Torn Between Two Worlds by Trish (Ladies On Life)

I had the amazing blessing of going to Iowa to be with my family for almost two weeks. Usually my trips consist of 3-4 days and that has proven to be long enough for me. My lifestyle is one that moves at a rapid pace from the time I wake until I crawl back into bed at night. No complaints…I love what I do…it’s my reality.

However, this past trip I was home for a good length of time and yet at the end of the trip, it wasn’t long enough. While home, I took in every moment and appreciated it for all that it was worth. From cooking in the kitchen with my mom (okay, watching HER cook) to snuggling my sweet nephew and supporting my brother at his MMA practices, each moment held so much value.

While home, I remembered what it was like to grow up in that small town with a sense of community and sincerity of heart. Driving down the road and neighbors known and unknown alike wave at you, not because they know you but just “because”. The privilege of going to your friend’s house without a phone call or pre-arranged meeting because that’s how friendships work there, you’re always welcome and “appointments” are for business not relationships.

Then I rehearsed the beautiful life I’ve been given here in Orlando. Friendships that surpass DNA and carry a place in my heart under the same banner as “family”. The dreams that are nurtured here by the passion and drive for creativity that just thrives in this culture. Being in such a life-giving environment is what fuels my passion to pursue my purpose hard core and truly make a difference. Doing life with those of same heart and passion is truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given.

So now I come to the realization, my heart is torn between two worlds. Both vastly different and yet are regarded with such endearment for their unique qualities. How is one to combine the desire for both in one place? Then I think of another familiar scenario.

Before I was in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), I was known and formed by the true and living God. He then placed me into this world. So although I am here, I am not of this world. Again, torn between two worlds. Physically dwelling in one place, content with the blessings I have attained, yet deep in my heart it longs for that other world.

So how does one go about life in complete peace when your heart is in two places? I am reminded of when Jesus was on the earth, He too was here but not of this world. For 33 years He experienced the life of a natural man and yet His true residence was heaven as the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. As He did life with the disciples, He bonded with them showing them the Kingdom way of life on earth. When He left, how sad it must’ve been for them to see Him go on “home”. Yet, He left an amazing gift that you and I have access to today. The Holy Spirit, the comforter, the teacher, the one that shows us things to come.

As believers, we have a responsibility to demonstrate Kingdom life on this earth yet we know our true residence is in heaven. But until we are called to that home, we have the comfort and leading of the Holy Spirit. Because of His comfort and leading, we can operate in the life we’ve been called to here with great peace knowing that one day we’ll experience our great reward in the life that is to come. We don’t have to be torn between two worlds but rather be mindful of both and appreciate what we have in this moment as we wait in great expectation of what is to come.

Down But Not Out by Kenika (Ladies On Life)

Photo Courtesy of Cameron Nunez Photography

I went over to a couple friend of mine’s house to hang out.  After visiting and catching up, we ended up playing a board game.  It was a game that I had never played before and it asked questions on a variety of subjects that I was not at all familiar with.  On their insistence that it was fun, we played.  This was not an ordinary game where you have players that give their best effort and whoever performs the best wins, on this game not only did you have to perform well, but you had an opportunity to bet against the success or failure of those you’re playing with.

As we began the game, it was apparent that with question after question I had no idea what most answers were. But you couldn’t just say, “I don’t know”, you HAD to guess which proved to yield some funny and wacky answers from me because I clearly had no clue.  After laughing at and even mocking me, my competitors began betting against me on every turn, sure that I would give a wrong answer, and they would gain points.  However, somewhere in the middle of the game, something began to happen. In this game if others bet against you and you get it wrong, they get points, but if they bet against you and you get the question right, you get all of their points.  The more they bet against me, the more questions I got right.

I started out playing a game that I was totally unfamiliar with and felt inadequate at, with two people who were not only smarter than me when it came to the subject matter, but had played the game before.  From the beginning it looked like I was sure to fail so much so that others stacked all the odds against me, literally.  But when it was all said and done, much to their shock, I won the whole game.

Even though it was only a game and all in fun, I saw such a parallel to life.  How many times does it look to your friends, family, the enemy, or even you that you are down?  It may appear that you’ve completely lost and you may even cry out to God to help or to save you before it’s too late, but please hold on.  God is setting up a supernatural move in your life.  No matter how bad it gets or how low you feel, you may be down at the moment, but you are not out.  How you start is not the most important thing, it is how you finish.

As others are betting against you, counting you out, or disregarding your abilities, God is in your corner and putting others in a position where they will be forced to turn their criticism of you into praise.

 

Consumers and Contributers by Sonya (Ladies On Life)

Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com

I have been thinking about what it means to be a consumer and what it means to be a contributor in our spiritual walk.  Being a consumer in my opinion is being able to obtain information and learn more about God’s word through bible study or classes or church service.  As we are being discipled we are being consumers learning how to grow in our faith.  Consuming is great because you learn and understand more as pastors or other bible study leaders are teaching you.  On the other hand, if that is all you are doing by just listening to God’s word and just using it for yourself then it defeats the point of what God has called us to do.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” James 1:22 (KJV).  Hearing the word of God alone is not beneficial to you and others if we don’t use it.  We are to be doers of the word and to go out and act on what we have been taught.

 

Therefore you move yourself from being a consumer to being a contributor.  We would be selfish if we were to keep everything we knew and learned about to ourselves.  God has created us to be the hands, feet, and eyes of the Church and to go out and serve one another.  “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT).  Contribute your talents and gifts and reach those that do not know and need to hear about God.  It is like a ripple effect; once you touch someone’s life they are more apt to want to touch someone else’s life.

 

What does this look like? I know for our family, we have been discipled and taught through our church and the different classes and bible studies and our kids through children’s programs.  We have been greatly blessed consuming God’s word through these programs.  But now we are challenging our small group and family to reach out and serve in these next few months by contributing our time and talents.  We have planned several outreaches to serve food in low-income communities, bring gifts to families that can’t afford it during Christmas, helping kids that are disabled, and serving our local food pantries.  These are just a few ways on how you can get involved.  We want to teach not only our children but also those around us not to be consumers but to contribute and give to others that truly need it.  Showing God’s love through your actions can be the biggest testimony of whom God is.

 

This holiday season, I challenge you to give your time and talents to those in need.  If it means taking the time out to help a neighbor or saying “hello” to a stranger, it will be well worth it.  Pray God will give you opportunities to be a contributor of your faith and not just a consumer. You will be so greatly blessed by putting your focus on others that you will forget about your own needs and realize what truly is important this season.

 

Heart Looking by Bombi (Ladies On Life)

 

photo credit: dreamstime.com

 

There is a popular show that judges singing talent purely on a person’s voice. The judges do not even look at the person until they have heard their voice alone and want to hear more from them, and then they take their first look.

As a believer, I hope to take that same approach with people I meet, only instead of hearing a voice, I want to see the heart.

In the Old Testament, when the prophet Samuel was looking for the next king (1 Samuel 16), he came to the house of Jesse and thought that each of his seven strapping sons could surely be the next king. However God was searching for His man, unlikely to the naked eye.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Now I know that the Word says that it is God that looks at the heart. He alone knows exactly what is happening in the heart of men and women. But I believe we can take that same attitude or approach regarding discernment of the people who we interact with. We might not get it right all the time, God’s own prophet kept getting it wrong, 7 times in a row. But if we take a step back and think of the actions that are showing the heart of someone, we may become better judges of character. So the old saying says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, this is wise, and even Biblical in this example. Sisters, I want to challenge you, the next time you meet someone and are tempted to make a snap judgment based on their outward appearance, or better yet, tempted to stick with that snap judgment, take a moment to seek God’s wisdom. Ask God for “heart goggles”. I believe He will honor your prayer.