There is Peace in the Eye of the Hurricane

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I just listened to a powerful reflection regarding the “Eye of the Hurricane” by Danita Harris, a news reporter who loves the Lord. Her message speaks volumes and something we all can take into consideration. She makes note that in the eye of the hurricane there is less wind; more peace. It is what surrounds the eye that causes havic. She equates those surroundings to the difficulties we face and the need to turn to and trust God through the midst of our storms.

We are praying for those in the line of the the hurricane.  We are praying that God moves in a mighty way and redirect.   This is God’s work and a display of his Almighty power.   In the midst of this we must keep our faith in Him and not let fear overpower or overwhelm us.

What ever you are going through remember there is peace in the eye of the storm. God is our eye of the storm. He sees and He knows how much we can handle. He is in control. He wants a relationship not rituals. He said, “If you seek me, you will find me if you seek me with your whole heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

In the midst of the storm, whatever we may be going through, remember strength comes as we go through our storm. Know God wants us to be more diligent in seeking Him, trusting Him and letting Him lead, guide and direct us in the midst of the storm.

I am including the link to Danita Harris reflection.  May it minister to you as it ministered to me.
https://www.facebook.com/vera.thomas.779/posts/10209771308543940?notif_t=share_wall_create&notif_id=1504925753316453#

Posted in Christian Living, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Responses

Roosters and Redemption

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Recently, I had a conversation with my sons about what it means to deny Jesus.  My 11-year-old told my youngest the story of Peter denying Jesus the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I think that is the image we think of: to deny Jesus means we blatantly say we don’t know him.  But honestly, it’s more than that.  We deny Jesus in so many other ways.

 

We deny Jesus when we don’t put Him first in our lives. It’s sad to say, but we do this multiple times per day in a variety of ways…..

 

Social media is put before bible study.

Our need to relax and soak up the sun on the lake is more important than our need to soak in His Word through regular Sunday school and church attendance.

We rub elbows with the right coaches to get our kids on the most competitive ball team instead of introducing our children to their Sunday School teachers who will strengthen their Christian walk.

Dirty jokes and gossip pour from our lips instead of praise, thankfulness, and encouragement.

When we place our worldly desires above Christ, we are denying Him.  Then, we hear the rooster crow.  We realize we missed the opportunity to witness to a hurting soul because we were too busy spreading rumors.  We realize our relationships are failing because we haven’t focused on the relationship by which all others are created.  We realize our lives are frazzled and off track because we haven’t allowed Him to lead and guide us.

 

But there’s this…..

 

Later in scripture, Peter was redeemed. We can be too!  After the resurrection, Jesus told Peter to take care of His sheep. When we cry out to God, He forgives us and wraps His loving arms around us. Although Peter failed in his Christian walk, God redeemed him and put Peter to work. Scripture is full of examples of those who have failed God in some way, yet were still useful to Him.  We have that same hope.  When we hear that rooster crow, we can be sure that God can redeem us.

 

My prayer for you today is that whatever failures you are holding on to, that you will lay them at the cross and ask God to forgive you, to redeem you, to use you for His glory.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Is God Good ALL The Time?

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I recently received some good news from our doctor about our current pregnancy that was quite the opposite of what the doctor had told us just 2 weeks prior.  The news clearly revealed God’s hand in performing a miraculous work.  Even the doctor was scratching his head at the findings.

Because we are sharing our journey with friends, we posted the latest news on Facebook for everyone to stay up to date.  We love sharing how God has been faithful in our lives and pointing others to His goodness.  That Facebook post had 463 likes and 108 comments.  Most every comment was of friends joining in our excitement for miraculous news and many stated just how good God was at the hearing of the details.

I am so grateful for our friends and family that encourage and celebrate with us when we are certain that God intervened in our situation.  Even among the celebrations and encouragements, though, I thought to myself, “But isn’t God good all the time?

My husband and I have been seeing the doctors every couple weeks since we found out we were pregnant (just a little bit more often than before we got pregnant).  We have prepared our hearts for the worst case scenario each time, and each time have heard more things to be concerned about as we progress with this baby girl.  However, in prayer and through talking with my family and close friends, I have been reminded that not only was God there with me when I’ve been on a mountain top, but He remains by my side when walking through the valleys.  Scripture has been quoted to me, but none more often than Jeremiah 29:11 that tells me that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I believe these truths.  I have lived them in the past and even counseled others to cling to these promises as well.  But, do I really live like God is ALWAYS good?

In the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, do I believe that God is good?  While watching a friend battle disease, will I trust in His goodness?  In waiting for God to reveal His plan for my life, will my patience display His goodness?  If we didn’t have good news to celebrate from the doctor about our baby girl, would I still proclaim that God is good?

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:5

The truth is that God is always good.  No matter my circumstances and not regarding my feelings, God remains good.  He is always faithful.  When my faith can demonstrate this Truth without regards to my current situation, more people will be shown the goodness of God than in a miraculous work or unexplainable feat.  When I can rejoice in His goodness whether or not I consider my circumstance to be good, God will be glorified.

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Moms, Single Women, Women's Ministry | 1 Response

Perfection?

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We sometimes get so caught up in perfecting the presentation of our ministry, we lose focus on the purpose of it!

How many times have we missed opportunities to minster while being consumed with perfecting how our message will be presented? What difference does it make how good it looks if we haven’t conveyed our message?

If we prepare a beautiful women’s event with no ministry substance, it’s just a pretty party!  It can have a fabulous setting, amazing decorations, delicious food, wonderful entertainment, charming speaker…but if ministry isn’t the primary focus, it’s just a social affair.

If our church’s women’s group has a social media outreach through FaceBook, Twitter, email, etc., but God’s Word and the Gospel are not at the forefront, it’s just another social media site. The site may look current and appealing, but it’s not ministry!

If we choose a new Bible study because it’s the new popular “in” topic, but it doesn’t address the needs of the women in our church, we may be victims of peer pressure and wanting to look good among our peers rather than seeking to minster to the women around us.

We’ve become a society thinking everything must look perfect…which can easily become superficial. Yes, we should always present our very best unto the Lord. He is worthy of our excellence in all we do.  The dilemma comes when more of our focus, time, and energy is devoted to making our ministry look good, rather than carrying out the work of the Lord!

May we be found always giving our best to the Lord and not fall victim to the need for everything looking perfect!  May we keep our focus on Him and His ministry!

Donna Coffey

Posted in Devotional, Leadership | 1 Response

How do we move forward when we can’t stop looking back?

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Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

In this life we will have disappointments and hurts. We find ourselves living life as usual, waiting at a red light when all of the sudden our minds take us back. We’re in that place again, the pictures are vivid and sometimes we can even smell the memory like we’re right there again. Maybe it was a spoken or yelled word. Or even an act that broke our trust forever.

It could be that you were sick, and the pain you went through has left you scarred. Maybe you were the one that did an act you can’t wrap your mind around. Who was that woman or girl that did those things back then? How do we move forward when we can’t stop looking back?

If anyone knew how to look forward and not look back, it was Paul. His past could have easily overshadowed his future. Instead, he chose to let the Lord have what he did in the past and he clung to the hope of what he would be in Christ.

It’s the same for us. Our hope is in Christ and what He did for us. When we open our Bibles we find Him there. We see His heart for us through the cross. Then, as we read about Him, our hearts begin to see things we never saw before.

Till next time!
~Shana

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | 1 Response

Labor of Love

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Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and dedicated to American workers’ social and economic achievements. The first Monday in September marks a yearly national, tribute to collective contributions workers have made to the strength, wealth, and general well-being of our country.1

Thus, Congress passed into law the first Monday of September, Labor Day, on June 28, 1894 as a beautiful reminder of the collective part of many that sustains our great country.

Yet, God’s labor of love remains unmatched, undeserved, and freely given.  Almost 2,000 years ago, Christ’s labor of love led Him to die in our place—on a cross. God raised Him from the dead in victory over sin, covering all who will believe and accept His work on their behalf, “for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus Christ (His life, death and resurrection) is the only remedy for our collective part in the sin of world.  The sacrificial death of this One was the only atonement for humanity—for all creation. Christ’s obedience unto death is a labor of love because we could never pay or repay for such an undeserving act.  He is the Creator and Sustainer of all! He owes us nothing (Romans 11:35) but gave us His all through His Son (John 3:16).

Celebrate what we have been afforded by our great country simply by birth (or naturalization). Also, remember the labor of love that our Great God demonstrated in that “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What a labor of love!

Celebrating our Great God this Labor Day and beyond!

~Shelly

Meditation Scriptures: Romans 8:32; Colossians 1:16; Mark 12:30-31; 1 John 4:19-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | Leave a comment

Be Encouraged

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I just want to encourage you! As I think about the devastation of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and beyond and with so much going on in our lives; sometimes we have to encourage ourselves. I have included scriptures in this post to help keep you encouraged.  Know that you are not alone and God is ready, able, and willing to supply every need.

Be encourage knowing “The joy of the Lord is YOUR strength! Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10 NIV

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24 NIV

Trust in the Lord and be of good cheer! Stand on His Word and know he is there!

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Ministers' Wives, Moms, Uncategorized, Working Women | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Responses

When You’re Feeling Less Than

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Most people are shocked to find out that I suffer from low self-esteem.  Yes, I’m a classroom teacher and a Sunday School leader, who also calls herself a writer.  I lead small groups, make announcements in church, coach youth sports, and sometimes serve as a KTIP Resource Teacher. As the pastor’s wife, I can be found greeting church members and guests after Sunday services.  Yet, I often doubt myself, my abilities, and my purpose.

 

One little thing can happen, a friend won’t respond to my text, someone doesn’t acknowledge the effort I’ve put forth on a task, I make a silly mistake, or someone will just look at me funny, and what do I do?  I come down on myself. I convince myself that my friend is angry with me, I’m not appreciated, that I’m just so stupid because I’ve messed up once again.  And once again, I start remembering all those “other times,” those past mistakes and failures.  This opens the door for Satan. Oh, he is so happy when I begin feeling less than.  It does him good when I fail to see the value in myself.

 

But then – grace.  Sweet amazing grace.

 

Jesus has a way of making me see my value and my worth.  He has a way of reminding me of who I am and of Whose I am.  He reminds me that God makes everything glorious and He’s a Good, Good Father. When I take a step back from my lack of confidence, my failures, and my insecurities, I can see that I am loved. I can see that I am good enough. I can see that I am a Child of God and that is all that matters.

 

Friends, when we have those bouts with self-doubt and insecurity, when we have those days when we feel less than, we must lift our eyes, put our focus on Jesus Christ, and let Him show us our value.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional | 3 Responses

Next Level Living

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Women leaders often ask me, “How do I move the ministry to the next level?”  Some say it takes prayer.  Others say it takes work.  Still some will tell you it just takes time. Nevertheless, I say it takes these and more. I venture to say next level ministry begins with next level living.

First, as a Christian leader, I have discovered moving to the next level begins with an inward look at my own heart—first for next level living.  The easy path is to look outside myself and ask God to bless the work of my hands.  But what about the work that needs to occur in my heart?

Next level living is all about my heart and allowing the Spirit of the living God to help me live out the plans that He has for me. Some questions I ask myself for self evaluation periodically are:

1.      Does God have my ear and my will?

2.      What’s my motivation for the desire?

3.      Am I hiding His Word in my heart?

4.      Am I seeking and reaching others for Christ right where I am?

5.      How am I exercising my gifts where I am serving?

6.      Am I currently investing in someone’s life and allowing one of spiritual maturity to invest in mine?

7.      Am I allowing past sins to define me? (In Christ, you are a new creation.  Ask for forgiveness and allow Him to set your course from now on.  Want to become a Christ follower? Find out here.)

When we seek Him for next level living, more happens than we could ever hope or imagine, including to the ministries with which we have been entrusted by our Great God for His glory. Trust Him and let Him have all that you are to be used for His work.  Living for Him is an adventure that always drives and determines next level living.

Here’s to next level living!

~Shelly

Meditation Scriptures: Psalm 119:59; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 4:4; Lamentations 3:40; Col. 3; Phil. 3:13-14, and 2 Cor. 10:5.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Leadership | 2 Responses

Voices

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This past weekend, my husband and I went to see The Dark Tower.  It was one of his favorite movie genres – sci fi/fantasy.  A basic story about good vs. evil.  Since my husband and I are both really aware of sermon illustrations when we go to the movie, it didn’t take long for one to become obvious.

Matthew McConaughey was the bad guy (wasn’t too thrilled about the casting on that one).  He was an evil sorcerer determined to open the door way for evil to enter the world. His game plan was simple – he whispered.  He whispered doubt, fear, confusion, hate, anger, and lies.  Sound familiar?

The heroes of the movie were strong, had won against this enemy before and were gifted with everything they needed to defeat him.  They had one problem; they listened to his whispers.

The enemy of our souls is no different.  He uses the same game plan to keep us from living the life that we created to live in Christ.

It’s as if he sits on our shoulder simply whispering in our ear….” you’re not good enough”, “remember what you did”, “God can’t forgive that”, “you don’t have time for that”, “they don’t really care about you”.

Too often I have listened to those voices instead of the voice of the one who knows me and loves me.  It is easy in the chaos of life to get distracted and confused, to let down my guard and believe those whispers.

My Savior speaks to me too.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27

Simple, right?  How do we hear his voice?  We hear His voice when we spend time in His Word, when we listen to music that turns our hearts and minds toward him, when we focus on Truth.  Counter the lies and whispers of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word and the truth of who He is.

 

Praying you hear His voice,

Lisa

 

Posted in Christian Living, Ministers' Wives, Moms, Prayer | 1 Response