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.

We are the Light of the World

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Photo by Andreas Kind

I am very hesitant in writing this post. Mainly because it is what I’ve been seeing on social media and other blogs and I don’t want anyone to think I’m pointing them out BUT I can not let this go. Mainly because I promised myself that if God gave the subject I would talk about it. After all, this blog is about being real isn’t it?

I usually (I don’t want to say always because there may come a day I forget to) pray before I post because I want what I post to be anointed by God and not to be just me. So if I’ve posted this it is because it has flowed freely and wasn’t incredibly hard to write; but I digress.

I have seen and heard so much about, “I don’t go to church because of the hypocritical, “so called” Christian people that attend,” or I hear, “I am tired of them judging others when the Bible says not to judge,” or my favorite, “Church people act like they are better than everyone else and I don’t have time for that.”  I’ll give you this much, you may be right in some instances but to group everyone in one category simply based on your perspective is not only wrong, but makes you just as bad.

Do I think there are hypocrites in churches – yep. Do I think there are judgmental people in churches – yep. Do I think that some Christians act like they are better than anyone else – yep. Do I think this is a reason to stay home on a Sunday and not find a body of believers to worship with…..ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25

If you are concerned about the hypocrite thing – I suggest we look at ourselves and judge ourselves based on the word of God. Are we hypocrites? Do we do hypocritical things? If so, are we not hypocrites ourselves when we point out other’s hypocritical ways? I think the best thing to do is the following:

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Philippians 2:12-15

Let’s talk about the judging thing. This is always a very touchy subject. Are we as Christians suppose to judge others? To be honest, I understand the way we are to use judgement but explaining it is difficult. I got this from gotquestions.org and it explains it pretty well. You can look up the scripture they provide.

Believers are warned against judging others unfairly or unrighteously, but Jesus commends “right judgment” (John 7:24, ESV). We are to be discerning (Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are to preach the whole counsel of God, including the Bible’s teaching on sin (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:2). We are to gently confront erring brothers or sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:1). We are to practice church discipline (Matthew 18:15–17). We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). 

https://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-judge.html

Bottom line – we are to call sin if it’s sin in the Bible. We aren’t to say sin is okay so that we seem tolerant. However, you can’t expect an unsaved person to act as if they are saved.  This is our opportunity to be the light in their dark world. This is our chance to love them in a way that is different from the world. I don’t care if they are gay, straight, bi-sexual, drug addict, adulterer…it doesn’t matter. We are called to love them and be a light. Period.

So what do we do when another Christian tells us we are judging when we call out sin? Send them to the source – scripture. Let God fight those battles.

Now what about the idea that “church people” act as if they are better than everyone else. There is some truth to this statement; “church people” do act like they are better but CHRIST followers should not! How did Christ live? How did he treat the sinner? How did he treat the woman caught in the act of adultery when they wanted to stone her? He reminded her accusers of their own sin and told them that if they were without sin to go ahead and cast the stone at her. They all put their stones down and left. THEN He told the woman to “go and sin no more.” Would church people do that or would church people had casted those stones just so they can “purify” their environment once again?

Be a Christ Follower.

I know this post seems a bit all over the place and I tried to tackle a lot of subjects at one time but after all the social media and blog posts I’ve been reading I just really felt led to tackle the main ones I’ve been seeing.

Finally, let me end with this – I’ve probably been guilty at one or two of these things. I’m no where near perfect; none of us are. That is why we need Jesus. I guess all I can end with is be true to the word of God as best you can, don’t judge others without discernment, and be a Christ follower. Be peculiar, love God, love people, and be the kind of Christian that attracts others to Jesus.

If you need prayer, myself and a bunch of wonderful Godly women would love to pray for you. Just contact us here. If you are wondering about why I follow this man named Jesus, watch this video – it could change your life!

How did I get here?

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Photo by Eugenia Maximova

BY ELLEN SUTLIFF & CANDIE BALDRIDGE

Have you ever woken up and said, “how did I get here?” At one time or another we all have. Maybe because we find ourselves in a situation that just a few years ago we would have NEVER thought we would be. Maybe it was because other people did things that ultimately affected our life. Regardless, we have all been at that place in our lives where we have looked in the mirror wondering how we are where we are and wondering how we are going to get out.

There are addicts that wake up most mornings asking this same question; how did I get here? These can be people who are addicted to work, money, drugs, pornography, sexual activities, drinking, or violence. Those things that take over the body, mind, and soul to a point where without it, they are in withdrawal. People who find themselves in this situation don’t start out their life headed down this road. It all starts with, “I can handle this and just try it once.” It quickly turns into, “I need more so I will do whatever it takes.”

These are addictions satan uses to oppress and keep people in bondage. Our enemy takes advantage of our natural man. He uses those three areas in which to tempt and if this person doesn’t have the Spirit living within them, this is all they know.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16

As Christians, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I spiritually asleep and unaware of what’s going on around me; Am I so consumed with my own life and problems that I don’t want to recognize other people’s problems?” Or are we those who have no compassion for people in this situation? I know that as for us, both of us have thought to ourselves a time or two, “If that person really cared about their children and their family, they would straighten up and get their life together.” That is until addiction hit close to home. I think it is important for us to remember this verse:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

We need to be bearing these burdens in prayer. We need to have compassion for those who find themselves in the grip of addiction. Does that mean we say it’s okay – of course not. Does that mean we enable them to continue in their addiction – NO! But does that mean we mark them off as unlovable and not worth our time? NO! People who are in the grips of bondage need Jesus; no matter what situation in which they find themselves. We are called to love them.

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is , Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31

The children of God must wake up from their spiritual sleep and have a burden for the lost and for those brothers and sisters in the Lord who find themselves in these places of addiction. We need to show the love of Jesus and show them that the hole in their lives they are trying to fill with their drug of choice should be filled with the Spirit of God.

Are you asking yourself how your loved one got to where they are? Are you tired of being the friend who always picks up the pieces? Or maybe you are that person who has just given up on your loved one and has no more compassion for their situation. Might we encourage you to keep praying. Lift them up to the greatest healer – Jesus.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

 

Ellen Sutliff is a 52 year old pastor’s wife and a mother. In her congregation she has people with family members in the throws of addiction. She has old friends with people who are homeless and living in the woods because of addiction. Ellen has family who are slowly losing their lives to addiction. She has chosen to fight the good fight in prayer for those who struggle with these strongholds. “How did I get here? By the love, mercy and grace of God. He filled my heart with my Lord Jesus!”

If you need prayer please contact us here. If you don’t know Jesus and want more information, watch this video – it could change your life!