Tuesday, May 24, 2011

His Revolutionary Love - winner!

The randomly drawn winner from last week's DVD giveaway with Lynn Cowell, is TRACEY, who posted her comment on May 19th at 10:35am.

Tracey - send an email to me at traciewmiles@carolina.rr.com with your mailing address, and Lynn will get that DVD out to you right away. Congrats!

For all those who did not win, click HERE to purchase a copy of Lynn's wonderful book for teen girls, His Revolutionary Love: Jesus Radical Pursuit of You, for $12.99; or click HERE to purchase a copy of her DVD session for $12.00.

You may also want to visit Lynn's blog, where she shares great biblical insight every week for teens and their mothers, at www.lynncowell.com.

His Revolutionary Love - winner!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie #6

"You are not good enough for ministry."

"You do not have the strength to do God's work alone; you'll be alone and God will not bring anyone to you to do this work with him."

"God knows who you really are; you can never change your past and you don't deserve to minister to others; you can never hide your scars."

"You are too insecure to serve God."

Wow. These are similar lies that four individual women wrote down on notecards after one of my speaking sessions, but that I imagine every woman carries some version of these lies somewhere deep in her heart.

When we find ourselves feeling this way, internally struggling with insecurities and unworthiness to serve, the first thing we should do.. is consider the source.

Who told us we were unworthy? Who said we were useless, and that God could not use us? Who is telling us that we have no redeeming qualities that could benefit God's kingdom? Who said you would never measure up to God's standards?

I would venture to say that the likelihood of someone speaking such harsh words to someone is slim. So who is telling us these lies?

None other than the one who wants to keep us stifled with feelings of unworthiness.

Maybe you are one of those women today, who feel unworthy. Unworthy to serve. Unworthy to even be called God's child. You look at yourself in the mirror, and all you see, is your flaws, your past, your mistakes, your failures, your temptations, your struggles, and maybe how your spiritual life is inconsistent or waning at best.

I want you to close your eyes and create a visual in your head. Imagine taking a black sharpie marker, and writing all the negative words that you feel about yourself, across your forehead and all over your face, for all to see. Would it be pretty? Of course not.

Do you really think that this is how God sees you? Of course He doesn't!

He sees you through the blood of Jesus Christ. He sees a face free from blemish, that He formed in a womb. He sees you as a forgiven child. Cleansed and whole. Beautiful and usable. Loved. Worthy to serve Him.

I used to see myself with all those invisible words written across from my face. I never felt worthy to serve the God of universe in even the smallest way. And honestly, I still struggle with feeling unworthy to speak, write and share His gospel, especially on those days when I feel like I let God down in my actions, behaviors and decisions.

But praise God, He sees us as more than our mistakes, our past or problems. He sees our heart.

It took a long and transforming season of faith for me to understand that, but God worked mightily in my heart .....not to fix all my problems or make me perfect, but to help me push past Satans lies, and embrace His truth instead. And He continues to work in my heart daily, helping me to remember to give Him authority over my life and my thoughts, and nobody else.

Satan knows he cannot stop us from rising in the morning, caring for our families, going to our jobs, eating, sleeping, or even going to church. But - he can stop us from serving Christ, as he fills our head with lies that we are not good enough, and never will be. Lies that we dont measure up to God's expectations, and that we certainly do not measure up to all those perfect, spiritual people we go to church with.

Lies that God will always call someone else to the task that we feel ill-equipped to tackle, making it okay for us to justify staying in our comfort zones.

Jeremiah 1:5-9 says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth!"

Worthiness is a gift that comes with salvation, not something we earn. We are worthy to serve because God said so, not because of anything about us personally. God calls us to serve Him, and others, because of who He is, not because of who we are.

Good news. As we embrace God's love fully, and earnestly pray for His voice to be louder than the enemy, we will eventually gain confidence in our value in Him. That confidence will give us courage to step out of our comfort zones, and do something for Christ that we never thought we were capable of.

Believing we are worthy gives us courage to do those seemgingly impossible things, even when our fears and insecurities are still swirling in our minds. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward despite those fears and insecurities. Courage is simply faith.

I love to share this excerpt below from Pastor Rick Warren's book, A Purpose Driven Life.

“Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric so say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zachaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That’s quite a group of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you too”

No matter what problems you have faced, mistakes you have made, sins you struggle with, or lies you have believed, God is powerful enough to use it all for Him. We just have to believe what He says about us in His word, and not what the enemy says about us in our heads.

Prayer for today:
Oh Lord, you know me all too well. You know the lies I have been believing. You know the power that I may have given Satan over my life, as I embraced the lies as truth, preventing me from believing in myself, and believing that you love me, despite me. Forgive me for allowing the enemy's lies to keep me from embracing Your truth, and from serving in the way You have called me to serve. Help me to understand fully that You do not want us to hide our scars, because our scars are beautiful to You. Those scars are what You will use to bring Yourself glory, as I allow You to work through me, to impact others. Help me see Your plan for my life, and give me the strength to focus on You, and not the invisible words that I think are written across my face. Thank you for believing in me for Lord, and for seeing my value, even when I cannot. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie #6SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Know any teens who need to know Jesus loves them? (and DVD giveaway!)

If your life includes a teenage girl you love and care about, well have I got a treat for you! Having two teenage girls myself, I know the pressures and challenges that they face every day. And I have to admit that sometimes being a parent of teens, loving them as much as I do, and trying to teach them to make good decisions, can get exhausting!

So I’ve asked my sweet friend and fellow Proverbs 31 speaker Lynn Cowell to join us and chat about her brand new book His Revolutionary Love, which was written to speak to the heart of teen girls who need to know Jesus loves them.

What mom couldnt use a little help to reach their teen's heart for God.... and Lynn has a passion for empowering wise women to raise wiser daughters.

So without further delay, please meet Lynn (www.lynncowell.com):

As a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lynn Cowell lives in North Carolina with her husband of 24 years and her three teenage children. The Cowells enjoy being outside whether it is hiking, fast pitch softball or white water rafting.

Lynn’s heartbeat is empowering women with confidence through Jesus’ radical love leading them to make wise decisions. She is very excited about the release of her first book “His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”; a study for young women.

Sushi, well worn sweatshirts and anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter are her top three favorites.

Now, below you can watch a quick clip of Lynn telling of her passion for working with teen girls.

Lynn, what prompted you to write His Revolutionary Love?

When I was 19, I discovered a side of Jesus I had never seen before. I had known Him as my savior, shepherd and friend, but I was still looking for more. It was then that I found Him to be the perfect, unconditional love I was always looking for. I found He wanted to be more than the God I served; He wanted to be the God I loved.

Years later someone I dearly loved was going through her third divorce. I asked Jesus why that wasn’t me. He revealed to me that falling in love with Him had filled my heart and completed me. I had discovered as a teen that if a guy doesn’t like me it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. I already had God’s approval and it had nothing to do with me. Jesus is crazy about me and that is enough. Spreading this truth is my passion.

What is your greatest desire for the girls who pick up your book?

My prayer is that each young woman who reads “His Revolutionary Love” will discover the Love that has always wanted them and that this Love will fill their hearts for a lifetime. I hope they will find confidence, truth and power that will ruin them for a mundane life. I want them to be ignited with passion for Jesus that will revolutionize their lives with real change.

I want each girl to realize that love, be it from a boyfriend or a dad, can never fill the love gap in our hearts. Only Jesus can.

You are offering a giveaway to one woman who comments on this post. Tell us about it.

Today I am giving away a DVD of my “Revolutionary Love” message; the same message that my book is based on.

Okay ladies, you do not want to miss the opportunity to win this amazing DVD. Just leave a comment about what Lynn has shared today, about your own teen years and your relationship with God then, or perhaps tell us about the girl you would give this prize to if you won.

Have a blessed

Know any teens who need to know Jesus loves them? (and DVD giveaway!)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 16, 2011

A great new blog to check out!

I want to take the opportunity this week to introduce all of you to my sweet P31 sister Samantha. Samantha works in the Proverbs 31 office and is one of the many backbones of our amazing ministry, working tirelessly behind the scenes as women get ministered to every day.

Sam not only has a heart of gold, but a wonderful blog called Fields of Gold! I want to encourage you to check out her blog.

I am guest posting on her blog today, but beneath my post, is a heartfelt post that Sam wants to share with you. This week, she is leaving the doubt and despair of unfulfilled dreams far behind, so join her as she jumps off the train of negative thoughts!

You will be inspired and encouraged after reading the words God has laid on her heart.

Click on the following link to hop over to her blog!


A great new blog to check out!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie # 5

"You are not good enough. You are just like your grandmother and your aunt."

Today's lie is very similar to the one I addressed on May 11th. The woman that wrote this statement, must not only be feeling unworthy or inferior in whatever context this person told her this, but she is also being told that she is going to turn out exactly like someone else. And it appears based on this statement, that would not be a good thing.

Today's truth is that only God knows how we will turn out. He is holding the reigns of our life, if we allow Him to, and just because we share someones DNA, does not mean that we will turn out like them, make the same choices as them, or share the same future.

Unfortunately, statistics do show that patterns of behavior can continue within families for many generations.

For example, in many cases, children of alcoholic parents grow up to be alcoholics themselves - but not always.

Children of abusive parents, can grow up to be abusers of their own children - but not always.

Mothers who experienced teen pregnancies, may have their own child get pregnant as a teen - but not always.

People who are mistreated, may go on to mistreat others - but not always.

Children of parents who love the Lord, may grow up to the love the Lord as well - but not always.

Children who are raised with strong morals and values, may continue on the straight and narrow path through adolescence - but not always.

A person may be trapped in a cycle of sinful lifestyle habits, and someone may predict that they will never change, and sometimes that turns out to be true - but not always.

No one is in control of our lives, or our futures, except us and God. How sad that people inflict these types of hurtful words, without giving heed to the fact that those words can cause permanent emotional damage to the one whose future they are trying to predict. Hurtful words can hold someone in a prison of unworthiness, just as strongly as a jailcell can stifle a prisoners ability to move forward.

Only God holds the future, and Jeremiah 29:11 reassures us that He has a beautiful plan and purpose and future for all of us - regardless of anyone else might want us to believe.

At no point in the Bible, did God say that He had a plan and a purpose for us, unless someone on earth disagreed or did not see our potential.

The philosopher Solomon once said, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

This takes us back to that age old philosophical point of view, that what we think about ourselves, and knowing that God sees our worth, is all that matters.

Other people can have their opinions of us, but what really matters, is what we think of us.

If our opinion of ourselves is based on anything besides waht God's Word says about us, as His children, then we are in a battlefield of the mind and need God's help to see and discover the potential He sees in us.

I want to challenge you to answer a couple questions today. Give them some thought, and dont be too quick to answer. Ask God to help you see and remember clearly what He has done, and also believe in what He can do, in your life.

Question 1: Am I doing anything today that at one time, I thought it was impossible?

Question 2: Is there anything I am not doing today, because I think it is impossible, based on my opinion of myself or other people's opinions?

I encourage you to give those some questions some thought over the next few days.... you might be surprised at the potential you have already shown, and get excited as you realize that your own negative thoughts, sometimes rooted in the negativity of others, are all that may be keeping you from pursuing even greater potential, and the destiny that God prepared for you.

God's love does not insure a perfect life, free from mess ups - but it does insure a bright and hopeful future, our own future, based on His plan, and nobody elses - ALWAYS.

Isaiah 46:10 Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

Extra note: A couple years ago I wrote a blog post called The D Word. If you have time, click here to hop over and read it, and be more encouraged about owning your own thoughts, staying positive, and not allowing all those d-words to take precedence in your heart.

Pray for today: Lord, sometimes it seems that I each time I look in the mirror, I can only see the criticism that I have heard from other people. I wonder if they are right. I begin to believe that their words, and predictions for my future, must be true. But Lord I know that my future is bright, if I put it in Your hands. Lord, I believe with all my heart that despite what my current circumstance will be, despite the experiences that I have gone through, despite what other people think about me, despite my current patterns of sin.... that You are bigger. You are stronger. You hold the future. I commit today to rely on You for truth, and ask for your forgiveness for succumbing to those who want to steal, kill and destroy my joy and my hope. Today I put my hope in You alone, and it is Your Words that I choose to believe. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie # 5SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie #4

Well, well, well.....I can blame one week of absence from blogging on spring break, but the last couple weeks just seem to be a blur! I will admit that things have been a little strained around the Miles household lately, so although I have not been writing as much, God has given me lots to write about!

But for now - I want to move on with our series addressing the lies that women believe, based on the hundreds of cards I received from women across the country about this.

Today we are addressing Lie #4:

"I'm unworthy due to what mom said and how she would not know or love me."

As I have been reading through all the lies that Satan is telling so many women, they all break my heart. However, when it comes to hearing that a mother made her daughter feel unloved and unwanted, I feel especially burdened, and my mind just spins with confusion.

I was blessed by the most wonderful mother ever. She is the most loving, caring, unselfish, devoted, and kind woman I have ever known. Our relationship during my teenage years was strained, partially because she was raising me as a single parent, and partially because I gave her plenty of reasons to be stressed - but not once, did she ever make me feel unloved or unworthy to be her daughter.

I am so very thankful that I have her in my life, and her never ending love inspires me to the best mom I can be as well. Above all else, I want my children to feel loved, accepted and treasured, despite their mistakes, their failures and the times when they may disappoint me.

So my heart just rips apart when I hear stories from women, including many of whom are close friends of mine, whose mothers made them feel inferior and worthless as a child, and still make them feel this way, even to this day.

That little girl inside of us is always longing for approval, acceptance, love and adoration, and no matter how old we may get, our hearts will always carry around the longings of that innocent little girl.

Remember that old saying, "sticks and stone may break my bones but words may never hurt me"? Who came up with that nonsense?!

Words can hurt deeper and longer in our hearts, than any physical pain ever could- especially when those hurtful words come from people whose love and approval we desperately want.

I imagine that many of you reading this post today, can understand the hurt in between the lines of this lie that a woman wrote above. Her mother told her she was worthless and unworthy in words, and then reiterated in her actions by refusing to get to know her daughter, and show her emotional or physical love.

Sweet friends - many of you may share this pain. I want to reassure you today that you are not only your mothers daughter, but a daughter of the most High King. Although sometimes it is hard for an earthly mother to show love to her daughter, God has no problem doing that - in fact, that is His purpose.

However, before we can believe that God loves us, we have to believe that God IS love. We can either just assume that He does and that we are supposed to believe that because that is what people say - or - we can look for biblical proof of it.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

John 3:16 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.

But the truth remains, that even if we believe God is love, sometimes it is hard to understand He loves us individually. We wonder "if my own mother (or father) couldn't love me, why would God be able to?", or "if my own mother (or father)did not think I was worthy or valuable, what could God possibly see in me?"

God sees the real you. The you that He created perfectly. The you that is wonderfully made, with all of your unique talents, gifts, and purposes. The you that has potential in this life to bring glory to Him by impacting others with love - His love, in you.

Words hurt. Rejection stings. Pain lingers for years. But God is love - forever and always. When it comes to what parents or other people may have said about you, or the reasons they touted for why you were unworthy, or unlovable - simply consider the source. They are human - God is God. His opinion trumps everyone else.

You matter to God. He has great love for you, and is saddened that your parents could not see your value as He does. Children are a gift from Him, but unfortunately some people take that gift for granted, and choose to be filled with hate and judgement, instead of love and compassion.

God has enough love to fill in the gaps that their hurtful words left in your heart -IF - you believe He is love, and allow Him to love on you, and live in you, like never before.

Pray for today: Dear Jesus - thank you for loving me. Forgive me for giving so much credit and truth to the words of hurtful people, that I forget the immense and unconditional love that Your Word promises. Will you help me to see You in my life? Will you help me to feel that love, and to be filled with so much of You that all those hurtful words of the past will be drowned out? Will you bring people into my life who will love me the way that you intended for a daughter to be loved? Heal my broken heart Lord, and make the words that have caused me pain become a faint memory, while Your Words become the Truth that I live by. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pursuit of Potential: Lie #4SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend