Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

....on the wall, who's right after all? 
Oh, the god of pride and arrogance that we have bowed down to so many times.  Of coarse you never have....(wink, lips puckered) you are too prideful to admit that. 
As C.S. Lewis called it in his writing of Mere Christianity, "The Great Sin," pride.  The Bible has much to say about this god.  In Proverbs 8, it says He hates pride and arrogance.  In chapter 11, it says "when pride comes, then comes shame."  and in chapter 13 it says "By pride comes nothing but strife."

Now I'm not talking about the pride of hard work and values that we as Americans have showed to be an important part of who we are (but be careful, that in itself can become your god).  I'm talking of good old-fashioned stubborness leading to the arrogance that you are "right".  You are your own god- deciding the judgement and outcome.  God's word is correct in saying "By the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride." chpt 14.
 
This god of pride wants to build a wall higher than Jericho around you, never allowing for humility to enter.  The reflection in this mirror is self rather than the Holy Spirit.  Pride has a dark side and his name is bonage.  Chains that are shackled so tight, it hurts to move, but to admit that might be painful.  My friend, the more you refuse to bow those chains will break loose as they did for Paul and Silas in prison!
 
For all of you that are trying to figure out what has happened for me to blog about this, let me put you at ease, it's only the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Now, I have plenty in my life to show that I've aloud this god to enter my heart and take up residency.  I am strong enough now that I can share that.  It began with the unthinkable, the worst nightmare a child could think of...the robbing of my innocence.  So, the enemy built on that tradgedy (same for whatever your story is) and he introduced the god of pride.

For me, I would do whatever I could not to cry, to show any feeling (good or bad).  To show feeling would make me vulnerable and I vowed never to be vulnerable again.  Can you see the darkness already closing in?  If I felt myself about to cry about anything in life...I would go running (literally) because crying showed weakness and weakness meant I would hurt. 

I can tell you, even as I write this, I'm so glad that I've come so far in keeping this god knocked down in my spiritual boxing ring.  Notice, I didn't say I have mastered this.  I know who I'm dealing with, mr. sneaky pants!  There is a reason scripture says, "pride comes before a fall."  Where this god gets you...is when you really are in the right and pride is so powerful, it won't budge on either side.  This is where you have to surround yourself in God's humility.  Our very Lord had to walk in this humility at a level none will ever relate to.  He was in the right and yet was wronged on so many levels (even in his closest circle).
 
We need to kill this god.  Refuse to bow to it.  As we do this, we will see freedom.  Let the only thing you see in your mirror be the Holy Spirit at work! 

Lord, set the captives free! 
The Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Important Here?

This is the time of year that we have great reflection on our faith, family and focus (what's really important).
Why do we get so distracted from our focus (what really matters)?  Why are we not a people that can demonstrate our thankfulness more often...throughout the year....appreciate the simple and the extravagant....the sweetness in the chaos....something good in the ugliness? 
For those of you who have mastered this, good for you!  Find some friends and sharpen them to do the same :)
But, for the rest of us, this is a work in progress.  I have become more aware of it the past 6 months as I have been on a spiritual mountain climbing journey with my Lord.  I'm thankful for this growth spurt, even when I am experiencing a growing pain. 
So, how do we keep our focus on what's really important?  First, let's look at what is REALLY important: things that are lovely, pure, right, excellent and worthy of praise.  So if it is anything else that has your focus....you have been distracted, which leads to deception.  And who is the one behind this deception?  You've got it, the father of lies, your enemy, the devil who prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)  Now, I'm not one to focus on our enemy, but I do want to understand his objective so I can be smart enough to "recognize" his work.  There is a reason scripture says be self-controlled and alert.  In Proverbs 27:12 he again gives wisdom in saying "A prudent person forsees danger and takes precautions.  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers consequences." 
How could we suffer?  When we are decieved. Don't feel condemed, we all fall short BUT let's fix it! Deception brings out bad fruit and the enemy moves around in his end zone doing a victory dance and pointing to himself saying "i'm the man!"
Let me give you a little insight.  He is more skilled at being sneaky than "roaring".  For the majority, we can see and hear the "roaring" when it's coming, but it's the subtly that gets us every time.  So my point today is, LET'S GET IT. 
He will try to get you with:
  • stupid arguments
  • petty issues (ask your self, is this really worth focusing on?)
  • greediness
  • unsatisfied
  • personal attacks
  • angry people
  • personal conflict
  • lack of managment with your time, finances, responsibilities
  • and the BIGGEST, offense, leading to unforgiveness.  When you get here, it's harder to get out of than quick sand....and I've never been in quick sand but it looks almost impossible.  :)
Let's focus on what really matters in life.  If I were to die tomorrow, I would want to know that my words, efforts, my energy, my schedule, my relationships were a positive, eternal difference for all involved.
What am I grateful for? A strong, godly, growing marriage. Three girls who love the Lord and hear His voice. My daily needs being met and a bonus round of my desires.  A great team of solid, selfless women that I work with daily. The teachable moments with my students.  The innocent moment of their faces when we do something fun yet simple.  The kind words.  The people who get involved in ministry. A mom who gives her time each week to help me in class.  People who have a positive spirit. People who are problem solvers. People who see a need and meet the need.  People who stay away from drama.  People who work hard and give God the glory for the blessings that follow.   

The enemy will be sneaky and punch you where it hurts!  PUNCH BACK!  Focus on what's really important.  The only way you can have the energy to do this is through HIS DAILY WORD and allow yourself to grow.  I encourage you to start hiking up that spiritual mountain with your Lord!

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Mrs. Pastor




Sunday, November 10, 2013

All I See is a Rock



That's right!  All I see is a rock.  My husband was watching a National Geographic show of people digging up rocks in a desolate area.  I know, why would I stop to even see why this would even interest my husband?  He must have really needed a break from his world!  But now I have this post :)

The Geologist (that will be the name I give him) became very excited as he made a discovery.  He began sweeping the rock, then carefully digging around it.  Then some more sweeping and digging.  Yes, this was time I will never get back.  But in that process, he slowly, and I mean sloowwly, pulled this rock out and couldn't have been more excited.  Seriously, all I saw was a rock.  He took that rock and began to clean it and displayed it's beauty to the camera.  All I saw was a rock.  Then he placed it in a beautiful, clear container and displayed it and I "sort-of" saw it "may-be" sparkle?  But all I still saw was a rock.  Apparently this rock was worth more money than I make in almost two months teaching.  Ok, well....that must be more than a rock!  

How many people, circumstances, situations, challenges, opportunites, cross our paths and all we see is a rock?  What could possible come of this?  How is this even worth my time?  This "rock" will always just be a "rock"! 

May the Lord give us eyes that see like He sees....REALLY!  First, God has to give you perspective.  You must ask Him to reveal all things the way He would have you see.  This will revolutionize our homes, churches, and work places if we can grasp this.  Sometimes you can't see the whole picture because YOU DON'T KNOW THE WHOLE PICTURE.  Maybe the Lord doesn't feel it necessary to share that with you at the moment.  Your job is to sweep and dig, and sweep and dig.  I know, you'd rather watch paint dry but let's remember, "His ways are higher than your ways!"

So, get busy.  Change your heart.  Change your words.  See the rock for more than just a "rock".

Have a blessed week-
The Mrs. Pastor 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Letter



This week I was given a homework assignment by an AP High School English teacher.  As my daughter's class learned in reading Shakespeare's, Hamlet, the father has written a letter of advice to his son before he goes out into the world.  The teacher wanted us, the parents, to do the same for our graduating senior. 

I woke earlier than normal (Well, not really.  I often wake up at 4:00 a.m.) I grabbed pen, paper, and my warm-fuzzy blanket and headed to the dinning room, where I meet with God each morning. I used a large envelope containing old x-rays to represent creativity and inspiration (Hey, I'm a teacher at heart, and you have to be creative for people to remember).  I used examples from our life (mom and dad) regarding responsibility. I used a quote from a person of influence in this world, and I used scripture from God's Word throughout the letter to cover it in truth, that it would not return void!  I prayed she would believe it.  I hoped she would see the words and live them out, and I could only trust that she would feel them. 

I sealed it (with a Mickey Mouse sticker :) and pushed it to the side and began my morning in God's Word.  It didn't take long before I could see the comparison.  God wrote a letter to us many years ago.  It is full of creativity and inspiration, people of influence, responsibility and promises.  They ARE the greatest Words every written on paper. 

I do believe it!  I do feel it! I accept the responsibility and hold on to the inspiration and promises.  As I hope Morgan is thankful for my words, I am thankful for HIS!

Proverbs 3: 13;14
"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold."

-The Mrs. Pastor

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Unexplainable

I have had this post on my mind for a week but it was put into practice on Thursday morning.  I hurt my foot Wednesday morning at work (I will spare you the details.  There's only one word, silly)  I thought nothing of it until the afternoon rolled around and I felt severe pain.  That severe pain turned into so unbearable I couldn't stand on it.  Knowing I had to teach on prayer that evening, there was no way I was going to let that stop me.  I wasn't about to confess that it felt like my foot was broken.  I spoke the word over myself, friends annointed my foot with oil, and I BELIEVED.  I woke up the next morning with NO PAIN.  No sign that I had a foot injury or that I couldn't walk on it less than 24 hours before.
 

 We tend to explain our circumstance "maybe not as bad as I thought".  Now, why is that hard for some people to get?  We hear someone say "maybe you just...."  PEOPLE, GOD healed me!  Let me say again, I couldn't even stand or move that foot in any direction.  I know pain, I've had three children and kidney stones! 


There are so many things in our lives that are unexplainable to the world: The peace of God, forgiveness of someone who has hurt you badly, something so broken that is put back together, feeling God's presence, faith in something you can't see, giving your heart to God whom you can't see, having been diagnosed with a death sentence and then finding nothing on the scan, an envelope of money from an anonymous someone at "just the right time".

There is a reason it is unexplainable.  You know the source, you just can't put it into words for it to be understood.  You have to just experience it yourself!  The unexplainable can happen everyday in our lives.  We just have to be careful to point straight up and give Him all credit.  The world will see and may not understand at the moment.  They will ask questions to find what you did for this to happen?  How are you successful?  What is your secret to....? What are things I can do to....? How can you hold yourself so strong when ....?  

We can use all the words in the world to explain our God, but people have to experience Him themselves.  God is all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere at once.  Hard to understand, huh?  That's why He's God and you are not! 

Allow the world to see the unexplainable in your life!




The Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Take the Challenge

The gauntlet is down!  The Mrs. Pastor wants to put a challenge out for the people to accept! 

Challenge: To find something daily to improve your spiritual walk.  To have the courage to see your weakness and find ways to improve it.  FOR ONE MONTH.  They say it takes 30 days to form a habit. 

We all know what we are good at and  continue to be good at it, but what about those things we are not so great at?  You could challenge yourself even further and make this for every area in your life.  We stay away from that because it takes effort, risk, energy, and many times of repetition before greatness is achieved.  We confess the weakness and never grow.

So will our people see a difference in 30 days?  Here are some suggestions:  fasting, praying for others (face to face), write a note, say something encouraging to a stranger, give a gift, give your time, break down a scripture, memorize a scripture, apply the scripture, volunteer, tithe, smile, hug (for those who are difficult to love), say "I love you.", say "I'm sorry.", forgive, think about others for an entire day, and .....must I go on?

You will be surprised to see that your life wasn't the one that saw the biggest change!

Begin today.  Share your story.  See the differnce.  Give God all the glory!

-The Mrs. Pastor



Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Voice

There is so much to be said of the voice; God's voice and ours.  This week at school, my friend Vanessa came to speak to our 2nd graders about sign language and the deaf.  She shared her story of her daughter, Meagan, and how that began her journey of interpretting.  While she was speaking, she said something that stuck with me.  She became "the voice" for others.  I loved that!  Several years ago, the Lord gave me a scripture specifically for my daughter, Morgan.

Proverbs 31:8 says, She will "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all those who are destitute." I have no idea what that means for her or how that will look in her journey, but I do know it will happen!  God needs your voice to accomplish His purposes, but are you ready for that, and can He trust you?   In order for anyone to hear and listen (There is a difference.  Read Romans 10:18.) the source must have credibilty.

James 3:9-12
"with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness (I know what you're thinking....I'm not sure everyone's in God's likeness. LOL! They might not walk in it, but they were made in it) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

Ouch! A real thinker.  To have a deep understanding of this verse, there should be some daily evaluation and growth taking place. Words are powerful! Use them wisely.  The Lord already knows if He can trust you.  Proverbs 20:27 says, "The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man, it searches out his inmost being." But do you know if He trusts you? Can you make an honest evaluation? Proverbs 16:2 says, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord."

There is so much God wants to use you for. Take the challenge; honest evaluation along with the courage to change in His likeness.

He needs your voice!

The  Mrs. Pastor

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Impossible

 

 

Have you ever been at a place in life where the task in front of you seemed impossible and yet it was handed to you?  Whether it be by God's design or Him allowing it, neither makes it easier. 


Strong faith or newborn faith, they both still feel the pain.  This is where the growth takes place.  Sure it would be easy to hide yourself in a shell, to pull yourself away from the world and just wait...and wait....and wait.  Hoping that you can stick your head up and it will all be gone.


What does the impossible look like?  Hopeless, emotionally draining, personal, defeating, so powerful you catch yourself in what feels like a numb state.  We know of some people who faced what seemed the impossible.  Noah was to build a gigantic boat with trust as his focus.  Jacob was to reunite with a bother he wronged terribly.  Esther was to approach a king to ask to him to save a people he wanted destroyed....knowing it could end in death for her and her people.  And we all know it seemed impossible for a "Gentile" to receive the same grace and salvation as a Jew. 


We must remind ourselves who is the Father of the impossible.  As painful as it can be, the Lord will see you through.  How? LET GO and LET GOD.  We've heard that but what does that mean?  LETTING GO means you put out of your mind how it should all play out.  You don't act and re-act in your humanity (aka the ugly monster)  It means you seek His word and let it change you.


LETTING GOD means your words and actions might even surprise you! (in a good way)  It means He gets the credit for everything (so be careful when people give you a compliment....it's a dangerous temptation)  Bottom line, God knows the end of the story.  He is the victor!  He is the God of what seems impossible.


I don't want to be like the people in Hosea  10:13   Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people.


Nothing good comes from your own strength.  You end up still looking at the impossible, believing the lies, and sitting in the pain.  Instead we will be a people who Renew our minds daily and stand on Jesus' words in Matthew 19:26 With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Yes! With God!

The Mrs. Pastor

Friday, September 6, 2013

What is in a Name?

I'm reminded of the power in a name.  People can speak your name and have good thoughts, or they might cringe.  I'm also reminded that when we label or "name" people, it can make it difficult to replace it with another "name".

It CAN change though! 

Abram became Abraham.  The Fatherless became the father of many.  Simon became Peter.  A simple fisherman became a significant "stone" in building the Kingdom. 
Saul became Paul. A dark, hateful heart became the hands, feet, and voice for our Lord.

Now its my turn.    

Shelly became Michele. I requested to be called by my given name rather than my childhood "nickname."   As a child, I picked up some insecurities, baggage, and traits that I'm not proud of.  Some were significant enough (in a negative way) that I wouldn't allow my given name, it's meaning, (which I might add I didn't understand until later in life) to stick to me.  I was labeled. I was a snob, not friendly, not relational, uncomfortable in crowds.  I chose to own that....until one day.... I RIPPED that off.  I started walking in what I was meant to be. 

Michele is a name of Hebrew origin meaning "who is like God".  She is always happy to see her family and friends. Her manner is gentle but her spirit is strong. She outshines those around her. She knows the worth of good character. A winner is what she is. She has a kind and generous heart. Friends look to her for support and advice.  Now that is a name I want to accept!

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."  Proverbs 3:3-4

I am the Mrs. Pastor.  I am called by God to minister to people in whatever way God chooses.  At church, at school, at a ball game, at the mall . . . .  I won't allow the enemy, nor anyone, to stick any other name on me.

I will never let love and faithfulness leave me.  Therefore, I have a good name! 

What about your name?

In His steps --

The Mrs. Pastor


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To please or not to please, that is the question.

Hebrews 13:21

...may he work in us, what is pleasing to him....



The continual effort to make everyone happy can be exhausting and to be honest an unrealistic expectation:

a family sits down for dinner and it's probable someone at the table did not want chicken (or in my house a caserole)
 

A staff plans for a Christmas party and someone won't be able to make that date.

A church offers activities and it's not enough options for some and too many expectations for others.

The author of Hebrews had to have had this in the back of his mind when he wrote this verse because bottom line it's God and only God we need to please!  If we are in daily fellowship with Him and transforming our minds daily according to His ways, all things will be revealed that are necessary. 

This is a continual work in progress for most of us.  Why? Because we want peace.  However, true peace comes only from our Lord.  It is the Prince of Peace Who will give us wisdom in our daily walk.

Application: May we make every effort to be God pleasers rather than man pleasers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Storm

I'm writing my second post since I opened the door of possibilities to blogging 8 months ago.  I know when I write this, many eyes will probably not even see it, but that is not the motive of this post.  It actually is an encouragement or a thank you, if you will to a long-time friend (19 years on September 1).


On a side note, I do want to thank my friend, team mate, and professional blogger who had encouraged this "blogging" think for me some time ago.  She has patiently encouraged me in this and knows this will be a great tool of ministry for me.  She doesn't realize that it's closer to becoming a reality for me.  (I will explain my fears, insecurities, and obstacles in another post.)  I call this post "The Storm" to dovetail with a blog post by my friend, Heather on Heather's Blessed Journey.  Her post to which I am referring is titled "Rising Waters."


As I was wakened at 12:23 a.m. recently by a strong storm, my mind began to think on the spiritual aspect of it. Where did this come from?  How could something feel so scary?  Was this necessary?


I understood that even though I heard this storm, felt it, and even saw it, my house was not the only one in the storm.  I immediately thought of my friend, Heather, and the rising waters that were too close to her home (making a not that I didn't know the situation and didn't need to know.)  My spirit began to pray and intercede (go between) for her family. 


I was reminded of a very dark time for our family five years ago that Heather was a "go-between" for our family to the kingdom of Heaven.  Our oldest entered the trying age of junior high and suddenly hated being a "preacher's kid" even though we had never used that term in our home. 


Where did this come from?  She had a spirit of rebellion (praising God that nothing life-ruining happened).  She just had a bad spirit that caused strife in our home for an entire year.  (I'm not exaggerating here.)


How could something feel so scary in a home that is established on the principles of God?  It was then that Heather, who had grown up in our youth group, gave the most valuable resource to mankind (and us):  her time.  She physically gave her time as she met with our daughter on a regular basis to be her mentor and find opportunities to give wisdom and perspective.  She gave her time spiritually to pray and intercede for us.


I remember a very specific Sunday that I went to the altar feeling so spiritually broken, I just didn't know how to function.  Then I felt her hand on me and her voice crying out to Heaven on my behalf.  That morning I felt the physical hand of God through Heather.  She was a go-between for me, helping me to realize the turmoil in our home would pass.  And it did!


I woke up the morning after the storm and sat on the front porch to wonder, Was that  storm necessary?  All I could do was look at the beautiful green grass and the flowers bright and beautiful, watered straight from Heaven.  The storm had passed.


Now my daughter looks forward to graduation this year.  We areall thankful for God's grace throught that stormy portion of her life.  Heather was instrumental in that breakthrough and should feel very much a par of Morgan's success when walks across that stage at graduation.  Heather should know that it was moments like this, so natural for her to give, that have multiplied into blessings in her life today.  God saw that, love that, and trusted her with so much more.