We all have a reputation whether we want it or not.
According to Webster's Dictionary the word reputation means the overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general. Reputations are placed upon us by the choices we make or even reflect the paths we've walked down through life. They can be acquired by one act or by a series of actions or attitudes. Many people work hard to obtain a certain reputation while others work just as hard to change the one they have.
The best reputation that we as a Christian woman can obtain is that of "she glorifies God!"
What a wonderful thing to be said about us for that is what we are created for. According to Isaiah 26:8 this should be our heart's desire.
What about you? Is this your heart's desire? To have a reputation of glorifying God?
If you are on the path of gaining this reputation, I want to encourage you to keep up the good work. If you have found that you have somehow gotten on to a detoured path, it is never to late! Seek the Lord and let Him direct you back to the right path.
As said earlier, we all have a reputation. Even God has one. In the 63rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah, we find the Israelites remembering what God had done for them. They remembered how He brought them out of Egypt, across the Red sea, across the desert and into a peaceful valley for rest. I love how the New Living Translation reads at the end of verse 14, "You led your people, LORD, and gained a magnificent reputation."
So here's what I would like to hear from you. How has the LORD led you and gained a magnificent reputation in your life?
Can't wait to hear from you!
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
There was a song that Elton John sang while I was in my teens.
The chorus popped into my thoughts this morning and won’t go away.
Do you remember this?
Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life…
I am neither a cancer survivor nor a survivor of domestic violence so why is this song ringing so loud today? I think because I am simply trying to survive myself.
One of my worst critics is myself. So many times I am the one that holds myself back from true victory.
I am currently reading “A Confident Heart; How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God’s Promises.” By Renee Swope. I agree with Renee as she writes that many women don’t ever feel like they are good enough, smart enough or valuable enough.
In this book so many chapter titles resonate with me.
Take a look…
When Doubt Whispers “I’m Not Good Enough”
When Doubt Whispers “I’m Such a Failure”
When Doubt Whispers “I Don’t Have Anything Special to Offer”
Do you struggle with doubt? I do!
So much so that I have lived in the shadows of insecurities so long that I have limit myself. Afraid to do what God calls me to do because of the doubts placed in my thoughts.
So how do we overcome this doubt and become survivors?
I think, just like Renee, it comes from living in the promises of God. God’s Word is filled with amazing promises.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)
If God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
What is impossible with man is possible with God. (Luke 18:27)
I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Ps. 91:15)
This doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to search for more in God’s Word.
So I guess I now understand why that chorus from the teen years of my life is playing through my thoughts.
As I stand on God’s promises instead of my own strength…I am still standing…looking like a true survivor…feeling like a little kid.
As I was finishing this up I read a line from Warren Weirsbe’s commentary.
“God’s promises are prods not pillows.”
To be a true survivor we cannot pull all these promises around us like a warm blanket on a chilly morning and get all comfy cozy but rather we are to let them prod us to service for God. To step out of the shadows and walk in the promises He gives us.
Stepping Out of the Shadows.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
It was all too familiar.
Here she was walking the stony rugged path outside the city gate once again. A familiarity she never wanted, never asked for but yet she was retracing those same steps that she had taken before. A trip that seemed to had only been yesterday.
Just like the last time she kept her eyes averted to the ground. She could sense all the people around her but at the same time felt completely alone. She could barely even hear the professional mourners over the cries of her heart.
“What now?” “How could this have happened?” “What will I do to survive?” Questions coming one after another, invading her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep her knees from buckling.
With tears spilling down her cheeks faster than she could wipe them away with a cloth that lost its dryness days ago, she tried to focus on the shoulders of the men walking in front of her. In fact, there were two columns of men walking together, side by side. These men were carefully placing their steps as to not mishandle the precious cargo atop their shoulders. Each sharing the weight of the poles that made up the stretcher like coffin upon which the shrouded body of her son-her only son lay. Not only was this her dearly loved son but since her husband had died he was her protector and her provider. Now he too was gone.
The further outside the city she went the more numb she became. She barely noticed the group walking towards the gate about to pass her. The cultural traditions held that when one passes a funeral procession condolences were to be made. This would be no different. For a moment she was able to pull herself out of the dense fog within her head. She could tell there was a buzz of excitement within the oncoming group.
What it was she didn’t know and frankly she didn’t care.
Her world had stopped and that was all she really knew.
Once the group was close enough she lifted her eyes just barely to see the man walking ahead of the rest. There was something different about him. He wasn’t like the other mourners. As her eyes met his briefly she could tell he held true compassion for her. He came close and whispered to her, “Do not weep?” Then he did the most unusual thing. He reached for the stretcher carrying her son’s body. The small amount of air that was left in her fragile body leapt out in a gasp. If this man touched the body he would be deemed unclean. “Why would he do that?” she asked herself.
As the man touched the side of the open air coffin, those carrying it stood still. She couldn’t help but draw close. She had to know what was happening. It was almost like everything around her hushed and then she heard the strangest words coming from the man. Her head began spinning. “Did he just say what I thought he said? Did he just say, “Young man, I say to you rise?”
She stared at the man for what seemed forever then slowly turned and looked at where the body of her son lay. “What was she seeing? Was she dreaming? Was that her son was sitting up and talking?” At that moment she could no longer keep her knees under her.
More questions bombarded her. “In her stumble, had she fallen asleep? Was this a strange dream? Was this man she kept hearing others call Jesus really standing in front of her? Who was that he has his arm around? Is that really her son?”
She reached timidly out to the hand beckoning for hers and when they met…when real live flesh met tears and laughter burst from her. It was her son. He was truly alive.
The widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) only expected the obvious that day. She expected to follow a procession to the cemetery. She expected to bury her son into the cold ground. She expected to walk that lonely path back through the gates of the city to her house. She expected life to be hard and sad from that point on.
But what she didn’t expect…she didn’t expect Jesus.
Jesus walked up and exceeded her expectations.
Friend you may not be walking in a literal funeral procession but you might be like I am, standing on a stony path watching that dream encased in a bubble wafting away on the slightest breeze. Maybe you also feel like I have, like you are standing drenched in a muddy puddle from the wave that doused the passion that once burned like a raging fire in your heart.
Maybe your only expectations are to bury those dreams and passions in the cold earth with life never being the same again.
Maybe you are not sure what to expect.
God has me on the journey of expectation. He is telling me not to be walking down a stony path with limited expectations.
I have felt God ask me “Are you expecting Jesus?”
God is tugging at my heart to expect the arrival of Jesus and to be ready for him to reach out and touch that which I once thought was dead and rejoice when He exceeds my expectations.
Psalm 145:19 says, “He will fulfill the desires of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.”
Oh friend, expectantly wait for His arrival and don’t be surprised when what He does totally exceeds your expectations.
Edwin Louis Cole says, “Expectancy is the atmosphere of miracles.”
I can’t wait, can you?
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Turn on any type of media and you will eventually hear worldly news.
Wars, bombings, beheadings, natural disasters…the world is moaning for Christ return…and whether the people of the world know or not, creation is expecting it!
Romans 8:19-20 says, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
In the Garden of Eden when Satan whispered lies, Adam and Eve made a choice that changed the world. Not only did mankind have consequences placed upon them but so did all creation. Everything had fallen victim to sin with decomposition and decay finding its way into the grand scheme of the deceiver.
Satan orchestrated a plan to separate that which God said was very good from the presence of God himself however as time begin to march across God’s Kingdom calendar the return of Christ to reclaim and restore has been greatly anticipated. With each passing year and day we see signs of a “crying out” for the King of King’s return
But what about us, modern day Christians are we expecting His return?
As we sit in comfortable homes in a wonderful country that has not yet seen escalated persecution, how are we watching with intensity for His return?
Do we scroll pass on our news feeds about the persecution that is being played out on the screens from the other side of the world not letting it touch our lives?
How can we earnestly expect His return?
Matthew 24:36 tells us that no one knows the day or the hour so what can we be doing?
First we must take His return seriously by digging into God’s word and learning it. We need to be prepared in and out of season to give an answer for our faith. We also need to be able to discern what is true and lines up with God’s word. If we haven’t spent time studying then we will not know lies that Satan is now whispering in our ears.
Second, we should not turn a blind eye to the news of the world and the persecution that is going on. We should seek to let the reports prick our hearts into the action of prayer. There are people across living this globe that do not have the luxury of walking into a house of God or to email or text a prayer request. We can take up this mantel and be prayer warriors for them.
Pray that they:
Stand strong in their faith
To live the joy of the Lord before their persecutors.
To feel the presence of Jesus
To recall the Words of the Lord for comfort and strength
To know their suffering is not in vain.
Third we must be bold and tell others about the salvation of the Lord.
God’s word tells us that every tribe and every nation will be represented in singing before the Lord in heaven. Currently, not every tribe and nation has heard the salvation message of Jesus Christ. But with good focused strategy and faithful believers we can finish the task in our lifetime. You may be thinking, “I can’t go” but have you ever considered that they person you share the gospel with just might be the one that the Lord calls to go to that tribe in the Amazon jungle or that remote nation in Southeast Asia?
William Carey said, “Expect great things from God, Attempt great things for God”
Friends we must grow to earnestly expect His return.
Father, help us to expect your return in an urgent manner. Help us to not turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to our brothers and sisters across the world that are suffering for you. Create in us a passion for your Word, a voice that cries out in prayer and a boldness to tell others about you. Lord, help us to step up our mission and expect you. Lord, come quickly!
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The first three times the answer was still the same but his master sent him again.
Four, five and six. He ran out to the overlook and yet the same thing…nothing was happening.
You wonder if the servant thought his master had gotten it wrong. It had not rained in years and the sky was void of clouds but now his master had said he heard the sound of abundance of rain. Once again for the seventh time, Elijah told his servant to go look toward the sea.
This time something was different. There was a cloud as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea. (1 Kings 18:41-46)
Seven times he sent his servant out to seek God’s movement. Six times the answer was no but on that seventh trip things changed.
We can learn so much from Elijah about expecting God and His movement. Elijah prayed for the fulfillment of his request earnestly. He didn't give up the first few times that the servant returned with a negative answer. He remained diligent. Elijah believed that his prayer was answered before the answer came. WOW! What faith!
Friend, have you given up on an answer from God?
What if the servant said he wouldn't go out to look after the third time? Would he have missed the miracle of seeing God’s movement?
The same goes for many others that are documented in God’s Word.
What if the Israelites didn't leave Egypt? Would they have missed the parting of the Red Sea?
What if they only marched around the city of Jericho five times? Would they have missed the walls come tumbling down?
What if the Apostles refused to return to Jerusalem after Jesus ascended into Heaven? Would they have missed the movement of the Holy Spirit?
James 5: 16-18 states: “…The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
One of my favorite parts about this story of Elijah is when the servant reported the cloud he girded up his clothes and took off running. He knew what was about to happen….the rains were coming and come they did.
If you are waiting for a movement of God, I implore you to not give up. Take on a posture of prayer, seek and expect God to move. Start looking for that one small cloud. It is coming my friend, it you don’t lose heart.
Expect God’s movements. Pray! Look! And the DO!
Father, retrain our eyes to look for even the smallest signs of your movement. Help us to be so diligent in our prayers that we have the confidence in your power before you even move.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”
“Life just isn't fair” I remember saying those words as a teenager and yes have even said them as I have become more seasoned as an inhabitant on this big blue ball.
We often come to expect things to be perfect and fair. When life isn't as we dream it would be we often become misguided and tie our expectations onto the wrong things of this world.
In doing so we end up putting our hope and anticipation into something that doesn't have eternal blessings. We get to the point that we are distracted and look towards something other than Jesus to give us a hope.
My sons are big “Lord of the Ring” fans and we have watched these movies over and over. There are so many examples that can relate to our Christian walk within these stories by JRR Tolkien. One is the main object in the story…The Ring. The purpose of the group was to get the ring back to its origins where it was formed and destroy it. Yet time and time again one character would place their expectations on the ring itself instead of the purpose for the journey. This distraction would lead to heartache and sorrow.
We each have a mission here on earth to accomplish for God but Satan wants to distract us. He knows that we are no longer available to him but he does realize that he can sway our attention from our intended mission. In comes the method of distractions.
My boys laugh and say that my thoughts can squirrel around jumping here and there at any given moment. They know that anything can distract me and my thought process at any given moment. You know what? So does Satan. He has an incredible curve ball that he likes to throw my way to get me off kilter.
We need to be diligent to find a focal point to keep those distractions at bay. When we expect that distractions will come, most likely during the times we are impacting our mission field; we can deter and stay single minded.
One way that has helped me remain focused and not distracted is scripture memorization. I used to say I just couldn't memorize scripture but found myself memorizing words to songs and lines to movies. I realized that I was listening to lies about scripture memory. I now have a spiral of index cards in front of me prompting me to hide God’s word in my heart.
How are you keeping the distractions in their place?
What is your focal point to keep you on mission?
Father, Help us to remain focused on you. Realizing that distractions will come but you are our true North, a lamp unto our path and guide to our feet.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
“My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him” Psalm 62:5
Have you ever felt like a spinning top? I know I have! Life seems to be spinning right along then wham! I am off kilter and knocked for a loop. Even though tops can be colorful and festive in appearance when that string is wound and then pulled you find out a lot about it. One minute it is spinning with such precision that it is beautiful but then it evidently hits something or runs out of its own power and it starts to falter beginning to wobble and teeter out of control.
Can you relate?
King David could I am sure.
More times than you can count he was having someone or something come up against him. Even at one point his own son Absalom turned against him (2 Samuel 16-18). But what I find comforting about King David, a man after God’s own heart, was that he learned to silently wait and expect God.
Now that’s a lesson I want to learn!
When frustration and chaos hit, David attached his rope, remember our cord of attachment with expectation from yesterday, around what he knew. He knew that God was his rock, his strength, his defense and when we like David wait and expect, looking in God’s direction we too will see His salvation.
Oh there will be times we must weather the storms alone. Times when we will feel abandoned and defenseless, just like King David did, but we can grab hold of that rope attached to God and feel the tautness knowing that what it is attached it is immovable. It is then when we are securely anchored.
Wait, expect and look for God because all power belongs to Him!
To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
How long will you attack a man?
You shall be slain, all of you,
Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
They delight in lies;
They bless with their mouth,
But they curse inwardly. Selah
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
Men of high degree are a lie;
If they are weighed on the scales,
They are altogether lighter than vapor.
Do not trust in oppression,
Nor vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.
God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.
Father, teach us to silently wait in expectation of You and your might works. Help us to let go of frustrations and chaos and feel the tautness of You at the end of the rope as our Rock and Salvation.