Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beautiful, Valuable, Worthy, & Whole

In God's image you were strategically crafted
Bone structure, curves, the color of your eyes He mastered
He took His time to make sure you were perfect
Nothing broken, nothing scarred
nothing missing, nothing flawed
A masterpiece exemplifying pure beauty
I imagine Him marveling at His creation
thinking "Hmmm, she looks good to me"
If fearfully and wonderfully made
Your worth high above rubies
Why do you devalue yourself
simply for the likes of a cutie?
I take that back
He's probably not even that cute
but because you think you can't do any better
you're too afraid to give him the boot.
The boot that kicks him out of your life
Refusing to continue to sell yourself short
As if you have to be desperate
And settle for less as a last resort.
No ma'am my sister
Your pearls are to be treasured
And your heart treated like gold
You are God's prized possession
Forget the lies you've been told
Lies that say you're unloveable
And the only way to receive is to put out
Lies that tell you sex and sexuality
Are all you're really about
Your body is a temple
Designed to be holy and pure
It is to be offered as a sacrifice
Of this, be very sure
Jesus paid a high price for you
Because He loved you more than Himself
The man in your life should follow Jesus' example
And place you high upon a shelf
The shelf of his heart, that is
Loving and respecting you for who you are inside
Not focusing merely on your body
Or the jewel between your thighs
But until you respect yourself
And recognize your own worth
You'll always lower your standards
And accept being treated like dirt
I'm not telling you anything
That I haven't gone through myself
But by the grace of God
I discovered that within me was wealth
Not the kind of wealth
Measured by riches and gold
But the kind that resides
Deep down in the very soul
A weatlh of beauty
A wealth of love
A weath of value
All given from above
If nothing else you take from this
If nothing else speaks to your soul
See yourself as God does
Beautiful, Valuable, Worthy, and Whole.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." ~Psalm 139:14~

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let Your Light Shine...

This morning I received an email that brought tears to my eyes, and led me into full-on praise mode.  It was an email from a young lady who reads my column in EEW Magazine. 

She wrote me back in the early part of December, expressing her admiration and sharing how an article I'd written had spoken to some things she'd been going through.  She went on to tell me how she'd been inspired by the column to give her life to Christ, but felt like she wasn't ready because of her struggles with suicide and depression, among other things.  I shared a few words of encouragement with her, and listed the Steps to Salvation

She wrote me back to thank me, and then I never heard from her again.  That is, until this morning.

When I saw the white indicator light blinking on my phone, I knew that meant I had email.  My inbox is flooded with emails on a daily basis, alot of it spam, so I usually just ignore the light unless I'm expecting something important.  This morning was no different.  I looked at the blinking light, and ignored it.  But then I felt an urgency to go ahead and check my email.  And I'm so glad I did.

My face lit up when I saw her name, because she'd been on mind and I'd been praying for her since our first interaction.  I opened up the email, and this is what I read:

"When I first talked to you last year, I did not immediately take the advice you had given me. I was still struggling with everything and I just gave up. But on yesterday at 10:24 PM I prayed the prayer of salvation and told God to take control of my life so I could fulfill His plan for my life. I said bye to the old life and hello to the new life God has in store for me. Thank you for continuously praying for me."

"Thank you Jesus!" I shouted.  My heart was so happy. 

I thanked and praised God for the saving of her soul.  The enemy has lost one.  Go Jesus!!

As followers of Christ, this is what we are all called to do - win souls to Christ.  We are called to be salt of the earth, and to let our lights shine before men so that they will see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16)  What good is a life in Christ if no one can see Him shining through us?  We aren't saved just for the sake of holding the title of Christian, but for the sake of compelling others to come to Christ.

If, as Christians, the life we live before others cannot convince one sinner to come to Christ, then we must ask ourselves if we are truly exemplifying Christ-likeness in our daily lives.  If we are to be living epistles for Jesus, then when others see us they should see Him and feel His love towards them.

You never know who's watching you, or who so desperately needs Jesus in their lives.  And sometimes, the only way others will know anything about the Lord is by the life of those of us who profess to be Christians. 

Ponder whether you're allowing the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) to shine through you.  Ask yourself if you live your life in such a way that when others are looking for Jesus they can find Him in you.  Do you extend grace and compassion to those outside of the fold?  Can you look beyond the faults of others and see that they have need of the God inside of you?  Can Jesus depend on you to plant the seed of Christ into the lives of the lost?

While none of us have the power to save anyone, we definitely have the power to use our lives as a witness of Christ's love, grace, mercy, and salvation.  And sometimes we don't have to say one word; it will show in how we live. 

Be encouraged to allow the light of Christ to shine brightly through you.  You never know whose darkness needs your light.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

God's Perfect Love

Yesterday was such a special day for me.  I officially put on my entrepreneur hat, and launched my new business.  I consider it to be a very monumental moment in my life; one that I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my days.  With my husband Jeremy away at work, the kids and I celebrated mommy's moment by dancing around to fun music and piggin' out on cupcakes from our favorite bakery.  We had tons of fun, and a huge sugar rush!

The outpour of love and well wishes was completely overwhelming, and tremendously blessed my heart.  It's a wonderful feeling to know that you are loved and supported.  It was indeed a joy-filled day.

At the end of the night as I lay my head on my soft, oversized pillow, emotions hit me like a ton of bricks.  When I should have been closing my eyes to fall asleep, I instead closed them and envisioned myself falling at Jesus' feet.  In that moment, tears streamed down my face as I gave Him worship, thanks, and praise for all of His goodness, grace, and mercy towards me. 

Despite the ugliness of my past, and all of the times I failed Him, He has never waivered in His faithfulness towards me. Of all of the times I gave up on myself, He never gave up on me. He never let me go; never let me permanently fall; never allowed me to self-destruct.  I often wonder, Who am I that He is so mindful of me? (Psalm 8:4)  In fact, as I spent time with the Lord last night, I asked Him that very question - Lord, why are you so mindful of me? 

He answered me and said:

I am so mindful of you because you are my daughter.  I created you fearfully and wonderfully, and you are my gem, my jewel, the apple of my eye.  You are my workmanship; a beautiful masterpiece, unblemished in my sight, deserving of my best. I am mindful of you simply because I love you.

How sweet is that! My Heavenly Father's perfect love for me truly made my heart smile. 

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you're facing, however you feel, know that the Father loves you unconditionally, and you're always on His mind and His heart.  When He looks at you He doesn't see your mistakes, your past, your shortcomings, your guilt, or your flaws, but He sees you as His beautiful creation crafted by His perfect hands.  Isn't that amazing?!

Sure enough, on our own, we are all but filthy rags undeserving of such perfect love, but thanks be to God for the innocent blood of Jesus Christ that presents us faultless and deems us worthy before the Father.

Bask in the Father's perfect love for you, my sister.

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Pressure Has Purpose

Seemingly never-ending trials and tribulations have a way of causing us to feel like nothing good will ever happen in our lives. Many of us view hard times as a negative, when, in fact, tribulations are often a positive indicator that God is up to something great in your life. Some of the difficult times we face are a direct result of bad choices we’ve made in our lives; however, there are situations that God will allow to arise in our lives in an effort to build, grow and shape us for His purpose. It’s during these times that our true strength is revealed to us and He stretches us to our limit so that we have absolutely no choice but to depend on His omnipotence. James 1:2-3 (CEV) tells us “My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested.” Every test teaches patience, which helps us to trust God while enduring the storm, and each trial in life is but a stepping stone in route to your divine purpose. So, count it all joy when you are tried, because it’s then that God is refining and grooming you to become your best self, so that His glory may be revealed in and through you.

You may ask yourself, if pressure causes things to burst, then why is God putting so much pressure on me? Does He want me to explode? Well, God’s answer is simple, He’s saying Yes, that’s exactly what I want you to do, so that all of the greatness I placed in you before the foundation of the earth will come pouring out. He wants you to explode in prayer, in praise, and in worship.  He wants the pressures of your life to catapult you in a life of complete surrender to His will.  You see, God has to break us before He builds us. Doesn’t make much sense to break something then fix it, does it? Well, that’s just the way God works.  Before He brings us out, He takes us through; before He allows us to receive, He tells us to give; before He builds us up, He breaks us down; before He gives us victory, He tells us to fight…that’s just His way, and because His way is the only way that leads to purpose, we must walk His way. One thing we can always believe is this – if God allows it, there’s purpose in it. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Yes, it’s hard and at times you want to throw in the towel, but hang in there. God is a God of promise and He never falls short of His word. He will bring you through and when He does, you’ll be so much better than you were before. You’ll be stronger, you’ll be wiser, and you’ll be one step closer to living out God’s purpose for your life. The strength and wisdom you gained will be used to edify your sister; your purpose will be used to glorify God.

The pressure isn't to destroy you, but to make you into the woman the Lord destined you to be.

~May you live in His love.~

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Lord's Purpose Prevails

Back when I was in high school, I planned to go to college to become a nurse, and a few months after my high school graduation, that's exactly what I ventured out to do.  With a full academic scholarship to a local college, I was ready to pursue my dream. 

That was almost 12 years ago, and as you can see, I am NOT a nurse.  I dropped out of college after only one semester convinced that nursing wasn't the best career for me.  Between the years of 2001-2006, I was so confused about the career path I wanted to take.  During those years, I worked as a grocery store cashier, front-desk clerk at a dry cleaner, concession stand operator, telemarketer, and custodian.  I also went to school on separate occasions to become a medical assistant, certified nursing assistant, psychologist, and once again, a nurse...all to no avail. I was all over the place! 

I had no idea that a position I took back in 2006 as a ministry administrative assistant would uncover a gift and passion hidden deep down within me, a passion that would eventually lead me to leave my 9-5, and step out into the world of entrepreneurship.  I NEVER imagined the latter!

The Lord used that position to uncover a natural ability to edit, and a God-given gift to write.  It has been one of the best discoveries of my life.  As I've dedicated my gift to the Lord, He has opened so many doors, and revealed to me the career He intended for me.  I am a writer, with a passion to glorify God and edify others.  And while I am absolutely satisfied using my gift for ministry purposes, the Lord placed it upon my heart last year to take it a step further, and start my own business.

Totally clueless to what the Lord had in mind for me, or how I'd actually venture out into entrepreneurship, I obeyed the voice of the Lord.  Although the months that followed were filled with uncertainty, the Lord has brought into manifestation what He spoke to me in 2011.  On Monday, January 16th I will officially launch the online home of LRC Editing, a Christian writing business specializing in proofreading, editing, ghostwriting, copywriting, and transcription services to assist small business owners, independent authors, non-profit organizations, ministry leaders, and individuals with their writing needs.  I am so excited to share my baby with you. 

I wish I could share the details of how God amazingly brought this all together, but I'll just suffice to say that I am totally humbled by His strategic plan.

Even when we have no idea of the direction our lives will take, God knows the plans He has for us. ((Jeremiah 29:11)  If we would just trust in Him and not lean to our own understanding, He will certainly direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)   I had many plans in my heart about what I'd be, or what I'd do with my life, but the Lord's purpose always prevails. (Proverbs 19:21) 

God has a plan of purpose for your life.  Trust that it shall prevail.

Here's a small sneak peak of what you'll see on LRC Editing's site:

To God be the glory!

~May you live in His love.~

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Main Thing

Happy New Year! 

I am so grateful that, by the grace of God, we were all blessed to see a brand new year.  There were many who started out with us in 2011, but didn't make it to see the dawning of 2012.  The Lord could have cut us off, yet He was merciful towards us, and has preserved our lives.  I don't know about you, but I don't take that lightly.

The fact that you and I are still here, despite the enemy's attempts to consume us, means that God has a plan for our lives that has yet to be fulfilled.  There's more He wants us to do, more He wants us to have, and more He wants us to be.  With this new year, I resolve to simply grow more and more in Christ, each and every day the Lord allows me to see, so that His spirit may dwell richly in me and continue to lead me along the purposed path He has laid before me.  My desire isn't fueled by riches or recognition, but rather by the love I have for the One who loves me so much that He gave up His life for mine. 

I have not adopted any slogans or it's-your-season cliches, because for me it's not about that...that stuff just feeds the emotions and shifts the focus from what's really important.  Sure, it's great to experience abundant life and be overtaken by the tangible blessings of the Lord; however, that's not the main thing.  For the lovers of Christ, HE should be the main thing...not His hand, but His heart. 

For me, I'm keeping the main thing the main thing.  You see, when we honor and seek the Lord above all else our lives are richer than the richest riches.  Wealth in the love, knowledge, and wisdom of the Lord is far more valuable than anything we could ever possess.  I'm excited about thing excites my emotions more than that.

My prayer for us all for 2012 is that we get back to the basics. 

Get back to the basics of sincere prayer.

Get back to the basics of seeking the Lord.

Get back to the basics of honoring Him above all else.

Get back to the basics of loving the Lord wholeheartedly, and desiring more of Him.

Get back to the basics of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice unto Him.

Get back to the basics of standing flat-footed for holiness and righteousness.

Get back to the basics of pleasing the Lord, rather than man.

It's time that we return our hearts to our first love, Jesus Christ.  He wants to be the love, and Lord, of our lives.  He does not want to come second, third, or fourth on our list, but He wants to be first.  And He wants to be first in our lives, not because of what we can gain from Him, but because of what we can give to Him...our gifts, talents, and service.  He wants to be glorified in each of our lives.

I pray that in this new year, the body of Christ will lift up the Lord like never before - in our hearts, in our homes, in our churches, in our communities.  I pray that we all nurture a heart that longs for more and more of the Lord, and that we will bring glory to His name so that the world around us will know that He is Lord.

Above all else, for 2012 I pray that you develop a deeper love, a deeper longing, a deeper relationship with the Lord.  He is the source of all things.

"But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..." ~Matthew 6:33a~

~Love & Prayers~

*Check out my latest article in EEW Magazine about continuously maturing in Christ in the New Year.