Friday, May 29, 2009

Encouragement Cafe Grand Opening!

Today I am thrilled to make you aware of something so exciting that has been in the works for months. My fellow P31 speaker, Luann Prater, has been holding Gods hand as He led her down a brand new fun adventure, that only He could have ordained, called The Encouragement Cafe.

The Encouragement Cafe is an on-line radio show that will air every Saturday, beginning tomorrow, from 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Standard Time. This is going to be so neat, and as you listen, you should feel like you are sitting around the red checkered table in the cafe and hanging out with sweet friends. There will be 'daily specials', interesting guests, and listeners will be invited to call in and interact with the guest on the show through the toll free number.

At the cafe, Luann and her special live guests will discuss all kinds of topics that are on the hearts of all women. Over the past year, they have surveyed women at salons and schools, and gathered lists from counselors who deal with these issues every day, to find out what topics would be of most interest to everyone. I cant wait to tune in myself!

The grand opening is really exciting, because Dave Ramsey will be the first guest to kick things off and get it started with a bang. (This first show will be taped, not live, because of Daves schedule this weekend) Going forward, many of the Proverbs 31 Speakers, including myself, will be guests on the shows, in addition to lots of other special guests. Keep an eye on the website for the schedule.

I want to cordially and officially invite you to join in tomorrow, and every Saturday! You can log into the radio show by visiting at the appointed time according to your time zone, and visit the cafe website at .

Have a wonderful weekend, and dont forget to tune in!

Encouragement Cafe Grand Opening!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Will The Real God Almighty Please Stand

Have you ever watched the movie Bruce Almighty? It is a movie about Bruce (Jim Carey) who, at the end of what seems to be the worst day in his life, angrily ridicules and rages against God.

Bruce doesn't think the world is treating him fairly, and life just doesn't seem to go right for him, so he blames God for all of his problems (sound familar?!).

One of the most memorable scenes of the movie was when Bruce was at the end of his bad day, standing by the river broken and in utter despair, loudly begging to hear from God. When he didnt hear anything or get any "signs" as he had asked for (even though he actually got lots of signs, but didnt recognize they were from God), he yells out "SMITE ME, OL' MIGHTY SMITER!"

And prior to that defining moment, he had even said to his girlfriend, "I am not being a martyr. I'm the victim. God is a mean kid over an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I'm the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if he wanted to, but he'd rather burn off my feelers, and watch me squirm!"

As a result of hearing these inflammatory words, God responds to Bruce in human form, and endows all of His divine powers onto Bruce, challenging him to take on His job to see if he can do better at running the universe.

Once Bruce realized the power he held in his hands, he thought everything would be great, care free, perfect, and just as he had always wanted. However, what he didnt realize was that just because he had power to make things happen, didnt mean he knew what really needed to happen. His powers were worthless, without the divine knowledge to go along with it.

Have you ever felt like you were a little ant on a hill, and a large magnifying glass from the sky was burning off your emotions and energy and making you squirm? Have you ever felt like God was the ol' mighty smiter?

I know, I know. None of us would ever want to admit that we have ever thought that way. A good Christian should be thankful for their troubles, and believe that we will become a better person because of them. Right? We should recognize that God ordains and allows all of them, and trust that God has a purpose and a plan for these trials.... right?

Those are definitely the ways that God wants us to think, but sometimes it is just so hard to think like Him, when we are caught up in being ourselves. It is hard to face overwhelming hardships and difficult challenges with a positive outlook, when the present circumstances are so negative. Its hard to believe that something good, can come out of something so bad, when we are drowning in hopelessness and despair.

Friends, that is where Gods grace comes in. If you are anything like me, I not only get sucked into wishing I had Gods powers to change things in my life, but then I feel guilty for not trusting that God knows is best! But God knows my heart, and gives me His grace and forgiveness, as He does for you.

Sometimes I still find myself secretly wishing that I was Bruce Almighty, aka, God Almighty. I wish I had the power to make disease leave the bodies of my loved ones; to mend relationships that were destroyed; to fix things within and about myself that I dont really like; to give my loved ones financial security; to make my kids get along better; to change things in our world and our economy; to turn our country back to Jesus.

Hmmmmm...... but if I did have those powers, would I really know how to make the right choices? Would I know which things to change, and in what way to change them? Would I understand the domino effect of consequences that could occur, even by making positive changes? Would I realize how I might alter Gods ultimate plan by forcing things to happen in the ways that I thought best? Of course not, which is why God is God, and not me.

The thought of having the power to change things seems exciting at first, but if we consider all the aspects, it also seems overwhelming and scary. I would much rather leave the future in Gods hands, instead of trying to figure it out on my own, which is the conclusion that Bruce came to in the movie.

At the end of the movie, when Bruce had had all he could take at trying to be God, he raised his hands in the air and screamed out these words to the heavens: "Okay, You win. I'm done. Please, I don't wanna do this anymore. I don't wanna be God! I want You to decide what's right for me! I surrender to your will! "

That is what God really wants to hear from us too. Even though we may wish with all our hearts that He would instantly meet our prayer requests, answer our pleas, and change our circumstances, we have to believe that He always knows best. That His timing is perfect. That His ways, are not our ways, and just because we dont understand or agree, certainly doesnt mean that He is an ol' mighty smiter. In fact, I bet God doesnt even own a big magnifying glass.


Will The Real God Almighty Please StandSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But what if I dont like reading the Bible?

Thanks for dropping by my blog today! I am so glad you are here. If you read todays Proverbs 31 Devotion, Ancient Words, you will understand title above! Todays devotion is about how important Gods Word is in our lives, and how we should treasure it as priceless antique.

(pssst......Look for a chance to win a free gift at the end of this post!)

But the fact is, that not everyone reads the Bible, even Christians with strong faith. Why? Actually we can come up with lots of excuses, such as.... it can be confusing! It can be intimidating. It can challenge our intellectual intelligence and even cause us to doubt our grammar skills as we muddle through all the names of biblical characters and cities. It isnt in order of events. It is often repetitive. It doesnt apply to real life. I am already a Christian. I already know the Gospel.

Lets be honest now - have you ever found yourself thinking or saying any of those excuses? I know I have!

However, God has certainly done a work in my heart over recent years when it comes to reading His Word. The Bible no longer seems like this looming responsibility hanging over my head, sitting on the coffee table collecting dust, eerily calling out my name, making me feel guilty and faith-less because I dont grab it for pleasure reading. Now I realize that the Bible is a treasure, and it is alive with Gods Word, packed with more action than Indiana Jones and more passionate love stories than The Notebook!

Sometimes people are under the impression that the time they spend at church, fellowshipping with Christian friends, praying, daily email devotions, and reading inspirational books is surely sufficient for getting a strong dose of Gods Word - but nothing is a viable substitute for the real thing.

Are we actually told in the Bible that we should read the Bible? Yes! Lets look at a few examples:

John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)

Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (NIV)

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (NIV)

These verses above are just a few of the countless verses in the Bible that reiterate that we are to spend time in Gods Word. But for some people, this truth can cause immediate stress! Some people begin condemning themselves because they dont read the Bible, even if due to simply not knowing where to start.

If that describes you, then help is on the way! Here are a few tips to get started on learning how to read the Bible:

* My P31 sister, Wendy Blight, is beginning an on-line bible study on her new book Hidden Joy. Moody Publishing is providing ten free copies of the book for the first ten people who sign up for the study. The study will begin on June 17th and go through the summer. Wednesday will be the day that Wendy post her thoughts on the chapter for the week and the questions. Visit Wendys blog for all the details on how to get involved!

* Pray before opening Gods Word. Ask for discernment to apply His Word to your life.

* If something seems confusing, read that passage several times. Read some
commentaries on line to help discover the true meanings.

* Dont try to read large amounts of the Bible all at once.

* Start with the New Testament first (people who try to start with Genesis, usually never continue reading through to Revelation). Below is an idea you can try:
-Read "Mark."
-Read "Matthew."
-Read "John."
-Read "Luke" then "Acts."
-Read "Galatians."
-Then read the rest of the New Testament starting at Romans and going to
-Then you can back and read the Old Testament.

* Purchase a Chronological Bible, where the Bible stories are actually arranged in the order in which they occurred,with designated daily readings to help keep you on track.

* Purchase a Devotional Bible for Women.

* Form a small bible study group; pick one book of the Bible or a few chapters, per week or month, and read and discuss the details.

* Join a bible study at your church, and dont get intimated by the titles or the authors.

* Do a topical study for yourself; look up words like hope, faith, anger, or topics that are applicable to current struggles in your life.

* Keep a journal of what God leads you to read and what verses seem to jump off the page; keep track of prayers and answered prayers; this is very motivating when you find yourself in a reading rut.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Still wondering if you should start reading the Bible consistently? Here are a few other reasons to consider.

Because Gods Word is alive, and the more you expose yourself to it, the more God will expose Himself to you through it. The Bible is His message to us, and if we want Him to hear what we have to say, we should also listen to what He has to say.

Because God speaks to us in varied ways that we can understand, and can also speak directly to our hearts, but if we have His written Word in our hearts and minds, we will better be able to judge whether it is His voice we are hearing, or just the enemy trying to deceive us.

Above all, because God wants a relationship with us, and He is not going to love us any more or any less because we do or dont spend time in His Word. Reading the Bible is for our own gain, and helps us grow spiritually.

The best way to get started with reading the Bible, is to take that first step, whatever the best first step is for you, and just get started! Your increased faith and closer relationship with Christ will be well worth the effort!

** I will have a drawing on Friday for everyone who subscribes to my blog today! Just look for the side bar on the left of the screen to find the subscribe button. The winner will receive a free copy of a book called The Asended Life: When the Position Becomes A Relationship, written by Bernita Conway. it is a great first step to taking your faith walk to the next level!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blessed To Be The Bad Guy

I turned into an old lady again this morning. Someone who my daughter just "doesnt get".

Just because the old blue jeans are too short now, doesnt mean they would make an excellent choice for cut off shorts, or so I thought. The fact that they are way too tight for any human to breathe in, should not determine whether or not they are feasible clothing options, or so I thought. Just because everybody looks like they rolled out of bed and ran off to school, doesnt mean that dirty sweatpants and t-shirts actually look nice. And just because a ribbed tank top is at least as wide as two fingers on the shoulders, doesnt mean it is an appropriate clothing item for a young lady to wear to school... according to this old lady, of course.

Nope, they just dont get me. So this morning, Im the bad guy (or girl) again. Unreasonable. Unrealistic. Not undertanding teens today. Not knowing that everybody else is wearing it. Then the infamous words, "whatever", were spoken, resulting in my being the temporary owner of a little black cell phone.

What they dont understand, is that I do understand. In fact, I vividly remember trying to back out of the house when I was in high school, so that my mother wouldnt see how snug my new black parachute pants (which she had told me not to buy) were fitting to my skinny teenage body. In my defense, that look was the trend in the mid-80's, and in defense of my daughters, the trend now is to sometimes dress older than your age, or just downright sloppy. But then and now, just because everyone else is doing it, doesnt make it right.

My mom didnt really have an issue with me dressing inappropriately when I was a teenager, partially because I didnt have any desire to really, but also because that really wasnt the trend then, as it is now. Todays teens are bombarded with images of sexy outfits, low cut shirts, lacy bras and thong underwear. In fact, the trend seems to be the more skin that shows, the better, and the sexier the look, the more attractive they believe they are.

So sad that our culture has bred a generation that thinks this provocative look is not only appropriate but required. I get so sad when I see beautiful, young girls dressing so immodestly, and thinking that they are pretty because of it, instead of being pretty because of who they are, and who God made them to be.

By the grace of God, both of my girls dress very modestly on any given basis, with a few unthought-out choices occasionally. They have been to several REVOLVE tours, and have learned about how important it is to stand up for your faith, live by your values, and recognize what impact your clothing choices have on the opposite sex. But nobody is perfect, and sometimes the pull of the world is stronger than the pull to make the right choice. And sometimes, its simply that it is the trend, and they just "dont get" why it matters, which in all honesty, is not really their fault, but instead the blame lies in the value-less culture of todays America.

So this morning, I am thanking and praising Jesus for winning the battle for my heart years ago, so that I could fight the battle for my childrens hearts, against the enemy who would love to get them in his grasp.

It would be so much easier to look the other way every time my children do or say something that is disrepectful, defiant, or downright ugly.

It would be so much easier to give a thumbs up to every outfit that is put on.

It would be so much easier to say yes to every request for weekend outings and sleepovers, even if I didnt know the details, the family, or whether or not there would be appropriate supervision.

It would be so much easier, to be an easy parent, that my kids could "get".

But God called me to be a mom. To be the best parent I can be, and to raise up my children to know and love Him and teach them His ways. And if that means being the bad guy every now and then, then I guess I can live with that.

Blessed To Be The Bad GuySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I woke up this morning, and after laying in my warm, cozy bed for a few minutes, hearing my daughters getting ready for school upstairs, and seeing the streaks of sunshine peaking through the blinds in my bedroom.... I thanked God for life.

You see, yesterday on my way home, I got caught in a 4 mile long parking lot on the interstate near my home. What should have been a twenty minute trip, took over an hour, as I crept inch by inch, at about 2 miles an hour, for miles.

As we got closer to the accident scene, I tried to determine what had happened, and immediately knew that it couldnt be good. There were at least six police cars with flashing lights, positioned strategically around a vehicle covered with blankets; a fire truck and an ambulance, but all the firemen and EMT personnel were standing around talking; a blinking road sign, directing all the cars into one lane; and a news helicopter hovering above the location of the accident.

I found myself praying for the people involved in the accident, even though it wasnt a car that I recognized, and felt sure I didnt know the people involved. I told my children that they should say a little prayer for them too, because surely there was a family right now - who was receiving some terrible news, about the loss of a brother, sister, child, mother, father, or friend.

The evening news confirmed my suspicions, and a 71 year old man had died in this accident. A man, obviously young at heart, driving a shiny silver convertible, enjoying the crisp air and beautiful sunshine, and then life was over. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Tragically.

I try to be consistent in my thankfulness to God for my blessings in life, but I have to admit, I rarely thank God for the simple gift of life. For the gift of waking up each morning. For the gift of each breath that fills my lungs. For my sight, For my sense of touch. For my hearing.

Life can be hard, challenging, disappointing, and sometimes painful. Life can also be fun, exciting, fulfilling, and brilliant. But either way, life is so fragile, and so precious. The number one blessing. Let us simply be thankful for life today.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen

Matthew 22:14 Many are called, but few are chosen.

The first time I ever read this verse, I wondered if I was worthy enough to be chosen, and immediately determined that I was not. Then I wondered if I would ever be worthy to be chosen, and again, determined the answer was no. However, after spending time learning about this passage, I now understand what verse 14 really means.

At first glance, this parable in Matthew 22:1-14 could appear to be just about a wedding. A story about inconsiderate people who thought they were too snooty or too busy to attend a wedding they had been invited too. A parable about how some seemingly undesirables, got invited to a respectable occasion simply because nobody else could come. But if we delve deeper into it, we can begin to see the underlying meaning.

The people who were invited off the streets, who were not on the original "invite list", symbolize the ones who accepted Christ, and all those who refused to come, symbolize the many people who rejected Christ.

Now when we think of the word "many", we typically think it means "most, but not all". However, in the Greek language, the word "many" is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. In other words, if I say in English that “many of the people came to my party”, it implies that some people came but most of them did not. But if I were to say that “many of the people came to my party” in Greek, it would imply that practically everyone did, and only a few did not come. So when this verse says "many are called", it really means that everyone was called, not just most of them.

So everyone was invited to this "wedding banquet", but nobody came, because they did not have time for Christ. The banquet is actually a metaphor for the invitation to salvation. The people who chose not to come did so because their hearts were filled with hypocrisy, instead of righteousness, and as a result they missed the opportunity to celebrate the gift of Jesus. Even one person who did come to the banquet, was thrown out, because his heart was not in the right place, and he did not wear the right wedding attire, the armor of God. His heart was not surrendered to Christ, and therefore he could not partake in the gift of salvation.

Now keep in mind, that these "many" people did not miss out on salvation because it was not offered to them, but instead because they did not accept the invitation to receive the free gift. They chose to follow their own agendas instead of take time to accept Christ and live a life that gloried Him.

Selfishness, financial gain, personal goals, career aspirations, etc., drove their desires, and therefore prevented them from desiring to know God, and separated them from God for eternity.

Does that sound a little more familiar now?

How many people do you know that simply do not have time for Christ, are too tired for church on Sundays, think they are doing fine on their own, or are too busy or having too much fun in life to worry about what will happen when their life comes to an end?

Do you know anyone who is so caught up in living life the way they want to, that they are blind to the life they could have if they chose to follow in the ways of Christ?

This parable explains that many people (meaning all) were originally called to the wedding-feast, that is, to salvation, but few wore the wedding-garment, the righteousness of Christ, and were chosen to attend.

Every living being from the beginning of time to the present to the day that time ends, is invited/called to the banquet, but only those who are sanctified in the Spirit will be chosen to come in. Only those who accept Christ as their Savior will be allowed to enjoy the royal feast that God prepared.

We are those undesirables, sinners called off the streets, invited to a royal banquet which we dont deserve to be at, but welcomed as beloved children because we have chosen to love Christ and believe that He is the Son of God.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, your denomination, your personal convictions, or even your rejection of God - YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED.

First, called to accept the gift of salvation, and secondly, called to live out Gods will for your life, in whatever way He has called you to serve.

So are you and I worthy to be chosen? No. But if we accept Gods offer to attend the banquet, we become worthy. Chosen.... not because of who we are, or what we have done, but because of who He is, and what He has done.

If you have accepted the calling to become a child of the most high King, then you have been chosen to attend the most royal of all banquets. You are a welcomed and treasured guest, approved, loved and accepted by the King.

If you have rejected the invitation to the banquet, then you are walking away from the gift of salvation, and one day, will forever be separated from Christ. But take heart, it is never too late to open your invitation and partake in the feast.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that this parable does not mean that God calls a lot of people, picks over them, and keeps only a few that He thinks are worthy. If that were true, the middle of the parable would have no meaning. Instead, it means that God calls everyone and gives them all the power to respond.

To be chosen, we must respond to the call, using the power God gave us for that purpose.

You have been called, and you are worthy to be chosen. Whether or not you are chosen, rest in your own hands.

Many Are Called, Few Are ChosenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thanks for dropping by today!

Have you ever felt like God has been picking on you lately? Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, He is not picking on you, but picking you!

Sometimes when it seems like we are being "forced" out of our comfort zones in so many ways, and confused about why we are feeling strange inclinations to do something that we never wanted to do before.... what we may not realize is that God is pulling out of our comfort zones so teach us, guide us, stretch us, and mold us into His will.

I can speak from experience that is exactly how God works! He works in mysterious ways, and in different ways with each one of us, but nonetheless, it is always the right way!

I would love to hear about how God has been pulling you out of your comfort zone lately; or how you have been feeling led to do something that you didnt know you were even interested in; or how something has been on your mind lately, and you dont know where it came from? Could it be God?

The stories that GOd is authoring in our lives are more riveting and exciting than any novel we could buy from the store. So, whats your story?

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Why God Made Moms

You may have seen these questions and answers below before, but I thought they were too cute not to share again. Spoken from the mouths of babes! Enjoy!
And have a wonderful, blessed, Mothers Day weekend!

A little humor in honor of WHY GOD MADE MOMS:
These answers were given by second grade school children in response to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background.Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer.
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

(author/resource unknown)

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Being A Change Champion

Years ago when God was quietly and patiently calling me into ministry, my employer at the time required me to begin leading training sessions all over the Southeast, teaching employees about improved work performance, customer service, and other business-related topics. What I didnt realize at the time was that God was equipping me through that responsibility to gain speaking experience and a comfort level in front of large groups. Even though I was clueless, He knew what He had in store for me. Isnt it cool when we can look back and see what God was doing!

After deciding to leave my corporate position three and a half years ago, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work as a contract Corporate Trainer.

I love doing training for business groups, and motivating them in all areas of their life, not just work performance. Although I am obviously not allowed to interject my personal beliefs into the sessions (which is very hard to hold back at times!), I can still relay Gods truths in more subtle and 'politically correct' ways.

For the past few months I have been teaching a session about how to deal with major changes in life, whether they are work related or personal. All of the employees who are in these sessions are faced with the possibility of a layoff as a result a recent merger. They are worried, anxious, frustrated, and resentful, which are normal reactions we all experience when our fears become a reality.

There are many tips that I give people about dealing with change, such as being resourceful, networking, utilizing resources, establishing goals, being proactive, and so on. There are lots of ways to help them build self-confidence and remember that even if they lose their job, that their future is bright and that many other opportunities are out there for them.

All those are great suggestions and tips and most people walk away from the sessions a little more optimistic than when they came in, but what I really wish that I could talk about is how Jesus is there for them, to help them get through this journey they are trying to prepare for. I wish I could help them find the courage that they are seeking by sharing with them where true courage comes from.

Jesus understands that change usually requires courage. When Jesus told Matthew in Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me,and I will make you fishers of men", He didnt merely invite Him to come with Him. He gave him an opportunity to make a decision that would affect His entire life. A decision that would require a change of heart so that he could embrace the new life that Jesus had in store for Him.

Any time we make a change a life, whether we initiated that change or it was forced upon us, we have some choices to make. Either embrace it, or fight it. Either let it build our trust in Christ, or destroy our faith. Either find courage in Christ, or fall apart inside and out. Either be an eternal optimist, or a perpetual pessimist.

Sometimes the latter of each of those statements is a lot easier to do, which is why it is so important that we look to our heavenly Father when we need a little pep talk, motivation, and courage to cope with the changes in our life.

Thinking back to when I gave my resignation to quit my job, I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was excited about following Gods call to ministry, but on the other hand, I was fearful and anxious about walking away from my career. Little did I know the huge blessings that awaited me as soon as I embraced the changes that God brought me to. It wasnt until I depended on God for my courage, that I was able to step out in faith and have a change of heart.

When we choose to follow Jesus, He makes a commitment to stay with us forever - including during times of small and big changes in our lives. Whenever we are faced with a change, a decision that will result in change, or a change that may be forced upon us, God knows about it, and wants to help us through it - but we need to ask for His help. And if you dont know what to ask for, the Holy Spirit will intercede for you, and lift up the words that you cant seem to utter from your own lips but that your heart has hidden deep inside.

Just like with Matthew, Jesus can change your heart attitude so that you can begin living a new kind of life and embrace the changes God has brought you to, instead of fighting them. The Lord will be with you in any situation.

The word "champion" means several things, including being an fighter or warrior; a defender; a supporter; and to champion a cause. Overall, it means being a winner. We can all be winners when Christ is leading the race in our life. We can be winners if we embrace the situations in our life, instead of looking for all the reasons why we dont want them to happen.

Do you want to be a change champion today? Ask God to help you have a change of heart. Ask Him to help you see His will for your life and your situation. And lastly, try to be an optimist, and begin to see the opportunities in the difficulties, instead of focusing on the difficulties in the opportunities.

Being A Change ChampionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why is God not giving me what I want?

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 7:6-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Okay - so if I ask for it I should receive it, right? Because the Bible says so, right? So why are my most deepest heart wrenching wishes not coming true? Why is God not granting me my requests, especially when I am sure that my prayer requests and needs line up with His will and His Word?

Its not like I am asking to win a million dollars or reverse my age by 15 years, for goodness sakes! I know that He would be glorified if my prayers were answered, and I would give Him all the praise, so why isnt He answering them?

That has been a question pricking at my heart for a very long time about a few issues in my life. I pray, and pray, and pray some more. I pray about them in my car, in my bed, in the shower, in church, and throughout my day - and nothing seems to change. But Gods Word says if I ask, I will receive, if I believe in Him? And I most definitely believe. So, why?

Over the past 3 days, the above verses have popped up - at church, in an email I received from someone, and even on someones Facebook page today. Ironic? I dont think so.

God at work? Most definitely.

I believe in my heart that nothing, and I mean nothing, is ironic. I know that God ordains "irony", and so much so, that it becomes impossible to write off ironic things as irony.

When I begin to see a pattern of God working, either by the same bible verse popping up over a period of time, or hearing the same opinions about a certain subject from various people, or coming across things in Gods Word that all seem to point to the same end result - I begin to take notice.

So today, I am taking notice. I am noticing how many times I have questioned God as to why He is not answering my prayer over a certain situation in my life. I am noticing how God is trying to tell me, that regardless of the current circumstances, frustrations, and heartache, that I must first continue to seek Him, and believe that His ways are not my ways. That His plan is bigger and better than I can imagine. That one day, I will get a glimpse of His plan, and that I need to trust in His timing.

Easy to do? No, I want my prayers answered now. I want my concerns to be remedied. I want to see God make a change in my circumstance as vividly as if I saw lightning flash across the sky. But God impressed upon my heart this morning, as I was praying, that I need to trust Him, even when it appears that He is not doing anything lightning-worthy in my life, of which my human eyes can see. The term "walking by faith" kept coming up in my mind. And if I am honest with myself, I think lately I have been trying to "see" God working, instead of focusing on my faith, and what God may be doing that I cannot see.

I know God is always at work. I love Him, and even though my faith often gets sidetracked as I focus on my feelings, doubts, insecurities and fears, I still believe that He is at work. Regardless of whether or not He answers my prayers right now or in the way I want, I commit to still love Him. I know that without Him I am nothing, and His word assures me that I am valuable, even when I am feeling of little value. I know that when I feel like I am lost and cant figure out which way to turn, that I can seek Him with my whole heart and He will guide me.

So today, I am seeking Him. I ask for His forgiveness for doubting that He is at work, that He hears my prayers, and that He really does want to bless me and do what is best for my life. I lay my burdens at His feet, because I know He cannot carry them for me, until I lay them down. I will continue to pray for that victory that I mentioned yesterday, and believe that through Him, all things are possible.

I ask for Gods peace today, and for Him to fill me with such a passionate spirit for Him, that I will not only see Him working in my life, but that I will patiently wait for His answers to prayers.

If you are struggling today with unanswered prayers, I also pray over these things for your life, and that you will seek God with your whole heart, believe that in someway, somehow, and someday, He will answer those prayers, and that you will then recognize that His answer was in fact, the right answer.

In His holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Why is God not giving me what I want?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back to Square One

Do you ever feel like you had victory over a problem or issue in your life, and then it comes right back to slap you in the face? That is how I feel today. I thought we had Morgans headaches under control and would be skipping down victory lane this week, but instead our skipping came to an abrupt halt yesterday.

The headache returned, and was apparently not happy that we had medicated and prayed it away just four days earlier. Today, it is even worse, and Morgan has sent me several text messages from school sharing with me how miserable she is and how much her head hurts. Since she missed seven days of school recently due to this problem, she had to go to school or suffer serious consequences, so all I can do is hang my head in defeat and confusion.

We are taking some new steps this week to treat the headache and I was able to get an earlier appointment with our neurologist, so hopefully we can try to find our way back to victory lane again. But for now, we are wandering in the desert trying to figure out which way to turn.

Do you ever feel like that about something in your life? You thought you had overcome the problem, but then it quickly rears its ugly head again, and with even more strength than before?

Sometimes I feel like that. One example is thinking that we got rid of the headache, but actually, it just hid itself away for a few days.

Another example, is how I successfully fight off the urge to eat a calorie-intense lunch and instead eat a healthy salad, and feel all good about myself and my willpower.... until the kids get home from school, and I find it physically and emotionally impossible not to eat the warm chocolate chip cookies that I baked for them. (note to self, stop trying to be June Cleaver and never make cookies again). So the next day, I suck it up and start the diet back at square one.

Sometimes this seems to be the case in relationships. With one certain person in my life, each time I feel like we have climbed a little farther up the mountain and are close to getting back to a trusting relationship again, something seems to happen to knock my feet out from under me and send my emotions plummeting back to the valley, feeling hurt and disappointed. So the next day, I pick myself up and try to start back at square one.

There are so many things in life that seem like victory is an impossible achievement, like relationships, diets, and medical mysteries, and sometimes even matters of faith.

Have you ever committed to spend time with God each day or do a morning devotion, but it never fails that something draws your attention away and before you know it the whole day has passed?

Have you ever done great on a diet all week, then blew it out of the water over the weekend?

Have you ever promised to not gossip anymore, then before you knew it, you found yourself talking about some juicy news with a friend?

Have you ever vowed to not lose your temper with your family or co-workers, but then at the onset of a stressful situation, you lose it completely?

Have you ever forgiven someone for something, but then find yourself pulling up that old list of wrongs against you the very next time you see them?

Do you believe Gods Word is truth, but then doubt His sovereignty when you cant see the good in a really bad situation, or even find yourself wondering if He really cares about you at all?

Victory over hard things is, well, hard. Sometimes it may even seem completely out of reach, and then we find ourselves drowning in a pool of frustration and defeat. It is exactly those times, when we have no other choice but to lay the burden at Gods feet. Give it to Him fully. And most importantly, understand that God knows we failed, but forgives us and loves us anyway.

Perseverance is a virtue, and is necessary, regardless of the situation we are faced with, but there are times when perseverance just seems way too hard. It would always be easier to just quit and give up. But God calls us to remain faithful to the end and to hold onto Christ for our strength. We are called to battle sin and walk in faith, even when it is hard and frustrating.

Being able to persevere, even when the going gets tough, is a sign that we are leaning on God, depending on His strength, and trusting Him to help us achieve the victory that we so desire, in whatever area of our life that we are working on.

Being able to push forward despite all odds, shows that God is working in our life and in our hearts. Perseverance proves that we are allowing Him the opportunity to work through us even when we want to throw in the towel and cant seem to take another step in our own strength.

The goal is not to just to get to the finish line, but to get there by resting in the mercy and grace that Christ promises. What an amazing feeling to know that we do not have to do it on our own, because the truth is, we cant do it on our own anyway.

Fortunately, God has designed our salvation in such a way that we are enabled to persevere, not by determined will power or our own strength and abilities, but by drawing near to Him.

If you are facing something in your life in which victory seems to be unattainable, spend some time in prayer asking God for perseverance, to not only stay the course during the trial, but to depend on Him in the midst of the journey. The enemy wants you to believe that you are defeated and that there is no hope, but in Christ, we find encouragement, inspiration, and strength.

His power becomes our willpower to keep going, even when we keep finding ourselves at square one.

Back to Square OneSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Smile For The Heart

I am giving praise today! After spending the last five days bedridden with strep throat, a severe sinus infection, and debilitating migraines, Morgan woke up this morning around 8:30am, and strolled downstairs with a smile on her face. It was like she was silently saying, "look mom, Im alive!".

That sweet smile on her face was the most beautiful thing I had seen all week, and brought a huge smile to my heart. You see, for the past five days, I have watched her be in complete and total misery. I took her to several doctors appointments, urgent care, had pain shots administered (which were very painful in themselves), had a CT scan done, changed prescriptions three times, made sure the temperature in her room was just right, massaged her head and neck, darkened her room... and anything else I could think of that might alleviate her pain.

But nothing I did brought her an ounce of relief. I felt so helpless to help her. And my worst fears were beginning to bubble to the surface, that maybe something was terribly wrong. I knew there had to be something out there to help her, but I just didnt know where to find it. The answer to the problem seemed beyond my grasp. I was at the end of my rope.

In a pool of hopelessness, I sent out a prayer request to my Proverbs 31 family, and to my church prayer wall. And I sat down and prayed myself. I instantly began receiving emails from all of my sisters in Christ, flooding my inbox with prayers and bible verses to help encourage me, and Morgan, during this time of frustration and concern. A sense of relief came over me, knowing that God was being bombarded with her name and requests for comfort for her. It brought me a sense of peace, and reminded me that God was in control.

Finally last night, in a final desperate attempt to break the migraine, my husband and I took her to the emergency room. Even though she is fifteen years old, the atmosphere, the smell of alcohol, the wheelchair, and the looming needles all around, truly frightened her.

Crocodile tears filled her eyes as they inserted the needle for the IV and began to slowly pump the fluids into her system. I tried to reassure her that the temporary pain of the IV's would hopefully bring permanent relief, but it was hard for her to wrap her mind around that truth in the midst of a whirlwind of worry, nurses, doctors, and paperwork. It was so hard to watch someone hurting her, even though I knew it was best for her in the long run. I just had to close my eyes and hold her hand and comfort her as best I could. Moms are not supposed to cry, right?

After a while, relief came. Within a couple of hours, she gradually began to feel the pain decrease, and drifted off into a light slumber.

Sitting there watching her sleep, I recalled a conversation that Morgan and I had a few days ago, as she laid on the couch in agony, wondering if she had a brain tumor. I remembered reassuring her how much God loves her, and how blessed we are, and that in my opinion we have God's favor, and that is how I knew that she would be okay. That seemed to bring her some peace that day, and the CT scan confirmed that nothing was wrong except a very bad sinus infection and a migraine.

How I wish I had focused on that truth this week myself, instead of worrying myself into a full-blown tizzy. But all of these trying days have made me think about a lot of things, and since I was at home all week, I had a lot of time to spend with my thoughts.

First, I thought about how precious my children are, and how thankful I am for them. How even though it felt like I had a needy newborn in the house again (except this time, my baby had a cell phone which called from her room on a consistent, every-fifteen-minute basis!), and was reminded of how much commitment it takes to put others needs and wants before our own. I felt blessed to be able to care for her.

Second, I was reminded of how we should never take our families and friends for granted, and how caring for our loved ones, even when it is not convenient or becomes a long term commitment, is something that may seem like a burden now, but one day will be treasured memories. God brought to mind several people that I know who are daily caregivers for someone in their life who is sick or has cancer, and I prayed for them to have the strength to carry on each day. I prayed for God to bless them immeasurably and reward them for their faithfulness to live such a selfless life.

Thirdly, I was reminded that God explicitly tells us not to worry. All the worrying I did over the week, did not change the situation at all. Had I focused on the soverign God's power, instead of my own personal fears and frustrations, I would have had much more peace during the week.

I recalled the verse that Renee had sent me, Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble. I also recollected this verse, Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? So I prayed for God to help me work on depending on Him more in the future, instead of caving in to an avalanche of overwhelming fear and concern.

Lastly, each time I watched Morgan cry out in pain, I not only prayed for her to feel better, but I thought about how God watched His Son Jesus suffer on the cross.

God even had the power to change the circumstances, but chose not to, knowing that this His Son's temporary suffering, would bring permanent relief for millions and millions of people. And Jesus accepted the circumstances, knowing that His pain meant salvation for all eternity for those who would believe in Him.

Even as a parent, we cannot fathom how sad God must have been to watch His son suffer so tremendously. God even had to look away from Jesus temporarily, because of the sin that Jesus bore on the cross, but I also wonder if it was because His heart was hurting too? I imagine it must have been even harder for God, because He had the power to stop the pain that Jesus was in. But He didnt.

He put our need for a Savior and eternal life above the needs of His own Son. He knew the truth, the absolute truth.

Today I thank my Lord for so many things. Today I am praising Him for hearing our prayers and bringing Morgan peace and comfort. I know that the ER drugs helped, but I also attribute her instant recovery, that happened literally overnight, to a Savior that was holding the power of healing all along. I just needed to ask for it, and believe in it.

So many times I think we forget that Jesus holds the key to all the mysteries of life. That He holds the power to bless, heal, direct, and lead.

We may find ourselves in a whirlwind of worry, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness regarding circumstances in our life, and just like Morgan, we find it hard to wrap our earthly minds around the truth that Jesus knows all the answers. He knows the solutions to the problems we are facing, and He holds the power to intervene in our lives and make His presence known to us.

If you need some answers today, and are having a hard time believing that your temporary pain and heartache could ever result in peace and comfort, then pray for God to reassure you today of His love. Seek out fellow sisters and brothers in Christ to pray for you and with you.

Be reminded that God cherishes those who love Him. You have His favor. He blesses those who mourn and gives the Kingdom of God to those who need Him and choose Him.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

The answers you need are not beyond your grasp - they are actually waiting for you to find them, right inside of that Bible sitting on your bookshelf.

A Smile For The HeartSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend