Light Shines Brightest in the Darkness

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Back in the 1980s, my family was touring Mammoth Cave.  We were only a few yards inside the cavern when a lightning strike knocked out the electricity to the cave!  We were left in pitch darkness, unable to see each other or even our hands in front of our faces!  I remember someone lighting their cigarette lighter.  It was amazing how much light that single flame emitted into our surroundings! Finally someone from the Park Service brought our tour guide a lantern and we finished the tour guided by other lighters and the lantern.  It was certainly a memorable experience!

One tiny flame can erase the darkness around it.  One Christian example can have the same effect.  As Christians, we are called to be a light to this world, showing the way to live by loving, caring, sharing, and witnessing to those around us.

Our world is a dark place!  It seems more evil and dark all the time…all the more reason for Christians to shine more brightly and illuminate the path for others to follow!

You are the light of the world….let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5: 14a, 16b

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Citizenship Status

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“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.  And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”

Philippians 3:20 NLT

 

 

On the day I’m writing this, my granny took her last breaths on this earth.  Her suffering has ended and as John writes in Revelation 21-22, her eyes enlightened at the sight of the gates of pearl, streets of the purest gold, and the River of Life that leads to the throne of God.  All the beauty that granny had seen up to this point would not have even satisfied the thirst she had to fix her eyes on her Savior and Lord.  There will be no light, no sun in Heaven because the glory of the Lord and the light of Jesus illuminate this place.  My granny, healed of her pain, freed from her chains, and forgiven of her sins, would be singing, playing the piano, and worshipping because she was a citizen of Heaven.

Spending these last days with my sweet, 88-year old granny, I have been reminded of the unwavering faith she possessed throughout her life and even to the end.  She told her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of conversations she had with Jesus to tell Him that she was ready for her faith to become sight.  She longed for the day when the brokenness of this world would no longer have a hold on her.  The love she possessed for her family there would be no rival, but the faithfulness we witnessed throughout her life for her Savior proved where her citizenship lay.

Granny was faithful in her life, but better than that, Jesus Christ is infinitely more faithful.  We have no hope of tomorrow, no strength in our weakness, no boldness in our fear without the love Christ showed us on the cross.  If there were no crucifixion and no resurrection, our citizenship would remain in its ever-sinful state of the chains on this earth.  But with His life, His sacrifice, and His intercession for us, our citizenship can be changed.  Granny’s faithfulness proved to the world where she belonged, but only because Jesus was always faithful to her.

Where does your citizenship belong?  Does your life reflect it?

 

Lord Jesus, help me to be more faithful to represent the One who is ever faithful.

Posted in At Home, Calendar, Christian Living, Devotional, Grandparenting, Leadership, Ministers' Wives, Moms, Prayer, Single Women, Women's Ministry, Working Women | 1 Response

Citizenship Status

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“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”

Philippians 3:20 NLT

 

 

On the day I’m writing this, my granny took her last breaths on this earth. Her suffering has ended and as John writes in Revelation 21-22, her eyes enlightened at the sight of the gates of pearl, streets of the purest gold, and the River of Life that leads to the throne of God. All the beauty that granny had seen up to this point would not have even satisfied the thirst she had to fix her eyes on her Savior and Lord. There will be no light, no sun in Heaven because the glory of the Lord and the light of Jesus illuminate this place. My granny, healed of her pain, freed from her chains, and forgiven of her sins, would be singing, playing the piano, and worshipping because she was a citizen of Heaven.

Spending these last days with my sweet, 88-year old granny, I have been reminded of the unwavering faith she possessed throughout her life and even to the end. She told her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of conversations she had with Jesus to tell Him that she was ready for her faith to become sight. She longed for the day when the brokenness of this world would no longer have a hold on her. The love she possessed for her family there would be no rival, but the faithfulness we witnessed throughout her life for her Savior proved where her citizenship lay.

Granny was faithful in her life, but better than that, Jesus Christ is infinitely more faithful. We have no hope of tomorrow, no strength in our weakness, no boldness in our fear without the love Christ showed us on the cross. If there were no crucifixion and no resurrection, our citizenship would remain in its ever-sinful state of the chains on this earth. But with His life, His sacrifice, and His intercession for us, our citizenship can be changed. Granny’s faithfulness proved to the world where she belonged, but only because Jesus was always faithful to her.

Where does your citizenship belong? Does your life reflect it?

 

Lord Jesus, help me to be more faithful to represent the One who is ever faithful.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional, Grandparenting, Moms, Prayer, Women's Ministry | Leave a comment

Is Discipleship the Culture of YOUR Women’s Ministry?

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Women’s ministry can have life-changing, generational-bondage-breaking effects in your church and beyond.  If the culture of women’s ministry is one where Christian women become disciples who make disciples, the very heart of God is expressed and experienced.

At least six factors need to be present in women’s ministry to make disciples who make disciples:

  1. Prayer is vital in building a discipleship culture in your women’s ministry. Consistent communication with God gives women His game plan for living as a disciple, making disciples and repeating the process. Also, teach the women to pray for their disciple(s).
  2. A purpose statement should intentionally and clearly communicate the disciple making factor of women’s ministry.
  3. Bible study should be at the core of your women’s ministry. Topical studies about love, character, prayer, faith, being a disciple, etc. are a few discipleship-culture-creating curriculum examples.
  4. Establish a biblical understanding of discipleship. Matthew 28:19-20 defines making disciples as the whole process of conversion, baptism and obeying the commandments of Jesus. Thus, for me, discipleship is the process from evangelism (leading the person to Christ) to maturity (teaching them to follow Christ).
  5. Train women leaders to make disciples who make disciples. Sonlife ministries describes discipleship (or making disciples) as a lifetime of followership to the ways of Jesus’ pattern and priorities. Discipleship should simply be the way of life encouraged through women’s ministry.
  6. Evangelism training should be ongoing in your women’s ministry, providing opportunities (internal, community-wide, etc.). God-focused curriculum for the discipleship process such as Beth Moore’s Living Free and Heart Call (four-week Bible study that points believers in the way to live and share their faith as they go) are excellent resources.

Women’s ministry can help us be disciples who make disciples. Is it your women’s ministry’s culture? We (I) have work to do!

~Shelly

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Christian Heritage

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These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children  talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7

….teach them to your children and to their children after them.  Deuteronomy 4; 9b

 

The branches of my family tree are vast and go in many directions, but for generations, no matter the walks of life or circumstances, all the families have been Christians.  Ministers, Sunday School teachers, deacons, prayer warriors, and other faithful church members are scattered throughout my heritage.  My ancestors took the scriptures to heart and passed their faith in God and His Word on to the next generations after them.

This faith was evident this past week.  My young cousin gave birth to a son that they’ve known for months had a deadly birth defect.  Even though this young couple knew their time with their precious baby was limited,  they very publicly shared sweet Elias with family and friends for the 32 hours of his short life.  They chose to celebrate his life and their faith that God was in control.  The hashtag #Eliaswins has been used on social media to reference that Elias is a winner because he is in Heaven with no more defects and will experience no pain!  What an incredible testimony out of a heart wrenching journey! That kind of faith is an example to us all!

I am eternally grateful to those Christians who have gone before me influencing  generations of family members to follow the Lord and His teachings, to have faith in God, to study His Word, to minister to others, to seek and follow God’s plan for our lives.

Now we are the ones who must ensure the generations following us know Jesus.  We must share our faith with them, teach them biblical truths, take them to church, and most of all, lead them to give their lives to Jesus so they might have eternal life!

May we pass Jesus and our faith in Him on to the generations following us!

Donna Coffey

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The Stranger

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For the last 9 months, there has been a stranger living with us.  This woman isn’t in our home all the time, but randomly shows up.  She walks in the room and bursts into tears and loses all sense of reality and perspective.   She prefers the AC set on FREEZE.

This woman is me.  I am almost 55.

My sweet husband doesn’t know what to do with this stranger.  He knows his wife to be strong in her faith, an independent and strong personality, who has overcome hurt and major difficulty.

The woman who bursts into tears scares him a bit.  He wants to fix things, so he pushes for a reason for the instant tears.  Wanting to make sense of this craziness, I begin to grasp at what might be the cause.  Situations that have caused pain that the Lord and I have dealt with and become victorious over suddenly become issues again. My “fix it” husband begins to deal with the issue I have blamed for the stranger I have become.

Nine months later and I am still bursting into tears.

Yesterday, as I sat in a sobbing heap in the kitchen floor, my husband saw our divided kitchen sink.  He loves visuals.  He described the left side of the sink filled with the hormonal chaos of my life called menopause.  The right side of the sink was filled with the issues of my past.  TWO SEPARATE SINKS.

It is important to deal with past hurt or sin.  It is equally important to not let the enemy bring those up and mix them with the hormonal chaos that is menopause.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” – Jer 1:5

Nothing about this situation is a surprise to God.  He created this phase of life for women (although there are moments I would really like to have a strong word with Eve).

Cry out to the Lord in the midst of the chaos and confusion and ask Him to bring your emotions back to center and calm the chaos. He KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS.

Trusting through the Chaos,

Lisa

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That Old Coonhound, Sadie

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Our family has a coonhound that we foster for our local animal shelter. Her name is Sadie, she has a strikingly shiny, sleek, rich black and red coat. She’s gorgeous to look at when the sun shines down on her back. When she wandered in, she was very malnourished and timid. It took us weeks to get her to come to us without fear. She’s a born hunter, you can hear her from a distance and know when she has an animal treed. After you’ve heard her for hours you wonder, “Will she ever give up?”

Not long ago, she barked and howled, almost begging for the critter to give up and come on down. I yelled from the back porch, “Sadie girl!!” She refused to listen, howling all the more. The longer she went the raspier her howl became. Finally, after hours of us both hollering, poor girl finally listened to her Mama and came on in.. her persistence was something to be admired.. her absolute refusal to give up reminded me of a passage I had been reading..

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

You may be thinking, “How does the persistence of this old coonhound have anything to do with the Lord?” Well, you see, Sadie has a persistent spirit. She had been trained for a purpose, she wasn’t going anywhere! She continued to do what she had been trained for until she had nothing left.

As Christians, the Bible has given us specific instructions and training for the task ahead. Through study, prayer, and getting equipped through the church, we are being trained to follow Jesus, produce fruit, and to tell the Good News of the Gospel. I know, it gets tiring. We must be persistent though. Stay the course for as long as it takes. The good thing is, our Master, He will let us know when to keep on keeping on and when to come back in. If I could give you any advice today, I would say, “Don’t get weary, in due season, you will reap.” Keep howling the Gospel! Keep showing the world the hope that lies within you! Stay the course!

Staying the course,

Shana

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Increase Volunteerism in Women’s Ministry

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Why is it so difficult to get people to volunteer?” I am asked this question consistently. Every church or situation is different, but sometimes even large churches are challenged when securing volunteers.

Here are ways you can increase your volunteerism (get more people involved in ministry):

1.      Pray. Ask God to help you see what He wants done and thank Him for providing volunteers.

2.      Share. Explain purpose for the project. Tell what is expected from volunteers, how long they will be needed, and what is in it for them. Also, give details to help them succeed at volunteering.  Yes, you will need to train them so that everyone is on the same page. This may also be a good time to share the training date(s), location, and any other pertinent details.

3.      Invite. Ask people for help—even if you must hand write a note for the bulletin; prepare a 1 to 2-minute announcement for morning worship; ask Sunday school leaders if you may make a 1 minute announcement, and/or make a 30 second announcement during prayer meeting and ask them to pray about helping. Always share where and how they can sign up.

4.      Equip. Give specific details, expectations and answer questions during training. NOTE:  secure the training room well before the date.

5.      Be organized.  Finalize and share project details early—at least by the “Equip” date mentioned in #4.  If adjustments are needed, always inform—especially if the change will affect the group or publicized details.

6.      Check your attitude. A Christ-like attitude is always crucial.  This includes a cheerful heart!

7.      Celebrate.  Call volunteers by name publicly, and give a small token as a remembrance of the occasion.

Share, in the comments section below, ideas that have increased volunteerism in your women’s ministry. (We never share your email, using it only to alert you of new posts.)

To His glory and for our good,

~Shelly

Looking ahead:  next week, I plan to discuss Discipleship in Women’s Ministry!

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How to be a WORLD CHANGER!

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Do you want to change the WORLD? Do you want to be the leader God created you to be? Together, let’s change the world, starting with ourselves.

Romans 12:9-16 (NLT)

·         Help me not to pretend to love others

·         Help me to really love them

·         Help me to hate what is wrong

·         Help me to hold tightly to what is good

·         Help me to love others with a genuine affection and to take delight in honoring each other

·         Help me to not be lazy, to work hard, and to serve You Lord enthusiastically

·         Help me to rejoice in the hope You give me with confidence

·         Help me to be patient in trouble and keep on praying

·         Help me, when I see God’s people in need, to be ready to help them

·         Help me to always be ready to practice hospitality

·         Help me Lord to bless those who persecute me

·         Help me not to curse them

·         Help me to pray that You Lord will bless them

·         Help me to be happy with those who are happy

·         Help me to weep with those who weep

·         Help me to live in harmony with each other

·         Help me not to be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary, everyday people

·         Help me Lord, not to think that I know it all.

Do you want to change the world?? Start with YOU! Pray this over yourself daily, every time you feel yourself step outside of these boundaries.. STOP.. TURN..REFOCUS!

 

Changing the world,

Shana

#PRAYFORYOURKIDDOS #PRAYFORYOURSELF #PRAYFORYOURSPOUSE #PRAYFORYOURCHURCH #PRAYFORYOURCOMMUNITY #PRAYFORYOURWORLD

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Sin Creeps In

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…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles… Hebrews 12: 1

Living near Fort Knox, Kentucky, I grew up hearing the massive booms of tank fire as troops trained for missions.  Nowadays, Army helicopters  from the base often fly low in formation in a direct path over my house!  I can hear them approaching far off in the distance and know that I’m about to experience my whole house jarring as they pass overhead!  I know they’re coming and I know what effect there will be!

If only sin was like that!  We could be aware it was coming and prepare for what would happen next!  Unfortunately, sin generally sneaks in quietly, a little bit at a time.

An illustration I’ve heard demonstrates this idea.  If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump right out, not being able to stand the hot temperature . However, if you place it in a pot of cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it will stay contentedly in the water until its death.  (I’ve never personally tried this, but the concept makes sense.)

Our fall into sin is often like that!  We’re in over our heads before we realize what’s happened! As Christians, we are fed worldly views a little at a time or sometimes in huge doses.  Slowly, over time, we begin to accept sins as okay.  We see sinful lifestyles  portrayed in media and become convinced they are normal.  We listen to inappropriate language and begin to use it ourselves.  We read articles that sway our beliefs that we should pursue the path of self-fulfillment and putting our wants and needs above others.  All of these mind changes can slowly erode our sense of right and wrong, our moral compass.

We must be on guard against the invasion of sin, whether it comes crashing into our lives like a formation of helicopters, or quietly slipping in like water being heated slowly.  May we throw off everything that hinders and entangles us!

Donna Coffey

 

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