Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whistle while you reign

Ladies, do you whistle while you reign?

Let me explain. I was thinking about Cinderella. Born into a well-to-do family, with a father that lavished his love upon her, Cinderella might have been ill-prepared for a brutal stepmother and cruel stepsisters. Yet, following her father's untimely death, she was forced to perform tasks that she could have deemed beneath her station. She might have rebelled and sought revenge on her evil family members. She didn't.

You know the story. Cinderella works joyfully, singing, and talking to her new animal companions. She manages to find peace and happiness in the midst of what could have been an extremely unhappy existence. She somehow discovered a way to serve and maintain her inner beauty and integrity while those around her behaved quite, well, quite unlovely.

This fairytale favorite got me thinking about my own life. I don't always whistle while I work, joyfully and thankfully performing my "chores." I don't always reign with grace and love. In fact, I've been known a time or two (or three hundred) to behave more like the demanding stepsisters. Am I pretty enough? Do I have enough? Am I smart enough? Will the prince like me? Me. Me. Me.

In fact, too many women aspire to look the part of a princess; they have confused their royal desires for worldly success with the subtle, often behind the scenes, positions that princess warriors for Christ may hold. Not all Princess Warriors are created or called to work under the glow of the spotlight. In fact, quite often, the important roles are happening behind the scenes.

A true Princess Warrior will learn to release her own selfish motives for the betterment of her Kingdom. It's not about her (our) glory. It's about His.

I thought the above princess photo was gorgeous. However, I don't know who this woman is or what motives reside within her heart. But, God does. He is not interested in the time we spend fussing about our appearances or getting noticed for our "good deeds." He is concerned about our inner loveliness.

Let me remind you that while Cinderella was loyal to the seemingly menial tasks assigned by her step-family, behind the scenes something much greater was brewing. After all, in the end she became the princess of a great kingdom and the wife to a fabulous future king. Not bad at all.

So often, the "jobs" that God has us doing today, are simply preparing us for a promotion tomorrow. Learning to embrace where we are and what we are doing in this very moment is crucial to our reigning effectively. Bemoaning our current assignments will only keep us miserable.

So ...Here's the challenge! No matter what your day entails, tomorrow, thank God for His grace, mercy, and hope. If you know how to whistle, go ahead, whistle while you work. Hum a song. Speak positive words to yourself and those around you. Wipe out the dreaded three C's: criticizing, condemning, and complaining.After all, we have good reason to smile.

Someday we will reside in the perfect palace, with the perfect prince, forever and ever. This life is but a prequel to what's next ... His best.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Your Birthright: Live like you believe it!

Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool: During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch.
With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills.
Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all.
The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it. Many Christians live in spiritual poverty. They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright.
Ladies, when we understand our birthright and our position in Christ, we truly can reign real as Princess Warriors. Let's stop settling for crumbs when our King has provided a banquet. Amen!
ABOVE SOURCE: Untapped Spiritual Resources, by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois. Citation: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade publication)]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We are Soldiers

I am a soldier in the army of my God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding officer. The Holy Bible is my code of conduct, Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit-- trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity. I will either retire in this army at the rapture or die in this army; but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out. I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there. If He needs me in the Sunday school to teach the children, work with the youth, help adults or just sit and learn I’ll be there. He can use me because I am there! I am a soldier. I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. I am a soldier. No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me. I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom!

No one has to send me flowers gifts, food, cards, candy or give me handouts. I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to. I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit. If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead. I will win.

My God has, and will continue, to supply all of my needs. I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ. Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me and hell cannot handle me.

I am a soldier. Even death cannot destroy me. For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him. I am a soldier in the army and I’m marching, claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. I am a soldier marching, heaven bound. ~author unknown~
When I stumbled on this incredible proclamation of truth about who we are in Christ, it was perfect timing. I desperately needed to be reminded of my identity as a Princess Warrior. Sadly, far too often, I find my head hanging and my hope deflating over things that are temporary, even trivial. Maybe you can relate. But, can you imagine if every time we started to doubt our call as Christians we were to read the above statement? Wow! Talk about sending stinking thinking right out the door.

Our Commander and Chief at times calls us to duty, serving in areas that we are not interested or comfortable in. Yet, who are we to questions our Creator and King? It should be a joy, privilege, and honor to serve Him anyway possible.

Would you consider joining me in reading these truths daily? Just knowing that fellow soldiers are pledging their service to our King and Cause give me a sense of excitement and hope. Please, send me a note; let me know if you're taking a stand for Christ. Let's work together in making our world a better place.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Imperfect Princess Warriors

SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT: We do not have a happy report to give. We have not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect.

Thank you for your suggestions. We have followed up on each one with interviews or by calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report.

ADAM: Racial ancestry could not be confirmed. Good man but has problems with his wife. One reference told us how he and his wife enjoyed walking nude in the woods, until God finally made them put clothes back on.

NOAH: Had Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects. Great animal lover, but the last neighborhood received a flood of complaints right as he was leaving town.

JOSEPH: A big thinker, but a braggart; believes in dream interpreting and has a prison record over accusations of a rape of his bosses wife. Good with budgets and managing resources, however.

MOSES: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator; even stutters at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly in business meetings. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge. Often claims to get direct quotes from God. Too much over the top for most folks. History says he was a basket case from the beginning.

DEBORAH: One word --- Female.

DAVID: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor’s wife. Besides, he can’t control his own household... so how could we respect him.

SOLOMON: Great preacher, but he too, has had serious women problems. Independantly wealthy, so the church could pay him less and he can make up the difference.

ELIJAH: Prone to depression; collapses under pressure. Besides, no one has seen him in a long time. Doesn’t blend well with other religious leads, either.

HOSEA: A tender and loving pastor, but our people could never handle his wife’s occupation. JONAH: Told us he was swallowed up by a great fish. He said the fish later spit him out on the shore near here three days later. We hung up.

AMOS: Too much of a country hick. Backward and unpolished. With some seminary training, he might have promise; but he has a hang-up against wealthy people.

JOHN: Says he is a Baptist, but doesn’t dress like one. May be too Pentecostal. Tends to lift both hands in the air to worship when he gets excited. You know we limit to one hand. Sleeps in the outdoors, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.

PETER: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper, even said to have cursed on occasions. He’s a loose cannon.

PAUL: Powerful CEO type and fascinating preacher. However, he’s short on tact, unforgiving with young ministers, harsh, and has been known to preach all night. Very offensive to women when he starts his "submission" stuff. And besides, he has a rap sheet a mile long in numerous cities.

TIMOTHY: Too young and inexperienced.

JESUS: Has had popular times occasionally, but once when his church grew overnight to 5000, he managed to offend them all with too hard a message; eventually his church dwindled down to twelve people... then finally to eleven, and even the faithul finally left his team. Critics report he seldom stays in one place very long, is easily distracted by poor, sick, and needy people, so doesn’t focus on ministry. Disappeared for forty days one time to go camping and everyone thought he had left the ministry. Spends too much time in meditation, needs to attend more of the organizational meetings without making a spectacle of himself and displaying his temper. And, of course, he is single, which disqualifies him automatically. Oh... and he hangs around with sinners most of the time. Rumor has it he got crossed up with the government at one point, and they buried him with accusations. He’s not a quitter, however, and keeps popping up here and there. His followers are too radical at times for society, and that seems headed for a showdown somewhere in the future. Besides, he’s Jewish.

Summary: We intend to keep looking until we find the perfect pastor for our congregation. Sincerely, Pastor Search Committee

Are you laughing yet? Wow! I love this story. Once again, the Bible demonstrates that God uses imperfect people over and over and over again to serve His Kingdom. Finally, when the perfect "Pastor" appears, the religious folks still don't recognize him.

I've been feeling pretty imperfect lately. Maybe you, too, can relate. So you stutter ... so what? -- Go speak up about the good news. You're young. Not a problem. God can use you. You're a woman ... just remember Deborah, Mary, Martha, Rahab, Esther, Ruth ...

That's right! Even in all our imperfections, we can reign real as Princess Warriors for Christ. Go on. Pick up your sword and your sceptor and get going. We've got a lot of work to do, sisters.
I hope you like the newest princess warrior portrait from Tia. She sketched this one specifically for this site. Check out more of her work:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Home of the Brave: Happy Belated July 4, 2008

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg--or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. She--or he--is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another--or didn’t come back at all. He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat--but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs. He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor die unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket--palsied now and aggravatingly slow--who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, "Thank you." That’s all most people need, and in most cases, it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot: "THANK YOU."

After all, it is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

I thought the above story was appropriate this holiday weekend. So often we forget the price that was paid for our freedom in this country. We also need reminding that as Christian soldiers, we, too, are in an army. However, we get to fight on the side that ultimately will win in the end. And there is Someone who assured that victory -- Jesus Christ. He died for us to live. Freedom always comes with cost. Let's remember to celebrate those who have paid for us. Amen!