Tag Archives: Jesus

The Best Mistake I Ever Made

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I entered the room shaking like a leaf, cheeks flushed. I had prepared well, yet felt no confidence. I was striving to rely upon the Holy Spirit. However, I was not experiencing the boldness that is ours in Christ. I glanced out the window into the parking lot and viewed many more women entering the building than I had anticipated, most with gray hair. Instead of being encouraged, my anxiety increased.

After years of rebellion, I returned to Jesus (my first love) at age 21. At age 22 I met, fell in love with, and married the kindest man I had ever encountered, who happened to be an insanely good looking pastor.

 

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(YES, a bird pooped in my hair on our first date.)

For his second pastoral call, God planted us in Hammond, IN when I was 27 years old, as my husband accepted the senior pastor role at Covenant Presbyterian Church. By this time I had been in inductive Bible study for 5 years but had never taught one. I did not believe I had the gift of teaching.

Because I felt the void of a weekly ladies study, I inquired about someone leading one. The previous pastor’s wife had taught one, but when she left the study ended. Through prayer and counsel, I realized the Lord was leading me to take on the role of women’s Bible study teacher. With fear and trembling, I sent a proposal to the Christian Education Committee.  However, due to my insecurities, I proposed a young women’s study as that was a little less intimidating than the thought of teaching women older than I was.

Back to that “best mistake I ever made” thing,  I ended up offending most of the older women in the church, many of whom desired to come.  The committee came back and encouraged me to begin the study but invite all of the women in the church.

By God’s grace hurt feelings were healed and the study was comprised of mainly “older” women. I learned invaluable lessons from these dear ladies and they helped me discover I did indeed have the gift of teaching.

Step out in faith and let God take care of the outcome!

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

The following is a photo of the several of the beautiful souls who helped shape me.

 

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What is the best mistake you ever made and how did God use it? Who came alongside you to help you overcome your fears? I would love to hear from you!

Needing someone to come alongside you right now? My friend Kelly Balarie is your girl!  I urge you to order her book, Fear Fighting, off of Amazon.

Awaken Courage! Overcome your fears!

Seeking God

I felt the refreshment of the Holy Spirit splash across my face like the salty air of the ocean as I entered the main conference room. The wafting smells of an exquisitely prepared dinner delighted my senses. The energy among the women was palpable. I was experiencing my fourth She Speaks Conference sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

At each place setting was a Bible verse typed out on parchment paper and rolled up like a scroll. I couldn’t wait to uncurl mine and read the Scripture, which God in His providence had chosen for me, and the ministry He has called me to. I confess I was taken aback as I opened and read:

“…know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Had I sat down in the wrong seat? I suddenly had an urge to trade mine for the unopened one beside me. 🙂
I thought to myself, “Lord, you know I have been a Christian in leadership for over 25 years, do I need a warning that if I ‘forsake’ you I will be ‘cast off forever’?” Then I remembered the words of the apostle Peter: “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” (Matthew 26:33) Peter denied the Lord three times shortly after that. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the struggles I had recently had, temptations on every side to return to the sins of my youth. As one who is born again by the Spirit of the Living God can I possibly sin so badly that I will be “cast off forever”? (Nope!) When Christ died on the cross for the sins of His people He did not merely make my salvation possible, he secured it. Not by works of righteousness which I have done, rather because of His amazing grace. However, am I above slipping in my faith and causing others to stumble? (Nope!) I knew it was time to humble my heart and heed the exhortations written before me.

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We “know” God by studying what His Word says about Him and by communing with Him in prayer. We are to serve Him with a “loyal” heart, not a heart that is lusting after the idols of this world. A “willing mind” means we engage with His Spirit, and do not serve for selfish gain. He knows our motives, as all is laid bare before His sight.

What about you? Are you surrendering your life and ministry to Him? Are you serving Him will a loyal heart and a willing mind?

Give your dreams to Him with a heart that is truly seeking His glory above all. In doing this your plans will not be cast off or forsaken, rather He will establish them. In the above verse, David was speaking to his son Solomon, who indeed stumbled later in his life. We must fix our focus on David’s “greater son” (Jesus) who came in the fullness of time, one greater than Solomon, who was faithful to the end. He graciously gives us the will and ability to serve Him as He desires, because He obeyed the Father perfectly and saved us to the uttermost. After all, it’s all about Him!

The Mercy Seat

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“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat…” Exodus 25:22

I was gasping for breath as I felt the current pulling me under. I struggled hard against the waves, which only made matters worse. I frantically pushed forward, only to be sucked further out. I was fighting a force stronger than myself. Undertow. Scenes of my life truly played out in my mind. Finally, I began to cry out to the one who has the power over the wind and the waves. He heard my cries and the next thing I remember was moving in closer and closer to shore. I was in middle school swimming in the surf in Corpus Christi, Texas, when this terrifying event occurred.

If you are a Christian, prayer is one of your greatest privileges. So why don’t we spend more time at the mercy seat? Prayer is one of our greatest weapons against the attacks of the evil one, so why do we spend so little time on our knees? I say, because prayer is WORK! I love this quote by E.M. Bounds, regarding this essential discipline.

“To say prayers in a decent, delicate way is not heavy work. But to pray till the iron gates of difficulty are opened, till the mountains of obstacles are removed, till the mists are exhaled and the clouds are lifted, and the sunshine of a cloudless day brightens—this is hard work, but it is God’s work and man’s best labor.”

Friends, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords invites us into His presence through the precious blood of Jesus. Will we come?

We must first find out what the mystery hidden in the mercy seat is:

“Once a year, the High Priest took the blood of a sacrificial offering and entered into the Most Holy. He then sprinkled this blood of the sacrificial offering on the mercy seat for exactly seven times. God said that He would meet the Israelites on this mercy seat then. God meets whoever has the same faith as that of the High Priest, that is, the faith in His remission of sin revealed in the sacrificial system.” Rev. Paul C. Jong

Do you have “iron gates of difficulty” in your life? How about “mountains of obstacles?”

Do you believe that the One who parted the Red Sea can do the same in your circumstances?

I close with a stanza of another of my favorite hymns:

 “Ah! whither could we flee for aid, When tempted, desolate, dismayed;

Or how the hosts of hell defeat, Had suffering saints no mercy seat?”

Through Every Stormy Wind that Blows, William Cooper

So what are you waiting for? You don’t have to wait until you are drowning in your circumstances! Enter now into the throne room of heaven. Access is ours through the blood of Jesus.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Good Grief!

IMG_1596 “So that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope…” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 I feared I was slipping into depression last week, and my heart grew troubled within me. Thankfully the Helper (Holy Spirit) revealed to me that I am not depressed, but rather grieving. Grieving is a positive thing for a former professional “stuffer.” It is important for each of us to remember any loss is a death. Loss of health, loss of a dream, loss of a marriage, or as I am experiencing, loss of a church family, are all examples of a “death.” Some losses come suddenly and unexpectedly, and some losses are prolonged and expected. My dad died suddenly. My mom died slowly of cancer. I grieved both deaths (though not always constructively). I grieved for my mom as she was dying. Most of the grieving for my dad was done afterward. There are several stages of grief. Denial and anger are two of them. If we grieve properly, we will eventually come to the acceptance. We’ve grieved the loss of five church families over the course of 25 years. When we left our beloved body of believers at Covenant Church in Hammond, IN, we had a couple of months to grieve before a final decision was reached (calling from God). We recently left one of our most blessed of my husband’s pastorates, (Westminster Chapel in Ball Ground, GA), and the decision was quick and unexpected by some. We have a clear calling from God to move in a new direction, yet the grief runs deep. I am grateful for the growth God is bringing into my life to allow me to process this pain, and not stuff it down deep where it will pop out in destructive ways. I am likewise thankful that as 1st Thessalonians 4:3 states, “I’m not grieving like the rest of mankind, (unbelievers) who have no hope.” I’m choosing to believe in the HOPE of the resurrection power of Christ, knowing He will provide for Westminster Chapel, and for my family and me. I’m trusting as Proverbs 3: 5-6 calls us to: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What about you? Are you experiencing a loss (death)? Are you trying to stuff it down deep and ignore the pain, or are you learning to grieve (yet not as one who has no hope)? Look to Jesus, our only hope in life and in death.

A Bond-slave Of Jesus: Choosing Faith Over Fear

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“Behold, the bond-slave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 (NASB)

The above words were spoken by: Mary, the mother of Jesus, after the angel of the Lord appeared to her. He proclaimed that by the power of the Holy Spirit, she would conceive the Son of God. 

Yet her initial response to the angelic being was one of fear.  Luke says she was “greatly troubled.”  However, Mary chose faith over fear and declared herself a “bond-slave of the Lord,” and submitted to God’s will over her own.  The definition of a bond-slave is:

 One who gives himself up to another’s will; those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men; devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests   (Biblestudytools.com)

 Mary gave herself up to her Lord’s will. She disregarded her own interests for His.

Are we willing to do the same?

 Will we choose faith over fear?

 May we proclaim like Mary, “Be it done to me according to your word.”

 What are your fears?

 (Remember the words of Holly Gerth: (Best-selling author of You’re Already Amazing as well as several other books with Revell.)

 “You’re more courageous than you know!”