What Can We Learn from Judas?

Our church is doing a Women’s Bible Study on Priscilla Shirer’s “The Armor of God” and let me tell you – if you haven’t gone through this study, I highly recommend that you start asap! We are only on Week 3 and I have already learned so much and been so challenged by the teachings in this study. It takes you through the Armor of God, found in Ephesians 6 and Priscilla takes you through each piece of armor and describes in detail the significance of each piece and how we can apply God’s armor in our own lives so we can defend ourselves against the enemy’s attacks. One of the main ideas we’ve been discussing so far is having a firm foundation in your spiritual life so that the rest of your armor can be effective. If we aren’t anchored in God’s truth we are left vulnerable so that we’re not strong enough to stand up against temptations and trials in our lives. It talks about how vital it is that we meditate on God’s word and pray for guidance and courage to live righteously.

While I was reading my Bible this morning I was listening to the words about the Last Supper, leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Suddenly, it hit me – Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, was someone who was in his inner circle. He literally walked with Jesus in the flesh every single day. He heard the teachings of Christ with his own ears and saw miracles with his own eyes. It would seem like he would have a pretty strong faith and firm foundation in the significance of who Jesus is, right? I mean, how could you walk daily with someone like Jesus, who is so wise, compassionate, and powerful and not be amazed and thoroughly convinced that he is the Son of God?! So it got me thinking – how did Judas go from friend of Jesus to betrayer of Jesus in such a short amount of time? Here’s what God has taught me about Judas:

  1. Appearances are deceiving. From the outside, Judas probably walked, talked and looked like all of the other disciples. The other 11 disciples clearly didn’t know that Judas was going to betray Jesus. Luke 22:21 says “But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me.” (Note it says AS A FRIEND.) Then it goes on in verse 23 to say “The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.” Judas didn’t look like a betrayer. He looked like a friend. He acted like a friend. It just goes to show that we can say, do and be a lot of things on the outside but we shouldn’t let that appearance fool us into thinking our heart is free from sin.
  2. God allows us to be tempted. I think sometimes we have this false idea that if we’re a Christian God will keep us from ever going through anything difficult or being tempted in any way. I’m not sure where this idea came from but I can tell you – it’s not true. Not even a little bit. In fact, Jesus himself was tempted by Satan while he was on this earth. So if God will allow his own Son to be tempted, you better believe you and I will be influenced by Satan as well. If you read on in Luke 22, Jesus is talking to Simon (Peter) in verse 31 where he says “Simon, Simon, take heed: Satan has been given leave to sift all of you like wheat.” Notice it says he’s been given leave. Not that he’s doing it by his own accord, but that he has permission to sift all of the disciples and test them each personally. Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that once your life is “on track” or you’re at a certain point in your walk with Christ that suddenly everything will be perfect and you won’t face anymore temptation. Satan is always trying to “sift” believers. There is no immunity to his attacks.
  3. We have to make a conscious effort to resist the enemy. In Luke 22:3-4 it says “Then Satan entered Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.” So it started by Satan “sifting” the disciples, getting into their thoughts and tempting them with ideas and false promises. It’s the same thing he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He convinces us, through our own thoughts, that our desires outweigh God’s commands. But notice that Judas was the only one who “Satan entered.” He was the only one open to these ideas, allowing Satan free reign to come in and take control of the situation. He was tempted the same as all of them, but the difference is that he allowed those temptations to take root until they got out of control and he acted on them. We have to actively resist the temptations of the enemy in our own lives. If we don’t, we leave ourselves open to allow Satan to enter our mind, our hearts and our body until we’re no longer making decisions that are led by God but we instead become puppets of the devil, doing exactly what he wants us to do.

I love when I read God’s Word and I’m reminded that no matter what our circumstances, no matter how hard we try or how good we are, no one ever has been and no one ever will be righteous on their own. Even our best efforts to follow Christ will fall apart at some point. We will make mistakes. We will have struggles and sometimes those struggles will grow into obstacles which might even grow into stumbling blocks. But that doesn’t mean that God loves us any less or will ever get to the point where He says we can’t receive grace and forgiveness. We can learn a lot from what Judas did, but we can also learn a lot from what he didn’t do. Even though he made a terrible mistake I know (because God’s Word clearly says) that if he would have confessed his sins and repented, God would have forgiven him. Even on the cross, Jesus said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). If He said that of the people who physically beat and tortured Him, He would have done the same for the one who betrayed him too. It is heartbreaking to know that Judas allowed Satan to convince him that he was unforgivable, when all along God was saying – the forgiveness is right here, all you have to do is ask for it. So whenever you’re facing a difficult situation I hope that you’ll remember Judas. Remember that you can choose to be a friend or you can choose to betray. You can open yourself up to temptation or you can “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7). And even if you do give in to temptation and fall into sin, you can always come to God, repent and ask for forgiveness and receive the grace that He has already made available to you.

2 Corinthians 2:9 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'”

Advertisements

Reviewing June’s Goals

A few weeks ago, I set some goals for things I wanted to accomplish by the end of June. Here’s an update on how things went. 

Nutrition Goal: Eat at least 1 serving of fruits/veggies per day. I feel like this went pretty well – mostly because I made it really doable. I know the recommendations say you need 2-3 servings of fruits & veggies per day but I rarely eat breakfast so one serving per day for me was better than what I’d been doing. My mom has a garden and has been loading us up with fresh cucumbers, squash and green beans so I’ve been enjoying fulfilling this goal! 

Fitness Goal: Go on a walk at least 3 times per week. This one didn’t go quite so well. I probably went on a walk at least once a week but I’d like to set a consistent “walking” schedule so we can stick with it. It’s just so dang hot right now! But it’s something I’ll keep working at. 

Personal Goal: Do something fun as a family at least once a week. My idea of “fun” might not be the same as other people’s, but I think we’ve already been doing this and I never even realized it. We try to enjoy family movie nights, weekend trips to the flea market, car shows, and cookouts with the grandparents as often as possible. It was no problem seeing this goal through! 

a5xtm

On top of continuing these goals, I’d like to add in some new ones for the month of July. So, here they are!

Nutrition Goal: Eat one meatless meal per week. I’ve heard other people have started doing this and I think it’s a great idea! Meat is expensive, so it saves money and also has the potential to be really nutritious! Now if I can get my “meat and potatoes” loving husband on board, we’ll be all set! 

Fitness Goal: Do 30 sit-ups twice a day, every day. Not gonna lie – body after baby is sorta depressing. Especially since my body pre-pregnancy was the best shape I’ve been in since high school! It’s been hard to love the way I look in my new skin and I’m always up for trying out different ways to get back in shape. Hopefully I can work up some abs with this new goal 🙂 

Personal Goal: Hang out with friends at least once a month. I’m kind of a homebody (especially after having a new baby) so this has been a struggle for me lately. I always enjoy the time I get to spend out with friends and I know I need to do it more often. I think once a month is easy to achieve and will give me an excuse to get out of the house regularly! 

 

I really am finding that goal-setting makes it much easier to achieve things that I’ve been meaning to do but never got around to doing. I’m going to keep it going and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have done most of what I hoped to do!

 

I’d love to hear your goals – what is it that you’ve been wanting to accomplish lately? 

Being a Mom: The Struggle is Real

I have always wanted to be a mother and when our little blessing came into the world, I couldn’t have been more excited! However, there are a lot of things I didn’t realize about being a mom. 

 

1) You’ll learn to run on 5 hours of sleep (or less) during the first few weeks. Don’t even get your hopes up about sleeping any longer than that. It does get better, though. We got lucky – our little one started sleeping through the night around 5 1/2 weeks! There are still times when she wakes up at 2 or 4 am but those 8-hour stretches make it allllll better!

2) Just get used to your house being messier than it was before. I’ve never considered myself a “neat freak,” but I’ve discovered that I am SO aggravated when my house isn’t relatively clean. I see dishes piling up, laundry that hasn’t been washed in a week and floors that have food spots and dog hair accumulating all over the place. My new motto “I’ll get to it when I get to it.” And I do… usually.

3) Showers are a luxury. No kidding. I feel like I’ve spent all day in a spa when I get out of a 10-minute shower. And on days that I don’t get that luxury, I feel like I’ve spent the day mulling through a dumpster.

4) You’ll accomplish more in a 30-minute nap time than you used to get done in a day. My baby likes to cat-nap, so I don’t get to have an hour of free time when I can lounge around the house doing things here & there. It’s like as soon as I lay her down, I go into lightning mode cleaning here, catching up on an episode of TV there, or just sitting down for the first time in 5 hours. And don’t even get me started on bathroom breaks. That’s something I never had to think about until I became a mom! 

5) You’ll probably never be able to eat a meal uninterrupted again. I can’t believe how much I took that for granted. Now, I try to scarf down a sandwich before LO (little one) needs something. And cooking… oh man. I was never much of a cook to begin with but now I hardly ever get to cook something that doesn’t come from a box or a can. 

6) The poops… ohhhh man. Who knew something so disgusting could come from such a tiny little person? And the best part is when you go somewhere and look down at your shirt in horror as you realize you have poop on you and you never even knew it. (But remember – you’re probably not getting a shower today so just fahgeddaboutit).

7) One day, you’re going to get a really bad headache. Or a cold. Or you just won’t feel that great. But will you get to take a day to rest it off? Of course not! Your child doesn’t know that you aren’t feeling well. She just knows she’s hungry and you’re not coming to her aid fast enough! Let the screaming commence! (Cuz that’s the first thing you want to hear when your head is pounding).

8) Every one of the above mentioned situations are well worth it. That little face smiling up at you or nuzzling her nose into your shoulder just completely melt your heart. And don’t get me started on the laughs! I think I tear up every time I can get a good light-up-her-face laugh out of my LO. So no matter how much different things are now, or how difficult some of the struggles can be, nothing will ever replace the feeling your baby gives you when she looks at you like only a baby can look at her mother. 

Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

            I usually try to steer clear of topics that are considered by some to be controversial. However, this topic is weighing heavy on my heart tonight and I feel like I need to share these thoughts.

 

I am concerned about the things I see on TV these days. As a new mom, I’m more sensitive to the things I’m watching, as I think, “Would I want my daughter to see this?” The answer almost every time is “Absolutely not!” I feel like our youth (and even adults) are being brainwashed into thinking that the things portrayed on popular TV shows are the new norms… that it’s cool to be like these good-looking, “happy” characters. The truth is that these are actors speaking memorized lines who in reality, are hooked on drugs, have been through multiple divorces and who can’t count on one hand the number of true friends they have. We need to stop lying to our children. We have a responsibility to change our world for the better. Here are some suggestions on how we can do that.

 

            Stop being trashy. Whatever happened to the Audrey Hepburns of Hollywood? The Gone With the Wind movies that reflected such timeless class? Those are the characters and films that withstand the test of time. Think about Jersey Shore. Will that show be remembered in 10 years? Even 5? Probably not. It’s already a fleeting memory in the back of our minds.

           

            Stop trying to desensitize us to things that are morally wrong. Years ago, a sex scene in a movie was pushing the limit. Now, I see it in almost every show airing on ABC Family…. ABC FAMILY??? Not anymore. When I was growing up, I watched shows like Boy Meets World, 7th Heaven, Full House… shows that had characters who represented true values – things like friendships, family, lasting relationships. I mean, look at Corey and Topanga. They were the epitome of true love. Why? Because they stuck together through good times and bad, they showed their love for one another without having to be risqué, and they valued the (now rare) idea of loving someone with everything that you have. Look how much divorce rates have skyrocketed in recent years. People don’t believe in relationships like that anymore. And why should they? You’re telling us they don’t exist.

 

            Stop trying to confuse sin with fun. I hate watching a show where there’s a girl in a relationship and her friends harp on her for not having sex with the guy. Since when do you have to have sex to establish feelings? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t sex supposed to be meaningful? We’ve turned it into something most people wake up regretting, when it’s supposed to be something that unites a husband with his wife. Hence, the divorce rate topic again. Also, I understand that homosexuality is a big topic. But, do we need to see it in every new sitcom? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate people who choose to live this lifestyle. As a matter of fact, I have several people in my life who are homosexual. Does that mean I don’t love them? Of course not. Do I condone the lifestyle they lead? No. I can’t condone something that I believe is wrong. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love you. When Jesus walked the earth, he hung out with the sinners and showed them love. I can only strive to do the same. But hey Hollywood, you don’t have to try to convince everyone that there’s nothing wrong with it. Let people have their own beliefs. You wouldn’t sit a Vegan in front of a television and force them to watch a pig being butchered, would you? Of course not. That would be drawing the line….

 

            Stop telling people there’s something wrong with being a Christian. I understand that not everyone shares my beliefs and I’m not one to go and try to force my beliefs on someone else. But don’t tell me that it’s offensive for me to believe something that you don’t agree with… and then turn around and try to make me feel ashamed for believing in the Bible. That’s 100% hypocritical and judgmental. If I know in my heart that God is real and I have seen Him work in my life, there’s nothing you can do or say to convince me otherwise. And I know that if you don’t have that same conviction in your life, I can talk to you about Christ until I run out of breath, but that won’t be enough to change your mind. So stop making it seem like all Christians are narrow-minded, judgmental people who hate everyone who sins. It’s the furthest thing from the truth and it steers people away from the one thing that can save them.

 

            So, kudos to the people on TV who stand up for their beliefs. I mean, just look at how popular Duck Dynasty is. They show the world that Christians can believe the Bible and still have fun. I am thankful to that family for not being ashamed to put God above all, even if it meant losing fame or success. I’m also thankful for people like the Duggars, who show that there are still girls who are modest, and there are teenagers who don’t rebel against their parents because they’ve been brought up to do better. Thank you to those of you who stand up for your American rights and show the world that you’re not afraid to share your love for Christ.

 

 

                                                Sincerely,

                                                            Holly

Setting Goals

I don’t consider myself to necessarily be “goal-oriented,” but lately I’ve discovered that if I don’t list specific goals stating what I hope to get done, I end up trying to do everything at once, which ends up with me only getting halfway done with what I wanted to accomplish. I feel like this sums it up pretty well:

Image

 

But I’m thinking I should have goals for other areas of my life as well, not just housework. So, I’ve decided to start with 3 areas that I want to improve in and I’m going to set 1 goal per month in each area. So, here are my goals for (the remainder of) June:

Nutrition Goal: Eat at least 1 serving of fruits/veggies per day (And fries do not count as a veggie)

Fitness Goal: Go on a walk at least 3 times per week. I usually try to get in a run a few times a week too but South Carolina in June is just way too hot to even attempt that. Maybe I’ll warm up the ole treadmill when I feel the urge to have a run. 

Personal Goal: Do something fun as a family at least once a week. Now that we have our little one, I feel like it’s important to start making memories, because even if she’s too young to remember it, I know we’ll never forget these times spent together.

 

So there it is. My June goals. I’m going to write them down and post them somewhere where I can see them every day. That way, I’ll remember to work at it and hopefully this will go well. I’ll post an update at the end of the month to recap how things went!  

Who is Palm Mommy?

I originally started this blog 3 years ago after I first had my daughter. It didn’t last very long and was mostly forgotten until the Lord brought it back to my remembrance. I hope to use this as a source of inspiration so I can share what God is teaching me with anyone who’s willing to read. I’d love to minister to you, encourage you and hopefully challenge you through this blog and the words you read. Here’s a little snippet of who I am.

  • Married to my best friend, who’s been by my side since I was 16
  • Mom to a precious little girl
  • Entrepeneur
  • Runner in my spare time
  • Follower of Christ
  • Carolina Gamecock alum (Class of 2012! Woop woop!)
  • Lover of all things Nicholas Sparks

Here’s a photo of my beautiful family ❤

 

Philippians 1:6 “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.”