Ministry Within You by Bombi

 

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Another birthday has come and gone, and for me that means reflection time. This past year my life has been one of relocating, laying foundations and roots, and getting settled with my awesome new family. It’s been both amazing and challenging and my heart has been fulfilled because this is what I have always wanted, to be a homemaker. The longer I live it seems that the era of the “stay at home mom” has nearly ceased to exist. However rare it may be, I’ve joined the ranks and it’s been a great thing.

Every other month, Ladies on Life has our routine conference call. We go over important things, pray, and fill each other in on life’s updates. Our recent call had exciting updates, with one launching a new ministry, to another getting ready to go abroad, and another hosting a human trafficking awareness night. This time, well I found myself at a loss for words about what great thing I was up to. Before I knew it we were off to our closing prayer, I hung up and went about my day.

The next day I woke up with conviction. I felt as if God was nudging my heart reminding me that what I had been up to has been one of great ministry. There are two people God has assigned to me to mentor, love, feed, and help grow. These two are my main disciples you can say, they are Noel and Avery. My kids are a HUGE part of my life’s ministry. There is a man who works harder than any man I know to provide for his family and that would be my husband. I remember hearing someone say that ministry is finding a need and filling it. Who more has valid needs than my children and my husband within my own home?

How about people not in my household? Not five miles from home is an organization that hosts families with a child that is terminally ill to a vacation of their dreams. I have been able to sign up and become a volunteer. Around the corner of my home is my daughter’s school, which is no walk in the park. Talk about needs! Rather than complain about it, I have felt led to do something to help out. I recently became a regular volunteer.

The other day as I was finally sharing my actual life update with the ladies one replied, “So many people have to get on a plane and fly across the world to fill a need, you can walk around the corner and do it right there.” So here I am sharing this same thing with you. Wherever you are in life, bloom. When you see a need, fill it. Whether you are in a gray cubicle for the majority of your day, on a bus, or at home, you can minister. Do it good and with all your heart. Remember, ministry isn’t tied to a pulpit or a building. Ministry is within you.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

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Make My Heart Clean by Sonya

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“O Lord make my heart clean this holiday season! Purify my thoughts and actions that they may glorify you!” This is my prayer this Christmas. I desire to make my heart right with God and fully understand all that He wants from me. Psalm 139:23-24 is my cry to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” This verse needs to me my battle cry in order for me to clean my heart. We can’t do this alone and if we try we will fail every time. Daily this is reminder that God needs to search and I need to surrender all to Him in order for my heart to be made pure again and made white as snow. We are sinners and every day our thoughts and actions will not line up but our hearts should, as we desire for him to point out those weaknesses that do offend Him. Only He will get the glory for your clean heart, this is not of our own doing but through Him and our relationship with HIM. As we allow Him to test and search us, then at that moment He can lead us. This is an ongoing process I have learned to make my heart clean, but so rewarding that we are not in it alone! I love Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” Verse 12 says “Restore to me again the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.”

 

As we draw near to Christmas, our desire to experience the joy of our salvation should be restored. God’s son was born and it is through His birth we can experience life and life abundantly. It is in Christ’s birth and through His crucifixion and resurrection we can have salvation. This is exciting and our hearts should be clean and made right with Him this Christmas. Let’s experience all that Christ has for us this Christmas and not waste a moment on how our life should be defined by the world. Instead rejoice in the truth and as Psalm 51:15 goes on to say, “unseal my lips, O’Lord that I may praise you.” Don’t be silent and give God all of you! Give Him the greatest gift, your heart and let Him receive all the glory this Christmas!

 

Photo Credit:© Mimagephotography | Dreamstime.com – African American Woman Smiling Outdoors Photo

Hope For The Holidays by Trish

 

 

 

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However there are many people this year who are feeling the sting of pain that loss or tragedy has left them with this year. Whether it be loss of employment or a relationship, may we be mindful that not everyone is looking forward to trimming the tree, wrapping gifts or gathering around a table so perfectly decorated that it belongs on the front cover of a magazine.

I would love to take just a few moments to encourage those who may be dreading the holiday season. It is my prayer that if you are in any way experiencing hurt, discouragement or depression as we approach the holiday season, that you will open up your heart and let the love of God fill you and heal every hurt.

As easy as it is to get caught up in the hype of the holiday, it is imperative that our hearts and minds remain focused on the fact that Jesus really is the reason for the season. Truth be told I LOVE to decorate, give gifts and blast my Christmas music, but without Jesus being at the core of it all, this season would be meaningless.

I know what it’s like to approach the holidays in a single parent household and the cupboards were bare with only canned pasta to serve as the main entree. Yet, because there was love in our home and Christ in our hearts, we had hope to see us through.

Maybe this season you’re believing God for a relationship to be restored, a financial miracle, divine healing or perhaps you’re trusting God for a mate, whatever your “grown up Christmas list” entails, know that God is for you and He longs to provide for your needs and satisfy the desires of your heart.

It amazes me how children marvel at the thrill of Christmas. They make their lists and in their hearts they believe that what they are requesting will be granted. What if we approached our Heavenly Father with that same childlike faith? By no means am I implying that we treat God as a Santa whose entire reason for being is to grant us our wishes. But I am saying that as children of God, we can come boldly before Him and make our requests known. Faith pleases God and He so desires to satisfy our lives with good things.

How I wish the world knew just how good God is. He’s not mad at you or holding any type of grudge against you, He loves you! He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. He wrapped his gift of love in flesh and called Him Jesus

This Christmas, receive this gift of love, the gift of Jesus and believe that God is for you – embrace His love and in doing so you will have hope this holiday season!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

 

Photo Credit: © Citalliance | Dreamstime.com – Portrait Of Happy Young Woman Sitting Near Christmas Tree Photo

Breaking Cycles by Kenika

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Depending on which behavioral psychologist that you ask, it takes about 21 days to form a habit. In essence, anything that you do for 21 days or longer becomes habitual, or something that is a regular part of your regime, routine, or process. We all know that there are some really good habits, but there are also those pesky, little bad habits. With good habits, it’s something you hope to hang on to forever. It can be something like eating vegetables or drinking the appropriate amount of water. Maybe it’s regular exercise or good money management. Whatever the good habit is, we may make a purposeful effort to do it, or it may be something that was passed on to us from parents and we don’t even realize that we are doing.

Recently I’ve been thinking about bad habits that I have formed. There are a lot of bad habits! There may even be more bad ones than good ones in my life. Similar to good habits, these can be purposeful things we do, or again, something that has been passed down to us or patterns that we’ve seen growing up. I remember hearing a news story about an athlete. This athlete spent most of his career publicly lamenting the fact that his father abandoned him, his mother, and siblings and went off and started another family. Then, later on in his career, this athlete allegedly went out and did exact the same thing to his wife and kids.  He left them, and started a whole new family. This really baffled me at first, but at the same time, it made perfect sense. He had spent his life being hurt by the wounds his father inflicted, but gone improperly dealt with, he found himself repeating the same mistakes. He couldn’t break the cycle.

The same psychologists that say it takes 21 days to form a new habit also say that it takes about the same amount of time to break bad habits. Think about that. It takes just as much time, energy and effort to form good habits as it does to settle in and accept bad ones. To me this means that all the bad cycles and patterns of life that we find ourselves in can be eradicated and become good ones. The tough part is being able to discern when you are in a bad habit. As I was evaluating my patterns, I had a decision to make in a particular situation. As I was thinking through a course of action, I had a sort of déjà vu moment, and it dawned on me that I had dealt with the same thing in the fall of every previous year, for about three or four years. Once this overtly bad habit occurred to me, I realized I had to break the cycle. So I asked myself how do I do that? I decided that instead of responding and doing the same thing I had done in recent years, that I should do the exact opposite of what I had done before.

Breaking that yearly habit and cycle, was no easy feat. Every part of my make up and routine was telling me to respond as I had so many times before. But the part of me that knew I needed a fresh start and a new way of doing things encouraged me to be different. When you know better, do better. It’s just that simple in theory, but I realize it’s not as easy in application.

  1. The first step is to discover what your bad habits may be.
  2. The second step is evaluating how you’ve handled or mishandled them in the past.
  3. The third step is to do everything you can to handle it differently than you have before.

I’m not a psychologist, but these three steps helped me to break a huge, debilitating cycle in my life and gave me a fresh start and a healthier cycle. I pray that these steps can help you too.

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