Video Friday – Lean In

I have had the phrase, “Lean in” going off in my brain for a few days now. I was reminded of this because a friend of mine has been having some difficulty in her life  and it reminded me of times when I had difficulty. Our circumstances are a little different but the way we need to go about them is the same – Lean into Jesus!

This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn (and I’m still learning it) because I’m a runner. When things get bad and there isn’t anything I can do to fix it, I take off. After all my thought was, “if I can’t fix it, what is the use.” But God wants us to LEAN IN when these things happen. I’ve been practicing this along with WAITING on the Lord for an answer (whew is that a hard one!).

This video is short but it is EXACTLY what I discovered the hard way and I want to share with you in hopes you won’t go through the tough times I went through as a result of not leaning in. Enjoy!

For Your Good and God’s Glory

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Photo by Amar Yashlaha

Like myself, I’m sure all of you have had times when you are in a deep valley and you wonder if you are ever going to get out. I know that in the times I was there, it felt as if my prayers went nowhere; like I was in the valley of DRY bones. If you have found yourself at this moment – HANG ON – God is certainly in control.

I can not count on my fingers and toes how many times I’ve heard, “Satan is attacking.” And don’t get me wrong, it’s true. In those dark moments when it seems like nothing is going right and you are sitting with all this concern and worry in your head, Satan certainly is attacking. But here is an idea – God is allowing Satan to do what He is doing. God is allowing Him to only go so far with you (a Job-like experience).

Does this mean God doesn’t love you? NO of course not! Rather, God loves you enough to put you in situations where you can grow. While we are on the mountaintop and everything is going good, although it’s a reprieve from the wiles of the Devil, there isn’t much spiritual growth that happens there. The growth comes in the valley. It comes in those times when all we have is Jesus. Let’s look at what Jesus said to Peter:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  Luke 22:31-32

He said, “…and when though art converted, strengthen the brethren.” We are to take these dark valley moments and turn them into a testimony and teachable moments for others. We are supposed to use them to strengthen others. EVERYTHING we are given is for OUR GOOD and for GODS GLORY! How can we ever help others when we have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes.

One of the sayings I try never to say (although it pops out of my mouth from time to time) is, “If it were me, I would do ______(fill in the blank).” The truth is, we never really know what we would do in any given situation unless we’ve been there.

Look at the times in your life – those dark valley moments and glean from it what you can and use that testimony to strengthen that brother or sister going through a hard time. Let them know you know how they feel and how you held on to the hand of Jesus throughout. Use it! Use your experiences to do what Jesus told Peter to do; strengthen the brethren.

If you have a prayer request, we would love for you to share it with us. We have a bunch of Godly women who would love the chance to pray for you. Click here to make your request. If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior but want to know how He can change your life, click here.

Connection Connection Connection!

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Photo by Rosie Fraser

When God called me into the Women’s ministry in my church it started like this:

(Prayer)

Lord I really would love it if I had some really good Christian friends. I long for more connection with women of like mind. I wish we had a Women’s ministry.

(The answer immediately)

Then get involved in a Women’s Ministry.

ME??!! I have always been the type of church goer who got involved when it was convenient and avoided those things that required a lot of commitment. I wasn’t a “joiner.” I just wasn’t that kind of woman who wanted to be a part of leadership. To be honest, I never felt worthy of the calling and most days I still don’t feel worthy.

HOWEVER – God doesn’t call the qualified or the ones who seem the most likely to do ministry, He qualifies the called (in my case He’s still working on that.).

I say all that to get to this – God wants us to be connected. I know I’ve said this in other posts but I can’t stress this enough! He created THE CHURCH for this very reason. In James it says:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16

In order to feel comfortable confessing our faults we need to connect to people. We need to feel loved by God and by His people. God made us this way!

It’s interesting that when I bring up the subject of connection and what James 5:16 and the first couple chapters in Acts says, Christians will defend the reason why they don’t do this with the following verse:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

….and they stop there. Read the passages before this verse:

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Proverbs 4:19-24

The reason why we keep our hearts with all diligence is so that the only voice we hear is God’s voice and not the wicked. This verse isn’t there so we don’t make connection, it is there to encourage us to use discernment and to listen to God’s words because they are “life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

I am SO THANKFUL for a young man in our church, who was just recently called to preach, who stood up in front of our congregation and spoke the truth about connection and how much we need one another. It was as if he breathed on the fire in my soul and it rose higher and higher. I needed that word!

There is a lot of the time in ministry where you don’t feel like what you are doing is making much of a difference, and then God brings a word to a young man who is almost young enough to be my son and it makes all the difference in the world to me. I am so grateful for his obedience to our Savior! Thank you David W.!

So ladies (and Gents), connect, connect, connect. We are made for it, and we need it!

Love y’all!

 

If you are wondering what being a Christian is all about or why having Jesus in your life will make a difference, click here. If you have a prayer request, click here.

Video Friday – Hey Busy Mom, this one is for You!

I found this video while I was looking for something about making time for God. I loved how she explains different ways we can spend time with God. Our devotion time can be creative and different. As long as we are getting some time in to get filled up – it doesn’t matter how its done only that it gets done.

This was geared toward busy moms but can be applied to anyone who finds themselves with limited time because of busy schedules. Enjoy!

He Hath Shewed thee, O Man, what is Good…

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

First, I want to apologize for not being here as frequently as I usually am. I started a new job this week and trying to get back in the swing of things after being on unemployment has been a little harder than expected. However, I decided the only way we have time is to make time for God. Our flesh will always find an excuse while our spirit is crying out for time with our God. So I prayed for direction, ignored the flesh to try and get one more thing done that can wait, and here I am and SO GLAD to be here with y’all again.

For the past week, on and off, I have been meditating on a passage of scripture I’m sure many of you are familiar with:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  Micah 6:8

I have been thinking about what this means and do I do this. Let’s break it down.

Do justly – The best way I know how to describe how justly is used in the scripture is to use other scriptures as a definition. Romans 13:7 says, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to who custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Colossians 4:1 says, “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

Love mercy – Love in this scripture is the Hebrew word ahabah; its the affectionate love that God has for His people. Mercy means kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. We should love these things like God loves His children. When I think of the word ahabah, I think about the kind of love I have for my daughter. When I just want to grab her up and just squeeze her so tight and kiss her all over her face. That kind of love that always wants to hold on tight. We should hold tight to kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. We should always want to extend these to others even in those moments when it feels like they don’t deserve it – ESPECIALLY in those moments.

Walk humbly with thy God – I read scripture after scripture in regards to humility and the best explanation I found on what this means is from the Nelson KJV Commentary. It says, “…to walk humbly with thy God necessitates having a right attitude toward God and a determination to walk in continuous fellowship with Him. This verse once again puts things in proper perspective; for the external, outward dimension is inextricably tied to the internal.” In other words, what is in our heart is what will show on the outside. We need to remember He is God and we are not. The Israelites needed to be reminded of that even though they knew it in times past. We need to be reminded to allow God to lead our lives, to repent when needed, and to walk HUMBLY with our God.

I’m so glad I had a chance to spend some time with this verse and share it with you. It is chocked full of good stuff! To be honest, it can’t get any easier. Do right by others, treat others with kindness and be faithful to your word and more importantly to God, and allow God to lead you and keep a right attitude toward Him.

Love y’all. Please keep me in your prayers as I navigate my way through this new job and pray I will always make time for God and His word – and of course for y’all as well!

 

If you are wondering about Christ and how He can change your life, click here. If you need prayer, there are a bunch of Godly women who would love to pray for you – click here and leave your prayer request.

Who are you pleasing?

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Photo by Austin Chan

After reading a great Christian novel (And the Shofar blew by Francine Rivers), having a very serious conversation with my daughter, and seeing a post on Facebook, it got me thinking – Who are we pleasing?

So many times I see women going out of their way to please others for different reasons. Maybe because they don’t want to be seen as mean or rude, maybe they are worried about how they look to other mothers/friends/coworkers/family, or it could be they think by not pleasing that person they will not be liked. The truth is, its all vanity. It’s sometimes selfish and it isn’t who we are supposed to be pleasing.

Now let’s get this straight pleasing does not equal giving. You can be a giver and not a pleaser. You can be a pleaser and it may look like giving but the agenda is something totally different. These things are not like each other. Also, pleasing is not loving someone (unless it lifts them higher in the Christian walk – more about that below). In fact, it can be totally the opposite of that and border on enabling depending on the situation.

My question to you is this – would you want someone to feel as if they have to please you to make you happy or would you rather they give out of love for you?

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

As I was reading for this post, I had the above scripture in mind. So I started looking at other areas in scripture where it talks about pleasing man and I found this one.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Romans 15:1-2

So now I had to back up and think – should we sometimes please people? What is this verse meaning? As I went on in the chapter to get a better understanding of what is being talked about I read this:

For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:3-6

The word pleased in this verse is talking more about doing something for the good; it is for the lifting up in their Christian growth. If you notice in verse 2 it says, “for his good to edification.” It doesn’t mean to please someone no matter what the cost, it means to please them so they grow in the Lord. Most of the time the pleasing I see from myself and others is NOT for the Christian growth of others.

Truth is sometimes I please so that I don’t have to deal with watching someone suffer. It is actually selfish. I see they have a need and instead of praying about whether I should meet that need or not I just jump in with both feet so that I can make them happy. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out so well. I wanted to please them so that I didn’t have to watch them go through a storm that God had intended them to go through for their good.

I have seen others be people pleasers to build up their self-esteem and worth. If they please everyone they meet by liking what they like and doing what they do, then they will have friends who speak highly of them. We should NEVER be looking to man for our self worth. People aren’t perfect – we are all broken – and we let each other down. Don’t look to people pleasing as a way to build up your self-esteem and worth. It is a recipe for disaster. Our worth comes from the Lord. He said we are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made. He died on the cross because He loved us. We don’t need people to tell us what we are worth and we shouldn’t be pleasing others for this reason.

Maybe you are one of these people that everyone comes to because you are the “fixer.” Consider this –  stop and pray about whether you should be the one doing this. People (and most not meaning to) will depend on you to take care of all the bumps in the road for them. I see this a lot with parents. I see this a lot in me. Before you fix, pray for guidance on how far you should go. Maybe you aren’t meant to do anything. Maybe you are. We can’t always make everyone happy (including our children). Sometimes watching someone go through a difficult time for us fixers is just as much for us as it is for them. It reminds us that we can’t fix everything and we need to go to our Father who can.

We can’t make every “boo boo” all better, but we can watch God do a fantastic work in the lives of our loved ones.

Look at the reason why you’re pleasin’.

 

If you need prayer, please click here. We have a group of Godly women who would love to join you in prayer. If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know how He can change your life, click here.

Be Careful with Your Heart

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Photo by Giulia Bertelli

BY SERENA SMITH & CANDIE BALDRIDGE

A Christian husband is priceless. The best thing is the Godly council they provide, especially in affairs of the heart. When you are in ministry or just in the world as a Christian, there are many times we can get hurt by people. Maybe they mean to do us harm, maybe they have no clue they have hurt us – but it happens. In these cases, it is so nice to have a Godly husband to go to and receive wise instruction.

In today’s world, finding a Christian sister you really bond with is rare. It’s unfortunate to have to say but true (there we go – keeping it real!). I know that both myself & Serena can tell you that finding a trustworthy friend you can pour your heart out to is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. When we finally find someone who we mesh with easily, we can start to share ourselves and our lives with this person far before we know their character. This can be a recipe for disaster.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

This verse doesn’t mean we should put a wall up and not allow anyone into our lives, it means we should have discernment on who we allow to know our lives and those with which we are just friendly. How do we get this discernment? How do we know when someone is trustworthy enough to know our lives?

For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14

One answer – READ THE BIBLE! You will not be able to discern good from evil if you aren’t studying the word of God.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

We can not hear God when we aren’t hearing His word.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

We must read his word to have the discernment we need to choose Godly people in our lives. The only way to attain any of this is to know God through His word. The true bonds will just happen as we focus on God and our spirit connects with another’s spirit. Remember, friendship is a gift and we shouldn’t be so quick to give it away.

In addition, let’s not discount prayer. When you meet someone for the first time and you are really connecting with this person – pray. Pray that God gives you what you need to know if this person means good for you, is there to teach you something, or means evil for you and you shouldn’t give them fuel for the fire.

Lastly, always remember, the one friend we can rely on to understand and to not bring us harm is Jesus. Put your focus on Him and on His word and you will have the discernment to know good from evil and the faith to trust God in the process.

 

Serena Smith is a pastor’s wife, mother, and a grandmother. She has been a Christian for 31 years and likes to share her faith with others. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time cooking for her family, taking walks with her sweetheart, and playing with her 4 beautiful grandchildren.

If you have a prayer request, we have a group of Godly women who would love to pray for you. Click here to share your request. If you would like to know more about Jesus and how he has changed the lives of others and can do the same for you, click here.