Life is calm some of the time, but what happens when the waters become a bit rough? What do we do and where do we go when things don’t make sense? In this blog I will be discussing a mom’s heart; how it loves, struggles, breaks, and mends. So that you know  I have experience in the area of children, let me tell you about myself.

I have been married for 35 years to a wonderful man and we have six children; four biological and two adopted. We were foster parents for nearly seven years and have had over 50 children grace our home. Some of these kids were here for very short visits while family was located, some were here so their foster family could have a bit of respite, and some were here for nine months or more. However, whether they stayed a few hours or a few years, they all touched our hearts. While my children were growing up, their friends would love to come hang at our house and in a short amount of time they would be calling me Mamma or Mom Poore. (This is why I chose the name mompoore for this blog.)

It has been many years since we were foster parents, yet somehow we keep collecting stray children. Most of them are young adults, still in their teens, that need a place to stay and figure out what they want in life. Some of them have stayed with us due to the fact that they (child and parents) need time to be apart to cool off and figure out how to move forward. Once again, there is the possibility of having more children in our home by way of international exchange students (high school age).

Only God could have orchestrated any of this. I love being a mom, as most of us do, but I am also a mom by nature, just like some people are nurses, police officers, or first responders because that is who they are. So, I am Mom. I am happy with that. I have had different jobs in my life and the only one that was a joy and brought fulfillment is the job of being a mom.

So, there you have a basic introduction to who I am. I look forward to sharing more of this mom’s heart over the next several months.