Immovable Faith

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” ~1 Peter 5:8-9 (emphasis mine)   Last October my husband and I traveled twenty-three hours (one megabus and two very long plane rides) to India. We went to visit one of my best friends who was serving there and working with Muslim peoples. The moment we stepped foot into the country, we were overwhelmed by idol worship. As far as your eyes could see there were idols everywhere. The spiritual oppression was deep and seemed too much for my heart to bear. On our trip we went into a Muslim durga and a Hindu temple. Both places were serving the wrong god and worshipping idols made by human hands. Seeing the people lift their hands to these gods in worship made me want to cry. Yet in that oppression, I realized that there is one God and one Enemy. The same God that saved my soul is the same God doing a mighty work in unreached countries today. On the other hand, the same Enemy who does everything possible to distract us and deter us from carrying out the Great Commission is the same Enemy deceiving these people into serving millions of gods other than the One True God. 1 Peter 5:8-9 brings us to a sober realization. We have a real Enemy who hates us and our purpose. He doesn’t want the Gospel spread because it is good news to us, but bad news to him. In my Pawpaw’s Bible,...

Speak Grace

  Christine Caine posted a photo the other day that struck me. It said,“Her success is not your failure.” Wow. Did that hit you in the gut like it did me? The success of other women (the amount of followers, the number of sales, the opportunities of others, the influence of others) is never to be compared with the task that God has set before you. Never. The dangers of this comparison game is that it sneaks its way into the church! Women in Bible studies and in areas of leadership compare their influence and styles with each other. It can happen even without us noticing it. After all, Satan’s ways are crafty, deceptive and cunning. He knows exactly where to shoot a dart at a us to make us crippled in what God has called us to do. In 1 Peter 3:8-12, Peter was well aware of the disruptive nature of comparison and commanded the church to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.” It all begins with each woman seeking to follow Christ. We must on a foundation of making Jesus famous throughout the whole earth. Whatever means that happens should be a joy to us. Whether it is through another’s ministry or through the daily tasks God sets before us in working hard and caring for our family. We are all living this life for one purpose: the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is easy to have the head knowledge of our purpose, but we need for this truth to sink deep into our hearts and...

Holy Spirit, Here’s My Planner

Sunday morning’s are filled with the sweet melody of praises at churches all around the world. We gather together with other believers to sing and worship the Lord. We listen to compelling messages from earnest pastors who long for us to see Christ in the Word and share Him with the world. We pray, we hug, we share, and we give. And then we leave. We walk out of the meeting place and walk back into everyday life. What if what we heard, what we sang, what we prayed, and what we gave overflowed into the everyday? What if we didn’t limit the work of God to Sunday morning’s and welcomed His movement in the everyday of being a wife, mom, student, daughter, employer, employee, and woman? What if we didn’t just sing lyric’s like “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here,” but prayed them earnestly at the start of each week when we fill out our planners? Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Everyday we make plans, to-do lists, and fill our agenda’s with meetings, projects, and things that need to get done. I am guilty of filling in every single half hour increment with either a meeting or a goal. Many of you can testify with me that rarely does a day go exactly as planned. Your child spills milk on your shirt right before you are about to walk out the door. You get ready in five minutes only to realize your work pants are still at the dry cleaners and have to start your outfit from scratch! You are running behind to get to a meeting...

Delicate Delight

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 I used to take the comfort in this verse the wrong ways. I took it as a chance to “get what I want” from God. I believed that since I was in church and involved in Bible studies that every desire in my heart was “of God.” Therefore, if I was in so many Christian places serving God, wouldn’t He grant me all the desires of my heart? It took years of prodding, searching, and digging deeper to unveil the true meaning of this verse. In discovering what the Psalmist meant by these words and God’s intentions for “delighting,” I found an incredible great joy and freedom from being attached the things of this world that will not last. You might be confused at your unanswered desires as well. You might even be questioning what this verse truly means and how it applies to your life. Today, I can tell you that to delight in the Lord is life-changing fulfilling, but it does not mean you will get everything you want. Delicate Delight The word used for “delight” in the Hebrew means to “be soft, be delicate, be dainty, the be happy about, and take exquisite delight.” God calls His people to a sort of dainty, or delicate delight. This kind of delight rejoices in God Most High and is changed by the rejoicing. Have you ever held something delicate? Something that is delicate is changed easily – it is moldable and can be easily altered. The same is true for our hearts. When we rejoice in the...

The Beauty of Broken Praise

Her hands were mangled, crippled in every sense of the word. They were once strong and able to care for her children, cook dinner, and drive a car. But, now, they were limited to being able to accomplish a few daily tasks. I remember running in to my grandparents house when we would visit them a few times a year, eager to see my Mawmaw and Pawpaw. Mawmaw would lift up her head to kiss my cheek from her seated posture and raise her crippled hands to hug my neck. Though she couldn’t pick me up, she could hug me with the most loving, affectionate embrace. Her hands showed me an incredible love and tenderness from God, and I loved being able to paint her fingernails a soft shade of pink. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and the effects of the disease robbed her of many freedoms. My mom and her siblings helped care for her, along with her selfless husband. Yet, in her suffering and her daily confinement to an electric wheelchair, a smile was perpetually on her face and praise on the tip of her tongue. Mawmaw’s ailments did not limit her ability to make much of Jesus, they enabled her to see Him in a new, faithful way that many people never witness. I’ve never seen a woman more beautiful and joy-filled than my Mawmaw. In church, she would raise her bent hands to the Lord and sing hymns with the deepest of convictions.  Her broken body was a testimony of the wholeness to come in eternity with Jesus Christ. As believers, we shouldn’t be...

Stewards of Grace

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as god stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  ~1 Peter 4:10-11 Would you like a chili cheese fry with that vanilla Dr. Pepper? I asked my mom as I roller bladed through the house acting like I was a Sonic waitress. If you were to ask me what I dreamed of being when I grew up when I was five years old, a few things on my list would have included a wife, missionary, mom and a maid. Yep, you read that correct. I aspired to be a maid when I grew up! Insert head nod from every wife and mom reading this who has been enlisted as the official maid of the home. My grandmother sewed a dress for me that looked like it had come from the 1800s and had a white apron on it. I would wear this dress all the time and act like I was a maid. I’m not exactly sure what made me want to be maid, considering I didn’t even like to clean when I was little.  I do know that the Lord has taught me a lesson through my dreams as a little girl. Without knowing it, I aspired to be a servant to all. As believers, we are called to be servants. Just like Jesus came not to...

The God of New

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ~Isaiah 43:19 There is something invigorating about “new.” We all need a fresh start, soul awakenings, and something to reignite our passion! There are so many things we buy that may be “new” for a while, but soon after they are bought and used…they become old and worn out. Many of the Christmas presents you opened a few days ago have already lost their lustre and shine. Just like those things, we can become worn out, weary, heavy-laden and stagnant in our walk with Christ. We can become laid back, comfortable, and ineffective for the Kingdom of God. We can even become an ally with the Enemy when we settle for less than God intended for us. We can waste time living in a world where we put our Great God in a tiny box that our mind can comprehend. If you find yourself in one of these descriptions, take heart and rejoice in the Lord, because we serve a God of New! New perspective…new life…new passion….new hope…new beginnings! Not only that, He keeps His promises of old, He never changes, and He is always with us and faithful to guide us as we seek His face. I have learned this firsthand in my own walk with Jesus. At the end of 2011, I knelt down with my sister and mom and we prayed before the God of heaven that I would meet my future husband and get married…all in...

The Mystery of Gratitude

I’ll never forget sitting in the home of my pastor’s wife in college, folding laundry with her, and listening to every drop of wisdom I could get. She was sharing with me about some of the most important things she wanted to tell pastor’s wives. I leaned in to listen to her closely, not wanting to miss this incredible secret! Miss Carla was going to tell me one of the most important things she had learned over years of being a pastor’s wife! The words she said were different than I expected. For some reason I felt that I was going to receive a new revelation from the Lord in that moment, but instead, I received a confirmation. Her wisdom was this: “Always be grateful.” Is that what you were thinking she was going to say? The truth is, many of us have missed out on the beauty of gratitude in our lives. It has taken me years for this truth to sink in deep into my heart. And, even today, it is still sinking. Gratitude often gets a bad rap. It is minimized to a simple list or a word or two spoken at our Thanksgiving feasts. When asked what we are grateful for, we often are at a loss after we’ve listed family, friends, our home, our freedom, etc. The truth is, most of us are missing the incredible power that comes with the gift of gratitude. Miss Carls had learned it over many years of serving in the ministry, also being a mother of five children, and she would tell you today that she is still...

The Blessing of Burdens

Sweat dripped down my forehead and fell to the floor. I used all of my energy to lift the weight set before me. It was heavy, and I felt so weak and simply wanted to give up. But the instructor was right there, cheering me on and telling me that I could do it. I could push harder. And through lifting that weight I could be stronger. Her words gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to keep going. And afterwards, I was so grateful and more capable of facing the day ahead of me. Our days can be exhausting. Wearying with hard work, and filled with burdens. There have been days that I’ve felt the heaviness of my to-do lists bear down on me so much that I felt I couldn’t keep going. Drops of sweat fall from my brow each day as I keep on keeping on and feel as if I am getting no where. The chances are, you’ve felt the same way. Heavy-laden. Weak. About to crash. The burdens of life were never meant to weigh us down, but rather to make us stronger. You would think I was crazy if I were to carry around a backpack of weights each day. Why? Because that would be misunderstanding the purpose of a weight. Weights weren’t meant to be carried on the back, but to be lifted and make us stronger. As we lift, we work, we do all that we can to keep going, the Lord is right there saying “Keep going, my child.” Those gentle whispers are enough to keep us going. We...

The God of Now

Most days we live are pretty ordinary. Wake up, drink coffee, read your Bible, get ready for work, work, eat, exercise, eat, visit friends, read, sleep. This would look extremely different if you have children, but you get the picture. The mountaintop experiences aren’t the norm, the valleys are. The valleys are the places in life where we just walk. We walk and walk and walk without seeing a new sight or getting to a new path. Everything around us seems strangely familiar and we keep looking out for the next turn towards a big adventure. Moses was the same way. After he had been raised in the household of Pharoah, the very man who sought to kill every Hebrew child, he killed an Egyptian and ran away out of fear. He arrived in the land of Midian where he met some shepherd girls and married one of them who was named Zipporah. (Exodus 2) He then became a shepherd. Needless to say, he had the same routine, day in and day out, like many of us do. But one day changed everything. It began normal. Moses was simply doing his job and shepherding his sheep. He walked with them to Horeb, known as the mountain of God. As he walked, something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. It was a bush that was burning with fire, yet it was not consumed. I love that Moses’ response to this incredible sight was this: “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” The moment Moses “turned aside,” God spoke. What if Moses...