Monday, June 9, 2008

Relieving Stress

OK. Let's just be straight with each other. As women we can have an abundance of stress in our lives when it deals with our family - added to that is the stress of the church when you are in ministry.

We have to deal with balancing the support we need to give our husband and children. When they do not see eye to eye on issues moms can feel like they are stuck in the middle. That is not a great place to be. Who likes to be sandwiched in between 2 strong willed situations? I don't think anyone. It is a difficult place to be. Some women may have to deal with the "either, or," not the easy "ok I'll support my husband." It may be she is in the situation that if she does support her husband she will lose her kids. If she supports her kids she puts a "wedge" between she and her husband.

What's a woman to do? It seems as if she is "stuck between a rock and a hard place," to use the old phrase.

I was contemplating this thought this morning, since many women have to go through this issue. It is amazing how God drops things into your spirit. I learned, from Kathy Troccolli, to call this "kisses from the King." When Jesus was on the cross he took the weight of the world on his shoulders. I thought of the stress and pressure in each one of our lives. We live with this every day. If we think it is heavy on our shoulders, multilply that a million times over and you will get some understanding of what Jesus had to carry.

We don't have it so bad after all. I know it is still hard and difficult to deal with, but try to remember this fact and lay it at Jesus' feet - release it to Him. Allow Him to help you with your burdens and cares. Doesn't Peter tell us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us? Then let's do what he tells us. I know it is easier to say than to do; but "Just Do It." You will be glad you did.

If you have some issues you are dealing with and God has given you some insight write me a post. I want to hear.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Still Learning from Saul

Well, I wanted to bring out the good aspects of Saul because we do not hear of it often. Now I have been thinking of the not so good aspects of Saul's leadership.

I hope you get as much out of this study as I have.

Saul began his leadership on the right foot, humble; but as he became familiar with the role and saw the success he began to become overconfident. He became proud and assumed Samuel's role at one point. That was a terrible mistake. We learn from Saul that pride and self-confidence without the Holy Spirit will lead to anger, resentment, and disappointment. Read about some of this in I Samuel 15.

In one instance when he was suppose to destroy everyone and everything Saul captured the king and did not kill him. Samuel reminds Saul that he had nothing when he started out, then God made him head of Israel – made him king! What a privilege! “God sent you off with orders. Why did you not obey Him? Why, with God’s eyes on you all the time, did you brazenly carry out this evil?”(I Sam. 15:17-19) Saul starts making excuses and asks what is wrong with taking a few choice sheep? He was avoiding the issue.

I think of one of my daughters when she was 17. She deliberately disobeyed and wrote me a long letter apologizing and explaining why she did what she did. She was making excuses. She missed the point of her deliberate disobedience.

Samuel told Saul straight up that he did not want sacrifices and empty rituals. He wanted him to listen and do what he told him. Because Saul refused to listen and said no to God, God said no to Saul’s kingship.

In our own ministries we need to be careful not to become prideful in our accomplishments and knowledge, thinking we know more than anyone else. Too often I have seen young youth pastors or associates and their wives come into church all excited about ministry, but exemplify an attitude of, “I know more than you.”

This is not healthy for them or the church in which they are ministering. They will not be able to glean from the knowledge of those who have gone before them. I have seen wonderful ministries, such as Master’s Commission or other similar programs, teach servant leadership. They teach students to develop a servant heart. The ministry teaches the student that all areas of the church give you an opportunity in which to minister, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms or speaking in front of fifty or a thousand people. You learn that the attitude of the heart is important, not what special abilities you have.

My prayer is that I keep a simple, humble attitude of the heart, so God has a good fertile ground to work in daily. This is hard because when you do wonderful things ,and see success you naturally have a tendency to become proud of your accomplishments. It is ok to be proud of what you do and confident in the Lord, but when we start doing things on our own and our own way we are setting ourselves up for trouble. It may not happen soon, but it will happen.

To bring it home to us think about Arwen in "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring." The scene is right after Frodo gets stabbed by the wraith sword. He is dying and needs help. Arwen comes and tells Strider she is the faster rider and she needs to get Frodo to her father in Rivendale. She puts Frodo on her horse and rides away with the nine wraiths close behind. She gets to the river and with confidence she looks straight at the wraith and says, "If you want him come and get him." She then begins speaking in Elvish and the waters rise up and overtake the wraiths.

Right after that Frodo seems to be slipping away. Arwen bends over him and says, "What grace is given me let it pass to him. Let him be spared." She had confidence in who she was, what ability she had through her people (father), and was willing to step out and take the risk.

As women in ministry know who you are in Christ. Know what He has called you to do. Have confidence to be who God wants you to be. Have confidence in the ability He has given you. Be willing to take a risk for what you believe in your heart to be true.

You are special and God has a desire to use you for His glory.

Let me know how He is accomplishing His plan in your life.