Thursday, July 26, 2012


As women of truth, THE Truth, we are light to the world.  Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." This means that wherever we go, God's love and His light shine on anything and anyone who is in our circle of influence.  Many times when God's light exposes sin and darkness in the world we live in, we find it tempting to "join in" instead of standing firm as the lantern housing the Great Light source who is our Heavenly Father's Holy Spirit.  I hope that makes sense.  What if we really saw ourselves as vessels of light to the nations?

For those of us who desire to be a vessel of light....of God's love and truth; let us not be shocked when some of our friends turn from us for a short time and hide with other folks whose light isn't shining so brightly.  (This is NOT directed at anyone of the folks I know. It is just a thought that God has placed on my heart to share.)  Exposed sin and darkness in us is never a good feeling. Without Christ's help....without Christ's great mercy and grace, we cannot stand the sight of our sin nature being illuminated before the Great God.  No one likes to see their sin illuminated. Let us be women of compassion and grace and strength.  Colossians 3:12-17 is where I receive sound instruction on that point. I will copy those verses at the end of this blog post. Let us be women of God who stand firm.  As we are a light to the world, a lantern holding the light of Christ,....shining to our friends, foes and those we do not know,.... let us understand our purpose.  When God's light in us exposes sin in ourselves and in others, may we choose (every time) to honor God in those moments showing mercy and grace and love that only comes from God.

When the light of God in me clearly seems to illuminate darkness in a friend, it's tempting to just "turn out the light" in me and "fit in with the crowd" so as to not create a wave of discomfort in their hearts.  My personality is to try whatever I can to make people happy and find joy in life. So when God's light reveals yucky sin in my circle of influence and I see that person/ those persons treading backward away from me and our friendship because of the awkward exposure, I sometimes just want to stop shining God's light in order to stop the pain they feel.  But God keeps pressing in on me to not stop shining His light/His love/His truth because in the exposure of our sin is the great chance to admit/confess our sin to each other and God and find healing......find hope....find reconciliation with our Maker.  God knows it is awkward and tough for us to deal with our sin. He knows sin binds us up and keeps us from coming close to Him.  But God tells us many times in His Word to love one another. His Love helps us to confess our sin, our rebellion and find salvation, and fellowship.  God's love that He wants us to share with all those we meet is so powerful that if we personally choose to keep it hidden in our hearts and not shine it, someone else will shine it and get the blessing instead. As it says in the Bible, God's love never fails.

Personally, I would rather struggle through missing my friends when they step away from the light........rather struggle through getting treated poorly by co-workers and bosses because of the light that I carry than miss the blessing of being a vessel of God's light to the world.
I am so grateful our Lord Jesus lives within His people so that all we need to do is surrender to Him and allow Him to shine through us. Like a lantern. We house the light that is started in us by the Heavenly Father.

Colossians 3:12-17
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Return

JESUS.  His name alone is power, grace, freedom, redemption, hope, truth, life, wisdom, strength, peace, righteous, and holy. I need to meditate on Jesus and the basic truths of His majesty and might and His Name which the Bible says is above every name. I need to return the focus of my heart to the Lord Jesus.
Here are some verses that I found in my Study Bible's concordance about the Lord's name.
Proverbs 18:10--"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."
Isaiah 42:8--"I am the LORD, that is my name;..."
Joel 2:32--"And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved." 
Malachi 1:11--"For from the rising of the sun to it's setting my name will be great among the nations..." 
John 20:31--"but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Acts 4:12--"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." 
Philippians 2:9--"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name," 
JESUS. The person---our God in the flesh. The Bible says He is our Prince of Peace, our High Priest, our Emmanuel--God With Us.
This weekend, I need to return the focus of my mind to the knowledge and understanding of who my Lord Jesus IS as much as meditate on the power even just in His name.  I want to remember and profess to my heart today, that my LORD Jesus isn't weak in any way and will never be defeated or overcome because He holds the whole world in His hands. He is the Righteous One, our Redeemer and even my friend. He is so much more, but I will continue with my thoughts as best as I can.

The disciples of Jesus, the guys that walked with him, ate with him, found shelter with him, listened to him speak to masses of people throughout the lands of Israel, saw him transfigured into His glorious heavenly self on a mountain and saw him heal folks and raise people up from the dead....among these men, one--the apostle John wrote this:

1 John 1:1-10 ESV
 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

God's Word gives us what we need so that we know Christ and thus know the Heavenly Father.  We Christians, many times, think that being "saved" is all we need to be. But it is a life transformation when we are saved. And our new life causes each of us to want to know the One who gave us a new life.  We want to show gratitude by having a life of grateful hearts for His deliverance and devotion to knowing His Word. If we are truly rescued from darkness (as spoke about in the book of Colossians) and brought into marvelous light, we will be changed forever.  Christ in us forever. We must live showing we are changed.  To bring us to the center of this, we can start with JESUS....even His name is powerful enough to bring us back to center.  Thinking upon His name, saying His name in reverence and humility brings us back to center.....a life and mind focused on our Maker and His divine good news.

This evening...this weekend, I just wanted to see Jesus and know Him more deeply than the day before. I confess, I haven't sat still and done this in several days. It is much needed each day and I haven't done that recently. However, God is still here waiting for me to meet with Him.  He never walks away and gives up on me....or anyone for that matter.  I began reading in the Gospel of John. I encourage you to do something of the same in your own pursuit of Christ.

I am going to share with you the parts of the book of John (of just the first 3 chapters) that I read yesterday and today to reconnect me with my Savior and Lord.  I will copy the verses and parts of verses I journaled about this weekend; first using the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible and then, for another view of it, I will copy the same series of verses using The Message which is a paraphrase of the Holy Bible.  Be blessed as you read along with me the Good News.
Speaking of my Lord Jesus Christ...
John 1:10-14

"10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." -ESV

John 1:9-14 The Message
" 9-13The Life-Light was the real thing: 
      Every person entering Life
      he brings into Light.
   He was in the world,
      the world was there through him,
      and yet the world didn't even notice.
   He came to his own people,
      but they didn't want him.
   But whoever did want him,
      who believed he was who he claimed
      and would do what he said,
   He made to be their true selves,
      their child-of-God selves.
   These are the God-begotten,
      not blood-begotten,
      not flesh-begotten,
      not sex-begotten.
 14The Word became flesh and blood,
      and moved into the neighborhood.
   We saw the glory with our own eyes,
      the one-of-a-kind glory,
      like Father, like Son,
   Generous inside and out,
      true from start to finish."

John 1:29-31 ESV (speaking about John the Baptist's encounter with Christ)
"29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:29-31 The Message
"29-31The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I've been talking about, 'the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.' I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God."

John 3:1-8 ESV
"Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:1-8 The Message
"1-2 There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it."
 3Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom."
4"How can anyone," said Nicodemus, "be born who has already been born and grown up? You can't re-enter your mother's womb and be born again. What are you saying with this 'born-from-above' talk?"
 5-6Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
 7-8"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."
My thoughts journaled this weekend:

Jesus came to us clothed in skin, His Majesty veiled for a short time, to teach us His Father's will---that we all come to know Him our Savior, our Messiah, our Life---our Bread of Life...our "necessity of life", our only Hope of redemption from the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).  Jesus came to show us He IS the way--the only way to redemption, to only way to eternal LIFE which is in the presence of our Creator and mighty God, the Heavenly Father.  He knew we needed Him to come in our human shell to show us the Way----to show us Himself.

I am forever grateful from the deepest part of my soul for His life here on earth some two thousand years ago. I am grateful for His light in our darkness to lead us to the Father as we are just sheep in great need of a shepherd and are completely lost without His guidance, protection and provision.
And I proclaim again:
Jesus is life.  Jesus is peace.  Jesus came, died in our place/paid for our sin-debt, rose from the grave, defeating the grip of death and sits victorious at the right hand of the Heavenly Father.
God's Word tells us Jesus is what we need. Jesus' name is what we should speak into our hearts, into our minds each day. He is our necessity.  His time here on earth was to show us the way to our necessity (my pastor spoke last week about this....Christ being our necessity of life).  And now, as a believer in Christ Jesus, His Spirit, His blessed Presence stays with me...and you who believe...even as He sits as King of kings on His throne in Heaven.  I am so grateful my Jesus not only made a way for me to have redemption and salvation from my sin, but He made a way for me and all believers to have His presence forever with us so that we do not walk through this life matter how many friends we have or do not have.  Jesus-the Victor is the best of friends, the best of companions, the best of champions, the best of leaders and the God of all gods.  I am His and He is mine. And Jesus is coming back to earth for His people. Are you ready?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm Surrounded...

If I do not focus on the reality of God's greatness, His Sovereignty, His goodness, His lovingkindness, His salvation, His freedom, His hope, His message,...I get mentally bombarded by so many worries and fears.  As the Lord has called me to invest His Love and His Word into the lives of college women.....any women for that matter, I get continuous thoughts of "what if...", especially when I am not centering my thoughts and my daily routine around the reality of Christ---of His redemption story---of His Sovereignty and His calling on my life.

When my mind is unguarded, I get bombarded with thoughts like, "What if I didn't do this ministry full time and started up my own business?" Or "What if I didn't do ministry and just stayed at home with my son all day?"  Or "What if I just stopped doing ministry for a time to pursue a career that would bring in lots of needed financial help to my family; knocking out the debts we have and giving us the chance to start ministering to college kids again some other day in the future?" Or "What if we (my husband and I) stayed in Oklahoma and didn't go to Pennsylvania to be collegiate ministers?" "What if I became a well known florist or song-writer/singer or a respected and sought after teacher?"

OH MY GOODNESS!!  These questions bombard me almost daily.  And each time they do, if I'm not grounded in the TRUTH that God, the Almighty Lord of all, has called me to minister here in Pennsylvania, I get beat down by the "what ifs" to the point of extreme frustration and stress.  It's not that I believe thinking what if questions are bad, it's just frustrating to me when I allow those type of questions to dominate my thoughts. Being a business owner, a stay at home mom, a debt-free family, a minister in Oklahoma are not bad things or unworthy things to me AT ALL; they are great things.   I just struggle because many times, these questions about these occupations or positions get in the way of my focus to be the best at my and my husband's current calling to collegiate ministry at West Chester University. My husband and I firmly believe the Almighty God has called us and is calling our hearts (even still) to be in Pennsylvania and be his workers in ministry to the people we meet...more specifically to the people at West Chester University.

So, it is up to me to decide daily what I am going to allow myself to be surrounded by.  Will I hide myself in the Most High God's protection and strength?  Or Will I surround myself with the reality of the great expenses of where we live? Or Will I hide myself in the fears of "missing out" on something "great"?  Will I hide myself in the pursuit of success......the kind of success that is only for my gain?  Only God knows.  NO MATTER WHAT, everyday I am surrounded....

Surrounded by God's love, whether I like it or not.
Surrounded by God's forgiveness, though I do not deserve it.
Surrounded by amazing friends and people of God who love me in spite of my crazy self.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Be Real About Your Life Often, But First...

So many days I want to post something on this blog, but I stop because it is SUPER tempting to vent and God helps me see this blog is NOT the place for it. I mean, seriously, I began this blog with the specific intent of talking about how women need to be real with each other and themselves. It is such a serious topic, yet it doesn't mean that I think women should get real about everything in their lives to anyone and everyone.  There is discernment and discretion involved in the getting real stuff that I'm speaking to. And there should be grace.

As a missionary and a minister's wife, I have a bunch of things that I think about each day, including a bunch of complaints, disagreements, negative opinions and re-actions which should not be shared with anyone....except on occasion my husband and at all times--my Savior Jesus.  It's a lonely life, sometimes, being a missionary (not trying to get a pity party started, just stating fact). Because we desire to honor our LORD as missionaries, we can't go "dishing" out information we hear. We have to keep many of our thoughts to ourselves and our God. Well, I guess we always can go around sharing things that should be kept private, but we may not have the position of ministry leader for much least one that people will willingly follow......and we probably won't have very many friends either. ha! Gossip isn't something a God-fearing person needs to have in the daily routine; not because a human said so, but because God says so.

I find, as a woman who is extraverted--a verbal thinker, I feel it is almost a necessity to get my feelings/thoughts/opinions/stories out verbally just so that they do not get bottled up inside to a point of causing mental stress of great proportion. haha!  And I find, in my job/ministry, keeping things confidential isn't really the issue that's stressful.  For me the issue tends to be more about the reality of not "fitting in" with the crowd--the world I live in--and they are just saying whatever...whenever. It is such a temptation to be one in the go with the flow of blend in to the chaos of this world. Somedays I get so weary of living the life of the fish swimming the opposite direction of the current and all the other "fishes". Swimming the other direction, against a strong current is never easy and it takes persistence and strength to keep up the pace to fight the current. Sometimes, I'm not so sure I have the strength or gumption to fight the current of the rest of the world's rhythm of life.

Again, I say, this past paragraph is not written to get some sort of pity from you. I am just being real.  Being real is allowing others to see that you are like them, that you bleed, you have heart-ache, you hunger and thirst, you crave, you hope, you sometimes despair, that you criticize, that you repent, that you surrender, that you bind yourself up, that you fear, that you rejoice, that you love and dream like everyone else.  Being real with people who don't believe in the God is just as powerful if not more.
Being real with someone who doesn't believe in Christ as Savior yet is powerful in a God-powerful kind of way...most effectively when we let others see (as we share our stories and share just how we are feeling) that we are regular people, but we are forgiven and "made new" people. I may act selfishly sometimes, but I know the great God whose love brings me back into a humble attitude before His Majesty.

Life is hard. God knows that. He knows it is hard for us because we humans who believe in Jesus battle a sin nature until His Son Jesus returns to restore the world to it's perfect state. We humans who don't believe in Jesus' salvation yet, have a hard life even more because God's Spirit doesn't live within the mind and heart to fill the emptiness that is there.

Let's get real, being women of truth at all times, but being women of truth with discernment, discretion, compassion, grace, hope and love.