Some days we just need a little extra encouragement, don’t we?

The past few weeks, for me, have been tough ones for many reasons. But in the midst of it all, my Abba Father has been so faithful to speak comfort into my heart.

We are His children! He loves us more deeply than we could ever fathom!

Today, as I was praying over my quiet time, the Spirit drew me to James. I sometimes forget how much I love this book. Yes, there is encouragement here, but James also gives us many reminders to check-up on our heart attitudes.

When we feel wronged, it’s human nature to lash out. That’s not our Father’s nature, and we are to reflect Him.

I encourage you today, pray & read through this short book. Take a look at your reflection in God’s mirror. Are you reflecting Him or the world in word and deed?
I definitely need to do some polishing on my reflection today!

**Father, thank You for Your mercy! Thank you for love us and allowing us to be imperfect children, but also for reminding us to strive to perfectly reflect You! Help us to daily check our heart attitudes for anything that is not of You. Heal our brokenness and help us to live in the fullness of Your joy everyday! Amen!**

Be blessed!

-De

Reinforcing His Armor

This little blog of prayer is for all my ministry wife friends out there.

As I lay in my bed last night, jolted awake by some random noise outside, my mind focused in on all of you. You beautiful, often battle-worn ladies, my sisters in the fight, as we aide our men in their leading of God’s churches. So I began to pray, to seek God for what He was trying to tell me. Here is what He whispered to my heart.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NASB)

We all know to put on our armor everyday, and I know our husbands do too. But God was impressing upon me, that as my husband’s helper, I held the responsibility of helping to repair and reinforce his armor. After days on the front lines of a spiritual battle, he will need help. How do we help? Prayer. That may be quite obvious, I know. We all pray for our husbands daily, or at least I hope you do. But do we honestly consider the spiritual battles that rage around him. We are deceiving ourselves if we don’t think they are real. We’re their back-up ladies!

Father, as my husband has armed himself for battle today, I pray that you will strengthen his armor as he heads to the front lines. Strengthen his stance in You, Father. Fasten tightly Your belt of Truth around him as he studies Your word. Guard his heart with Your breastplate of righteousness as he strives to live for You. As my husband laces up shoes of peace, give him Your stability, Your peace amidst the enemy’s fire. Strengthen his traction as he moves forward to spread Your Gospel message. As he takes up his shield of faith, place him in line with Your other leaders on the front lines. Encourage them to link their shields together creating a stronger guard against the flaming arrows of the enemy, thus becoming an immovable force for You. Pushing through the front lines of the enemy together in full faith in You. Tighten upon him, the helmet of Salvation, Father. Do not allow the enemy to invade his mind. Protect him from the discouragement and negativity that abounds in the church and the world. Renew his mind daily to reflect Your own. Father, sharpen his Sword as he lives in Your Word daily. Bestow upon him Your wisdom through the Word, so that he may courageously and confidently combat the workers of the enemy. Finally, grow in him a deeper desire to be a man on his knees. Make his prayer life a most precious time with You! In this, he will be more alert to the schemes of the enemy and more focused and aligned with Your perfect will.

Protect him today, Father. Use him today, Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

This may be nothing new to you, I don’t know. I’m just sharing what God placed on my heart.

This world is a mess, ladies, and our husbands are called to no easy task. The war is raging in churches across our country, and we can no longer sit and observe from the pews. We must stand up. We must pray. We must join them on the front lines of battle and tend their wounds.

Praying for all of you and your men today!

-De

Have Things Really Changed?

Every night, before bed, my hubby and I always spend some time together watching a little TV or movies.  It’s just something we’ve always done.  Usually it’s episodes from some of our favorite shows (Doctor Who, LOST, Once Upon A Time, Friends), nothing too serious.  Occasionally we’ll find a movie to spread over a couple nights, also, generally light-hearted flicks.  But over the past two nights we changed that a little bit.  We finally relented and let a movie that we’ve put off for several years move to the top of our Netflix DVD queue.  One, most people our age watched years ago, but that for some reason, we’d both avoided. Schindler’s List.

Being a huge lover of history, I’d always wanted to watch it.  But, anyone who has ever studied that part of world history also knows why I’ve always avoided it.  It’s painful. Very painful.  I still can’t wrap my mind around the Holocaust.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  How?  Why?  What were they really thinking?  I mean…there are no words, only a million questions.  I will never understand how anyone could justify any of that.

But what has weighed heavy on my mind and heart since we finished the film last night…have things really changed?

Sure, the scale of genocide that occurred then was massive, and things like that don’t happen very often even on a small scale.  But the hatred.  The pure hatred of people who are the slightest bit different…has that changed in our society?  Watch the news for 5 minutes and you’ll know it hasn’t.

Most of culture doesn’t seem to value life.

Just because your ethnicity is different than mine, doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

Just because your lifestyle doesn’t line up with what I believe, doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

Just because you worship (or don’t worship) a god that isn’t my God, doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

Just because you were “unplanned” doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

LIFE IS VALUE!

You live. You breathe. Your heart beats. You think. You love. You hurt. You laugh. YOU HAVE VALUE!

For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139: 13-16

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We will never all agree on lifestyles, religions, etc.  But disagreeing doesn’t mean we have to hate.

Christian sisters & brothers, please, oh please, hear this.  Christ called us to love the world.  LOVE.  Don’t be confused or misled. Take a lesson from Paul:

Romans 12 English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Gifts of Grace

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Be blessed!

-De

Stop and Refocus

When I sat down to have my quiet time this morning, I looked at my Bible study book and just couldn’t pick it up.  So after a little prayer, I began getting the kiddos working on their lessons for the day.  I really felt God wanting me to stop and refocus.  Not exactly what I wanted to do this morning.

Here’s a little insight…

Ok, so we’re working to get settled in.  Unpacking is just as much fun as the packing was. Moving-Homes-The-Unpacking-Nightmare-700x466I’m honestly, OVER seeing boxes everywhere.  But, unpacking and living in a place at the same time makes it slow-going.  That’s ok.  It really is.  But, here’s what happened over the past few days.  The hubby has started officially at the church.  He’s keeping regular office hours (and not just across the parking lot), so he’s not around during schooling hours if I need a little assistance.  (That’s really ok, too.)  I, however, during this transition have not been as diligent in keeping the Enemy out of my thought life.  That’s a very dangerous thing!  Little unpacking has been accomplished this week.  All of my time has been spent schooling & cleaning.  (I mean, you have to clean if you are going to live in a place…even if it isn’t unpacked.)  Insert LOTS of frustration over not being able to find items needed for cleaning.  More frustration over being interrupted by children needing assistance while I was looking for missing items needed for the cleaning task I was involved in.  Dishes. Laundry. Creating a home atmosphere. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Dishes. Laundry. Trip over a box. (Did I break my toe?) Try to develop a cleaning/shopping routine.  Realize it doesn’t work.  Try again.  Redirect kiddos back to school.  Etc. Etc. & repeat.

During all of this, the Enemy is whispering: “You are going to have to do this all by yourself.”  “Look at them all, playing around & not helping at all.”  “You’re never going to get anything accomplished.”   See where he was taking me?  UGH!!

Insert God saying “STOP!” “My daughter, I need you to refocus!”

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31:25-29 (HCSB)

He directed me to read and meditate on Proverbs 31, again.  I love my Abba for times like this!  Sure, I may get overwhelmed at times, but I don’t have to listen to the Enemy’s lies.  As long as I recognize them, I can rebuke them.  God created me for the purpose of “watching over” my household.  That doesn’t mean I have to do it all myself, but I do have to delegate responsibilities & ask for assistance when needed.

Why do we, as women, make things SO much more difficult than they need to be?  😉

May I encourage you, sister, if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged with simply everyday life, take some time to stop and refocus.  Pray.  Listen to God.  Obey Him.  Maybe read through Proverbs 31. (And please don’t feel that you EVER have to live up to her example.) Be inspired by her!  Be encouraged by her!  God created you for a beautiful purpose!

Be blessed!

-De

Take Off Those Steel-Toed Boots

2_timothy_3_16_by_treybacca-d5vmg7vBut as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:14-17 HCSB

Preface: This verse actually popped up in my children’s lesson a few Wednesday nights ago.  That set it rolling around in my brain.  God has had it on simmer for the past weeks, allowing me to draw some amazing things from it.  Speaking its lessons to my heart.

How often do you wear your “steel-toed boots” to church?  You know what I mean…the imaginary armor you put on after a few weeks of the preacher’s words stepping on your toes.  It’s so easy to become exhausted of sermons stomping our toes into the ground.  You may even be tempted to ask your pastor to give your toes a break once and a while.  Ever been there?  I have.

You know what friend?  Don’t be tempted to ask your pastor to “tickle your ears.”  There are warnings against that.  Paul specifically warns Timothy of this just a few verses later:

I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom:  Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5

Prayerfully, if your pastor is truly seeking God’s will, he/she will not listen to your counsel anyway.

We are human. We don’t like to be told we’re wrong in any way.  It hurts.  It makes us uncomfortable.  It often makes us angry.  We may want to lash out.  We may want to withdraw.  There are many ways we respond to rebuke or correction.

When your pastor or teachers are teaching the Words of God in truth*, friends they’re fulling God’s will for them.  If those words from scripture stomp on your sensitive toes…LET IT!  That usually means that you need it.  I know that is the case with me.  When something my hubby preaches just pierces me to the core, I know it’s time to get with God and do a check-up!  (Not always willingly…I have been known to throw a toddler tantrum or two.)

God’s truth can hurt as well as encourage.  I’ve heard messages in the past that I found incredibly encouraging only to be told by a friend how much it stomped her toes, and vice versa.

Let’s take those old steel-toed boots and toss them in the trash!  Let’s allow God’s Word to pierce our hearts and stomp our toes!  Only then, when we’ve been taught, rebuked, corrected, & trained will we be complete & equipped for the work He has prepared for us.

Be blessed!

-De

*Please be aware that there are “teachers” and “pastors” who do not teach the Word in truth but in twisted versions of the scriptures.  I encourage you to study the scriptures & hold them accountable.

Do I Live Sacrificially?

Today I posted this question to ponder on my facebook wall:

Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for you. What have you sacrificed for Him lately?

Have you ever seriously pondered this?  It was a challenge to myself, and I hope you’ll allow it to challenge you.

Are you living sacrificially? 

Honestly, we will never be able to give Christ everything He deserves from us while we tread in this life.  But we should at least give it a go, right?

So, how might that look?  Believe me, I’m no expert, but I’m willing to dig in and learn…care to join me?

Let’s look to Romans 12

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We have to make a conscious choice to not be influenced by the world around us.  We have to dig into His Word and renew our minds…daily.  It’s so simple to let the world sneak into our minds.

The world tells us,

  • “It’s been a long and tiring week, I don’t need to go to church today.”
  • “Yeah, I know I missed last Sunday, but I really need to catch up on housework.”
  • “Oh, the budget is so tight this month, the church won’t notice if I don’t tithe just this once.”
  • “I’ve served my time in the church, I deserve to observe rather than serve.”
  • “I know I’m not the only Christian who sees that homeless man on the corner everyday, surely someone else is helping him out.”
  • “The style of clothing I wear to church shouldn’t matter. They should know to control their thoughts anyway.” (Referring to modesty here…not dressy or casual)
  • “Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be at the top of my priority list.  I’m sure I’ll find time to fit it into my day.”
  • “There are too many hypocrites in churches today.”
  • “Why should I pray when God already knows what I need?”

I could go on, but you get the picture.

I have struggled with many of these nagging voices trying to convince me to, in all honesty, be a lazy and uncaring Christian.

Can we address these lies of the Enemy with the Word of God?  Let’s see…

  • “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message)
  • “Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” Mark 12:41-44 (The Message)
  • “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
  • “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)
  •  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
  • “…Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (ESV)  Here’s a good blog that speaks more in depth to modesty.
  • “Attention, Israel!  God, our God! God the one and only!  Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!  Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Message)
  • “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.” Matthew 5:17-18 (The Message)
  • We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat (Romans 3:9-20)

9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:
There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day.
This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.   (Sorry I know that was long, but, Wow, it preaches!)

  • 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” James 5:13-18 (ESV)
  • 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

And there are so many more Scriptural rebuttals that we can glean from God’s Word.

So, let’s challenge each other (because, yes, I need it too) that next time we find ourselves tempted to give in to the lies of the world, to seek after the TRUTH of God’s Word.  Seek living a life of sacrifice…that is going against everything our human selves desire. Sacrificing it.  And seeking to fulfill the desires of God for our lives!  IT’S NOT GOING TO BE EASY!!  Oh, but can you imagine how WONDERFUL it will be!!!

-De

Digging into the Word: Praying Scriptures

I recently started a small Bible study with ladies at church.  Our ultimate goal is to know God’s Word more intimately.  I can’t think of a better way to build that wonderful relationship with the Father than through prayer.  Knowing His Word well enough to be able to pray it, conversationally with Him. *Insert excited shiver*

The first thing I challenged the ladies (and myself) to do was begin building a Word Box.

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My Word Box is a simple 3×5 note card box.

Build it slowly, and categorically, as they read the Bible during their quiet time.  If a verse speaks to me, I write it down!

I use my Word Box during my prayer time, especially if I’ve been asked to pray over certain situations, or if I’m struggling in a certain area.

A few basic categories I have in my box are Worry, Fear, Prayer, Faith, Worship, Provision, Contentment, and Healing.  I’m continuing to build on those as we go through our study.

Would you like to join us?  Every Wednesday I will post a topic and some scriptures that are related to it.  I would love for you to share in this journey with us!  And please, comment and contribute to our Word Boxes!

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV

Looking forward to this journey!

-DeAnna