As For Me And My House by Trish

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“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.

Not too long ago I had a conversation with one of my mentee’s about the importance of proper balance in our lives as it relates to what we pour out for others.  While we have a responsibility as Proverbs Women to be helpful and resourceful for those around us, we must never lose sight that our first ministry is to God and then to our household.  If we are constantly giving to others but not keeping our homes properly  aligned, we are out of order and it is only a matter of time before burnout will take over and the feelings of being overwhelmed, exhaustion and fatigue set in.

I remember one time when I was in ministry in Phoenix, AZ I was so exhausted and not feeling well. My mentor asked me what I had been doing and as I listed the never-ending needs of the kids I ministered to, she corrected me. She shared insight with me that still resonates in my heart. She said if the helping I did only encouraged them to be more dependent on me, then I wasn’t doing my job correctly. If the needs I was surrounded by consumed my home life at the end of the day, then I hadn’t yet learned how to minister effectively. What she was teaching me was that in all of our doing, we must point others to Christ and not create a dependency on man. All that is going to do is lead others to disappointment,  and lead us into sheer exhaustion! While we are to bear one another’s burdens, we carry them to the only One who can handle them, Jesus Christ.

As women, we are gifted with this amazing ability to multi-task and do it well, I might add. However, let’s be mindful of what we put our hands to. We haven’t been called to everything but rather specific things and in doing so we bring honor to God, our families are blessed because we know our boundaries, our homes are filled with peace, and our personal lives reflect the grace it is supposed to.

For the married women: If you are married, you have a ministry within your home to your husband first and then to your children. Your home is the oasis of peace where your husband walks in and finds refuge. Your countenance is the safe place where your children look to find stability. I’m not saying that hymns and high notes are playing sweet melodies in your house 24/7 and all is perfect in the “Jones’ home” at all times, but what I am saying is that as the woman of the house you are to support the standard of Godly living for your home and you do this by maintaining proper balance.

For the single women: I really do not understand where society thinks we have more time than married women. It is simply not so. ESPECIALLY if you are a Kingdom woman! Most nights my head hits the pillow in gratitude for the rest that is about to bless my life after a nonstop day! Now, while it’s true that our time is not divided between a spouse or children, the fact of the matter is, we are all given 24 hours and whether married or single just determines how those hours are spent.  So, even if you don’t have a husband to tend to or children to care for, you still have a home that needs to maintain order! If it is your desire to be married, then you are getting the prime opportunity to practice. I’ve heard it once said that, “Your  married life will only be as successful as your single life.” In other words, the habits you live by now as an individual will reflect what you contribute when paired with another.

Why is balance for the home so important?

Peace and Stability:  I don’t know about you but when things are out of balance in my life, I do not function well at all. Order brings a sense of peace and stability. While there are some things that happen throughout our day beyond our control, there are many things we CAN prioritize and provide preparation for.

Joy and Strength: Balance is key because it keeps us in a healthy place spirit, soul and body. When our homes and/or our lives are out of balance it tends to steal our joy from us. Ladies, we NEED our joy, that is where our strength comes from! The joy of the Lord IS our strength! If our joy is robbed, our strength is depleted. While we are called to serve and sacrifice we are not called to stretch ourselves so thin that there is nothing to give our God, our families and yes, ourselves! Out of the overflow of what we receive from God’s presence do we distribute to our families and beyond.

So, how do we find balance?

Personal time with God:  we should have a standing appointment with God daily where we love on Him and in turn get our instructions and recharge for the day. The Bible says that His mercies are new EVERY MORNING so that tells me that there are things I face today that I need fresh mercy for. I can only receive that when I spend time in God’s presence.  In His presence there is fullness of JOY and as we said earlier, His joy is where our strength lies.

Prioritize: What can you eliminate from your day that would not be a detriment to you or your family?  Ignoring your spouse is not on the list. (smile)  Be there for those people and things that matter most!

What you invest in today, you will one day receive a return! Only you can determine what those priorities are. Get your notepad out and make a list and do not feel guilt over what you simply cannot do in this season!

Practice: Practice a schedule! Find what works for you and what doesn’t. If you’re married, this should be decided upon together so that your goals are in proper alignment and each of you have an understanding of what your commitments are outside of the home. Come in agreement and put it into practice.

Be of good cheer, ladies! There is much for us to do and each of our roles is vital. When our individual homes are in order, we make HIS HOUSE all the more glorious!

 

The Sin Difference by Bombi

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-interracial-group-beautiful-women-friends-image26429475Growing up in church I heard a lot of good word and also good, practical life advice. One popular and applicable message I remember was on having a good attitude. Hearing, “Your attitude determines your altitude”, is not only true but a good reminder to keep things in perspective when tempted to live life with a crummy outlook. Staying positive and not giving way to negative emotions is very important if we as believers don’t want to live in constant defeat. Surrounding yourself with solid people is also an important part of this. The Word clearly states, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33).

However, there came a time in my life where I wanted to have a good attitude so badly and only wanted to surround myself with nothing but positivity and positive people, that I lost my balance. I found myself making decisions that seemed good at the time, but later showed I was lacking wisdom, compassion, and love. I replaced walking in love with walking in avoidance. I didn’t want to even acknowledge the bad in or around me. I created a new reality that kept me from seeing things and life as they were, avoiding conflict in any form or fashion. Slowly but surely I found myself in the lonely land of indifference.

Webster defines “indifference” as:

1. the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent

2. a. archaic: lack of difference or distinction between two or more things

b: absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another

Here are some synonyms: apathy, disregard, nonchalance, unconcern, lukewarmness, coldness, detachment, hard-heartedness, and insensitivity.

Lukewarmness? Hard-heartedness? Yikes, that sounds so harsh! Yet I found myself nearing this listless place towards life and God’s people. Initially all I wanted was to keep the bad out so that my attitude would not be affected negatively. But soon I found myself not acknowledging others’ feelings because I didn’t want to receive an opinion on anything that might rock the boat in any direction and cause any drama. I’ve heard it said, “Hate isn’t the opposite of love, indifference is”.  I’m so thankful that I’ve had others around me that weren’t indifferent when my life came to a negative halt. I’m thankful that they loved me through the darkness. Can you imagine if everyone treated me the way I was treating them during my hard times?  What about Jesus? Can you imagine if He walked this earth only looking for the “sun shiny” happy people? Where would the blind man be? What about Mary Magdalene? Or the thief that hung next to Him on the cross? Lastly, let’s not forget us. He came with a mission to seek and save the lost. He came looking for the outcasts, dark, and negative people. He came looking for you and me. He didn’t grow cold and indifferent towards the people He came to save (Matt 9:36).

Indifference leads to ineffectiveness. If you’ve found yourself in the land of indifference with those around you, I encourage you to pray and ask God to remind you of your purpose with people. Perhaps, as a reminder, you can read this aloud just like Jesus did:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)

We aren’t here to be on an island by ourselves until Jesus comes. We are meant to be agents of change. We came to light the darkness with the love of Christ. Keep shining.

Extravagant Love by Trish

 

Has your heart ever been pursued for in such way that even if you weren’t interested you couldn’t help but take notice because of the determination to seek after your attention and affection? I was sharing with a friend over coffee (of course!) that there is something so endearing about the “thrill of the chase” for both the guy and the girl involved. For the guy, it’s the thrill of seeking after something that has caught his attention and the goal of obtaining the prize that he deems as priceless. The warrior inside of him chases, pursues, and sets out to conquer any obstacles that stand between him and the prize of her heart. For us ladies, the realization that someone has recognized the worth of who we are is beyond endearing. To see a man fight for what he wants and put the work into getting our attention AND our devotion supports the notion that he values the treasure in who we are. While I’m a hopeless romantic and love the details of a true love story, I’m even more enthralled by a love that has not only captured my attention but my heart, for life. When I see how God has pursued me in every season and so lovingly wooed my heart, it leaves me speechless. I can look back over every season of my life from the time I was a child and trace His grace and love in every detail.  His pursuit was gentle, not over-bearing, but tender and consistent. It is in the heart of women to be loved for who we are, not just what we look like or what we have to offer. There is a God who loves us so unconditionally, captivated by the beauty He sees in us and sings over us! His love is so extravagant! Who can truly comprehend the fullness of His love? I know that I can’t.

One day, as I was driving in my car, I thought about how His love has always provided for me, protected me and covered me! The more I realize the depths of His love for me the less tolerance I have for any counterfeit. I make no apologies for a life devoted to Him. I know where He has brought me from. I’m a country girl from very simple means. According to statistics my life should have had a different outcome. People and society will try and predict what a life is capable of accomplishing, but because I had a mom who taught me about the love of Christ I took what I learned, believed it, and watched God shower my life with His love and take me to places beyond what my dreams could ever show me! His love has the ability to take what man sees as ordinary and make it extraordinary. His love has the ability to take those caught up in deception, sexual immorality, deceit, lies and all manner of evil, and turn their lives into a masterpiece of His love, a portrait of grace. His love is so pure. He’s not seeking to take advantage of you; He longs to simply reveal to you what true love looks like.

What are you dealing with today? Perhaps it’s a sin of your past that you’ve never forgiven yourself for. Maybe a sin was committed towards you that has left you feeling unworthy, dirty, and unloved. Or maybe you have never seen yourself as an overcomer, never come to the understanding of how valuable your life is. Please allow me to speak life over you right now and declare HIS LOVE IS ABLE TO CLEANSE YOU AND MAKE YOU WHOLE, TRANSFORM YOU AND MAKE YOU NEW! Don’t look at your messed up situations, or your limitation, but rather open your heart and accept His extravagant love and watch Him transform your life. God is pursuing your heart. He is so interested in you and will not give up on you. End the chase today and surrender your heart to His extravagant love!

Lazy Loyal by Kenika

 

Spring is in the air and we all know what that means. Time to put away your winter clothes, air out your spring attire, and clean house.  Just about every spring I go through my closet and look for any items of clothing that I have not worn in the last year and I give them away.  It’s just my little yearly ritual that forces me to evaluate what has been useful to me, and what has not.  This year as I am preparing to go through my closet and garage, I want to do not only a sweep of my physical possessions, but in other areas as well. When it comes to certain people that I deal with or do business with, let’s say like my lawn guy, I tend to be what I like to call “lazy loyal”.  Is he the best at what he does? No he is not.  Am I one hundred percent satisfied with his work? Not by a long shot. Are there dozens of other landscaping companies that I could use? The number is endless. But, what do I do? I stick with him loyally and faithfully because I am too lazy or unwilling to do the work required to get better service.  So now I begin to wonder if this is something I do in other areas of my life?  Are there friendships, associates, and other connections that I maintain simply out of convenience? These are truths that I think each person should ask of himself or herself on a regular basis…perhaps even more than once a year.

We could have quality and meaningful relationships whether friendship, romantic, or business, but we stick with those who have been around for a while, not because we need them, but because we don’t have the courage to start again.  We stay on the job not because we absolutely love it and feel fulfilled by it, but because it’s too much work and quite frankly kind of scary, to launch out or follow our dreams.  We could boast about being loyal to people, organizations, or ideas but the truth is that our loyalty can sometimes be rooted in laziness.  This year as you clean out your home or external temple, take time to evaluate your internal one as well and make sure that everything and everyone is operating at the highest level of functionality and purpose.  If not, it’s time to ditch the lazy loyal mentality, clean house and make some real changes.