6th edition nov/dec 2021
Our Mission A unified, global women’s ministry empowering one another to follow Christ and to love in abundance; and cultivating women warriors in their purpose by His promise and power.
Join us! Visit our website at www.womenworldleaders.com to get find out how you can get involved!
Daily Devotionals Enjoy our daily devotionals shared by Kimberly on our Facebook page, website, and email list!
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Speaking Our Global Office Team is willing to speak at women’s events or conferences. Empowerment – Kimberly Hobbs Teaching – Julie Jenkins We are a team unified in His love and will intentionally pray about any presented opportunities to speak at your next event. 2
Listen to weekly trio of podcasts! Experience God’s extravagant love and your exquisite purpose through the Women World Leaders’ podcast that focuses on teaching, inspiration, and encouragement. Our prayer is that as your intimacy with God grows, your love for one another will flourish, enabling you to live out a courageous, purpose-driven life, fueled by the Word, led by the Spirit, and propelled forward into your God-given destiny through fearless faith! From His heart to yours, we are Women World Leaders! www.womenworldleaders.com/learn-with-us/podcasts/
Letter from theFounder SWEET WOMAN OF GOD,
s we wrap up our 6th edition of Voice of Truth, concluding 2021, we thank God for His tremendous, unexpected blessings. 2021 has been a fulfilling year for Women World Leaders. With God’s help, we have provided six editions of this lovely magazine, reaching the world with the gospel message of Christ, for free. It is by God’s gracious hand we have been able to do this “debt-free” to this date, an unexpected blessing. We ventured out to write and publish our own book this year from Women World Leaders, and to our surprise, God equipped us with an outpouring of writers, enough to provide content for two books! Thank you, Lord, for Victories and Embrace The Journey. Unexpected blessings. We have also doubled our total group membership just this past year, adding thousands - more unexpected blessings. Our podcast trio, in just one year, has reached 60 countries and thousands of women with encouragement and biblical teaching - incredible and unexpected blessings. These unexpected blessings surrounded our ministry this entire year, giving us all a sense of God’s unfailing goodness, faithfulness, and love. If you are reading this magazine today, you are receiving a taste of what God has provided for us all to enjoy through our obedient steps of faith.
stolen, He will provide more than you asked for. Trust God. Pray. And above all, surrender your heart to Christ. You will be able to carry more than you thought possible and receive more than you have believed for. Ephesians 3:20 is the scripture to cling to. Do not think this year is over and God can’t turn things around for you. He most definitely can. Ask Him again. Don’t become weary in asking God for blessing, and don’t allow the enemy to steal your voice. His voice of truth will tell you a different story than what the enemy deceives you with. God shouts to you that a turn of events is coming your way. Are you hearing His voice this season? Let it echo in your heart because He is calling for you with life, healing, peace, joy, and hope. It will be breathed into you by His Spirit. Our Father is the Dad that will shower His daughter with abundance and restoration. He is orchestrating your unexpected blessings right now, and He is going to reveal them to you in ways you cannot imagine - exceedingly, abundantly, and beyond… Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NKJV)
If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask Him? (Matthew 7:11 TPT) I believe God is preparing each of you to receive your portion in the remainder of this season. God has seen trials and unexpected circumstances come upon you throughout this past year. Many will admit, it’s been a very tough year. However, if you are down and discouraged, God does not want to leave you there. As you surrender your heart to the Lord, not only will God make up for your trials and what the enemy has
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LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER CONT.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year ahead, just remember some of the most unexpected blessings will be brought to you through the most unexpected circumstances, and they will transform your life radically. Pray for the unexpected blessings so that you may recognize them when God pours them out on you. God will outdo them all! He will exceed your wildest dreams and imagination. He is God. Walk in obedience, keep your eyes fixed on your Savior, and look for the unexpected blessings as your beautifully wrapped gift for this Christmas season. Things never discovered or heard of before, things beyond our ability to imagine, these are the many things God has in store for all His lovers. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 TPT)
May the close of this year bring the biggest, unexpected blessing for you and your family, in Jesus’ name. Claim it and believe it, sweet daughter of the King, because you are so loved by Him. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you and yours. Exceedingly, abundantly, beyond!
Kimberly A. Hobbs Founder and Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Ephesians 3:20
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” EPHESIANS 3:20 NKJV
Carta de laFundadora
DULCE MUJER DE DIOS,
l concluir nuestra 6a edición de Voice of Truth, que concluye el 2021, agradecemos a Dios por sus tremendas e inesperadas bendiciones. 2021 ha sido un año gratificante para las mujeres líderes mundiales. Con la ayuda de Dios, hemos proporcionado seis ediciones de esta hermosa revista, que llegan al mundo con el mensaje del evangelio de Cristo, de forma gratuita. Es por la mano misericordiosa de Dios que hemos podido hacer esto “sin deudas” hasta la fecha, una bendición inesperada. Nos aventuramos a escribir y publicar nuestro propio libro este año de Women World Leaders, y para nuestra 4
sorpresa, Dios nos equipó con una gran cantidad de escritoras, ¡suficiente para proporcionar contenido para dos libros! Gracias, Señor, por Victories and Embrace The Journey. Bendiciones inesperadas. También hemos duplicado la membresía total de nuestro grupo solo el año pasado, agregando miles, más bendiciones inesperadas. Nuestro podcast trio, en solo un año, ha llegado a 60 países y miles de mujeres con aliento y enseñanza bíblica: bendiciones increíbles e inesperadas.
Estas bendiciones inesperadas rodearon nuestro ministerio durante todo este año, dándonos a todos un sentido de la bondad, la fidelidad y el amor inagotable de Dios. Si estás leyendo esta revista hoy, estás recibiendo una muestra de lo que Dios ha provisto para que todos disfrutemos a través de nuestros obedientes pasos de fe. Si usted, imperfecto como es, sabe cómo cuidar con amor a sus hijos y darles lo mejor, ¿cuánto más listo está su Padre celestial para dar maravillosos regalos a quienes se lo pidan? (Mateo 7:11 TPT) Creo que Dios está preparando a cada uno de ustedes para recibir su porción en el resto de esta temporada. Dios ha visto sobre ti pruebas y circunstancias inesperadas durante todo el año pasado. Muchos admitirán que ha sido un año muy duro. Sin embargo, si estás deprimida y desanimada, Dios no quiere dejarte allí. A medida que entregues su corazón al Señor, Dios no solo compensará tus pruebas y lo que el enemigo ha robado, sino que también proporcionará más de lo que pediste. Confía en Dios. Orar. Y sobre todo, entrega tu corazón a Cristo. Podrás llevar más de lo que creías posible y recibir más de lo que creías. Aferrate a la escritura Efesios 3:20. No creas que este año ha terminado y que Dios no puede cambiar las cosas para ti. Definitivamente puede. Pregúntale de nuevo. No te canses de pedirle a Dios la bendición y no permitas que el enemigo re robe la voz. Su voz de verdad te contará una historia diferente a la que te engañó el enemigo. Dios te grita que se avecina un cambio en los acontecimientos. ¿Estás escuchando Su voz en esta temporada? Deja que resuene en tu corazón porque Él te está llamando con vida, sanación, paz, gozo y esperanza. Será respirado en ti por Su Espíritu. Nuestro Padre es el Papá que colmará a Su hija con abundancia y restauración. Él está orquestando tus bendiciones inesperadas en este momento, y te las va a revelar de maneras que no puedes imaginar, de manera extraordinaria, abundante y más allá ... Cosas que ojo no vio, ni oído oyó, ni han subido en corazón de hombre, son las que Dios ha preparado para los que le aman. (1 Corintios 2: 9-11 NKJV)
a m ' I incess Pr of the
transformarán su vida de manera radical. Ore por las bendiciones inesperadas para que pueda reconocerlas cuando Dios las derrame sobre ti. ¡Dios los excederá todos! Él superará tus sueños e imaginación más descabellados. El es Dios. Camine en obediencia, mantenga sus ojos fijos en su Salvador y busque las bendiciones inesperadas como su regalo bellamente envuelto para esta temporada navideña. Cosas nunca descubiertas o de las que se ha oído hablar antes, cosas que están más allá de nuestra capacidad de imaginar, estas son las muchas cosas que Dios tiene reservadas para los que lo aman. (1 Corintios 2: 9-11 TPT) Que el cierre de este año traiga la bendición más grande e inesperada para usted y su familia, en el nombre de Jesús. Reclámalo y créelo, dulce hija del Rey, porque eres tan amada por Él. Feliz día de acción de gracias, feliz navidad y próspero año nuevo para ti y los tuyos. Exceedingly, abundantly, beyond!
Kimberly A. Hobbs Founder and Executive Director email@example.com Ephesians 3:20
Mientras se prepara para el Día de Acción de Gracias, la Navidad y el año nuevo que se avecina, recuerde que algunas de las bendiciones más inesperadas le llegarán a través de las circunstancias más inesperadas y que 5
Gospel Grace - Rev. Lisa Morrison (with Spanish edition)
Writings from the Global Office - WWL Staff
Change Your Story with Kirstin Leigh - Kirstin Leigh
College Courage - Sarah Jenkins
Hand to Heart - Diane Cheveldayoff
Dim Glass Gospel Glimpses - Rachel Dube
Dear Sister - Dr. Jia Conway
Faith and Family - Donna Whartenby
Following the Son - Michele Hughes
Set Free - Lynne Hudson
Musings on the Book of John - Connie Hecker
Leaving a Godly Legacy - Kathleen Barrett
Beside Still Waters - Rusanne Jourdan, Poet
Three Strands - Cindy Southworth
A Beautiful Mess - Jessica Prukner
Ever Interceding - Diana Brown (with Spanish edition)
A Purposed Creation - Kerri Bridges
Waiting to Take Flight - Jessica Morneault
Abortion: The Unpardonable Sin - Victoria Robinson
Power Points: God at Work Through Women Leaders Yesterday and Today - Leecy Barnett
Soar on the Wings of an Eagle - Lynne Hudson
Living a Holystic Life - Melissa Kessler
Sea Him - Christa Jewett (with Spanish edition)
Holy Hush - Deborah Watson
Wide Open Wonderment - Rachel Dube, Poet
Reluctant Purpose - Rebecca Rogers Nelson
A Focus on Him - Lillian Cucuzza
Beauty of Grace - Lynne Hudson
Prayers for the Sons of the King - Dr. Jia Conway
Coffee Chats - Tina Kadolph
Journeying with Jesus: Nuggets from the Gospel of Mark - Rev. Lisa Morrison
Nonna's kNOWledge - Carolyn Joy
The Indescribable Milky Way - Lillian Cucuzza
Courage in Action - Dr.’s Jennie Cerullo and Marcia Ball with Kerus Global
Rivers of Healing - Lynne Hudson
A Journey of Trust - Kristina Buckwald
Voice of Truth Stories
WWL Global Connections
Voice of Truth Credits Kimberly Hobbs - VOT Founder & WWL Executive Director Carrie Christopher - VOT Co-founder
Jessica Morneault - Photography Co-Management
Julie Jenkins - WWL Teaching Leader, VOT Editor
Janet Berrong & Doris Clarke Encouragement Team
Diane Cheveldayoff - Leadership Director and Finance
Arlene Salas - Giving Acknowledgments
Kayla Follin - Graphic Designer
Johana Torres - Spanish Translator
Barbara Wert - Editor Kelley Walker Daniels - Editor
This ministry is flourishing by an army of Women World Leaders. Many thanks to:
Kerri Bridges - Editor
Cindy Southworth, Diane Cheveldayoff, Dr. Jia Conway,
Lisa Morrison - Editor
Brown, Lois Daley, Martine Henry, Michele Hughes, Tina
Rachel Dube - Editor Dana Reeves - Administration & Mailing
Lynne Hudson, Cakki Warren, Claire Portmann, Diana Gallo, Yvette Behmer, Dr. Chidi Kalu, Candice Daniel, and Rusanne Jourdan
B Y R E V. L I S A M O R R I S O N
went for a walk at a public park that meandered along the edge of what is called Billington Sea. I’m not sure why it is called a sea since it really is a pond. As the trail veered off the main road into the woods, I encountered a puppy running wild. He was having a grand ole time not being tethered, running as fast as his little legs could carry him. I was concerned because I didn’t see his owner, the woods were thick where we were, and we were off the beaten path. His owner would never know where he was. Not being a dog lover (don’t hate me), I found myself in a quandary. Should I go after the pup or try to find the owner and let him know where he was? I thought it best to look for the owner since the puppy was never going to come to me. As I headed back to the main road, I hoped the pup would follow me, the owner would be at the trailhead, they would be happily reunited, and I could continue my walk with no further interruption. The puppy didn’t follow, and no one, not one person, not even a car, was at the trailhead! With no desperate owner in sight, I realized I had to choose the path I did not want to travel. Catch the pup. Back down the trail I went. I tried to reason with him to come to me. He was not having it! Running wild was much more exciting than coming to a non-dog lover who was going to take away his freedom. His newfound freedom was costly, though. It led him down an embankment entangled in pricker bushes and eventually plopped him into the murky waters of an inlet that led into the ‘sea.’ Not only am I not a dog lover, but I also can’t stand getting muddy – especially from a wet, smelly, dirty dog. (I know. Please don’t hate me.) As I stared at his predicament, I knew I was going to have to sacrifice my feelings about dogs, being clean, and my uninterrupted walk to rescue this puppy. He’d gotten himself so far in that no way out existed except to be saved. 8
o matter how entangled or murky your life has become. Will you be like the muddy puppy? Down the embankment entangled in pricker bushes I went, struggling to make it to the edge of the water. To complete the rescue, like it or not, I had to trek into the murky water and pick him up. Holding him tight, I battled my way back up the pricker bush embankment. We then embarked on a search for the owner. We wandered down the main road for a span when a little boy jumped out of a car, running as fast as he could toward us. His eyes filled with tears and joy exuded from his face as he was reunited with his muddy puppy. He hugged him tight, not caring at one bit how wet, smelly, and muddy his puppy was. As I saw the joy on the boy’s face, I sensed the Lord speak to my spirit, “This is a picture of what Jesus has done for humanity.” Jesus sacrificed himself for us when He died on the cross. He died for those who think running untethered in sin is the greatest thing. He died for those who have headed over the embankment, becoming entangled in the pricker bushes and ending up in the depths of the muddy water with no way out. Only one way out of sin exists. It is to be rescued by the Savior. Unlike me, Jesus willingly comes to the rescue not begrudging the pricker bushes and the dirt from our sinful filth. He is also like the little boy, happy to be reunited with his puppy. It doesn’t matter how dirty and wet He has to get. Jesus represents both me, the sacrificial rescuer, and the boy, the happy owner being reunited with what was lost to him. If you find yourself today like our muddy puppy, separated from your owner (Savior) because of your sin, Jesus is ready to rescue you and wants to welcome you back into His loving arms. No matter how entangled or murky your life has become. Will you be like the muddy puppy? Will you willingly accept the arms of the One who loves you and who, more than anything else, wants to be reunited with you?
GRACIA DEL EVANGELIO MUDDY PUPPY “CACHORRO FANGOSO” P O R R E V. L I S A M O R R I S O N
alí a caminar por un parque público que serpenteaba a lo largo del borde de lo que se llama Billington Sea. No estoy segura de por qué se llama mar, ya que en realidad es un estanque. Cuando el sendero se desvió de la carretera principal hacia el bosque, me encontré con un cachorro corriendo salvajemente. Se estaba divirtiendo mucho sin estar atado, corriendo tan rápido como sus pequeñas piernas podían llevarlo. Estaba preocupado porque no vi a su dueño, el bosque era espeso donde estábamos y estábamos fuera de los caminos trillados. Su dueño nunca sabría dónde estaba. Al no ser una amante de los perros (no me odies), me encontré en un dilema. ¿Debería ir tras el cachorro o tratar de encontrar al dueño y hacerle saber dónde estaba? Pensé que era mejor buscar al dueño ya que el cachorro nunca vendría a mí. Mientras me dirigía de regreso a la carretera principal, esperaba que el cachorro me siguiera, el dueño estaría en el comienzo del sendero, se reunirían felizmente y yo podría continuar mi caminata sin más interrupciones. ¡El cachorro no me siguió, y nadie, ni una sola persona, ni siquiera un automóvil, estaba en el comienzo del sendero! Sin un dueño desesperado a la vista, me di cuenta de que tenía que elegir el camino que no quería seguir. Atrapar al cachorro. Retrocedí por el sendero que fui. Traté de razonar con él para que viniera a mí. ¡No lo estaba teniendo! Correr salvajemente era mucho más emocionante que acudir a un amante de los perros que le iba a quitar la libertad.
Sin embargo, su nueva libertad fue costosa. Lo llevó por un terraplén enredado en arbustos espinosos y finalmente lo dejó caer en las turbias aguas de una ensenada que conducía al ``mar ‘’. No solo no soy un amante de los perros, sino que tampoco soporto ensuciarme, especialmente por un perro mojado, maloliente y sucio. (Lo sé. Por favor, no me odies). Mientras miraba su situación, supe que iba a tener que sacrificar mis sentimientos sobre los perros, estar limpio y mi caminata ininterrumpida para rescatar a este cachorro. Había llegado tan lejos que no existía otra salida que la de ser salvo. Bajé por la pendiente enredada en arbustos espinosos, luchando por llegar al borde del agua. Para completar el rescate, me guste o no, tuve que caminar hacia el agua turbia y recogerlo. Sosteniéndolo fuerte, luché por mi camino de regreso por la pendiente de arbustos espinosos. Luego nos embarcamos en la búsqueda del propietario. Caminamos por la carretera principal durante un lapso cuando un niño saltó de un automóvil, corriendo tan rápido como pudo hacia nosotros. Sus ojos se llenaron de lágrimas y la alegría brotaba de su rostro cuando se reunió con su cachorro embarrado. Lo abrazó con fuerza, sin importarle en lo más mínimo lo húmedo, maloliente y embarrado que estaba su cachorro. Cuando vi el gozo en el rostro del niño, sentí que el Señor le hablaba a mi espíritu: “Esta es una imagen de lo que Jesús ha hecho por la humanidad”. Jesús se sacrificó por nosotros cuando murió en la cruz. Murió por aquellos que
piensan que correr sin ataduras en el pecado es lo más grande. Murió por los que se adentrado en la pendiente, se enredaron en los arbustos espinosos y terminaron en las profundidades del agua fangosa sin salida. Solo existe una salida del pecado. Debe ser rescatado por el Salvador. A diferencia de mí, Jesús viene al rescate de buena gana sin quejarse de los arbustos espinosos y lo sucio de nuestra inmundicia pecaminosa. También es como el niño, feliz de reencontrarse con su cachorro. No importa cuán sucio y mojado tenga que ponerse. Jesús representa ambos, tanto a mí, el rescatador sacrificial, como al niño, el feliz dueño que se reúne con lo que había perdido.
o importa cuán enredada o turbia se haya vuelto tu vida. ¿Serás como el cachorro embarrado? Si te encuentras hoy como nuestro cachorro embarrado, separado de tu dueño (Salvador) debido a tu pecado, Jesús está listo para rescatarte y quiere darte la bienvenida de nuevo a Sus brazos amorosos. No importa cuán enredada o turbia se haya vuelto tu vida. ¿Serás como el cachorro embarrado? ¿Aceptarás de buena gana los brazos de Aquel que te ama y que, más que nada, quiere reunirse contigo?
Writings from the Global Office “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)
Empowering Lives with Purpose I SURRENDER
e are quickly approaching the holiday hustle and bustle. Many are geared up for this Christmas season, anticipating what they might receive from their “special someone.” The thoughts dance through our minds as we dream about that special gift from a loved one or about giving something unique to make someone else happy. However, I highly doubt that very many of us are thinking about the greatest gift we can give to our Lord - A SURRENDERED HEART. Surrender to God. It may be a term we have heard others say, but what does it mean? When we hear the word surrender, it is not usually associated with positive actions. Many may think it means they have to give up something they feel belongs to them. If we surrender to God, what are we giving up? First, we must understand that God doesn’t force us to give up anything. He always gives us a choice. Yet almost instantly, when people hear the word surrender, they begin to think about what they will need to give up, and they quickly become fearful of what they will lose. The acronym FEAR means “False Evidence Appearing Real.” But what we don’t realize is those things we often fear losing - earthly riches or the lifestyle we have become accustomed to – are shallow and meaningless without God. Miriam-Webster’s definition of surrender means to yield; to give oneself up to the power of another. Let’s look at this from a godly perspective. When we surrender to God, we are acknowledging His Almighty power in and over our lives and whatever we own belongs to Him first. He is the One who created us. (Jeremiah 1:5) We are a good thing because God said He saw all that He made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31) Everything God has given to us – our property, our belongings, our life - was given to us to be responsible over. By surrendering to God, we admit His ultimate control over everything, including our belongings and our circumstances. Surrender is such a powerful word because it is an action that can change the direction of our lives for the better. Sometimes we evade being captured by the God who created us because doing so would mean
surrendering areas of our lives that we’d like to continue controlling. Surrendering to God allows us to release whatever has been holding us back from God’s best in our lives. The first step can be the hardest because it goes against the grain of our stubborn hearts. It’s letting go of what can potentially harm us and seeking His Word for answers. As for me, I had to confess to God that sin controlled me and that I needed a Savior. I no longer wanted to continue my path of wrong, painful choices. So, by faith, I needed to embrace my Savior and receive His eternal, loving grace, which enabled me to surrender in the first place. It wasn’t an easy surrender for me; it took years of pain and misery to realize that the greatest advocate (1 John 2:1) and friend I will ever have is Jesus. (John 15:15) The deepest love of your lifetime and most powerful help you will ever rely on will come from the Lord, and He will show up in many ways on your journey through life. It takes strength, wisdom, and trust to surrender control of our lives to the Lord, the Creator who is our complete source of strength and wisdom and power. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is certainly worth it. How many of us are willing to take up our crosses and follow Jesus in this life? You may say, “Yes, I am” right away, but be ready, because following Jesus requires action and a heart change. You must take that first step of total surrender and not look back. Total surrender to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ is the most important decision any person can make, and it starts with our full surrender of everything to Him. This season, give the BEST gift of all – to yourself, to God, and to those around you – a heart surrendered to our newborn King, Emmanuel, the Lord of lords, and Prince of Peace!
Kimberly A. Hobbs Founder and Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Ephesians 3:20
Biblical Profiles SOLOMON
hen you think of Solomon, the thoughts that likely come to your mind are wealth, wisdom, and women! And when we think of those things, it is not a far leap to imagine fulfillment and joy. But an examination of Solomon’s life teaches us that fulfillment and joy only come from a life lived in obedience to God. Solomon was born under unusual circumstances. King David had an affair with Bathsheba, which led to an unwanted pregnancy. David, attempting to hide the affair, essentially ordered the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. And then the couple’s firstborn son died. David lovingly comforted Bathsheba in her grief, culminating in the conception of Solomon. From the beginning of Solomon’s life, scripture records, “The Lord loved him.” (2 Samuel 12:24 NIV) Just as his birth was unusual, so was Solomon’s childhood. His father lived a life of military battles and complicated relationships, leading to confusing and intertwined branches in their family tree. Despite one of his half brothers’ attempt to claim the throne as King David was dying, Solomon became the third king of Israel per David’s wishes and at the specific request of his mother. King David’s final words to his son were, “Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations.” (1 Kings 2:3 NIV) Early in his reign, King Solomon showed his love for the Lord. God’s response was to invite Solomon to ask for 14
whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly replied, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry on my duties…give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:7,9 NIV) This pleased the Lord, who responded, “’Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth…nor for the death of your enemies…I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you…both wealth and honor...And if you walk in obedience to me… I will give you a long life.’” (1 Kings 3:11-15 NIV) Immediately, the whole world began to recognize Solomon’s wisdom, and his wealth grew as the Lord blessed him. Solomon built the majestic Temple in honor and response to the Lord, consecrating it and dedicating it to Him. The Lord then appeared to Solomon a second time, reminding him of his duty to continue to follow Him, to “walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness.” (1 Kings 9:4 NIV) As the years went by, Solomon became “greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.” (1 Kings 10:23 NIV) But he also became known for harshly treating the people – taxing them excessively and overworking them. And he used the holy institute of marriage many times over to seal foreign agreements. While his family grew, his multiple wives brought the worship and idolatry of other gods into his home, turning his attention away from the one true Lord who had given him
everything. And “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord.” (1 Kings 11:9 NIV) We don’t know much about Solomon’s final years, though he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes late in his life, lamenting the meaninglessness of life without God. The man who had it all – wealth, wisdom, power, fame, wives, children, even a calling from God – reflected on it all with negativity and the realization that he had forgotten the glory of God. And in that reflection, he offered a warning to us to hold close to God no matter what we have or don’t have, for He is the beginning and the end of a meaningful life.
ut if we take one thing away from Solomon’s life, let us recognize that without God in our daily life, nothing else will ever be meaningful.
We all walk through ups and downs in our lives. We all pray for blessings of provision, wisdom, guidance, and health. And God, who holds all things in His hands, can shower us with more than we can ask or imagine in the blink of an eye. But if we take one thing away from Solomon’s life, let us recognize that without God in our daily life, nothing else will ever be meaningful. Without God, there is no joy or peace. Determine today to walk with God every day for the rest of your life. Pursue Him, and enjoy the fullness of all things as you abide in His presence!
WWL LOVE NOTES Although I have been a part of many amazing sisterhoods in my life, WWL has given me the opportunity to fully use my spiritual gifts in ways I never dreamed imaginable. Prior to stepping into a leadership position in Women World Leaders, I was walking through my life with faith, but not fully trusting God to direct my steps. When I stepped out in obedience to write in our book, Courageous Steps of Faith, the mission to spread the Gospel to the nations took root in my heart, and I knew I was right where I was meant to be! I am humbled and blessed to be a part of a group of extraordinary Women Warriors who are changing the world by encouraging and inspiring others to do the very same! Thank you, WWL, for inspiring me to walk in my God-given purpose!
Julie Jenkins is the Teaching and Curriculum Leader for Women World Leaders and the Chief Editor for Voice of Truth. You can hear Julie’s biblical teaching on the Women World Leaders’ Podcast every Wednesday and read her published work in Courageous Steps of Faith, available at womenworldleaders.com. Julie is the co-CEO of World Publishing and Productions and can be reached at julie@ womenworldleaders.com
Teaching and Curriculum Leader email@example.com
CHANGE YOUR STORY WITH KIRSTIN LEIGH FIGHTING fear WITH FAITH BY KIRSTIN LEIGH For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)
’ve always had big dreams. I got a job when I was twelve, saved almost every penny I made, and moved to New York City when I was seventeen. I was ready to conquer the world! I had faith that could move mountains. What I didn’t realize was that my faith was tainted with fear. A lot of it. Looking back, fear was making my decisions. It affected the jobs I took, the guys I dated, the dreams I didn’t pursue… Fear never stays in one place. It shows up in every area of our life—whether we realize it or not. It causes us to accept unacceptable behaviors, mindsets, and lifestyles. It leads us to make decisions that we would not make with a clear mind. Fear is suffocating. It keeps us stuck—locked in addictions, unhealthy relationships, and faulty mindsets. Fear says, “This is just the way it will always be. You can’t live without this. Why bother? You will never get this job. No one will believe you. No one will ever love you.” Fear is a liar, and its goal is to paralyze you. Faith’s purpose is to free you. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) According to the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, only 91.4% of the things we fear/worry about ever come true.1 However, fear can make us physically sick, cause anxiety, stress, and wreak havoc on our heart, mind, and soul. Countless studies, including one by the American Medical Association, found that stress is a factor in 75% of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today.2 So, where does stress come from? Fear!
ear is suffocating. It keeps us stuck—locked in addictions, unhealthy relationships, and faulty mindsets.
A practical tool to overcoming fears is understanding where they are coming from. Are they stemming from a childhood memory? Past experiences? Health conditions? Current situations? Actions? I’ve had fears based on all of the above (as I’m guessing most of you have). I had to “deal to heal.” I had to trust God. I had to change my behavior. For example, I feared “getting caught.” Getting caught drinking, doing something I shouldn’t at work, telling a half-truth—better known as a lie. This fear was caused by my actions. 16
Faith and fear both carry energy. BOTH OF THEM CHANGE YOUR STORY.
If your fears are based on things you know (or at least suspect!) you are doing wrong, go to God and ask Him to lead you through the process to change those things. If your fears are out of your control, ask God to give you the faith you need to believe for better things. Refuse to watch programs and listen to people who feed into your fear. Stir up your faith by listening to stories about people being healed from diseases, being saved from accidents, and being set free from addictions. Listen to positive music. Spend time with people who build you up! And remember, faith comes from hearing the Word of God. (See Romans 10:17) God knows what fear will do to us, that’s why the Bible says, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT) Having mountain-moving faith is not something most of us were born with. But we can all develop it. Having faith isn’t a guarantee that our situation will end up as we wish. But worrying about it is guaranteed to make it worse. Faith gives it a chance. Faith changes the atmosphere. It changes you. Fear puts negative energy into you and your situation. Faith fuels your heart, mind, body, and soul with positive energy. Faith and fear both carry energy. Both of them Change Your Story. Which one will you choose? 1 Lucas S. Lafreniere and Michelle G. Newman, “ Exposing Worry’s Deceit,” (Elsevier, 2020), Volume 51, Issue 3 2 Dr. Caroline Leaf, “Switch on Your Brain” (Baker Books; Reprint Edition, 2015), p.37
After running away from her dreams and battling addictions for over a decade, Kirstin Leigh is now a best-selling author, speaker, actress, and the founder of The Change Your Story Workshop. She is passionate about empowering others to break free from strongholds and discover the masterpiece that lives within. To find out more about Kirstin or to purchase her books, you can visit: www. Kirstinleigh.com For information or to enroll in The Change Your Story Workshop: www.thechangeyourstoryworkshop.com
COLLEGE COURAGE BY SARAH JENKINS To The Woman Reading This, This is a letter to you. You - the strong and confident yet quietly afraid young person ready for the next stage of your life. You've gone through so much recently; this you know to be true. You are in what so many call the best four years of your life, but lately, it has looked much hazier than desired. While you've navigated abounding victories throughout your time in college, you have also been surrounded by a dark cloud of confusion. Through each win and each loss, you have been left on the sidelines evaluating the lessons taught to you every step of the way. And you know what it's time to recognize? That it's absolutely exhausting. These four years characterize themselves as some of the most vibrant and fluid of your life, but this doesn't mean that it's easy. You celebrate and mourn each respective moment because every one is brand new. It's hard. You are persistent and more than capable of fighting each battle, but you must give yourself the grace to know that it's tiring too. In the moments where you feel overwhelmed and hear the echoes of anxiety closing in, remember this - you were never meant to fight alone. Your Heavenly Father declares, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NIV)
He sees you in your darkest hour and declares that you are loved and worthy of love. He allows you to ponder your future, but He gives you the answer each time - that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. I know you are strong. YOU know you are strong. But it's okay not to be, because He's got you. He's on the battlefield, ready to fight for you. These years are hard; no one could have ever prepared you for them. But you can find strength in Him. You can find answers in Him. Even on the most difficult days, you can find joy in Him. The world is full of unknowns, and you are so tired, but that's okay. Lay your burdens on the one who loves you most - He's the one that will never let you down. The world is yours, but give yourself a break. He's got you. With love, The Stronger You Sarah is a senior at Florida State University studying Political Science and Public Relations. She has a distinct love and passion for people, often translated through the art of writing. Sarah has committed her future to the power of communicating well in the sphere of politics, while praising the God who get will her there!
HAND TO HEART SHAKEN & VULNERABLE B Y D I A N E C H E V E L D AY O F F Photo of Jamie Cheveldayoff
e all go through challenging times, and often those challenges affect not just us but people near to us. Therefore, it is important to intentionally look beyond ourselves and recognize that the journey might also be rough for those walking with us. I can personally attest to this being the case when financial roles shift in a marriage. Another life adjustment may be a shift in caregiving, for example, when a spouse or child must nurse their loved one through a difficult illness. Even happy occasions such as a marriage or the birth of a child or grandchild can cause adjustments, leading to stress. Whatever the challenge, both individuals must recognize the difficult adjustment facing the other. While one person may be letting go, another may be stepping up. Together we need to trust each other and the process. Fear can grip us when we are in the position of letting go. We may fear our loss of control and even face feelings of inadequacy or relevance. And the individual stepping into new responsibilities may fear the unknown and face a crisis of self-confidence. These deep feelings of vulnerability can shake both individuals to the core, but we must be careful to make sure that they don’t push us apart from our loved one. Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced a significant role change in her lifetime. From giving birth to and raising Jesus, nurturing Him into His role in ministry, and then to that moment at the foot of the cross when she had to let go. Feelings she could never have imagined must have welled up inside of her and been impossible to even express. A vulnerable mother, now shaken to her core, looking upon her son, yet seeing her Savior, too.
ear can grip us when we are in the position of letting go.
Mary knew from the beginning that she had found favor with God (Luke 1:30), but did she really understand and know how her life would change? Just as with Mary, our process of adjustment to life’s circumstances doesn’t happen overnight. We may struggle, but comfort comes from reading God’s Word daily and listening to the Holy Spirit. Daily is a keyword to remember. If you are like me, you’ll need to read it a few times before you can absorb it and put it to action. It’s so important to allow the Holy Spirit to speak and guide us while also keeping us in unity. We need His direction at every turn, not just occasionally. We NEED to draw closer to Him daily so we CAN hear Him. Our roles in life will inevitably change. In all situations, the change will be less stressful for all if we are sensitive and loving. Although we may feel out of control, ultimately, we need faith in the One who IS in control. As the Bible in Hebrews 11:1 so eloquently clarifies the definition of faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV) Even more simply put…Faith is the confidence that something we want is going to happen plus it gives us the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Is this kind of faith easy to accomplish? No! Even when we know all the right things to say and do, it’s very hard to put faith into action when going through the journey. God IS in control; we just need to allow Him to direct us on the right road ahead. As we navigate a new road, and there will be many, we must choose to have faith in the Word of God and His promises. Remember, faith is having confidence in something you cannot see. Let’s choose to have faith in God and also trust the intentions of others He has placed around us. Let’s claim His promises boldly and ask for more than we can ever imagine in our lives. Believe that even when we can’t see His Hand, we must choose to trust His Heart. 19
Dim Glass Gospel Glimpses HOLDING YOUR HAND BY RACHEL DUBE
y first year of teaching was hard. Very hard. There were many mornings, lunch breaks, and afternoons when the classroom was empty that I sat at my desk and just cried, weaving sobbing prayers of desperation into the mixture of fear, dread, and scrounging for strategy. I had always believed I had been called to this. I had thought I was equipped for this. But there I was, feeling overwhelmed, incompetent, and afraid. One early morning before school, God brought me in His Word to Exodus 14. His living and active Word, discerning every one of my hidden thoughts and intentions, pierced through the thick fog of fear and spoke with His powerful peace straight to my heart. Moses said this to the Israelites, but God meant it in that moment for me. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’” (Exodus 14:13,14 ESV) “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV) Here is what the Lord spoke to me. This is His truth for you, as well, for whatever fight, fear, or calling you find yourself in today: The Lord, seeing everything from heaven, said to His daughter, “I am going to bring you to a place of trouble. I am going to lead you into a place where you will feel alone. I will send you heartache and difficulty. You will be 20
in a place where you do not feel competent. You will feel like an alien in a foreign land. I will do all this and yet I will triumph through you. In your weakness, I will prove My strength because I will let you survive each day. You will not always be the best - you will struggle greatly. Your strength will be almost gone. But I will bring you through and I will teach you what to say. When you trust Me and call on My name, I will bring you success, though it may not look exactly like what you were hoping for. I will never leave your side. When you stand in front to face your fear and you feel overwhelmed with your inability, I will be standing up there with you, holding your hand, pushing you on. You have no reason to be afraid. I will be sitting in the back of the room watching you, smiling, and encouraging you. Do not forget that I am there. Do not forget that I am rejoicing over you. At times, I will allow people to be with you that will make you feel unable and foolish. Remember that none of this is for them. I am your audience. I am your God. I am your friend, there with you. I am your ability and your strength. More than that, I am your Savior, your salvation. Do not forget for a second that this is not your home. Your time in this desert will be only but a breeze blowing once through the trees and then it will be gone. I have saved you and I direct your paths. Do not let your eyes deceive you. This world is not what you were meant to make your goal. Do not forget that your home is Heaven. Store up for yourself treasures there. If you press on with all your might, let it be for My kingdom, for the sake of My glory. You will be weak and you will fail many times. And I will get the glory in your failures and your successes, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
“You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off.” (Psalm 139:2 NKJV)
Dear Sister, People don’t get to give you value or make you valuable. Other people don’t get to define your “what’s next” in life, and other people don’t get to make you feel like your creativity, innovativeness, wittiness, humor, empathy, and compassion do not matter. God made you the way that you are on purpose and with a purpose. We are reminded by the psalmist, “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off.” (Psalm 139:2 NKJV) The significance of this text is that because God knows you, validates, affirms you, and is the creator of all that you are, you don’t need others to establish you. Indeed it is nice to have those you love to support and appreciate you; however, when this degree of support and affirmation does not show up, you must remember where your value lies. You must remember that you are who you are supposed to be without coincidence and apology. Stop waiting for others to get you. Stop waiting for the world to co-sign your identity and purpose. Stop discrediting yourself, and know that you are worth knowing, loving, and becoming. Love You, Dr. Jia
FAITH AND FAMILY SEASONS OF TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS BY DONNA WHARTENBY
n America, November and December represent a season of holiday traditions and celebrations. One of these special celebrations is Thanksgiving, a season of remembering God’s faithful provisions and protection, and giving thanks for our nation. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims, the early settlers who came to America, who were thankful to God for allowing them to survive the difficult trek to the “new world,” for sustaining them through the long, harsh winters, and for the Native Indians who befriended and taught them about the different food sources, seasons of planting and harvesting, and new survival skills. They were thankful for God’s blessings of provisions and protection. 22
Today, America continues to celebrate this time of thanksgiving with a cornucopia of traditional foods such as roasted turkey, harvest vegetables, savory dishes, and sweet treats of pumpkin, apple, and mincemeat pies. We also give thanks for God’s blessings throughout the year of family, friendships, health, food, protection, His love, and so much more. Christmastime is a season of celebrating “joy to the world” and the “spirit” of Christmas, a time of good will to men, hope in Jesus’ birth, caring, sharing, and good cheer. It is a time of traditions: families trimming their trees with beautiful decorations and glowing lights, baking od wants our cookies, wrapping gifts, and sending cards of good will. seasons to be It is a time to share grateful celebrations when family centered on Him and and friends gather, and a time for charity and giving. His blessings with It’s the time of remembering the Bethlehem manger thanksgiving and joy. story of Jesus’ birth, and of displaying the Nativity Creche bedecked with an angel, shepherds, sheep, and stall animals. It’s a time when the Christmas story is read from the Bible in Luke and Matthew to children and grandchildren, and when church performances enact the biblical characters of Christmas. It is a time we remember and are thankful for God’s blessings and love for us.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV) teaches us that “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens,” a time to plant and harvest, to cry and laugh, to scatter and gather, to search and quit searching, to keep and throw away, a time to love, and a time for peace. This Ecclesiastes poem reminds us there is a time for everything in life, for celebration, traditions and thanksgiving. God wants us to spend time with Him, to give thanks to Him, to remember the things He has done for us, and to love Him. For this purpose, in the Ten Commandments, God instructs us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8 ESV) It’s a time to remember His blessings, provisions, and protection. In Leviticus 23, God also commanded the Israelites to annually set appointed times aside to remember and give thanks to Him. These feasts are to bring remembrance of God’s promises and provisions for His people in ancient times and today. Passover is a feast to commemorate God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery through ritual prayer and thanksgiving. Easter is a time when Christians are reminded of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection as the Son of God. The Feast of Weeks or Harvest, is set aside for giving thanks to God for His harvest blessings and a time to rest from hard work and service. Pentecost, or Shavuot, which is recognized 50 days after Passover, celebrates the giving of the New Covenant through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him. The fall Feast of Trumpets, known as Rosh Hashanah with the blowing of the rams’ horns, or shofars, starts the Jewish New Year. Ten days later, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a time of fasting, repentance, and getting right with God. The Feast of Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing in God’s provisions, protection, and promises. God wants our seasons to be centered on Him and His blessings with thanksgiving and joy. Each is to be a time to center our thoughts not on holiday festivities, but to recognize that God is the center of these celebrations and seasons of joy. He loves us so much that “He gave His only Son” for us. (John 3:16 NKJV) God wants us to experience joy and the Spirit of Christ, not just on December 25th, but in our daily lives with Him. Will you join me this holiday season, however you celebrate, focused on the joy and Spirit of Christ, centered on God’s blessings, provisions, promises, and love? “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NKJV) May you and yours have a blessed holiday season. 23
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FOLLOWING THE SON HILLS AND VALLEYS PHOTO AND WRITING BY MICHELE HUGHES
H it caused you to be physically sick? Have you ever
ave you ever experienced something so tragic that
felt alone, like no one cared? I have. Maybe you are experiencing something like this right now. If you haven’t, you probably will before you die. We cannot escape trials and hardships otherwise known as those valley experiences. But, what do we do while we are there? Many of us are familiar with the 23rd Psalm, but when was the last time you really stopped to read each and every word? Do you believe what it says? In a previous article, I referenced love letters from God, also known as His Word in the Bible. He loves us and knows all too well what it feels like to experience the deepest valley. He knew we would need to hold on to this Psalm. Let’s read it together. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
encourage you to read this often and slowly. Believe what He says. If you don’t believe it, ask God to help you with your unbelief. We all experience ups and downs also known as the hills and valleys of life. But God’s Word, the voice of truth, encourages me. I never go through them alone. He has already gone before me and walks beside me. We cannot escape Him even if we wanted. Psalm 24:1 NIV says, The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. When traveling to Ohio to visit family, I look forward to a long hike with this spectacular hilltop view. It feels like I’m standing in the middle of God’s country! God’s love and presence has no boundaries. I don’t know about you, but that gives me peace. He tells us in John 14:27 NIV, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. Isaiah 52:7 NIV reads, How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
~Psalm 23 NIV Maybe this was the first time you read this scripture or maybe something new caught your attention. Let me 25
SET FREE Before I commenced this painting, I prayed for a loved one who was in a coma. I prayed that he would be set free from his challenging crippling pain and be free to leave his cage of bondage so that he could rejoice and be healed to sing his song. The colors exploded on the canvas, and I felt I was painting heaven’s majestic landscape. The cage was represented by the prison of crippling pain that my loved one was experiencing. The door was flung open and the bird was released, and there was freedom from this bondage of pain. The glory of God came upon him as he accepted Jesus’ hand of freedom. My loved one soon departed from this world and was set free to sing his song with the Father’s loving embrace. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free." John 8:36 NIV
MUSINGS ON THE BOOK OF JOHN CREATOR REVEALED - JOHN 2:1-11 (NIV) BY CONNIE HECKER On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. There are three events shared in this chapter. John makes it clear that the water to wine is the first of many signs. Noteworthy to me is how Jesus goes about meeting a need. He does it because His mother asked him to fix it, not because it was His "hour." What does that mean? His time for the spotlight? To draw attention to Himself and His mission? He could have. It’s a great opportunity with many folks gathered. But Jesus does His work quietly and efficiently without attracting attention to Himself and without taking it away from the newly married couple. So, who knew? His mom, the servants who drew the water, and the party planner (steward or head waiter in charge). The groom gets the compliment, and we don't know if he gets the full story. And His several new followers who were with Him. Note Jesus' relationship with His mom. She knows what He can do, and she knows who He is in a way others do not, for she knows His origins. She may not understand, but she has unique faith in Him. Jesus calls her "woman," not mother. Her place is as other women, yet she knows Him; what He can do, and she knows His heart and His character. She is bold to ask for His intervention in what would be humiliating for a bridegroom.
• Am I bold enough to ask Jesus to intervene for another's sake? • Do I trust Him enough to ask? • Am I convinced He can and would? • Do I grasp what is happening? • Did Mary believe He would create for them? Jesus takes water, and instantly it becomes something of great value, something that should take years to mature. He shows Himself to those few people, He shows the basic truth about who He is. Creator God. It’s a good thing for the new followers that they were seated at tables or reclined there. It would've knocked me over. Take it in. Creator of age and great quality, that's who I follow, that is who I learn from. That is who I live for. Yes, I can do this day and the next when this is the One who is leading me. Connie Hecker, MFA, is a Scenic Designer currently teaching at Liberty University. She is mom, stepmom, and grandmother to 13. Her “first career” was in interior and industrial design. Her “second” was as Manager of Operations and Maneuvers (note initials) in her extended family. Her "third" is as a professor, and she looks forward to what God has in store as her “fourth” someday. 27
LEAVING A GODLY LEGACY ROLE MODELING THE CHARACTER OF JESUS B Y K AT H L E E N B A R R E T T
t this time of year, autumn leaves have welcomed the much too rapid succession of the colorful season of holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. Although we in the sunny south don’t get the treat of color-changing foliage, there is a pleasant change in the air that signals the beginning of the major holidays. Throw in some family birthdays, a winter break, maybe a wedding anniversary or two (we celebrate our married children’s anniversaries in December and January), and what do we have? We have traditions and celebrations of joyful remembrances that are vital to family members for generations to come. And there is just something about the aroma of warm spices and the sound of jingle bells around town that brings out the best in people. “Yes,” you might say, “but we also have hectic timelines to meet, gifts to purchase, missing family members, and strained relationships during the holidays, which brings out the monster in some folks.” So true. And that is an even greater reason to lean into what I am about to suggest.
I would ask you to think about those in-between times during the year - when cooking a turkey, decking the halls, and welcoming a new year are not the focus. More important than leaving your loved ones with memorable traditions and warm and fuzzy memories, have you thought about the “legacy” you will leave them? What will your loved ones recall about you and treasure when your presence is absent? Legacy. The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines “legacy” as a “gift by will, especially of money or other personal property.” You may not be able to leave your family substantial wealth, treasured family heirlooms, or personal property, but you can leave a legacy of immensely greater value - the kind that reflects the enduring characteristics of someone who has walked, talked, and lived their life in Christ Jesus. 28
For a long time, my life in Christ Jesus, I confess, did not reflect godly character. In fact, my fits of anger, moodiness, sullenness, and self-isolation were more reflective of a demanding toddler. Now, that behavior might be semi-cute on a two-year-old and tolerable for a time, but on a grown adult, it is ugly as sin. In fact, it is sin. Oh yes, I was saved, but I didn’t get the memo that my character could only be cleaned up by applying the Word of God to my life - my thoughts, my tongue, my attitude – all of my life. This could only happen by taking scriptural principles to heart and making them Godhonoring habits. Until I realized that my character was not aligning with the qualities Jesus possessed, I knew that my faith legacy would in no way prove that I was a blood-bought child of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Until I began using Galatians 5:22 as a self-checklist of improvement, the fruit of my spirit was rotten and ugly. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22 NIV)
ntil I realized that my character was not aligning with the qualities Jesus possessed, I knew that my faith legacy would in no way prove that I was a blood-bought child of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Psalm 78:4, We will not hide them from their children but tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (ESV) The apostle Paul, having come to faith in Jesus as well as having gleaned the qualities of his character, declared to the Church of Philippi and to the Christ-follower of today: Philippians 4:9, Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice, and the God of peace will be with you. (NIV) In my seven-plus decades of life on planet earth, I have learned a few valuable lessons. In this column, “Leaving a Godly Legacy,” I hope to share those lessons in a series of monthly articles on topics from strength in adversity, to adding value to the lives of others, to keeping a tidy and happy house, and more. And it all begins with modeling the exemplary character of Jesus! Kathleen Barrett is an Indie published author and blogger on the Treasure Coast of Florida. She has written three books and numerous articles in a variety of publications. She serves on the Communication Team of her church’s Forever Young group. Tending a modest garden and preparing Sunday afternoon feasts for her multi-cultural family brings her joy. Visit her website, https://kathybarrettwrites.com Or contact her by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether your life will be remembered by others as generous and joyful, solid, and soundly anchored in Christ, or lackluster and troubled with a floundering faith, you will leave a legacy of some kind. The choice is yours! Proverbs 13:22, A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. (NIV) To leave a biblical legacy also means to tell your children and others about the greatness of God and His enduring truths. In the Old Testament, the great saints of God did not hide stories but declared them.
BESI DE IN TH EA R
ATERS W L US CHR I S L T I JES D R ST UR LO BY RUSANNE JOURDAN In Your Arms, Lord The only place I am truly safe Your Arms, with scars in the palm of Your Hands from the nails that pierced them, held You on that Cross where You gave Your life just for me Your Arms hold me, Lord Always, but especially tight When I feel alone When I feel confused When I am hurting from trouble and tribulation I continually face in this world Your Arms hold me, Lord As the thorn adorned crown rested upon Your Head Your Head on my shoulder Leaving marks from the dried blood that flowed from the thorns that pierced Your Holy Head Your Arms hold me, Lord And I hold onto You with all my might Your Arms hold me, Lord Each day and especially at night
Sometimes the days are easier with the busyness and sounds of the day It’s when the darkness comes and the moon suddenly appears in the night sky There is quietness, inwardness, introspectiveness Sleep, slumber and stillness call us to rest and recharge Come and hold me, Lord Wrap Your Arms around me Hold me close It’s only in Your Arms I want to be Rock your child to sleep, Lord You are my Rock upon which I stand But it’s in Your mighty Arms, Lord I find strength to go on I find the love to have for myself and for others and the security in this temporary world in which I now live In Your Arms, Lord I always desire to be!
he true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him." John 1:9-10 NIV
THREE STRANDS LEAVE YOUR BAGGAGE AT THE CURB BY CINDY SOUTHWORTH Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV) Today when we travel, airlines charge additional fees for our baggage – ranging from $30-200 depending on how many bags we carry. Checking in baggage is no longer free; it comes with a cost. We also bring baggage into relationships – and it also comes with a cost. The “baggage” is really the wounds we have suffered from the past. We bring the wounds of someone who betrayed us, the wounds of unresolved conflicts in us and with others, and the wounds of unforgiveness in our heart. We pay a price for these, and so do the people who live with us. We allow anger and frustration to mask our fear and despair. We let our woundedness isolate us not only from others, but from our authentic selves. When we journey through life with a lot of wounds, people only get a remnant of who we really are because we are trying to mask our hurt and pain. We are denying ourselves and others the opportunity to experience our fully developed self. Paul’s writing to the Ephesians was a mandate for all of us to “get rid of” all forms of malice because it hinders us from being the forgiving person God intended us to be. While getting rid of the bitterness, rage, and frustration associated with transgressions can be immediate, most often it is a process. We have to make a choice to forgive so our wounds can begin to heal. 32
Jesus talked to Peter about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV) where he states, “Then Peter came up and said to him (Jesus), ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Jesus was telling us always to forgive because having a forgiving heart keeps our heart from getting bitter. Forgiveness is a conscious choice – an action we make - that helps us discard those negative thoughts that lead to angry feelings. As we choose to forgive, our wounds can begin to heal. Sometimes we feel the healing immediately. Other times it is a process. If we do the work, the wounds turn into scars. The scar is there to remind us that next time we will make a different choice: we will be wiser about our relationships, set better boundaries, be kinder to ourselves, and eventually choose not to enter that destructive zone that brings dysfunction into our lives. But what if I let go of the pain and all I have left is emptiness? That emptiness can be filled with joy, peace, and love. Those are God’s healing agents that turn wounds into scars. You can get joy, peace, and love by receiving it from the God who loves you, from exercising self-care, and by building relationships with others who will love you through the process. Stop focusing on the wounds of the past. Release that pain to the God who loves you, and you will be a better person who impacts others more positively. Those wounds will begin to heal, and your baggage will be left at the curb. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13, NIV) Cindy Jacob Southworth has been in marriage ministry with her husband David for 16 years, and also leads women’s healing workshops. A follower of Jesus, her personal journey of healing has made her passionate about helping others break free from strongholds. Cindy holds a master’s degree in counseling studies, is certified for life coaching. She is a contributing writer for the Voice of Truth, and serves on the Leadership Team for Women World Leaders. She and her husband are the founders of Breakwater Ministries in central Florida. They have nine grandchildren. www.breakwaterministries.com
A BEAUTIFUL MESS BY JESSICA PRUKNER
bout eight years ago I had it all planned out. After hours of research, visiting homeschool conventions, interviewing veteran parents, and reading lots of homeschool “how-to" books, I was convinced I had it all figured out. The entire elementary, middle, and high school education years of my kids’ lives had been planned on a few sheets of paper. I even felt like I had a great pathway to their college future if they wished to take that route. I was ready to take on the endeavor and commit the next decade and a half of my life to their educational needs.
As both relief and excitement kicked in, I placed my curriculum order. I was ready for not just the school year, but the journey of homeschooling. Or so I thought. You see, my very structured, plan-everything personality was satisfied, but in reality, I was so unprepared and clueless. Looking back, I laugh at that overzealous me. I have learned that things change. My kids and their needs have changed, our living location has changed, and most definitely, the world has changed. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said: “Change is the only constant.” In life there is one thing that is inevitable and that is change. I have come to accept that there is a need for grace in a world of change. My homeschooling plans and curriculums have changed at least a half dozen times over the years. Our family is now in a season where we have elected to place our kids in a three day a week homeschool co-op due to certain needs we saw developing in our children. This option wasn’t on the sheets of paper I had planned out all those years ago! The ability to change when we see fit for our family is a benefit of homeschooling. Since we have the freedom to oversee and pivot when needed, we have been able to make the best changes for each of our children and their learning needs. Education and learning are not a “one size fits all” experience. Each of my kids learn differently, face different social, mental, and health challenges, and need me to push past my learning agenda and adapt to change to best suit them. Sometimes this is on a weekly basis, sometimes monthly and or even yearly. As a mom, I have had to surrender my thoughts and plans to trust that my God knows best for my children. He fearfully and wonderfully created each of them and He gave them to me to be a good steward - to love, raise, and parent them. Thankfully, I do not raise our children alone; I have relied heavily on prayer and trusting God. Romans 8:28 in the NIV says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” When everything seems to be changing, overwhelming, and uncertain, I find a quiet place to sit and listen. God is always there, speaking and guiding; it’s up to us to include Him and listen. He knows what’s best for our children, and I can rest knowing that whatever curriculum I choose, whatever direction I take, God will work all things for good because He does have a wonderful purpose for each of their lives. So today, take a deep breath, find a quiet place, and be ok to make a change. Everything will be ok. You’ve got this because He’s got you.
EVER INTERCEDING PRAYER LIFE BY DIANA BROWN
ntercessory prayer is when we storm the Lord in the throne room of grace, seeking His intervention for a person or a situation. This type of prayer is not for a select group of “elite Christians,” rather, it is a call to all believers to pray, because our voice counts. If we are going to shine in this type of prayer, we must first recognize that we have an authority in the place of intercession that comes from Christ Himself.
The apostle Paul encourages us to intercede for Church members and ministers, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me (Paul), that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” (Ephesians 6:18-20 NIV)
Romans 8:33-34 (NIV) says, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Paul urges us “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV)
God gives us instructions to pray for others in the Bible. The apostle James tells us to “pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16 NIV)
As we develop an effective prayer life, it is important that we keep our relationship with God strong and uncluttered by sin and disobedience. We need always to come to the Lord with a contrite heart and begin our prayers with praise and confession. 35
EVER INTERCEDING CONT.
1 John 1:9 (NIV) says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
bled himself before God and confessed his sins. And that allowed him to come closer to God and keep growing and building his relationship with Him.
Maintaining our relationship with Him is an ongoing process. We can't simply pray once and expect to be done with it. Every day we need to go to God and ask Him to reveal anything that may be hindering our progress.
David is a great model for us to follow. If God was able to forgive him and build a special relationship with him, then He can do the same with us. If we are faithful, God will draw us close to Him. And He will answer our prayers.
Look at Psalm 139:23-24. It contains the words of David, a man after God's own heart, who had one of the best relationships with God in all the Bible.
Let us continuously be ever interceding for others through prayer. We at Women World Leaders look forward to hearing your God stories about what He does for others through your ever-interceding prayers.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (NIV) David overcame some horrible sins in his life to be close to God. He was a murderer and adulterer, yet he hum-
Lord, help me not to lean on my own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct my words and thoughts as I sit interceding for myself and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Let us continuously be ever interceding for others through prayer.
SIEMPRE INTERCEDIENDO VIDA DE ORACIÓN POR DIANA BROWN
a oración de intercesión es cuando asaltamos al Señor en el salón del trono de la gracia, buscando Su intervención para una persona o situación. Este tipo de oración no es para un grupo selecto de “cristianos de élite,” más bien, es un llamado a todos los creyentes a orar, porque nuestra voz cuenta. Si vamos a brillar en este tipo de oración, primero debemos reconocer que tenemos una autoridad en el lugar de la intercesión que viene de Cristo mismo. Romanos 8:33-34 (NVI) dice: “¿Quién acusará a los que Dios ha escogido? Es Dios quien justifica. ¿Quién es entonces el que condena? Nadie. Cristo Jesús, que murió, y más aún, que resucitó, está a la diestra de Dios y también intercede por nosotros.” Dios nos da instrucciones para orar por otros en la Biblia. El apóstol Santiago nos dice que “oremos los unos por los otros para que seáis sanos” (Santiago 5:16 NVI).
Mantener nuestra relación con Él es un proceso continuo. No podemos simplemente orar una vez y esperar haber terminado. Todos los días tenemos que ir a Dios y pedirle que nos revele cualquier cosa que pueda estar obstaculizando nuestro progreso. Mire el Salmo 139: 23-24. Contiene las palabras de David, un hombre conforme al corazón de Dios, que tuvo una de las mejores relaciones con Dios en toda la Biblia. “Examíname, oh Dios, y conoce mi corazón; Pruébame y conoce mis pensamientos ansiosos, mira si hay en mí camino ofensivo, y guíame por el camino eterno.” (NVI) David superó algunos pecados horribles en su vida para estar cerca de Dios. Fue asesino y adúltero, pero se humilló ante Dios y confesó sus pecados. Y eso le permitió acercarse más a Dios y seguir creciendo y construyendo su relación con Él. David es un gran modelo a seguir. Si Dios pudo perdonarlo y construir una relación especial con él, entonces Él puede hacer lo mismo con nosotros. Si somos fieles, Dios nos acercará a él. Y responderá a nuestras oraciones. El apóstol Pablo nos anima a interceder por los miembros y ministros de la Iglesia, “orando siempre con toda oración y súplica en el Espíritu, y velando por este fin con toda perseverancia y súplica por todos los santos, y por mí (Pablo), para que, cuando hable, Dios me dé las palabras para dar a conocer con valor el ministerio del evangelio, por el cual soy embajador en cadenas”. (Efesios 6: 18-20 NVI) Pablo nos insta "a que se hagan plegarias, oraciones, súplicas y acciones de gracias por todos, especialmente por los gobernantes y por todas las autoridades, para que tengamos paz y tranquilidad, y llevemos una vida piadosa y digna." (1 Timoteo 2: 1-2 NVI)
Estemos continuamente intercediendo por los demás a través de la oración. En Women World Leaders esperamos escuchar sus historias de Dios sobre lo que haces por los demás a través de tus oraciones de intercesión constante. Señor, ayúdame a no apoyarme en mi propio entendimiento, sino en todo te reconozco para que puedas dirigir mis palabras y pensamientos mientras me siento intercediendo por mí y por los demás. En el nombre de Jesús, Amén
A medida que desarrollamos una vida de oración eficaz, es importante que mantengamos nuestra relación con Dios fuerte y despejada por el pecado y la desobediencia. Siempre debemos acercarnos al Señor con un corazón arrepentido y comenzar nuestras oraciones con alabanza y confesión. 1 Juan 1: 9 (NVI) dice: "Si confesamos nuestros pecados, Dios, que es fiel y justo, nos los perdonará y nos limpiará de toda maldad.”
A PURPOSED CREATION WORSHIP – BECAUSE GOD IS! BY KERRI BRIDGES
t happens to all of us. Life circumstances. Things unexpected. Things that throw us for a loop. Things unforeseen that can change the fabric of our life. In the midst of it, we’re left wondering where God is. Can He hear us? Does He know? Does He see? Is He there? Is He moving heaven and earth to fight for us? To fix it? To change it? To solve it? To rescue us? Where is He? As I’m facing circumstances in my life right now, those thoughts plague me sometimes. It’s human nature. We’re unsure. We’re uncertain. We don’t know. We just don’t know. Life is tricky. Life is messy. Life is transient. Life is beautiful, ugly, hopeful, devastating, and a million other things. But God is steadfast. He is sure. He is abiding. He is constant. He is ardent. He is true. As sure as the sun rises and the moon waxes and wanes, God is. As certain as the tide surges and recedes, God is. As enduring as time, God is. So I will surrender my fears, release my concerns, and renounce my doubts. I will not be faint-hearted, I will not despair, and I will not be discouraged. I will raise my hands in submission, raise my voice in praise, and raise a banner in victory. I will worship Him with everything that is in me, because He fights for me. I will sing His praises because He has redeemed me. I will exalt Him because He is my hope. I will lift His name up to all the earth because He is worthy. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV) “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
A PHOTO COLUMN FROM
WAITING TO TAKE FLIGHT B Y J E S S I C A M O R N E A U LT
e can find ourselves seeking out change in our lives only to discover that God has other plans. This can be a confusing and trying period. Letting go of control and waiting to hear from the Lord is not easy when we are eager to take flight and are stuck in a holding pattern. It is puzzling when our ideas and dreams do not reach fruition. Know that God is listening and He does hear your prayers. Remember that our path was pre-determined by the Father long ago. You may find yourself at a fork in the road with a decision to make. Be open to God’s nudge that just might lead you to a place filled with purpose beyond your imagination. Trust in Him.
Jessica Morneault is a wife and mother using photography to bring awareness to ministries and highlighting women living with purpose. Jessica is also the photographer for Women World Leaders. www.roadmaptopurpose.org 39
ABORTION: THE UNPARDONABLE SIN? BY VICTORIA ROBINSON Over thirty-five years ago, I had an abortion. At the time, I was a single mother with two small daughters and was struggling emotionally, physically, and financially. My husband had decided he no longer wanted to be married to me. He chose to abandon us, leaving without offering any support. My self-esteem was shattered when my husband left. It wasn’t in my plan to be divorced. That was something my parents did, not me. I was ten years old when my father sat my three siblings and me on a bed in the master bedroom to tell us he was leaving. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My little girl’s heart was crushed. I was never the same.
ometimes, you don’t have any say in what happens to you. Someone else holds the key to destroying your dreams and shattering your future.
Fully aware of the damage my parent’s divorce had on my young heart, I made a vow to myself and my future children: once I got married and had children, no matter what, I would do whatever it took to stay married. I was determined that my children would not experience the agony of their parents divorcing. But sometimes, you don’t have any say in what happens to you. Someone else holds the key to destroying your dreams and shattering your future. My husband was leaving. He’d made up his mind and there was nothing I could do about it. I was devastated for me and my girls. Following my husband’s betrayal of promising to love me forever, it wasn’t too difficult for the first man that came along to easily sweep me off my feet. We met at the gym I was managing. He was a regular attendee. It started with us smiling at one another, which led to flirtatious gestures. Then one day, he invited me to a Halloween party at the local dance club. I was beyond giddy at his attentions and promised to meet him there. That night, I’ll never forget him looking at me and saying, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I want you to have my children.” Those comments would come to haunt me later. I soon found out he didn’t really mean them.
Our relationship quickly escalated into an intimate relationship. I was madly in love with him, and he felt the same. We were inseparable. We could not get enough of each other, and he was great with my girls. Nine months into our relationship, I was late, so I bought a home pregnancy test. It was positive. My entire world turned upside down. Although I knew I had no business having another child when I could barely take care of the two I had, I was also excited at the prospect of having a child with the man I loved. We’d already been talking about a future together, getting married and having children of our own. But, when I told him I was pregnant, I didn’t receive the response I’d hoped for. For the first time in my life, I was entertaining the idea of having an abortion. “We can have children later,” he said. “Let’s wait until we get married,” he said. I was desperate to speak with someone who could tell me what to do. Surely, the local abortion clinic would help me. I fumbled through the phonebook searching and easily found the number to the closest abortion clinic. It was only twelve miles away. I shared my story with the kind woman named Helena on the other end. I told her
of my divorce and that my husband didn’t support us financially. I told her I was working two jobs to make ends meet. I told her my boyfriend and I were in love and happy, but it wasn’t a good time for us to be parents. We weren’t even married yet. Her voice soothed me. She was sympathetic and quietly told me, “Don’t you think it would be very selfish of you as a mother to bring another mouth to feed when you can barely feed the two you already have?” During the most vulnerable time of my life, it was easy for her to use manipulation to convince me that abortion was my best and only option. Helena made me feel cared for and assured me, “I only want what’s best for you.” And, besides, she said, “it’s not really a baby right now anyway. You’re too early. It’s nothing more than a blob of tissue, a clump of cells. It won’t take long. Let’s get you in right away and take care of it for you. You’ll be fine, I promise.” Lies. All lies. Every single thing she told me was a lie. I made an appointment for that Saturday morning. I kept the appointment and showed up early. I wasn’t the only one there. The waiting room was full. After it was over, after the doctor ended the life of my unborn baby, I knew my life would never be the same.
ABORTION: THE UNPARDONABLE SIN? CONT.
Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t realized until it was too late how my life would forever be changed. You see, the woman who walks into an abortion clinic is not the same woman who walks out. After I chose abortion, it wasn’t until over a decade later that I realized that God still loved me, He could use me, and He wanted to free me from the unimaginable pain I’d experienced from the decision I’d made. For over ten years, I convinced myself it was God’s punishment that I should live the rest of my life carrying excruciating heartache, emptiness, guilt, shame, and self-loathing. Those feelings were the penance I had to pay for what I’d done until the day I drew my last breath for what I’d done. I’d convinced myself I deserved it all and even worse. I saw no ending in my suffering. I knew God would never be able to use someone like me. Being happy was a luxury I would never deserve, and for good reason. And, I was completely convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the God I’d heard about all my life, the same God whose name was Love, despised me. But I was wrong. The God I’ve now come to know is one of grace, mercy and forgiveness. There was nothing I could do to change His love for me. No sin was too great for Him. Not even my abortion.
he God I’ve now come to know is one of grace, mercy and forgiveness...No sin was too great for Him. Not even my abortion.
Although it took many years for me to truly understand His unconditional undying love for me, once I did, it forever changed my life. Whether you’ve ended the life of your child through abortion or participated in an abortion, whether you were forced into having an abortion or you didn’t know life was growing inside of you, God can and does forgive all things, including abortion. He can bring complete restoration. He only needs an invitation. Victoria Robinson has been a pro-life leader and speaker for over two decades. She’s a frequent guest on radio, television, and podcasts. She’s the founder of Reassemble, a ministry offering help and healing to post-abortive men and women. Her book, They Lied to Us, tells stories of women who chose abortion. Her second book, They Lied to Us Too, due late 2021, explores men and abortion. You can reach Victoria at email@example.com Website: victoriarobinson.org Facebook: Victoria Robinson Instagram: VictoriaRobinson 42
ehold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 KJV
Book Launch Pre-Sale for Holiday Giving! God is awakening warriors within the body of Christ to step up and be heard. As overcomers in Christ Jesus live their lives with boldness and courage, God unleashes freedom and power to defeat the enemy, and the devil is reminded over and over that Jesus has victoriously conquered death. We need not worry or be anxious in any of our trials or tragedies in life because God's Word is clear that He will give us the victory. "Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything." (Romans 8:37 TPT) Victories, Claiming Freedom in Christ presents expository teaching coupled with individual stories that testify to battles conquered victoriously through the power of Jesus Christ. The words in this book will motivate and inspire you and give you hope as God awakens you to your victory!
Pre-order both books now! Bundle packaging with special discounts on our website only: womenworldleaders.com (Pre-order today and receive a special gift plus free shipping. Enter code: 320 after your last name on order) *Books will be released at the end of 2021, but due to shipping delays beyond our control, delivery times may vary. Available on Amazon soon... Life on this earth is a journey. Yet, through the ups and downs and twists and turns, we can trust our unchangeable God to lead us, just as He has led those who have walked ahead of us. Each woman in this book invites you to walk beside her as she shares lessons she learned traversing life’s circumstances. As you read, these stories will remind you that no matter what we encounter, we can always look to God, trusting HIS provision, strength, and direction. He is always with you, and He has a plan to lead you to a path that is more beautiful than you can imagine. Allow God to strengthen and empower you to step boldly in faith as you read these stories along with expertly placed expositional teachings written by best-selling authors and faith-mentors Julie Jenkins and Kimberly Hobbs. God is guiding you to spiritual growth. It’s time to Embrace YOUR Journey!
POWER POINTS: GOD AT WORK THROUGH WOMEN LEADERS YESTERDAY AND TODAY HARRIET BY LEECY BARNETT
“I will write something. I will if I live."
he year was 1850 and this was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s response to a letter from her sister-in-law, Isabella Beecher, challenging her to use her God-given writing skills to fight the great evil that was dividing America: “Now Hattie," Isabella wrote, "if I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is."1 Harriet Beecher had grown up in a family that loved God and hated slavery. Her earliest exposure to slavery was the stories told about her Aunt Mary, who had married a wealthy merchant with a plantation in Jamaica. Young and innocent, Mary had no idea what awaited her when she arrived on the island. She soon discovered that her husband had children with one of his slaves. Her experience with slavery was filled with “horror and loathing,” and after only a short time, she left Jamaica and her husband and came to live with the Beechers.2 The next defining moment came when Harriet was 22 years old living with her father, Lyman Beecher, a pastor who was serving as the president of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was just across the river from the slave state of Kentucky. In 1834, Harriet attended a series of public debates where the seminary students “…discussed the question of slavery. We prayed much, heard facts, weighed arguments … [and] decided that slavery was a sin, and as such, ought to be immediately renounced”.3 In 1850, the new fugitive slave law required the people of the North to actively assist in returning runaway slaves to their owners in the South. This meant that Northerners no longer had the luxury of simply ignoring what was happening in the southern states. And it meant that Harriet felt compelled to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the book that is supposed to have prompted Abraham Lincoln to say when he met Harriet, “Is this the little woman who made this great war?”4 So Harriet’s determination was one of the catalysts of the Civil War, which precipitated the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment, which confirmed the end of slavery in America. Harriet’s example ought to inspire us to speak up for the oppressed and downtrodden of the world as we join Jesus in the mission God gave Him “… to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT). 1 Koester, N. (2014). Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life. Eerdmans, p. 110. 2 Ibid., p. 6. 3 Miter, J. J. (1834). A statement of the reasons which induced the students of Lane Seminary, to dissolve their connection with that institution. Internet Archive, p. 4. 4 Reynolds, D. S. (2012). Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America. W. W. Norton & Company, p. viii.
SOAR ON THE WINGS OF AN EAGLE I have the privilege of living on a magnificent beach on the Gold Coast, Australia. I usually start my morning with a beach walk where God speaks to me through His glorious nature and creations. As the sun rises with the promise of another extraordinary day, I often see eagles flying above, and I am always in awe of their beauty. What I love about eagles is that they so effortlessly glide as they fly through the air, looking totally at peace. God continually reminds me of Isaiah 40:31, but I also love the verses beforehand, beginning with verse 28. I feel God is saying, Wake up and listen, I have your life in my hands. I know your situation. I am not overwhelmed by your circumstances. Lay it all at my feet and breathe in my peace. As I started this painting, it began with the beautiful sky, the dawning of a new day, God’s beauty reflecting down onto our world. I wanted to express the heaven-lies. I love how this scripture (in The Passion Translation) says we soar into the heavenly realms in the holy of Holies. This was what I was trying to capture with my colors and brushstrokes. Then I painted the eagle, and the painting came together. The eagle is centered just as we are, in the Father’s heart. It combines our heavenly Father’s perfect
peace with the background of the holy realm. We are represented as the eagle - we can rise up and effortlessly soar like an eagle, and we will never grow weary. Isaiah 40:28-31 TPT "Don’t you know? Haven’t you been listening? Yahweh is the one and only everlasting God, the Creator of all you can see and imagine! He never gets weary or worn out. His intelligence is unlimited; he is never puzzled over what to do! He empowers the feeble and infuses the powerless with increasing strength. Even young people faint and get exhausted; athletic ones may stumble and fall. But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength. They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up." • Isaiah 40:31 "Or 'will grow new feathers like eagles' or 'renew their strength.' An eagle has the longest lifespan of any bird." • Isaiah 40:31 "Or 'without fainting.' The outer court is where we walk, the Holy Place is where we run, and we soar like eagles (into the heavenly realm) in the Holy of Holies"
LIVING A HOLYSTIC LIFE FINDING BALANCE BY MELISSA KESSLER, INHC, MA
here was a time in my life where things seemed chaotic, no order at all, no differentiation between morning and night, weekday or weekend, work or play. It should have been an exciting time in my life as I was starting my own business to help women achieve their best health. What should have been a time that was giving me the flexibility I always dreamed of, time to spend with my family while my kids were still young, a feeling of fulfillment, and most of all, a time to get some rest and soul-care turned out to be the most exhausting long season of my life. It ultimately led to pure exhaustion, so much so that I could barely get out of bed. I worked from my bed or couch all day long, many times still in pajamas, with barely enough energy to shower. I missed out on playtime with my boys and prayed for this exhaustion to come to an end. Thanks be to God that I had completed a hormone certification just a few months before going through this experience. So it wasn't a surprise to realize I was suffering from adrenal fatigue due to the hustle and grind I was putting my body through. Adrenal fatigue, commonly known as burnout, occurs when cortisol levels become imbalanced due to excessive levels of stress, often from very little to no rest. And you can only imagine how much rest I was getting as I
went back for a 2nd master’s degree, a health coaching certification, and was starting not one but two new businesses in the holistic health industry as a mother to a 2 and 6-year-old. There was no such thing as sleep. As a woman who is a high-achiever and ex-perfectionist, I was so very grateful when God spoke to me and said, "You must rest." I would never have made a change using my own wisdom and, ultimately, would have led myself to the hospital. To imagine not checking off my daily list was unfathomable to me. Well, sometimes God tells us things we don't necessarily want to hear, but He knows we need. He sure showed me, and what has come out of it has been such a beautiful thing. 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. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
was so very grateful when God spoke to me and said, "You must rest."
Are you a high-achiever who is on the go every minute of your life? Has life seemed to just pass you by because of your busyness? There are so many reasons this happens, whether you're a business owner who is striving for huge
success, a business woman who seems to always be on call, a mom who wears a million hats, or you may be a combination of all. It's almost inevitable to experience adrenal fatigue if you are any of the above. So how do you possibly find balance when there is so much to do? Ask God first. What does He want you to be doing right now? Sometimes we believe we need to be doing it all when He really wants us to focus on one specific thing. Listen well. Set your priorities according to how God responds. We all assume our children, spouses, family commitments, and work will still be there, but of course, these should be considered priorities. Schedule those into your daily plans before anything else. Also, don't forget about God and yourself. Schedule time daily to meet with God and take care of your body physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Then fit in additional invitations and projects accordingly into regular waking hours. And be sure to infuse rest into your plans.
ometimes we believe we need to be doing it all when He really wants us to focus on one specific thing. Listen well.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2, ESV) If there is one thing I learned from this whole experience that led to my well-balanced life, it is that we need to keep our eyes and ears open to what God is telling us. He knows the way and has created this beautiful business where I get to help women follow a healing process from adrenal fatigue so they can find balance and be able to enjoy all of the good things God has created for them in this life here on earth. Will you start listening more with me? Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2, ESV) Melissa is a wife and mom of 2 boys that are a huge inspiration in her life. She is an author and Holistic Wellness + Hormone Educator and helps women go from burnout to feeling ALIVE by UNhustling and balancing their hormones. She has a great passion for natural health, speaking truth and living according to the word of God while using her gift of faith. If you're ever looking for her, check the beach first. Learn more at melissajkessler.com
SEA HIM PRAISE TO THE LORD FROM CREATION B Y C H R I S TA J E W E T T
ne struggle many people have when reading the Bible is trying to determine when it is speaking literally and when it is speaking metaphorically. One passage that may offer difficulty in this area is Psalm 148. This chapter of Scripture offers a detailed description of the praise that issues forth from Creation in honor of its Creator. “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” (Psalm 148:13, NKJV) In this Psalm, the author addresses every aspect of our natural environment including land and sea animals, plants, stars, angelic hosts, humans, weather events, and even the earth itself. In his description, he uses the word halal as the Hebrew word for praise, which means “to clamorously praise, to celebrate”.1 By using this word, he is clearly stating that Creation makes physical sound in praise of its Creator. However, this also leads us to the question: If all of creation is praising God, why can we not hear it? Thankfully, scientific advancements in technology can provide an answer to this question. As technology has advanced, researchers have made interesting discoveries regarding naturally occurring sounds outside our hearing range. Animals, stars, and the earth all make noise that can only be detected either by other animals or scientific equipment. For example, one of the loudest animals in the world, the blue whale, has been recorded bellowing at 188 decibels, which is louder than a jet engine at take-off. Other whales can hear the calls more than 1,000 miles away.2 Yet we cannot hear these sounds because the loudest bellows are of such low frequency that they are outside our range of hearing. Even more interesting is that earthquakes, volcanoes, and oscillating stars produce sound that is too low in frequency for us to hear. It is not 50
that our natural environment is not making noise, the sounds being made are just outside our limited hearing range. Science has revealed that the author of Psalm 148 is being literal in his statement, that all of creation praises God, we just cannot hear it. Now knowing the sounds produced by creation, take a moment to consider what it must be like to be God. Every single plant, animal, rock, star, and angelic host praises Him. Think about the sheer volume of sound that reaches the throne room of God, enveloping Him in praise continuously. If He had created us to be able to audibly perceive these praises, it would be deafening. Yet our God is so great, He enjoys and receives this praise without hindrance. Even more amazing is that by limiting our range of hearing, God created a way for us to enjoy a child’s whisper, a well-played melody, a laugh, or a chorus of songbirds while He also receives the praise that He is due from creation. His design for creation is perfect! As you consider this truth, does your appreciation of His works fill your heart with the desire for clamorous praise? If so, join with the rest of creation in lifting your voice to praise the God of the universe! Praise the Lord! 1 Church of the Great God. “Greek Hebrew Definitions” Strong’s Concordance. Accessed via web January 31, 2014 http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon. show/ID/h1984/page/3. 2 Davies, Ella (2016) “The world’s loudest animal might surprise you” BBC.com. April 1, 2016. Accessed via web January 30, 2021 http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160331-theworlds-loudest-animal-might-surprise-you. 3 National Institutes of Health (US) (2007) “Information about Hearing, Communication and Understanding” Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, NIH Curriculum Supplement Series. Accessed via web January 30, 2021 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/books/NBK20366/.
SEA ÉL ALABADO SEA EL SEÑOR DESDE LA CREACIÓN B Y C H R I S TA J E W E T T
na lucha que muchas personas tienen al leer la Biblia es tratar de determinar cuándo está hablando literalmente y cuándo está hablando metafóricamente. Un pasaje que puede ofrecer dificultades en esta área es el Salmo 148. Este capítulo de las Escrituras ofrece una descripción detallada de la alabanza que surge de la Creación en honor a su Creador. ¡Alabado sea el nombre del Señor! ¡Sólo su nombre merece ser exaltado! ¡Su gloria domina los cielos y la tierra! (Salmo 148:13 RVC) En este Salmo, el autor aborda todos los aspectos de nuestro entorno natural, incluidos los animales terrestres y marinos, las plantas, las estrellas, las huestes angelicales, los seres humanos, los fenómenos meteorológicos e incluso la tierra misma. En su descripción, usa la palabra halal como la palabra hebrea para alabanza, que significa "alabar clamorosamente, celebrar".1 Al usar esta palabra, está afirmando claramente que la Creación hace un sonido físico en alabanza a su Creador. Sin embargo, esto también nos lleva a la pregunta: si toda la creación alaba a Dios, ¿por qué no podemos escucharlo? Afortunadamente, los avances científicos en tecnología pueden proporcionar una respuesta a esta pregunta. A medida que la tecnología ha avanzado, los investigadores han realizado interesantes descubrimientos con respecto a los sonidos que ocurren naturalmente fuera de nuestro rango auditivo. Los animales, las estrellas y la tierra hacen ruidos que solo pueden ser detectados por otros animales o por equipos científicos. Por ejemplo, se ha registrado que uno de los animales más ruidosos del mundo, la ballena azul, gemidos a 188 decibeles, que es más fuerte que un motor a reacción en el despegue. Otras ballenas pueden escuchar las llamadas a más de 1.000 millas de distan-
cia.2 Sin embargo, no podemos escuchar estos sonidos porque los gemidos más fuertes son de tan baja frecuencia que están fuera de nuestro rango de audición. Aún más interesante es que los terremotos, los volcanes y las estrellas oscilantes producen un sonido de frecuencia demasiado baja para que podamos escucharlo.3 No es que nuestro entorno natural no esté haciendo ruido, los sonidos que se emiten están fuera de nuestro rango auditivo limitado. La ciencia ha revelado que el autor del Salmo 148 está siendo literal en su declaración, que toda la creación alaba a Dios, simplemente no podemos escucharlo. Ahora, conociendo los sonidos producidos por la creación, tómate un momento para considerar cómo debe ser ser Dios. Cada planta, animal, roca, estrella y hueste angelical lo alaba. Piense en el enorme volumen de sonido que llega al salón del trono de Dios, envolviéndolo continuamente en alabanzas. Si nos hubiera creado para poder percibir de manera audible estas alabanzas, sería ensordecedor. Sin embargo, nuestro Dios es tan grande que disfruta y recibe esta alabanza sin obstáculos. Aún más asombroso es que al limitar nuestro rango de audición, Dios creó una manera para que disfrutemos el susurro de un niño, una melodía bien interpretada, una risa o un coro de pájaros cantores mientras Él también recibe la alabanza que se le merece desde la creación. ¡Su diseño de la creación es perfecto! Al considerar esta verdad, ¿La apreciación de sus obras llena tu corazón con el deseo de una alabanza clamorosa? Si es así, únete al resto de la creación para alzar la voz y alabar al Dios del universo. ¡Alabado sea el Señor! 1,2,3 Ver página 50
HOLY HUSH PART VI
B Y D E B O R A H W AT S O N Women World Leaders is pleased to present Holy Hush, written by Deborah J. Watson. Deborah is the Executive Director of Studio222films.com and curator of the Branson International Film Festival. A writer, producer, and director in the film industry, Deborah uses her talent to reach hurting people with a message of hope. Holy Hush is written as an allegorical narrative based on scripture and Deborah’s Christian worldview. Rebekka, the main character that we are traveling with, is on a journey of making a life decision of living with or without her husband, Aaron. Progressing through this difficult time, Rebekka notices the “little things” circling her life and leading her to a decision. As the story unfolds (Holy Hush began in the January 2021 edition of VOT), we see this thirty-something-year-old city girl steal away into the wilderness to be alone and search the heart of God. Along the way, Rebekka is introduced to unexpected characters who seem to be leading her on a journey of discovery.
ebekka is surprised at the sound of the motor when she is expecting the hum of the sail catching the wind. She turns sideways and lays back in the early afternoon light as the Holy Hush sailboat leaves the safety of the harbor.
“What if you have no choice but to be near land because of the direction of the storm?” Rebekka asks.
The rise and fall of the vessel as it cuts through the water rocks her gently from side to side.
“Thankfully, with modern forecasting, a true storm will rarely arrive unannounced.” Rebekka rolls over so she can nap before arriving at her destination.
“Did you know a cubic foot of water weighs 64 pounds?” The captain yells towards Rebekka. Rebekka sits up and turns her head towards the captain as she looks at the open waters. “That information is important to me why?” The sarcasm in her voice signals the captain that she is still angry about his prank from back at the docks. “Well, if we get into stormy water, that information is extremely important.” The captain kills the engine and makes his way to the sail. Rebekka looks up at the bright sunny skies without a cloud in sight. “It’s normally an hour to get across to the other side, right?” “In perfect weather, with the right wind and waters. We should be there in an hour. Yes.” The captain ties off the sail and turns to face Rebekka. “The route Felicity asked me to take, well, I’m not so sure.” “Why wouldn’t you sail straight from point A to point B?” Rebekka turns and faces the captain for the first time since boarding. “There’s a lot of larger boats on the water that travel the straight path. Felicity thought it best to go this route. Now, there is a harbor up the way that could be a little tricky sailing by it. We may have to anchor and go to shore there. You will be able to walk the rest of the way and still arrive before dark.” The captain’s demeanor changes, and it feels like he’s staring right into Rebekka’s soul. “Did you know that a storm has a dangerous semicircle out here? It’s on the right side of the storm as it advances. The key to surviving that kind of storm on waters is to keep away from land.” The captain rolls his shoulders back and stares towards the land. “Don’t want to be blown up on the shore. Best to sail away from the storm’s path.”
The captain smiles, “That’s when your prayer life increases.” The captain half chuckles as Rebekka lays back down.
“Truly.” The captain whispers as he unfurls the storm trysail and storm jib. “Have you sailed before?” “Only enough to know the difference between apparent wind and true wind.” Rebekka replies without moving a muscle. “Good!” The captain approaches Rebekka and sits next to her, forcing her to sit up. “We need to talk.” The captain points towards a piece of land ahead. “Around that corner is the harbor that can change the trajectory of your journey. The content of its winds will determine our path.” Rebekka examines the sky and the waters and sees no evidence of anything derogatory. “You’ve sailed by it before?” “Many times.” The captain reflects. “Evidently always successfully.” Rebekka points out the obvious. “You’re still here, so there’s nothing to be concerned about.” “On the contrary. You need to be very concerned. Remember that cubic foot I talked about?” The captain asked. “Yes? It weighs 64 pounds.” Rebekka becomes concerned. “Take 2 of those, and you’ve been washed off the deck.” The captain stands and walks towards the sails. For the first time, Rebekka becomes concerned for her life. Sure, the captain is still here, but what about his other passengers? She looks around for potential weapons and identifies a harpoon and a toolbox. She scans the deck and sees the life jackets - something he did not offer to her, nor did she ask for. She can sense the captain watching her, and she tries to relax. “I would put one on.” 53
HOLY HUSH CONT.
The captain nods towards the jackets. “We’re getting closer to the harbor.” “What is it about this harbor you’re afraid of?” Rebekka inquires while she dons a jacket. “Me? Nothing. I’ve sailed by it many times with many types of storms and winds. I just don’t want to ever lose a passenger because of their decisions.” Rebekka fastens the last latch on the vest, “There’s not a storm cloud in the sky. I think you’re being ridiculous.” The captain laughs out loud as they approach the tip of land. “Listen, little lady, I can tell you this.” The captain’s face becomes serious and intense as he walks closer to Rebekka. “As soon as I hit that point, I need to know if I follow the shoreline or head out to deeper waters.” Rebekka is scared by his sudden change in attitude. “Fine. What does that have to do with me?” “Do you have any, and I mean any, unforgiveness in your heart?” Rebekka is caught off guard and sits down to catch her breath. How could he possibly know to ask such a question? The captain leaves her with her thoughts and walks towards the boom of the mainsail. “Drop anchor.” Rebekka whispers. The captain doesn’t hear her whisper but can sense the current coming from around the bend and grows concerned. “Do I leave the sails up or drop them and head for deeper waters?” “Drop anchor!” Rebekka yells. The captain is surprised by her command and complies rapidly to stay away from the strong prevailing winds around the corner. He quickly turns the boat so that the bow is pointing into the wind to pay out the anchor. In a flash, he releases the brake until he knows the anchor is at depth. He uses the engine to back down on it to set it and then cleats the chain for security. The captain turns to find Rebekka’s terrified yet thankful eyes staring at him with tears streaming down her face. “Dropping anchor is going to give us a late arrival time.” The captain slowly approaches Rebekka and sits a safe distance from her. “I can take us through the stormy waters or go around them. We don’t have to stop.” Rebekka’s eyes begin to swell from the tears. Her once beautiful, peaceful face turns into a replica of an anguished tiki totem smile. The captain waits for a moment. Rebekka attempts to compose herself, but she knows. Now the captain knows. She has not forgiven her husband, Aaron, for what he’s done, and she’s not sure she can. 54
What we can learn Unforgiveness causes inner turmoil that affects everyone around us. No matter if we talk about it or not. If we harbor it, it works against us. It’s time to drop anchor and turn our lives so that we’re pointing into the wind, back down on the anchor so it is set, and cleat down on the chain for security. Or, as our pastor says, “Put on your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” PRAY. FORGIVE. LOVE. REPEAT. Hebrews 6:19-20 (NKJV) “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” This journey of learning to forgive even the unforgivable, according to human standards, is not an easy journey. Nowhere were we told it would be. In fact, according to Matthew 7, it is narrow, difficult, and there are few who find it. I believe you can find it. You don’t have to go it alone either. There is an anchor that you can stay tied to as you travel this path of learning the beautiful power of forgiveness. Camp out in Matthew 7 and Matthew 18 for as long as you need to until you see the root of what unforgiveness is doing in your heart. As you travel these seas, remember that true wind speed, or ground wind, is the actual speed of the wind as it passes over a surface. Apparent wind speed is the wind as you feel it. They are different, and feelings change - especially when you find yourself grounded in Christ.
hey are different, and feelings change - especially when you find yourself grounded in Christ.
The truth will set you free to experience the beautiful power of forgiveness. IF you choose to explore it with Christ and come to an understanding of the “Holy Hush,” you will be free from the destructive chains that bind you because of unforgiveness.
et the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15 NIV
WIDE OPEN WONDERMENT BEAUTY
BY RACHEL DUBE She can pull her skin tight Where the wrinkles meet At her mouth’s smiling creases And her laughing crows’ feet She can pour color on her hair So each silver strand is secret She can make a mask on her face So the world never sees it She can adorn on herself The envies of the world Style her hair just so And fashion the beauties of wealth Her hips “must” be just this size And her chest just that Anything else and she should change Because she’s probably “too fat” She can be all the things That this world demands If she pretends that she’s flawless And keeps anything from roughing her hands But in all this perfection What does the world see But just another product Created by machine? Do we really mean no flaws? Or just no variation? Because God saw that she was good A fearful and wonderful creation
While she wastes “thousands,” hours and tears And her confidence She labors on a look That in the end has no significance And all the while, her soul, Which is eternal, Waits for the kind of attention That she gives her slowly dying external What change of good in the world Has ever been brought Through a body that is beautiful With a heart that is not? She will try to chisel and shape She will struggle for much or all of her life To fit in the box That the world calls “Right” If only she could see That the body she’s been given Is tailor made, down to the smallest freckle, A workmanship of Heaven That no one less than God Himself Could do who she is justice And that when she adorns the lies of the world She shows everyone where her trust is For God knew even before time That her body was to be a package For carrying precious goods Meant to restore the world from wreckage What beauty would flow out of her! To quench the thirst of searching souls If her beauty were the Spirit Who from her wellspring overflowed Charm is but a counterfeit And beauty flees as fast as it came But a woman whose heart is the Lord’s Is precious and beautiful and worthy of praise.
RELUCTANT PURPOSE PART 1 BY REBECCA ROGERS NELSON S C R E E N W R I T E R , P R O D U C E R , A C T R E S S AT BEAUTIFUL FEET PRODUCTIONS
Remember the movie SPEED? It’s one of Sandra Bullock’s earlier films, and one of my favorites. The iconic actress plays Annie, a college student who just happens to be a passenger on a bus that gets hijacked by a bad guy. Annie gets pulled in by good guy, Jack (Keanu Reeves), to drive the bus, which must stay cruising at 50mph or a planted bomb will go off! Annie didn’t volunteer to be a hero that day. I doubt if she would have gotten on the bus if she knew what was going to be required of her. But Annie rises to the occasion and holds the speedometer steady at 50 mph while Jack rescues the other passengers. They both save the day! She is what is referred to in the movie world as the Reluctant Hero. Sometimes, that’s the way we get a mission from God. I refer to it as a Reluctant Purpose. We are going about our business, making plans, and doing life when something unexpected happens. The thing can be crazy good or crazy tragic, but either way, it is often the catalyst that kickstarts something new as God redirects our path. Sometimes it can even turn into our life’s calling and help define our purpose. And that’s how my main life’s purpose was revealed to me: reluctantly.
refer to it as a Reluctant Purpose. We are going about our business, making plans, and doing life when something unexpected happens. Sometimes it can even turn into our life’s calling and help define our purpose.
As the sonogram wand rolled over my still flat belly, I was excited! I was expectant for the quick rhythmic nine-week heartbeat I had heard with my other easy pregnancy just two years earlier. But this time was different. As the technician changed positions of the wand, the familiar rhythmic sound dwindled. I looked to her face for reassurance, but concern was there in its place. After a moment or two, she removed the wand and simply said, “I’m sorry. I don’t detect a heartbeat.” Shock intertwined with denial hit my heart. Panic set in. I wanted her to try again. I wanted to understand. This was just a routine visit! Yes, I was an older mom, but it was only two years ago that I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy! It was because of the complete success of my first pregnancy that my husband and I decided to go for a second child. We wanted to complete our family with a sweet little sister or brother, for our son, Ben. And for us. That would be perfect. That was our perfect plan. But God had a better one. My next doctor’s visit confirmed the hard truth. My first pregnancy was a beautiful, almost miraculous, gift. When I asked the doctor if we could try again, she responded, “Yes, but the likelihood of maintaining the pregnancy is very low.” 58
We prayed. Joy returned when we found out we were pregnant. Again! But as the doctor had warned, we lost that baby, as well. Grief was quickly followed by depression. Soon after, guilt set in. I mean, we were blessed! My husband and I had our wonderful little boy! Why couldn’t we be satisfied? Maybe we were just being greedy. But for some reason, we didn’t feel done. Shortly thereafter, we shared with another couple about our loss and how we were researching overseas adoption. We hit roadblocks at every turn. Some countries were closed to adoption, others were too expensive, or the process would take years. The couple listened with compassion. Then one of them asked, “Have you thought about adopting through the foster care system?” We didn’t know much about foster care, and what we did know wasn’t positive. But our friends encouraged us to talk with another couple who had successfully adopted through the system—five times! We were curious. After meeting with that couple, we were convinced to at least attend an informational meeting. An eight-hour seminar hosted by a local church was incredibly informative but also scary. We learned the plight of children in foster care, how some will bounce from placement to placement before landing in a forever home. We learned how heartbreaking it is for foster parents who become attached to a child just to have that child taken away by a family member who surfaces out of nowhere. Sadly, twenty thousand children age out of the U.S. foster care system every year. It was all so overwhelming. My husband and I didn’t think we could do it. But four days after the seminar, we received an opportunity for placement! My heart pounded as I called my husband to hear his thoughts. Silence. Then, “I don’t think I can do it.” Devastation hit me as I hung up the phone. I wanted this! I began to pray, “Lord, this is scary. But I feel like we are supposed to do this!” Within moments, my husband called back. “I realized I answered before I prayed. Now I have, and I think we’re supposed to do this!” A divine momentum shifted into overdrive that still has not stopped! Our heartbreak turned into a new path to grow our family. A clear calling and life purpose emerged: to raise awareness for and dissipate fear of adopting through the U.S. foster system. (To Be Continued.) Rebecca Rogers Nelson is an actress, screenwriter, and producer. She and her husband, Durrell Nelson, own Beautiful Feet Productions and make films that promote family, celebrate redemption and reflect a Judeo-Christian worldview. On the home front, Rebecca is passionate about adoption and raising awareness for the plight of “homeland orphans.” www.beautifulfeetproductions.com Rebecca@beautifulfeetproductions.com 59
A FOCUS ON HIM DON'T WORRY, BE THANKFUL PHOTOGRAPHY AND WRITING BY LILLIAN CUCUZZA
he Tufted Titmouse was so desperately looking for insects that it did not notice the ladybug on its chest right under its beak. This bird was contorted upside-down, inside-out, and clinging to a leaf by its toenails searching for food.
Oftentimes people get all twisted up in a knot and consumed because of anxiety, worrying about things they have no control over. They are holding on by their fingernails. It may be over a relationship, marriage, children, finances, health, work, politics, you name it, but the anxiety takes on a life of its own.
Some people seem to go from one crisis to another. A former boss of mine used to say, he was “killing snakes and putting out fires!” He was always in crisis management mode and searching for solutions. He was so busy putting out fires, he did not make time to stop and seek the One with all the answers and provisions. Just like the Titmouse, the solutions to his problems were right in front of him if he had just trusted God with his worries instead of clinging and holding on to them. He could not see the forest for the trees. God tells us: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV) It is human nature to worry and try to control every situation ourselves. We think we can handle it. Instead of presenting our requests to God through prayer and petition, our minds work overtime seeking ways to overcome the crisis. Anxiety is selfcentered, counter-productive, poisonous to our minds and bodies, and an opposing force to prayer. The writer in Philippians 4:6 (NIV) says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. I must confess, this is easier said than done, but absolutely necessary for our own well-being. If anxiety is poisonous to us, then thanksgiving is the antidote to worry, along with prayer and petition. When we begin to thank and praise God for all He has done for us, we begin to take the focus off ourselves and put it on Him. I love the words to the 1897 hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr., “Count Your Blessings”: When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
f anxiety is poisonous to us, then thanksgiving is the antidote to worry, along with prayer and petition.
The opposite of anxiety is inner tranquility, the peace of God, which is what comes when believers commit all their cares to God in prayer. Once we have given our worries to God, we no longer need to worry about them because they no longer belong to us. It is not our problem anymore! We can have peace and joy and move on to being effective for the Lord. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NIV) All that little bird had to do was look down and it would have seen the ladybug meal on its chest and eaten it. All you have to do is look up and see God waiting with open arms for you to cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you that much and more.
BEAUTY OF GRACE This painting took me on the most heavenly journey of seeing God’s presence in our lives. He has always been there for us. Let this painting wash over you to reveal what is on God’s heart for you. As I began to paint the sky, I felt a battle going on in the spiritual realm as the brushstrokes were agitated. I started to play the song “I Raise a Hallelujah” by The Helsers. I felt led to pick up a sable brush that gently softened the brushstrokes, putting an instant calm over the clouds in the sky as I listened to the words, “I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemies.” I had the vision of a flower emanating from the heavens. I wondered, Why a flower?, but felt this represented God’s children, standing tall and receiving God’s downpour of His light and love, saturating our being, filling us up. The heavenly drips (God’s tears) overflowed onto the leaves; this is new life, rejuvenation. The flower is steady and strong. The rainbow shows so much hope. God’s promises are reflecting in our life. Open your eyes to the splendor that surrounds you. There is His love of the past, the present, and the future. I painted the wave pink for healing and joy. I felt the wave was surging up, this was the future, and this is where God showed me to continue the colors of the rainbow, a full circle. He has you. He always has. The soft clouds billowing in from the right are painted in the purple of His righteousness and royalty, His covering over our situation. I felt this painting strongly represents the flood of the Old Testament and God’s covenant to us is represented in the rainbow. From raindrops to the flood, He washes away all the ashes, and only the beauty remains. The small branch at the bottom is what is to come; there is another chapter to our story.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Lynne is a professional prophetic artist who has had a diverse art career of over 40 years. She has exhibited her art in many art exhibitions throughout Australia and NYC. Lynne is our prophetic artist for Voice of Truth and runs Women World Leaders Australia. She also has her own ministry of teaching and painting prophetic art. Lynne resides on the Gold Coast.
www.lynnehudson.com firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: Lynne Hudson Art Facebook: Lynne Hudson Spiritual Paintings
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Prayers for the
Sons of The King B Y D R . J I A C O N W AY “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank You forever, because You have done it. I will wait for Your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” Psalm 52:8-9 ESV Sons of the Living God, stand in a posture of thanksgiving as you are reminded of the goodness of God. His steadfast love is your place of solace, peace, and stability. The steadfast love of God for you is unwavering. God’s love for you is trustworthy; it is your place of refuge and fulfillment. In the presence of God, you are edified in the image of your heavenly Father. The righteousness of God fills you to overflow and to a place of abundance. Sons of God, you are the strength of God, exemplified in His wisdom and His brilliance. You are the essence of His love and the image of Him, of all that is good and perfect in Him. Be empowered in the presence of the Holy One. Engulf yourself in His peace, His love and His righteousness that will always be a light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet. Never stop trusting in the steadfast love of God as it will always be the constant that guards you from the plans of the enemy, all while exalting you in the plans and promises for your life that have been established before the foundation of the earth! Sons! Rise up and open your hearts to receive the steadfast and enduring love of the living God.
COFFEE CHATS THE RESCUE BY TINA KADOLPH Hello friends, Get your coffee, and let me share a difficult but incredible God story with you.
It all started with a call. The social worker said five kids were in grave danger, and the police were on the way to rescue them. She asked if we had room for the children in our safe house. Oh LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man that is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:17–18 ESV) The call came late in the day from South America and had my heart racing; it actually made me sick to my stomach. I immediately requested prayer from several groups that the children would be safely rescued. The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29 ESV) The threat was real, and there wasn’t a minute to lose. The trafficker, who knew that the authorities had discovered his gruesome deeds, was now threatening to douse the children with gas and set them on fire. Many people reported that he held the gas container in his hand. I prayed fervently for 16 hours. Finally, I heard that the police had successfully rescued the children! I shared this news with my fellow prayer warriors. The children, ages 2, 4, 8, 10, and 12, were now safely on their way to our Sunflower House. Praise God! Not all was well, though, as the trafficker had escaped and was on the run. So we began praying that he would be found and put behind bars. This would give us the reassurance and confirmation that he could never harm these sweet children or any other children again. My heart ached for what these children had been through. How scared they must have been. I don’t know how the rescue went down, but I do know there was screaming and threats. They knew he planned to burn them alive. Then, once the police stepped in and they were safe, they must have feared the unknown. Were they 66
going to jail? Had they done something wrong? Where were they going now, and would this place be like the last? Due to Covid restrictions, we only had one other child in the house when these five children were rescued. As God would have it, the 7-year-old in the house was reunited with family shortly after the rescue, leaving the perfect situation for the newly rescued siblings - giving them time together to heal. God is so good. One of the difficulties of running a safe home is finding a balance. Our priority is to keep the children safe, and we are very careful to never exploit them. At the same time, we must receive funding for the safe house, which often comes by sharing the good news of rescues. This particular rescue is even more complicated because, with the trafficker on the run, we are very careful not to risk leading him to the children. Love Missions is well known in this South American country, and normally, I'd blast the news out on social media without using names or pictures of faces. But in this instance, I can’t even do that until the trafficker is caught. We are thankful to trusted groups like Women World Leaders, where we can share this good news privately as we rely on God to prompt donors to keep this ministry funded. I personally feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of the children. But I remind myself that this situation is not at all complicated for God. He knew this was His plan long before I did. I'm so thankful I have such a big God who loves these children much more than I do. The house where the children were being held captive can only be described as a shack. The floors were rotting, there were holes in the walls, and there was no bathroom. The children had been sleeping all together on a thin piece of foam on the floor. So, you can imagine how they felt when they walked into the Sunflower House. Even though they were frightened, the first thing they noticed was the beds. These beds are special – they have been prayed over and were made with love. Designed by my husband, they are crafted of strong wood. Each bunk bed has a middle section with bookshelves, a personal reading light, and a fan. The mattresses are handmade. They are very thick and made of material that looks like an American flag because the mattress maker knew we were from the US and wanted to surprise us. There are no beds this nice in this 3rd world country.
COFFEE CHATS CONT.
So, when the children came in, they looked at the beautiful beds with their comfortable mattresses. The social worker told them they could pick out any bed they wanted, and they all went to one bottom bunk. But then she clarified that they could each have their own bed, and the children jumped up and down with excitement this was the first time they each had their own bed. Then, as they picked out their bedding, the reality of safety and comfort began to set in, and they were overwhelmed. The truth is that they were completely wrapped in Jesus’ love. He had been waiting for them. They hadn't understood or experienced love before. Life had been full of starvation, poverty, abuse, and neglect, but God had been preparing a new life for them long before they knew it. They are now beginning to see how much He loves them through each of us who helped lay the foundation in this beautiful Sunflower House. Many have helped remodel, paint, build and transform this house, and God knew all along exactly who He would bring to this home for protection and love. The Sunflower Safe House boasts a house mom's room, eight beautiful bunk beds, a living room, dining room, a well-stocked kitchen - with two refrigerators, a gas stove, freezer, sunflower dishes, and two bathrooms and two showers. So many people don't have these beautiful things in their home, and certainly, these children never had anything like this. They never even had an indoor shower or toilet. But the house is just a tool – for the real miracle is the new foundation that God is building as He transforms, restores, and redeems these children's lives.
he real miracle is the new foundation that God is building as He transforms, restores, and redeems these children's lives.
They came from nothing and walked right into God's best for them. God has always loved them, but as I learned coming from this same type of abuse, people have free will and make choices outside of His will. The life these children lived was not what God ever wanted for them. Sadly, there is a battle going on, and there is such darkness and evil in this world. But we can rise out of the darkness - just like the sunflower whose seed is put in the dark dirt. It pushes and pushes, looking for 68
the light. The sunflower always follows the light. It grows so strong because it keeps its face towards the sun. We can overcome any darkness if we keep our face directed forward and follow the Son - Jesus. That is why our safe house is called the Sunflower House. And it is why we have sunflowers painted on the outside. Each unique sunflower represents each unique child. God gave me this vision many years ago: a house full of children brought out of abuse and filled with hope and filled with Christ's love. Wow! Thank you, Jesus, for bringing this to fruition. It has been a few weeks since we brought these children to their new home. They have been interviewed, checked out medically, and talked to by the therapist and social workers. The social worker has reported they already look like different children. They have smiles on their faces, exuding joy. Only Jesus can bring joy despite the abuse and untold trauma that these children have endured. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11 ESV) These five precious souls have a long road ahead. But God is with them, and He will walk out this journey alongside them. With God anything is possible. Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26 ESV) These beautiful children thought they needed rescue from their abuser, but God rescued them to give them life in abundance, more than they could ever dream was possible. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV) We are so thankful to our amazing Savior and our community for the support and prayers. Tina Kadolph is the Co-founder and President of Love Missions Global, a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to the global abolishment of modern-day slavery, which has a safe house in South America and a life center, called The Bridge, in Florida. Tina is the co-owner of Palate Coffee Brewery, Palate Roastery, and Palate Bubs and Ice Cream in Sanford, Florida. She has been nominated as Hero of the Year by Spectrum TV and interviewed by CNN as an influencer, encourager, and inspiration.
Stomp out human trafficking What would it look like if Women World Leaders partnered with a local coffee shop in Sanford, Florida to empower lives with purpose? For starters, it would look like a bag of freshly roasted, washed Costa Rican beans and natural Ethiopian beans blended to perfection sitting on your kitchen counter. With notes of honey, vanilla, milk chocolate, and cocoa, you can’t go wrong.
together we can
We rejoice in God merging our missions together, partnering to serve Him - from empowering women to rescuing many from the plights of human trafficking. You can join our hearts and hands by purchasing a bag of coffee. All the proceeds will be shared between Women World Leaders & Love Missions. Palate Coffee Brewery is blessed to have won taste quality awards; always roasted in His love, to perfection.
ORDER NOW ...and support both missions with your purchase! https://sanfordcoffee.com/WWL
JOURNEYING WITH JESUS: NUGGETS FROM THE GOSPEL OF MARK THE COST (MARK 1:16-20 NIV) B Y R E V. L I S A M O R R I S O N
ave you ever received a call that required an immediate response? One where you didn’t even have time to consider the cost of responding to the call? You just got up and left – leaving all behind! I received one of those calls on Friday, August 25, 2017, at 10pm. My brother called letting me know my nephew had been in a horrific car accident, and they had med-flighted him to the trauma unit at the nearest hospital. The doctors did not know whether he was going to make it. In a moment like this, we don’t think what our response will be. We know we need to leave everything and go regardless of the cost. Likewise, we see in Mark 1:16-20 where Jesus is walking beside the Sea of Galilee and he calls two sets of brothers to come and follow Him. Now the calling is drastically different from my phone call that night my family will never forget, but similarities do exist, and they drastically impact our lives as followers of Jesus. This call Jesus issues is as abrupt and unexpected as the one I received from my brother. I never expected a call from him on a Friday night at 10pm. These two sets of brothers are not expecting a call to “Come, follow me” (v. 17 NIV) while they are busy casting and preparing their fishing nets. This call is abrupt. It’s unexpected, yet it requires an immediate response. It’s not one where they can answer, “Let me think about it and get back to you in a day or two or next week.” Something far greater is going on here, and it demands their immediate response. What is their reply to Jesus’ call? Mark tells us in verse 18, “At once they left their nets and followed Him.” (NIV) They didn’t hesitate. They didn’t finish what they were doing. They didn’t say to anyone, “Take care of things until we get back.” They immediate-
ly left all and followed Jesus. This is amazing! Isn’t it? They leave their fishing business and follow someone who gives no explanation to what it is they will be doing and how long it might take, but they realize they need to drop everything and follow Him regardless of the cost. The stakes get even higher when Jesus calls the second set of brothers. They not only leave their fishing business behind, they also leave “their father in the boat and without delay follow Him.” (v. 20 NIV) This is dramatic! Isn’t it? A human touch is added to this call. A father loses both of his sons. The ones who would have carried on the family business. Why would both sets of brothers leave all and respond immediately to Jesus’ call to follow Him? Because with Jesus, this encounter is a testimony to the absolute direct and unaccountable authority of Jesus. Not everyone will be called to this level of discipleship where everything is to be left without delay, but we all are called to follow Him and minister where we are. When we receive our calls, may we be willing to follow Him at once, giving up jobs offering financial security, homes that provide stability, and normal ties to family. No matter when the call comes, may we recognize it is one that comes from the absolute direct and unaccountable authority of Jesus demanding us to leave all regardless of the cost. Lisa Morrison is an ordained minister who has served as pastor, and staff pastor in several positions in the local church, as well as in district ministerial and educational leadership positions. She also has been an Adjunct Instructor at various educational institutions of higher learning teaching in the Religion Department. She holds two master’s degrees and a post graduate degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
NONNA'S kNOWledge BE A BLESSING NOW B Y C A R O LY N J O Y
ow is the time to be a blessing. At this time of year I am always thinking of presents to buy and wrap. I love to think about how I can bless someone with a gift they may not get for themselves. Presents come in all shapes, sizes, and monetary values. However, sometimes I feel like I do not know what to give. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to give. Sometimes I feel like time has stolen my ability to give. I would like to challenge you to change your thinking. Giving does not have to be big or extravagant. You can be a blessing with a handwritten note of encouragement or gratitude for something they did or said. You may be surprised how much people appreciate an unexpected note in the mail. Keep stationary and stamps on hand, which will make it easier to jot a note when God places a person on your heart. A message received in the mail may change the entire trajectory of someone’s day. Thoughtful written words are a repeated blessing each time they are read. You can bless someone with a simple text or phone call. Tell someone you love them or miss them. That simple act does not cost anything. Depending on their circumstances, that simple gesture could bring them to tears, knowing that someone is thinking of them. Try blessing someone by babysitting or cooking a meal. Both acts of kindness reach beyond the normal thought of gift-giving. However, both actions may bless someone who is struggling just to survive each day, and you could leave a smile on their heart.
Did you ever think about how much your words might be a blessing? Pray that your heart would look for people to whom you can bless with words. “The mouth speaks about what overflows from the heart.” (Matthew 12:34 ISV) Words are always with you. You never have to look in a drawer for them, wrap them, or mail them. Most times, you don’t even have to prepare them. They can be spontaneous. Words can speak life into a broken, hurting heart. Words can be life changing. Words can share courage, hope, love, and empower someone to do something they did not think possible. Words can motivate and inspire a soul to reach beyond their thinking. Kind, thoughtful words can be as simple as telling the store cashier that she has lovely eyes, or conveying to your waiter how much you appreciate his service. Not only will others be blessed, you will be encouraged as you practice the art of bestowing affirmations. Kind words are verbal sunshine on a cloudy day. Start today with simple ways to give a gift and be a blessing NOW!
My three-year-old granddaughter was going up and down a waterslide with her dad. She got half way up the ladder, stopped, turned around, looked straight into her dad’s eyes, and said, “You are the best Daddy ever.”
THE INDESCRIBABLE MILKY WAY PHOTOGRAPHY AND WRITING BY LILLIAN CUCUZZA
have a deeper appreciation for the incredible beauty and majesty God has given us to enjoy here on earth because of photography. Looking through the camera lens forces me to truly see my surroundings as well as focus on the subject I am shooting. Take the sky, for example. I never gave considerable thought to how many stars there are, the constellations and planets, the moon and its cycles, lunar and solar eclipses. I knew they were there, but didn’t really pay much attention to them. Oh sure, I studied about those things in school, watched Star Trek, saw eclipses, read about God’s creation of the universe in the Bible. But I was not awestruck until I started dabbling in astrophotography. All my life I had heard about and seen pictures of the Milky Way, but had not actually seen it with my own eyes, until July of 2020. I was on a photo expedition in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone when I heard about the Neowise Comet for the first time. The park was the perfect place to capture photos of the comet because there was no light pollution; we were in total darkness. When I finished shooting the comet, I turned around to put my equipment in the vehicle. This is when I saw the Milky Way for the very first time! It engulfed the entire sky behind me with millions of stars. It was a magnificent, awe-inspiring, wondrous sight! Immediately, the chorus of the song, “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin, came to mind: “Indescribable, uncontainable, You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. You are amazing God. All powerful, untameable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim, You are amazing God.” When you see such a breathtaking, jaw-dropping sight, you can only come to one conclusion: God created the heavens and the earth as stated in Genesis 1:14-16. And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. (NIV) It is mind-boggling and astounding that God created the universe and the stars out of nothing more than His spoken word! The writer of Hebrews says, By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3, NIV) 72
If that’s not enough, in an extraordinary statement, the Psalmist says, He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. (Psalm 147:4, NIV) Astronomers estimate that there are about 300 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. That does not even begin to account for all the other galaxies, which are infinite. Yet, God alone knows how many stars there are in the universe and He has a name for each one.
t is mind-boggling and astounding that God created the universe and the stars out of nothing more than His spoken word!
All creation, including the heavens, stars, and galaxies, testifies and points to our amazing, all-powerful, uncontainable, and indescribable God! My sincere prayer is that you see the works of His hand in everything, and thank and praise Him, the Creator, the One who made it all!
Courage in Action The Light is On Over dinner one evening we discovered we had a similar family rule growing up, "When the street lights come on, you should be home." The intention made the difference. Is it, WHEN you see the street lights you should go home or IF the street lights are on, you should be home? The first gives wiggle room for not noticing; the second is an expectation, if lights are on, one better be home. As we were teaching a Bible study in South Africa, we looked for a good illustration of God's light. His light is His brilliant, fiery love for us, only set on destroying those things which hinder us from full wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. But we aren't forced to look at the light; God gives us the respect of choice. We can choose to walk towards the light or turn our back and walk away from it. It still shines the same, but we see the light differently. We put one of our leaders in a dark hallway and placed them just in front of the light, the light to his back. There was a blurry shadow down the long hallway, even extending across the ceiling and onto the side walls. We asked him to move slowly toward the wall in front of him. As he moved closer, we asked the group what they were seeing. They noticed that as he closed the gap to the wall in front of him, his own shadow became more defined, even smaller. His focus was on the shadow of himself, not the light that surrounded him. He seemed to forget the light still shining behind him. That's how it is with us as we turn away from our loving Father toward other things; the further we go, the more engulfed we get with ourselves, what we desire, what we think we need. His light is still there; He never changes, but our
attentions are elsewhere. And the farther we walk away, the more we focus on ourselves. Our passions become our focus. Our next step was to put more people in the hallway with their back to the light. What was in front now? More darkness, dark shadows overlapping one another. Scripture talks about the company we keep and how bad company corrupts. The distortion becomes so great that the light almost appears to be blocked. Our choice of company disguises the truth of God's love. We become more blind, more unaware of the light of God's love still shining on us, and our "friends" don't see it either. Finally, we asked other staff members to stand along the hallway's sides and turn their cell phone lights onto the group in the middle. Their lights represented the light of Jesus in you and me. The light of Jesus spills forth and reaches every person around us. What difference did all of those lights make? The shadows on the wall became dimmer! A new reality began to emerge. The group's eyes in the middle immediately looked not only at the lights in front of them on the sides, but they turned! They looked back up the hallway to see all of the other people with their lights shining! And what else did they find? The primary source was still as brilliant as before! Oh, but so many lights! The first instinct was to cover their eyes. That's what we do when we see the truth of love's light. We compare ourselves, and then, we often hide our true self in shame, much like our ancestors of old in the Garden of Eden. Social scientist Brene Brown has done extensive research on the topic of shame. She says shame is a label used to declare, “I am bad; my person is
terrible or defective.” We all suffer those feelings. Every time we are ducking our head or can't look into the eyes of someone we love indicates shame. And each time, it wounds us at the core of our being. But guilt is different. It is the emotion that says, “I did something bad; my actions were bad.” It says, “I am guilty of telling a lie,” versus, “I am a bad person because I said the lie.” Shame labels the person defective; guilt's object is the behavior. We need the courage to label shame for what it is, a lie from the deceiver! The light of God's love shines on each of us equally, cascading across humans made in His image, and He declared us to be "Very Good." Whether we are looking entirely away from God or turned to some degree in the middle, our orientation in the hallway never changes God's degree of fondness for us. Yet, some use culture, politics, religious doctrines, and different social interpretations of scriptural meanings as arrows of shame. Shame arrows, verbally stated or released with a condescending glance, deliver a message; this person or these people are evil. We do it to ourselves too! To see like Jesus is to gaze with equality for the personhood of each person walking this planet. To love like Jesus, even harder, puts them above me in my actions. But the courageous love of Jesus, His light from you and me, makes someone in the hallway stop and take notice. Maybe they will begin to turn, find their courage to discover their blindness, admit their guilt, and take a step back toward the light. God's light is on, and it's time to be home.
Dr. Jennie Cerullo and Dr. Marcia Ball Co-Founders & Executive Directors of Kerus Global To learn more or to donate to Kerus, visit: www.kerusglobal.org
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CARING FOR AND PROTECTING VULNERABLE ORPHANS PROMOTING HIV/AIDS & SEX TRAFFICKING PREVENTION DEVELOPING COURAGEOUS LEADERS
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE KERUS STORY AT: WWW.KERUSGLOBAL.ORG
RIVERS OF HEALING God’s promises are all around us; the colors of the rainbow are reflected in our lives. Believe in His promises. Believe for healing, for miracles. The healing river meanders gently down through our lives and our family’s lives. As our faith grows, the power of the healing gains strength, like a mighty river. Jump into the river and feel the refreshing waters of God’s almighty healing hand.
Jeremiah 17:14 NIV
Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
A JOURNEY OF TRUST BY KRISTINA BUCKWALD
s believers, we are taught to put our trust in God that our divine Father will meet our needs and we can trust Him completely. Most of us will acknowledge our trust in the Lord, knowing that His will is perfect. But when we feel out of control - when there is nothing natural we can do to change a situation - the rubber meets the road, and our faith is put to the test. A year and a half ago, in the early stages of our world dealing with Covid, I very vividly heard God asking me if I trusted in Him. My answer is what I assume most Christians would say in response…."Of course, Lord, I trust You."
Then I heard him once again say to me, "No, I need to know that you fully trust Me, because it's going to get really bad." There are times in our lives when the voice of God is so unexplainable, yet so clear, that there is no doubt that He is speaking to us. This was one of those moments for me. I knew it was my heavenly Father talking to me. I had no idea why, but as I often do, I tried to discern the meaning and came to the conclusion that His warning must pertain to covid. Perhaps I would get covid and get very ill, so I confirmed, "Yes Lord, I completely trust You." Then I went about my day, not sharing this with my husband or my family. For the next several months, my family endured a series of hardships, including my 83-year-old mother falling in my home and breaking her hip. Subsequently, she was in multiple hospitals and nursing facilities, enduring four surgeries, pneumonia, and covid. With each hardship, I thought, "Ah-ha! This is what the Lord was referring to." God didn't confirm this, however, and I did not seek His confirmation. Over the next several months, I grew wearier regarding my mother and was essentially waiting to hear that she had passed. And, in the meantime, I was personally having trouble swallowing, and pain in my chest grew daily. But I neglected to devote attention to my own health as I had so many other responsibilities. 78
Then I got the phone call from my doctor that nobody wants. "I'm very sorry to tell you this, but you have esophageal cancer. It's stage 4." I could barely hear anything beyond that as fear overtook me and drowned out all sound. As a result, I have spent the last year receiving chemotherapy every two weeks for 48 hours at a time. I went on leave from my job as everything changed. But oddly enough, I've never had more peace in my life. I had spent a lifetime in fear - of death, of my parents’ death, even of cancer. But, now that my worst fear has come knocking on my door, I have no choice but to learn how to ultimately TRUST. Ok, God, this is what you were referring to. It's interesting how the most unimaginable and devastating news can completely refocus our lives into what is truly important. For me, it was learning how to trust my heavenly Father. After all, I don't have the ability to manage this or cure this on my own. Trust is all I have, but it is everything because of the One I trust. A quote from Dr. Charles Stanley continued to ring through my thoughts, "Trust God, and leave the consequences of that trust up to Him." Essentially, it is not our job to figure out how God can turn things around or why He has allowed strife in our lives. Our job is to humble ourselves as children and fully trust that the God of all creation, the God who spoke this world into existence, is more than capable of meeting all of our needs. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "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." (NIV) All your heart. Did you catch that?? ALL YOUR HEART. Do not devote even a portion of your heart to fear. Give it ALL to God. Romans 8:28 says, "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." (NIV) If we believe that, then we can have the assurance that though something may be a surprise to us, it certainly is not a surprise to God. He goes before us. He already had the plan in place. And all He requires of us is to trust. 79
A JOURNEY OF TRUST CONT.
I've also learned just how powerful words are. God SPOKE this world into existence. Genesis 1:1,3 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light." (NIV) Amazingly enough, those words still have the power today to hold the sun up in the sky and to keep the planets rotating. One word from God. That's all it took! Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." (ESV) I continually professed my fears and doubts for many years, which I believe manifested in my body. However, since my diagnosis, I never say I have that ugly six-letter word that starts with a C. Instead, I proclaim that I have another beautiful six-letter word that starts with a C, and that is Christ! I'm learning each day how to depend on and trust God. It is a process. It can be simple to say, "Yes, Lord, I trust you." But when we are called to put our words into action, it can be an entirely different thing. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that, as Christ-followers, we are to live according to faith rather than what we see. So as I continue to go for treatments, I do not rely on what the doctors say, for unless they are believers, they can only go off of what science says. And oh, by the way, who created science?? My hope resides completely in God. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) So I wait, and I trust. Not because it's my only hope, but because it is everything! God did not have to give me that word to trust Him, but He loved me enough to prepare me so that when this happened, I would not be shaken and would know that God has a purpose in all of this. And His purpose is clear. Over the past year, I've been able to share my testimony of God's goodness countless times.
would not be shaken and would know that God has a purpose in all of this. And His purpose is clear.
It is interesting that as Christians, we know that God atoned for our sins on the cross, and because of that, we can have the assurance that we are saved. However, we forget the second part of that promise that God made on the cross, it says in Isaiah 53:5, "But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; 80
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed." (NIV) Why is it so very easy for us to believe that Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave three days later to save us, but we struggle to believe that by the punishment He took upon His body for us, we have full assurance of healing? I received news just yesterday that my esophagus is completely clear. Yes, I still have spots on my liver and lymph nodes, but they are slowly shrinking. To hear the doctor's surprise that my esophagus is clear continues to assure me that my God can do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. I'm grateful for the fellowship of Women World Leaders and Voice of Truth magazine, which allows and encourages women like me to share our personal journeys and testimonies. We are all here to build each other up through the work God is doing in our lives, and VOT allows us to connect with women worldwide to encourage and provide hope that only God can bring. I pray this encourages you to put your full trust in God, whatever your trials may be. Our heavenly Father desires so much to meet our needs, and He knows our needs before we ever bring them to the cross. God bless you, and remember this, in Philippians 4: 6-7, God teaches us through Paul, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Kristina Buckwald is an author in the new book to be released by WWL, titled: Embrace the Journey Your Path to Spiritual Growth. Kristina is married to her high school sweetheart, Scott, and resides in a suburb of Cleveland.
Voice of Truth Stories Together We Are World Changers How are you sharing Voice of Truth? Write us. We want to share your "joy" of spreading the gospel of Christ throughout the world.
MEET SARA SAHM – PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
am happy to say that I stumbled onto Women World Leaders in, of all places, a dog park! I had just moved to the area and expressed my heart and call to ministry to another dog mom. For months and months, the thought of finding out more sat in the back of my mind - until another friend brought me a Voice of Truth magazine. I instantly knew that this was definitely not a "coincidence," but something only God could do.
I say all this not to say what I have done but what God has done. God used WWL to open the door to my call to ministry, and I couldn't be happier. The truth is that God has a plan for you, too. As Christians, we are all called to ministry in some way. I see WWL founders following God's direction in their lives, and because of that, doors have opened for me to gain the confidence to believe in my own calling.
Around the same time I received this beautiful magazine, God began putting it on my heart to write. As I am a songwriter, this was not unusual. But I asked God if this calling was about writing another song, or was He asking me to share my story? As I opened the magazine, my eyes landed on the first page of the March/April 2021 edition, "A CALL TO WRITERS." Just a few months later, the Lord led me to answer that call to writing and share my personal story, which will be included in WWL's new book to be released this year. Then I was blessed to share my encouragement story in a podcast interview with Kimberly Hobbs, which went worldwide. I was also empowered to walk in my Godgiven purpose by showcasing my songs on the podcast, WWL’s Facebook page, and the ministry’s website. 81
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MEET DOROTHY VERDIEU – ARIZONA
wasn't sure what to expect when I was first asked to assist with praying over the women who were coming to attend the Women World Leaders' meetings. I was moved by God, having no hesitation, because I was confident that this is how He wanted me to contribute my gifts. I looked forward to each time we met as a group. I immediately realized that there was a great need for prayer, and I was able to fill that need. Serving this way allowed me to connect and comfort so many women as they entered the doors of our meeting area.
I stood inside the doorway, offering silent prayers over each woman as she entered, often giving a smile or welcoming word and sometimes providing comfort with a warm hug or even by firmly holding a shaking hand. Other times there was an immediate understanding and connection, and we simply communicated with our eyes. As the months passed, we had to ask for more assistance at the door because the number of women attending increased so greatly that it was almost overwhelming. I was in awe of how God worked through this growing ministry, and we were all so grateful that the Spirit was moving in this way. God was allowing us to touch so many lives with love and encouragement through Him. Women World Leaders has consistently been there for me in my own need, including lifting me in prayer when I request it. More specifically, our family experienced a very traumatic event with my youngest daughter, a high school student, during the fall of 2020. We often read or hear about certain situations and pray for those experiencing a tragedy, but we don't truly believe that something similar could ever happen to us, that we'd ever have to endure such heartache. But it happened to me, and during this time of unimaginable pain and uncertainty, Women World Leaders helped me pray and maintain a certain level of sanity without allowing the situation to overtake and send me into a spiral of depression and despair. Their support helped me not forget that Jesus was in control of my situation. Alongside our family, the ladies would pray for us each day on a group prayer thread and would inquire about any developments as the days went by. For this, I will forever be grateful to this ministry of women. "First of all, then, I urge that supplication, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people." (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV) I was raised with a reserved and conservative religious experience, which was not relationship-based. This caused me to shy away from openly expressing outward praise to God or even praying openly. I am grateful that I learned to let go and surrender it all to God without hesitation or shame and that I stepped into my calling. I am thankful for the vision that God gave Kimberly Hobbs and Julie Jenkins as they work to ensure that many continue to be healed and find their calling in Christ. I am blessed to be able to share this ministry with those whom God has placed in my path during my daily professional life. I am also grateful for the positive impact that Women World Leaders is having on so many throughout the community and our world. Thank you, Voice of Truth magazine, for allowing me this opportunity to share my heart.
MEET CONNIE VANHORN – NORTH CAROLINA
Captivated by God's Grace
y name is Connie VanHorn. I am a mother to five amazing little people. Well, my oldest is twenty years old, and she is my best friend. We live in a beautiful area in North Carolina. My journey with God started about seven years ago. His journey with me started long before that. It’s amazing that it took me so long to see Him. I can look back and see where God tried to make Himself known, but I was too focused on the world around me. I can remember the exact day I called out to God and begged Him to reveal Himself to me. And that’s when He did. God finds a heart set on Him, and He calls it out and claims it. After that day, my life completely changed. I started on this incredible adventure with God, and it’s only getting better.
For me, being a part of Women World Leaders has become a dream come true. I’m still in a pinch-me-moment. I told God seven years ago that I was going to write stories about Him one day. I would put reminders in my journals and on my fridge. Even though there were times I didn’t believe in the words or myself, I believed God. God placed so many amazing women in my life who encourage me daily to passionately pursue my dream and purpose. These women shower me with scripture and a warmth I can’t explain. I am so grateful for this ministry and the work it is doing to spread the gospel to women all over the world. It’s truly captivating.
God revealed Himself to me in a mighty way. He showed me many great miracles as He wooed me daily. I was captivated. It took me a long time to understand how a perfect God could love someone like me. I was full of sin and broken. My past was dark and ugly, and I simply felt unworthy of a love so great. As time passed, I started to realize that God wanted me that way. He wanted to filter out what couldn’t be used and keep the parts that could. It’s God that does the fixing, and He was fixing me. Piece by piece. My life has been a true reminder of God’s grace and mercy. It doesn’t matter what our past looks like or how much sin we carry around - He gives us another day and another chance to make it right. Chance after chance. God loves us in the most perfect way. I love the way 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes love, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV) It is this kind of love that we should share with others. The same love and grace that God pours onto us daily. Whether deserving or not. I am human, and I’ll always be messy and broken. It’s the beautiful grace of God that delivers me daily. God has revealed to me how He can bring beauty from ashes, and He has done that in my life. True grace.
WWL LOVE NOTES Women World Leaders has been the community of women that I didn’t know I needed. This is a group of caring, sincere ladies who are all striving towards the common goal of a more intimate relationship with God and supporting each other through prayer, encouragement, and friendship along the way. I am so grateful for each one of you!
-kerri bridges 83
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MEET MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DUO
Chandra Balkissoon and Laura Balkissoon from Broward County, Florida Kerri Bridges sang during our first Monday night of worship, and the anointing filled the room. People were hugging and crying as God was moving. I thought, Wow! We'd come a long way in our praise and worship - from YouTube videos to live music! The drive to the meeting was at least an hour each way from my house (depending on traffic), but I made a commitment to the Lord and the leadership team to show up every time the doors were open. So I did, and I was so encouraged every single time.
received a phone call from a female business leader I respected, inviting me to a Women World Leaders' meeting. Reluctant to attend, I decided to show up, even though I wasn't sure what to expect! As I walked into this home meeting (in the beginning stages of the WWL ministry), I saw a few ladies already there, standing together and chatting. Everyone was very friendly, which made me feel at ease. The worship began - a YouTube video played, and we sang along. It was a very powerful time together, setting the atmosphere for us to get into the Word after worship. Our first study was Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson. It was such a wonderful season for me. We had two meetings and split into two separate homes so we could accommodate everyone. I saw WWL grow from meeting in those homes to outgrowing them rapidly and praying for a place we could all meet together. I enjoyed myself and being with the other women, and I looked forward to the monthly meetings ahead. The gathering was personal and filled with the presence of God, who was readily available to heal and minister. And the meals were incredibly delicious - a beautiful touch and always a bonus!! God answered our prayer as He provided a larger meeting place, and I watched WWL grow as God did above and beyond what we all anticipated. I remember walking into the new room, our gathering place in a fellowship hall, and experiencing so much love and excitement. 84
As I started reading Susie Larson's book Fully Alive, it changed how I handled situations in my life. In her book, she said, "What happens in our soul happens in our cells." That was so liberating - if our soul is distressed, our body is sick!!! If we allow stress, anxiety, and the cares of this world, which we all have, to seep into our souls and infect us, then our bodies also get infected. This lingered with me. I was learning so much. When we try to heal our bodies with medication and therapy, we first need to heal our souls. The Word of God and His Holy Spirit renew our minds and hearts. That's how soul healing begins. One Monday, I was getting ready to drive up to the WWL meeting, and my mom said, "Do you want company on your drive to the meeting?" Since it was quite a far drive, I hadn't thought that my mom would be interested in attending. But I gladly accepted her offer. She came with me, and she fit in with everyone!!! She loved helping in hospitality, and as a woman of prayer, she prays for the ministry to this day. Everyone was so welcoming to her, which blessed both our hearts. From the birthing stage to where it is today - Women World Leaders is a ministry built on prayer and love for God and His people. My mom and I support Kimberly and the leadership team with our prayers and with our love. We are honored to be part of Women World Leaders and partner in sending these magazines to the world. We believe in sowing into good ground, and nothing is more important than getting the TRUTH to all the nations of the world.
MEET BRENDA JAMES – WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA
i, my name is Brenda James. I live in Winter Haven, Florida with my husband, Scott. We moved here from Nebraska a little over two years ago to be near our son Bodie and his wife Ashley and our two grandsons, Maxon and Gatlin. This past spring, I was introduced to Kimberly from Women World Leaders through a mutual friend, Cindy Southworth. I’ve been so inspired by all the women here who are doing life-changing, powerful things through our Lord Jesus Christ! I see a beautiful sisterhood represented through this ministry, and I’m grateful to be a part of it! Our Lord always knows how to connect His people for His purposes. My greatest passion is music and how it ministers to our hearts. I am a worship leader who is also a songwriter/ recording artist. Music has impacted my life in so many ways, which is why I love to use music to touch hearts for the glory of God. Once I learned that worship and praise open the gates of Heaven and bring us into the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, I changed how I use this gift. Now, music is my weapon of warfare to help set the captives free. I invite you to go to my website (www. brendajamesmusic.com) and other digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and my YouTube channel to join in worship with me! He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:3 ESV)
The Lord has also given me a passion to minister with music to the homeless people and senior citizens in our community, enabling me to connect with people and bring joy to their lives. My husband and I were gifted the opportunity to spend seven years reaching the lost weekly through a gospel mission in our hometown as I sang and he preached the Gospel. In 2012 the Lord opened a door for Scott and me to start working with a couple in Pakistan who minister to orphans, widows, slaves, the homeless, and the hungry. This ministry has grown so much that we started a nonprofit called ‘Little Treasure Ministries’ - a global support network enabling the team in Pakistan to do so many amazing things! They share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in one of the most extreme Muslim nations, where being a Christian can cost you your life. We were able to take our first mission trip to Pakistan in 2019, and it rocked our world. We have never seen such suffering OR such genuine, sold-out faith in Christ. The LTM team in Pakistan is currently working to rescue Christians from Afghanistan whose lives are in danger. They have evacuated around 230 people to date and are working on bringing more individuals to safety. God is so good! I look forward to working more with Women World Leaders, who have come along beside me, and to hearing from anointed women of God this ministry. I love Voice of Truth magazine as it is filled with God’s truth and is touching so many lives, including mine. Keep up the great work, ladies! Keep fighting the good fight. Our Lord goes before us and empowers us. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3 ESV)
Send us your story at email@example.com
WWL Global Connections a compliment and joy! She is always full of expressive, uplifting words of hope through Jesus and scripture.
onna Clare is a beautiful Woman World Leader from the United Kingdom with a simple desire to be a living testimony of her faith. Her love for the Lord Jesus Christ and her personal relationship with Him has given her the desire to encourage women around the globe. Her kindness in reaching out to others, especially women, and showing them the love of Christ has united this woman of faith to the Women World Leaders ministry. Her urgency to share her personal story of finding freedom in Christ and a passion to serve Him propelled Donna into helping others within WWL and has captured the attention of our leaders. A global connection was made, and now Donna has a welcomed place with us as she encourages, empowers, and touches the hearts of women around the world, using the specific giftings God has blessed her with. A lover of the arts and theater, Donna uses her talent for our Lord in the area of performance. If you have visited the Women World Leaders’ Facebook group, you are familiar with Donna’s distinct voice and beautiful gift to speak monologues from scripture. Another of her gifts is finding ways to uplift women of all cultures with gentle kindness and descriptive words. Donna shares thoughts with her sisters through comments on Facebook, in prayer, and by reaching out to others individually. Receiving a comment from Donna is 86
Despite her joy, Donna is willing to share what she has learned from her own battles. She fought through the addictions of anorexia and self-harm for years. Now, as an overcomer, she encourages others to seek Christ in their struggles, pointing them to where she found help, the Word of God. Through the power of Christ working within her, she has become victorious over her battles, strong in faith, and a leader in our world. She is a true Women World Leader and our partner in sharing inspiration in this ministry. You can hear Donna in her own voice on episode 94 of the Women World Leaders’ Podcast as Kimberly Hobbs interviews her for Empowering Lives with Purpose. (The Women World Leaders’ Podcast can be found wherever you listen to podcasts and accessed through womenworldleaders.com.) A glimpse into her life reveals that Donna loves the beauty of God's creation and the joy of experiencing adventures in the great outdoors. She shares quality time with the Lord in the still moments of walking on pathways and hiking near her home in the United Kingdom. It is our privilege to unite with Donna and other women of character, strength, and love from various countries around the world. Thank you, Donna Clare, for your "yes" to God as you share encouragement with our sisters for His greater purpose. You are beautiful in His sight. In Women World Leaders, we love globally connecting with motivated women from around the world who wish to serve our Lord. We have many opportunities which you may choose to serve with us. Please write to us at Info@womenworldleaders.com and express your desire to be used by God in this ministry, and we would be happy to contact you and continue to bless others by possibly sharing your story of stepping out in faith.
A Heartfelt Thank You
To our sister & friend, Kayla Follin. She has spent numerous hours laboring in love for our Savior to graphically design this magazine! Her heart of passion, creativity and love exude in everything she does! Thank you Kayla for the beauty you’ve made come alive through these pages! Much love to you!
A special thanks goes to Johana Torres, our translator for Voice of Truth and Women World Leaders. Johana is a faithful Woman World Leader who has supported this ministry with her time, talents, and prayers not only for us all, but graciously for the Hispanic community who is close to her heart. She has a passionate desire to serve God first in all that He calls her to do at home, in the family business, and in ministry. Thank you Johana for being a committed volunteer of your time, we love you.
Our Pure Devotion As a ministry, we hereby dedicate this magazine unto the Lord almighty. He is our rock, our provider, our Savior, and the love of our life. This magazine thanks the Lord for providing all of the women, the finances, and the strength to complete a task such as this. All glory, dominion, and power praise His holy name. We bow down in complete reverence and love to our King of kings.
Praying for you, Daughter of Zion Lifting you up, Sister, before the Lord of Hosts. Asking the Lord to bless you in all of your ways to humble your heart that you may receive the ever-flowing love and mercy of Jesus. Praying His sacrificial care towards you would stir you on to do good works and that His tenderness towards you would allow your full, reverent commitment to Him. Asking for repentance tears, that your trust in Him may increase as you receive every ounce of soul-satisfying grace that He has to pour upon you. Praying living waters would well up in you richly, providing all of your needs with His abounding presence. Asking our Father God to carry you to the fountain of life. Praying you will run this race with His merciful heart, carrying His truth. May His Word fill you in abundance. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. 87
Inspirational Writings, Scriptures, and Artistic Expressions of the Radiant Love of Christ. Women World Leaders is on a mission to globally invest in the lives of women as they discover their lifework and purpose within God's design. By developing their God-given abilities and gifts, women are finding the power to serve in God's grace, a unity of fellowship among believers, and the joy of experiencing the exceeding abundance of God's glorious work.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long. PSALM 25:5 (NIV)
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