April 2008 Issue 6 In This Issue: Ladies On Faith "When Your Heart Is There But Your Feet Are Here" by Trish Ladies On Grace "Grace Has Got You Covered" by Bombi Ladies On Life "Aim To Bless Not Impress" by Devon Ladies On Prayer "The Prayer of Jabez" by Sonya Ladies On Spiritual Growth "Peace That Passes Understanding" by Kenika
Ladies On Faith When your heart is “there” but your feet are “here” by Trish
This evening I had a thought provoking conversation with a friend of mine. This young lady is talented beyond belief with the gift of dance and has a heart as big as anyone else I have ever met. As we shared for just a few moments on where we are in life at this present time, she shared her desire to do so much more as it relates to ministry but “reality has her working a different job to pay the bills”. As she made that statement it hit me hard because now more than ever I can relate to that very same feeling. What do you do when your heart is “there” (wherever your dreams, and desires are) but your feet “here”… you know, the place of your reality. Each of us have been given talents and abilities and along with those gifts is attached a special assignment…or a destiny. But part of the destiny is walking out the seasons of preparation. It would do us more harm than good if we were granted our hearts desires before the time of its maturity. Something that is a huge passion for me is missions specifically in Africa. Every time I see or hear of the need there, I weep…literally. One day while watching a documentary on the turmoil in the Sudan I actually sat there and cried and then became upset. I turned the TV off and went in my room and had a talk with God. My question to Him was this, “why do you let me feel pain when I see this when right now there is nothing I can do to help? What am I supposed to do with this burden, because right now I feel it and it’s real and my heart is there, but I’m stuck here…what do I do?” I’d like to say that a booming voice from heaven suddenly spoke and gave me the abc’s of a strategy for solving this issue. But that didn’t happen….however, God did give me an assurance to know that if I’m feeling this burden it is for a reason AND for a season….my job now is to be faithful with what He’s put before me this day and as I seek Him, He’ll lead me and order my steps. And what can’t be done because of distance and space, prayer can make up the difference through time spent on my knees. There is so much all of us desire to pursue, discover and achieve. We rehearse in our mind the promises God has spoken to our heart and visions He has given us and the flesh attempts to question the validity of those things…after all, why would God show us and then allow such a L-O-N-G period of time to go by before the manifestation of those things takes place? But then faith rises up from the inside and says things like: “ for the vision is yet for 222
an appointed time, and it hastens to the end; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait for it because it will surely come, it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.” Habakkuk 2:3 That should encourage us all because we have all been given promises by God and each of us have to “walk it out”…our faith journey.
Think with me for a moment about Abraham. He was promised a child even in his old age. He and his wife were beyond their prime as it relates to child bearing years…BUT GOD. In the midst of His season of waiting for his promise he got impatient and proceeded to fulfill the promise another route; contrary to God’s plan. This of course brought great pain to his family but God was still faithful and kept His word. I love that part because even in our ignorant ways, God remains true to the Word He’s spoken over our lives. Within time, the appointed time, Abraham received his promise…his son, Isaac and generations later we continue to learn from this story of waiting on God and trusting Him to fulfill the promises He’s made to us. Can I just encourage you to not grow weary in well doing? I like to say it this way… “Don’t give up on doing the right thing.” Maybe you’re in a place of mediocrity on your job but God has promised you’d be a business owner….take heart…if God said it, it will happen. For some, you may be working your way through college to obtain your degree but right now all you see is a stack of books and student loans…. Be of cheer, there is a reward for your diligence. Whether you’re single and waiting on God for the life partner He has for you or you’re married and still believing for your first child God told you that you would have, God is there…He sees where you are and He’s already pre-destined your journey. Hold on to your faith and thank Him for the process….we’re all believing for something, so we’re all in this together and WE WILL MAKE IT! Email Trish: email@example.com
Ladies On Grace Grace Has Got You Covered By: Bombi
Today, right now, this very second, my heart is breaking and I am in pain. I want to write about this because it's good therapy for me, and you-the reader. I have never had a problem expressing fun, cool, happy positive feelings. In fact, I love expressing those. You can say that this part of self expression is my strength. But, when I'm broken, shocked, grieved, disappointed, hurt, lonely, sad, betrayed, angry....those feelings are NOT my favorite, these feelings seem like the weaker side of my heart. So what does one do when it seems like their whole world is being rocked? They've just gotten news that their family member is dying, or their child has been severely hurt, or they've been let go from their dream job, or a leader has had a bad fall and people are hurting,or their spouse has been unfaithful. What do you do? Pain, it's a reality. The minute we're born, we get poked and probed, needles and all. Just moments after we arrive on the outside we experience this thing called pain. What does that say to us? Well, scientists might explain that it's part of the nervous system, and the messages are necessary to tell our brain that there is something wrong, and we need to do something about it. Other people will just say that it's a part of life. I say that it is most definitely both, and mostly for me right now, a reminder that I'm definitely not dead. I would not feel anything if I were. I am alive. I am waking up each day, eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I'm working, interacting with my friends and family. I'm getting tired at the end of the day, and sleeping when I do. And I'm hurting as well, so I'm definitely alive. In the past, when I've had to move through a painful experience, I've wanted to retreat, isolate, and analyze it all. I've wanted to figure everything out myself, right then and there in my head. I wanted to play God. I heard a pastor once tell a story of a man who had that same God-syndrome. He thought he was responsible to make everything happen in his life. One day while boarding a plane to fly to his destination, he gave himself away. When the plane began to take off, this man began flapping his arms. When asked what he was doing, he simply said that he was making the plane fly. How silly this sounds, but how familiar it can be. I, you, me...we can do that very same thing in life. Thinking that it's completely normal in our heads to figure it all out by ourself in 444
one thought session, while God and the world around us are scratching their heads wondering what the heck could we be thinking. So here I am at this moment, in this weak place, crushed and devastated, not knowing exactly what move I'll make next in life. Knowing that I've been down this dark road before, and I don't want to fall into the old beliefs and patterns, that old pit. How am I finding this strength to make those hard life decisions for myself and my family that I so love when before I nearly permanently checked out? I hear the Father say, "Grace"
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version) I need His power to rest on me. I pray the same for you. Be encouraged, He's strong when you are not. Grace has got you covered.
Email Bombi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies On Life Aim To Bless, Not Impress By: Devon
Have you ever been given a task that you feel insignificant to fill? You keep asking yourself “why me”? You just can’t put two and two together. You see others around you that seem more qualified and trained, with so much more experience. As my husband and I are preparing to start a church in Arkansas, he’s asked me what area I wanted to be involved with. My greatest joy has come when working with children, although, I feel overwhelmed to lead this department. Regardless of my feelings, I know God can and will lead me each step of the way as I rely on Him. My parents recently told me – "aim to bless, not impress". They have been children’s ministers for over twenty-five years and at the very beginning my mom said she didn’t feel adequate or sufficient. The Lord impressed upon her heart - aim to bless and not impress. I was reminded of two important commandments in the Bible - to love the Lord and to love people. We are not called to impress people (control what they think and gain their approval), but to love them and in doing so we are going to bless them. In the Bible we can read about Jesus’ visit to Martha’s house - Martha lost her focus and spent her energy doing what she thought was important. The Bible says Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She could have been trying to impress Jesus by grabbing His attention, even in a positive way. Martha knew her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus so she went to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” Jesus said, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better (that which is to her advantage), and it will not be taken from her.” Ultimately, when I aim to bless and not impress the stress will be less! When I purpose to bless there is no heaviness or burden, rather joy. When the goal of blessing others is put into proper perspective it’s such a treat to focus on bestowing good towards others. Aim to bless and not impress... the stress will be less! By that simple statement you can gain a boldness to do what God has called you to do. Be confident in #1 loving God and #2 loving people. Email Devon: email@example.com 666
Ladies On Prayer The Prayer of Jabez By: Sonya
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “ Oh, that You would BLESS ME indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would BE WITH ME, and that You would KEEP ME FROM EVIL, that I may not cause pain!” I Chronicles 4:10 so God granted him what he requested. This is a powerful prayer that can move mountains in your life. But you have to have faith. You have to believe that God will really do it. For Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20-21. There are times in my life that I wanted to pray this prayer but didn’t have the courage or boldness. This is indeed a life changing prayer but only if you have faith in every word. Jabez prayed, “Oh, that You would Bless Me indeed,” He did not say “Bless me according to my plan and what I want in life,” but rather he pleaded with God to unleash the best that God had in store for him. Do you get it? He wants to bless you according to His will… not ours. I admit, I have caught myself praying, “God help me, I need this God, and by the way can you bless me with __________. We shouldn’t ask God to bless me here and there without our actions moving towards Christ and obeying His truths. This is not what God wants for you. He wants the BEST for you. 777
The next part of the Jabez prayer is crucial by saying, “enlarge my territory,” which is definitely stepping out of your comfort zone. Jabez is praying that we are to enlarge our territories and expand our boundaries and get out of our comfy boxes that surround us and hold us back from seeking God. Enlarge my territory means following your dreams and passions that God has put on your heart and jumping out of the boat and into the water. Than comes the prayer that says, “Your hand would be with Me, “ and that God’s guidance and hand would be upon our lives, which is powerful because without God we cannot accomplish anything. Then Jabez prays “KEEP ME FROM EVIL, that I may not cause pain,” which shows that God’s hand of protection is on our lives and that we need to be praying that He keeps us from the evil one. The closer we move towards God the more temptation and attacks we get from the world. Therefore, our prayer life needs to be strong and consistent each day. God has shown me through this prayer that He will not put me through things in my life that I can’t handle and that God can’t carry me through. He is a sovereign God and loves us deeply so don’t just say these simple prayers to Him out of routine or memory but really mean what you are saying to God and that you are praying with a purpose.
Email Sonya: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies On Spiritual Growth
Peace That Passes Understanding By: Kenika Why do we serve such a contrary God? We can be in some of the most difficult times and seasons of our lives where people change on us and doors close, yet in the midst of it all God is requiring more of us. In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and His disciples are out at sea during a horrible storm. Jesus is in the hinder part of the ship asleep while the wind the rain and the seas are beating against the side of the boat. The disciples are pretty much freaking out at what they are seeing right before their eyes and all they can seem to focus on is the huge storm that surrounds and overpowers them. Where is Jesus? Jesus is resting which, to us, is seemingly the opposite of what He should be doing at that time. The disciples wake Jesus out of fear that they are about to be annihilated and He gets up and says one simple statement to bring an end to the raging storm, Peace, be still. Jesus is being contrary, despite everything that is going on; right in the midst of all the chaos He declares peace. If we could grasp the concept that Jesus knew all too well our lives would be filled with so much more tranquility. It is funny how God operates and if it is not already obvious, please allow me to explain. When we are broke, without two dimes to rub together, we flip open His word that declares us rich. We are sick in our bodies, but we call to remembrance that 999
we are healed. All arrows point to the fact that you are a failure, yet the word declares us a success. Divorce is at an all time high, yet the Father instructs you to prepare yourself for marriage. A neighbors company just went belly up, but God tells you to start writing out your business plan. We serve a contrary God, but it is good that we do because if He did not oppose every negative thought, feeling, or dilemma in our lives, we just might accept less than His best. If He refused to oppose us, we could fall into the line of those that accept the status quo. The Disciples call to Jesus in the midst of a storm, literally, and maybe they thought He knew a clever way to get the ship safely to shore, or perhaps they, like many other people, simply wanted him to be awake just to panic along with them! Whatever they were doing by questioning Him during His nap, I am sure they were not expecting Jesus to simply oppose what was going on. It did not matter that He saw chaos all around, He spoke peace. How many times do we buy into the chaos that is in our lives, or even worse, the chaos that is in other peoples lives? How often do we bow down to struggles that we were meant to rule over? When your world is crashing in, speak peace. The next time you look up and everything is not going according to Gods plan, speak the opposite of what you see. God is contrary and Jesus is contrary, so why do we settle for being cooperative? Why do we insist on going along with what we see in us and around us instead of coming against it? Often times we look for solutions to a problem, but what we really we need is peace while our heavenly Father works it out on our behalf. The human mind cannot comprehend it because it is opposite of what we see with our natural eyes, and that is why Philippians 4:7 calls it peace that passes all understanding. It made no sense for Jesus to declare peace in the midst of the storm, but whatever the Disciples felt they wanted Him to do in that moment, Jesus knew what was really needed. Philippians 4:7 (KJV) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus
Email Kenika: email@example.com
Thank you for your continued support! We Love youBombi, Candace, Devon, Kenika, Sonya and Trish