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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Constant and Able




In the next few weeks we will be inundated with commercials promoting diet plans and exercise equipment. Social media will tout resolution ideas for the new year. After all, we have indulged ourselves with plenty of sweets and tasty meals since Thanksgiving. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit it. I’m a little hesitate to step on the scale this week. I may just skip it altogether. 

On a more serious note, I usually ponder on the past year. It’s been a challenging year for me. I’ve been stretched like a wineskin, pliable, expansive to hold more. A good kind of stretched. It’s not an enjoyable process. It involves a lot of pulling and personally yielding to this process. 

As I look over the past year, I can see this played out many times. I surrender and then God stretches me out.  And it simply came down to choices. Will I let this situation knock me down? Will I allow it to keep me in a pit? Will I respond selfishly with anger and resentment? 

I’m sorry to admit that I’ve not always responded correctly. I’ve caused the process to plod on longer. I’ve messed it up a few times. I’ve popped an attitude. But as I look back on this year, one word comes to mind:

Constant. 

Through the fire and the storms, my failings and weaknesses, He has been constant. Whenever I have turned to Him, He has been there. I have felt His presence near and heard His still small voice, reassuring me once again that He will see me through this. 

And so a new year lays ahead like a blank canvas. The brush is raised and the Painter smiles in eager anticipation at what He will create in me. May I be receptive and yielding to His touch. 

He is able to create something beautiful out of whatever is to come. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able”

I feel compelled to pronounce a new word for this new year:

Able. 

Able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Able to help those who are being tempted. 

Able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and great joy. 

Let us step with confidence into this new year knowing He is able. “His Divine power has given us everything we need...” 

Monday, December 22, 2014

His gift to you



Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read these words about Himself: 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3

He laid His hands on the scroll and said, “I have fulfilled it.” Indeed He has! He didn’t just give a gift, He gave Himself to us. He is the gift. 

In this past year, I had challenging times. I was brokenhearted, in need of comfort. I had moments of uncertainty, when I didn’t know the way. Many times I felt so vulnerable and needy. 

Yet in those moments, when I turned my face to Jesus, He gave Himself. And He was always enough. 

Beloved, what a precious Gift you have been given, Jesus. In whatever is to come in this new year, know whatever you lack, He will give Himself to meet your need. 
Seek His face, lean on His arm, rest your head on His chest and lay your burdens down. He will be your answer. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blessed are you






There are two women in the Christmas story that always inspire me so. Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth was actually a relative of Mary’s. Of course we are all familiar with Mary’s story, a teenager chosen to bear God’s own Son. 

Elizabeth was an older woman who was childless. But just like Sarah of old, God did a miracle in her life and she became pregnant. 

You could say a Holy Ghost meeting happened when these two met. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And in response Mary spoke beautiful words of praise for her God. It had to be amazing just to witness it. 

Elizabeth said something to Mary that has become a special verse to me. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her”. 

I had the privilege of meeting a well known author who wrote this verse along with his autograph. I’ve loved it ever since. What a beautiful verse for all of us who have or are struggling to believe when it’s difficult. 

I want to give a shout out to all of you today. 

To those who have stood true and did not turn aside when they asked, “Where is your God now?” They tried to discourage you and feed you negative poison. But you stood firm in your faith. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you. 

To those who “encouraged yourself in the Lord” with pain in your hearts and tears flowing. You are hurting, but your God surrounds you and holds you tighter.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you.

To those who kept seeking His face instead of giving in to fear and despair when nothing makes any sense and you don’t have any answers.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you. 

To those who kept praying when the prayer isn’t quickly answered or didn’t happen the way you expected it to. Simply because you “considered HIm faithful who had made the promise”. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who said “Your will be done in my life” when you don’t understand the how, when and what. And you sure don’t understand why He would choose you in the first place. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who had to give up and let go in sweet surrender. When every cell in your body wants to take over and do it your way. You answered the call of the Shepherd and allowed Him to lead. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who felt the “peace that passeth understanding” deep within, when the storm rages and the wind howls in your face. You stood on the Rock and remained unshaken.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you.

To those who when people say “you are so strong”, smile in response and know it’s only because He is your strength that you left the house today. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

Now you know why I love this verse so much. I’ve been all of these and I’m sure you have too. 

Because of our Savior who was born, we have a Everlasting hope. Unbelievers don’t have this hope. Life can be hard enough. I honestly don’t know how people plod along without knowing Jesus. 

Don’t take this for granted. In fact share it with those around you whose heads are bowed low. What a special, blessed gift we’ve been given: Jesus. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

He has not forgotten.




I sat down to write this blog this morning and pondered how to start this off. I decided  just to be real with you. I love Christmas just as much as the next person, but it’s difficult to get into the Christmas season when you are going through a tough season yourself. I know I’m starting this off on a depressing note, but I personally know people who are really struggling. It just seems to double up on you this time of year. 

I myself have struggled because of various issues that our family is going through. But my Lord has gently reminded me that I am not alone in my struggles. He has always been beside me. 

I thought about Jonah who rebelled against God and ended at the bottom of the ocean in the belly of a whale. Talk about being alone and in despair. He brought all this trouble on himself. He deserved it. Yet there in the darkness, with the currents swirling around him, and the seaweed entwining his neck, he “called to the Lord, and He answered me.”

God had not forgotten him. “He brought him up from the pit.” 

Beloved, I know you feel alone in your troubles. Perhaps you even are in despair. Do you feel entrapped by your circumstances? I want to remind you that you are not alone. He has not forgotten you. 

How can He forget the one He loves so much? You are engraved on the palm of His hand. Listen to His gentle words today:

“There is no pit too deep I can’t reach. No darkness too overwhelming that I can’t alight with my presence. Even in the belly of the whale I heard the cry of Jonah. I hear your prayers, my beloved. 

I have not forgotten you. Nor have I abandoned you. I am the God who sees and who is able to bring you out. 

You only need to reach out to Me by faith. Grasp My hand and I will take you to a higher place. A spacious place with fresh air and green pastures where you can rest in Me.”

I hope this encourages you today. You know sometimes we just have to shut everything out and listen to that still, small voice. Enjoy His presence today. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Vault




There’s an old story about an Navajo indian who had become rich because oil had been found on his property. He took all the money and put it in a bank. His banker became familiar with the habits of this old gentleman. Every once in a while the Indian would show up at the bank and say to the banker, "Grass all gone, sheep all sick, water holes dry." The banker wouldn't say a word -- he knew what needed to be done. He'd bring the old man inside and seat him in the vault. Then he'd bring out several bags of silver dollars and say, "These are yours." The old man would spend about an hour in there looking at his money, stacking up the dollars and counting them. Then he'd come out and say, "Grass all green, sheep all well, water holes all full."

Sometimes it seems like life piles on us. One hit after another. Or it’s a constant trial that just won’t let up. It can be difficult during these times to be “thankful”. It can be hard to see any good that can come out of all of this. 

We forget how much we have, how blessed we truly are. If this speaks to you now, come with me and lets open the vault of God’s word, let us pull out the wealth that is yours and mine. 

Ephesians chapter 1 always reminds me that I’m blessed in the Heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He chose me. He adopted me. I have redemption through His blood. I am forgiven. 

The riches of God’s grace has been lavished on me. His Spirit dwells within me. His great power is working for me. 

This is just in one chapter. There are countless other bags of wealth left in the vault we could bring out. 

We have to make an effort sometimes to be thankful. It is a choice that doesn’t come easy in the rough seasons. We choose to remain in our despondency, or we rise up and remember. 

David encouraged himself in the Lord, when he was going through a rough time. That’s exactly what we need to do. I can testify to you that it works. My perspective changes, my spirit is uplifted. 

Your God has not abandoned you. He brought you through past trials, He is with you now, and He is already in your future trials. His grace is sufficient for you. He has lavished His grace on you. Encourage yourself in the Lord. You’ll find He is enough. 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The List



I recently read a article listing eight women men should never date. It was an entertaining read. It warned men to stay away from needy, wishy washy, critical, insecure, dramatic, etc. women. 

As I read this list, I could only think, wow! If my husband went by a list like this, he probably would never had married me. Maybe no one would have. In fact no one would have a chance at love if we went by this list. I mean who among us can say they never had any issues? 

But then a question came to my mind. What if our Heavenly Father had such a list? What if He had a list of unacceptables?  “Stay away from these people. They are unsavable, unlovable, a hopeless case. Not worth my time and effort.”

If you know the Father’s heart at all, you know this is not so. But sometimes we act like we are on a list like this. We walk around like we are unacceptable, unloved, forgotten and hopeless. 

If you feel as though your “issues” are preventing Jesus from loving you, I want to assure you that this is not the truth, no matter how you feel about yourself. 

I want to share with you another list. This is how Jesus feels about you:

*He has searched unceasingly for you, like a Shepherd searches for a lost sheep. He will not stop till He holds you. Luke 15:4-6

*He waited for you eagerly and ran to you when He saw you turning to Him. Luke 15:20

*He holds you firmly in His strong right arm. He will not let go and no one can snatch you out of His hand. John 10:28-29

*You are not a wasted project He’s sorry to have started. He will never toss you in a corner in frustration. He never stops molding and making you into a beautiful vessel. Phillipians 1:6

*He looks at your broken down walls, rubble and burnt out gates and sees something totally different. He is like Nehemiah, He will rebuild you. You will be whole and secure. People will look in amazement at what He does in you. 

*He does not treat us as our sins deserve, but as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us. Psalm 103:10-12

*You are a new creation, the old has gone, the new is here. You are not what you were. God has changed you into someone completely different. You have been transformed by the renewing of your mind. To God be the glory! 2 Corinthians 5:17

*You are blessed, holy and blameless. You are adopted as His daughter. You are redeemed and forgiven by the work of His blood. He has lavished His grace upon you. You are chosen and you sit with Him in the Heavenly realms. Ephesians 1

Now this is a list I can get into! Doesn’t it just expand your faith as you read it? It should, because it’s the truth of God’s word. His Word is powerful. 

But you know, sometimes I walk around with my head down and wonder how He could love and accept me, with all my issues? I don’t know why He does. I have to remind myself of the truth, review the list. 

I want to encourage you to review the list. Know what the truth is. Walk in boldness and freedom, eyes off yourself, knowing He does love you. He makes you sparkle and shine. 

You are beautiful, you are His daughter. And He will never stop loving you. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fresh Bread



I’ve worked in an office environment and I have watched big egos in action. In the executive world it’s all about promotions, titles, and big paychecks. After witnessing this whirl of self importance, I’ll just remain a peon thank you.  

What’s really sad though is when this attitude enters into the church. The body of Christ is no place for big egos and focus on self. After all Jesus Himself was worlds apart from this attitude. In Philippians 2 it says this about the attitude of Jesus:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!” 

I’ve been in a leadership position for 10 years or more in our church body and I’ve learned some invaluable lessons along the way. I’ve been pondering on these things and I want to share it with you.

*Our focus should not be on gaining people’s approval. Think you are all that and a bag of chips? Well you’re not! Read your own press sometime and you’ll find that bubble burst. If I go down the road of seeking people’s approval, it will certainly lead to a despairing end. Yea it feels good to be applauded, but it’s also a dangerous tool of the enemy. Beware of this temptation. To be quite honest, it’s easier to deal with rejection than the praises of people. 

*Let God be your promoter, don’t promote yourself. I wrote in a earlier blog that spiritual promotion is far different than worldly promotion. It takes you deeper than you ever been. It pulls you closer to the Father’s heart. It tenderizes your heart. Your spiritual perception is clearer. Your spiritual appetite is more acute. 

God is all about character. I’ve known people who were placed in leadership positions who were seriously lacking in character. I’ve seen the debris field as a result of damage done. Let God do His deep work in your life and let Him promote you. 

*Placing our agenda above everyone else’s. It’s not your ministry, but God’s ministry through a willing vessel. You are the turtle on a fence post. The turtle didn’t get there on it’s own, somebody had to place it there. 

He has entrusted others to you. It’s all about loving and feeding the body of Christ, not about you. 

*Our focus should be God’s presence in our lives, seeking His face, His heart. I love Moses prayer in Exodus 33, “Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" 

This is what leadership should be about. The Lord wants to take us like a fresh loaf of bread, and break us to feed the people He’s placed in our lives. 

Its awesome to be considered a leader, but it’s also very sobering. Even a bit scary sometimes. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, because lives are at stake. As long as our focus is on Jesus, we’ll be that fresh bread. 

I’m confident that you can be the leader He’s made you to be. After all, He’s been working on you for a long time now. His fingerprints are all over you. When He promotes you, you will be ready to be the vessel He’s formed you to be. 

Rest in His hands, trust Him to do the work. You will be amazed. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Election Day



Tomorrow is election day and I’ll be so happy when it’s over. I get so tired of the political posturing and ads. But I want to talk about another election. 

In 2 Peter 1:10, it says, “Therefore my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.” 

Do you walk in complete assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you and has saved you to the upmost? Or does doubt and fear torment you and keep you from this blessed assurance? 

As I pondered these things, I thought about marriage. I’ve been married for twenty seven years now. There have been rough spots and lean times. That comes with the territory, it’s life. 

I bear my husband’s name. I bore his son. We have a lifetime of memories together. We have sacrificed for each other. We’ve done life together. We truly are each other’s best friends. 

Now at the end of the day, I’m not mired in doubt about whether I’m married, or loved. Or if I truly love him. I am in complete assurance about these things. We have a history. I walk around in confidence that I belong to him and he belongs to me. Unless something drastic happens, that will never change. 

Now as wonderful as human love can be, it is human after all. So lets take this up a notch to our relationship with Jesus. 

Do you and Jesus have a history together? Has He proved faithful to you through the toughest times? Does He have your heart? Have you made every effort to grow in your relationship with Him. (2 Peter 1:5-9) 

If you can truly say yes to these things, then you have an assurance that can’t be taken away from you. You can lay down in peace tonight knowing Whose you are, and Whose name you bear. As it says in Romans 8, “Neither death or life, neither angels or demons, neither the present or future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”. 

Perhaps you have never fully given your heart to Him. Maybe you’ve pushed Him away. So you’ve never felt this assurance. 

You can start today on this journey with Jesus. You can walk in confidence and assurance that you are loved. This can be your election day! Choose a new start today. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Follow my example




I read a rather bold and nervy statement today. From a well known Christian leader. This person said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” Quite a statement huh? 

After all it’s not possible is it? Keep your eyes on Jesus, not me. Don’t watch other people, keep your eyes on Jesus. I’ve heard it many times. Hey, I even said it! 

But we can’t dismiss the above statement. Because the Apostle Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 11:1. Yes, it’s in the Bible.

I don’t know about you, but this statement kind of scares me. Can I truly tell someone this? I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know. I really don’t have my act together. I fail at times. The twisted sister inside sometimes rears her ugly head. 

But maybe that’s the problem. As long as I keep my eyes on myself, there’s going to be trouble. I’ll be stumbling around in my self conscious misery, of no affect to others. 

But if my eyes are on Jesus, if my focus is on him, then the perspective is entirely different. 

You’ve perhaps heard the saying, “You are the company you keep?” Spend ample time with Jesus and I’ll guarantee you that people will be seeing His powerful influence in your life and actions. 
So, yes, we can tell others, “follow my example as I follow Christ.” It is possible. And truth be told we are an example regardless. 

Yea, maybe people are supposed to look at Jesus not us. But they do watch us. 

Charles Barkley, the former NBA Basketball player once said that he’s not a role model or an example, he’s paid to be a basketball player. I love what fellow player Karl Malone remarked, "Charles...I don't think it's your decision to make. We don't choose to be role models, we are chosen. Our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a bad one."

So as Christian leaders in our churches, ministries, jobs, or families, we can’t just opt out of it. “Hey don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” It sounds like a cop out when you look at from this perspective doesn’t it? 

Don’t give into the lie that your life has no impact. Believe me it does! The choices you make, your attitude, and the company you keep, i.e. Jesus, impact those around you more than you’ll ever know. 

As you follow Jesus, people watch. As you love and worship Jesus with your life, even through the tough times, your life radiates hope. 

Be a Jesus follower, and nurture other Jesus followers. 
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Storeroom



When the Lord opens new doors of ministry for me, it can be intimidating. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. “What do I have to offer? I’m not educated or trained”, etc... 

Then there are times when I minister to others I feel my weaknesses and inadequacies so strongly; it feels almost foolish to try. I truly feel that I have nothing to give. It seems much safer to keep what I do have, rather than give it away. 

I have felt drained to the core. One more demand, one more pull at my vessel will surely take me over the edge. Just place me back on the shelf, thank you. 

Nevertheless, I have found that when I take my eyes off myself and allow the Lord to minister through me, I always find His anointing there. He truly is enough. 

If you are really struggling, let me encourage you today. In Matthew 13:52 it says,  "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

The Lord gave me this verse years ago to assure me. There’s a great word picture here. Picture with me a room in your house that is full of beautiful treasures. Treasures that you have collected through the years, or that was given to you. Every time someone special comes to visit, you take them to this room and show them your precious treasures. 

Not only do you share these treasures, but your visitors leave enriched with one of them in their hands. And so it continues to bless them, and it blesses the ones they show it to. It’s a beautiful progression. 

Dear sister, you have a beautiful storeroom in your heart. God has prepared you through the years and placed beautiful things inside you. Treasures that are uniquely yours. And that will bless others that you open your heart to. 

Not only has He prepared you, but He also prepared the hearts of those who will come into your life. Call it a Divine connection, if you will. 

In other words, He has given you the treasures and He will bring the people to you. You just need to open your heart and share them. 

You are beautiful. You have much to share. Please don’t shut yourself up. Give freely and you will find your storeroom filled to overflowing. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

He is enough



I mentioned in the previous blog that I felt unqualified. I had a legit argument. After all, I don’t have a college degree, I’m not exactly sophisticated, cultured. I’m just a hick farm girl who worked in blue collar jobs. I’m not breath-taking beautiful. I have to work hard just to look attractive and presentable when I walk out the door. I don’t have my act together, I have issues. 

So yea, I’m not qualified to be the leader of anything. So no thank you Lord, obviously You have the wrong person. 

We have a wonderful example in the Bible to help us quell all these unfound arguments as to why we can’t walk through the doors that God opened for us. Moses, yes, the same Moses who defiantly stood at the Red sea, held up his staff and watched God spilt the sea in half. The same guy who led all those griping Israelites through the untamed wilderness. Yea, that guy.

When God called him at the burning bush, Moses made argument after argument as to why he can’t do it. 

"Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  God’s answer?  "I will be with you.”  

"What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"  God’s answer? He gave Moses the signs of the staff turning into a snake and his hand turning to leprosy. 
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." God’s answer?  "Who gave man his mouth? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

I smile every time I read these passages. First, because the answer to all of our fears is Himself. He gives Himself. We are carriers of His anointing. He has prepared us for every good work. You lack for nothing, because He will prove to be enough. Just give Him what you have. Like the boy with the fishes and bread. Jesus will take what you offer, bless it and feed multitudes. 

Secondly, however you feel about yourself, your issues, the way you look, your past, failures, what you lack, etc...all of that don’t matter a lick to God. 

What He desires is someone who will lean hard on Him, a tender, compassionate heart, someone unconcerned about power and prestige, a servant’s heart that beats for the body of Christ. 

In other words, a broken vessel who like Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 says, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”

Do you see that at the end? Isn’t that the objective here anyway? It’s not about setting people up on pedestals. It’s so He can minister to others through our words, our touch, through what we offer to Him. 

Beloved, you may feel ugly, that you have nothing of value to offer Jesus. I want to assure you that’s not the truth. It’s because of Him that you sparkle and shine. It’s Him, His spirit inside of you. Therefore, don’t neglect Him. 

I guess you could call it a joyful abandonment. Anytime I take my eyes off myself and focus on Jesus it’s a good thing. Forget about what I lack, my issues. Just jump out of the boat and walk with Jesus. 

Yea, it’s a bit scary, but wow what an experience! There’s absolutely nothing like the feeling of knowing God ministered through my words, my touch and life. It’s humbling, and it’s just awesome. 

Are you standing at a door right now? Are you hesitate about walking through? Take a step, knowing that He will be enough. Know that He prepared you for this moment and the people who will cross your path. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Unqualified



Almost ten years ago, I was offered the Women’s leader position in my church. I wasn’t exactly bursting with confidence at the time. I was actually nervous and unsure about this big step. I felt rather unqualified to be honest. 

But there was one thing I remained sure about: God placed a heart within me for women. I desired deeply for them to experience the heart of God, to be healed of inner hurts, and to grow into what God had purposed for them. 

So I stepped unsteadily through this new door and now years later I stand once again looking back at this door. If you have been following my blogs, you know I had to give up my position because of my job situation. 

I have changed so much since I first walked through this door. I’ve been stretched and found myself filled to overflowing. I’ve proven my God over and over again when I’ve leaned hard on Him, when I saw the results of what I offered Him. 

It hasn’t always been a rose strewn path. I’ve seen drama, I’ve had a woman point her finger in my face and tell me straight up I wasn’t what she expected out of a leader. I’ve had disappointments, experienced lean seasons. 

I want to share with you some things I’ve learned that hopefully will help you in whatever leadership position you’re in. I’ll just be sharing from my heart. Many times I’ve just wanted to sit down with a fellow leader and spill my heart. Sometimes there wasn’t anyone, but God did send people across my path who were such a help to me. Whatever you do, don’t disregard these people. You need someone to share your heart. However strong you may think you are, you can’t do this completely alone. 

I hope I can be that someone for you through the upcoming blogs. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Gathering




This summer our church started a once a month fellowship. We call it “The Gathering”. It’s been quite the success. The Gathering consists of good food, (always a must!), laughter, and sweet fellowship. We meet at each other houses. 

I have throughly enjoyed these get togethers, as it gives me a rare opportunity to be with my church family other than Sunday mornings. I say rare, because Sunday mornings it’s usually a quick Hello, perhaps a hug and “have a good week” on our way to our cars afterword. 

Lets face it, other than the occasional dinner after church, Sunday mornings aren’t a great time to immerse in deep conservation with each other. When I was the Women’s leader, I always tried to plan times away from church with the girls. Whether in a group or just a couple of us. It really bonded us together. 

I’m convinced that these times of fellowship is so vital to my connection with my Church family. Church is much more than a social club, an obligation or duty. I need these people and so do you. 

I’ve heard the arguments against Church. “You don’t have to go to a Church to be a Christian.” “Those people are hypocrites.” “I’ve been hurt by so called Christians and won’t be again.” etc...

I would answer, that yes, going to a Church building doesn’t make you a Christian. Every Church is full of human beings, so yes I suppose there will be those who fail. And yes, I’ve been hurt by people in my Church. I know there are “bad” Churches out there. 

I’ve gone to my church since the day I was born. Now I am aware that’s probably a rarity. It’s just the way it’s worked out. I’ve attended through leadership failures, church splits, drama and some downright ugliness. 

I haven’t always had such wonderful positive feelings. I left for two years to attend another church, but came back. I’ve pondered about leaving for good a few times. 

As I become more involved in being a leader, The Lord gave me a love and a new perspective for the Body. It became more about serving and less about what I can get from the Body. It’s helped me to keep my focus where it needs to be, i.e., off me and and on Jesus and His body. 

It’s sustained me through the rough times in church.

Maybe we ought to go with a new perspective; to serve one another and go after God with a passionate heart, rather than to be a spectator in the pews. Maybe we should pray for each other, look each other in the eyes and share our hurts, rather than wag our tongues and point our fingers. Perhaps we should share a table, a meal. 

That’s too messy, I hear you say. Yea, it can get messy. But you desperately need it. I need it. It’s far too easy to stay closed up in our houses and lives. It’s also a miserable and lonely place to be. We need each other. I need your prayers, your laughter, your gifts and your hugs. I need to be known. You do too. 

I want to encourage you to find a church family. Or get to know the one you’re in. Don’t alienate yourself. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Teacher



I have a new heroine. She is a woman who lived in darkness. Blindness and deafness imprisoned her in a world of no communication. A sickness at the age of 2 led to Helen Keller’s disability and set her adrift with a meaningless future. 

In her book, she shares, “I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbor was. “Light! Give me light! was the wordless cry of my soul, and light of love shone on me in that very hour.” 

That very hour she speaks of is when Anne Sullivan came to her house. Her beloved teacher who brought her into the light, who showed her the blessing of communication. 

Anne Sullivan took her under her wing and patiently began to teach her. It was a struggle at times. In fact Anne calls her a savage because Helen quite honestly was pampered by her family and allowed to do whatever she wanted. So they butted heads many times. 

Anne would not give up and kept teaching her words,  but Helen didn’t understand the meaning of what the “words” meant until one blessed day when Anne took her to the water pump, pulled her hands under the flowing water and spelled w-a-t-e-r. 

Helen shares, “Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten-a thrill of returning thought and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!”

Helen Keller quickly learned how to communicate, how to read and even to write. She went to school and college. 

She was known to recognize people by touching their hands. She could sense fear, joy, anxiety, and sadness simply by “feeling” another person. 

She traveled the world, met well known people, even presidents. She didn’t allow her disability to stop her in any way. It humbled me as I read her story. I have all my facilities  and yet I allow my hang ups sometimes to keep me from being all I could be. 

Helen Keller’s remarkable life would not have been possible if not for Anne Sullivan, her beloved teacher. Her teacher led her out of darkness into life.

I couldn’t help but think of the precious Holy Spirt. The Spirit of Truth, the Revelator, and our Teacher. 

Where would we be without our Teacher, the Holy Spirit? We were walking in darkness, without understanding. But the Spirit brought us into God’s wonderful light! He opens our eyes to glorious truths in the Word of God. The Spirit even drew us to the Father in the beginning of our walk. He helps us in our weakness, He intercedes for us with wordless groans. 

A compelling passage about our Teacher is in 1 Corinthians 2:

9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-- 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

I need the Holy Spirit desperately, but more than that, I need to be sensitive to His stirrings. Just like Helen could sit next to you and feel your anxiety, fear, happiness, etc... She could not see or hear you, but she knew. She could sense your feelings. 

The Word tells us not to quench the Spirit. I need His direction, I desperately need to know the great truths of the Word, How can I remain in the “Light” if I am hard hearted? If I am not tuned in to my Teacher? 

May I always remain close. Keep my heart tender and sensitive. Thank you Blessed Jesus for the Holy Spirit. Where would I be without Him? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Ugly Curve



When life throws you an ugly curve, and your life changes dramatically, you start to question your purpose. You’re tempted to question God. You wonder about tomorrow. 

“I was doing well in this vocation, this ministry. What happens to the God given dreams now? Where do I go from here? Are all the doors of opportunity closed for good? Will I be stuck here the rest of my life?”

Or, “Have I let God down? Will I ever rise from this? Am I still valuable?”

I’ve struggled with these feelings off and on since January. My job change left me floundering at times. My confidence was shaken. 

I remember the ones in the Bible who experienced this. Moses, who was cast away in the wilderness, supposedly to be never heard from again. David, who was constantly on the run, living in caves. Elijah, hiding out in a cave, bowed down in depression. Jonah, in the belly of a whale in the bottom of the ocean. Peter, back in the boat fishing, convinced he is a complete failure. 

And yes, Joseph. You had to know I was getting to him right? 

When you read their stories, it encourages and builds your faith so much. Because you find out that what looked to be the “end” only was a stepping stone to a greater ministry. It ended up to be a spiritual promotion. 
God wasn’t done with them yet. He had greater plans for them. In fact, it was way beyond their imaginations wasn’t it? It went far deeper than they expected. 

Because you see, spiritual promotion is far different than worldly promotion. It takes you deeper than you ever been. It pulls you closer to the Father’s heart. It tenderizes your heart. Your spiritual perception is clearer. Your spiritual appetite is more acute. 

In other words, He has your heart now like He didn’t before. 

Deep intense work like this involves you letting go. You need to rest in His hands and learn from Him. Like the Potter and the clay. The clay on the spinning wheel rests in the Potter’s hand as He molds and forms the yielding clay into something beautiful. 

The clay doesn’t rise up and ask the Potter, “what are you doing? And why are you doing it this way?” 

Beloved, please know that the Potter knows the plans He has for you. He can and will make something beautiful of you. You are valuable to Him. This season you are in now is only a preparation for what is to come. Your character is being formed now. Because of your trust, you will be a powerful vessel in His hands. 

Nothing can sway His intentions for you. Joseph himself said this to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

He is entrusting others to you. There are needy lives you will touch and point to Jesus. Do you understand why this deep inner work is so needed? 

I am realizing this in my life as well. My life shift has not been the end. God has led me to new adventures I didn’t expect. I’ve had new doors open up. 

More importantly, I’ve changed. He’s done a work in me through this experience. I pray that the truths I’ve shared have encouraged you. Know beloved, that you are valuable and beautiful to Him. You will testify to His goodness and faithfulness.