Sunday, February 28, 2010
Today is the Lord's Day and I am so thankful for the Gospel. I was reminded of that over the course of the weekend. I didn't have the luxury of growing up in a Christian home. More often than not my parents were watching tv and lounging on Sundays. That's just how it was. The grace of the Lord came to me through neighbors who sought to bring me along with them to church. As a result of their pursuit, I came to truly know and sincerely love Jesus Christ. There's a night & day difference between what my life would have been and what it actually is as a result of their love.
There are thousands of children in the world, in the country, in the state, in the city, in your neighborhood, and right next door that share my same story. I am not suggesting that the answer for you is the same as it was for my neighbors growing up, but maybe it is. Maybe their example can inspire the next steps the Lord wants you to take in reaching the lost for Jesus! Such sacrifice and investment in people requires us to live a crucified life. It's too easy to make excuses: "I'm too busy!" "Maybe next month when things slow down I'll...." "I can't do everything!" "Someone else can do it." "I'm tired." I'm not downplaying the validity some of these statements may have in our lives from time to time, but I am challenging us to think about what the Lord may be calling us to consider, to do even for the sake of His kingdom and lost souls.
Thank you for leading women to be more like Jesus! Don't forget that young women really can't get along well without your love turned into action. Perhaps you can take a moment to really pray for the little girls and young women everywhere who need to meet Jesus "At the Cross." This song might be an encouragement to you as you consider these things.
As I drove back from the airport on Thursday, I ran into some traffic on the tollway access road. Turns out it was some of the trail riders coming in. Yeehaw, it's Houston Rodeo time! These riders come from near and far, riding their horses and pulling their wagons. It was a sight to see! I wondered if my friends Lisa and Joe were among them.
Sunday morning I ran into them and we sat together in class. We were so busy catching up that I never got to the question about the rodeo. During the lesson, our fearless teacher referred to this passage in Revelation 19 about the second coming. He read verse 14 about the armies of heaven following Christ on white horses. Lisa nudged me and said that would be her last trail ride! I'd never thought about that before! Not only will the angels of heaven be with Christ, but we as the saints will be in the army of riders as well...clothed in white, pure, and riding white horses! Oh what a glorious day it will be! One day we will ride and fight with Him; until then, I am grateful that God fights our battles for us (Ex 14:13-14), that He equips us with His armor (Eph 6:10 et al) and that we don't have to ride the white horses until we get our new bodies! GLO-reh!
(My hat's off to my friends who told me that they did ride and that it was their 19th trail ride! Yeehaw!)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit” (Galatians ).
For the past few weeks, I have been able to watch the end of the dance class that one of the girls that I nanny is in. Her and the other girls are preparing for a recital in a couple of months. Her name is Charlotte, and she is great at keeping up with the steps and the rhythm of the music.
Are we following the Holy Spirit's leading in our own lives?
In Galatians, Paul lists what the Holy Spirit within us will produce in our lives. They include love - joy - peace - patience - kindness - gentleness - self-control (more are listed in Galatians -23). In 1 Timothy 3:1-13, he lists characteristics of a godly overseer. Some of them are self-control, respectability, and trustworthiness.
In both of these lists in Galatians 5 and 1 Timothy 3, I see evidence of strong character in leaders and followers of Christ. As followers of God, our hearts are led by the Holy Spirit to do these things. If we listen and follow the Holy Spirit's guidance, His glory will radiate.
I pray that God reveals to us what we need to work on in character development. This week, I have personally seen my need to listen with more gentleness and patience. As Christians, I pray that we keep in step with where the Holy Spirit is leading us.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead..."
Phil. 3:12-13 (ESV)
"Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." Phil. 3:13-14 (MSG)
Paul gives great encouragement for Christian Leaders (and we are all leaders in one way or another) in Phil.3:12-14 as we look at some of the key action verbs:
- FORGET IT - God Provides His Supernatural Strength to Forget It! Our goal must be to daily "forget" what was yesterday's struggles and victories as we follow JESUS & HIS DAILY CALL! Everyday is a NEW DAY!
- PRESS ON - God Provides His Supernatural Strength to Press On! Our goal must be to daily "stretch" onward towards JESUS & HIS DAILY CALL! Everyday is a GOD DAY!
In the age of "multi-tasking" that we live in , as Evangelistic Christian Women, we must be careful to make sure we daily do the ONE thing Paul writes to "the body of Christ" for such a time as this. In my life, the more that I have on my "to do list" the more I am vulnerable to the over-whelming feelings that go with having too much on my plate. The enemy wants us to "get stuck" and ineffective any way that he can. One of his tactics and schemes in the multi-tasking age we live in, is to have so many "multi-tasking to do's" that we end up doing many things halfway instead of ONE or a few things well for Jesus as we PRESS ON!
What are some ways that God is calling you to do this "ONE" thing "forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead..."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POf__1yS4qY (Press On ~ Selah)
In JESUS NAME we PRESS ON!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It took me a few days, but God took a seemingly insignificant thing - spilled coffee - and turned it into a defining moment for me. I had just finished my quiet time. One swoosh and my coffee dumped all over the kitchen table. The spilled coffee somehow managed to hit every single thing I had out - two copies of the Bible (my big Bible and my smaller compact one), my large calendar with my whole life in it, and my journal with every thought that goes on in my crazy head. I managed to grab a towel and soak up what was left while standing everything up to dry it all out. I got a good laugh out of it but didn't see any meaning in it until yesterday. Then it hit me.
- We have plans, but God has greater plans.
- We read His Word but He still has the final word.
- We know our thoughts but His thoughts are the only ones that count.
- We fill our cups with coffee but God fills us with His immeasurable riches that spill over when we are least expecting it.
It is time for a new Bible. It is time for a new journal. I am still gifted2go...and you are too!
(Don't let life's spilled coffee get you down.)
You know you are loved!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Ashes can symbolize death. Our Savior brings such good news, but He suffered while He was here on earth so that we could know Him and have a relationship with Him. The Lord has given us so many things, and He has given us beauty instead of ashes.
Lent began yesterday, on what is known as Ash Wednesday, and reminded me of this verse. From what I have read, believers in Christ usually choose to make extra time in their day for prayer with God, time to serve others, or time to abstain from something. I think the purpose is that we turn our focus on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who went through the pain of death for us so that we may know Him.
Through this memory of Christ, we find joy. This is because we know that because of Jesus' death, satan cannot use law or sin to keep us from God. We are able to live and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, which brings incomparable joy (for more on this, I recommend reading Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper).
The joy that comes in knowing Christ and glorifying Him is so much better than things on earth. I pray that we remind each other to steer our thoughts and conversations towards Christ, Our Savior.
"Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify Him, all peoples! For great is His faithful love to us; the Lord's faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah!" (Psalm 117:1-2, HCSB).
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
We all need some tools in our tool belt (my husband does woodworking as a past time so the analogy is quite fitting for me to use. he'd be proud). There is no substitute for the actual written living Word of God, but I am thankful for creative writers who can make the Gospel speak in the language of a little one. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones is a tool I use to introduce Micah to the world of illustrations to be sure but more importantly to Bible stories (I couple this with regular reading of Bible passages with him). The author is careful to convey the Gospel in each story. I appreciate that because the Bible is all about Jesus after all. As we share Christ from the womb until the day that precious one heralds Christ as Lord, maybe this tool can help the young mom and maybe the seasoned mom too (note the careful choice words ;)). Sometimes even older kids need to hear the simplicity of the Gospel again and again...not suggesting here that you should sit them on your knee and read them this storybook though ;) Just saying, with gentleness at the right times, the Gospel shared has a power of its own.
If you're reading this blog you are a leader of women most likely, but before all of that you are first a wife and a mom. I hope that this serves as reminder to pray, encourage, and see to it that your kids have every opportunity to be conformed to Christ as far as it depends on you (which it does not wholly depend on you). I also hope that you will pass on this helpful resource to the young moms in your ministry. I believe it would serve them well to have it on hand. My husband often says reading this storybook will minister even to adults who will sit down and take the time. We can never remind ourselves or our children of the Gospel too much, and I imagine that you fully agree!
p.s. If you'd like to check out this resource, you can do so here:
Friday, February 12, 2010
Lord, let us all be intentional in looking at the circle of people around us and share Your Good News with them.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here is a testimony written by Cody about Coach Miller for one of his college classes:
"The bible says in James 1:12 “Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him”. I have endured many trials that I have gotten through by leaning on the Word of God. God has done many things in my life that I thought He could never do as I trust in Him and work at finishing strong in life. He has also shown me to thank the Lord for all of the blessings that he has blessed me with. It’s really awesome how the Lord works in the lives of people to draw them closer to Him. I had a coach in High School his name is Coach Miller. Coach Miller inspired me more than any other coach that I have had because he truly finished strong. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors only gave him 6 months to live. Instead on lying down and giving up he went about everyday with a glow about him that I never understood. Coach Miller was one of the strongest Christians that I have ever meet and he lived it every day even knowing that he might not make it much longer. I went and saw coach 2 days before he passed away and I will never forget it. He could barely talk but he did not have to say anything. The look on his face said it all “Always trust in the Lord and everything is going to be alright” even though he passed away two days later he touched so many lives by the way he lived his life. Many athletes accepted Jesus through his witness on and off the field. Coach Miller finished his life as strong as anyone could and I will never forget him." (written by Cody Jones for one of his college classes about a movie they watched about perseverance!)
This picture of an evangelistic baseball cap is an encouraging inspiration about the power of a "non-verbal" witness...what are some other non-verbal witnessing tools that we can share? I will share 2 and would love for you to share some of your favorite:
1. Witnessing Booklet 2. Cross Necklace
Please share some ideas you have of non-verbal witnessing tools as we encourage one another to live an evangelistic lifestyle!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68q8y5nkdPo (Voice of Truth!! Casting Crowns)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vB59PkB0eQ (Facing The Giants!!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvrBQL8swLI (I Will Rise!! Chris Tomlin)
Monday, February 8, 2010
It's Monday again...all day long. I would love to tell you that I woke up excited to pursue the day but I didn't. I pulled the covers over my head and asked God why. Why did I have to get up? Why do I over-commit to so many things? Why do I have to leave again in two days? Why do I not have enough hours to complete things like remodeling, my dissertation, housework, grading, etc? Why do I let people talk me into preparing so many new messages in one month? Anyway...you know the drill.
When I opened my Bible (after my favorite cereal and Starbucks decaf Samatra), this verse in Micah was where it fell open. Oh how He spoke to me today. God only requires that I act justly, love faithfulness, and walk humbly. I must be fair, be faithful, and be humble. That's it. Burden gone (well almost). God never meant for me to do it alone. I'm fairly sure that He didn't want me to take all these things on. I know that He will continue to work with me and through me.
As leaders, many people look to us to fulfill their needs. Many think we are there to be the answer to every problem. While we pray about every one, today be reminded that God is just calling us to be fair, faithful, and humble. May He walk with you today in all you do.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Matt. 5:7
Thursday precious Katie presented us with a beautiful reminder to be prayerful, mindful, & action-oriented toward the nations. In recent days, there could be fewer places more needy for the Gospel & the mercy of Christ than Haiti. I imagine that you would whole-heartily agree. As the pictures on this video pierce & grip your heart, may it serve as a further reminder to you that Jesus' heart is for the nations. He has come to call a people unto Himself, of every tribe, tongue, nation (Revelation 7:9). Let's take Katie's challenge & demonstrate God's mercy to all the people. Whether by prayer or giving or going, let's give away the mercy we have received.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'
So they asked him, 'What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'
Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world'" (John 6:28-33, NIV).
Who is our bread? It baffles me that this is what Jesus asks of us - to believe that He is God and that He came to save us. He craves a relationship with us. He is our "bread of life."
Our Savior brings life. Does the world know?
As people across the world face disasters, chase false loves, and walk through life, many do not know this King over all.
Recently, I have been reading Operation World by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk. It fascinates me to learn about different cultures in this book. With the advice of one of my professors, I am reading it often and have enjoyed being able to pray specifically for people around the world.
Do you have ideas of how we can pray or what we can do for the nations today?
I pray that God gives us hearts and minds that never forget to live love towards His creation and His people.
(picture from mikewindley.wordpress.com)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Hebrews 4:12 (HCSB)
Who gave you your first Bible? How old were you when you got your first Bible? Where is your first Bible right now? These near and dear questions make me burst in tears because of a very special blessing God gave me this past weekend while sharing part of my testimony at a women's ministry forum in Conroe, Texas as a part of Jaye Martin's Gifted2Go Team. Before I share with you what happened that caused me to literally go from a standing position to a chair and almost to the floor, I must share with you how I received my Very First Bible: As a first-generation believer miraculously SAVED - snatched out of darkness into God's marvelous light at the age of 22...I DID NOT HAVE A CLUE about ANYTHING about GOD & HIS WORD & HIS WAYS, we are talking CLUELESS WITHOUT CHRIST! It was a children's minister that was doing follow-up outreach after Vacation Bible School in the summer of 1985 that came down my street in Houston, Texas and shared The ABC's to JESUS with the children that CAPTURED this young mother's life for JESUS and I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME since I RAN to JESUS that next Sunday, 7/21/85!!
Well, can I share with you that God's Mission began in my life and it began in DRAMATIC RADICAL ways as He began to transform my life in EVERYWAY...oh how I would love to sit down with you personally and pour out in details but that would take way more time and "word count" than I have on today's BLOG:-)...this brings me to My First Bible...Bro. Jim, the children's minister that came down my street, really helped my husband, Marshall, and I in the First Steps a Christian takes as a New Believer! I did not have a Bible, never had owned one, did not know what all the different "versions" of The Bible meant and which one should I purchase and where should I go to even purchase one...just picture the scene with me...walking up to Bro.Jim and asking him all of these questions about The Bible~Which One~Where Do I Get One~Who Is "King James"~Which One Is Better???? Do you know what Bro.Jim did.....He Gave Me His Bible right there on the spot...I am holding that very Bible in my hands right now, and YES I am in TEARS of GRATEFULNESS & AWE OF GOD...GOD'S WORD HAS CHANGED MY LIFE, I can not even begin to share that with you..we need a RETREAT:-)!!!
Fast forward to this past weekend...as I was sharing this very part of my testimony as the Lord led me to (I don't always share the same parts every time~that is up to The Holy Spirit), after Jaye Martin shared her powerful message from GOD'S WORD, 3 precious ladies walked up to me and asked me if I was talking about their children's minister, Bro. Jim???? I have been praying for over 20 years that my path would cross once again with Bro. Jim so that I could THANK HIM for giving me his BIBLE...God Answers Prayer because I now have Bro. Jim's telephone # in my cellphone...I could not wait to get home and share with my husband what had happened because Bro. Jim was instrumental in my husband's salvation 3 months after I became a believer, my husband, Marshall, gave his life to Christ and became a believer...we can't wait to call Bro. Jim and share what God has been doing in and through our lives in Christ for the past 25 years....GOD'S WORD NEVER RETURNS VOID!!!
There is so much more I want to share with you, but I must wrap this up for now with a challenge for us all: Do we LOVE God's Word~Is it our DAILY Bread, Are we RUNNING to God's Word for EVERY answer we need, Are we HIDING God's Word in our hearts, Are we SHARING God's Word with others that may not have a Bible or may not have a Bible that they can understand...I can not think of a better GIFT during this season of LOVE we call FEBRUARY than to GIVE someone a copy or some verses from GOD'S LOVE LETTER~THE WORD OF GOD....may we FALL IN LOVE with GOD & HIS WORD in a FRESH NEW DEEPER way TODAY!!!!!
IN JESUS' NAME~AMEN!!!!!!!
"I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. " Psalm 119:10-11
"Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart." Psalm 119:34
"I have Your decrees as a heritage forever; indeed, they are the joy of my heart." Psalm 119:111
"I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord. I will obey Your statutes." Psalm 119:145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTY-UKgLlXs (Word Of God Speak~Mercy Me!!)
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
What can I say but that I have always loved February. I love the weather in just about any of the states. I love the memories of discipleship weekends, the focus on God's love and Valentine's Day, and since it holds birthdays for my sister and I, it holds some great memories of family and parties. January has passed, the broken resolutions have come and gone, and we are back to the focus on what is good and right and pure in God's beautiful world.
This weekend, I was honored to speak at the Women's Forum hosted by the SBTC (Texas convention). Tracy joined me there and we shared about being gifted2go. They also asked me to share on having a clean heart in a dirty world. I was expecting a group of 5-10 and at last count, there were 112 in the room. I was floored. The Spirit of God swept the place as we looked at what it meant to lead with a clean heart. When it was over, many shared of convictions to give up things (even things not mentioned). God is honored by clean hearts.
During this wonderful month of February, let's concentrate together on God's love, His cleansing blood, and convenant together to confess our sins before a Holy God so that we might honor Him with clean hearts.