Friday, December 26, 2008

Being Blessed to Be a Blessing


As we come to the end of 2008 I would like to share a testimony of God's blessing.

My husband and I have been in ministry for over 25 years and have preached tithing and have seen the benefits of giving faithfully tithes and offerings. We have been attending a local church while my husband is finishing up his Doctorate in Virginia Beach.

Last December during the church's yearly building campaign I felt God impress on me to pledge for my real estate business (while Stan is working on his Doctorate I am bringing income in by selling real estate.) Now the real estate business is not the greatest right now, but right after I filled out my pledge I was invited to be part of our company's relocation team. In order to be on this team you have to complete a certain criteria. I had not reached that criteria and they asked me to be on the team under a mentoring program. I was with another company the previous year and had not had any sales and had only been with my present company for 6 months.

That was a blessing from the Lord. I began receiving clients through this relocation program. Over the past 12 months I have closed 10 transactions. I have faithfully given my tithe on every transaction, and have tried to keep up with my pledge. At the end of November we had extra income I put toward my pledge. I debated on whether to do it or not because of the cruise we were going on in two weeks. I told God I was giving this money toward my pledge and trusting Him to provide the rest of my pledge by the end of the year.

As soon as I put the money in the envelope I received a phone call from a woman, in California, I had been in contact with since April. They were suppose to come to Virginia Beach in October and wanted me to help them find a house. I had not heard from her in a couple of months. She called me, said they were in the area and had decided to rent, but they wanted to purchase the house and wanted me to represent them. We closed on the house on the Monday after I returned from the cruise. The money to fulfill my pledge came from that closing, along with money for Christmas for our kids.

The reason I am writing on giving is to encourage each of you reading this article to faithfully give your tithe, and trust God as you pledge above and beyond what you think you can give. If you give what you know you have, you are robbing yourself of being blessed by God. I would like to challenge you to get out of your comfort zone of giving and pledge to give God a certain amount this year to some ministry. An amount in which you have no idea where it will come from. I am not just speaking about financially. I am speaking more importantly about being blessed spiritually.

As you step out in faith, trusting God for the impossible, your faith is challenged and growth is inevitable. It is my opinion that Christians, for too long, have just trusted God for what they need to just "get by." That is wonderful! Think about this for a moment...what about trusting God to meet your needs and bless you with more than "just getting by" so you can be a blessing to someone in need?

It is so amazing and fulfilling to see what God can do with what you give Him to use. You may not be able to be actively involved in ministries like A21 Campaign or Project Rescue (both of these ministries help rescue girls and women from human trafficking) but you can help them by giving financially. This is just an example. There are many ministries in your individual churches that can be blessed by your giving.

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:8-10 NIV

Ok the previous verse was Old Testament, so here's what the New Testament says,

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 NIV

Throughout the Book of Acts you will find examples of people giving to those in need.

If we are barely getting by how can we help those in need when we feel a tug in our spirit to do so? We need to carefully look at our lives, especially during this time in our nation and world. Economics is not all that great, but we serve a great God. Trust Him to meet your needs. Do what you can do to help your family. Give the tithe on what you are receiving. Trust God to bless you. Give a little extra when you don't think you can and see God bless.

Now you have to be careful to not just start giving in order to get for selfish reasons.

I believe the correct way to look at this is...give out of the goodness of your heart, knowing God will bless you, in order for you to be a blessing to others.

In other words...

Be Blessed to Be a Blessing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

God is Amazing!



Since we have moved back to Virginia Beach we have been able to receive nursing care for our son Daniel. One of our nurses is from the Virgin Islands. I was talking to her about her family and where she grew up; and mentioned we had some good friends, Pastor James Bell and his wife, Ailene, as well as St. Claire Mitchell, that were from Dominica. She got so excited because Pastor Bell was her pastor as a child and her mom knew him well.

When she heard we were going to St. Thomas she was excited because that is where she went to high school and her mom is still there. While we were in St. Thomas I called her mom and she met us and took us to her church and introduced me to her pastor, Ashley Estrada. Her mom is very proud of what their congregation has been able to do. The congregation built their church and it is debt free. It is a beautiful church.

I am including pictures for you to see. They view is awesome...you can see the ocean from the balcony of the church!

The old saying, "It is a small world," is so true. There have been many times we have run into people who know people that are friends of ours. God's family is so big and awesome. It is amazing.
It could be a glimpse of heaven.

I will be posting again soon...until then enjoy the pictures of Kingdom Life International Christian Center in St. Thomas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Off to the Virgin Islands!


I just wanted to let everyone know I will be offline for about 9 days or so. Didn't want you to think I had forgotten to blog. Our family is off for a special vacation that God has blessed us with and I am going to devote my time to the fam. Hopefully I can convince my teenage daughters to devote their time and thoughts to the fam and not their friends...we'll see.

May God truly bless you as you live life this week and as Jeanne Mayo says, be "Jesus with sking on."

Signing off for now.

Cheryl

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh How He Loves Us

I am posting the video of "Oh How He Loves Us." This is the song I posted the lyrics to from Extravagent Love of God a few days ago. It is an awesome song...such passion...which we all need...ENJOY AND BE BLESSED!

Friday, December 5, 2008

God Gets the Last Word!


I am sitting in the hospital with my son, Daniel. He is the one who had meningitis at 15 months of age and left him totally dependent on others for his survival. Now, that is a story in itself, and one day I know God will restore Daniel. If Lazarus' dead brain cells can be recreated God can do that for Daniel's dead brain cells caused by disease.

Our family has been blessed to go on a nice vacation, starting next Friday. In all our years of ministry, every time we planned time away from our church something would happen to try to discourage us from taking it...when Stan was working on his Master's Degree and ordination Daniel was put in hospital with meningitis and not expected to live through the night. One year while on our way to Oklahoma the gas we filled our van with was mostly water. Someone we didn't even know paid for our hotel and the work done on our van. What an angel in disguise. Many times while away we would receive calls that someone in our congregation had passed away unexpectedly, or some other traumatic incident.

Now, while planning our big cruise excursion for next week, in addition to Stan trying to finish his assignments due today for his DMin, Daniel is once again in the hospital. He is happy and in no pain, but because he has a g-tube we noticed blood in his stomach. There is so much blood the endoscopy procedure could not see in his stomach. We have had to do 2 endoscopy procedures and are scheduled for a third Sat. morning.

Last night I was settling in to sleep on the chair in Daniel's hospital room and couldn't sleep until I turned the light on and wrote down what I felt God telling me. I wanted to share a portion of what He was saying to me, "The first 30 years of our ministry had a purpose (and He reminded me of those things), but the second 30 years of ministry IS GOING TO BE BETTER THAN THE FIRST (and he gave me a little insight to what that might be, but that is between me and Him right now.)" That inspired me and this came to mind,

"Satan has tried to thwart our calling and mission, but we are coming back with a vengeance, declaring war in the heavenlies and victory for the cause of the King and His Kingdom."

My whole point in even mentioning these things is to encourage each of you reading this blog. When you are doing what God has called you to and you have positioned yourself where He wants you, satan will try his best to keep you from succeeding. Some things will be obvious and some things not so obvious.

God gets the last word...

"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with the Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word, yes, he does." 1 Peter 5:8-11 The Message

Keep moving forward, into all God has for you! He is right there with you all the way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Extravagant Love of God


Eph. 3:14-19, “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

What do these phrases mean to you?

• Glorious inner strength
• Extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love
• Reach out and experience the breadth
• Test its length
• Plumb the depths
• Rise to the heights
• Live full lives, full in the fullness of God

As I read these scriptures I was overwhelmed with how much God loves me. How much He loves you. It is not a surface love. It is a love that goes deep into our innermost being.

For some of us that might be hard to comprehend. For others we might have become accustomed to it and quite possibly might take this love for granted. I want us to honestly search our innermost being and try to grasp, just a little, of what Paul is trying to get us to understand. When we begin to grasp hold of this truth we will start developing the “glorious inner strength” Paul talks about.

The dimensions of Christ’s love spans every aspect of our lives: our self worth, our family relationships, our jobs, our leisure activities, our worship, our ministry, the list goes on, to whatever your life encompasses. Do we allow God to love us in every aspect of our lives, or do we only allow Him to love us in the areas we feel worthy for Him to love. Are we ashamed of some of the places of our lives? God wants to be a part of those places.

There is so much in these words! It can be overwhelming, especially if we do not understand fully who we are in Christ. There may be women, who are in ministry even, that have a low self worth. They may feel inadequate for what has been placed before them. There may be wives of pastors who have been beaten down with negative words from their congregations. These women are trying to do what God has called them to, but the congregations do not understand the precious gift God has given them in their pastors.

In the midst of all these circumstance God’s love is extravagant! I looked extravagant up on the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Here is what it means: exceeding the limits of reason or necessity, lacking in balance, moderation, or restraint, extremely or excessively elaborate, spending much more than necessary, (and I love this next one) extremely or unreasonably high in price. Wow! What higher price than Christ’s life?

God sees us, just where we are right now, and loves us. We may be hurting. We may feel dirty and used. We may wonder how we got to the place we are in now. Everything in our life may be going well. That is so wonderful. In each of these areas God’s love is great. We need not forget that.

Several years ago I got to a place in my life and ministry where I felt God had abandoned me. I allowed circumstances that happened in our church and life crowd out God’s love for me. Because of the circumstances I felt as if God didn’t love me. How could He let things happen to me that did if He loved me? Why wasn’t He helping me through all this instead of having everything taken away? I was allowing negative thoughts like this to crowd out God’s love. He didn’t abandon me. I was not thinking right. At that point in my life I was exhausted, hurt, and discouraged and not allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me. The negative was speaking louder than the positive and I was listening.

It took several months for me to recover from all that. God loves us enough to place people in our lives to restore and strengthen us just when we need it most. That’s his extravagant love. He will never let us go. When we are hurting and don’t quite feel His love, He is there. He will not abandon us. HE LOVES US AND WILL GET US THROUGH THE TOUGH SITUATIONS WE ARE GOING THROUGH.

Again read what Paul is saying, “take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

Meditate on those words: breadth, plumb the depths, rise to the heights, live full. Wow. If we just grasp a little of what those words mean in our lives we would be awestruck. How magnificent is God. How amazing. Reach out to Him and allow Him to love you in your circumstances, at this point in your life. Close your eyes and imagine crawling up in His lap, allowing Him to speak into your life and strengthen your spirit.

The words to a song just popped into my mind…

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh, how He loves


View song on Youtube

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Being Thankful


I am so thankful for my heritage and being surrounded by people who speak into my life and my family's life. After doing some research on the human trafficking my heart aches for those women and girls who are not as fortunate. My husband and I couldn't believe that human trafficking is in existence today. It seems unreal, yet the statistics are there. If you haven't read the stats check the previous posts, you will be astonished.

I know Paul was writing to Believers in Phil. 1:3; but what if we read it and think of those less fortunate...those who are trapped in a lifestyle needing help to break free? My prayer is that I thank God for what I have, but keep an open heart for those less fortunate...keep a prayerful, glad heart, knowing I can make a difference in someone's life...someone who may be crying out in desperation, looking for the least little bit of hope that there is truly someone who cares.

Phil. 1:3, "Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart." The Message (bold emphasis mine)

Some of us may not be in a position to physically help someone like this, but can help by supporting causes that do make a difference. If you have a heart for this then there are two ministries you can help, just check previous posts.

In addition to this ask yourself what you can do to help women and children in your local area. It may not be as drastic as human trafficking, but there are women and children trapped in abuse, trapped in addictions, and trapped in dysfunctional homes. You can be a light to their world of darkness. In your prayer time ask God to reveal to you ways in which you can help those in desperate situations.

Often times we purchase gift cards, help the Angel Tree in our area, and various other things; but what about "getting our hands dirty?" Volunteer to help in a soup kitchen. Find out what ministries are available and offer our service once a month. It will change our life dramatically.

Ask God to bring women and children to mind who are being abused and say, "Thank you God for showing me a way in which I can help set them free." It is very easy to surround ourselves with the comforts of our home and church, but let's ask God to stir our spirits. Lift these women and children up in prayer. We may not know them personally, but God can give us burden to pray for their freedom.

We are here for a greater cause. Are we living up to that cause? There is so much we can do with God's power behind us. Sometimes it is hard to see all the potential God has for each of us, because we are insecure in our relationship with Him. That is not bad...but God has so much more. He loves you and wants to use you to do amazing things for Him. Open your heart and ask God to fill it to overflowing with His love and compassion.

I use to tell those in our youth ministry to let "your lives ooze Jesus." In other words be so filled with Jesus that Jesus is all others see when they see you. Jeanne Mayo says be "Jesus with skin on." Think about that this month and begin asking God how you can be filled with more of Jesus in 2009. What can you do to help other women and children be free...be able to accept Jesus as their savior?

So...Yes, I am thankful for my heritage. Because of this heritage I understand that God has great things in store for each of us. We can...Live like:

- we love Him with all our heart
- we care about a kingdom cause
- Jesus is returning tomorrow

In other words let Jesus "ooze" out of you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More on the A21 Campaign

This video tells a little more about the human trafficking in Europe. It is a ministry well worth getting involved with, so check out the website http://www.thea21campaign.org.If you have not heard of Christine Caine, you can find out more about her ministry at http://www.equipandempower.com.

Project Rescue


This is another great ministry that is helping women and girls. Check out the website.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh No. Never. By No Means...



Oh No. Never. By No Means…

Has anyone ever said something like that to you, or something similar?

That is exactly what Abraham told his servant. The servant questioned Abraham about taking Isaac back to his homeland, if the woman chosen for Isaac did not want to travel to where Abraham had settled…where God had settled him.

“Oh no. Never. By no means are you to take my son back there. God, the God of heaven, took me from the home of my father and from the country of my birth and spoke to me in solemn promise, ‘I’m giving this land to your descendants.’ This God will send his angel ahead of you to get a wife for my son…” Genesis 24:6-8 The Message

God will give us dreams and visions. He will plant a seed in our heart.

We know He is calling us to a certain task, but when we get in God’s way we begin to ask questions like the servant, ie. “Maybe this isn’t exactly what God wanted me to do.” “What if I begin and nothing happens or people won’t get on board?” “It is more difficult than I thought, I think I’ll stop and go back to where I’m comfortable.”

Those are not thoughts that we should allow to stay in our mind. We need to take those thoughts captive. 2 Cor. 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”NIV

Fear is not of Christ…so take that thought captive.

Uncertainty is not of Christ…so take that thought captive.

Confusion is not of Christ…so take that thought captive.

Worry and anxiety is not of Christ…so take that thought captive.

Those thoughts are not of Christ, so take them captive, making them obedient to Christ. God has called you to move forward in the gifting and calling He has placed before you.

His plan may be for you to be a stay at home mom at this point in your life. Your children are more important right now. Sure, do ministry, but not at the expense of your children.

His plan may be for you to go back to school, or teach, or preach, or co-pastor, or be an associate pastor and your spouse not be in active ministry; God may desire you to sit at His feet as Mary for this time in your life.

Whatever it is He is calling you to do always MOVE FORWARD, DO NOT TURN BACK. He will be the great I Am to you…whatever you need Him to be He will be. Take Abraham’s advice, don’t go back. The God who gave the promise or call in your life will go ahead of you. He is going to prepare the way because He has called you.

Don’t give up! Don’t quit! MOVE FORWARD AND SEE GOD’S HAND AT WORK! IT WILL AMAZE YOU!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No Matter What, I'm Gonna Trust You!


"No matter what…I’m gonna trust you.” Do we honestly mean it when we say that statement; or has it become cliché?

We go before God in prayer and tell Him we are going to trust Him. We are in the midst of situations and we tell God we will trust Him. We tell our friends and colleagues we trust God…but, do we really?

Our entire life and purpose is guided by this truth…trusting God.

It is easy to trust God when everything surrounding our life is going the way we want it to go. What about the times when God has a different direction He wants to go and you don’t see that direction so clearly? Do you trust Him, or do you question Him?

What about those we are connected with in leadership? What about our spouse? What happens when there is a difference of opinion? Do we still trust God? Can we trust God to work in the lives of those who are our leaders or our spouse? For some it may be a little more difficult?

But, you know what? That is when we have the opportunity to live out our trust in God. We get to exercise that trust. Others will have the pleasure, or the annoying realization, of witnessing the way we respond to trusting God, when things do not go the way we think is best.

There have been many times I have looked back and regretted the way I handled and dealt with situations, I thought should have been handled differently. I am praying I have matured a little since those times, but you know what? I still have to remind myself that God is in control. He can speak through others and if it doesn’t go the way I think…that’s ok. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Our personalities and the way we do things are ingrained in our being, and they have to come under the submission of the Holy Spirit often.

It is imperative we remember that spiritual maturity is an ongoing process. We never arrive at the place where we say we don’t need to mature. If we do, then we definitely need to mature some more. We have more to learn.

What happens when a leader over you has a good idea and you have a good idea; or you feel the leader is not moving as fast as they should? How do you handle it when you and your spouse disagree on an issue? If they choose their idea how do you respond? Do you give them a hard time? How do you encourage them…or do you?

Take a look at Abraham. We all know the story of how God told him to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice. Read what The Message says in Gen. 22:1-2, “After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Yes?’ answered Abraham, ‘I’m listening.’ He said, ‘Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.’”

When Isaac asked Abraham where the sheep was for the offering Abraham answered in verse 8, “…Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.”

What do you think was going through Abraham’s mind? I know we have heard this many times, but I want us to remember it for a moment. God had just promised Abraham that his descendents were going to be numerous. God also told Abraham to send Ishmael away and that this blessing was going to come through Sarah. So how was this going to play out if he sacrificed his son Isaac?

Abraham trusted God to the very end. Isaac was on the altar and God called out in verse 12, “Don’t lay a hand on that boy! Don’t touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God, you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.”

Can we lay down our dreams, our desires, the things that mean most to us for the leader we are following, or for our spouse? This is a hard question; but one we so need to answer. Are we willing to trust God in these situations? Can God look at us and say the following?

“Now I know how fearlessly you fear God, you didn’t hesitate to place your dream (that thing that means the most to you) on the altar for me.”

This is very, very difficult, but if we can do this there is so much more God will be able to do in our lives.

How much are we willing to sacrifice for God?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just One of Those Days...

Have you ever felt like you're in the midst of tug of war with your kids? I have. You do what you can to encourage your kids and all they can see is discouragement. Back and forth...this is what I think...this is what I think. Can you see yourself tugging one direction and your child tugging the opposite? You both have your own opinion. That is good. Let God be God. Oh, how hard that is!

We continue on, knowing, at one point God will get through, but tug of war is hard.

Oftentimes, our children, especially if they have grown up in a pastor's home, want to spread their wings, basically grow up. Many times as parents we have a hard time with this. We have to allow them this right, but keep them in prayer. One of my daughter's has been committed to church and has her relationship with God on track. In my encouraging her to be careful about her priorities and her commitment to God/church, school, work, and then friends, I have to be careful to allow her the freedom to grow in her own right. Don't control...influence...give guidance and let them make the choice. As parents we need to let them make the choice and back off if it isn't the way we think it should go. I know it is hard. But,that is what trusting God is all about.

It is definitely hard, when you can see the stress they are under wanting to please their parents, but not wanting to do what their parents recommend. That is where trusting in the Lord comes into play.

As you know from a previous post I have been reading about Abram. When Abram and Lot's families and belongings became too large for the place they were staying; complaining started, so, Abram suggested Lot choose where he wanted live and move his family to that location. Lot looked around, and in reality was selfish, he chose what he perceived to be the best. So they went their separate ways. (Gen. 13)

In Gen. 14 Lot is taken captive, along with all his possessions. Abram drops everything and heads out to rescue Lot (vv13-16). We can learn from this passage of scripture. Abram loved his nephew Lot and allowed him to choose where he wanted to live. When Lot was in trouble Abram was there.

Allow our children the freedom to choose...we have raised them to know what is right and wrong. Pray for them. It might hurt when we see them making wrong decisions, but God is faithful. Keep praying. They know we are near. Continue to pray.

God will work it all out. So moms, dads, if you read this, keep your prayers going upward we will make it through. Until next time, Blessings.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three Quarters of a Century is NEVER Too Young to START FULFILLING Your Vision!


I did a search on Google for "60 is the new 40" and found that, as well as "60 is the new 30." From what I read the 30 somethings definitely do not want to hear 60 is the new 30. The reason one person gave is that meant she must be 6 (or at least pre-teen). I read "Why 60 Is The New 40" at http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-60-Is-The-New-40&id=751232

According to this article the Baby Boomers who are just turning 60 are "radically reshaping society's notions of how "older adults" are supposed to act. Instead of sitting at home with a nice cup of cocoa and the cat, they're travelling, dating, and refusing to relinquish their youth. Today's older generation enjoys good health and a vitality that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago." The article goes on to say, "There's never been a better time to be a 40, 50, 60 or 70-something. Life today is all about options. You can sit at home with the cat and the cocoa, should you choose."

So with that said take a look at the life of Abram. He was 75 years old when God gave him the vision to "leave your country, your family, and your father's home for a land I will show you." Gen. 12:1 The Message

If you are approaching 50, 60, or 70 DON'T YOU DARE give up on God! He is not finished giving you vision and fulfilling your destiny. YOU ARE JUST BEGINNING! Think of the years between 20 and 50 as your training ground. You were learning the in's and out's of ministry...what to do and what not to do. You now have the wisdom you need to continue on with CLEAR and RENEWED vision, energy, and strength.

Go ahead and plan for retirement, but that is a ways off yet. God has more He wants to do in your life and through you. Get out your pen and paper...or laptop and start vision casting. Ask God what His plans are for you at this stage of your life. Do you plant a church? Do you stay where you are? Do you change locations? It is all up to God. We are just the instrument He uses to accomplish His goal.

If Abram wasn't going to complain to God about traveling at his age, then who are we to complain that we are tired and weary from the journey of ministry this far? Allow God to rejuvenate your spirit and energize your body...

Where is He taking you?

Get ready for the ride of your life!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Monuments...Memories...and Motivation...


Many of us know what it is like to be in a traditional church, or a church that has been around a long time, having a lot of history. If you have been the pastor at one of these churches you know how hard it is at times to move a church, having a lot of history, into a church relevant for this generation.

We have to be relevant or we will lose a generation, which is what has almost happened, but we also have to remember "from whence we came." Don't build monuments, just for the sake of building them, build them as memories telling a story.

Each monument that is build should represent a time when God has spoken, or moved in your life; or the life of your church. Just because God has spoken in a certain way, or done something miraculous, does not mean He has to do it the same way again. That so limits God! Why should we limit a God who created everything around us. Allow Him to move as He wishes. Tell the story of what God did to motivate those around for two reasons:

1)It should motivate and challenge them to seek God and desire to get to know Him more,
2)It should motivate and challenge them to provide the necessary groundwork to give God fertile ground on which to move again...possibly the same way...possibly different.

How has God moved in your life? What are some of the ways He has moved? Are you expecting Him to move in the same way as before, or are you open to new and fresh moves of the Holy Spirit in your life and those around you?

Remember we are leaving a legacy for others to follow. Are we motivating and challenging them with by making monuments, sharing memories, and motivating them to capture the presence of God?

God spoke to Abram in Gen. 12:1-3, telling Him how he was going to be a great and blessed nation. When Abram arrived in Canaan God spoke to Abram again, promising him this land. In Gen. 12:7 Abram built an altar "at the place God appeared to him." Every time God spoke to Abram he built an altar, but CONTINUED MOVING. He did not stop and say God, "You spoke to me here, so this is where I want to stay." No He acknowledged God's presence and built an altar to remember, but kept going where God was directing.

Don't lose sight of what God is doing just because He met us in a certain place. Those places are meant to be looked BACK on in REMEMBRANCE and THANKFULNESS for what God has done. They are meant to MOTIVATE and CHALLENGE us. Look back and say, "Yes, God did that for me THEN, but I am expecting God to do MORE NOW." "Yes, God did that for our church THEN, but we are expecting God to do MORE NOW."

Go throughout your day remembering where you have come from, what you have been through, and what God did in your life and the lives of those around you; BUT, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in your life and what He is doing NEW AND FRESH NOW!

Blessings to you as you move forward in God!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are We Leading the Battle or God?


Are we so controlling that we get in God's way?

Many times we have to have everything done the way we think it should be done. If it's not we get frustrated and sometimes hard to live with. As mom's we want our children or husband to help put dishes out of dishwasher, but if they put things in the wrong place we get upset with them. Now, if they are young we should be able to just be thankful they are doing it. When they are teens we should definitely be thankful they are doing it, but by this time they should know where things go, or we should show them.

In our place of business or ministry we, hopefully, develop our leadership skills to the place where we can negotiate, and not always have to have everything go our way. If we don't we are not allowing God to develop us into all we can be as leaders and followers of Christ.

God "thundered a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines, They panicked - mass confusion! - and ran helter-skelter from Israel." (7:10) We read about God doing this as well in Judges 7 for Gideon.

As we do what God asks of us He will do His part. It is my opinion that too often we try to do it all on our own. We figure out the best way to do things then pray and ask God to bless it. We do it all backwards. We need to first pray and ask for God's direction and He will then guide our thoughts in planning and implementing what He has called us to do. In both of the instances of scripture I have mentioned Gideon and Samuel prayed to God for direction and God came through for them.

This is especially hard for those who are gifted with ideas, organizing, etc. Many times when we have these gifts we forge ahead on our own before we think and ask God for clear direction.

As we contemplate these scriptures ask God to bring to mind where you are in allowing Him to lead. Are we the ones who have the ideas and say, "OK God, this looks good. It will work this way, so please bless it?" Take some time alone with God and ask Him to help you redirect your priorities to ask Him first, before you begin the planning process.

You may be one who does a lot of praying and asking God for direction, but never get up and act. Then you need to ask God to help you get the courage to take the first step. He's there for us just waiting for us to acknowledge our dependence on Him.

Blessings to you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mother/Daughter Team Available for Events




Cheryl Turnbull and daughter, Catherine, are available for ministry together or separate. Catherine has a heart for teenage girls. She went through a difficult time transitioning when their family moved from one city to another.

Catherine knows what teenage girls are challenged with and has a desire to encourage them to become Godly young women. For the past year she has devoted her life to seeking God and has not allowed "boyfriends" to enter the picture of her life. In fact she invited a guy friend from school to church and he has been coming. He wanted to go out with Catherine, but she was honest with him and said she was focused on her relationship with God and didn't date right now. He respected her for her morals and said he had never met someone like that before and it was cool. He liked that about her.

I shared that to show you where Catherine's heart is and I am sure your girls would be encouraged and challenged by what she has to say. She is a senior in high school and is very active in church activities. She is on facebook, if you want to check her out.

Below is a sample of what we do together, but we will work with you on your specific needs.

Women’s Retreat
3 Session Outline

Session One: Women Full of Fun and Adventure
In this session women will be challenged to live a fun life in Christ. We will use the flip flop illustration out of the book “If the Shoe Fits.”

Session Two: Women Filled with Determination
In this session women will be challenged to live a life determined to succeed in Christ, confronting challenges “head on” and winning. The running shoe illustration will be used from “If the Shoe Fits.”

Session Three: Women Leaving a Legacy of Class
In this session women will be challenged to leave a positive legacy of what they learned on their journey with Christ. The classic pump illustration will be used from “If the Shoe Fits.” My daughter, Catherine, and I will be doing this session together. Catherine has a heart for young girls and I have asked her to speak to women on how to best help the teenage girls in their lives. She is available to speak directly with teen girls if you wish.

It has been my life purpose to get Christians, young and old, to enjoy their life in Christ. We were not created to sit back and watch others do life with fun and excitement. We were created to actively be engaged in a fun and fulfilled life in Christ, and it is our responsibility to pass on that legacy to generations to come.

You can contact me via email: hstrymknwmn@hotmail.com or Facebook or by phone at 757-343-7783

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

God's Love for Us vs Our Love for God


As we continue to work on seeking God and allowing His Spirit to shape our lives it is important to contemplate His love for us.

I heard someone speaking on this and it caught my attention. It is easy for us to focus on improving our love for God...ie, telling Him we'll do this for Him to show Him our love, etc. Have we really tried to focus on God's love for us? What He has done for us? What He has given for us?

Sure we thank Him for giving His only son for our salvation, but is that just remote thanks; or do we really comprehend all God has done? This is hard to do, especially if we are young and have never had children. It is very hard to grasp. God created the universe, but when He created us He created us for fellowship with Him. We are like no other in creation. Do we take this for granted?

The speaker I heard used Peter. Remember when Peter said I love you Lord and Jesus asked Him 3 times? Peter was all into serving and standing up for Jesus, but when rubber met the road (did they have rubber back then?) he didn't have what it took. Was he trying to do it in his own strength? Also, remember the conversation between Peter and Jesus at the Last Supper? "Peter said, 'Master, I'm ready to do anything with you. I'd go to jail for you. I'd die for you!' Jesus said, 'I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.'" The Message

Of course this was before Peter received the promised Holy Spirit. The point...he was trying to do this all on his own...his enthusiasm, his commitment, etc. We cannot do this on our own and in our own love for God. We need to understand how much God loves us and gave for us. Grasp hold with all we have and allow the Holy Spirit to formulate in us a power that is unstoppable.

Can you imagine the impact we would have on those around us, if we truly got hold of this?

As we are allowing the Holy Spirit to form us into the image of God, make it a point to try and understand the magnificence of God's love...from there the love we have for Him will be a love that is passionate and contagious.

I want to end this post with a passage of scripture where Jesus is responding to someone who asked Him if only a few would be saved. This is His reply from The Message version,

"...Whether few or many is none of your business. Put you mind on your life with God. The way to life - to God - is vigorous and requires your total attention..." Luke 13:23-27 It is well worth reading the whole portion of scripture. Jesus says in verse 27, "Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don't know the first thing about me."

Now this is a hard statement, but I want to challenge each of us, especially if we have known Christ as our Savior for a while. We have to be careful in how we live and our knowledge of God. Don't take it for granted. He loves us so very much. Let's make sure we are getting to know this person who is God in our lives. Really seek Him with all of our heart; do not get so busy with doing life and ministering to people, we lose the meaning of why we are doing life and ministering.

Be vigorous and seek God with your total attention!

Become strong women!

Become unstoppable and bring others along on your journey!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shaping our Lives by Praying for Our Leaders

I have been contemplating what I am writing about, in this post for a week, and finally put it in words.

If we truly desire to be the woman God has created us to be and be shaped into the person He wants, I believe we will put this following scripture into practice more and more over the next months and years.

"The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

"He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we've learned; that there's one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us - Jesus...

"Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray - not shaking angry fists as enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God...doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it." 1 Tim. 2:1-10 The Message

If you read my posts you know I like to quote from The Message most of the time. It just tells it so great. This passage of scripture came to mind last Wed. after our election of President.

Whether our choice for President was elected or not doesn't matter at this point...what matters is...

Are we praying for our elected leaders?

Paul doesn't tell us to only pray when our candidate is elected. He admonishes us to pray for ALL those elected. It is our duty as believers to lift those in authority up in prayer.

Part of leaving a legacy for others to follow is a good example of this scripture and others like it. We are to treat those in authority with respect, whether we agree with them or not. We should not bad mouth them. We should not criticize. We should keep them in our prayers, asking God to help direct the leaders ruling over us.

As we begin our week, ask ourselves the question,

"Am I praying for my leaders?"

"What kind of words come out of my mouth regarding my leaders?"

"Am I leaving a good example for those around me to follow?"

It is always so much harder to pray for someone when we disagree with what they stand for, but this is an awesome opportunity for each of us to show our "true spiritual colors" to those around us who know we don't agree. Allow positive words to come out of your mouth, ie "You know, I may not agree with our leader, but he/she is in my prayers, because they have an overwhelming responsibility to lead our country."

By doing this Paul says we can become beautiful, according to the above scripture.

I hope you receive this and allow God's spirit to continue to form you into His image. Until next time...

Blessings to You!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I VOTED!

Where are You Going...What is Your Destiny?


We have been discussing the subject of seeking God and His Spirit forming us into the women He has called us to become. This thought was presented in a sermon I heard recently..."Is Your Destiny Connected to Your Leader?"

Many times women try to get ahead of God in their destiny and the timing He has for them. I understand it is difficult to wait, but God has a reason and purpose for ALL things GOOD. I have written about this in previous posts; but think of Esther and David, Esther waited months before going before the king and David waited years before he was king...even after Samuel anointed him king. We can definitely look to scripture for many more examples of God's timing.

It is important we put our ministry and calling into God's hands and His timing. Do not get ahead of Him. If you are married you have to look at your ministry as connected to your leader...your husband. We are co-heirs and co-minister's TOGETHER, but where are you going? Are you together or are you going separate and not thinking of your husband? So many times women get mixed up in their thinking. They begin to think their ministry is more important than their husbands and miss out on the blessings God wants, so much, to give them.

The man and the woman can both have ministries, but they have to be in agreement on what they are doing, whether together or separate. I know of a woman who is the senior pastor of a thriving church and her husband has a very active and blessed ministry to leaders that takes him around the world. They both knew she would be a pastor one day. He told me that when they were first married she told him she would raise the kids and after they were grown she was devoting her time to being a pastor.

Together they both planted churches and she has planted this one alone. He also said that he travels a lot with his ministry. He jokes that she doesn't allow him to come to the church because he causes problems. The reality was when he would go to the church people would look to him as pastor even though it was very clear who the pastor was...his wife.

They both came into agreement of how they were each going to do ministry. Her destiny was attached to her leader...her husband...and they worked together to bring about ministry they were both called to do.

I can also think of another woman whose marriage fell apart and she and her husband are going their separate ways in ministry. I do not believe God would have us do that...family is of utmost importance to the Kingdom of God. We cannot believe God would have us leave our marriage to pursue ministry.

Has God called you to ministry? Does your spouse know where your heart is? Do you both understand each others call to ministry? These are important questions to discuss. If you are not married please remember to discuss these very important questions with the special someone God brings into your life. It is imperative you BOTH UNDERSTAND where you each fit into ministry.

This is an important aspect of how God is shaping our lives. The ball of clay takes on more form as we allow the Holy Spirit to continue to work in our lives.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Continuing to Develop Our Shape as We Mature!


In the previous post we read from Ecclesiastes that there is an opportune time for everything. We may be going through a time where we have the opportunity to allow God to expand our faith and trust in Him. Maybe we need to expand our faith and trust in other people, or some one in particular. Read the Bible and ask God to help you understand what He is trying to tell you through His Word. Even though I have read the Bible many times I find I enjoy reading The Message version. It basically tells it like it is in our language. I have my NIV close at hand for in depth studying. It is amazing what might "pop" out at you as you read.

You may be going through a time in which you need to ask advise from another woman in ministry regarding a situation you are going through. As women in ministry we can definitely go through low, dry times in our relationship with God. There is just so much "stuff" we have to deal with in ministry, we sometimes can feel as if "all hell is breaking loose." How can that be when we are honestly trying to do God's will? How can the people in church not understand that and want to work against us? We have to be careful to keep our heart sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This is when we so need to have another woman in ministry to talk to...so seek her out.

If you are a woman who is not in ministry you may need to seek advise from a pastor or his wife, and ask them to recommend a woman who can mentor or coach you in your new found faith. There may be a situation you are dealing with in which you need advise. Seek this advise. Do not try to figure it out on your own.

WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!

In both situations you will find yourself getting stronger. You will find the ball of clay we spoke of in a previous post is not as round as it was before. Your spiritual life is now taking on form and shape. You are becoming a beautiful woman of God. Your ministry and calling is taking on the shape that God has specifically designed for you.

Some women may be way past this stage. That is wonderful. Maybe you are one God can use to be a mentor or coach to another woman just beginning her walk in faith or as a woman in ministry. Ask God to prepare your heart and mind for this adventure in your life. It can be exciting and unpredictable. You never know who God will place in your care and how they will respond.

It is important to make sure that we as women of God continue to grow and develop. Be careful to not get to the point that you feel as if you "know it all." That is a dangerous point to be. Always, always, always, have an open, impressionable spirit in which God's Spirit has fertile ground in which to grow.

Until next post...Blessings!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Taking Life a Step at a Time!


As an infant we are learning, a little at a time, how to live the life He desires. I am encouraged just to know that He doesn’t expect us to be mature grownups immediately. He knows there is no way we can be strong at this time. In order to help us develop He places people in our lives to teach us.

We listen, watch, and learn by crawling first; then we take baby steps. This process is essential. It will take some time; but, during this time we are becoming stronger. Don’t become overanxious to do more than you are ready to do. It is not a good idea for you to teach or lead in any capacity right now. Be patient. You have just begun. There will be plenty of time for leading and teaching later.

If you are a woman in ministry you might be asking yourself how this relates to you. Well, think for a moment...are you new to ministry? Are you positioned in a new church? It may be that you need to sit back and "watch" a bit. There may be things God wants to talk to you about and you wouldn't be able to "hear" Him if you were busy doing some of the things you want to do at this time. God has a time for everything, as we read in Ecc. 3:1 of The Message, "There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth."

If you have been a Christian a while or in ministry a while how about being the hand that helps the infant take their first steps. Isn't that what ministry and maturity is all about?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who Are You?

Let me ask you, do you really know who you are and are you confident in what you know about God? Sometimes even women in ministry lose focus of who they are because of all their busyness.

Look with me at a few scriptures. Let’s get to know or be reminded of, who we were meant to be.

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Ok, to start off we are God’s handiwork; His creation. Imagine a round ball of clay. It is round and fat. Who wants to look like that? Not me! After we accept Christ into our heart and surrender our life to Him He begins shaping that ball. It doesn’t need the Slim Fast Diet or Jenny Craig. His hands start to make us beautiful. We are in the infant stage of His creation.

This is all I have time to post today. Check back tomorrow for more.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Purification System of the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit is like a water purification system. Everything that travels through our mind is purified by the Holy Spirit. Our spirit asks the Holy Spirit for discernment and direction, which keeps us clean and on the right track. Every once in a while something gets through that shouldn’t have, but we eventually realize it and God helps us get rid of it to keep us clean and healthy.

Prayer and reading God’s word is like turning on the faucet for more water. We have the choice to open the valve as much as we want. The water can either pour or trickle. It is totally and completely up to us. I believe as we allow the water to flow freely it will fill us and pour out into others. As we are filled with this Living Water our appearance will change. Our countenance will be different. Others will take notice.

Our desire will be to know Christ more. Spending more time with Him will be on the top of our daily to do list. John and Stasi Eldridge tell us in their book “Captivating” that “The more His we become, the more ourselves we become; more our true selves.” We were created to walk with God. Isn’t that why God created Adam and Eve in the first place; to walk with Him? So, the more we give our lives over to Him we are allowing God to help us become who we were created to be – our true self.

Are we satisfied with being the same woman every day? Are we tired of looking into the mirror and seeing the same face? Becoming the woman God created us to be is not boring, nor is she satisfied. She is restless, but restless in a good way. She is thirsty for more of the One she loves and will not just sit back and watch life pass her by.

A peace is seen on her face. An excitement exuberates from her. She knows who she is and is confident of what she knows. She is a woman with a passion for God and knows He is her confidant and companion. What more could a woman want?

The following is a spiritual exercise for the woman in ministry or pastor's wife:

A woman in ministry can become so overwhelmed with ministry and family that this thirst for more of God can be drowned out by her responsibilities. Let the Holy Spirit purification system clean out the busyness and re-prioritize your life. Allow Him to cleanse the hurtful words, others have spoken to you, from your spirit. Give Him permission to fill you with His joy and renew your mind.

Spend some time reflecting on where you are in your life with Christ right now. Remember this...keep it in the forefront of our minds...don't get so inundated with ministry you fail to sense His holy presence.

I hope you join me next time as we reflect on and are reminded of who we are in Christ.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Future According the Living Water




In the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and his companions stop in the elvish city, Frodo is drawn to a basin of water. Galadriel tells Frodo to look into the water. As Frodo looks into the water he sees into the future. He sees things that could happen, but it is up to him and his friends how the future turns out. The water Frodo is looking into is nothing like the living water Jesus so freely wants to give.

God wants us to drink of His living water. When we drink of this water we can be assured of a future that is ordained by God. We still have to make the right choices in our lives, but we will have what Frodo and his friends didn’t have; the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We tend to make the free gifts of God too complicated. All He desires of us is total surrender to Him. Ask Him into our lives. Commit our hearts to Him – all our desires, our frustrations, and our will. This is really not such a hard task if we desire to know Christ more. As we get to know Him more these tasks will become a natural part of our lives.

Let’s take a look at water for a minute. What all does it do for us?
One thing, water is cleansing. It washes away impurities. It removes the dirt in our lives. Imagine a tall glass of cool, refreshing water. You take it in your hand, lift it to your mouth, and begin drinking. As you drink you feel refreshed. It is satisfying your thirst.

But imagine it doing one more thing; cleaning out your body. When you are fasting you drink lots of water. If you drink and eat nothing else it will cleanse out your entire digestive system. It takes out all the impurities, all the junk we have eaten. I remember several years ago, when my children were small, reading a book by Stormie Omartian about fasting. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember her saying it would do us good to fast once a month, just to clean out our bodies.

This is what the Living Water from God does. It cleanses us of all the “junk” we have let accumulate in our lives. When we ask Jesus into our lives He starts cleaning out our spiritual body. It is a slow process that is not perfected overnight. In fact it is a lifelong process. We will never be finished cleaning out our spirits. It is a constant purification.

What kind of a future do you see in your spiritual eyes? Are you allowing the Living Water to cleanse you and lead you daily?

If you are a woman in ministry what have you let creep into your spiritual system that is unhealthy? Have you begun to harbor hurt feelings toward the elders in your church, because they do not trust your husband in the decisions he feels God is leading him to make? Is there a woman that is jealous in your congregation and she is making it difficult for you?

This happened to me and that affected how I ministered and how God spoke to me. It began to harden my spirit. This is not a great place to be. Guard your heart. Being in a church that has been established a while and has a lot of history is a very challenging task.

Ask God for patience, guidance, and endurance. Do not let it destroy your spirit. If you find that is happening talk to your spouse. Go to someone for spiritual guidance in your situation. It might be that you have done all you can in that ministry and God is moving you elsewhere. It might mean you need to allow the Holy Spirit to develop you more.

Everyone has a unique situation. You do not want to stay somewhere that you will eventually lose heart and give up all together.

Join me next time when we talk about the Holy Spirit being the purification system of our lives.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Check Out These Two Books by Cheryl Turnbull


"Shattering the Glass Walls of the Woman in Ministry" is a book that is great for an individual read or a group of women in ministry. It will take you through some of the author's experiences of over 25 years in ministry. Check out the website by following the link, where you will find a description and link to purchase.

"If the Shoe Fits" is for any woman desiring to find where she "fits" in the body of Christ. You will discover this by using infant shoes, the classic pump, running shoes, cast protector shoe, flip flops and more. Women love shoes, so you will enjoy the illustrations of the Christian life in this book. Again follow the links to find out more information and purchasing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Denying Self to See God More

One way to learn what it means to desperately seek God is to go away for a weekend or two to three day fast. Take plenty of water with you, but no food. Take your Bible and journal, but no other book. The purpose of getting away is to get to know God more intimately. This is done by reading the Word and praying.

One year I took our youth leaders on a fasting retreat. We spent the whole time praying and reading scripture. I took along a Passion DVD we listened to that had scriptural reading and worship. It was an awesome experience. We ended the retreat sharing communion. Those teens came away different people.

One way I helped get our teens ready for a weekend fast was helping them understand that God wants to see us give up something we enjoy or like, for Him. I enjoyed drinking Mt. Dew. I think because I worked with teens and needed the extra boost. ha I was seeking God for a specific thing at the time and I fasted Mt. Dew. I went 1 month without drinking a Mt. Dew. They learned the concept of fasting and it prepared them for the week end fast.

There is something about denying our natural desires, and things that mean a lot to us, that brings us closer to our Lord and Savior. Our body is telling us it is hungry, but we say, “No, I am hungry for God and will eat the spiritual food He has for me.” That spiritual food is His Word and His presence; talking to Him, getting to know Him. If you have never fasted I highly recommend doing it soon. It will benefit you greatly.

Several posts have talked about getting to know God and being thirsty for Him. I would like for us to take time right now to look at our lives.

Are we too busy?

Are there things in our lives we need to change in order to be able to spend time desperately seeking?

Ask God to meet with you right where you are? Ask Him to give you a drink of His living water. Write down what God is speaking to you about and what you need to change over the next week, in order to meet with Him.

I would love to hear how God is moving in your life. Feel free to take time and share.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm Back after a Week of Celebrating 26 Years of Marriage!

My husband and I had a great time celebrating 26 years of marriage this past week. This post is going to be reflecting on how to get to 26 years and tomorrow we'll be back on track with "Desparately Seeking God."

* remember to always keep God and the other person in the forefront of your mind.
* don't allow ministry to overtake all your thinking.
* love each other unconditionally.
* respect each other for who they are and how God has made them.
* respect what God desires to do in both of your lives.
* remember God created the man and woman to complete each other,not compete(you can each enhance each other's ministry when you remember this thought.)
* go out of your way to do things for the other person (believe me the longer you are together the more you take each other for granted.)
* suprise the other person with unexpected gifts, dinner at home without the kids, a day trip away with just the two of you.

The list could go on. The main point is to THINK OF THE OTHER PERSON ABOVE YOURSELF. Isn't that scriptural?

I am not here to say it is easy and we have been perfect...the truth is we had to learn this the hard way. God in His grace and mercy helped us understand this and has given us a love for each other that is amazing.
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One thing that is true in any aspect of life is that you have to work at living life. It doesn't "just happen." Well, it could just happen, but what a mess. God allows circumstances in EVERY ASPECT of our lives to occur. We have the great opportunity to allow them to let us grow stronger in our relationships or destroy us. The choice is up to us.

We can make or break our lives. That is what is so awesome about God. He doesn't make us do anything, He gives us the freedom to do what we think is best. If we choose His way He will be right there helping us get through the tough times. He will always be there, even when we make the wrong decision, but He will have to wait to help us until we acknowledge our need for His help.

Our next post will get back to our previous subject of seeking God, but for now it would be great for those of you who are married to think of your relationship with your spouse. Is it where it should be? Are you loving and respecting each other? Are you enhancing each other's ministry and lives?

It would be great to hear some examples of where you have been and where God is taking you in your relationships...let us know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

THIS IS THE CORRECT BLOG!

I am working on my "look" so bare with me. I am not a computer whiz...so it takes me a while...and then I still don't know what I'm doing. ha

Thanks for your patience though.

Cheryl

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Being the Bucket God Uses to Pour Living Water on Others

Scripture talks about drinking the water that comes from Jesus in The Gospel of John. Water is essential for our survival. We need it to live. When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman in John chapter four He told her of living water; a “spring of water welling up to eternal life”. In order to have this living water we must first drink.

“…if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whosoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37

We have to drink in order to be filled. Unless we are thirsty it will not mean much to us. Imagine running a 5k race. By the end of the race runners are desperate for water or an energy drink.

This is what the psalmist was talking about when the deer was used as an illustration, that was written about in the previous post. Do we pant for God? Do we long for God? Does our soul thirst for God? Do we yearn for the living God? Are we ready to meet with Him?

Just like water is essential for our physical body, God and His presence are essential for our spiritual body. If we do not drink of Him daily we will die spiritually. We have to be on our guard to not let the busyness of our lives drown out the thirst for God.

When busyness takes us away from God and thirsting after Him we run into a problem. One way we can allow God to pour into our lives is by attending church or minister's meetings. By doing this we are building a support system around us for the times of struggle when we do not want to be alone; nor should we be. Look to the Book of Acts as a guideline. Luke tells us several times the believers met together regularly.

The woman in ministry needs to ask herself the question, "how often do I meet with other women in ministry?" It is important for the woman in ministry to have a support system of other women in ministry. These women can be a support for her when she feels like she is all alone. They can understand "where she's coming from" because they are in similar shoes. It is great to have other women as friends, but there is nothing as supportive as another woman who has "been there, done that."

So you see, we not only drink of the well of living water when we accept Christ, we can also drink of living water when He places people within our lives to refresh us. We are drinking of God's goodness by allowing other women in ministry to speak into our lives.

In your quiet time today think about how thirsty you are for God. Is your spirit aching for more of God? Are you drinking from the well God has provided for you? Are you allowing other women in ministry to speak into your life? If you have, then think of the wonderful women in ministry who are your friends. Send them an email, a post on facebook, or a card in the mail thanking them for their friendship. I'm sure that would mean a lot to them.

By doing this you are being the bucket that is pouring "living water" into another woman in ministry. It may be just what she needs to hear...a word of encouragement from a friend.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Soul Desperately Thirsting For God.

Over the years I have pondered and wondered why we were not seeing God do more in the lives of believers. Jesus tells us, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these.” John 14: 12

When I read my Bible I see Jesus raising the dead, healing the sick, and casting out demons. He changed the lives of people. I believe we are doing some of these things, but not greater things like He suggested. Why not? What is the problem? Are we too busy to get to know God as He desires? Are we satisfied with quick devotions, fast prayers, and speedy sermons?

In the e-newsletter I send out monthly I have a section called PTO (Personal Time Out) in which various ways of spending time with God are discussed. So I am going to suggest during your time of seeking God you find a place that is all your own...away from activity, so you can totally focus on getting to know God.

Find a special place that is relaxing and quiet; a place that is your refuge, your sanctuary, your safe haven, or retreat. In my house my "retreat" is a comfy chair, pink cushiony lap blanket, oversized pillow, a small table, and a lamp that reflects me. Everyone in my house knows it is mine.

Have you found your place yet? If you need a cup of tea, coffee, or soft drink get it and let’s start our journey into the unknown; a place where few have dared to travel.

Let’s begin with Psalm 42:1-2,
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Are we really thirsty for God?

Does our soul ache for Him?

I began my soul aching and thirst for God when I was a teenager in the 70’s. I couldn’t get enough of God’s word. I wanted to be in church whenever it was open. Like most teenagers I had my struggles. During my senior year of high school I wanted to apply to a state college and major in music so I could eventually train for some Broadway production.

My parents helped me stay on the path God laid for me. They “strongly encouraged” me to go to a Christian college of my choice or they would not help me financially. So with their help I stayed on the right path. I went to a Christian college, majored in music and married a pastor.

My soul still thirsted for more of God and I wanted to do whatever I could to help others get to know Christ. Instead of using my gift of music on Broadway I was able to use it in church directing dramas and leading worship. I was still desperately seeking God in these endeavors. The productions and worship services I led were saturated with what I was learning, in my desperate search for more of God. In desperately seeking Him I learned of the importance of drinking from living water He provided.

For this post I want us to ask ourselves if we are truly desperate for more of God. Are we "panting" after God like the illustration the psalmist uses? How desperate are we to get to know God?

Have we let the routine of family life or church responsibilities crowd out the desire for more of God? I don't mean the desire isn't there...it has just been crowded out by doing life. Have we been so comsumed with "doing" we have forgotten the responsibility of "being?"

I am going to suggest for your quiet time to look up the words desperate, search, seek, and pant. After reading the descriptions look into your own spirit and be honest with yourself. Are the descriptions of these words descriptions you could use for your description of seeking God? To be honest. I fall very short in this area. My heart is there, but my actions have not been on the same level.

Spend some time with God and I look forward to sharing with you next time.

God bless you are you desperately seek Him.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Satisfied or Thirsty?

We become quite comfortable in our daily routines; going to work, taking care of our children, making every effort to make our husbands happy, and going to church weekly. Our lives are comfortable.

Living in the United States has left us basically without need of anything. If we would say we were desperate for anything it would possibly be another car; as our children become teenagers with drivers license, more money (to purchase the extra vehicle), or more time in the day.

I remember when my first child received his drivers license I was so excited. Now I know most parents, mothers especially, dread it when their children are able to drive on their own. Not me! I was ready to let mine drive to youth group and sports activities. That meant I was free to do something else besides driving him around.

As long as we have most everything we need right at our finger tips it is easy to become comfortable; or, dare I say, complacent. We become satisfied and don’t see the need for a more devoted prayer time. We think that praying on the go is great because at least we are praying. Isn’t that what it means to pray without ceasing?

My heart is desperate to know God more. I desire to know Him more intimately than I have ever known Him before. The next few posts are going to be on the topic of "Desperate" a study in seeking God. I hope you join me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

God is So Good

I want to thank God for His goodness! The month of September has been an awesome month. God has blessed the ministry of Mentoring Women in Ministry. We have expanded to Facebook by forming a group and a blog that feeds to this blog. There are over 100 women who have joined the group and they are posting to the discussions and sending prayer requests for women to pray over. Women are responding and are being a tremendous blessing to each other.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of what is happening and look forward to hearing from many more of you. If you have not signed up for the e-newsletter sign up on the tab to the right. It will be coming out Oct. 1 at midnight.

When you have a vision God has placed within your heart do not give up on it because He will make it happen IN HIS TIME. It may be all at once or it may be a little at a time. The key is to just keep at it.

I want to end this post with a passage from The Message in 1 Tim. 5:18-19, where Paul is admonishing Timothy. "Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage - to do good, to be rich in helping other, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life."

So I want to admonish each of you...go after God, capture His heart, passionately pursue Him. If you need to be rekindled in your spirit or renew your passion read the book by Mark Batterson, "Wild Goose Chase." It will help you capture a vision and start dreaming again.

As you seek God He will give you an abundance of blessings; so, be generous to others in what you give of yourself, don't hold back, women need to hear your story, and see God move.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I am still here!

Just wanted to let everyone know I am still around, but working on e-newsletter scheduled to come out Oct. 1. If you have not signed up to receive it click on link at right to sign up for this next issue. There is an interview with a different woman in ministry each month and in November we will be interviewing 3 pastors and their thoughts on the woman in ministry. So sign up and come back I will be blogging again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sometimes We Just Need an Attitude Adjustment

I have been studying Paul over the summer by reading the Book of Acts and all of Pauls' letters. The other day I was reading in 2 Tim.4:11, "...Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." (NIV) Now, I seem to remember in Acts 15:37-38 that Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them on one of their journey's, but Paul "wasn't about to take along a quiter," Acts 15:38 Msg.

At some point in Paul's ministry he had an attitude adjustment toward Mark. The Message says that Paul was going to use Mark as his right hand man. Now, that is a complete turn around from what we saw earlier.

There will be times through out our ministries when people will come into our lives to help us, but we are not very impressed with them. They may not be as diligent in doing things as we are. They may not seem as committed. You may even wonder if they are cut out for ministry. Don't give up on them. Don't give up on your attitude toward them either.

God just may have some awesome duties for them to do...they just aren't ready at the moment. If they leave you for a while and come back, be willing to look into their heart and see if they have allowed God to change them, as Mark did. The one, or one's, you thought were not cut out for ministry, may very well be the very best ministry companions you ever dreamed of having.

Just thought I would throw that out there today. Who is working with you? What is your attitude toward them? Is there someone that has come back into your life that you are unsure of? Look closely and see if God has them in your life for a particular reason.