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Entries in Rebecca Barlow Jordan (2)

Saturday
May102014

A Mom's Extravagant Love

Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an encouraging story-teller, and I wanted her to share this special Mother's Day UPLIFT as an example of a mom's extravagant, forgiving love. 

Rebecca begins with a scripture about the greatest love of all.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 TNIV).

She continues ...

Much of my husband’s childhood years he spent on a lake in West Texas where his parents and grandparents owned a fishing camp. Like all boys, Larry loved to play “buried treasure.” The sand around the camp offered multiple opportunities for realistic pirating adventures.

But one fateful day, Larry learned a powerful lesson he never forgot. Here’s his story: 

“At the fishing camp, people were always coming and going: stocking up on groceries, searching out the best fishing lures, and renting campsites nearby to set up tents. Mom kept a small file box in the house in which she saved silver dollars.

One day I spied that box and saw ‘Capt. Kidd’ and ‘Treasure’ written all over it. I opened it up and counted fifty shiny coins—not much in today’s economy, but a huge sum to my parents in those days—and definitely a realistic treasure for a pirate. I thought it would be cool to ‘bury’ that treasure box, so I took it out to an empty tent behind our house where I was playing with some other kids. We had great fun pretending we were burying our treasure inside that tent.

“But as boys often do, I got distracted and forgot about the box of silver dollars. Two or three days later, Mom asked about the box. Suddenly I remembered that I had left them in the tent. So I hurried out back, confident I would be the pirate hero and retrieve the buried treasure for the ‘damsel in distress.’

“But when I looked in the tent, there was no box. I pawed through every corner as sand flew in every direction. No box. No treasure. No silver dollars. And no pirate hero. I returned to face my fate from a mom who was now greatly ‘in distress.’

“I’ll never forget my mother’s words. She didn’t punish me. She didn’t chew me out. She didn’t take away my fishing or pirating privileges. She said two things that left a dramatic impression on me. With obvious disappointment, she said, ‘We could have fed our family for a month with that money.’ She let her words hang in the air for a moment, then reached out to hug me. Then she said, ‘But I forgive you.’

“An enemy pirate couldn’t have sliced me any deeper. Another ‘pirate’ had obviously stolen the treasure, but the responsibility lay directly in my hands.”

Through a mom’s forgiveness, she has the divine opportunity to model Christ’s own love to her children.

Badgering, abusing, screaming, berating—these are not God’s tools. They’re more like “enemy” pirate behavior. Certainly, appropriate discipline is needed when outright disobedience challenges parental authority.

But Larry’s mom wisely understood how to drive home the consequences of a boy’s foolish mistake and childish behavior without wounding his character. Her words stung, and made him realize the extreme carelessness of his actions. But it was his mom’s forgiveness that taught him the most about extravagant love.

Only God can teach that kind of love. He is extravagant love, personified.

Almost two thousand years ago, he saw the extreme “pirating” of his world. The ones he created didn’t understand their true purpose and instead chose their own way through sinful behavior. The cost to God was overwhelming. He knew the ultimate consequences of sin. He didn’t excuse it. But he took his most extravagant, expensive treasure—his own Son—and offered it as a gift to his world in distress. And with a holy whisper of grace, he said, “What you’ve done is not acceptable. But I forgive you.”

And those who still hear him and receive his extravagant love and forgiveness will never forget it. They will never be the same again.

In what ways did your mom show you extravagant love? How have you demonstrated forgiveness to your own children? How has God shown that kind of love and forgiveness to you?

© 2010, Rebecca Barlow Jordan, Day-votions® for Mothers (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Rebecca Barlow Jordan is the author of 11 books, including the Day-votions® women’s series, and 40 Days in God’s Presence. Her book, Day-votions® for Mothers, is a great gift choice for Mother's Day or any day! She has also written over 2000 articles, devotions, and greeting cards and writes an encouraging weekly blog. As a minister’s wife she lives in East Texas and has two grown children and four grandchildren. Find out more about Rebecca at rebeccabarlowjordan.com.

Graphic of Silver Dollars from RandPeckAntiques.blogspot.com, used with permission.

Tuesday
Feb252014

How to Trade Away Your Fears

Author Rebecca Barlow Jordan loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others; and in her Day-votions® book series by Zondervan—Day-votions® for Women, Day-votions® for Mothers, and Day-votions® for Grandmothers—that’s exactly what she does. In this UPGRADE Your Attitudes post, she encourages women by showing them how to trade away their fears.

“One of the most prevalent areas where women need encouragement is with fears,” says Rebecca: “Will my marriage fail? Will disaster befall my family? Can I really parent my children successfully? How can we ever meet our growing financial needs?" 

When I was a young girl, I (Dawn) struggled with fear. I thought my fears would leave after I got married. But they didn't. It wasn't a matter of growing out of my fears, but rather, of growing up into Christ.

Rebecca continues…

Fear is no respecter of age or season of life. As women, we’re challenged with fears daily.

 The reality is that some of those things could happen to any of us. Our world is changing daily. Instead of living in fear, I’ve learned—and am still learning—to choose another option.

A fear that used to plague me was that somehow I would reach the end of my life and not accomplish all God wanted me to. Then one day I read a familiar Bible verse in a new light: And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6, NLT).

I discovered that it was God who began the “good’ work in me, God who would continue it, and it was God who would finish that work, regardless of my fears.

When?

On the day Christ Jesus returns.  

Long after my life has ended—if I die before Christ comes back—the work God began in me will keep on going.

Yes, that means my salvation, but also everything God envisioned for my life. I can trust Him to finish it. He’s faithful!That’s when I decided to trade away my fear.

Here are some steps that might help you to do the same:

1. List your actual fears on a sheet of paper: every phobia or nagging fear that tries to steal your joy.

2. Confess those fears to God. You may even want to do a Scripture search to find a “faith-filled” Bible verse to place beside each of those fears, or several verses that remind you not to fear, like Isaiah 41:10, NIV: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Keep your list handy, and refer to those verses often, each time a new fear arises.

3. List times in the past when God helped you through a fearful situation, times when you can honestly say, “God was faithful to bring me through that.” You might even do you own Scripture search regarding the “faithfulness” of God.

4. Instead of focusing on your fears, trade away your fears for God’s faithfulness. He is trustworthy! Tell God you are trading away your fears, and invite His help to do so.

I love these encouraging words from the Psalms about God’s faithfulness: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4, NIV).

What are your greatest fears? Will God’s faithfulness reduce your fear? Only you can answer that. He will if you let Him.

I do know this. There is no end to His faithfulness: For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies (Psalm 108:4, NIV).

Rebecca Barlow Jordan is the author of 11 books, including the Day-votions® women’s series, and 40 Days in God’s Presence. She has also written over 2000 articles, devotions, and greeting cards and writes an encouraging weekly blog. As a minister’s wife she lives in East Texas and has two grown children and four grandchildren. Find out more about Rebecca at rebeccabarlowjordan.com.

Rebecca adapted this article for UPGRADE with Dawn from her previous post