Friday, April 27, 2012

getting used to the dark?

I can remember putting my sweet girls to bed when they were little. I would always turn on their little nightlights and then shut off the big light. When the light first went out it would always be pretty dark in their rooms. I would tell them, "wait just a minute and your eyes will get used to the dark and you will be able to see". Sure enough, in just a bit, their eyes adjusted and they could see enough to not be afraid.

We live in a world of darkness. It seems like as time goes on we are slowly getting used to the dark that is prevailing. Little by little we have allowed the light to be diminished and allowed the darkness to overtake it. And we are adjusting to it. Sadly, we are letting ourselves get used to the dark. 

Has our light that at one time shined so brightly for Jesus become dim? Has it become a mere nightlight instead of a blazing brightness? Do we even recall when it started happening? When did our source of power no longer light us up like it used to. When did we start getting used to the dark?

Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that we are the light of the world and we are supposed to let our light shine for men to see? That light is present when we have the precious Lord Jesus Christ dwelling within our hearts! We shine because He is shining through us. So if that is the truth, why is the world in such darkness? It is in this state because we have allowed our light to go dim. Our light is not shining. We have let the enemy extinguish our brightness and replace it with a very small glow. If even that....

Why and how did this happen? It happened because our voices have stopped teaching. It happened because our prayers have ceased and therefore hearts have stopped being changed. It happened because our hands have stopped serving and our feet have stopped going. It happened because of change in the lives of mankind. God hasn't changed and the TRUTH hasn't changed. We have.

We have let the darkness of this present world take priority over the light of Jesus. Why? Because it is easy. It is easier to stay in the dark than to turn on the light. Do we like the dark? Do we think that in the dark our deeds are hidden? We must or else we would get up and turn on the light. 

We have to light our lamps again and shine for Jesus. If we don't shine then the darkness will continue to take over. It is not always easy and it is not always convenient. But if we are going to live in victory and win souls for Christ, we have to show others the light. We can't just tell them, we have to be that example. They have to see it in us. We must be what Jesus created us to be. 

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God"
(John 3:19-21)


Precious Father, allow our lights to shine so brightly for you that we are ablaze with the wonder of who you are. Let us be that shining example to those that may be in darkness. May they desire to come into the light and forever leave the world of darkness because of what You have done in us and through us. You truly are the Light of the World.

Monday, April 23, 2012

He will do wonders

Has God stunned you lately with who He is? Do you consistently stand in awe of Him?

If we are wholly committed to Him and to His powerful WORD, we will be awed by Him. If we are feverishly digging into the Holy Scriptures like a person searching for buried treasure, we will be stunned by what He reveals of Himself.  There is so much that He desires to teach us and to bestow upon us, if we will just take the time to seek Him with our whole hearts.

Joshua 3:5 says, 'And Joshua said unto the people, 
sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD
will do wonders among you"

God calls us to be sanctified. It is what He created us for. He desires for us to be consecrated to Him and for Him. That is our calling.

If we want to be stunned and awed by our God, we must be seeking to consecrate and sanctify ourselves. We must be aspiring for holiness. Then, as the Word says, He will do wonders among us!

How do we become sanctified and consecrated to the Lord? We offer ourselves to Him. We submit our desires and our wants to Him and replace them with what God desires of us and for us. It is about total surrender. Daily repentance. Obedience. It's about wanting only what God wants for us. Setting aside our fleshly desires and allowing the Holy Spirit to work.

We must lay it all down at the altar. At the precious feet of Jesus. Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to the One who is worthy and sacrificed His life for us. When we reach the point of surrendering it all to Him, we need to be ready to receive the precious Spirit of God in our lives and allow the imputed righteousness of Christ to overwhelm us! To spur us on to living a life that pleases the Father. We need to be prepared to allow God the freedom to move in our lives in a way that we can experience the awesome truth of who He really is.  The truth of who He wants us to be and the reality of who He wants to be in us. 

And then, we are going to be stunned and awed at who we can be in Him. We will see His power at work in our lives and begin to tap into the abundant and spirit filled life He intends for us.

God wants to set our entire life ablaze with His love that we might be sanctified and consecrated to Him. That He might begin to do wonders in our life that will stun us beyond measure. So we can truly stand in awe of our Lord.  He is worthy. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

just be REAL

God never ceases to amaze me at how He  is always at work in my life. It doesn't matter where He has me in my bible reading and study, He always has an experience waiting on me to reinforce what He is teaching me in His Word. His Word is timeless and His Word is ageless. Oh, how I love the Holy Scriptures. They are life to me.

As my sweet Lord has me deep in the pages of James at this time in my scripture study, I have been experiencing the truth written in the book like never before. The wonderful book of James is full of power. It is straight forward in its writing as to how we as believers should be living our life. It's about our Faith having action. It's about making sure that when we say we desire to minister to others that we truly minister in deed and not just in words. 

My husband I were blessed this past weekend to provide housing for 6 beautiful women from a faith-based rehabilitation program. They were in our little town to attend a Ladies Conference that I was blessed to be part of. When I was first approached about providing a place for them to stay from Friday to Sunday, I was a little hesitant. I was very busy preparing for my part in the conference and knew that things would be hectic around my house. It just wasn't a good time. But as I hesitated for just a split second, God spoke..

He quietly whispered to my heart..."Are you in this to minister or not".  As I felt His Spirit speaking to me, I was reminded of the scriptures that I had been memorizing and was trying to hide deep into my heart. 

 "If one of you says to them,  "Go in peace; keep warm and be well fed," 
but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
(James 2:17)

I was so honored to be part of  'For REAL Ministries' and here I was presented with the perfect opportunity to be REAL. To put my faith into action. To make a difference in someone's life. And I hesitated? Oh my goodness, the conviction just fell on me and I immediately said I would be more than happy to let them stay at my house.

I cannot tell you how blessed my husband and I were by the presence of those 6 amazing women in our home. They were gracious and kind and had the sweetest spirits. Brand new Christians with a new outlook on their life because of what Jesus had done inside of them. They shared their stories with us and broke my heart. They showed us the side of life that we forget exists or that we never take the time to find out about. But they also showed us that when God swoops in and touches your life, you are most assuredly a new creation. They shined for Jesus inside and out and it just ministered to me abundantly. The book of James had become a reality in my life and it felt so wonderful.

I love how God ordains certain events in our lives at just the right time. His time is always the best time. He knows just when we need a life lesson to be dropped right into our laps. He knows what will be most effective and what will have the most impact on us. I am so thankful that I allowed the precious Holy Spirit to lead me that day. If I had ignored His Voice and done my own thing, I would have missed a certain God moment in my spiritual walk.

 May I never put my own desires over God's desires. Sweet Jesus, don't let me miss the Glory!

(Thank you Jessica, Jordan, Kellie, Tiffany, Chara, and Brittney! I love you girls!!!)

(For REAL Ministries)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

we who teach...

When God began to speak to my heart about memorizing the book of James, I was very skeptical. I don't have a hard time memorizing scripture, but at the same time 5 chapters, which totaled 108 verses, seemed liked a very daunting task. One that I didn't feel up to. One that I had just about talked myself out of doing. But God had other plans.

As He began to continue nudging my heart to do this, I realized that He probably had something to teach me through this memory work. In fact, I was pretty sure He had something to show me. Because that's just how my God works. Always teaching if we are willing to be taught!

As I started with James 1 and spent the month of February on those 27 verses, the whole book of James started coming alive to me. I began to see the teaching of James in a whole new light and I began to look at James in a whole new way. These scriptures were penned by the half-brother of Jesus! He grew up in the same household as my Savior! His Words were certainly God-breathed and inspired. By the time I started with James 2, I was enthralled with the person of James and with his book. As I wound up the month of March with the 26th verse in chapter 2, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to dig into James chapter 3 and begin to see what God was going to reveal to me through those scriptures.

Verse 1 of Chapter 3 starts with a bang. A huge bang.. 

"Not many of you should become teachers,
my fellow believers, because you know
that we who teach will be judged more strictly"

Whew... was He talking about me? Someone who teaches a ladies class on Sunday nights? Oh, yes. He was most definitely talking about me. And it just pierced my heart with conviction and with a reverent fear of my God.

When I teach, I had better make sure that NOTHING I say contradicts the Word of God. When I teach, I better make sure that EVERYTHING I say is straight from the pages of the Holy Scriptures. I need to guard my mind from the enemy and make sure that I am saturating it heavily in the mighty and powerful WORD of God so that nothing in me comes forth, but only that which is of HIM. 

As the power of this statement hit my spirit, it just brought the tears with it. I realized that when He gives us the gift of teaching, it comes with a price. One that means we need to make sure that we KNOW what we are teaching. We need to make sure we KNOW the ONE we are teaching about. We need to make sure that we are wholly lined up in Him so that we can impart what the Holy Spirit desires to say through us.

I put my whole heart into teaching my class because I love the Word of God so much! But I see that I need to make sure that I spend even more time on my face and in prayer asking my precious Father to give me what He would have me to bring to those precious women I lead.  I treasure the Word immensely, but I see that I need to treasure it even more than that. It has to be life to me. It has to be the very breath that I breathe. It has to be the main thing that I eat and I drink. I have to hunger and thirst for it continually

I am so thankful that God has called me at this time to hide His Word deep into my heart. As I continue to memorize the amazing book of James, I challenge each of you to do to the same.  It will open your eyes to so much that the Lord desires for us to learn. It will be a convicting Word as well as a restoring Word and also an encouraging Word. It is awesome!

I will close this with one of the verses I am on today.....This pierced deep, but it has caused me to begin to look more closely at my tongue and the things that I say... Help me, Lord.

"The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among 
that parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets
the whole course of one's life on fire, and is
itself set on fire by hell"
James 3:6


God, I thank you for the power of your Word. Thank you for allowing it to penetrate deep as conviction and yet be a soothing balm to my soul. You are my life and my breath and I love you with all that I am and all that I can be and all that I have. You are my Savior and my God. I will praise you and serve you all the days of my life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

open my eyes

I spent last weekend at a church retreat for women that was hosted by a sister church in my town. There were over 30 women of all ages there and it was such an amazing time of fellowship as well as a time of amazing messages and some very powerful praise and worship. There was such a wonderful feeling of unity among all the women that were present and it was a time of much needed refreshment for my soul.

It is so easy to get bogged down in the mundane aspects of life and ministry. Being a pastor's wife is the most rewarding and amazing gift that God could have ever bestowed upon me, but it is also spiritually draining and emotionally taxing at times. Those who aren't in the ministry can never fully comprehend that fact, but those of us who live it know that it can be overwhelming at times. But God is so good and He supplies us with strength and with perseverance.

I needed that time away and I needed that time of relaxation and fellowship with other Christian women. It was a time to pour into lives of young women who are searching for their place of ministry in their own life. It was a time to share testimonies of God's goodness and His mercy. And it was a place to share personal problems in a place where there was no condemnation but only support and love. 

After a night filled with a precious word from the Lord and some awesome praise and worship in song, the Holy Spirit was just so thick in our midst. Hearts began to be moved to share things that were joyful as well as sorrowful. We went from laughing to crying in the same breath. Souls were being bared with no sense of shame but with a deep cry for release from the bondage that was so tightly constricting them. And as the chains were being loosed on some precious women's hearts, there was a feeling of victory in the room that was shared by all. Women wanting other women to be free! What an amazing feeling.

The Lord was showing me a whole new world of hurt that I never really thought about. I have lived in such a sheltered frame of mind, that I never realized how many women are hurting desperately. I mean really hurting. Like a deep hurt that I can't even fathom. People are going through things that I only thought existed in novels and television movies. There is such pain in the lives of so many and it just breaks my heart. I don't know how I have been so out of touch in some of these areas. It's not that I didn't realize that real people have real problems - real BAD problems at that. It's just that I didn't realize the far reaching nature of these problems in their lives. Hurts that go way back. Hurts that have never healed. Hurts that have managed to cripple and hinder. 

As I sat and listened to these precious women sharing things that caused me to ache deeply for them, I whispered softly to my Lord, "oh, sweet Jesus, help me to minister in your name." As I witnessed love and acceptance pouring forth from other women to those that were sharing their wounds and scars, I could sense the Holy Spirit saturating each of us with His love and His mercy and His grace. We were gracing those with the grace that has been shown us over and over again. We were bestowing mercy to others with the same sweet mercy that God dispenses to us daily. We were loving with His love, because of His love.

I silently breathed a prayer of thanks to my Lord for allowing me this glimpse, no matter how painful, into a world that I had failed to realize existed. I promised Him that I would be more aware of these deep seeded hurts that can be present in women's lives. That I would be more sensitive to the pain that can sometimes be etched on the faces of those we come in contact with. I asked Him to give me discernment so I can be available to minister in His name. I want to grace as I have been graced and to love with a love that only comes from Him. I want to show others Jesus in all that I say and do.

"And be ye kind one to another, 
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 
even as God for Christ's sake
hath forgiven you"
(Ephesians 4:32)

"Thank you, Lord, that you have given me the ability to love others with the perfect love that only comes from you. I am overwhelmed at your goodness and am so thankful that you allowed me a glimpse into a world filled with pain and hurt so that I could become more compassionate and more compelled to love.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on you and to keep them open to be more aware of the lives of others. May I be filled with a heart that longs to serve and minister in your name."