Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Money

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” ...Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. (John 6:8-9, 11-13 ESV).

There are few ministry problems that money could not fix. If there was more money, we could have an awesome website, a staff ready to serve, and scholarship money enough for all. There would be an accountant for all the mounds of paperwork and money so we could be paid (and the remodeling at our home could be finished)! Few would ever think that they had too much money for ministry.

The Gospel of John shows us Christ's important principles for all.
  1. Give what you have. The boy gave his whole lunch (and what boy is not hungry?). What are you holding onto that you need to give for the work of God?
  2. Pray over what you have been given. Jesus blessed the bread and fish...and multiplied it.
  3. Pray over what you give. All were blessed with more than enough to eat but the boy was also blessed...there was more food than they started with.
  4. Be careful with what you have been given. Jesus had the disciples pick up the extra food so that none would be wasted. They were good stewards of what had been given.
Let's remember that it is God who gives money for ministry and life. He is the one who blesses the giver, the gift, the receiver, and all!

Thank you Lord for your provision!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

God Has Set You Apart!

"...know that the Lord has SET APART the godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him." Psalm 4:3 NIV

I will never forget the first godly counsel that I received about being "set apart" as a first-generation Christian! As a new believer striving to be a new witness in the midst of learning how to be a Christian wife and mother, I first heard the words; "God has set you apart", and I needed to know what that meant. Christians are set apart to be "in the world but not of the world anymore" and we are just passing through this world on a mission to share Jesus with others and take as many of them with us to heaven...this was my first evangelism one on one training!

This sure helped me understand what I was feeling as a new Christian experiencing some of my first attacks from the enemy as he attacked me and tried to make me feel so alone and different! The good news is that as God's Witnesses...we are set apart in Jesus...we are different...and In Jesus we are NEVER alone but the path we travel will NOT look like the world's path that I had just been rescued from.

As a Christian, are you feeling like "you do not fit in"? Good News, those are "set apart" feelings as you are "in this world but not of this world" anymore!

In Psalm 4 David describes so well some of the circumstances and feelings that come with being set apart for God's Victory living and sharing Jesus with others that are searching searching like we once were!

I must close with writing the entire fourth Psalm as God is so faithful to speak and minister to each one of His Set Apart Saved Sisters right at the point of our NEED!! The Message paraphrase describes each word in modern day words that we can meditate upon...

Psalm 4 (the message paraphrase)
"When I call, you give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I am in trouble again: grace me! hear me! You rabble-how long do I put up with your scorn?... Look at this: look who got picked by God! (set apart) He listens that split second I call to Him. Complain if you must, but do not lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for His verdict. Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say. "More, more." I have God's more-than-enough, More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At the day's end I'm ready for sound sleep, For You, God, have put my life back together"! (All to Jesus I Surrender!) (More Than Enough!)

Be Still.

BE STILL ...Cease Striving...Stop...Breathe...Sit...Be...Quiet...Rest... AND KNOW ...Perceive...Acknowledge...Admit...Recognize...Confess... Declare... THAT I AM GOD ...Father...Provider...Healer...Savior...Redeemer... Creator...Love...AND I WILL BE EXALTED ...Praised...Lifted Up...Honored...Glorified...Magnified...IN ALL THE NATIONS ...all the earth...throughout the world...every land...every tribe...every people group...each country...each city...each neighborhood.

BE STILL...KNOW...I AM...I WILL BE...IN ALL NATIONS. a part of God's promise to His people. Take time to be still before the Lord and know Him. Then GO. Exalt Him to the people in your day. Make Him known to those in your nation.
Be still. Know. Go. Exalt.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Movies and a Living Sacrifice

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).

Just as soon as I landed back in Houston on Friday night, I met my husband and friends at a movie. As usual, it was filled with perverted humor and things that I have learned to overlook. I didn't read the reviews but I thought the movie was about a couple who needed to learn to appreciate each other. However, I found it to be a mockery of marriage and everything holy unto the Lord. We left...but should have left sooner. We are left with images that are forever embedded in our computer-like minds, never to be completely wiped away.

Paul appeals to us (because of the mercy of God), to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is our spiritual act of worship. We are not to be made like the world, but to allow the Lord to change and transform our minds SO THAT we may know the will of God - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

To be able to hear God, we must confess our sins. God is perfect and cannot look on sin. We confess that we have sins, name them, and repent or turn from them...asking that He would help us to never commit the same sin again.

Oh God help us - by your mercy - to confess our sin and make us right and holy before you. We want to be living sacrifices, holy and pure, giving up the things of the world. May we not be drawn in by the filth that abounds around us.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

All God's Children

In America it is easy to forget that just a plane ride away there are starving boys and girls hanging out at places nicknamed things like "La Mosca" which means "The Fly" (located in the Dominican Republic). It is so easy to get comfortable and forget that as much as the Lord cares for us, He is also abundantly concerned with those in real need of the basics like food and water. He wants to use us to provide the nourishment people need for their bodies and their souls. He desires the hungry fed, the naked clothed, and the lost to be found.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must be told as we hand over medical supplies, warm plates of beans and rice, and as we sit and just listen to those who've known more pain in a day than some of us will in a lifetime. Memorizing Psalm 113 brought this issue of the poor and hungry to the forefront of my thoughts. This verse has hung out in my mind, "He raises up the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap to sit them with princes, the princes of His people." (Verse 8)

If I were to ask you to recite "The Great Commission" many of you would be able to do so without even really thinking about it. As a leader of women I imagine that you well know that the Lord has commanded us to take the Gospel everywhere. What I'm asking you today is how your ministry is shaped by the Lord's command? What are you tangibly doing in your personal life, ministry in the local church, and otherwise to bring food to the poor...and the Bread of Life, that is Jesus Christ, to those who haven't yet heard that their souls are hungry.

Matthew 28:18-20, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Evangelism Through Trials"

"Consider it pure joy, my brothres, whener you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-3)

How do trials have anything to do with evangelism???? The way the 'world' sees us going through difficult situations can be a shining witness to the glory of God! I have thought a lot about one of the teachers at the school where I teach. Her twelve-year-old son, Bradley, got a staff infection and almost died before he got to the hospital. As he wavered between life and death for several days, the amount of people coming to the waiting room to pray for him was astounding. Others in the same intensive care unit saw the people and heard the prayers. Food and gift cards were given in abundance to Bradley's family to the point that his family was able to share with other families in desperate situations. Those in the waiting room heard the family thank the Lord for Bradley's life, pray for his healing, but also acknowledge that God is the One who gives and takes away.

God answered all the prayers and Bradley survived the staff infection....only to find out a day later that he also had leukemia! That was a real blow to the family. However, that news started a journey of three months in the hospital where the whole family was able to minister to nurses, doctors, other parents of children in the hospital, technicians, maintenance people, etc. as well as through a blog that was updated every day. God carried and is still carrying this family through a tremendous trial. Bradley is still having treatment of chemotherapy, but is getting stronger. Only God knows what is around the corner, but true evangelism took place between words acknowledging the peace and strength that comes from Christ, actions, and prayers. God is a God of peace and He carries us through trials. May we all trust Him with the situations that occur in our lives! And may His light and the Word of Truth shine through us!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

prayer for the saints

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

This week, my home Bible study group went on a prayer walk around the neighborhood in which we meet. The weather is beautiful in Louisville this spring, so we were blessed to have such a pretty night talk to God outside near dusk. We separated into threes and talked to God out loud as we walked.

With me was the couple that hosts our group meetings. They prayed for opportunities to be able to build relationships with the neighbors surrounding them that they already met. We prayed for community among the people and for people to see Christ and to follow Him.

When we saw an Easter flag, we prayed for Christians in the neighborhood. We asked God to give courage to them to share their faith and to give us opportunities to meet these fellow believers. As we rounded the corner to go back to the house, we met another believer! We found encouragement in talking with her about her heart for Christ and the neighborhood.

In Ephesians 6, Paul describes ways to put on the armor of God to fight spiritual warfare, including prayer. Through this prayer walk, I see the depth of importance in praying to our Lord for unbelievers as well as fellow believers. So, I pray that we continue to support each other in the faith, help each other grow, and help each other tell others of the hope that God brings to us through His Son.

(Picture from

Monday, April 12, 2010

Every Day Evangelism

“For we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, HCSB).

Have you ever noticed how people talk about what just happened? Whether it is a news headliner, what’s happening in Hollywood or in the economy, what Oprah said, or even the weather report, people like to talk about whatever the latest thing is. Even in the online social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the curiosity for most is the status updates answering questions like…what are you doing or what’s on your mind? Current is what people are talking about.

If we are wondering how to share the Good News in today’s culture, “what’s current?” should give us some insights into what people want to know. So let’s think about that. What is God doing in your life today? What is current in your walk with Christ? How can we communicate that as we go?

Let’s see what we can learn about being current in sharing our faith from the Bible. Take a brief look at Acts. In the early church, people were hearing about the resurrection of Christ and the church was growing. These believers were enthusiastic about sharing their faith. They knew in Whom they believed and were focused on the difference that Christ made in their lives.

“And every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47, HCSB).

These early worshippers must have been doing more than just getting together and praising God. In Act 2:46-47, we see that they met in the temple complex and then broke break from house to house. They gathered and then they scattered to praise the Lord about what He had done. Others saw what was happening as the believers overflowed with the love of the Lord. They were obedient to come together and praise God and were obedient to go and share the Good News. Many more believed and the church grew daily because people were being saved.

In Acts 4, Peter and John were arrested for “teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus” (Acts 4:2, HCSB). When brought before the Jewish leadership, they responded that they were
unable to stop speaking about what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20, HCSB). They knew God was at work and had given them a message. They were so excited about that message that they were compelled to tell the story of what Jesus had done for them.

As we think back on the stories in Acts about the early church, we don’t have all the details but we know that these followers worshipped together and then they went out house to house. We can do the same thing. Often we are good at gathering together as believers but not as good at going into our neighborhoods of non-believers to share the message of Truth. We can become so busy that we don’t even have unbelievers in our lives. We don’t have to go from house to house but we can look for ways to be involved in our communities. In this day and age, unbelievers can be found in online groups and networks or in more traditional forms of interest groups. As a young adult, I found unbelievers in my work networks and through friend connections. When I was married with a child, there were even more opportunities to meet people through my daughter and her school friends and their families. Now as an empty nester, I have to make a concerted effort to look for ways to meet lost people. Sometimes it is through a volunteer effort, sometimes through crossing paths with people as I run errands, or in my travels. People who need Jesus are everywhere and God desires for us to more than just cross paths with them. He desire for us to share His truth as we go.

One way I have found to share Christ is to focus on a truth from God’s Word and to share that truth with others as I go about my day. Making my conversations about what God is doing in my life this week and especially today, is what people are interested in. They are even more interested in what God could be doing that involves them. It is exciting to see how God weaves what He is doing in our lives with what is happening in theirs. He knows just what we need; but He also knows who else needs to hear it. Somehow He puts us at just the right place at just the right time to be able to make a connection.

To share Christ on a daily basis, try these suggestions. Every day…

1. Find a Truth from God’s Word.

We can begin by allowing God to do something in our lives. We know that He is always at work but we start by renewing our relationship with Him. A good Bible reading plan and set a time to read the Bible every day is essential for each of us as believers. Sometimes devotional books can help us get started. Allow some time to read the Word and ask God to give you truth for the day. It might be a new thought or a reminder of something we already know. Whatever that truth is, concentrate on that truth during the day.

For instance, maybe you are reading through Psalms and God shows you the truth of being joyful and expressing joy to the Lord. It might be that you are going through a difficult time financially and God reminds you that He is the provider. There are so many truths we find in the Word of God. As you allow God to work in your life, you will have many truths you can share with others. Choosing one truth for the day will help you have something to say when the opportunity presents itself.

2. Pray for an opportunity to share the truth with an unbeliever.

If you know that you will see lost people during the day, pray specifically for those people. Pray that God will give you the words to share with them. Pray for an opportunity to share the truths that the Lord is teaching you. I have found that I am much more aware of the Holy Spirit working when I have sincerely prayed for an opportunity to share.

As you spend time with God each morning, ask Him to give you the time and words and situations where you can tell others about Him. Sometimes you may encounter someone in a phone call, sometimes in an email or on Facebook, and sometimes it may be face to face when you least expect it.

As you pray, pray specifically for those who you know but also pray for God to open the doors to tell anyone about Him who needs to know.

3. Share the Truth as God opens the door.

These truths that God teaches you will naturally flow into conversations you have as you go throughout your day because the Holy Spirit will open the doors. Often we share things the Lord is doing with our lives with other Christian friends but shy away from saying them when we talk to the lost. As God does things in your life, try sharing them with someone else.

Look for ways you can engage unbelievers in conversations. Some days you will see more people than others. If you find yourself with church friends all day, pray for God to show you how you can get involved in activities with those who might need the Lord. Volunteering, visiting in area hospitals, and even grocery shopping are all places where people gather. Ask God to make you sensitive throughout the day for someone to share the Truth with.

In conclusion

Wouldn’t it be great if we committed to be current in sharing our faith? Can you imagine what God could do if each person would share a truth from God’s Word every day with an unbeliever? God does so many exciting things so what a joy to be able to share them with others. We should not be able to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard in our lives today!

“Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah—for which I am in prison—
so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time.
Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (Colossians 4:2-6, HCSB).

Reprinted from LifeWay's Deacon Magazine, April 2010.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Better Heart

No one has love for lost people like Jesus, but I hope that some measure of the love Jesus had for lost people would consume us. I am a full time stay at home wife & mom. It would be easy to make my life cushy and comfortable and surrounded by people who think like me, talk like me, dress like me, act like me, but the point of life isn't comfort and what a vast amount of richness I would miss by not spending time with the poor, hungry, and the like. I wonder if you would be willing to ask Jesus to give you HIS heart for the lost...the real poor, the real hungry...spiritually speaking. I am asking Him for it. Contemplate how different your world would be if your heart was more like Jesus?!

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Springing Into A New Season!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

As a new Spring season is upon us, we can look around at all of God's creation coming alive after winter's rest. Budding trees are bursting with new life and Spring flowers are blooming with new color.

Eternal life in Christ is much like a new season that is described in 2 Cor. 5:17!

The Old Has Gone ~ What are some areas of life that need to Go? Spring is a wonderful time in the life of a Christian to evaluate any "old" things that need to change! Great time for "Spiritual Spring Cleaning"!

The New Has Come ~ What New Life can Christ bring into the life of a believer? As we look around and think about the season of Spring that is upon us, do our lives as believers resemble new life springing out? Good News, God never breaks His Promises and He deeply desires in a believer's life for daily New Life Springing Forth In Christ!

As we pray and seek God for a new season in our lives, make a list of any old things that need to be removed from our lives and make a list of new life that we deeply desire for God to do in our life in Christ!

As God provides His plans for a New Life in Christ, who needs us to share with them how to have a New Life in Christ? Spring is a great opportunity to share how the old can be gone and a New Life in Christ can come! Today, this beautiful Spring day, someone needs Jesus!

Jesus makes all things NEW as we look around us and see evidence of Springing Into A New Season full of new growth, let's ask for NEW growth of Christ in our lives!

(All Things New ~ Steven Curtis Chapman)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Day Before...

I wonder what the Lord's disciples were doing (the details of it) the day before THE DAY? I wonder if they had a glimmer of hope, an inclination, a pondering that at last their Savior they would see. He had said that He would rise again on the third day, but I don't know that the statement made sense to them, not yet anyway. As Jesus had foretold the Shepherd was struck down and the sheep scattered. They were put into a very brief few days of waiting, and I imagine that they were excruciating days too.

Even today I feel anxious waiting for Sunday. Today I remember Jesus in the grave. Dead. Dead for the world. Dead for your sins. Dead for my sins. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I can't hardly wait to remember that He rose again! He's alive! Alive! Alive because death could not hold Him! Alive for your salvation! Alive for my salvation! Alive forevermore!

As you remember Jesus this weekend, don't lose sight of the fact that apart from the precious Gospel we now celebrate, we are nothing and we have nothing. The only thing that we have worthy of offering up to the decaying world we live in and to the dead people that walk past us day after day is Jesus! If Jesus is in the grave we are to be most pitied Paul said...we have nothing and are deceived. However, since Jesus is in fact ALIVE we have everything and can offer up hope to a world desperate without it. I hope the Gospel influences your ministry this year in a significant manner. I pray that the following passage would instruct you and help you as you serve women. Apart from His wounds, we cannot be healed. Make sure Jesus' name is lifted up!

1 Peter 2
22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

no greater love

"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."
John 10:17

Later in the passage, it says that some Jews thought Jesus was mad for saying this!

We may seem crazy to others as we live to follow Christ, but our God is worthy of our praise. It may seem that we are giving up "life." It is true that when we follow Christ, we are giving up a sort of life in the world, but life everlasting with Him is what we gain. We may not see the benefits while we are on earth, but God rewards us with everlasting life (see John 10:28).

It makes me think about how professional athletes or artists must feel. At some point, someone had to have thought they were crazy, since they probably had to practice much more so than others to be able to reach that level. We can worship Him, though, with a similar all-or-nothing attitude to live for Him.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

Praise God that our God is alive and that He sent His Son to die for our sins. This week, I ask us to pray for those who do not know the Lord here in the states and in Pakistan. Best wishes for a happy Easter that is approaching!

"The Veil" by David Crowder Band - live music video: