IN In THE The Light LIGHT EMPOWER | ENCOURAGE | ENLIGHTEN |
July/Aug 2012 || proverbsandwisdom.com
LARA LANDON BEING AN OVERCOMER AND SEEING GOD
Peace Vs. Productivity TWO Special
IN THE LIGHT July/Aug | Issue No. 3 EDITORIAL Editor In Chief
Ashley Ormon | firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Editor
Stephen Porter | email@example.com Editoral Director
Susan Dusterhoft | firstname.lastname@example.org Editoral Assistant
Danielle Wright | email@example.com
Proverbs & Wisdom
Contributing Writers Joshua Huffman Elissa Peterson
Contributing Photographers Rachel Allison Hoffman Cover Photo: Fairlight Hubbard
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FEEDBACK
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EDITORIAL Ever Been Stuck? I dislike being in traffic. Perhaps you do too. The worst part about it is when you’re sitting on the highway, cars bumper to bumper, and you look across the road to see traffic on the opposite side moving. Funny thing is, life can be like that too. Sometimes we feel stuck. We’re headed in the direction we need to go but we’re simply not moving. And there alongside us is everyone else passing by with ease. And what we often don’t know is why we’re stuck. When the traffic finally moves we find out there was an accident, something happened up the road and we are being redirected. Similarly to life, “roadblocks” and “accidents” can cause us to be redirected. I know they can be a pain, especially if you hadn’t planned it, but within it is a new opportunity. For instance, evangelist Keyonna Brown believes “roadblocks” bring us closer to God (page 16 ). There’s just something about being stuck. If you’re lucky enough not to be the frustrated driver and wind up in the passenger seat, you’ll notice that the trees and signs and everything else around isn’t going by as quickly (duh!) and you may even notice things you hadn’t before. There are advantages. We have grown too accustomed to going, and going, and going, that rarely do we ever take a minute to stop. Don’t believe me? Prove me wrong: when is the last time you got so still, so quiet, you were able to hear your own heart beat? The beauty in all this is when we are finally at rest we can discern God’s voice clearly. Which for us, means more peace and less stress. Resting in God’s presence means Him telling us His plans for our lives and how we can fulfill them. Lara Landon spoke about this when we interviewed her (read her story on page 12 , plus we have a prize for you!). She even went as far to say being still allows us to see God. Is there anything greater than hearing and seeing the Creator of all? It’s difficult being stuck, but unconsciously it can be even more difficult for us if we’re always moving. So silence yourself. Get still. You’ll be amazing with what God will share with you.
AshleyAshley Ormon Ormon | Editor In Chief
Editorial <<< 01
My Highest Goal
I See God in You
You speak. We listen
Lara Landon Interview
Letters: The Readerâ€™s Voice
Giveaways Special gifts for our readers!
06 >>> Contents
Snatched from the Enemy’s Hand
Trusting Our Creator
Peace vs. Productivity
ITL sat down with Keyonna Brown, a testimony evangelist, as she shared nuggets of faith, love and God’s grace.
Joshua Huffman opens up about the difficulties accepting God’s love and putting our trust in Him.
Diving into overcoming productivity issues by accepting and living in God’s Peace.
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
Contents <<< 07
The Reader’s Voice. YOU SPEAK. WE LISTEN.
FROM THE WEBSITE AND BLOG Excellent post and reminders for us all, especially in a time when the economy seems to be the world’s focus. —Bryan Ridenour on 8 Reasons to Not Worry About Money It’s just that great... Super-Duper blog! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also. —Carole Bumbalo on You Are the Light of the World — Interview with Poet Joie Schmidt The problem with us and failure... Thanks for sharing this post. I appreciate the words: “Believe you already are what you want to be. And then start acting like it.” Sometimes we let the fear of rejection or failure keep us from being what God has called us to be. May God bless the both of you! Deborah H. Bateman-Author. —Deborah H. Bateman on How Do You Know If You’re Really A Writer?
Have a comment on this issue? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
08 >>> The Reader’s Voice
TWEET US: @PROVERBSNWISDOM @TLamontspeaks: @proverbsNwisdom Just read your magazine online it is really good. :) @UnstuckUnstop: @proverbsNwisdom Thank you so much! I’m really diggin’ the magazine you have on your site. I’ve never seen omething like that before!. @writermya: @proverbsNwisdom This was very inspiring. I have been telling myself this 4 the past two years. I AM A WRITER BECUZ I WRITE... @proverbsNwisdom keep up the good work, we need hope MOST FAVORITED AND RETWEETED TWEET: #iThankGod: for removing people out my life when I was to stubborn to move out of theirs.
FACEBOOK.COM/INTHELIGHTMAG Your editorial was wonderful and good food for thought! I think you wrote it at the perfect time too. —Mary Lou R.
IN THE LIGHT magazine welcomes feedback from its readers. Please post a comment or tweet us! proverbsandwisdom.com <<< 09
DEVOTIONAL: OUR HIGHEST GOAL Courtesy of Mid-Atlantic Fellowship of Christian Athletes
READY: “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection…” - Philippians 3:10a SET: As Christians, I think we sometimes feel like it is our job to make sure all of our friends, family members and teammates come to faith in Christ. We spend our days trying to do all we can to be a perfect example—saying the right things and serving in the best ways in order to make sure we can have the best possible influence. We think that doing things for God is what our complete focus should be. For the majority of my time in college, I didn’t have any Christian teammates on my basketball team. Because of this, I put pressure on myself to be in the Word, to go to church and to pray enough just so that I could see all of them at least start to pursue more of God in their lives. But I eventually came to realize that wasn’t God’s aim for me. Nor, is it the aim for any of us. Yes, He desires to use us in this way, but the bigger picture is that He wants us to know Him more. It’s not our job to save others; it’s our job to pursue more of God each day. We should desire such an intimate relationship with Him that our lives can’t help but reveal Him to others. If we only focus on ministering to others, we’ll miss out on getting to know Christ Himself. But if we take the time to develop a relationship with Him, the more we’ll be like Him. Then, out of that relationship, we will naturally become representatives of Jesus to everyone around us. Now, talk about being an influence for Christ! Truly, getting to know Him for ourselves is the best way to bring Him to others. GO: 1.Do you focus more on doing things for God or getting to know Him? 2.Do you put pressure on yourself to be a perfect example? If so, why? 3.What are some of the best ways to get to know someone? How can you put those into practice in order to get to know God better? WORKOUT: John 15:1-5 Romans 8:29 Galatians 5:22-25 Ephesians 5:1-2 Philippians 3:7-11 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: If you live in the Mid-Atlantic and want to get involved with FCA, visit http://www.midatlanticfca.org/. For more information about FCA please visit FCA.org Like FCA on Facebook or follow FCA on Twitter. 10 >>>IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
Jesus fasted for 40 days. It rained for 40 days during the flood. The Jews spent 40 years in the desert. E-BOOK AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM WATCH
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You saw God yesterday or maybe earlier this week. Actually, you see God every day and may not even know it. “We need to see God in the lowly, the homeless, those who are an outcast,” says Christian singer Lara Landon. “People are made in the image of God. Love [them] in their own way.” On her sophomore album Overcome, released this past May, Landon sings the song “I See God in You.” It reflects Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40 which reads, “Whenever you did for one of the least of these…you did for me.” And because doing “for the least of these” is doing for God, looking into their eyes is seeing Christ. Landon says, “[By] loving others who annoy us, [those] who are hard to love and [people] who we necessarily wouldn’t love [we experience] God in everyone.” She does admit this is a “real challenge” but she acknowledges “we all can love people who love us.” Christians are called to go beyond that. A RELUCTANT START In many ways, Overcome mirrors Landon’s journey as it progresses from hurt and weakness to power and strength. “The songs are from my life experiences. [It’s] how I came from my disappointment,” she says. “First I felt like God was rejecting me and then I moved into overcoming through His power and by His blood.” Rising from this discouragement inspired the song “Leah” which resonates most to Landon. It’s about a girl who feels everyone is moving ahead while she’s stuck watching. Besides listening to the beautiful instrumentals in the background, the lyrics send a message of hope. “To me, ‘Leah’ is God’s perspective that I have a purpose,” she says with excitement. “God is saying jump and I’ll catch you!” Taking that first jump is not always easy though. We carry burdens which make it hard to leap into God’s hands, or we don’t feel worthy enough for God to use. For many, jumping 12 >>> cover story
I SEE GOD
D IN YOU proverbsandwisdom.com<<< 13
towards God requires a lot of faith; for others, like Landon, a small push. The 20 –something year old singer shared her defining moment when she first begin her worship career. “I never set out to be a gospel singer, it just happened naturally. I went to a small church and they actually came up to me because they didn’t have a worship leader, [but] I didn’t feel good enough to lead people into worship.” After being encouraged by church members, she gave in. “I lead worship reluctantly, but I felt fulfilled because I was doing what God created us to do – worship.” The question is, what are we called to do? “The best way, but the hardest way to find out is to get still before God and realize what He has for you,” Landon tells us. “See what burden God places upon your heart to help in the world.” God will often place a vision inside of us which He intends for us to fulfill. It may seem beyond anything we could imagine, but with His guidance it is all achievable. We have to learn how to become obedient and recognize Him as Lord over our lives. “It takes a lot of faith to get still before God,” Landon continues. “It’s a humbling experience. Seeing God in ourselves comes by [going] away from the world.” And there are two sides in being called by God. In our moments of unworthiness we have to recall that each of us are made for a specific purpose. Everyone has a ministry. Christians have adopted a narrow focus in believing to have a ministry you must attend seminary school, stand behind a pulpit, or lay hands on the sick. However, noth14 >>> IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
ing can be further from the truth. God has given each of us an important role. “Everyone can be a minister,” encourages Landon. “You don’t have to be pastor [to have] a ministry.” God has given every person unique gifts and talents. With our God-given abilities we can build a platform to share the Gospel. Unfortunately, if we are unaware of our purpose for the kingdom, or don’t take it seriously there’s danger. “We can take our position lightly and leave the teaching to the pastor and
minister, and God’s kingdom needs all of us,” says Landon. HEALING SOULS Part of Landon’s calling goes beyond being a worship leader. When she had the opportunity to serve in Haiti for a medical trip, she had a life-changing moment. “There were little children playing and on the side a little boy stood all alone. He was really quiet, but he smiled a lot,” she says. Landon recalls walking towards the little boy and noticing his bloody toes and broken and torn sandals. There was medical care present and she rushed him to get medical help. “A doctor there gave him Tylenol to take home, or some type of medicine, and wrapped
up his toes for him,” she says. Still moved by the experience, Landon says as if she’s looking at the boy, “The amazing thing is he never stopped smiling. As hurt as he was, he was so happy. I saw God in him.” Influenced by helping the needy on her trip, in 2007 she cofounded New Reality International, a nonprofit organization that brings medical help to people in foreign countries. “My dad’s a doctor and that helped with the medical part. My sister and I planned out the rest. My family has helped a lot with it.” Coming from a spiritual background, the non-profit also tends to people’s spiritual and emotional needs. “What good is healing someone’s body if you aren’t healing their soul?” says Landon. On speaking about the nonprofit’s name, she commented, “We want to see a new reality – God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven – because we already know our reality.” So how do we bring heaven on earth? “People know us by actions,” says Landon. “People who don’t know God are watching us and we show them who God is by what we do.” We read in the Gospels that Jesus took people who weren’t exactly God-like and loved upon them. Through Christ’s love in action many became believers and in return, help to spread the Good News. Christians must take the same approach. Love people to God. STOP COMPARING AND CELEBRATE Today in the church our selfishness hinders us from loving people into the Kingdom. We’re
constantly focused on what we feel we ought to get from our labor of love and when the harvest is not as plentiful as we desire, our attitude changes. Bringing “heaven on earth” doesn’t seem as exciting – or rewarding. “Pride and entitlement is something we may struggle with. It was a [trait] I had and didn’t recognize until later on,” says Landon. “We can start saying to ourselves, ‘I’m doing really well right now. Why aren’t I receiving more recognition?’” Landon retells The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard that Jesus teaches in Matthew 20. In the parable, the landowner hires two sets of workers. The first set of workers begin in the morning and work throughout the day; the other set of laborers hired start later and work fewer hours. At the
workday’s completion, the landowner pays all the workers the same amount. However, because the first set of workers labored the most hours, they aren’t satisfied with their pay. Matthew 20:12 reads, “These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’” In the following verses (13 and 14) the landowner responds: “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.” Like the workers, Christians tend to forget that whether we’ve labored much or a little, we are all working for the same end result.
We all serve the same Master – God – who gives to His children the same. In Landon’s words, “We need to stop comparing ourselves to others.” Accept the blessing God has given you cheerfully. Instead of comparing, Landon has chosen to celebrate. Celebrate what? Well…who? Those around her. “To celebrate somebody means to accept them as they are without expectation.” And to Landon, celebrating others “is the best form of celebrating” there is. To connect with Lara Landon, visit her website at: laralandononline.com Tweet her @LaraLandon, or her video blogs on Youtube.com/LaraLandon
Two Autographed CDs of Overcome! Click proverbsnwisdom.com/landongiveaway for details!
16 >>> IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
Keyonna Brown is a testimony evangelist. She shares her story of how she was “snatched out of the enemy’s hand” to become a mighty vessel for God. Connect with Keyonna on Twitter @_HumbleServant or visit her blog: keyonnabrown.blogspot.com/ how would you describe your ITL Briefly, testimony?
how I was but she knew God could change me into someone better. We need to adopt that state of mind. God likes when people come as a hot mess. He takes them broken and pieces them back together. Did rededicating your life to Christ cost ITL you anything?
I was the girl who had everything. A loving family. Popularity at school. Good grades. And growing up, I did go to church. Along the way I put God on the backburner and life just changed. I was a hypocrite, fornicator, a bad girl turned good. My testimony reflects that and then how I’ve grown in experiencing new life with Christ.
you think placing God on the ITL Dobackburner opens doors for backsliding? Hmm…good question. I believe so. I knew God was there, but it was more of me doing my own thing and my thing got me further away from him. I was too busy living in the moment and I lost focus.
Most Christians don’t want people to know their past and where they’ve came from. Instead, we only see where they are. What helps you be transparent in sharing your story? Well, I realized what God has done for me.
KB Sharing my testimony is just a way of me say-
ing, I was the same way but God had plans for my life. Christians tend to forget that we didn’t always have it altogether. That’s why I’m sharing my message to say, I was the same way as you, but God changed me. Even though I look good now, I had a horrible past.
Very true. Christians can be hypocritical. In the world yesterday, saved today. How quickly some forget what God delivered them from. Exactly! [Laughs]. If Christians get the
KB mentality that [unbelievers] are made in God’s
image we could see them finished. My grandmother did that to me when I was lost in the world. I had this wave of depression, lack of self-worth and very low self-esteem but my grandmother saw me finished. She kept telling me that I was beautiful, I was going to be successful and she encouraged me to be great. Yes, she saw
Friends. While discovering who I was in God’s kingdom, I noticed those friends I was trying to fit in with were no longer around. My phone stopped ringing, people stopped coming to my apartment, [and] I wasn’t being invited to parties anymore.
Do you have any encouragement for those ITL who have lost friends because of their new life in Christ?
Realize who [you] are in Christ. I knew I wasn’t going back. We must be mindful of what God wants us to do. We are going to give an account in front of God one day — without our friends.
mentioned growing up in church. ITL You What brought you back to God? God’s word always comes back when you grow up. I wanted to accept everything God had for me. There was this strong feeling that God had something better for me and what I was experiencing wasn’t it.
When we do finally ackowledge God, He ITL responds to us — even after we’ve ignored Him. In your testimony you spoke about this…
One day I prayed and asked the Lord to
KB reveal things to me that I couldn’t see when I was in a really bad relationship. Within two weeks God answered my prayer. Last thoughts, comments, scriptures. You ITL know, stuff like that…
All I have to say is Matthew 6:33. Once peoKB ple take the initiative to seek God in every situation, and I mean every situation, God will give us the things we need.
proverbsandwisdom.com <<< 17
Trusting Our Creator By Joshua Huffman
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” There are so many things that I do not understand, both inside the Scriptures and outside; starting with God’s love for us. To be honest, I have an incredibly hard time accepting it sometimes. After reading the Old Testament, I always want to go hide from God in a corner, never to be seen by Him because I know in my heart that I am completely unworthy of Him. After reading about all the punishments that God placed upon the people in the Old Testament (e.g., the Israelites) for the exact same sins that I commit against Him, I have an extremely hard time 18 >>> IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
believing in my heart that He could still care for me. Even though no matter how much the Israelites rebelled against God, and how angry they made God, He always stayed with them; always showed His grace upon them when they asked. When thinking about relationships, if you were to love somebody, whether romantically or just in friendship, how long would you continue to love them and be with them if they were always doing things against your wishes? Not very long, but yet that is how we are with God. His love exists and is unending. While it is beyond my understanding, this is what makes it so beautiful! “But God demonstrates his own
love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). There are many times in life when we are placed in difficult situations; whether it is school, a relationship, a family or work issue, or number of other difficult situations. We all have been or will be in situations that we don’t understand; some that are beyond our control, where we feel completely helpless and overwhelmed. We need to remember Proverbs 3:5 and to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” The Lord is the creator of the universe. He created you and I, and everything we see! There isn’t any-
thing He can’t do! We need to trust in Him. If He created the complex being that we are He can most certainty help us in any situation. In fact He wants to. We are told in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I like the added “with thanksgiving.” If you are in a difficult situation, thank the Lord for it. Why? Because we have been given an opportunity in which we have to trust in the Lord. Trust is not the act of
How Can We Know to Trust God? Proverbs 3:19 – 20 reads,“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.” I am amazed by how great the Lord is! I have a hard time doing simple things. How many of you have done a do-it-yourself project? Maybe you built a dresser, a chair, a bookshelf, or anything that came with the supplies and instructions? How did that go? When I attempt any of these
ing, and knowledge knows no end! It makes me wonder how we can ever question Him? If He can create the universe, surely He can help us. Proverbs 3:5-6:“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” When we look back to Proverbs 3:5-6, we learn that our God knows exactly what He is doing, and everything He does, He does because He loves us (John 3:16). How can we ever question Him? Let’s put our
“ The Lord is the creator of the universe! There isn’t anything He can’t do! We need to trust in Him.
sitting back and letting the Lord do everything for you, trust is knowing that God will take care of all the behind the scenes work. As we are reminded in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God has a plan and purpose for your life and He will make sure everything works out for your good. Live your life in trust. Trust in God and don’t worry about what you think of a situation, don’t worry about how it is perceived. If God could help David defeat Goliath, help Gideon in battle, and feed 5,000 people, He can surely help you with difficult situations in your life. Just know that the Lord is with you. Trust in Him and He will lead you, and He will connect all the dots into a beautiful masterpiece. God is faithful and He is at work in our lives.
things, I always do something wrong, such as break a part or use the wrong screws. How many have tried a new recipe? Did it turn out well? The point is, even with full instructions and supplies we aren’t always the best at creating things. The Lord on the other hand, in His infinite wisdom, can do it perfectly. He created everything in the universe, including the earth. How magnificent does one have to be in order to create the earth, weather, our bodies, plants, animals, oxygen, and make them interact with each other like they do? It’s amazing how everything created on earth works to support life in its own unique way, from the smallest of things (germs, bacteria, cells, ants) all the way to the biggest of things. It absolutely amazes me! There is still so much to learn about our ecosystem, so much that we haven’t even discovered. Our Lord is amazing; His wisdom, understand-
trust in Him, and work hard at what we do and leave our doubts aside. With God on our side, what do we have to fear? Romans 8:31 echoes this in our life, “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” As we hold onto the tree of wisdom, we must also keep our trust in God. In doing so, the God of the universe, the Creator of all will be on our side. What than do we have to fear? What can’t we do? Philippians 4:13 tells us that with God on our side, we can do anything. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Joshua Huffman is a full time student at Winona State University. Outside of school Joshua enjoys a good book, spending time with God, and being outside. His blog can be found at: w w w. c o m m u n i o n w i t h j e s u s . wordpress.com/ proverbsandwisdom.com <<< 19
peace vs. productivity By ElissA Peterson
20>>> IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
Wipe down, Shake. Wipe down, Shake out, Wait in line, Check it off, Meet that deadline, Make that offer, Produce something of value. Go. Do. These are my gremlins. They sneak in to my soul and steal my peace. And they Lie - with a capital “L”. Like most women I have more to do than time to do it. Sadly, the more I accomplish the less peaceful I feel. And guess what?There is no peace in productivity. There is only a burning need to produce more, to wind tighter, to run faster and climb higher. If peace is what you are seeking today, then know that it comes in a tiny package called “No.” •Peace is what comes when you learn to say no to productivity; when you stop doing and start being. •Peace is when you let yourself sit still long enough to remember that you don’t need to prove yourself to God, because He’s not impressed with the number of things you checked off today. How many times does God tell us in scripture that we are Christ’s beloved? “Beloved” is an adjective, not a verb. It describes who you are, not what you did. You do not accomplish “beloved-ness”, nor do you achieve it. You accept it. And you rest in it. Define yourself as who you are in Christ, not what you have accomplished before lunch. So, here is what should be your “To Do List” for today: 1.Stop. 2.Accept peace. Today, wash yourself with Eternal Peace and let your productivity spill down the drain. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Let it go. The world will not end. I promise. Elissa Peterson is a frazzled mother of four who craves - but rarely gets - peace and quiet. She has been published with The Homeschool Post, Rhythm of the Home Magazine and The Natural Parent. She also blogs about the crazy things she learns from Jesus and her children on her blog: dontletlifepassyouby.blogspot.com/. proverbsandwisdom.com <<< 21
Overcoming life's tribulations and seeing God in others.