Friday, February 25, 2011
I read a devotion this week written by Leigh Anne Florence. She is a woman who has a very creative ministry and does a lot of public speaking . In this devotion, she said she meets lots of people named "Justa." She says she asks hem frequently, "So, what do you do?" The answer she becomes accustomed to hearing is: I'm just a mom. I'm just a bank teller. I'm just a cafeteria workers. I'm just a secretary. She says in her article:
"I want to scream. 'You're not just a anything!' Though they may not mean it, what their statement says to me is they don't feel like what they're doing is important. It is as if they believe their life is not as purposeful as someone else's. I always replay, 'You're not just a mom--You're a Mom, a mom to somebody very special and that's great....God doesn't make "just a's.'"
"All throughout Scripture, God uses the common to do the spectacular. When the angel appeared to Mary and told her she would be the mother of the Christ child, I'm sure she thought, 'I'm just a girl!' I wonder if David muttered the words, 'I''m just a little boy' when he stood before the giant. Look at the apostles--they were commonplace every day, run of the ill people, but they were the ones Jesus chose to build His church. If God can use shepherds, fishermen, young girls, and tax collectors, I am confident He can use each of us." (used by permission from Leigh Anne Florence)
This challenged me to commit ALL my works to the Lord. "Commit your house cleaning to the Lord, then it will succeed." "Commit your teaching to the Lord, then it will succeed." "Commit your women's ministry to the Lord--then it will succeed." "Commit your evangelism to the Lord, then it will succeed."
Let's encourage each other and the ladies around us that they are not "just a"--they are appointed for different tasks and places of influence!
(You can read more about this speaker at http://www.woodybooks.ocom/)
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I was reading the book TransforMission by Michael Wilder and Shane Parker, and this verse was noted. The phrase "practice these things" made me think. How can we practice what Jesus taught us?
Lately, I have gotten to learn from a couple of families I know by watching them interact with their kids and by talking to the kids themselves. It has been cool to see how the couples teach their kids about who God is through discussions about media. One girl, who is a huge fan of the movie "Toy Story," said that a cup mentioned in a book (The Prince's Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul) is a symbol. I was impressed, since it can be tough to understand what a symbol is. What stood out to me is that her parents were trying to explain God through a story.
I thought about that and about how Jesus explained things through parables. He would take something that many people knew about - like weeds - and explain how it related to God and how we can have a relationship with Him. The parable that Jesus used about weeds is in Matthew 13:24-30, and it is explained in Matthew 13:36-43. Matthew 13:34-35 explains more about parables as a fulfillment of prophecy: "All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world'" (ESV).
We can practice what Jesus taught us by using a story to relate to others, even to explain our faith. Like, when we are watching a movie, we could think: How is this like real life? How is it distinctly not like real life? Does this story compare or contrast to who God is?
Whether we use a story or not, I hope we see today how to practice what Jesus has taught us so that others can see who He is.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I admit it. I'm a great starter. If you need someone to get a HUGE project started, I'm your girl. If there is a gift of apostle, I have it. I love to do the strategic groundwork and get projects started. I love the excitement and the mountain to climb. Tell me it can't be done and I am that much more determined.
However, I am a horrible finisher. I do not like to finish things. I like to see the finished product (ha, most of the time) but I am not interested in finishing or maintaining things. Whether it is a short project or a lengthy one, I am dying to get out of just about anything I have gotten myself into. Every day is a struggle for me (and those who have to endure my lack-of-completion skills).
This verse was supposed to be my verse for last year...maybe the year before too. Basically, I am already "done with it." I want a new verse. I don't want to stick with the same one but God has clearly told me that I don't get to have a new one. This is my verse for this year too. And if I don't finish some things, it will be my verse for next year too. Yikes, that scares me!
So what's the point you ask? Several things: God has a plan. We need to start the plan and we need to finish it. He doesn't give the next instruction or insight until the old one has been completed. (Sometimes He gives me just a glimpse of the new thing because it motivates me to finish the old thing!) Some of us need to start what the Lord has asked us to do. Some of us need to work on it. Some of us just need to finish and turn something in. I'm in the last category. Pray for me and I will pray for you! Lord, make me gifted to finish!
You are loved and prayed for.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Lately, I have seen how I am not as strong as I would like to be - mentally, physically, and spiritually. I can have trouble focusing, and the last mile that I try to add every two weeks to my runs, to train for a half-marathon, is my toughest. Spiritually, my friends have been teaching me more about confession. The thing is, is that I think confession really opens us up for growth in our relationship with God and with everyone you meet. I think it helps to at least share how we have this deep need for a relationship with God.
It is a process, I think, to mature in our faith. When we speak with others, we can know that we are neither perfect nor worthy to be in God's family, but that we are able to be a part of it because of Jesus' sacrifice for us. We are weak by ourselves, but we are strong with God. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us.
My challenge for myself, and to any others, is to take time to remember how much we need God in our lives. If we explain this need to others, then we could help each other grow closer to Him. It is an everyday need that we all have, and we can praise God that He is strong enough for anything.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).
An old music video about change - "May Your Power Rest on Me"
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Please look at Jaye's post from yesterday if you would like to post a gifted2go "banner" on your facebook! As we look at the gifted2go banner, please pray for this great opportunity to make facebook pages evangelistic! You are invited to use the gifted2go banner, or possibly you may feel led to make an evangelistic facebook banner of your own creative giftedness from God! We would like to encourage you to look for opportunities to share Jesus through your social network of friends that God has gifted your life with for His purpose!
We would like to share with you the simple yet powerful meaning behind Gifted2Go that includes: an empty box, the cross, and a bow! This is a simple way to share Jesus with others! (If you would like to print on your own printer these free witnessing business cards that includes this powerful plan of salvation, please let us know! We would be glad to send you the printer ready copy:-)
Empty Box = Empty Life that we all have without Jesus Christ! We were born "separated from Christ, alienated...and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" Ephesians 2:12b ESV (this very week, when I saw a news report of a 2011 famous singer arrive at an awards show in an egg, then she was hatched out to that egg as she sang a song about how she was "born" this way...I was compelled to PRAY for this precious young woman that is needing to hear from someone about how JESUS can fill up her EMPTY LIFE that is searching for true answers/purpose that is only found/fullfilled in JESUS CHRIST!! Please join me in praying for someone that I know God must be using to reach the "trend setters" of Hollywood that are "alienated" from the promises of God, can you imagine with me what will happen when this young woman that is very popular in today's culture "is born again" WOW!! This leads me to what must fill up our empty life....
The Cross = Jesus!! "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) God sent JESUS to die on the cross for you and for me!! We must received Him into our empty lives to be SAVED and to have HOPE for now and HOPE for the future!! When we turn to God and believe that He died on the cross for our sins and accept His forgiveness, HE enters our life and FILLS the VOIDS of our empty life!! God not only FILLS our life/box because of the CROSS the day that we believe, He stays in us and with us FOREVER!! This leads me to the beautiful bow that is on top of the most beautiful cross...
The Bow = Eternity!! F O R E V E R!!! "...because God has said, "Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."! Hebrews 13:5b How many people in our lives are looking for someone that will NEVER leave them, NEVER let them down, NEVER reject them, NEVER misunderstand them, NEVER hurt them, NEVER lie to them, NEVER NEVER NEVER?!!! The BOW of ETERNITY is one of the most beautiful parts of a "GIFTBOX"!! JESUS is A FREE GIFT you and I are given to make an ETERNAL difference in our lives and for us to "GIVE" to others so that they too can be SAVED!!
When we ask for forgiveness, accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, and turn to the life that He has for us to live, isn't it AMAZING what God can do through an " empty box, the cross, and a bow"...God desires to change the world forever through YOUR LIFE because now you are Gifted2Go!!"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the GIFT of GOD, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them"!! Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).
If you would like to use this as your Facebook banner, just click on the link.
Gifted2go Facebook Banner You are gifted with the love of Christ so go share with others!
Monday, February 14, 2011
The Next Step
Written by Jaye Martin. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to: Editorial and Design Manager, North American Mission Board,
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Unexpected fragrance. That's what arrived at my door yesterday. It was a normal day in Houston for me. Massive amounts of projects lay in piles around my home office, in my computer, and at the house. Every morning I am in the unfortunate habit of grabbing my smart phone to see what has happened in eastern time (EST) while I slept. I admit I often moan. It is not all bad but it does draw me to my Bible to make sense of it all. Yesterday, the day started the same but sometime in the morning, a carrier arrived with the most unexpected vase of beautiful flowers from my friend and co-laborer in Christ, Tracy. What a great blessing! Tracy, who has the gift of exhortation, always gives words of encouragement that come with the fragrance of Christ. This time, they came with physical fragrance. This photo doesn't even do them justice. They look beautiful and smell wonderful.
Today, my actual birthday, I woke up to the constant buzzing of my phone. It has been buzzing all morning. This morning, I feel the fragrance coming from it because of the hundreds who have sent me a simple birthday message on Facebook and email. The phone has been ringing and I am blessed beyond what any one person should be blessed. Tracy called and gave me this verse in 2 Corinthians 2:14 (listed above). One of my favorites. There she goes again, sharing the fragrance of Christ when I least expect it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your simple words of hope in the phrase, Happy Birthday. You have blessed my soul!
All this has me remembering how simple it is to encourage someone. It can be a special day greeting or just a smile and word of encouragement we give to someone in passing. We may not think much about it, but it can bless people in remarkable ways. Let's step it up a notch and share the fragrance of Christ today. Let's look for someone who would least expect it. With Valentine's Day around the corner, let's see who we can share the love of the Lord with, and not worry about where we are in our relationships.
May we be the fragrance of Jesus' love to others this very day. You are loved and prayed for.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
A favorite song of mine, from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? is "A Man of Constant Sorrow" - not just because I am living in Kentucky now, but because I like how the movie relates to Homer's book, Odyssey. I thought of it when I remembered how many people go through different kinds of trouble. A few days ago, I found out that a couple of women in my office building have different stages of cancer. It is tough for me to process.
What does God say about sorrow? Last night, I was reading John 16, which jumps into the story of Jesus talking with the disciples before he is betrayed and arrested (He discusses several things, and so I recommend reading a couple of chapters before chapter 16). One thing He said stood out to me: "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world" (John 16:33, HCSB).
The world is not a perfect place, we can see, but you know we don't have to be filled with fear in the midst of sorrow or troubles. God promises new life for those who believe in Him. His Spirit brings joy, as we know He is with us.
I pray that we remember who God is when troubles come our way. Is there someone else around us who is going through something tough? I pray that we will be able to, in the midst of sorrows, remind ourselves and others of who Christ is.
"May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me" (John 17:21, HCSB).
Music video link: YouTube.com, Soggy Bottom Boys, "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
During this season, when you hear God's words, "Love One Another" what is the first evangelistic thought that comes to your mind? My first thought is, "who needs God's Love and the demonstration of the LOVE of CHRIST today?"
"Do not fear, O Zion (O Sister in Christ); do not let your hands hang limp (have you given up or are you worn out so you are unable to demonstrate the LOVE OF CHRIST to others?). The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."!! ♥Zephaniah 3:16-17♥
Dear Praying Sisters in Christ, when is the last time we have shared God's Love with someone that needs Jesus, which may even include weeping? When is the last time that we covered someone else, especially someone that needs Jesus, from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet with encouraging words and prayers of protection? ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
It is good to stop and remember that the enemy is constantly on the prowl roaring (lying to whoever he can and trying to paralyze God's witnesses with fear = False Evidence Appearing Real) and trying to cause someone to doubt God's Giftedness upon their life. The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, the weapon we fight the enemy with on the front lines of evangelistic ministry! ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
When the truth of God's Word is spoken into our lives and the lives of others, God extinguishes the flaming arrows of attack that are being launched everyday! Are we willing to "fight the good fight"? Are we covering each others backs in prayer? ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
Do you know that there is someone, tonight, that is crying herself to sleep and/or waking up each morning in doubt or despair as they wonder if anyone really cares about them (that is what my life was like without Christ!)? Do you know that there is someone that feels like they are in a dark pit; for example, right now in Alaska women are in a season of darkness because of winter, lets send our prayers to them because someone needs the LIGHT of God's Love! ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
Urgent Breaking News Flash: God is calling us to speak Good News words of hope and blessing from His Love Letter (The Word of God) into the lives that the path of our life crosses ! ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
Because of Jesus, we are GIFTED BY GOD to be His Gifted2Go evangelistic encourager and prayer warrior as we remember; "He takes great delight in you, He quiets you with His Love, and rejoices over you with singing"! ♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB!
♥LOVE IS AN ACTION VERB, an ACTION VERB that was demonstrated ON THE CROSS by JESUS who LOVED US and GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16.....let's PASS HIS LOVE ON, IN JESUS' NAME & 4 HIS GLORY to people that need the Lord, AMEN & AMEN♥
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voawjjqg8zw&feature=related (How Deep The Father's Love For Us - Sarah Sadler)
Monday, February 7, 2011
A few weeks ago, Alicia Wong of North American Mission Board (NAMB), was with us at Southern Seminary, via Skype. Alicia serves as a national missionary for women's evangelism and presented at Pendergraph Women's Ministry. Her tips on reaching women was quite helpful. Alicia shared some truths on how to get to know and develop relationships with women of different cultures. Heather Reynolds, a recent Southern Seminary grad and also with NAMB, told us how she had gotten involved in meeting women of different cultures. God's Spirit was there and many of us realized how easy it is to go to international restaurants and get to know those who work and dine there. All were blessed.
What a difference technology can make! What are some of the things you have done or seen in using technology to help women to connect and learn to share Christ?
Friday, February 4, 2011
Last week I was talking about how I need to be intentional about sharing boldly about Christ "as I go." I recently had an opportunity to share "as I swam." Swimming is my favorite form of exercise --no cell phones, e mails, talking, only silence and time to reflect and pray. When I stopped to take a drink of water, a young man swimming near me asked me a question about breathing and swimming. While I am no expert at all, I was able to give him a couple tips on how he could improve his stroke.
We finished swimming about the same time. Since we already had a "starting point" for a conversation I asked him what he did for a job. It turns out that he was from India and was away from home on business. I told him I had friends who lived in India and that most of their friends were Hindu and asked him if he followed Hinduism. He said yes, that He was a Hindu. Time was short and he seemed open to a conversation just from the couple tips about swimming. Following Kelli Martin's advice from a previous blog about simplicity, I just told him that I was a Christian and that Christianity was the only religion that actually had a Savior rise from the dead. I asked him if he would use the Gideon Bible in the hotel room and read the gospel of John and see what it had to say about Jesus. He said that he would.
Now I don't know if he was being polite or if he ever did, but God is trying to teach me to be intentional about the gospel AS I GO each day--and in this case AS I SWAM. :)
Let us all encourage each other to keep sharing n the ways that we are GIFTED TO GO!!!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
God is here. I believe He sent Jesus to be our remedy, so that the Holy Spirit could come and we could have a new relationship with Him. How can we share that with someone today?
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as The Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment."!! Colossians 3:12-14 (msg)
Everyday we ask ourselves, "what am I going to wear today?" There is even a TV show that is called "What Not To Wear"...when I saw that title, it made me think about God's words to us on what we should "put on" and "wear" everyday! No matter what season it is, no matter what size we are, no matter what is "in style", no matter what...Colossians 3:12-14 teaches us, as God's chosen children..."What To Wear"! Good News...One Size Fits ALL BELIEVERS!!
Why does it matter what we put on and wear everyday? All we have to do is read the newspapers, listen to the most recent tragic breaking news, and reflect on what is going on around us to see why it is so important to put on God's Garments each day and share them with others! This is something we cannot do on our own, we must ask God to supernaturally allow us to wear His loving example & walk in ways that reflect His Image!!
When we wear God's Garments, people who need the Lord, and believers that need to borrow some of what we are wearing, will See Jesus on everyone of the tags of the clothing that we have on...from the inside out!
As we put on and wear what is from The Lord, it is very important to know "What NOT to Wear"! Colossians 3:1-11 teaches believers what NOT to wear and/or what to take off/put away daily! "rid yourselves (clean out the closets of our heart) of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on your new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator..." Colossians 3: 8-10 (NIV)
We live in a world that is raging against God and many people against one another; therefore, we have an even more urgent calling from God to "Put On His Righteousness" that is always in style!!!
- Please read Colossians 3 ♥Please memorize/meditate on the verse that is 4U!
- What are some things/clothes that God wants us to "take off-get rid of"?
- What Do We Need To Wear Everyday?!!!
- Who Needs Us To Share Jesus With Them?