Call Yourself Confident?

 

 I’ve always believed that every person in every story ever written has a purpose, that the story is impacted in some way if that person isn’t there. That is especially true with the Bible; each person, no matter who they are, have a purpose in the story God gives us in His word. I believe it holds true that the women in the Bible, named or not, have an important part to play in the story God writes every day.

I would say that Latan Rolan Murphy probably feels the same way. In her book, Courageous Women of the Bible, Latan looks at eleven women who have to dig deep and do things that require them to step out of their normal circumstances and into extraordinary moments. These women may not have called themselves brave, but their stories of courage can give us the confidence we need to move forward in that thing that terrifies us.

I was reading paragraph four when God spoke to me through the words of this book. When I say that Latan hit every area in my life, she hit it; it was like she had been sitting in my room and listening to my prayers and conversations.

“Courage compels us to use gifts otherwise left on the shelf: to write the book, sing the song, stick with the diet, run the race, start a new business. Courage helps us push through to the finish line.”

Every. Single. Word.

I couldn’t believe it. I immediately friend requested Latan and sent her a message; this book is for me. And I pressed on through tears.

This book is an easy read, it gives you a look at the world these women live in and the challenges they face. You see how they pulled up their bootstraps and did what they needed to do in spite of the circumstances around them. They got the job done. Something I enjoyed where the titles of each chapter; the first one is called, “Messy Courage.” Each chapter ends with Courage Quest question to help you draw deeper in understanding not only these women but to help you claim your confidence. She ends the book with journal pages to coincide with each chapter, so you can write down your journey to victory.

I enjoyed this book. I will use it for a small group study very soon. I think we, as women, often forget that God uses the willing, not just the male. These women may not have given a single thought to what their stories would mean generations later, but we are privileged to read their stories of bravery. Their stories are a part of our stories, showing us that we can be courageous and that God is faithful to those who are willing to take a step.

“These courageous women have become like best friends… Their powerful stories have helped me to realize that my story also matters to God. And so does yours, friend.”

Yep, Latan feels that way too.

Look At Me

This is a post I wrote 5 1/2 years ago. Isn’t funny that the message is still relevant! 

The other day, I was coming home from taking Jacob to school.  I was driving through the school zone when someone drove by me.  Obviously not driving the posted school zone speed limit.

My first thought was, “I hope that cop is sitting up there, I can’t believe they would speed through a school zone.”

It was almost immediately, I felt the Lord speak to my spirit, “Why are you doing the speed limit?  You don’t do it because it’s the law or the right thing to do, you do it to make yourself feel proud, to feel better than someone else!”

OUCH!! That hurt!  Even worse, it was true.  It didn’t matter to me if I was getting praised for obeying the law, because in my own mind, I was the bomb.  I thought about it every time I drove through a school zone, but not really much beyond that.

Not until the other day.  I was listening to the radio, driving home from work, when the dj Brant, relayed an experience he had that morning.  It was so similar to mine, that it gave me pause.

He said, and keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing, that he was looking out the window that morning, and the first thing he thought was, “thank you, Lord, for such a beautiful day.”  Then how awesome it was of him to have that as his first thought.

A lesson in pride.  I know we all battle with it.  Me, a lot!  I have this need to know stuff, I don’t always have to be right, in spite of what some folks may think, but I want to be.  I take pride in what I know, in my ability to help people because of that knowledge.  And if I don’t know something, or it’s wrong, I learn it.  I won’t be wrong next time.

That’s how you make better yourself, right?

I’ve come to notice all kind so things about pride.  You can be prideful when you think you are being humble.  Prideful when you think you are righteous and prideful when you think you are holy.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Wow, so I shouldn’t take pride in a job well done?  I don’t think that’s what it means.  I think it’s purely talking about your attitude.

Let’s say you make supper for your family.  They tell you who good it is, that they really like it.  Pride would say, “look at me, I’m the greatest.  I can cook like Rachel Ray (or whoever your favorite is!).  I bet so and so’s family doesn’t think she can cook as well as my family thinks I can.

You get the drill, it may not sound just like this, but you know what it sounds like in your head!

But, then there is JOY!  When you find joy in your families delight.  You find joy in making something beautiful or just seeing something beautiful, something that has nothing to do with you at all.

And PEACE.  When you do something because it’s right, not because it makes you look important. When you live in the knowing and not in the being.

I think that’s what I want.  Joy and Peace.  I want to do well and do good, not because it makes me look like a big shot, but because it is what I am called to do.  It is who I am called to be in Christ.

So, I found a few verses I wanted to share.  I plan to memorize them because I need to be able to call on them when my ego needs some humbling.  It could be a lot!

By the way, some of these verses are very appropriate for the times we are in right now and the issues we are facing in our country.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, Oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

John 15:1-12 “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this, love each other as I have love you.”

Philippians 2:1-4 “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being likeminded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Romans 14:17-19 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

May you be encouraged to know, that regardless of the storm, God is still in control.

Be bless today!

The Best Gift

I’ve spent the last few days frantically trying to purchase Christmas presents for my family. It has been difficult, so much so that I still don’t’ know what I’m going to buy my husband. I want to get him the best gift, not just something to spend money but something with meaning. It seems this time of year, more people focus on that same idea; what is best and means the most. It isn’t always easy.

Let’s face it; it often seems more like a money-making machine than a time to give gifts to the ones we love and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

One problem I’ve had with shopping is making sure I’m spending the same amount of money on my husband that he spends on me; this isn’t always possible. Last year he surprised me with new wedding rings, how can you top something so meaningful and beautiful. I bought him a garage door opener.

The big thing about those two gifts, the rings, and the garage-door opener, is that it was something we both wanted. I had been planting the seed for a while that I wanted new rings, not because I didn’t love the set he bought me twenty-eight years ago, but because I had lost stones in that set and they no longer fit. He had been planting the seed for his desire for a garage-door opener for years.

Planting seeds are essential, not only when it comes to gift giving but in every area of our life.  When we plant seeds in fertile ground, it grows into something great. When we are fertile ground, we grow and flourish into the person God has created us to be.

That’s what makes Debbie Johnson’s new book, A Pocket of Seeds so great. It is a one-devotional that plants a seed every day. Each one is more than just enriching your soul but puts the focus on others. With each day, there is a Daily Seed, an action plan to plant the seed of hope into someone else’s life.

Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

How are you sowing into someone’s life? What gift are you giving to others that God can flourish in your life? Use Debbie’s new book as a catalyst to plant the seed in those around you and start the New Year off just right.

“What did God whisper to my soul? “Watch me work.” – Debbie Johnson

What is an excellent opportunity to watch God work?

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Talking to Jesus

I’m going through a season. My mother had a stroke, and I went to Florida to help take care of her and my younger siblings.  It didn’t seem like that big of a deal when I decided to go; I’ve always had a busy schedule, so taking on this new reality will be a breeze.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I didn’t think about how it would affect me to get up every day, get the girls ready for school, get them to school, go to the hospital, get the girls from school, get supper together, homework, baths, stories, bedtime, wash, rinse, and repeat. I fall into bed every night exhausted, having little or no time for anything other than schoolwork.

Somewhere along the lines, I realized I was missing something vital.  I was missing my prayer time; I was missing my time with Jesus.  In all the rush to get everything taken care of, I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I miss the most vital part of my life because of my new obligations.

I let chaos take precedence over priority.

Even after I realized what was going on, it was still difficult to set aside time to seek the Lord and talk to him like I so desperately needed. So, Jeannie Blackmer’s book, Talking to Jesus, came at just the right time.

            Talking to Jesus is a reminder that prayer is a conversation with Jesus, taking a look at different people in the book of Matthew and their conversations with Jesus.  From the Leper to the Disciples, Blackmer uses a unique way to tell the Biblical story and gives a Personal Response to make the stories more relatable in our modern world.

“No matter how discouraged or disgusted you may feel with yourself, no one is unworthy of Jesus’ touch, no matter what.” – Jeannie Blackmer

Each devotion also has a Reflection section with scriptures to help you talk to God through your situation and an Observation section with questions to prompt you to dig deeper.

We all have real-life situations where we struggle with finding our voice with God.  Talking with Jesus is a great book to help you find your voice and slow you down for a few minutes to spend much-needed time, talking to Jesus.

“One of the great privileges as a believer is the gift we’ve been given to talk to Jesus as our redeemer and our best friend. Pray persistently with faith, thanksgiving, and humility. Pray with others and for others. Pray without ceasing and then watch and listen.”

For your chance to win a copy of Talking to Jesus, leave a comment below; I would love to hear how you make time to talk to God.

A New Type of Missionary

When my husband was at Bible College, I remember so of his friends saying they would go wherever God sent them, as long as it wasn’t to Africa. They didn’t mean just Africa, they meant anywhere that wasn’t the United States.  At the time, I remember thinking, “oh yeah, me too.”  I didn’t want to live in a foreign country; I’d like to visit, but I didn’t want to live there.  Little did I know, God was birthing in my heart a desire to do short-term missions and to love and support those that are called to long-term missions.

God was birthing in my heart a desire to do short-term missions and
to love and support those that are called to long-term missions.

A couple of summers ago, I went on a trip to Honduras. It was an amazing trip; I was able to meet a child I was sponsoring and do Vacation Bible School with her and the children at the community center our church sponsored. What an excellent opportunity to not only show love but also to receive love from the children and adults of the community.

There was little for us to worry about in the little village we visited and city where we stayed. We spent most of our time making memories that will last a lifetime. However, the memory I have of the capital, Tegucigalpa, was being told to keep my daughter and the other girls with us, very close.  Not only is Tegucigalpa one of most dangerous cities in the world, but it is also a haven for abductions of people forced into human trafficking.

It wasn’t until roughly four years ago that I come to know that trafficking was happening, not only in other countries but also in the United States.  I had a hard time coming to terms with modern day slavery because I couldn’t believe it was real. Now, however, knowing what I know, I am so thankful for a new type of missionaries in the world.  These people are the advocates for the abolishment of human trafficking; they fight for the individuals forced into a world darkness.  These people bring hope and understanding, but most of all, they bring the love of Jesus Christ to a very hurting people.

How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
Psalm 41:1 (NASB)

When I was asked to write a review for Kimberly Rae’s new book, The Shadow, I was excited; I don’t often get the opportunity to review fiction. This book will grab you on the first page.  I couldn’t stop reading it.

Meagan Winston works for an organization called Rahab’s Rope.  Stateside, there is a store that sells items crafted by women in India.  These women are part of what Rahab’s Rope does in India.  They created a safe place for women coming out of human trafficking and an opportunity for these women to make an income by creating jewelry and other items that are sold in the Gainesville, Georgia store.

Upon returning from her most recent trip to India, Meagan is approached by Cole Fleming who is working with the FBI to uncover who is smuggling drugs in and out of India.  Meagan is the main suspect, but she has bigger problems.  She is also being stalked.

The story is well written and keeps you engaged.  Each chapter is short and is written from a different point of view.  There are several secondary characters that add unique moments to the story. You can’t help but root for Meagan and Cole and their passion to be a new type of missionaries.  This is a story of trust, redemption, hope, and love.

Learn more about Rahab’s Rope

[optinform]