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!