I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I am a perfectly ordinary women, bent on spreading Jesus in any way I can.

I am not hip. I am original. Just like you.

I am not a special “chosen” person. I am a child of God. Just like you.

I am not a well connect person. I have the same Holy Spirit Guiding me as you do.

I am not striving to be a leader. I influence those around me. Just like you.

I am not striving to be a pastor. I just want people to see the hope there is in Jesus. Just like you.

I don’t want to climb a ladder. I want to honor God where He has me. Just like you.

Last night I was invited to a Vision Night for our Women’s Ministry. As the night began, I introduced myself to others that had been invited because of their heart for women, or their status in the church. As we broke in to focus groups, it was beautiful to see how God orchestrated who I was with. During our time of discussion, you could see the hearts of each start to focus in on their calling. One woman mentioned the need for prayer half a dozen times. Another one brought up reaching ALL God’s women not just the married ones. Another, how we need to market it all well.

It was beautiful. Why?

Everyone in that circle prays, however God gave one of the women an extraordinary passion for prayer. We all believe all women should be represented, God gave one of the women a passion to reach a certain people group. We all believe we should be communicating what we have available, God gave one the passion to get the word out.

Though we all believe in each area, God truly gives us a unique passion for different areas. That is why we A) Need to be confident in who He made US to be and B) Honor and listen to each other. When we do that we are allowing the WHOLE Body of Christ to work in the way they were fashioned to work. Just because one of the women was intent on making prayer a focus, that doesn’t mean the rest thought prayer was useless. Does that make sense?

We have the heart for Jesus. What we need to acknowledge as that each heart beats in a different way. When we acknowledge it, and work as a team, we are a POWERFUL force!

Can you imagine, if we allowed everyone around us to use their God given gifts in the way they were made to be used??? SO EXCITING!

Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Who do you have around you? As a leader, you should have people around you who are strong in all the areas you are challenged. A baseball team would be useless if all they had only pitchers or only catchers. Each position is needed to make a winning team.

Read all of Romans 12  Here is a taste of Romans 12: 3- 8

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with youra faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,b do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

What I learned today…I am NOT who you think I am. I am who God says I am. I don’t need to worry about labels, good or bad. I need to remember the best label is a Child of the Most High, Daughter of the King.

OWN WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST! YOU ARE NEEDED, YOU ARE VALUED AND NO ONE IS ABOVE OR BELOW YOU IN THE EYES OF JESUS. HE WAS SENT FOR YOU, SO YOU COULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!!

 

 

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Authentic

In our staff meeting today, we talked about authenticity. It was phenomenal. I loved when it opened because our pastor acknowledged that this generation, is calling for authenticity in it’s leaders…JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GENERATION! Throughout time, people have yearned for authenticity, it’s nothing new.

We all have something in us that craves to be noticed, because it is only God that can truly fill that need, yet we don’t go to Him to fill it. When we aren’t getting that need filled, we have a hard time being authentic, as ….

We are worried of being exposed as different and broken.

We worry that we will be rejected once people see the real us, beneath the mask.

We worry that we will be hurt by those we let in.

What we need to do is remember who we are in CHRIST. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

He calls us His masterpiece! I know I sure don’t feel like a masterpiece 99.9% of the time. (Okay, being authentic, maybe 98% of the time.) But, it also says, he created us anew in Christ Jesus. I can believe as a new creation of Christ’s I would be a masterpiece. I can believe if God planned me to be HIS masterpiece so I could do good things He planned for me long ago then I am.

The more I believe and feel confident in the way HE made me, and continues to develop me, the more authentic I can be. The more secure I feel with my relationship with HIM, the more confident I can be with others. If I do well, it’s because He is leading me to. If I fail, it’s because He wants me to learn something and I know He’ll “have my back”.

During this meeting, I was asked a question regarding how many people attended our class this weekend. Embarrassingly, I blurted out, that it was attended better than one of the other classes.

** Now, to give a history behind this comment – When I was hired I was told that the first class always had a huge attendance. 3/4 of that class would move on to class 2 and 1/2 of that would move on to class 3…with 1/2 of THAT moving on to class 4!  Being quite competitive in nature, I said, “We will change that”. AND, since changing the class 3 up a bit, we have BEAT class 2 in attendance 4 times!!!! Not only that, but we are having even higher numbers in class 4!! **

Okay, back to it.

As I blurted out that our class was better attended than class 2, I heard a couple people say that it was prideful to say such a thing…and a couple people say, I was being authentic.

If you don’t really know me,  you think pride. If you do know me, you think excitement and are reminded of my competitive nature.

I am comfortable in how God made me, 75% of the time. I am working on raising that number. I know that I know, all of our classes are absolutely remarkable and I think everyone in the world should go through them. It would be dreamy to be allowed to be able to steward and teach each one because I believe in the power of spiritual steps! I get so very excited of the thought of people growing in their confidence of who God is and who He made them to be, I can’t help but want everyone to feel it!!

A HUGE point that I learned today regarding authenticity was that when we feel very devoted to something, and things aren’t moving in the direction we feel they should, even if it’s a good direction, God is still at work. Sometimes we need to feel the hurt and learn and grow from it…and sometimes others need to go through the hurt so they can grow and learn from it. God is at work regardless.

What I learned today…Truly trust God, when things are running smoothly and when things get wonky. His work is being done through it all. Hang on and keep your eyes open to what He is saying to you through all situations. And be authentic with what you are learning and what you might have missed along the way.

Women? Yuck. Part 2

Okay, so there is (soon to be was) a traveling conference called Women of Faith. It’s a group of highly gifted women preaching to thousands and thousands of other women around the country. Think of a GINORMOUS Pep Rally for the ladies.

My mentor invited me to one a couple years ago and I was VERY nervous…as that is a LOT of women. She was invited to pray with and for the speakers before they went on stage so it gave me some time to hangout with some of the other ladies.

After the event, I was invited to go back with all the speakers. As I talked with God as I walked, I remembered all the stars and politicians He had put throughout my life and asked that He guide me to let this moment be about my mentor. I was able to get some great pictures of them and ended up taking one with myself in it as well.

Soon after my leader told me the speakers would all be coming to have a live web event filmed on our church campus. They would be having lunch off location and she wanted me to come.

Wellllll…I didn’t hear anything all the way up until the day of the event. I was discouraged and feeling left out. As I went up to the Main Worship area where the event was going to be held, I was once again yelling at God. WHY did He have me in this ministry any way? I obviously was needed, liked, or LIKE any of them. What did He want from me?!

I prayed this as I stood by the side door of the center by myself. All of the sudden the door opened and the whole group of ladies walked in, obviously all coming from lunch. I received “quaint”, “Hi, Sweeties” as they all came in and walked by. The speakers…and ALL the other leaders. I wanted to hurl as they walked in to the green room and once again left me alone with God. I internally flipped out on Him, again. WHY did He have me there?!?!?! I wasn’t like them!!!

After a few moments of me stewing and yelling and yelling and stewing, the ministry leader walked out with a study leader and asked her to pray over the worship center, and find others that could do the same. She needed me to bring the speakers water. The study leader, said she could take care of the water if I wanted to pray. **That sounded GREAT to me! I was already praying and didn’t need to be given a “token” job.**

The ministry leader, in her wisdom, said she’d rather have me back with the speakers. So she and I walked back, grabbed water and delivered them to a room that housed the speakers. Right outside the room their was a couch where I was asked to hangout in case anything was needed.

As I sat there, in a slouched position, I asked God AGAIN, WHY ME?? Half listening to the people behind, I looked over and saw a Bible sitting on the table. When I reached over to grab it and put it on my lap, I blindly opened it and started reading…

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You are always righteous, Lord,
    when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
    Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted them, and they have taken root;
    they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
    but far from their hearts.

I started talking to God again…

What?!?! That is awesome!!! You put that in here for me! I do believe you are on all these ministry women’s lips but not in their hearts! WOW! I can’t believe you put this in here!!! They do bear fruit, they do live in ease and prosper! Why, Lord, why!!!

And then I kept reading….

Yet you know me, Lord;
    you see me and test my thoughts about you.

I started talking to God again…

UGH. What. Stop the presses. Double Ugh. Wow. I suck.

I am so very sorry God. What an ugly heart I have. I apologizing for ever thinking anything negative about your servants. About your daughters who give so much to you. I don’t know their hearts, I don’t know what they are going through. I am so sorry for not seeing them as your kids that need love and direction, too.

Please Lord, test my heart and redirect me when I get ugly thoughts. I know they are not of You. Please remind me, every time I start to judge someone else, to pray for that person instead. Please help me constantly look within anytime I feel like pointing a finger and see that my job is to work on ME and MY challenges, not worry about others.

I am sorry.

As I finished, I knew God had changed my heart. After some time, I shared this story with the ministry leader, my mentor. She asked me to not give up explaining that every time someone walks in to a ministry and decides there is no one like them…they should STAY to encourage others LIKE THEM to join. Otherwise the group in the room would never change. We want to make sure we are representing the WHOLE body of Christ in every ministry, not segregating because we don’t feel we fit in.

She was/is brilliant and a gift.

What I learned today…to keep remembering these stories so I stay on track. Remember, we are all unique, and we need to all be represent throughout the church…so it can continue growing with OC Housewives and the not so glamorous. It doesn’t matter how we see ourselves…what matters is we belong to God’s family regardless of what culture and society tell us. It’s our job to be the best “ME” we can be so that we can represent all of His family better.

 

Women? YUCK. Part 1

When I first started going to our church, I avoided Women’s Ministry like the plague. I know I’m not alone, and I know some of you men avoid Men’s Ministry as well!

After a couple of years, I heard God firmly saying, “GO”. At the time, I had felt as though the ministry was for “pretty” OC Housewives. Coming from running my own company, I couldn’t relate. Didn’t God understand that?

I’ll never forget, when I heard the “Go” from Him, it was January. Each small group was asked to start the latest campaign that our church was doing. I had decided to join a Monday night study, hoping there would be both working women who I could relate to and young moms with kids, who I could also relate to now that I was choosing to be a stay at home mom. That wasn’t a lot to ask, right? I mean, with Him telling me to go, He could at least make it comfortable for me.

I decided to park far from where it was being held, so I could still try and talk God out of me going. That is how strongly I felt. Needless to say, I kept walking. When I arrived, there were some great smiles that greeted me. I also started listening in to conversations that were going on near the entrance with some of the, what looked to be leaders. They were all discussing how angry they were as they were being forced to stop their current study to start this new campaign. I went straight to God and said, “SEE! They don’t even want me here! You wanted me to come and to do this study and they don’t want us here!”

I continued in and was pointed to a table…not with the young women I had asked for…or working women…but with a group of retirees. What?!? What was He thinking???

The women were welcoming and wonderful. When I mentioned how great it would be to learn from their wisdom, they laughed and said, “I don’t know about wisdom, but we can share in all the ways we are doing things wrong. Hopefully that can help you!”

Through the study, I was able to get a peek in to their lives and them in to mine. As the weeks went on, they introduced me to the Women’s Ministry Leader. I LOVED her! After a short talk, she invited me to a Women’s Leadership Meeting. Now, hold on. I didn’t even want to be in a study, much less be a part of the leadership team! I prayed about it and realized that God had been steering me in the right direction, regardless of my thoughts and suggestions to Him.

I accepted the invitation and walked into the leadership meeting with my jaw all but dropping to the floor when I walked in and looked around. The long rectangle tables were set in a rectangle so everyone could face each other. Each either end, there was a leader of the studies being doted on by other ladies. It looked like a crazy sorority competition! Women adoring the individual leaders, petting their hair, etc… It FREAKED me out. As the meeting went on, I was called on a couple of times and mentioned how the room felt very segregated. The women’s ministry leader was trying her hardest to command attention, but you could tell there was a lack of respect. It was frustrating.

In a way, this was a new beginning for me on my journey. Though I wanted with all my heart to jump in with “leadership” lessons, and reorganize the way it was it done, I knew with all my heart, God was asking me to be still and only speak up when asked a direct question. That was a LOT to ask of a prideful leader. It was HARD, but I listened and I learned, a LOT.

The WM Leader became my mentor. She went through heartbreaking ups and downs for the next couple of years fighting indescribable hardships within the ministry. Through it all I was in awe of her relationship with Christ growing stronger and stronger.

Tomorrow I’ll share about one of the horribly prideful moments I had as I grew in that ministry, and how some of my mentor’s words stirred my soul and changed my way of thinking.

What I learned today…Not to forget the lessons of yesterday, and who taught them. And God’s direction is the BEST for us, regardless of how we feel in the moment.

SO Rude!

I had a wonderful volunteer come in to talk to me. She was devastated and in tears. At her Bible study, one of the leaders had given her a dirty look when she walked in. I couldn’t believe it! How dare that leader give her a dirty look! I spent about an hour talking with this gal, sharing how I didn’t really like her leader either, and she isn’t kind to people, why do they even have her as a leader, EVERYBODY thinks she should just stop, and she doesn’t really teach that well anyway…

JUST KIDDING.

That is the way we SHOULDN’T respond as leaders (which we all are). Our job as a leader is to remember we influence at all times. Regardless of how I feel about someone, my job is to point people to the Bible, then straight back to their leader. I would NOT talk about the person…well, except to say, “Did you ever think, it wasn’t about you? That maybe that leader was having a horrible morning and/or hearing some miserable news from the people she was standing with?”

As broken humans we are very self-involved. We think everything is about us. It isn’t. Once this gal realized I would not take part in her pity, finger-pointing, gossip fest, she stopped to really listen to what I was saying. Now, please know that she didn’t intend it to be a pity, finger-pointing gossip fest. She truly was coming in with a hurt heart. I was so thankful she had come to me so I could help her with the situation.

After we talked a bit she was able to realize that her own insecurities were coming out and she needed to confront the situation right away so she didn’t continue to harbor ill feelings towards the leader. AND she was given a good example of how not to gossip.

She ended up talking to the leader and finding out that it had been an absolutely horrible morning for her and this leader didn’t realize how much it showed. She didn’t even remember seeing my volunteer and apologized.

Have you ever done that? Been so consumed with a thought you don’t recognize some of the faces as you walk or talk. I did that and thankfully the gal who I had unknowingly ignored brought it straight to my attention. I had to apologize as I remember the 15 things I was thinking as I passed the area she said she was in when she tried to get my attention, but I didn’t remember hearing her.

What is something that has happened in your life that you felt hurt by? Have you taken it to the source? Not condemning but questioning if it was intentional. Regardless you will learn something.

How do you deter gossip? How do you redirect people to remember to see what the Bible says about the situation they are in, or to go straight to the person they have a problem with?

What I learned today…We all need to be reminded, whining, gossiping and commiserating will get us nowhere. Go to the source. Period. It saves a LOT of time, emotions and energy.

Rotten to Healthy Fruit Part 1

Fruit of SpiritWhat is your past like? Mine isn’t very bright and shiny. I have done many things I am not proud of. Paul wrote about some of them in Galatians 5 :19 – 21 ” The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Though I hit those sins and more, I can take comfort in knowing that the Bible also says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have become a new creature. I have to constantly renew my mind against the old ways, and work on becoming a better me.

What do I work on? Well, by reading the Bible, having accountability partners around me in friends and my small group, plus through the Holy Spirit, I work on praying for the fruit of the Spirit to become evident in my life. The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians 5 as well –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”     Galatians 5: 22-23

A girlfriend pointed out the other day…it says FRUIT of the Spirit not fruitS of the Spirit. I hadn’t caught that! I had always looked at it as a list of separate things, not one whole.

I will process that more for awhile. For now let’s look at each section of the ONE Fruit.

  1. LOVE – Jesus said the GREATEST commandment was to Love God and Love Others, so of course this would be the first on the list. Another great passage that points to love is –  1 Corinthians 13
    “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” …              For me, it is HARD to love everyone. But it shows my spiritual maturity, when I do my best to change my heart so I can love everyone. When are some times YOU can choose to be more loving?
  2. JOY – I am naturally a fairly joyful person. But I have to fight HARD to not let the darkness of depression and self-doubt over power that. Also, have you ever noticed, some people get irritated with joyful people. When I am joyful, it’s not because I’m a clueless “Pollyanna”, but because I’m CHOOSING to be joyful, sometimes in spite of difficult circumstances. How can YOU choose to be joyful more?
  3. PEACE – I have written before on how I feel about peace. I was always a natural instigator. Whenever there is injustice, my anger gets riled up and I want to move instantly to action. Instead I have to remember to keep PEACE in my mind and soul. To wait for God’s direction so I know if it’s righteous anger or personal anger from my own brokenness. Now, at times, I have seen “peaceful” people as weak. The ones that let people walk all over them. That is NOT what this means. It means that regardless of my feelings about anything – God is in control of everything. I can’t jump in and want to fight everybody about everything because of how I feel. I need to pray more for peace in my heart, soul, and mind. Where can you bring PEACE to your life? Your family? Work? Your schedule? With your kids?
  4. PATIENCE –

We’ll have to be patient, as I’ll have to continue with patience tomorrow. 🙂

What I learned today…There is so much more to process regarding the fruit of the Spirit! It will be a constant challenge to get better with each throughout my life.

 

What I look for in a Leader.

Here are 10 attributes I consider valuable traits when looking for new leaders:

Concern/Love for others – You can’t lead people effectively if you don’t genuinely love people. I’ve seen people in positions who have great power, but they don’t appear to love others. These leaders often produce followers well, but they fall short of reproducing leaders.

Not a complainer – Candidly speaking, leadership encounters complainers regardless of what we do. I certainly don’t want to add complainers to my team of leaders. A positive attitude will get my attention every time.

Teachable and open to suggestions – A person who thinks they have all the answers will repel other leaders. People with no desire to keep learning rarely find their place on my team of leaders.

Excellence in following – This is a biggie for me. I try to follow people I lead, because there are times they know more than I do. Many times. Someone who isn’t willing to follow is seldom ready to lead.

Reliability – Leadership is about trust, and trust is developed over time and consistency by doing what you said you would do. I look for people with that quality.

Interest – The people with a burning passion for the church or organization often make great leaders. You can train someone to lead others, but you can’t easily train them to have interest.

Good character – Character counts. Not perfection. Not flawless. But, good character is necessary to be trusted on a team. Integrity. Honesty. A humble desire to always be improving as a person. That kind of character.

Potential – God always saw potential in others they themselves couldn’t see. I try to have eyes to see that in others.

Confidence – Leaders have to move forward when others are ready to retreat. That takes confidence. Not prideful, but a genuine willingness to lead through the hard times; to do what others aren’t willing to do.

People skills – This goes without saying, but you can’t lead people if you can’t communicate with people. You don’t have to be the life of the party (I’m a strong Introvert), but you do have to be able to engage people and make them feel a part of things.

What I learned today…I have to continually hold this list up to myself as well!

My Biggest Temptation

I don’t know about you, but my pride is constantly tested. I know it’s an easy way for the enemy to get a foothold into my life so I have to be constantly aware of it.

In my position at work there are so many amazing opportunities to help others learn, grow and get connected. It is a HUGE Blessing…and a HUGE-er Test.

I, Julie, want to be a part of everything, know everything going on, have a say in everything…but that is not what God asks me to do. He asks me to steward what He has given me.

The other day, I wrote this while I was being tested.
My morning looked like this….
Get in at 7am, pray and prepare for the day.
9am – Encourage and train 3 amazing Volunteers coming in to help with paperwork that is very time sensitive
10:30am Run to a Leadership Meeting
11am Team Meeting to discuss budget, plans, etc..
11:30 Run to catch the end of another Leadership Meeting and pick up lunch for Amazing Volunteers
12:30 Start preparing exciting new conference that will enable Ministries to run more effectively
1:30 Strategize a new process for getting the next generation serving on a larger level
Then do everything else that is normal with a day at the office, before running to grab kids for appointments, dinner plans, etc…

What a FUN – PRODUCTIVE – AFFIRMING – ENCOURAGING DAY!!!

Instead I was in at 7am to pray and prepare for the day and got a call from the school saying one of my kids was injured(Yes, again). Me, in my selfishness, first thought – NO!!! Not today!!! I get to be in “leadership” meetings! I get to share my thoughts and needs in team meetings. Me, Me, Me.

My SECOND thought was, my poor child!!!

Not a pretty thing to admit. I am SELFISH. I want to feel important. I was dumb enough to believe that FEELING important in situations around me matters.

On the way to pick up my son, I prayed.
I prayed for God to take my pride.
I prayed thanks for His perfect timing of interruptions.
I prayed for the ability to trust in Him and His plan.
I prayed for Him to constantly remind me, it’s NOT about me. It’s about HIM.
I thanked Him for letting me know through His Word (the Bible).

Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

God already thinks I’m amazing. A Masterpiece! I don’t need to prove anything to anyone around me. I just need to feel secure in HIM. I have to remember day to day, minute by minute that I have been created anew in Jesus Christ and He planned for me to do good things.
Because I couldn’t do what I WANTED today doesn’t mean anything.
HE has my back. HE knows what I need.
If tomorrow He took away my positions, my leadership roles  my family, my health..He will still be there. My identity needs to be as a Child of God, not a good worker, successful,etc… etc…etc…
I needed to NOT be there for some reason. I needed to be with my son at the first appointment, and then wait PATIENTLY for the second appointment.

He’ll be okay. He’ll heal and feel better.
I’m thankful –
Though the day didn’t turn out in the “fantastic” “fruitful” way that I had imagined… I learned a way to heal that drive to do more, and can rest in the lesson God taught me today.

What I learned today…God already knows I’ll have interruptions in life. They are okay and meant to grow me. I can relax in Him and how He made me, knowing He planned for me to do good things, and I will. In His time.

Family Can Be Challenging

So I absolutely love my job. And I am honored to be able to share an email once a week to every other week with some amazing leaders.

Today I feel led to share one of the emails I had sent to them awhile ago.

I hope you get something from it!

Julie

FAMILY

The 5th Commandment is the first commandment that relates to humans. The first four are and are toward God but the next six are directed toward others.

Family is the foundation of any nation and people and we see when the institution of the family starts to crumble, so does the foundation of the nation!

The 5th Commandment is the only one with a promise…the promise of a long life for the children that honor their father and their mother.

 Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

God doesn’t say honor your parents if they are good parents, if they are always right or if they are always obedient to God.

There are no conditions given by which you are to not honor your parents.

God simply says to honor them.

God knows that they are not perfect but neither are children. (That means us. 🙂 )

 This commandment also doesn’t give a time limit to which it expires and so this means to honor them when you are grown and you have a family of your own.

Honor them when they are frail and feeble.

Honor them if they have to move into an assisted living center.

There is no time limit for honoring them and so even after they are dead, when we speak evil of them, we are not honoring our parents.

God will not hold to His promise that “you may live long.”…That’s something to think about…

 Joshua 24:15 “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua made this statement to Israel after Moses was gone. His household “will serve the LORD.” When a family determines to serve the Lord, the Lord is determined to be a part of that family. Families are stronger when the Lord is being considered before making decisions. This includes what movies to watch, what’s on TV, the Internet, in magazines, and whatever other media infiltrates the home. When the Lord is honored things will go well with that family.

Like Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

When that third cord is God, then families are stronger and can withstand many of the storms of life.

Pray for God to help you “honor your father and mother” regardless of the relationship.

Pray God helps you see how He needs to be the third cord in all areas of your relationships.

Pray for God to help your ministry serve the Lord.

Pray for God to help any discord in your ministry family.

Pray for God to help you model honor and respect in all areas of your ministry.

Pray you remember these verses as you talk to people in your ministries that might need to hear it.

 

Hypocrites

They are everywhere. You can’t get away from them anywhere, Right?!? Even in my mirror I see one! It could be that I am telling people around me to do something I am not willing to do. It could be I tell my kids not to lie or steal…and then sneak candy in to the theater.

We are ALL hypocrites. Some are just louder than others depending on how we look at the situation. For example…if I am a theater goer with limited income, I find it absolutely fine to go to the theater with food in my bag as I can’t afford the ridiculous prices for snacks there. If I am the theater owner, wondering how I am going to pay for the HD screens I just had to buy and the skyrocketing price of purchasing the films for my theater, I am going to be upset when people come in with their own snacks, as now how do I pay for employees and a great experience for my guests?

Perspective.

One thing I want to concentrate on, that I do fairly frequently, is the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ“.

Ambassador    (per Dictionary.com)

1. a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary)

2. a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a government to represent it on a temporary mission, as for negotiating a treaty.

3. a diplomatic official serving as permanent head of a country’s mission to the United Nations or some other international organization.
4. an authorized messenger or representative.
I am a Christ Follower! That means I am a representative of His!
So if I truly understand what the word ambassador means, I am His representative here on earth.
When I am in a long line and irritated.
When I yell at my kids, spouse, friends.
When I gossip about someone.
When I don’t treat my neighbors well.
When I ignore people.
When I post negative and hurtful things on Social Media.
This makes being a Christ follower HARD for me! I have to be good, and my nature is to do the opposite of whatever I am supposed to be doing.
As I grow and learn how to behave as someone who isn’t just a Fan of Jesus, but has made the choice to Follow His teaching, I am reminded that I am accountable for my actions.
Just like if an ambassador from another country was doing something they shouldn’t, it would be all over the news and we’d all have a snarky comment regarding it. I should be a stellar example of what a Christian looks like.
I am a broken, flawed, difficult to handle human being. So I am not going to get it right all of the time. My goal is to do the best I can. Praying that it’s a little better each day.
What I learned today…I need to “Represent” (to be read with an accent) Jesus well. I need to do my best to be kind in all situations, even if it’s HARD, and I need to keep reading the Bible to find more directions on how to behave.