Thursday, December 29, 2011

More of Jesus 2012!

"And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people" Luke 2:52 (HCSB)

2012 A Year To Increase In JESUS! That is one of the deepest prayers of my heart for the New Year...that Jesus will Increase in my life so that I will keep growing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God to reach others for Jesus!

Since the day I ran to Jesus I have been DESPERATE for HIM in EVERYWAY!!! I pray that we will all GROW & GO in 2012 for JESUS as we SHARE Him with others!

Let's grab our New Year Daily Planner and put Jesus FIRST in EVERYWAY everyday!!

Let's pray daily for Jaye and Gifted2Go for 2012! There are MANY ripples of evangelistic women's leadership that are flowing in and through Jaye's life that God is calling us to pass on to others!!

Let's get ready to share Jesus as we Grow & Go wherever He leads!! There are people right now crying out for HOPE & PURPOSE in their New Year...we have the answer to their prayers...JESUS...Let's Grow and Be Ready To Share Him Again In 2012!!!!! (Take My Life Jesus!) (Here With Me!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God's Greatest Gift!

God's Greatest Gift is not found under a tree! This Christmas, I pray, that you receive so many "gifts" that only God can give...

Jesus is going from life to life, home to home, looking for those that will open their heart and make room for Him to live forever! There was "no room for Him" in the Inn over 2000 years ago, have you made room for JESUS and invited HIM to come INN to your life? Who are you praying for that still needs to make Jesus Lord this Christmas? You can count on our prayers for those that need the Lord!! ♥Hope Has Come♥

Praying with Joy as God’s Greatest GIFT, His name is ♥JESUS♥, blesses your life this Christmas and New Year in many special ways, some of which, are mentioned in one of my favorite verses ♥Isaiah 9:6♥

Merry Christmas & Blessed New Year from the Jones Family to You and Your Family!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Persecution Pointers

Let’s look at some very practical pointers that can help when objections to accepting Christ are voiced.

1.    Be calm.  Keep focused. 2 Timothy 4:5
“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

2.    Always be ready.  Be gentle and respectful.1 Peter 3:15
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

3.    Be patient. 2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
4.    Be merciful. Jude 22
            “Be merciful to those who doubt.”

5.    Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James 1:19
“My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
6.    Be controlled. Titus 3:9
“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.”

7.    Be holy. Hebrews 12:14
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

As we are calm and focused on Jesus, ready to share, gentle, respectful, patient, merciful, are quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, controlled and holy...others will see Jesus in us and many will be saved.

Matthew 28:17-20
“When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.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.’”

Go and worship the Lord. Understand some will doubt. Realize that Jesus has all power and authority in heaven and on earth. Because He does...go, make converts of all, baptize them and teach them to be obedient and know that the Holy Spirit goes before you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Love Letter from God

A Love Letter from God
compiled by Dr. Bill Gaultiere

Dear (insert your name),

I love you! (John 3:16) I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12) and I made you in my image (Genesis 1:27), knitting you together in your mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).

I know the number of the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30) and I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). My thoughts of you are as countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18).

I am love (1 John 4:16) and the greatest commandment that I have for you is that you love (Matthew 22:37-40). My love is made complete in you when you receive my love for you and love others and me as I have loved you (1 John 4:7-21). To show you how to live this life of love I've given you Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), laws that are good and pleasing to you (Psalm 119).

So to fear me is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). But you don't need to remain afraid of me for I am a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6). In fact, I've come to you in Jesus, not to Lord my authority and power over you, but to serve you (John 13:13-14). Knowing my perfect love will cast out all of your fear (1 John 4:18).

You see I've loved you from the beginning, long before you loved me (1 John 4:19). I sent my son Jesus, the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3), to die in your place for your sins (Romans 5:8), to take upon Himself the punishment that you deserved (Isaiah 53:5). He became the sacrificial lamb and satisfied my righteous judgment (John 1:29).

Now I knock on the door of your heart, waiting for you to let me in (Revelation 3:20). When you put your faith in Jesus I forgive you for your sins (Acts 10:43) and choose not to remember them anymore (Isaiah 43:25). I adopt you into my family (Ephesians 1:5) and lavish you with my fatherly love (1John 3:1).

Then you are a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a new self (Ephesians 4:24) and a new life (Romans 6:4). You have my precious righteousness as a gift (Romans 5:19). Your body becomes a temple for my Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and you become a saint (Ephesians 1:18).

Indeed, I want to make your righteousness to shine like the dawn (Psalm 37:6). I have called you and I am faithful to help you to be holy (1 Thessalonians 5:24). So when you are tempted to sin, look for the way out that I provide (1 Corinthians 10:13). And when you fail remember that I am waiting for you with open arms, quick to forgive you and to give you another chance (Luke 15:11-31).

I want nothing more than to give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4) and to do more for you than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever you need, look to me and I will provide (Philippians 4:19). I will give you love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of my Spirit, to fill your soul and for you to share with others (Galatians 5:22-23).

Since I care for you so much don't worry about getting your needs met and don't worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34). Give your burdens to me and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). I've given you my Holy Spirit to be your Comforter and Counselor (John 14-16). So don't walk alone; walk in my Spirit (Galatians 5:25) and trust in me and I will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:4-5) and bless you with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).

Please know that as my child you are safe in my hands (John 10:28). I am a refuge for you (Psalm 9:9). Like a mother bird I cover you with my feathers in my nest (Psalm 91:1-4). When you pass through rivers of difficulty you will not be swept away. When you walk through fiery trials you will not be burned (Isaiah 43:2). So when you must walk through the valley of the shadow of death don't be afraid because I am with you, comforting and protecting you (Psalm 23:4). I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

When you are brokenhearted I will draw close to you (Psalm 34:18). I'll cry with you (John 11:35). Like a shepherd holding his lamb, I'll carry you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11). I'll collect all your tears in my bottle and record each one in my book (Psalm 56:8). I'll comfort you in your time of mourning (Matthew 5:4) and I'll turn your mourning into gladness (Jeremiah 31:13) and put a new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:3).

When enemies come against you I will fight for you (Psalm 44:7). Even when you do what is right people will insult you, criticize you, and mistreat you, but I will bless you (Matthew 5:11). Even when you trust your father and mother they may forsake you, but I will receive you (Psalm 27:10). If you find yourself poor remember that I've blessed you with true riches (Luke 6:20). If you find yourself last in line remember that with me those who are last will be first! (Matthew 20:16).

Yes, I am for you and not against you! (Romans 8:31) If I have been misrepresented to you by religious people who claim to know me but don't, (John 8:41-44) then know that I am against these hypocrites (Matthew 23). And if your earthly father has disappointed you, then please realize that I offer you more than he ever could (Matthew 7:9-11). I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48), the Father from whom all true fatherhood derives its name (Ephesians 3:15), and I love to give you good gifts (Matthew 7:11).

With me on your side your future is bright and full of hope! My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Even hardships, as painful as they may be, can be to your benefit if you endure them as loving discipline from me, opportunities for you to be trained in the ways of righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12; 6-11). Always remember that when you love me and seek my purposes that all things will work together for your good (Romans 8:28).

You need to realize that I have gifted you to serve me (Matthew 25:14-23) and I want to make you great! (Psalm 18:35). Discover your gift and use it in the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8) because I have important work for you to do, work that I will help you accomplish by working alongside you (Haggai 2:4). Together we can accomplish great dreams (Mark 10:27) and move mountains! (Matthew 17:20).

But you're not just my servant. You're my friend! (John 15:15) More than that you're my beloved child! (1 John 3:1) You're precious and honored in my sight (Isaiah 43:4) and I rejoice over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17).
I will always love you (Jeremiah 31:3) and there's nothing that can ever separate you from my love (Romans 8:38-39).

One day soon I will wipe away your tears and take away your pain (Revelation 21:3-4) and reward you for all the good that you've done in my name (Revelation 22:12). And we will be together forever in the heavenly home that I have prepared for you (John 14:2). It is more beautiful and more wonderful than you can imagine (Revelation 21:10-27).

Love, God

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simple Anti-Stress Time Management!

Accept the life-time anti-stress guarantee that Jesus offers us all:

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." Mark 6:31a

Years ago in one of my Women's Ministry Leadership Classes the words that were shared made an impact on my life when it came to leadership and times management that I wanted to learn how to practice, especially when my life schedule is full: We learned the 3 D's of Leadership = Decide, Delegate, Disappear!

Exodus chapter 18 teaches a great lesson on the 3 D's of Leadership. Let's learn from the wise counsel given to Moses from his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18:18-23;

"Moses’ father-in-law (Jethro) replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Here is one of the keys to Moses finding a yoke and burden that fit him instead of being worn out all the time, we see the key in verse 24 "Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said."!!! Do you have a Jethro in your life? Someone that will give you godly wise counsel? Let's Listen & Live Stress Free!!

In my words:

1. Make a daily list of what needs to be done "right now" including a simple plan on how to get things on your list done! If I fail to plan I am planning to fail! (Decide)

2. Involve others, Ask for help! It is good to include and even hire some extra help from time to time when your calendar is very full. Also be willing to say "no, thank you" to overextending yourself or too many activities. No for you means Yes for someone else! Involving others is also a great witness, think about the people in our lives that are searching for purpose and meaning that is only found in Jesus Christ! You could be adding a blessing to other lives while they help you in your life! (Delegate)

3. Rejoice & Rest In The Lord!! (Disappear ~ Let Go ~ Trust God) (All To Jesus I Surrender!) (It Is Well With My Soul)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Unexpected Joy

"9"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14"You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you" (John 15:9-16, NASB).

Sunday was such a joy for me on many levels. Because of faithful preschool desk workers, I was able to go to the worship center for our service a bit sooner than normal. As I stood there chatting, a beautiful young woman introduced herself and told me that I had led her to the Lord years ago. I knew she looked familiar! Leslie was glowing as she introduced her husband and the fruit of her two girls, one in middle school and one in high school. I rejoiced at what the Lord had done because of her obedience to Him.

As my pastor began the sermon, his text was in John 15. What a great reminder that we are to abide in Him and He brings the fruit. Not only do people come to know Him, but our joy is complete in Him. I began to think of the fruit of Christ being produced in the generations that will follow us and the generations that follow in those we have introduced to Jesus.

Lord, help me be obedient to share you with others. I want those in this generation to know You, but also for those who come later to experience the firm foundation and true joy that only You can bring.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Women Surrounding the Birth of Jesus: Elizabeth

Scripture Reference - Luke 1:5-25; 1:39-45

Elizabeth AND Zechariah both came from priestly lines.  Elizabeth was the from the daughters of Aaron.  Though she and Zechariah were a godly couple, they were not able to have children most of their lives---UNTIL the angel came to tell Zechariah that Elizabeth would bear him a son and to name him John.  Elizabeth's pregnancy was a miracle in her old age.  God had a greater plan than Elizabeth!  She acknowledged that "The Lord has done this for me" in Luke 1:25, showing that she believed God was a big enough God to let her conceive.

Elizabeth is important to the birth of Jesus because she is the first person to acknowledge that Mary was indeed carrying the Messiah.  When Mary arrived and she heard Mary's greeting, "the baby leaped insider her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:  'You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed.'  How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me...She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled."  They did not have text messaging in those days so Elizabeth would not have known that Mary was pregnant and she confirmed Mary was indeed pregnant with the Messiah.

Lessons from Elizabeth:

  • Elizabeth kept her faith in God EVEN THOUGH she was childless most of her life.
  • Elizabeth accepted that God's plan for her life was different than hers.
  • Elizabeth experienced a long "waiting" time and did so patiently.
  • Elizabeth's live took an unexpected turn and this turned out to be a JOY.
  • Elizabeth rejoiced with Mary about her carrying the Messiah, rather than wondering why it was not her.
"Lord, let us always keep a strong faith in YOUR plans for our lives and accept "the lot and portion assigned to us" (Psalm 16:5). Let us use our waiting times and unexpected circumstances to show your glory through them."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Unknown Name, But Not an Unknown Action

Do you know who Jochebed is?  I didn't until I was reading a book about women in the Bible.  Jochebed is the mother of Moses!

As the mother of a newborn boy, Jochebed had a real predicament. Pharaoh had ordered every son born to Jew to be thrown into the Nile River. However, she knew she could not just let her son die. Motivated by her trust in God and love for her little son, Jochebed took a step of faith and hid Moses in a little basket. That one act of faith earned her a place in the clouds of witnesses whose lives testified of their faith in God. (cf. Hebrews 11:23) Only two other women are mentioned in that "hall of faith"--Sarah and Rahab.

Jochebed's faith in God gave her the courage to make the decision to trust in God rather than obey Pharaoh's command. "She took an ark..and laid the river's bank." (Ex. 2:3) She actually put her baby in a basket made from bulrushes covered with tar and mud, and set it in the Nile River.

God was faithful to her in bringing Pharaoh's own daughter to the bank of the Nile River, finding the baby, and getting a Hebrew nursemaid for the baby) which happened to be his own mother, Jochebed). Now there is MUCH more to the story and if you have not read it recently, go back and read Exodus chapters 1 and 2.

As we set our goal to live lives of faith in order to be lights shining in a dark world, what challenge in your life do you need to risk having faith in God rather than giving in to fear or worry? Jochebed reaped the benefit of her faith and was allowed to be the nursemaid to Moses. You will be blessed because of your risk of faith in whatever situation you are in, and this in turn will be a testimony to others of the faithfulness of our God and Father! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gifted2Go Forgive!

"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13

Christmas, The Season of Giving, represents one of the greatest times of the year as we celebrate the greatest GIFT that was ever given by God ~JESUS~ HIS ONE AND ONLY SON. Jesus was born to die so that we could be FORGIVEN and experience ETERNAL LIFE here on earth and forever some day in heaven! Forgiveness is a gift from God. A gift to receive and a gift to give. Is there someone or some life experience that God has brought to your mind and heart to extend fresh forgiveness? When we do not forgive over and over this could cause bitter feelings or thoughts.

Some of the best definitions and truths of forgiveness that I heard and learned years ago when I was in a Bible Study about making peace with the past was shared from Focus on the Family and it goes like this "Forgiveness means giving up my right to hurt others that have hurt me! Forgiveness doesn't mean that what someone did to me is OK, it means that God will take care of everything as I put it all in His Hands! Forgiveness doesn't mean that I am suppose to have a close relationship with those that do not have your best interest at heart, I just need make sure that I am not holding any grudges that end up choking the life out of me!"

Usually forgiveness is not a one time action, it is an ongoing healthy habit!! If the enemy fails at causing Christians to turn their back on and/or be bitter at God, he will try over and over to get them to turn their back on/or be bitter at people!!

As a first-generation Christian that was NOT raised in a Christian home and that has suffered deeply from the sins of others projected onto my life. As a Christian, some of the most difficult times in my walk with God has been when other Christian's have betrayed me, but, God has allowed me to learn how to supernaturally FORGIVE the many many offenses of others (as I never forget all that He has forgiven me from) 70 x 7 and much more!! How?

Here are some simple steps, that I pray encourage you, that you can take that I have taken over and over and over to be BETTER instead of BITTER!!!

1. Never forget the many things that God has forgiven you for! (1 Tim.1:15)

2. Never stop praying for others that have offended or hurt you! (Matt. 5:44)

3. Never let the sun go down on your offense or anger! Confession keeps our hearts free from bitterness! God will take care of the offender! (Eph.4:26, 2 Tim. 4:14)

4. Never get confused with who is behind all the offenses and hurts of this world, it is NOT people, that the enemy wants you to hold a grudge against, it is THE ENEMY himself that deserves ALL blame...this is his purpose, let's not give him any purpose in our lives! (Eph.6:10-12)

5. Never forget the many ways, some of these ways will cause others to become believers, when we walk in forgiveness this will cause others to become one step closer to the CROSS, the GREATEST example of FORGIVENESS for us all!! (Gen.50:20!!, 2 Cor.1:4)

For Further Study: The life of Joseph written about in Gen. 37-50 is a great study, Joseph is a great role model, and his life is a great example of forgiveness as we all strive to be Better instead of Bitter!!

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:14-15

When, not if, life gives you lemons, add the sweetness of forgiveness and let God turn lemons into lemonade:-)!! (Seventy Times Seven by David Meece)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

storytelling through art

"Jesus said, 'Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again.  But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again - ever!  In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life'" (John 4:13-14, HCSB). 

Recently, I went to a henna party and found out more about how missionaries are finding a new way to talk about God with others through art.  Henna is a natural dye for the skin used for beauty reasons in Southeast Asian countries.  It can help share a story like this:
The hour of the day was when most people weren't out, but that was just the right time that this woman went to get some water.  In the fourth chapter of John in the Bible, we learn that she had a reputation.  Jesus was going to get some water at the same time and asked her for some.  Now, Jesus was recognized from being of Jewish descent, and she was a to some, this could've seemed scandalous, that this man was talking to this woman at this odd time of day.  The Bible lets us know that God looks at the heart, though, not the outside - so, it makes sense that Jesus started this conversation with her.

He asked some questions, and as they talked, He explained that He was the living water.  God gives us new life through Christ. When she realized that He was the Messiah, the promised one who God sent prophets to tell about so long ago who would save God's people.  She went to the city to tell others that He had come.

There's more to learn about Jesus being living water, from John 4:1-26.  It's been on my mind for a couple of weeks, and symbols representing different parts of this story are now stained on my hand for about a week.  A woman named Katie told me about how this story, and how other Bible stories, can be expressed through henna art.  

In South Asian cultures, the henna plant is often ground into a sort of paste that feels cool to the skin.  Women use it for hair dye or as a temporary tattoo, as it's popularly considered a beautiful thing there.  Someone noted how it's similar to how many American women use lip stick stains and how some women in other countries stain their nails.  It goes away in about a week.

Some missionaries partnered with the International Mission Board to explain to others this way of sharing God's good news through Bible stories. The designs you can make using this dye can be symbols of different parts of the story. That way, they help give a creative, visual picture of the story that you can share.

If you'd like to know more, then check out the sites below.  A good place to buy something like the henna I used is online or at an international supermarket (I've heard that peacock, that comes out looking black, can cause serious allergic reactions - so I've heard to stay away from that kind).  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Generation to Generation

    "Great is he LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  One generation commends your works to another; they tell of you mighty acts.  They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty--and I will meditate on your wonderful works."  Psalm 145:3-5

I was blessed to be able to go to the Women's Forum in Nashville, TN last weekend at Lifeway.  As leaders, you should plan now to go to this conference next November and take some key women in your church with you.

The theme for this year's conference was "We're All In This Together."  The workshops walked you through all the different generations and gave practical ways to connect the generations.  It is so important for each generation to try to meet the other generations on their "turf" and to listen and learn from each other.  Intentionality is the key.  We must make sure the next generation knows the Lord and teaches the younger women how to live godly lives who will, in turn, influence others.

Many thanks go to the Lifeway staff that put this together!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Thanksgiving Tree!

John 15:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

As we all prepare to gather together with our families this Thanksgiving, I Thank God for A Family Tree that is filling up with Branches of Believers....because God is Faithful!!

I wonder if you can relate to my life in Christ in anyway? You see, when I became a First-Generation Follower of Christ = A Christian, I began my walk with the Lord all by myself. But, God Is Faithful, and it wasn't long before He began to Bless my life with A New Family Tree! A tree that began to fill up with His Branches of Believers! 4 months after I became a Christian, my loving husband became a Christian (and it was the week before Thanksgiving when he gave his life to Christ, this is one of the blessings I thank God for, A Christian Husband that loves Him and loves me!)! It was amazing how God changed every relationship in our lives. As we began to learn how to share Jesus with others as His Witness, our family tree began to grow in so many ways! Did it happen quickly and overnight, NO it did not for us, as we also learned how to "wait upon the Lord & pray without ceasing"! But because of God's Faithfulness, He still keeps enlarging our new family tree! Our children have all become Christians and love God and we look forward to the next generation of believers that God Promises to reach as we strive to live for Him and share Him until Jesus returns or we go to live with Him in heaven forever!!

Below is a short picture of one of God's youngest witnesses, Josiah!!! He is one of my favorite role models in the Bible and I pray that his life will encourage you that God will grow His Family Tree through YOU, no matter what age you are and no matter what kind of family tree you were born into...God's Word says it best in Jeremiah 29:11-13; "For I know the plans I have for you,' "declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."!!

Some of Josiah’s Family Tree

 Great-Great-Great Grandpa – King David 1 Kings 11:4, 1 Kings 14:8, Acts 13:22 (“…I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

 Great-Great-Grandpa – King Ahaz “DID NOT do what was right in the eyes of the Lord” 2 Kings 16:2

 Great-Grandpa - King Hezekiah: “Did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” 2 Kings 18:5-7

 Grandpa - King Manasseh: “Did what was EVIL in the eyes of the Lord” 2 Kings 21:2

 Dad – King Amon: “Did what was EVIL in the eyes of the Lord” 2 Kings 21:20

 King Josiah!: “Did what was RIGHT in the eyes of the Lord” 2 Kings 22:2

Meet Josiah: “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”
• God called Josiah when he was 8 years Josiah’s day boys were considered men when they were 12 years old
• Josiah obeyed God 8-39 (killed at 39 by Neco, an evil king of Egypt), for 31 years Josiah obeyed God whole-heartedly (2 Chron.34:1)
• Josiah searched after God and had an open heart to God
• Josiah was a difference maker like his great-grandpa Hezekiah!
• Josiah cleaned out the temple of ungodliness and revived the atmosphere to following God’s Ways
• Josiah’s weakness and mistake that led to his death was to get involved in a battle that he had been warned against getting involved in (let God fight your battles!)
• Josiah made a difference for God because “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”! (Unfailing Love - Chris Tomlin)

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Sewing" Seeds of Evangelism (Acts 9:36-42)

          Dorcas (also known as Tabitha in Aramaic) was a woman of influence in her home town of Joppa. Scripture says “she was always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36). In the very next verse Scripture says: “she became sick and died.” (Peter happened to be in a nearby town called Lydda, and the disciples sent two men to him a begged him to: “Please come at once!” (9:38) Peter went with them and when he got there “all the widow stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” (9:39)

Peter sent everyone out of the room, got down on his knees and prayed. “Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (9:40-42)

We know from v. 36 that Dorcas was a disciple of Jesus. Much of her “helping the poor” and “always doing good” included sewing robes and clothing for others. Another translation says she sewed shirts and coats. I am impressed by that! (I think I am doing good if I can thread a bobbin for a sewing machine.)  She had obviously been such a vital influence on the community in Joppa sent two men to urge Peter to “come at once.” It seems as if they all understood the impact she had on so many. “Sewing” was one of the ways she “sowed” seeds of kindness and compassion. This is evident from her work with the widows around her. Dorcas used her talents and gifts to serve other people.

Because of her acts of kindness and her actually doing good works (not just coming up with good ideas) Dorcas influenced all those around her. With her death and then Peter raising her from the dead, everyone heard all over Joppa and “many people believed in the Lord.”

Maybe we all need to examine our abilities and ask God how He can help us use them to “sew” or “sow” seeds of the gospel! And let's not do it in a "so-so" way, but with all of our hearts.  We are all Gifted2Go so let's sow!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Season of Thankfulness to God!

♥2 Thessalonians 2:13♥ "As for us, we can’t help but THANK GOD for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always THANKFUL that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth."

This time of the year is one of my favorite! Attitudes of Gratitude are all around us as we Thank God for blessing upon blessing!

This time of the year causes me to thank God for saving my life from the dark pit of lostness! Generational Lostness!! As a first-generation Christian, I heard about Jesus for the very first time ever in my life when I was in my 20's and I RAN TO JESUS! I THANK GOD that He has totally changed my life in everyway! Then God began to reach my loved ones one by one year by year, even though some of the years of waiting seemed like FOREVER, but God is Faithful!! My husband became a Christian 4 months after I gave my life to Christ, but it felt like a long season of waiting as God taught me how to pray and wait on HIM!!

This time of year is such a special opportunity to Thank God!! What would you like to Thank God for? Who are the ones on your life that you are praying and waiting on the Lord "to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth." ♥2 Thessalonians 2:13b♥ I must encourage you to Keep Praying as I count it a privilege to pray with you as we NEVER GIVE UP because God Is At Work~His Timing Is Perfect!!

Dear God, Thank You for Being You!! Thank You for having a plan for each and everyone of those YOU LOVE and have a HOPE & a FUTURE for!! We trust You, we love You, we wait on You, and we THANK YOU for taking care of everything and everyone that is on our hearts and minds!! In Jesus' Name, AMEN!! (Thank You, Lord by Hillsong)!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Mistake #15

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

15 – don’t quit! never give up!

In conclusion

Working with men is a great experience. Most often, they say what they mean and don’t have a hidden agenda. Respect them and serve them faithfully and they will be your advocates at every turn.

Do not quit your job because you are frustrated. Do not give up trying to work with them. God is in the business of restoring relationships and quitting is not an option. Pray, pray, pray. Do not quit and do not give up!

I thank God for the awesome men that I have served with and who have tolerated me while I learned to communicate and strive to be that professional, Godly woman that we all long to be.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Take Advantage of the Moment

            II Kings 5 shows a great testimony of a young girl whose name is not even mentioned in the Bible and who only appears in one verse. If you have your Bible handy, read the chapter. Naaman was a captain in King Aram’s army. Verse one tells us that he was a great man, a valiant warrior, and was highly respected……BUT he had leprosy. The Aramean army had gone out and had taken a young girl from Israel captive in one of their conquests; she became the maid to Naaman’s wife.

Now, back up and think about what was just said. A little girl was taken from her family, her religion, her homeland and everything that was ever familiar to become the servant of one of the very men that put her in those circumstances. THAT would be hard to accept!

However, instead of complaining or sulking, she evidently accepted her situation and did not give up her faith in God nor her desire to make Him known. She tells Naaman’s wife: “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” If I were her, I am pretty sure that would not be my attitude towards the man that dragged me from my family.

Isn't it amazing that just that one mention of her in verse 3 resulted in Namaan going to Israel, seeing Elijah, being healed of his leprosy, and his coming to know the God of Israel. Verse seventeen says, “your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord.” Wow! He came to know the personal God of Israel because she took advantage of an opportunity to say and do what she could to point Naaman to God. Scripture doesn’t say, but doesn’t it seem likely to you that the rest of his household probably came to know Him through Naaman? The faithfulness of one little girl certainly impacted more people than she probably ever dreamed! That nameless young servant speaks volumes to me:

* She was selfless in her circumstances.
* Her eyes were not on herself, but on others.
* She took advantage of a moment where she could verbally testify about God.
* She did what she could and where she could.
* She was faithful to courageously speak out about her faith.

“Lord, help me be as selfless as she was and to daily look for opportunities to speak about You no matter where I am or what I am doing.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

sweeter than honey

"How sweet Your word is to my taste - sweeter than honey to my mouth" (Psalm 119:103).

An excerpt from the devotional, Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms made me think today, so wanted to share:

"How sweet is God's Word to you?  It says 'to my taste' (v. 103). I take that to mean, God personalizes His Word for each of us, to what we need to hear from Him at that particular moment. Have you found that to be true? I have!

"...Psalm 119:97 starts out with, 'How I love your teaching! It is my meditation all day long.' You'll know how sweet His Word is by how much you meditate on it. Or do you meditate more on your needs, concerns, or sin area?  Which is bigger in your thought life, God or your Goliath? I have the tendency to focus on my issues and make them larger than life, but that's also when I know I haven't allowed the sweet honey of God's Word to melt my heart and guide my thoughts.

"Father God, May I love Your teaching more than my own insights. Let Your Word be the sweet taste that I'm longing to hear and guide me from every false way. Amen."
-Melanie Cook

(photo from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Look Back!

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Have you ever been running a race and looked back? What are some of the things that happen when you look back?

* You Slow Down
* You Loose Control of the Direction You are Going In
* You Look at Things That Will Not Help You Win The Race
* You Could Trip & Fall
* You Get Distracted From Running Your Race

These are just some of the things that the enemy and the world can use to get us off course of The Race that God has for each one of His Witnesses! Distractions Distractions Distractions! We must guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus against anything that would cause us to look back and take our eyes off the race before us!! You and I must have a daily plan, His Day Timer and stick to it! Yes, there will be times that unexpected things come into our days that we must take care of, but beware of the things of this world that will try and consume the things of God in our lives! There are more distractions than ever in the day we live and we must know what our distractions are!! Why? So that we can run the race that God has called us to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus = The Finish Line of All Lines = JESUS!! And don't forget to take as many others with you as you can as His Witness! And as we are running, don't forget to cheer on as many others as we can that are in the same race and that will win the same prize on the same team, The Body of Christ!! What an awesome exciting race we are all in, Let's GO GOD!! You are Gifted2Go Run for Jesus! (The Great Adventure - Steven Curtis Chapman)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Mistake #14

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

14 - Be a Godly woman in your attitude, dress, and actions.

            Act, dress, and live with an attitude that will honor Christ. In this day and age, we have completely forgotten some basic things. I am not talking about styles or trends, I am talking about some things like necklines that are too low, clothes that are too tight, and flirty attitudes that need to be left at home. I am amazed at the Christian women’s conferences that I attend where women, even speakers, wear necklines that would distract even women. If something can be seen, the neckline is too low. That is it. Case closed. It is inappropriate. We need to model the behavior of Godly women at church and in the neighborhood. How we dress and how we act. This means that we are careful about things like eating a meal with another male, meeting behind closed doors, riding in the car with the opposite sex, and the like. It only takes one accusation for someone to ruin our ministries. We have to think about how others will see us and what they might think. When I have defied these truths, I have regretted it. Years ago, I allowed a young man to go on a church visits with me. I was twice his age. When my birthday came, I received flowers and had to call him and make sure he understood the boundaries and apologize for not finding a man for him to go with. We do this to protect ourselves but also to protect others. Yes, it can be inconvenient. Yes, there are times when someone will send a car to pick me up somewhere and I need to ride with them. However, in most cases, these are things that can be addressed early on and most of us in the ministry are very careful to make sure to avoid these situations.
            There is no room for even the slightest flirtation in the office either. We must be careful not to touch the men that we work with. We also have to watch what we say because they may take it in a way that is completely different than how we meant it. I am not a huggy person but many people, men and women, are. I am careful to do the sideways hug with men if they approach me and I try to stick to the handshakes, high fives, or pats on the shoulder. I have found that taking a step backwards sends the signal that I am uncomfortable if someone is being inappropriate. I have also found that a stern eyeball to eyeball stare can communicate volumes to remarks that never should have been made. We want to be women but we want to be Godly in our interactions in ministry.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Mistake #13

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

13 - Appropriate nesting

            One of the things that my husband taught me was that men don’t trust women who don’t nest in their offices. As an attorney, he has worked with many women attorneys. He says he always knows whether she is a long-timer or a short-timer by whether she nests in the office or not. Since I have had offices in buildings in other states, I have made it a point to make sure that I move my personal items like photos, diplomas, and work-related things into the offices so that there would be no question as to my “being there.” I want my office to look like my office even when I am far away.
            One of the mistakes that I have seen women make is nesting too much. What I mean by that is making the office look more like their bedroom rather than like an office and living room. Certainly it is appropriate to have nice, female things in the office. However, do leave the lace and the glowing, scented candles at home. We don’t want the office to smell like perfume; it is a work environment. I have heard the response that the men get to have deer heads hanging so why would we not be able to have our pink cushions with the cute bows but that becomes another story. If I were writing a book for men, I might have a comment but from our standpoint, they can have their animal heads but we still don’t get to go crazy with the frills. I will admit to having a mantle and candles in my Louisville office but I can assure you that neither is burning anything.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Mistake #12

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

12 - Leave your emotions at home

            I wish that I had mastered the tears by now. I remember how many times I would get teary eyed when someone would talk about people coming to know the Lord or about someone losing a loved one in staff meeting. I remember praying and my voice cracking as I prayed over difficult situations. In a roomful of women, we can find forgiveness. In a roomful of men, I am not so sure. One of my bosses told me that he noticed that I was fine until I had to respond about a difficult situation and he suggested that I just sit and not feel that I had to respond when I felt emotional on a need or an issue. These were wise words and helped me greatly. He felt that I was not taken seriously because of my tears and he was right. It was at that time that I also learned that cutting the sugar and the caffeine was most helpful to me as well. Whatever works for us, we need to do.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Mistake #11

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

11 - Don’t go over his head – stay under authority

            Have you ever watched women? They seem to want to get ahead by jumping outside the system. Instead of becoming the ideal team player and working together, they desire to show how much harder they work and they often go around their bosses to those over them and pat themselves on the back. It is amazing that we are still living out the same problem that Eve had. We must watch and be careful that we are being a part of the team and that we are staying under authority. This can be a challenge in a small group when we are working with the pastor’s wife and we know everyone. We must be careful to discuss the appropriate things with the appropriate person at the appropriate time. I know there have been many times that I heard about something that was coming down the pike long before my bosses did; yet, I had to sit on it and be careful with the information. Many times I knew that a phone call to the top would correct the situation but it would also ruin every relationship in between. When we go around our bosses, we show disrespect for the authority that God has placed us under. As women, this is an area that we all need to continue to work on.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Woman of Prayer

When thinking back over people I know using their giftedness to bring people to Christ I immediately thought of a pastor's wife, Mrs. C. C. Warren in Charlotte, N.C. She was the pastor's wife when I started going to this little Baptist church at the end of my street after being brought up in a large chuch of a different denomination. My parents were very faithful in making sure we were involved in church, but I did not know what a personal relationship with Christ was like until I went to this little Baptist church/mission. I accepted Christ as my person Lord and Savior after attending for three weeks at the age of fifteen. I finished high school, went to the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill and then to seminary to get a Masters in Christian Education. While I was there I received a letter from Mrs. Warren tellng me that she had prayed for me EVERY day since she met me--for me to come to a personal relationship with Christ and to serve Him faithfully. That was every day for 8 years! She had the gift of prayer for evangelism and was very diligent to follow that calling. There is no way to tell how many people she "prayed into the Kingdom," but that was something she did in her season of life as a senior adult and with her gift. I am thankful!