Thursday, February 26, 2009

No pain ... no gain?

I have to agree with the following illustration. So often, I experience difficult life circumstances, sudden turmoil, or emotional pain, and am certain that God has taken a vacation, at least from me. In my head I know that's really not the case, but I'm guessing you understand what I mean. As Christians today in America, the idea that happiness equals godliness is often mistaken for the "Gospel Truth." I guess some folks forgot to talk with Job, or any number of our biblical ancestors. Their quest wasn't for more happiness, but for more of God. Consider the following ...

In his sermon on dealing with trials, Nashville pastor Byron Yawn points out: "For most, especially American Christians, even the remotest suggestion that there could be value in our suffering is viewed as uncaring and insensitive. We have been conditioned by our culture to believe the opposite. A collective attitude that exalts comfort and views personal happiness as the end of all things has blurred our perspective. There is no place for pain in American Christianity. "Because of this distorted perception, we rarely stop to search for the ’hand of God’ in the midst of our trouble. Seeking to understand God’s purposes in our pain is all but foreign. As a result, embracing pain’s role in our sanctification is usually the farthest thing from our minds. As one so aptly put it, ’Most people count it all joy when they escape trials. James said to count it all joy in the midst of trials.’ We need to come to grips with a significant truth: God’s will is not our happiness, but His Glory. The two may, or may not, be directly related."

SOURCE: PreachingNow Vol. 1, No. 20. Tue 9/3/2002.

Just a little something to chew on. May God show Himself to you in mighty ways precious Princess Warriors.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hurts, Hang ups, and Habits

Hurts, hang ups, and habits: three "H" words we are all plagued by in one form or another.
We all carry hurts from our pasts, struggle with annoying hang ups, and sometimes dangerous habits. As Princess Warriors for Christ, it is critical that we find ways to release our hurts, hang ups, and habits to our King, trading them for freedom, righteousness, and peace.

As I've shared before, in my past, I was held captive by some very serious habits. Addicted to drugs, destructive relationships, and a horrible disposition that included anger, rage, depression, and fear, I wasn't very fun to be around. Needless to say, freedom was but a fantasy until I found my Savior, Jesus Christ. The funny thing, though, as we release and surrender specific H-words that haunt us, more seem to reveal themselves. Kind of like the peeling of an onion, layer after layer, the onion unravels revealing yet another layer. So it is with our lives.

Maybe you've dealt with your tendency to overspend, overeat, overreact, you fill in the blank -- we all over do something, don't we? But I have a suspicion that you, too, like me find that there are still other hurts, hang ups, and habits to deal with.

God has led me into a new season of healing. As a person in leadership, who councils others, and speaks to women, it is easy to focus on others. I love giving away God's glorious goodies. Yet, sometimes, more often would be better, I need to slow down and evaluate the sinfulness that has crept up in my own life.

A few weeks ago, I visited a wonderful, Christ-centered program that helps people deal with their "H words." In fact, that's where I first heard of the horrible H-Trio (hurts, hang ups, and habits). The program, Celebrate Recovery, is designed for any person seeking greater healing and freedom in his or her life. Some of their options are recovery from: chemical dependency and alcohol, food addiction (that's the one I joined), Codependency issues, past hurts and emotional trauma, etc. In other words, there are plenty of places to "fit in." I think a majority of us, if we're honest with ourselves, might be able to relate to more than one category. I know I did.

Certainly, not everyone will like this particular program or format, but I have to say, I've been diving into my Bible and going deeper than ever. That can't be a bad thing! Regardless, we all need others to walk with us on our journey of healing. Like Esther, who had to go through a long year of preparation and training prior to becoming queen, we, too, must prepare to serve our Lord and King as Princess Warriors. This isn't a one time deal, either. It is a process of growth, little by little, that brings us closer to our calling. Once we complete one task successfully, God will surely have more for us to accomplish.

So, again I ask you - what hurts, hang ups, and habits are getting in the way of you successfully reigning real for Christ? Is there an area of bondage, a bad attitude, an unhealthy habit that keeps you from more of Him? Don't try and hide it; find a safe person, program, group, to share and partner with as you prepare to follow Christ to a whole new level. As humans, in a fallen world where sin rules, we need all the help we can get. In order to help others reign real, we must allow others to help us.

If you're interested in learning more about Celebrate Recovery just follow the link.

God bless you Princess Warriors.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Too Busy?

Are you too busy to reign real effectively? Do you bite off more than you can chew? (forgive the cliche') If so, you're not alone by any means. Americans are just plain busy. As Christians, it is tempting to get involved with a ton of "good causes" and "good deeds." I've referred to this for those of us in ministry as "Ministry Madness." Most of us are guilty of doing too much at least some of the time.

I have no clue who wrote the following BUSY summary, but its words are very powerful. I know that I have had to eliminate a few activities from my schedule recently. Hopefully, after reading this, you'll take a look at your own life and evaluate your priorities. If we don't have time for God and our families, we're simply too busy.

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil agents, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to the church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do…distract them from gaining hold their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” Shouted his agents.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to works 6 or 7 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressure of work!

“Over stimulate their minds so they can’t hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio, CD player whenever they drive, and to keep the TV, VCR, DVD Players, CD’s and Computers going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.

“Fill the coffee table with magazines, newspapers, and pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with bill boards; flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogues, and sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering them free products, services, and false hopes.

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the covers of magazines so the husbands will believe that eternal beauty is what’s important and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly! Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders, instead, send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies. Keep them busy, busy, busy!

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so they leave their meetings with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions.

“Go ahead, let them be involved in winning souls. But, crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause. It will work! It will work!”

It was quite a convention. The evil agents went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy, and to rush here and there.

I guess the question is—has the devil been successful with his scheme? You be the judge.

B: Being
U: Under
S: Satan’s
Y: Yoke

If you've read this before (I think I may have even posted it in the past) it still serves as good warning. Just because something is good doesn't mean it's God's will. God bless you, Princess Warriors!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love on the Loose

The month of love continues, with Valentine's Day here tomorrow. I wanted to share a fun give-a-blessing activity that we are doing this month at work to celebrate Valentines' Day. It's kind of like the whole secret Santa game.

First, everyone puts their names in a basket and you conduct a drawing. Ahead of time, each person has completed a general questionnaire where they answered questions like:

Favorite music, books, activities, flowers, candy ... so on. That way you have some idea of your secret valentine's interests. Then you make at least three "contacts" over a specific time period. These so-called contacts involve leaving a card, gift, or treat where that person is sure to find it. I can't tell you how much fun it's been to see what's on my desk, not to mention, sneaking around so I can give my secret pal her gifts.

But who says we have to wait for secret pal games? What if we just picked a friend, co-worker, or family member and became their secret pal? What a blessing we could be for that specific person!

We could call it the Blessing Game! That's right. Choose someone to bless in the coming week. Send positive messages, cards, emails ... etc. Make a cake. This doesn't have to stretch your finances. Most of us have Dollar Trees, or other discount stores around us. What about in your own home? It's amazing how re-gifting or giving something that we have (I'm not talking about dirty socks!) can bless someone else. I'm sure you get the picture by now.

Just imagine the impact if we spent more time blessing others with love: JUST BECAUSE. We'd have a lot of smiling people around, making life a whole lot more pleasant for everyone.

Go on; pick your person. If you plan to participate, why not send me a message to demonstrate you commitment to spreading the love and God's blessings this month. Hopefully, you'll have so much fun your will find ample reasons to do it all over again for someone else!

May God bless each of you and may His blessings be poured upon your life.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Month of Love ...

Conflict is a part of life; it is a part of human history. A study reported in the Canadian Army Journal regarding the frequency of human conflicts came up with this interesting statistic – since 3600 B.C. the world has only known 292 years of peace. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.

What does conflict have to do with Love? A whole lot if you're a Princess Warrior for Christ attempting to reign real, with love, in a world that is riddled with conflict.

Love is always a big topic during the month of February. After all, the one, the only ... Valentine's Day falls on the 14th of this month. People that don't spend a great deal of time focused on loving are forced to acknowledge its existence for at least one day. For us as daughters of the King, love is is a trait that is to flow through our lives not just one day, but every day! Unfortunately, as fallible human beings, loving doesn't always come naturally or easily. In fact, relationships are just plain hard. Don't I know!

Recently, there was a conflict between my daughter and one of her friends. Being the type that takes very seriously the "don't let the sun go down on your anger" command, I wanted to resolve this situation in the quickest most effective manner. Unfortunately, the situation between the girls deteriorated rapidly. Not good, considering the girls are both in the same classroom. Ten year old girls are at that "tween" stage and gossiping and all that "mean girl" stuff is beginning to rear its ugliness. Both girls nabbed their own "supporters" and the battle was on.

To make a long story short (forgive the cliche') I tried to intervene with the mother, who is a big fan of let's just pretend the other person doesn't exist all in the name of personal boundaries. So we've got her daughter ignoring mine and my daughter obsessively pushing for reconciliation. Somewhere in the middle there was a place of balance that we all managed to miss.

Sadly, the other mom and myself had a not-so-nice conversation. I stopped loving and started responding in anger. Granted, I felt strongly about her opinion, but as a Christian woman I am required to act differently than women in the world. For a few brief minutes, during a heated phone conversation, I didn't represent my King very well. What she said may not have been okay, but that's not the point. I'm to exhibit love and compassion. I became a defensive mama bear. Needless to say, we both had our claws out and the phone call didn't end well. At all.

Although, that sinful human side of me wants to plead my case to anyone who will listen, I have chosen to seek support solely from my mother and one close friend. Although I don't like her behavior (nor mine) it is critical that I take this situation to Christ and pray for blessings on her and her family. Not easy to do in the midst of conflict.

Conflict. No semi-sane person enjoys it. But every person at some time or another will be in the middle of it. The above statistics make that quite clear. However, our goal as Princess Warriors is the fight the right battle. Love is our best weapon. On our knees in prayer is the preferred battle stance. Sisters, let us remember to forgive, love, and pray. We can go to God with all our complaints and feelings rather than gossiping to others. We can clean up our side of the street regardless of what dirt remains on the other side.

I'm guessing you might have a current conflict, or have had one in the recent past. If so, how are you handling everything? Are you using the right weapons? If not, maybe you, like me, need to ask for God's love to diffuse the negative situation.

Right now, I'm reading a wonderful book about resolving conflict by Joyce Meyers. I highly recommend it to anyone. Based on Scripture, Joyce shares wisdom and provides a plan of action to help you release conflict and avoid strife. is the link to Amazon's page about this title if you're interested.

Let us love without limits as Princess Warriors for Christ.

Watch for more posts on love in the days ahead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My background vanished!

Please be patient. Something strange has happened to my background. It appears to have disapeared. I'll try and fix tomorrow.

God bless you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Strong Woman vs. A Woman of Strength

Author Unknown

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape ... but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape...

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything ... but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear...

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her ... but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone...

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future... a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them...

A strong woman walks sure footed... but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls...

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face... but a woman of strength wears grace...

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey... but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong...

When I discovered this short, but powerful message, I knew I had to share it with all of you. It's so easy as Christian women to feel like we have to do everything and anything. Often times, we are juggling family, career, ministry, education, children's activities, friendships, volunteer work ... the list could go on and on. As Princess Warriors for Christ, we are given two very specific New Testament Commandments: Love God. Love Others. If we're too busy to love -- we're too busy.

The above message could be titled: Wonder Woman vs. A Woman of God. We don't have super-hero powers, but we do have a supernatural God with powers galore. We have to sometimes be reminded that in order to be a woman of strength, we need to make time in our hectic schedules to draw close to the Power Source. Reigning Real isn't possible apart from God's strength.

Do you need to slow down? Retire your Wonder Woman cape? If so, you're not alone. We're all tempted to do it all at one time or another. This is just a reminder to you and I that we're not called nor are we created to be everything to everyone. We are commanded to Love God and Love Others. Let us turn to our King for the power we need to be women of strength. Amen!?