All posts by Rose Cochran

Rose is not only a loving mother and a devoted wife, she serves the community through her work assessing child behavior as a full time endeavor. She's always ready to bend an ear or lend a hand to a friend in need.

Believing God Today

Matthew 9:29 and 30 NIV – Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it done to you. Their eyes were opened.

We are sitting at over two weeks into the new year. Did you make resolutions? How have you done?

About.com lists the top ten new years resolutions as follows:

  • Become Fit and battle the Bulge
  • Spend more time with Family
  • Get out of Debt
  • Quit Smoking and Enjoy Life More
  • Quit Drinking
  • Learn Something New
  • Help Others
  • Get Organized

The gyms are slowly becoming less popular and fast food restaurants are becoming more popular. Maybe a couple of us have buckled and swiped the credit card a time or two since 1/1/12. Our human nature gets the best of us and we tend to make more compromises each and every day. We begin to listen to our body and give in to whatever temptation holds us back. No matter how many amazing things that God does, sometimes it’s hard to remember what he can do, and what he does. Our God is a God of moving mountains. When we fail, He has already won. Every step we take on our way to transformation via trusting God and according to His will, is one more step of trust and growth.

What did you resolve to do in 2012? Perhaps a transformed sense of faith is in order this year, or even today. In what ways does God want to transform you in 2012? Whatever it is, it always begins with a first step.

John 3:23 ESV

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Affirm others

Proverbs 3:27 (NIV)  Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

 

There is a lot to be found in scriptures about others believers poorly. A believer is told to turn the other cheek in Lamentations 3:30, and the entire book of Job is filled with stories of distress. Life as a Christian does not come with a built in guarantee that happiness and joy will come easily. But God tells us how we should treat others while he reminds us that life isn’t always going to be easy.

 

Proverbs 3:27 is one of my favorite verses. In my opinion, one of the most empowering things that you can do for someone else is to give credit where credit is due. A variety of things get in the way at times. We get too busy. We are too proud. But one of the best ways that you can give someone strength is to pay them with your words. Give them verbal credit when they have earned it. It may feel uncomfortable, but giving positive words of affirmation can be completely what another person needs and perhaps God wants to work through you today!

 

Ecclesiastes 7:5 It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.

 

Self Worth is earned when we work hard for something and earn it. Let someone earn positive words of affirmation today that come from you. They may be surprised, and honored. Flattery doesn’t find it’s way into true self worth. Your genuine words of truth and affirmation are a special and unique gift that can only be given by you.

 

Those of us who have children can apply this in a practical way today with our little ones, and affirm them with positive and appropriate words. Even children know when adults simply flatter them.

 

Even better, affirm people in the presence of others. Giving credit where credit is due is a gift that is deserved. It will fill your children up better than a drive through meal and appropriate, deserved affirmation will give them more self worth than the half dozen other activities that we tend to enroll our children in, and then subsequently rush them to throughout the week.

 

Galatians 6:10 (NIV) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 

The gift of our words

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Facebook is an amazing reflection of the relationship between the voice in ones head, and voiced expressions. Statuses update regularly with statements about how old, or young, the cashier at the grocery thought that the writer was, a comment that someone’s boss made, and what someone’s teacher said about their child. Various surface interactions don’t often require our full attention, but at times, they consume our full attention and tend to leave us thinking about the exchange of conversation. Later, we facebook about it:

“I can’t believe I got carded at Publix…”

“My son’s teacher told me that I look tired- I must look terrible today!”

“The Walmart cashier asked me when I was due; the baby is 4 months old!”

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

What we say, although seemingly fleeting, often lasts much longer than we realize. I think that we can all relate to an unwelcome harsh word that sticks with us longer than we would like, or the blessing of an uplifting kind word that sticks with us for days, months or even years.

Words that we speak can give someone the discouragement necessary for them to give up on trusting God for something big.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)  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.

In fact, planting something positive in someone’s life is one of the best ways that you can ever pay it forward. We don’t easily forget the kind things said to us, or on our behalf. The blessing of positive words can be life affirming and can arm a person with confidence and security needed to walk with God, even when it is scary or uncomfortable.

Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle- Plato

Give someone a beautiful gift today by speaking positively into their life. Give somebody something wonderful to facebook about!

Enduring limbo

Limbo, in my opinion, is one of the hardest human states to be in. It’s the last place I want to be.  Instead of grieving a loss, limbo is about angst.  It’s about the struggle within the loss of control that we have that makes it seemingly ever so hard. Every question about what will happen, and what should a person do, could potentially fit into this area.

Roman Catholic Church theology has identified Limbo as:

The abode of unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls, as those of infants or virtuous individuals who lived before the coming of Christ.

(Limbo has not been defined by the Roman Catholic Church)

It has also been defined as:

  • A region or condition of oblivion or neglect.
  • A state or place of confinement.
  • An intermediate place or state.

Whether the Limbo that we experience is ephemeral or prolonged, to call it torture might be an understatement. The parent of a missing child, a perpetual single individual still seeking a spouse after years, or the spouse of a patient in emergency surgery; who can measure the agony?

God says a few things that speak to me on this matter:

Knowing that God is with me, covers me in His security while I am in limbo:

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Knowing that God will provide a peace that is like nothing else:

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Knowing that God has equipped me for the struggle, and that He knows what the struggle is for:

Psalm 18: For God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless

Psalm 18: 28-30 You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect:  The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

Most of all, it speaks to me to know that God advocates for my perseverance:

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Is God asking you to take the first step to something that feels impossible? Are you struggling in the wait? Know that God is in your limbo, and that we need not be shaken. Know that God provides a peace that only he can provide. Know that God equips those who he calls. Know that God can keep your lamp burning, and can provide you with endurance.

 

The importance of words

Our small group is doing an excellent study by Rick Warren, and our latest installment discussed truthfulness, forgiveness and patience. All hard things. All important things.

 

We all have the power to emotionally debilitate someone with our words; they are immensely powerful. We also have the power of providing infinite healing to others with the words that we choose.

 

I think that many people have been in a situation of uncomfortable confrontation. Sometimes warranted, sometimes not. At times, feelings of defensiveness, being misunderstood and hurt, and betrayal as the realization that the confronter has discussed your faults with others may abound.

 

The Bible calls us to care enough about others that confront one another when a person has a stronghold of sin in their life. In my experience, this is very difficult. We often imagine a twosome of classic dogooders, rightfully confronting in love, but bracing for the confrontee’s escape from their grasp. We pretend like it’s black and white, and that we ourselves can manage the situation with a co-confronter, and maybe a little elbow grease. We don’t like to do it, but bygolly, we’ve got to because the Bible says to do so. Why would damage come to the relationship if we are Biblical about our approach?

 

But what if we are wrong? What if the Bible is calling us for a different level of confrontation?

Ephesians 4:29 ESV 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 

Please consider to do the following, when the burden to confront a friend arises:

 

Remember the effort. Validate that person for the effort and the cost that has been required in their situation and in their life. Give credit where credit is due within confrontation and outside of confrontation. Leave your pride at the door. Really. Every person has value- find it and pierce them with it. Even if it hurts you to do so.

 

Remember the emotion. A childhood victim of abuse must still suffer the consequence of any adult crimes that they commit. This is no excuse. But their experiences and their emotions are valid. Don’t forget to validate them. When we don’t validate emotion, we give people no other option than to defend themselves. When we don’t recognize their feelings, we slay them with judgement. The consequence must still come, and the confrontation must still come, but the circumstances are valid.

 

Proverbs 12:18

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 

Recognize the exhaustion. A person who is treating an area of their life or another, is often hopeless and tired. Recognize it, name it, and put it away. The runner needs validation of the exhaustion of the race, even if they have lost their way. Validate, and help them to find the right path.

 

 

Validate the effort, validate the emotion, allow the hurt or pain to do the backstroke around the room, but don’t make excuses for the behavior.

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; … 

A loving relationship requires much, but I encourage everyone to remember that it is difficult to confront in love and truth, if your words and actions don’t represent words and truth. When confrontation isn’t necessary, I continue to believe in the need to validate the effort, exhaustion, emotion and validate. The times in which we lay down our pride and get uncomfortable about reality may just be the times in which it is the most important. If we give credit where credit is due with our words in good times, then we will be heard when times are bad. If a person is recognized and knows that they are appreciated and heard, then they will likely be less likely to feel under appreciated, unheard or slayed when a confrontation arises. If we practice removing the layer of pride that we take everywhere with us, then the confrontation will feel more natural to both parties.

 

1 Thessalonians 2:1-20 ESV 

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. …

Count it all joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-4, 12 ESV)

This verse can be hard to swallow, but recently, I’ve been able to embrace it in ways that I haven’t before. Trials are just easier when the presence of God is evident. Everything has purpose and meaning, and we don’t have to understand it. Knowing that our purpose is unfolding daily with God in the captain’s seat, and knowing that trials don’t define our day, but are just a part of them, really puts this in perspective.

Quite simply, the presence of God when trouble appears, is better than a day without God. What a beautiful promise that God makes following trials.

Praying for your child

Isaiah 55:10 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Praying for my children is simply overwhelming for me. There are so many ways that I want to cover them in prayer, I fear that I will miss one. A wonderful way to pray for your children is to pray God’s word over your children. Some people have even been successful in finding a life verse to pray over their children, and I do love this concept. We were blessed enough to have a verse that we prayed over each child. It was as if that individual child reached out and grabbed it.

The verse that I prayed over Colin in utero was:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Hank had some potential medical issues that could be pivotal to his identity, and that would have required us to take each step as a parent, very carefully. This verse inspired me and I prayed it over my belly daily:

Ephesians 3:19-21 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

If you are struggling with how to pray for your child, or overwhelmed with a lack of direction in prayer, start with one verse and go from there. Ask God what verses that he would have you to pray for your child.

Truly, our children are in God’s hands. If you aren’t already, start praying scripture over your precious children.

On being thankful

Isn’t it amazing how one small thing can make us forget the abundant blessings in our life? It feels that way for me. A beautiful day, healthy children, a great message in church, and one two year old’s tantrum can make me wallow like a twelve year old.

 

James 1:17 ESV 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

There are so many things to be thankful for. A spouse, children, health, employment, friends…. all truly gifts from God. Does it ever feel like a cliche’ to be thankful for them?

Truly, we are destined for damnation without His perfect gift.

John 3:16 ESV 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Thankfulness leads to happiness.

 

What are you thankful for today?

 

Psalm 20:4 ESV

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

Can I challenge you to take thankfulness to a new level? Mediate on God’s gifts for you every day before rising from bed, or every night before sleep. Write them down, tell others, thank God in your quiet time. Thank God for the small things. Thank God for the big things. Thank God for all things.

Finding refreshment and encouragement

2012 is exhausting.

 

I don’t care who you are, most people that I know are really busy. Recently, my four year old asked me, “why do we always go?” And the answer is, “I don’t know, buddy”.

 

Parenting, cleaning the house, working, giving a piece of yourself to others, cleaning the house, paying bills, cleaning the house, there isn’t room for much else. I need to be refreshed and encouraged, and I’m sure that so many of you do as well.

 

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.  3 He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—

the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

 

Isn’t it amazing to know that He, the God of the Universe, will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore? That He watches over you and is your shade at your right hand? That He will not slumber, or let your foot slip?

 

I will take rest in that tonight, when my taxes, my dad’s taxes, five assessments, eight hours of training and a few other things are due, I’m overdue for a workout and my house needs to be spick and span for tomorrow.

 

I hope that this passage is encouraging to others today. If you are reading this, please be an encouragement to someone who you know that needs it today. Pray for someone who is overburdened and under encouraged.

 

I’ll lift up my eyes to the mountains today.

To hear God, stop talking so much

Many a Devotional, pastoral message and blog posting have tackled the very real issue of really hearing God, in a really distracting world.

It’s an age old issue, even Adam and Eve struggled and the effects continue to transcend life and spiritual matters.

It’s really hard to hear God sometimes.

I was reminded of this very real issue last night as I semi-watched a mainstream television show while I did some typing for work, and probably a zillion other things at the same time.  A high school aged boy and girl entered a counselor’s office to discuss the woe’s of young love, and more importantly, knowing who to love. The counselor, Emma Pilsbury, who rarely gives good advice, told them to stop talking.

One of my favorite verses is a favorite to many:

 

Psalm 46:10

New International Version (NIV)

 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

   I will be exalted among the nations,

   I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

Hearing God and listening to God are real issues that I personally face in my daily life. I’ve heard many messages about listening to God, and I’ve heard the answers. Slow down. Get into God’s word. Allow others to speak into your life. I know, I know…. it can be hard to pinpoint which of these, if not all, has the solution. Our world is filled with mixed messages including among fellow believers. Sometimes within one’s own congregation.

 

John 10:27-28 New International Version (NIV)

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

 

The distraction has more to do with me than it does with the distraction. What am I choosing to think about and listen to? I can turn off my cell phone. I can turn off the television. I can’t turn off my children, but I can give them fruit snacks. Regardless of the noise issue in your life, let’s choose to turn it down. Let’s choose to turn up the volume of God’s word and communication that matters. Let’s choose to listen and follow.