Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I'd love to hear from you...

ŸHave you ever experienced rejection or been abandoned?
ŸDoes your story include someone who took every opportunity to knock you down and keep you there? 
ŸIs yours a lifetime of trying to get the approval and acceptance from someone who would never give it?
ŸAre you believing you are unlovable or unworthy to be loved?
ŸDo you ever wonder if God really loves you?

God has put on my heart a Bible study I believe provides hope, healing, and answers to the above. 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, would you like to pilot this Bible study with me? To learn more, sign up and/or pray for the pilot as well as receive updates, please click here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today is a special day!

Today is my mother's birthday (March 9).  Even though she's been gone for over 10 years, I still miss her...especially on her birthday!  All that she poured into me and my sister and all the other people God put within her reach and influence is a gift to be cherished and passed on. She introduced me to God the Creator; taught me about mustard seed size faith, good manners (that one almost killed her) and how to set a pretty table. Sitting at her feet, I learned organization, graciousness, selflessness, about the bond of marriage and family and the value of honoring parents. 

She loved to laugh and cut up!  To the right is a picture of a picture I have of her in my bedroom.  It's with her with the clown Emmet Kelly.  She loved him because he made her laugh and meeting him and getting that hug made her day.  She loved her family, high heels, pretty pajamas, and Jesus. I watched her faith in a Faithful God be tested, stretched and strengthened. Oh, she wasn't perfect - in fact, she could be a stinker just like her mother! But she left a legacy of faith and of biblical womanhood. 

This picture was taken shortly before Jesus came for her.  It's not the most flattering picture of her and she wasn't at her best due to brain cancer but I love this picture because those were my last days with her and I cherish them.  She handled her final days with grace and in the end, my father commended her spirit to our Father God. 

I celebrate her today by remembering my moments with her and sharing them with you!

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  Proverbs 31:28-31 (NIV)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Women - Fashioned by God!

Here's a blast from the past.

So can I be honest here?  That message of the 80's was the image of womanhood I thought I was supposed to live up to. After exhausting myself, burning more bacon than I ever brought home and the shivers I can give my husband are not the ones eluded to in this commercial.  Let me assure you the 24 hour woman needs more than perfume!

While studying Genesis, I was reminded that we females are "fashioned" by God.  We come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. We can be prissy, athletic or both! We can love pink or NOT. The point is we’ve all been created distinctively female and according to the"helper design". Remember what God said…no helper suitable was made for Adam so God provided one. You say, but I’m not married. I'm not talking about being married. I'm talking about ALL women fulfilling their purposes according to their role as helper (helper design). Read what Susan Hunt says about out helper design:
“Helper is not a fragile word, and we are not called to a mission of fluff. This is a life-giving ministry of nurture, defense, comfort and caring. Adam celebrated the purpose and privilege of this design when he ‘called his wife’s name Eve, because she was a mother of all living’. Two words summarize the helper ministry: community and compassion. But sin marred woman’s design, and now she thinks about her womanhood in terms of her own self-fulfillment. She seeks her own completeness. She is her own reference point. She is her own authority. She abandons her design and mission for a never-ending quest for her own happiness. Woman became a life-taker rather than a life giver… It is because of our redemption that we can live out our helper design. Redeeming love breaks the reign of sin in our lives and empowers us to fulfill our creation mission. And it is our knowledge of our Redemer’s love that compels us to do so.”  Susan Hunt - The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood
Being in the world but not of the world (John 17:16), is all about the hard selfless work of nurturing, defending, comforting and helping others on behalf of God Himself.  And, in doing so, we reflect His image.  Sound beautiful and I want it so much to live this way.  But...

This kind of work is both emotionally and physically exhausting. And, I admit - there are times...days...okay even weeks where I want it to be "all about me."  People’s lives can be messy and getting involved can be costly. Honestly, this life-giving mission is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit of God.  And, as Mrs. Hunt says, in the world this kind of helper ministry lifestyle doesn’t fit or make sense. Truthfully, helper ministry only fits and makes sense within a community of women who have surrendered their lives to Christ and understand, embrace and live out their role as helper. Thank God for my sisters!

The Enjoli commercial spoke into my life independence, "self-sufficiency is power", pride in my ability to bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let him forget he’s a man. It was all about me and my glory. The message of the Enjoli commercial is a lie that my generation believed and it is the lie we have passed on to the next generation and the next… This lifestyle and thinking is in stark contrast to the Word of God.
“Helper is not a fragile word, and we are not called to a mission of fluff. This is a life-giving ministry of nurture, defense, comfort and caring.”
Married, single, divorced, widowed our mission and role as helpers is life giving. Reconciliation with God brings life and we speak reconciliation with words, actions, behaviors, and attitudes that nurture, defend, comfort, and care. This is serious, life-giving work!  As women, we have a unique role in God’s plan (as do men). Before the foundation of the world, God planned for us. He knit each of us together in our mother’s wombs – distinctively female according to the helper design. God has prepared specific works of nurture, defense, comfort and caring for us each one of us to accomplish. These works are life-giving and God-glorifying and prepared specifically for each one of us.  Wow!

When the reality of this truth sinks in there is no way we can look around and measure our lives against the lives of others. Knowing this, why would we ever entertain the thought that we are less than or our good works are not as important as the good works of others? I’ll tell you why. We’ve believed a lie! The one that immediately comes to mind is: “Surely God is holding out on me!” Trace it all the way back to the fall. Eve’s and ours! Are you mad yet? Satan’s crafty, lying, killing and scheming ways have distracted us, taken us on a detour, and robbed us of understanding and fulfilling our unique God-given purpose. Just like Eve, the evil one has come along and caused us to doubt God’s word, His will and His good intentions toward us.

Enough! We are mad and we aren’t going to take it anymore! Let’s forget all that WAS or even IS and focus on what CAN BE and SHOULD BE!  We can do it!  Amen?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Don't you sass me

Recently, I wrote about The Look of Love.  Well, here is the look that says you better straighten up!  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard my mother say "don't you sass me."  A sassy mouth was not tolerated.  Showing disrespect always had consequences.  Teaching me to control my mouth was a job my parents took very seriously.  In addition to sass, sarcasm and jokingly or causally cutting down others with my words was forbidden.

As I listen to the news and read social media tweets and comments/commentaries, I find myself wondering if we've taken our right to "free speech way too far."  Have we developed "sassy mouth"?  It's wonderful that we live in a nation where we have the right to be heard but I'm just wondering ... can't we still be heard by sticking to the facts and remaining respectful?  I admit I fail miserably.  These days, I find myself talking down to those on the TV and about the folks in the news.  Yes, I talk to the TV!  I could go so far to say I'm simply responding to rude and disrespectful people and I imagine you would agree with me.  Right?  But, I'm really wrestling with how to handle the endless chatter I hear and read and my own response or chatter to it all.  Am I a sassy mouth?
The definition of sass is to talk to (someone) in a rude way that does not show respect.  
So, I ask myself:  Is it really okay for me to say or write something (publically or privately) that is rude and disrespects another person?  Is it okay for me to be snide, snarky and/or sarcastic?  When does my "opinion" actually cross the line and become slander and gossip?  In trying to come up with an answer, some pretty powerful verses in the Bible that I think apply to "sassy mouth" came to mind.  Reading them was almost like seeing "that" face and hearing "sassy mouth".  Busted.  The Holy Spirit using the Word of God called me out.

Let me share with you what I read and how it impacted me.  The below are passages from what were originally letters.  The authors were like a spiritual parent or father, writing to people they deeply loved. Just like a good parent, they were reminding them of what is good and right and how they should act and why it was so important. Oh, this is so good and practical.
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20 (ESV)
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge...." 1 Timothy 6:20 (ESV)
But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. 2 Timothy 2:16-17 (ESV)
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26 (ESV)
With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  James 3:9-10 (ESV)
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)
Or translated another way...
Don't say anything that would hurt another person.  Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed.  That way, what you say will help those who hear you.  Ephesians 4:29 (NOG)

The Word of God parents me, guides me, teaches and reminds me.  I needed some spiritual parenting today.  How about you?

O Lord, set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips.  (Psalm 131:3)