Monthly Archives: April 2016

Wednesday’s Wisdom- The Opinion of Man

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The opinions of others can be a slippery slope. For many of us, I don’t even think we realize how much we care about what others think- until something happens and we’re worried about what others are thinking! Maybe you’re going through something really hard and you are so worried about being judged by others for the choices you’ve made. You can’t live your life based on the opinions of others… you just can’t. Ultimately you are accountable to God and God alone. Seek His Word, seek His face, and pray to Him, and yes, still seek godly counsel. He will give you peace and guide and direct your steps. But don’t act or not act based solely on concern or worry about what others may think. You have to do what you feel God is directing you to do and what is best for your situation- You are the only one walking in your shoes, no one else.

I have lived my life far too long worried about what other people will think. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. When you’re in ministry it can feel like you’re living in a glass bowl. What if people know my family and I took a little vacation or heaven forbid we went out to eat… because we needed a break with our family. I’ve just decided I can’t worry about what others think anymore. I can’t. It’s a much higher calling and responsibility to know I’m answering to God and God alone, and it’s before Him I desire a clear conscience. We can start living our lives based on fear or worry of how something will look or what others will think, or whatever… but I’m accountable to God. He holds me accountable for my time, for this ministry, for my resources, what I do and don’t do.

It feels so good and so freeing when I make choices and decisions based on what God’s calling me to do and when I take out the middle man (people’s opinions). Because everyone will always have their opinions, their way they would or wouldn’t have done something. That’s okay. But I can’t base my life decisions on their opinions. Again seek the Lord above all, seek out godly counsel based on God’s Word, and then live your life answering to Him.

Be free!!

Lord, you are the One who tests and knows my inner most thoughts. Oh, that I would be faithful in living to serve You and Your people, faithful to answer the call, not worrying about what other people think or say or the opinions of man. Ultimately, I answer to You and to You alone. Amen.

1 Thess. 2:4- but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Gal.1:10- For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Wednesday’s Wisdom- Man in the Arena

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On April 23rd, 1910 ex-president Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech that continues to impact people to this day. He spoke at the Sorbonne in the Grand Amphitheater at the University of Paris. He had traveled to Paris with his son Kermit to give his Citizenship in Republic speech.

“Roosevelt firmly believed that one learned by doing. It is better to stumble than to do nothing or to sit by and criticize those that are “in the arena” he explained. “The poorest way to face life is with a sneer.” It is a sign of weakness. “To judge a man merely by success,” he said, “is an abhorrent wrong.”

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

There comes a point in your life where you will be called to step out. When you step out and begin to put yourself out there, I can assure you, there will always be critics. There will always be someone who either doesn’t agree with you, would have done it differently, or just gets offended by something you did (or didn’t) say. Being in ministry the past 17 years, you hear it said often, “If you don’t have thick skin, maybe being in ministry is not for you.” (Sad, I know, but true).

It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to point fingers from the other side of this computer screen or while sitting from the pew. It’s easy to sit around with your girlfriends and point out everything that’s wrong with the church or that particular ministry or how the speaker was boring or if you were the speaker you would have done this or that. Oh my goodness, we could point these things out in our sleep.

But the true hero is the man in the arena. The true hero is the one who decides to step out when he or she knows that by stepping out that they are putting themselves out there with the possibility of failing (in front of everyone). The one that is brave and decides to step into the arena is the hero of this story. And by this bravery you are unconsciously giving others permission to step out too. I will be the first to tell you, I don’t like confrontation and it’s hard being in front of everyone, risking transparency by not having it all together. But it’s worth it. And over the years I’ve learned to shake it off and silence the critics.

Roosevelt said that we should never judge each other by our success alone. If you have failed, I say to you today, “well done! Bravo!” That means that you’ve actually got off your butt and tried something and that my friends deserves to be applauded. It’s easy to NOT fail or stumble when you’re NOT doing anything! In my writer’s group in Colorado we would have a time at the beginning where we would share if we got a rejection letter and everyone would clap. This might seem strange to you, “Clap for a rejection letter?” But what this showed the rest of the group was that at least these people getting rejection letters were putting their stuff out there. They stepped out and tried to get their work published. They did something! (Thick skin doesn’t hurt in the publishing world either).

So today I ask you- are you the critic or are you the man in the arena? And if you are the man in the arena, may you spend yourself on a worthy cause, may your triumphs be sweet and failures hard earned. That we ourselves wouldn’t be one of those cold and timid souls that neither knows victory nor defeat. Be the hero of your story and not the critic of others. If you find yourself in circles with critics, kindly excuse yourself and run. Or better yet, stay and defend the man in the arena. If there’s something I’ve learned over the years, it’s that it always seems easier to point out everything when I’m not the one doing anything.

Today I will choose to be the man in the arena and celebrate my victories and learn from my failures. May we all do something… anything.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Theodore Roosevelt

We Belong

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1 John 4:4 (NLT)– But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Maybe it stems from my rocky childhood, or perhaps the lies had been fed to me so much that by the time I became an adult, and somewhere it transferred over as truth. I’m not sure. As I have grown older and grown in my walk with the Lord, I would see it. It looked like doubt, fear, isolation, and sometimes even unaware self -sabotage.

I would see it on social media. I am a part of many groups on social media and love the connection with other women. But sometimes I would feel like I didn’t belong, or that everyone else knew each other and I was watching from the sidelines, or that I needed to say something or post something that was worthy of everyone’s time or attention, like saying, “Hey, look at me!”

We feel we need to achieve some level of success in order to be worthy of everyone’s time and attention. If I could just write that one piece that goes viral or if I could just get so many shares from my article. It almost feels like High School all over again, trying to do something that proves I’m worthy to be seen; worthy of a follow; worthy of sitting with the cool kids at the lunch table.

But I thought this was settled already? As a matter of fact, I know this to be true. 2000 years ago Jesus died on the cross for me. Yes, me. And you. And when He did this, He leveled the playing field. He said we are all important, regardless of our status, our standings, our family history, and our background. We are all worthy, we are all covered and we are all His children. That’s it. No fighting for who’s at what level in this thing, no comparing who does what better. And darn it, no more sitting alone at the lunch table! We are all family! I don’t have to write one more thing to prove I’m worthy of your view, or your like, or your follow. As a matter of fact, we would all do good to focus more on getting people to follow Him, than to follow us.

It’s not really anyone’s fault. No one from any group said or didn’t say something to cause me to feel small or inadequate. If I were to blame anyone I would blame the enemy. He is the one who takes pleasure in getting us to believe these lies. Sometimes we feel this way when we visit a Bible study or new church, go to a moms group, or we’re invited with a group of people we don’t really know that well. The enemy tells us things like, “Your questions are dumb, don’t ask them,” or “these people are so much further in their walk than you, you have nothing to add to the conversation.” Or what about this one, “There’s no one here like you, why do you keep coming?” Lies, all lies.

I want you to know, we are all the cool kids, because we are His kids, and everyone is invited to the table. No one is left behind. Bullying will not be tolerated in the Kingdom, and watch out if you mess with my sisters. We have all been given different gifts, talents, and abilities and ALL are great and needed in the kingdom. You belong. I belong. And we have something to say. It doesn’t matter how known or unknown you are to others, the most beautiful thing that I want you to get a hold of today is that you are known, oh, so intimately known and loved by your Savior. He wants to read your posts, He wants to hear you speak, He wants to see your photography, He wants to see your art, He is delighted by your song. And all are done as a beautiful, fragrant offering up to Him.

And guess what else? He knows when we’re feeling a bit awkward- hello…He made us. I wonder what would happen if we began to embrace our differences in ourselves and in each other, stopped obsessing over the numbers, and instead of comparing, we celebrated our differences? What if instead of comparing our gifts and talents with others, we could learn from others and respect the gift inside of them but also know that our gift is of equal importance- just different.

Please hear me. Please. You absolutely unequivocally belong- with your scars, with your past, new Christian, on the fence, seasoned author, shaky writer, scared mamma, empty nester- we belong. When will we stop this petty drama that has no place in the Kingdom, and stand up for one another and instead of judgment offer grace, instead of competing offer applause, instead of being concerned who’s at what level in this thing, remember the playing field has already been leveled. Sister, we belong. Red, yellow, blue, green, small, big, short, and awkward… let’s have each other’s back. I believe the Lord is beginning to unite us like never before but we’ve got to have each other’s back. And we’ve got to know our place, all of us….

  • You belong.
  • I belong.
  • We Belong.

 Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Romans 12:16- Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

 

 

Wednesday’s Wisdom- When We’re Unified He’s Glorified

FullSizeRenderAs I was reading through 1 Corinthians I was struck by the amount of scriptures on unity & togetherness.There is power when we are unified!

1 Cor. 3:3- Don’t be jealous of each other, stop fighting!

1 Cor.3:7- It doesn’t matter who does what, it’s God who makes the seed grow.

1 Cor.3:8- Work together!

1 Cor.3:9- We are ALL God’s workers, God’s field, and God’s building.

1 Cor. 3:16- TOGETHER we are ALL God’s temple, and the same Holy Spirit that lives in you lives in me.

1 Cor. 3:21-Don’t brag or boast about following a particular speaker or leader. (They too have the exact same Holy Spirit).

1 Cor. 3:23- We ALL belong to Christ!

1 Cor. 3:11- Let us ALL make our goal to make Christ our firm foundation!! He is the ONLY foundation we should ever build our lives on- Christ & Christ alone, not a man. ** respect the person who does great things for God, but don’t worship him.

  • He is glorified when we are unified.
  • Stop all the comparison & fighting!
  • God is not glorified when we are jealous of one anothers giftings.
  • There is room at the table for EVERYONE.

Today, may we be mature believers and set aside our differences (sometimes we just have to agree to disagree), aim to bring unity in the body of Christ, and for Heaven sakes, instead of being jealous or intimidated by each other’s gifts & talents, CELEBRATE each other’s gifts!! Build one another up and watch Him (not us) be glorified!

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Wednesday’s Wisdom- Made to Rise

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Every Wednesday I’ll be sharing little nuggets of truth. Wednesday’s Wisdom will be a quick read of what God is putting on my heart.

Last week I shared this on my facebook and got so much feedback from it, I wanted to share it on my blog as well for those who missed it.

Every single night our peacocks fly up to the top of the tree to sleep- I find this fascinating. I had a revelation while reading about the peacock this morning (we have two of these gorgeous creatures). Here’s what I read: “While the peacock wing seems out of proportion to the size of the bird, it will sustain flight and bear the body to the treetops.”

Sometimes we compare this dream that God has given us in proportion to who ‘we think’ we are. We must stop acting & responding like who we ‘think’ we are, and instead start acting like who He has said we are! If He has called you to something, even if it feels out of proportion to who you ‘think’ you are, remember He knows what He’s doing. Just like He already knew what He was doing when He fashioned & formed the peacock. Although the feathers seem out of proportion compared to his head & body, God made him that way to sustain flight. He has made you to sustain the flight & rise up to the treetops. You are made for so much more…you have no idea. And when you start acting like the person He knows that you are, your life is able to bring Him glory, just by being you!

  • Be led by His Word, not your feelings.
  • If He’s called you to it, He must know more about you than you know about yourself. ‪#‎Hello‬
  • He believes in you, and He knows what HE can do through you.
  • You can and will sustain the flight, because He’s called you to this.
  • The moment you get a hold of who you are because of whose you are is when you can truly begin to soar to the treetops.

Isaiah 40:31 (MSG)- But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.

More Blessed to Give than Receive

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A life not lived for others is not a life.
― Mother Teresa

When we are doing something to serve and to be a blessing to others, we find ourselves being much more blessed in the process than the person or group we came to bless. I’ve seen it throughout my life. Every camp we have done where we want to change lives and bless others, we in return find ourselves overwhelmed by the many blessings we receive. We are often humbled by the lives of these kids that cross our path. They come from hard places, and yet are so open to receiving what God has for them. Their smiles and their joy are contagious. And I realize what an honor and a privilege it is to minister to them because these kids have been hurt in the past by others, and for them to let us in is no small thing.

I have had friends come back from missions’ trips, and they share their stories through tears. Stories of brokenness and beauty all intermingled. But even more than the stories of what they taught the people, they share the stories of what the people taught them. How thankful these families were for small things like books or pots and pans. And how we so easily grumble and complain when things don’t go our way. My friends share the beautiful lessons they were taught when they themselves came to be the teachers.

When you give, and give out of a pure heart, without expecting anything in return, God does something so beautiful with your offering. You come as the teacher and you leave as the student.

Last week I was the one in need. Hope and I were driving along the freeway in the McAllen area. I noticed a lot of cars stopping ahead, and then I noticed many cars pulling off the freeway. I made a quick decision to pull off of the freeway with the others to avoid the traffic ahead. What I didn’t notice was the large curb my minivan would have to drive over. My van is low, very low. So I went really fast so I didn’t get stuck. The good new was that it scraped but I didn’t get stuck; the bad news was that it hit so hard when my van hit the pavement that it popped my tire. I could feel the thump thump from my tire, and pulled off the road quickly. There was an O’Reilly Auto Parts Store about a block up. I walked over to ask if they could help fix my flat, to which they said that they didn’t fix flats. Bummer. I felt about as deflated as that tire. Here I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, Jon was right in the middle of camp, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. (It’s always so much easier to help someone else than to be the one needing help.)

This man overheard my dilemma and said he could help me. Yes! The Lord sent me an angel!! He drove over to where my van was parked. He was a mechanic so he had everything in his truck. He tried to fill up my tire, but it was punctured, so he put the spare tire on. I gave him $15- and thanked him profusely. He saved me!

He then went on to tell me that at that auto store, after buying what he needed, he only had $2.50 left to his name, and he was going to use it to buy himself 2 tacos for lunch. He said he was a Christian and now he had $15 more to his name. He said, “God bless you” and that I helped him. I then felt led to give him whatever else I could find in my purse, because, hello! And here I thought he was sent to help me, and come to find out, God had also wanted to use me to help him. We were both almost in tears, because it was just a really cool God moment.

In those moments that you feel like you are sent to help someone else, keep your heart open to God moments and you will find that the they are also sent to help you. And in the moments where others are sent to help you, don’t let your pride rob them of their blessing- let them help you. And you will see that both, the helper and the helped, the teacher and the student, walk away with an even greater blessing.

 Acts 20:35- And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’