Thursday, September 8, 2016

God Is Calling-Will You Accept His Assignment?

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

The Greek word for called, as used here, is kaleĆ³. The meaning is “I call, summon, invite, name.” Being called by God is a divine summon.

How will you know your calling? Begin with the WORD of God.

His call is good:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

He called you before you were born:
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb….. Jeremiah 1:5

His call and gifts are permanent:
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Romans 11:29

Look for affirmation when you are sensing God's leading.

Through alignment of circumstances
Prayerful impressions by the Holy Spirit 
Counsel of others 
Reflecting upon our deepest desires 
Analyzing with wisdom
Insight from the Word 

Your call does not change. But,at times, your current assignment may not match up to that call or even appear to be connected. 

Accept where you are currently assigned and be at peace!

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there…. 1Corinthians 7:17 The Message

Obedience releases opportunity
Always be prepared

Here are a few examples of calling vs assignment. Can you relate to any of them?

Calling: Business executive requiring advanced education
Current Assignment: Administrative Assistant position, contribute financially to household.
Preparation: Stay in the Word, find a mentor in your field.

Calling: Bible Teacher/Student of the Word
Current Assignment: Wife/Mom.
Preparation: Stay in the Word, attend studies led by others, develop teachings as part of your study time, and teach your children age appropriate lessons.

Calling: Women’s Ministry Leader/Pastor 
Current Assignment: Working full time outside the home, wife, mom.
Preparation: Stay in the Word, participate/volunteer in women’s ministry at your church as your life allows.

Sometimes, it is not that the opportunity isn’t in front of you. Perhaps it isn’t happening because God doesn’t think you are ready. Maybe He needs you to stay in the Word and draw closer to Him!

Do you feel that you know the call God has on your life, and is so, what is that call? 

What is your current assignment? How does that fit into the call on your life?


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

From One Mother to Another by Tammy Whitehurst

We know how you feel.  Your body aches.  You’re tired. You are worn “slap dab out” as we say in the South. You wonder if anyone can even relate with what is going on in your life. 

You ask yourself if there is anyone out there who needs to go back to bed, but can’t? Is there anyone else who needs the stamina and strength to put one foot in from of the other? Anyone out there whose day is so bad they wonder how they will get through without collapsing or falling on the floor and bursting into tears. 

Can I share something with you from those who have walked the path before you?  Exhaustion, weariness, sleeplessness, constant tiredness…we’ve all experienced it and we understand. Go ahead and ask for help. We will not view you as weak or a bad mother.  

We understand you don’t want anyone to know what is going on. You want to look like a perfect mother with a perfect family. Can we remind you….there is no such thing, but we will keep your secret. We tried that too.  

We know people tell you it could be a lot worse, but our own reality is the only one we know. Go ahead and wallow in your woes for a moment. Cry. Have a pity party. Just don’t stay there too long. We will even let you lay on our shoulder and pet your hair while you cry. We understand and we love you. 

From one mama’s heart to another, you are never alone. Ever. 

God gave us strength and he will give you the strength to survive. The thing we must realize is that we cannot please everyone. Cannot make everyone happy. Cannot fix anyone. Cannot have the solution to every problem. But we go to the one who can. God.  

Every mother’s story has its own ups and downs, but the solution is the same.

He is our refuge. He is our shelter. He is our strength. 

Keep in mind that you are not doing this all on your own. 
Philippians 4:13  “I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.”

Tammy Whitehurst travels and speaks full time as a motivational speaker. She is the founder of Joy for the Journey and Co-Owner of Christian Communicators.  Visit Tammy's Website  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Becoming A Woman of Power With God--Available NOW!

"Becoming a woman of power does not mean becoming a woman who controls and dominates. It does mean becoming a woman who influences her marriage, home, family, workplace, and faith community in a positive and edifying way. A woman of power builds up rather than tearing down." Lesson 1, Becoming a Woman of Power with God

Now Available!
Becoming a Woman of Power with God
10 week Bible study for women

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Fear!

I recently read an article in a popular magazine for women that stated “Fear is a given, we just need to learn to manage it.” Wrong!
Fear is one of Satan's favorite tools for harassing Christians.
Fear is not part of the good life God has planned for us. We can learn to act on God's Word rather than react to fear. Learning to shift the focus from the fearful situation to God’s Word will bring true freedom!
As you read and meditate on the following scriptures, ask the Lord to reveal areas where fear may be an issue in your life.
2 Timothy 1:7--For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 
Isaiah 41:10--Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. 
Psalm 23:4--Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Psalm 27:1--The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 
Write out a prayer praising God you do not have to live in fear. Ask Him to reveal any areas of your life where you might be allowing fear to rule.
Let's discuss. Leave your questions, comments, prayer requests here on the blog.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Inheritance

And if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:17 

Did you know that you have an inheritance coming? 

The dictionary defines the words heir and inheritance as follows: 

Heir: a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of another following the latter's death. 

Inheritance: something that is or may be inherited; property passing at the owner's death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy. 

In our culture today, an inheritance is the end result of a legal document called a Last Will and Testament. This document states that the deceased has assigned their possessions (inheritance) to a specific person or persons (heir). If prepared properly, this document is binding and cannot be changed after the writer’s death. 

It serves as a guarantee that when the writer of the will dies, their instructions will be carried out and the designated recipient will receive the inheritance. An inheritance usually comes from a family member and is most often material possessions: money, property, jewelry, furniture, etc. 

As Christians, God is our wealthy Father and we are members of His family. He has loved us, redeemed us, adopted us and made us heirs by His grace. The inheritance we have coming from God is greater than anything we can imagine and nothing on earth compares! 

That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7 

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:7 

Who are we according to these scriptures?

Romans 8:17 

Titus 3:7 

Galatians 4:7 

Romans 8:17 says we are “joint heirs” with whom? 

Something to Think About: 

Have you ever been named in a will or received an inheritance? If so, how did you feel when you discovered you were an heir? 

What does it mean to you personally to be an heir to the King of 

What does it mean to be a co-heir of Jesus Christ? 

Let's discuss! Leave your comments, questions or prayer requests here on the blog.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chasing After Freedom

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 The Message

Freedom....we all want it!

Most of us desire financial freedom, freedom from illness, and freedom to do what we want to do.

But freedom from our own spiritual bondage is what we must pursue.

Freedom from bondage of our thinking.
Freedom from bondage of our words.
Freedom from bondage of our actions.
Freedom from bondage of our emotions.

The book of Galatians is about the freedom we can have in Jesus Christ. Galatians was written by Paul, a former Christian persecutor. 

God set him free from religious bondage and he wanted everyone to know this freedom!

Let’s take a different approach to our devotions this week and read the entire book of Galatians. It’s not a long book, but it is rich with teaching on pursuing freedom in Jesus Christ!  

Next, read the suggested chapters carefully and meditate on the word.
Look for the freedom themes throughout the six chapters. 

Day 1
Read the book of Galatians. .Note the themes.

Day 2
Read Galatians 1-2

Day 3
Read Galatians 3

Day 4
Read Galatians 4

Day 5
Read Galatians 5-6

Let's discuss! Leave your comments or questions here on the blog.



Monday, July 4, 2016

All Things Moments

Have you ever wondered how the words “…all things work together for good” fit properly into the set of circumstances you are facing?

There I was, 49 years old, sitting across from a psychiatrist being assessed for a possible mental disorder. Wait a minute. A mental disorder? Who me? Months prior, a concerned friend had asked me if I thought I might be bi-polar. That possibility had never crossed my mind. However, I had often wondered if there was something that could really be wrong with me. Rather than be offended or ashamed about what may be, I agreed to investigate, and ended up in her office. 

Do you ever fidget? How is your impulse control? Are you often irritable? Do you have difficulty focusing? Are you forgetful?  How would you rate your ability to concentrate? Do you have trouble paying attention? Do your thoughts race? Would you say you have a short attention span? Are you or have you ever been anxious? Have you ever been depressed?

After 45 minutes of questioning, I couldn’t help but wonder if this perfect stranger actually knew me. I answered affirmatively to almost every question she asked. The tallied result would indicate my situation was severe, but I was not bi-polar. I exhaled deeply. I felt vindicated… I was NOT crazy! Another deep breath… I felt hopeful. Finally, the “whatever this is” had a name… I had adult ADHD.  I had prayed and cried and prayed. I had asked others to pray for me and cried some more. I had beaten myself to a bloody pulp on a regular basis over my inability to do become productive and accomplish tasks.  “What is the matter with me?” 

When no answers came, I decided that I was the problem. I was defective, unable to concentrate, incapable of finishing projects, unproductive, unfocused, and undisciplined. I branded myself sinful, disobedient, lacking faith.  I had fallen into the dark abyss of self-loathing and self-hatred. In order to cope with all of my perceived shortcomings, I learned to compensate by working harder, getting up earlier, doing more, being better. I had become a performer. I was trying to be perfect. Striving to please an unrelenting and insufferable taskmaster. Unfortunately though in an unforeseen turn, the end results of all my “work” made me look like a proud, arrogant, self-righteous know it all. 

I did not ever see this as being one of those “all things working together for good” scenarios. I had come to the conclusion that I would not and could not be fixed. Then, I listened to wise counsel, got out of my own head and sought professional assistance. I found out that none of what I had believed about myself was actually true. I was reassured that my diagnosis was not uncommon. The doctor said she had many middle aged patients with adult ADHD that had gone undiagnosed. I was not unproductive, unfocused, undisciplined, sinful, disobedient or lacking faith. I simply had a long-standing issue that needed to be addressed. 

My encouragement to anyone facing an “all things” moment is this:

1. Submit yourself to God as Father. Recognize that whatever may be “wrong” with you has already been “father filtered”. Isaiah 64:8 says, “He is the Potter, all of us are the work of His hand.” Whatever the construct, we have been fearfully and wonderfully made. Skillfully wrought by a Sovereign God who does not make mistakes. Know he did not make any mistakes concerning you.  Reckoning this truth will give you the freedom to receive the help you need. 

2. Begin to delight in the events that have tethered you intimately to His side. Rejoice that provision has already been made for your weakness. Jesus says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” His powerful ability is more than enough to complete you, carry you through, and add to what is insufficient in the midst of your infirmity. Boast in the weakness that has worked for the good to bring you closer to him in fellowship. 

3. Surrender yourself fully to the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “Lord” (kyrios) means “He to whom a person or thing belongs, the possessor of a thing, one who has control of a person, a title of respect and reverence.” Romans 10:9 is oft quoted to the unsaved, but let’s apply it now to those already in the household of faith. It says: “That if you confess that Jesus is Lord (the owner and master)…you will be saved. That word saved means to be kept safe and sound, to rescue from danger, to save one suffering from a disease, to make well, to heal, to restore to health. Unless he owns us, we will be limited in how much of him we experience. If he owns us, he is bound to care for us. Our “all things” moments demand that we surrender.   When we do this, it provides a Kingdom perspective in whatever we are facing. It also brings liberty and the freedom of release to lavish our love on Him for who he is as he moves in power on our behalf.

Learning to live with a new normal has been a bit challenging to say the least. There have been quite a few missteps and do-overs in the process. In the midst of dismantling all my coping mechanisms, I have embraced the lighter yoke of grace and the easier burden of unfailing love.  I am broken and blessed.  All of the fragments of that brokenness have been gathered and nothing was lost. All things are indeed working for my good, with His purposes and plans unfolding to give me hope and a bright future. 

Let's discuss! Leave your comments, questions or prayer requests in the comments section below. Blessings!

Ingrid Shanklin, a wife, mother, teacher and disciple-maker has used a very practical and humorous approach to touch the lives of men and women around the world. Married to Dr. Abraham Shanklin for 29 years and mother of 4 children, Ingrid gleaned much of her training for ministry while a stay-at-home mom and the Chief Executive Officer of the Shanklin Home. Ingrid is the author of The Grace of A King.
Her uncommon ability to combine authority and humor while communicating has served her well as she has shared the reality of life experiences. Although Ingrid is a mentor, bible lay counselor, teacher, preacher, pastor, facilitator, and speaker her deep desire is to disciple women and to see them living in the fullness of their kingdom identity.

Monday, June 27, 2016

To Forgive Or Not-That Is The Question

What do you think of when you hear the word forgiveness? Does it bring to mind people, places or things that hurt you? Do you get a sick feeling in your stomach thinking about how you will NEVER forgive “so and so” for what they did?

These are common reactions until we understand forgiveness and how God instructs us in this area.

The Word of Truth, God’s Word, tells us exactly how to think about forgiveness and what action to take.

Forgiveness is not a natural instinct. More often we lash out or recoil in self-protection, or pull back, remove ourselves from the situation and reject those who hurt us.

Take some time this week to read and meditate on the following scriptures. Ask the Lord to reveal to you any area of unforgiveness in your life. 

God forgives us our sins as we forgive others who have sinned against us.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Adopt the forgiveness of others into daily prayer. Make it a habit.
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25-26

How different would the world be if we practiced making allowances for each other’s faults?
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

Forgiveness is often not a one-time deal. It is more often a process, a “layering” of forgiveness!
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Matthew 18:22

Monday, June 20, 2016

Embraced by Hope by Guest Lori Boruff

Do you know the difference between a hug and an embrace?

When my bible study friend asked that question over a casual cup of coffee, I asked her to explain. `

She shared that hugs are quick squeezes or pats, but an embrace is two arms encompassing you in a long, lingering hold. A demonstration followed her explanation and the embrace won my heart. I felt super-duper loved!

Later that day, God—in His perfect timing, allowed me to witness an embrace as our four-year old grandson bolted through the front door. With his “Grandpa” antenna up, he quickly located his target. The pint-sized rocket landed in Grandpa’s arms and they both held on tight. Grandpa’s big words filled his tiny ears saying—“I’m so glad you are here! I missed you! I love you!”

The most precious part of that moment is knowing they were together the day before!
While the idea of an embrace was new to me, it is not new to God.

God gave Moses a last assignment before his death. He blessed the 12 Tribes of Israel. One blessing to the tribe of Benjamin with a geographical embrace!

In Deuteronomy 33:12b (NIV) Moses says “…the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” Loved by Yahweh—this small, significant tribe received a secure dwelling place between the mountains. God knew exactly what they needed!

God knew exactly what I needed as I watched our teenage son hauled away in handcuffs by an arresting officer.  With depleted strength and a shattered heart I uttered these words “God, I don’t know how to pray.”

The Holy Spirit whispered Deuteronomy 33:12—“…the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” I knew at that moment all I needed to do was press in. Rest. Know that I am loved. Believe that I am embraced by hope. My night was peaceful.

What about you? Are you facing unthinkable circumstances today? Did you receive a bad report? Do you feel rejected by someone you love? Are you struggling to pray through the heartache? This blessing is for you! You are the one the LORD loves. You are embraced by hope.

The word rest means to dwell. Living in his embrace is to be a way of life. How’s that going for you? I’ll admit prior to our son’s arrest, my relationship with Jesus was more on a hug-level. Of course, he was always there when I needed him but living life in that loving, secure embrace changed me.

It’s there that he fulfills all of my longings for success, significance, security, spirituality and intimacy. It’s in his embrace I experience that perfect love that casts out fear (I John 4:18) and so much more!

Sherry’s June 13th blog gave you the first steps towards living life embraced by hope. Let those scriptures soak into your heart then designate quiet time to practice living life embraced by hope.

Day 1
Press in between his shoulders. Be still. Focus totally on him. When your mind wonders to the pile of laundry, a grocery list or upcoming meeting—FOCUS on the names of God.
Psalm 46:10 - He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”

Day 2 (Repeat Day 1)
Know that you are loved!  Thank God for loving you first. Cultivate a heart of gratitude.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Day 3 (Repeat Day 1 and 2)
Rest one ear on his chest. Listen for his steady, strong heartbeat. Remain there until your anxious heartbeat is in harmony with his.
Psalm 139:23  Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Day 4 (Repeat Day 1, 2 and 3)
Open the other ear to hear his voice. Do you hear him say I love you, I’ve missed you, I’m so glad you are here! What truth is he speaking to you? What is God calling you to do?
John 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Day 5
Repeat and enjoy the blessing of living life embraced by hope!
Deuteronomy 28:2  All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.

Lori Boruff is co-director of Christian Communicators and a certified Find Your Beautiful Life Plan coach. Her online workshops, coaching and book, Hope In The Ruins, have proven transformational for women who feel stuck and are ready to experience freedom, success and greater purpose. Lori is a 2016 workshop leader at Carol Kent’s Speak Up With Confidence Conference. She is a Stonecroft speaker and fun favorite at women’s conferences and retreats. Connect with Lori at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Guest on Christian Communicators

I am honored to be co-director of Christian Communicators and a guest on the blog today. Click on the link below to read "A Plan with a Capital P". Leave a comment and share with your friends.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Are You Living a Life of Hope?

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

We don’t hear a great deal about hope on the evening news, on the internet, or in our daily newspaper. Placing our hope in the things of this world is a mistake, and will only lead to disappointment and discouragement. 

The world is filled with hopeless situations, and it would be easy for us to be influenced by the current state of world affairs. As Christ followers, our hope is in Him. When we place our focus on His promises, we can remain hope-filled people in the midst of world chaos.

I often hear expressions such as these: “I hope my marriage will last. I hope my kids will be happy.I hope I have enough money.I hope my business will be successful.” We can’t “hope” things in to existence.

Are you living a life of hope today, right now, this minute? What thoughts have gone through your mind today? Are they hope-filled or hope-less? 

Are we are relying on ourselves or others for hope? Placing our hope in ourselves, our abilities, our situation or circumstance is misplaced hope.

 As Christ followers, our hope is in Him!

This week, let's read and meditate on what the Bible has to say about hope. 

But now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7

We were given this hope when we were saved. If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. Romans 8:24-25

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Peter 3:15

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech. 2 Corinthians 3:12

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14

Monday, June 6, 2016

God's Top Ten

Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets. Exodus 34:28 (NLT)

As Christians, God’s ten commandments are the foundation of what we believe. These commandments should be the moral compass we follow daily. They were given directly by God to the people of Israel after He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

The Ten Commandments are neither obsolete nor irrelevant to our lives today.

Unger's Bible Dictionary says, "The Ten Commandments contain the essential principles of the moral law, and are therefore of permanent obligation, is affirmed in the NT [New Testament]. Jesus held the Ten Commandments up as the perfect code. When the young man asked Him the way of attaining eternal life, Jesus quoted from the Ten Commandments and told him to obey them and live (Mark 10:19; Luke 18:18-20).”

The first 4 Commandments teach us how to relate to God and the next 6 serve as a foundation for our relationship with other people. 

Let’s use these commandments as our devotions this week. Read each one and meditate on the application for your life today.

I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. Exodus 20:2-3 

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. Exodus 20:4 
You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. Exodus 20:7 

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8 
Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 

You must not murder. Exodus 20:13
You must not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14

You must not steal. Exodus 20:15

You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Fresh Start

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Want a fresh start, a renewal, a clean slate? Congratulations! You’ve had it from the moment you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

As a grade school student, I loved to be chosen to erase the chalkboard. I felt a certain satisfaction from erasing the old and preparing for the new. There was a feeling of anticipation for things to come. 

Jesus can erase your past with one swipe of His eraser. The past is over and you are a new person.

To accomplish renewal in our daily lives, we must purpose to erase the old and welcome the new. Scripture will guide us and prayer will give us the strength and fortitude to follow through. 

Lamentations 3:23 tells us “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” 

You can have a fresh start each and every day!

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.. Philippians 4:8 

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 

I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Psalm 119:40 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Got Guilt?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

Got guilt?

We have all messed up! It would easy to walk around trapped in guilt and at Satan’s beck and call. But God has forgiven and cleansed us. God did not send His son to condemn us but rather that we would be set free from sin and its guilt.

Ask yourself this question: Why would God send His only son to die for your sins, if He planned on keeping you trapped in guilt and shame?

The answer is He wouldn’t. He didn’t. But even as a Christ follower, you may find yourself living a defeated life because of guilt and shame.

Guilt can be a motivator and lead us to repentance, which in turn will lead us to accepting God’s forgiveness. But left unchecked, guilt will limit our relationship with Jesus. It will stunt our spiritual growth.

Repent, ask God for forgiveness and accept His forgiveness. Next, forgive yourself. Choose to live guilt free.

Read and meditate on the following scriptures this week. As you study the Word, what is God saying to you?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)

Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Matthew 3:2 (NLT)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Col 3:13 (NLT)

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:2 (NLT)

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24 (NLT)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What Is Loyalty?

Some years ago, I had a very close relationship with a woman from my church community at the time. I believed us to be the type of friends who “had each other’s back” and who would remain loyal to each other even through conflict and turmoil. What I discovered is that she was only loyal to me when it worked to her advantage.

Though this experience hurt a great deal, there was a great lesson here for me and I thank God for it. The Lord showed me that loyalty is a character trait.  It’s a trait that must be developed and while we can’t force someone to be loyal to us, we can certainly set the example. If we display loyalty in our lives, we will be an example to our friends and family. 

Many of the women I mentor and counsel have much to say on the subject of loyalty. They might not use the specific word, but many relationship issues come down to one thing, loyalty. I believe we are seeing a shift in our culture and a decrease in the importance of being loyal.

So, what does it mean to be loyal?  Does it mean sticking by a friend or family member no matter what that person does to you? Does it mean being loyal to a friend only when it fits our needs and is convenient to us? Or does it mean picking and choosing times of loyalty depending on the situation?

As Christ following women, we must explore what it means to be loyal to God in order to understand what it means to be loyal to our family, our friends, our spiritual leaders or our boss.

Being loyal to God......

We must never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our loyalty to Him is reinforced every time we consider that He died for our sins. God is loyal to us as we read in Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. 

God’s loyalty to us inspires our loyalty to Him. 

For the mountains may move  and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain.  My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”   says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10

Being loyal to family.....

Have you heard the saying “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family?” That expression is meant to say we are “stuck” with the family that God has placed us in. It’s true that, typically, we do not choose our family members and we must accept them for who they are. 

Our treatment of our family should be rooted in Christ. Loyalty in a family is truly accepting our family members for who God made them to be, and remaining loyal to them. What that means is we encourage, support and pray for them. We don’t gossip about them, lie about them or set out to hurt them in anyway. Proverbs 11:29 says "Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise."

A wonderful example of family loyalty is found in Ruth, Chapter 1. Ruth was loyal to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth 1:16-17 tells us But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 

Being loyal to friends…..

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20

This scripture is very specific in its instruction. If we profess to love God, we must love others.

I think it is probably safe to say that we have all experienced a breaking of a friendship in some form. Perhaps trust was broken, gossip was spoken or even slander. Betrayal comes in many forms and is all too common. 

So what does a friendship based on trust and loyalty look like? Before we can be loyal in a friendship, we must have trust. Trust is built over time and loyalty flows naturally from a trust relationship. A friendship is not always easy. And in fact, in Proverbs we learn that we are to sharpen one another. That might not always be comfortable, but if we trust and are loyal to one another, we make each other better! 

As iron sharpens iron,  so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Demonstrating loyalty.....

God gauges our heart by how we treat His children. Maintaining a trusting and loyal relationship with our family, friends, spiritual leaders, and bosses honors Him.

So what gets in the way of displaying loyalty? Many times it is unforgiveness and bitterness. If we harbor unforgiveness toward a person for any length of time, a root of bitterness can begin to form. From that root of bitterness comes disloyalty.

I recently counseled a woman whose sister had betrayed her in a big way and a huge argument had ensued. Prior to this incident, the two women had been extremely loyal to one another. Even though they pretended that everything was fine between them, they had not forgiven. These two sisters became very disloyal to one another until they finally prayed together.n They asked God to forgive them and help them forgive each other. Loyalty between the two was immediately restored!

Teaching loyalty......

Our children must be taught loyalty to God, family and friends. Since “more is taught than caught”, setting an example for our children is the most effective teaching tool. Teach them to remain loyal to their siblings over siding with friends. Character is formed in the home, therefore we must help our children develop or strengthen this character trait through family interactions.

Here are a few questions to ponder:
  • Am I showing loyalty to God, family and friends in my daily life?
  • Are there areas that need improvement? 
  • Am I setting a good example to my children in this area?
God will guide us through any changes we need to make. He is loyal, faithful and ready to help.