Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom from Rational Strongholds

(Excerpts taken from “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” by Rick Renner)

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 states, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. …We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

If we want to be free from every stronghold of the enemy in our life, we have to understand that there are 2 kinds of strongholds: rational and irrational.  The rational ones are the most difficult to deal with…because they make sense!

When talking about ‘taking every thought captive’, Paul refers to rational strongholds.  The greek word for ‘imaginations’ is logismos, which is where we get the word “logic” as in “logical thinking”.  A sound mind must be submitted to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit; otherwise, your mind will develop a stronghold of ‘natural’ reasoning that starts to let all kinds of lies in your life dictate what you do.  Your logical mind will always try to talk you out of obeying God.  It will tell you that you can’t afford to obey the Lord and that it isn’t a good time to step out in faith. Your natural mind will come up with all kinds of logical reasons to explain why you shouldn’t do what the Spirit of God is telling you to do.

I experienced this about 12 yrs ago when we were living in Amarillo TX before we had children.  We had been trying to get pregnant from 1991-1998 but to no avail.  We had tried artificial insemination 3 times with no luck. Our money had run out, too.  So we took a break from it for a year and started saving our money again for the next try.  In May of 1998 Brady got a call for an interview with a television station in Monroe, Louisiana and we both thought, “Wow! We could live close to our families again, only 30 minutes apart!”  We started getting excited about that opportunity and looking at how all of the pros outweighed the cons in our ‘logicial’ minds.  Then we began to pray about it and Brady told me on the way to the airport that if this was God’s will for us, then he’d know immediately when he walked in the building and sat down for the interview.  Well, much to my dismay and brokenheart, he called me afterwards and said that this was not God’s will for us.  The company had not made a decision on whether to hire him or not, but he felt compelled to let them know that he was no longer interested.  We were sad for a few days, but really trusted the Lord that He had something better for us. 

That ‘something better’ turned out to be our son, Abram Neal Boyd!!  You  see, if we had disobeyed God and followed our own ‘logical’ thinking and moved back to Louisiana, we would have missed out on God’s promise for us to have children!  In July of 1998, that same year, just 2 months later, we found out about the opportunity to adopt a little boy who was to be born in October.  We were able to use the money we had saved on his adoption! It still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.  Satan will try any and every little trick in his book to distract us from hearing the Lord. 

Most of us knows what the Lord declares in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”, but do we really believe it?  If we constantly give in to rational strongholds, and do not start to recognize them and denounce them, then it seems for sure that we don’t believe this declaration from the Lord. 

I am so thankful we did not walk in our flesh and move just because ‘it made sense’.  We would have missed out on not just our first child from the Lord, but also, our second child.  Both Abram and Callie were born in Amarillo TX.  Both were adopted at birth and both are the greatest blessings in our life!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Thank God for You!

Ephesians 1:16 “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”
So how long has it been since you gave thanks for the loved ones God has placed in your life?  To take it further, how long has it been since you spoke those words to your loved ones?  Well, Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we all know that ‘love’ is celebrated on that day whether it’s for your spouse, your family, your friends, or that special someone in your life. 

The number of Valentine’s Day cards exchanged annually is approximately 200 million, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. (Christmas has 1.9 billion) (This total excludes packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges.) (Source: Hallmark research)

Wow!! Compared to Christmas that’s not a lot of cards with heartfelt love going out.  I wonder why that is.  Now I know that some of it could be because you can send a FREE card via the internet now, but how many of you appreciate a card that you get in the mailbox more than an e-card?  For me, I’d have to say a card that I receive in the mail means that the person who sent it really took the time to pick it out just for me.  They chose to go to a store and read hundreds of cards before they found just the right one. (OK, maybe not hundreds.)  But you see, time is valuable and so when someone chooses to use that time for me, it’s always precious to me.  I have a dear friend who does just that.  Actually, I have many dear friends who do that, but this friend continues to do it even though we’re many miles apart now and not only does she send me a card on special occasions, but she also sends cards to my children on their birthday.  She has taken love and thoughtfulness to a whole new level.  I wish that I could say I do this for all of my loved ones today.  Truth is, I used to many years ago, but life got so busy that I stopped and I started sending the e-cards (at least I remembered to do that). *smile* I guess you could say that the Lord gently reminded me through my dear friend to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and to take time for the ones that I love and that are special to me.  My friend doesn’t know how much her actions have encouraged me.  (I think I’ll send her a card to tell her just how much.) *smile* Thank you, Peach!

Won’t you join me in taking time to thank God more often for your loved ones and better yet, take time to thank them more often whether by snail mail, email, a phone call or a visit?  Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day that we celebrate our love for our loved ones. *smile*  Let’s celebrate love all year long!

p.s. In case you're wondering, I'm getting a delicious meal at Pappadeaux's with my 3 valentines this year!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living from Glory to Glory

“But we all, with open face beholding  as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  2 Cor 3:18
Do you find yourself quoting this verse when you are facing a difficult challenge?  Well, I do.  I’m always thinking that this mess will soon be over and then it’s glory to glory!  Always stating one of my favorite quotes “The Best is Yet to Come!” Praise Jesus!  What does it mean to go from glory to glory? It doesn’t say we are going from mess to glory, but we are going from glory to glory – in other words, from a current glorious place to another higher glorious place. I know, you’re asking what does that exactly mean.  It means that you and I won’t be promised to the next realm of glory until the realm where we presently live is glorious.  If we want to go upward into a greater glory, we have to first make glorious the place where we are living and functioning right now.  This makes me want to take a good, hard look at my life and ministry. Am I living in a glorious stage, or am I stuck in an ugly, messy stage of my life? 
In the first part of the scripture, it talks about us having “open faces”. The word ‘open’ is the Greek word anakalupto, which means ‘to unveil, to uncover, or to disclose. However, the Greek tense doesn’t refer to a one-time unveiling, but to a veil that, once lifted, remains lifted forever. The vital truth to this is that we must be willing to permanently remove the veil from our eyes and to take an honest look in the mirror in order to truthfully acknowledge the condition of our present stage.  Once we do this, it allows God to change us, correct us, transform us, and prepare us to move upward into the next glorious phase of our lives.
YES! God wants to take you from glory to glory. However, He isn’t bothered if He has to wait until you correctly finish your current task.  God has lots of time. But when you get serious about doing what is necessary to make your present situation glorious, you signal to the Holy Spirit that it’s time to open the way to the next glorious phase God has planned for your life!  (Excerpts taken from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek.)
I want to share with you a messy stage that I was in not long ago, 2 ½ yrs to be exact. We were in the waiting stage of where the Lord was taking us on the next step in our journey.  Was it going to be 45 minutes from where we currently lived in TX or was it going to be CO or FL, 2 places that I was very unfamiliar with?  I had many talks with the Lord where I pleaded to let us stay in TX.  After all, my dear friends lived there and I was happy there, so why in the world would I want to move.  This stage in my life became very messy and cloudy to the point that I knew that I would not be happy if we lived anywhere else but TX.  I started to ask the Lord to show me signs, any sign with Frisco TX on it, to confirm that that’s where we were moving. Funny how the Lord grabs our attention.  Sometimes it’s a still small voice and other times it’s overwhelming.  You see, it wasn’t a ‘sign’ at all that He used to speak to me.  A couple of weeks before we found out that Brady was one of the top 2 candidates for the Senior Pastor’s position at New Life Church, I was walking through the kitchen wondering if I should start packing boxes.  I’m not usually a procrastinator when it comes to moving, but this time I waited as long as I could. You see I was stuck in my mess of stubbornness that the Lord couldn’t show me the glory he had waiting for me. When I looked in the mirror and saw who I was becoming, a stubborn little girl who wasn’t stepping one foot out of TX, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to become that person and I was reminded that wherever God moves me, I will be happy because I am in His will. As clear as a bell, I heard the Lord say, “Start packing for Colorado.”  Tears welled up in my eyes, as I apologized to the Lord for being so stubborn for the past 5 months.  You see once I stopped and look in the mirror at the condition of my heart, it allowed the Lord to come in and correct me, transform me, and prepare me to move upward to the next glorious phase of my life.  
I can honestly say that I am glad the Lord called us to Colorado to pastor a wonderful group of people…a loving family who have been so kind and who have welcomed us with open arms from the beginning.  This is the next glorious phase that He had waiting for me.  I’m looking forward to what He has in store for my ‘next glorious phase’, but right now, I’m just enjoying living in this one.

Here’s a prayer that you can pray today:
Lord, I want to take the veil off my eyes and get honest about my situation. I can see that much of my present life is not glorious. I have wanted You to promote me from my mess to a new level of glory, but I see now that Your promotions always move from one level of glory to a higher level of glory. Show me every area in my life that needs to be changed, and help me give You complete liberty to transform those parts of my life. I want to go to a higher level of glory, Lord, so I am asking You to help me first make my present situation a glorious testimony of Your grace! In Jesus name I pray.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Who Are You Considering Today?

Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.”

New Am Standard version “And let us consider how to ‘stimulate’ one another to love and good deeds.”

Do you ever get so busy and self-consumed that forget that there are people all you who have needs and challenges too? So many times we get caught up in our own little world of motherhood and trying to be the best of everything. We start to form a big bubble around us and we shut out the people who need us.

Let’s look at the word ‘consider’. It’s from the Greek word Katanoeo, a compound of the words kata and noeo. These 2 words placed together means to thoroughly think something through or to ponder something, or carefully contemplating a matter. We should be constantly observing and contemplating each other to know how to encourage and provoke each other to love and to good works.

The word ‘provoke’ is the Greek word paraxusmos. This describes someone who has come alongside of someone else for the purpose of prodding and encouraging that person to do something. In Hebrews 10:24 this word provoke is telling us that our relationships with other believers should incite us to become better, stronger and bolder in the Lord.

How can we provoke or stimulate a friend in the Lord in such a way that we make them ‘want’ to walk in love and do good works?

1. Come alongside them and love them enough not to leave them in discouragement and defeat.

2. Sharpen them, prod them, impel them, and inspire them to keep on fighting the good fight.

Do you agree that ALL believers need to be provoked at times, no matter what their position is in the Body of Christ? A little loving push in the right direction now and then!

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” What does this verse mean to you?

There is nothing like living in an atmosphere of faith and love where you are surrounded by believers who really believe and practice the Word of God. Having friends like this gives us strength. Being a friend like this to someone helps give them the strength they need to live as an overcomer.

How many of you have had friends go out of their way to call you, drop by to see you, write you a note to check on you because they’ve noticed you needed some encouraging? How many of you have called a friend, dropped by the see them, written them a note because you have noticed they needed some encouraging?

Can you think of someone right now who needs you to be a source of strength and encouragement? Who are you considering today?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Embracing Who God Created You to Be

I had a wonderful childhood and didn’t wonder much about why God made me like I am until the 7th grade. My elementary years were like most children who played kickball, four square, played tag with the boys, swung on the monkey bars, had make-believe weddings, and built pine straw houses. I really didn’t have any worries or concerns about much in life because my parents did such a wonderful job in making me feel safe, protected, loved, cared for, and yes, even spoiled…a little.  In the 7th grade I got my very own locker, had to memorize my combination, go to several different classrooms, had to remember what books I needed for which class, be on time to my classes, plan ahead, etc. Yes, it was now time for me to be more responsible and make important decisions about my education…and OH, not to mention I was a new teenager at the same time. That’s a lot to take on at 13!! I remember how some of my teachers liked to teach us by letting us READ ALOUD a portion of a chapter in our book we were studying at the moment. WHAT??? Read by myself in front of everyone??? I prayed every time the teacher told us to get out our books because we were going to read aloud. I prayed that she/he wouldn’t call on me. I would start to sweat, feel my stomach knotting up and would keep my head down avoiding eye contact. I thought they wouldn’t see me so they wouldn’t call on me to read. Well, that didn’t work! They would still go down each row of chairs to read. So, I did a fair amount of my share of reading in class with sweat dripping down my back and my stomach turning in knots. I was not an outgoing child who never met a stranger. In fact, I was the complete opposite, always on my mother’s coattail. Plus, I was the first born, the cautious one. I remember many times in my jr high and high school years questioning God, “Why did you make me this way? Why can’t I be normal like everyone else and talk a lot? I hate being shy!” I had a hard time even saying the word ‘shy’ for many, many years because I hated it so much.

It wasn’t until the 9th grade that I forced myself to ‘come out of my shell’. There were tryouts for the school drill team and I decided to try out. After all, I loved to dance and knew that if I made the team that people wouldn’t call me ‘shy’ anymore. I practiced my routines all the time and worked really hard to make the team. I MADE IT!!! I was so excited and for the next 3 years, I made the team! Over those 3 years, 10th-12th grade, I enjoyed being an Emerald Entertainer. I became more comfortable in who I was and my personality and talent began to shine. I was elected Jr Captain my junior year and Sr Captain my senior year. Talk about a transformation!! I couldn’t believe it! I had grown leaps and bounds from that shy little girl in jr high to a confident leader in high school.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t sure of my ability to speak in front of crowds, but I no longer dreaded it with blood, sweat and tears. 

After high school Brady came into my life and we dated for 3 years before we were married. He was totally opposite from me. He would say some of the funniest things off the top of his head and make the whole room laugh wherever we were. I was drawn to his sense of humor and his ability to talk about anything. He made friends easily because he had no fear in talking to anyone. He engaged them and connected with them with little effort. He still does to this day.  As I watched him and took mental notes and applied them to my life, my confidence began to soar and I started becoming more comfortable in who God created me to be.

In the fall of 2006 I received true revelation and true freedom that I had been seeking all of these years to embrace why God created me like this. I went on a personal heartquest with the Lord for 6 days out on a ranch in Texas with 15 other women seeking answers from Him. It was on the 4th day during our break time that I asked the Lord, “What is it that you want me to see?” And He said, “I want you to see that I made you with a quiet and gentle spirit and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a very good thing. So be proud of it and stop looking at it as a hindrance. You’ve got something to say. Now speak it with the confidence that I’ve given you.” Then He took me to His Word in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” It was my light-bulb moment. I now understood that being quiet was a good attribute and I had nothing to be ashamed of.  I have grown a lot in my confidence in not only who God created me to be; but also, in who I am in the Lord. I don’t have to try to measure up with anyone but the Lord. Lisa Bevere wrote a wonderful enlightening book that helped me in the area of women trying to measure up with other women. The name of the book is The True Measure of a Woman and she states that we should measure ourselves in our faith, love, and fear of God. I can promise you that once you read it, you will stop wishing you were something you are not and start embracing who God created you to be.

Here’s a promise from the Lord to you:

"Because she loves me" says the LORD, "I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her my salvation." Psalm 91:14-16

Monday, January 4, 2010

Live Out Loud

After reading my son's emails that he has sent to my parents and a couple of children's websites, I noticed that he writes just like he thinks...straight and to the point. There is no gray area with him, it's either black or white. You definitely do NOT have to wonder what he's thinking; although, sometimes I do wonder where he comes up with some of his thoughts. :-) The Lord reminded me that this special little guy loves to LIVE OUT LOUD. We should all take note and LOVE to live out loud!

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song about it. One line of his lyrics is "This is the life we've been given, made to live out, out loud." Wow! What a great quote! The Oxygen channel even uses LIVE OUT LOUD as their slogan. I believe that most of the shows on that channel are reality shows and they go to the extreme of 'living out loud'. This makes me wonder if we, as Christians, truly LIVE OUT LOUD in reality. If we had a reality show, what would it look like? Would it be staged like they are on TV or could you really be yourself with cameras coming at you from every angle?

Here's another thought, if we LIVED OUT LOUD serving the King of Kings would we be content and satisfied with our life? Ralph Waldo Emerson has an interesting quote about that. He states, "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Paul instructs us how to produce the satisfied sense of well-being that should encompass a Christian's life in Ephesians 5:15-17, "Therefore be careful how you walk; not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." When we feel good about life, about who we are in Christ, what we are doing for the Kingdom, and where we are headed, honorability and compassion become a big part of our character. We desire to make a difference. There is an overwhelming sense of joy that cannot compare to short-term happiness.

An unthinkable, most horrific crime that is rampant in the US and abroad wrecked my heart in Jan of 08. I couldn't believe what my friend, Lisa Bevere, was telling me about the child trafficking that she witnessed in Thailand a couple of years ago. Child trafficking? It was even more horrible than what I thought it was! And, it was going on right here in the US, in our own backyard! After feeling sick in my stomach and crying my eyes out over these precious children, I began to pray and ask the Lord how I could get involved to help stop this billion dollar crime. Lisa has an organization that she founded called Pearl Alliance that helps raise funds and awareness to rescue these precious children of God. Lisa has become a dear, trusted friend over the past 2 years. She is full of wisdom and courage and great tenacity to see this industry come to an end. In a recent address to America on Anti-Trafficking, Lisa states, "More than stocks and bonds, the children of this nation are our greatest wealth! Their present and future safety...our only hope of lasting legacy. The oppression and injustice we tolerate for others will over take us all if we remain silent. I am passionate because I've not only heard...I've seen, so I speak my passion. In the name of all that makes us humans created in the image of God, how can any of us remain silent when the voices of so many children have been silenced?"

Lisa's passion and courage is contagious! Please visit her website to see how you can get involved.

Another trusted organization that I strongly believe in is Stop Child Trafficking Now founded by Ron and Lynette Lewis. This organization raises funds and awareness to send special operative teams in to the places where this heinous crime is happening to arrest the predators. Stop Child Trafficking Now "believes strongly that to eliminate this heinous crime the demand for children must end. That's why SCTNow seeks to destroy the source. SCTNow believes that putting predators behind bars, we can Stop Child Trafficking Now."

Ron and Lynette make a powerful statement in a letter from them on their website,, "There comes a point in life when you look at all of the pain in the world and stop simply hoping something will change. You decide I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. You don't know how you'll find the time or resources, who will join your efforts, or when you'll see results, but you simply decide to do something."

I CAN help make a difference! YOU can help make a difference! I made a choice to partner with Pearl Alliance and Stop Child Trafficking Now to be a voice for the ones that have had theirs stolen. This is what excites me! No longer can we sit and cry and hope that something will change. Yes, it's our time to LIVE OUT LOUD!