Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ready or Not......

There are things that are the inevitable.  Whether you are ready or not they are still coming:
1. Your children growing up and leaving the nest
2. Your bodies growing older and changing inside and out
3. The seasons (in nature and in your life)
4. Responsibilities (the laundry will always need to be done and the bills paid)
5. ....and so many more

Now, you can try and put the timing off, reverse the timing, or even stop the timing but this will only make it harder.  The inevitable will happen......ready or not.

The same is true in the spiritual realm.  Two things that will happen:

1. spiritual warfare.  God's word says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.(that is his charge to you) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle IS NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12  (and then he goes on to tell you how to do this) vs. 13-18

2. Christ Return. God's word says in the book of Revelation 22 "Behold, I am coming soon!" and in Matthew 24 he talks not only of his return but instructs them on being watchful and the signs that will follow.  "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." vs 44

ready or not......

The Lord will never give us a task that he doesn't give instructions to go with that task.  It's all in His word.  The word that remains in my mind with all of these inevitable areas in our life is DILIGENCE.

Be diligent with each moment, assignment, task, opportunity that the Lord puts in front of you. 

Webster's Definition of Diligent: steady in application ; industrious, preserving, with care and constant effort

Life is happening and bringing with it all the inevitable.  Our job is not to try and manipulate it, overthink it, fix it.  Our responsibility is to look to His word daily and be diligent with the task.  Doing the task well.  Not holding tightly to the task that is His to begin with but rather be willing to let go.  Our responsibility is to allow Him to be God and we his servants.  A servant knows when to back off and let the master have final authority. 

Ready or Not,
Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Good Student

First, I want to say I'm sorry for being on a sabbatical for so long.  Maybe you'll understand after this post. 

I cant help but look at all the great teaching, analogies, parables, poetry, etc. that takes place in God's word.  The teachers teaching, hoping the students will learn and grow as much as possible in order to be all that God wants them to be.  But on the other extreme, I'm looking at the students:  Did they listen? Did they apply the knowledge? Did they learn from their mistakes? Did they ask questions...and then ask some more? Were they teachable?  Did they give their best?  All of these are valid questions for each of us.

This must of have been important to our Lord as he used this example in one of his teaching moments, "well done, my good and faithful servant (student).  You have been faithful in handling this small amount,  so now I will give you many more responsibilities." Matt 25:21

If God was going to write each of us in the greatest history book of all times, what would we look like?  Would we be considered a good student or something different?  A "good" student doesn't mean perfection, but I can give you a list giving you a better idea (this is from my perspective of 17 years of teaching). 

1. pays attention
2. gives their best effort (and I don't compare efforts....I know what each individuals best looks like)
3. ask questions
4. answer questions (not afraid to make mistakes)
5. take responsibility (for actions and work ethic)
6. help others
7. learn from their mistakes
8. show steady growth (academically, socially, emotionally, mentally)
9. get along with others (can work in groups)
10. respectful to teacher (or any authority) and peers
11. lead by example (make good choices....stay away from drama)
12. character qualities (honest, compassionate, kind, hard working etc.)

This past year, and especially the closing of the school year, I've had more life lessons than I'd care to remember (or repeat).  But in all of it, I was trying to be a good student and learn from it.  Was it difficult? extremely. Was it emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining? absolutely. This explains the time away from my time to connect to my readers.  I needed to have some serious reflection, meditation, and learning take place in my heart or else ALL of it was in vain and we all know that if we don't "get it" the Lord will make sure He finds other avenues for us to "get it". 

Now I realize the learning process is the rest of our lives....but Hey....what's wrong with getting it right the first time? NOTHIN'! 

What drives me CRAZY as a teacher?

1. little motivation (they have great potential but just don't care)
2. little family support (no one is cheering them on)
3. parents who enable their children (why would they need to be do everything for them)
4. repeat mistakes
5. disrespectful
6. poor character qualities (dishonesty is at the TOP of my list)
7. do as little as possible to get by

I don't know about you but I don't want to have any of these qualities that would drive our teacher crazy. I want to handle my learning experience with great grace and humility. 

Whether you want to be or not, we are all students.  It's up to you on how that's going to look.

Good to be back,
The Mrs. Pastor  

p.s. since I've been out for so long, will you pass this on so people know I'm back :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

911....what's your emergency?

When you are in an emergency which requires immediate safety/medical attention, one of two things happen.  You make an emergency call or a witness makes it for you.  Without the help of an emergency crew, the situation could be fatal.
In our lives we have our very own witness who is on duty 24/7.  His name is the Holy Spirit.  He makes the call and he provides the help.  The problem is we don't always accept the help.  He sees that a situation, an action, a decision that needs immediate attention or it could be fatal and yet we refuse service.  The lights are going off, the sirens are loud, everything about it feels not right, and yet we continue forward in awareness of possible fatality.

It 's called conviction.   I'm sure if I would have named this post "conviction", I would have less readers.  No one likes conviction.  In reality, conviction is the sign of great spiritual maturity.  It shows that anything that is not of God is not welcome in your life.  It grows and strengthens you.  Which is real threat for the enemy. 

 I'm certain the prince of this world has his own crew of "pride" that makes sure conviction sees no victory.  It has been a battle since the beginning of time.  From the fallen angel who felt no conviction to Adam and Eve in the garden who understood conviction a little too late.  You can read throughout God's word of situations where conviction was heeded and where it was not.  The result was either change for the better or disaster turning into fatality (physical or spiritual).

We see a perfect example of this in Psalm 51 when Nathan approaches David about his decisions.  David could have easily been so angry with Nathan that he have him killed.  He could have made Nathan his enemy for brining something up that was none of his business.  He could have asked Nathan to leave the kingdom and not ever come back.  But he didn't!  He repented. The Holy Spirit knew it was an emergency and needed David to repent and move forward !

The entire chapter is the most beautiful psalm of repentance.  One I would encourage to be a part of your daily reading.  A good gut check if you will.  I will highlight a few verses for the sake of this post:
Verse 10-13
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take away your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to you

This is a person heeding conviction and begging God to renew and move him forward in God.
No it doesn't feel's the worst feeling.  It's much easier to blame others, find an avenue to justify, or simply ignore.....yes, that's easier, but not productive.  It's miserable.  It's heavy.  It's immobilizing us from moving forward and receiving Gods personal best.  Any sin in our life separates us from God.  It stops us from moving into God's blessing and favor.  That is why repentance is a must!  I love at the end of the chapter that it says "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart- these o God, you will not despise."

To know He is waiting to welcome my repentful heart rather than shake his head at me with shame....makes the process not so terrifying. Make it a habit to have God search your heart everyday.  There could be something hidden under rubble that He's just waiting on you to see it and look to Him.

I'm listening Lord!
The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Your Measuring Stick

I must ask the question! What is your measuring stick in your spiritual life? This seems like an elementary question, possibly one you would brush to the side, and yet it says much about us.  

There is much that I've learned in my Christian walk, as you have.  But  I can say confidently that I've learned even more when the Lord put me in a leadership role.  My latest inspiration comes by a good read "The Leadership Lessons of Jesus" by Bob Briner & Ray Pritchard.  

Leadership simply means being a person of influence... Pointing people not to ourselves or our ways but to His ways.  This requires a "measuring" if you will.  And what will you measure with? His word says we have a choice.  We can use the "wisdom of this world" , which he says does not come from heaven but is "earthly" and "unspiritual".  Or you can use the "wisdom that comes from heaven which is pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere".  James 3

As elementary as it seems, I must point people to the answer: God's Word!  When you have the knowledge in your mind, then you meditate on it so it stays in your heart.  When it stays in your heart then you are passionate about it and it comes out of your mouth.  

If you are measuring your actions, words, and decisions against God's standards then you should quickly feel the conviction.  This takes place when it's in your heart. The knowledge part is actually the easy step.  We all can be knowledgable about many things but do nothing with it.  I can be knowledgable about the speed limit but choose not to obey it.  It's that convicting voice that moves us to a deep place. A place of depth and intensity.  Where is that voice coming from? The world? Your earthly flesh? Your feelings? Or is it coming from the Holy Spirit?
Let me help you answer that question.  Does your place lead you to peace, love, forgiveness, submissive, mercy, good fruit? If so, then you must be using Gods Word to direct you. 

I love the words from R.C Sprout in his book Pleasing God, " our conscience ( which I'm calling conviction) acts as a kind of governor upon our behavior.  It's the inner voice that either accuses or excuses us. It monitors our behavior by either approval or disapproval. ....we are adept at training it in the direction of order to function in godly way it must be influenced by godly conviction"... 

My scripture for you to stand on: psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statues, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in your commandments, For I delight in it.  Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things ( can I say a big amen here), and revive me in your way. Establish your word in your servant, who is devoted to fearing you. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for judgements are good. Behold, I long for your precepts; revive me in your righteousness. 

I'm measuring, 
The Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spiritually Sluggish?

It doesn't take much to get sluggish in the fast-paced, packed full of activity, world that we currently reside in. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us it only takes "a little"  to get to a difficult place. 

"I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."

You notice it doesn't say a lot of sleep.... a lot of slumber.... a lot of folding of your hands.  And also take note how poverty snuck up on him.  A great plan of our enemy don't you think?  I mean he is a deceiver.  He does make himself the master of taking something our Lord meant for good...."rest"...and twist it in a way that it becomes harmful. 

Why is it so important to have spiritual stamina?  In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Paul warns us of Godlessness in the Last Days. 
....people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 

I want to make something very clear, Paul, a man of sound doctrine, confidence, steadfast faith and endurance and enduring love was not saying we should hate on these people or even talk badly of them.  What he is saying is to be spiritually alert to recognize how toxic this can be for you to allow this to influence you.   Yes, sometimes you just don't have a choice but to be surrounded by it.  It's in the church, it's at your work, and sometimes it's in your family. 

Take heart though!  The Lord always provides what you need.  Proverbs tells us that YOU need to pursue it.  Studying and meditating on God's word is as vital to our souls as food is to our bodies.  Without food we feel sluggish, shaky, grumpy, and often sick.  It is the answer!

"All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." @ Timothy 3:16-17

But after gotta do something with that!  We can not be Christians who just read a lot of His word and sit on it.  It might hurt and get messy to actually use it.  The analogy of the vineyard with weeds and thorns would have meant someone had to take care of that when they saw it.  We've got this and He's got us! 

Don't fool yourself and pretend that your vineyard is in tip-top shape if it's not. 

Living this out daily,
The Mrs. Pastor

p.s. I'm close to hitting 6000 views on my blog.  Who would have thought this would go anywhere? 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Blacklist

We all have this list of weaknesses  that we wish not to talk about.  Let's call it our "blacklist".  It's those things that you would gladly get rid of in a heart beat.  When someone is on a blacklist you know it's just a matter of time before they are removed or confronted.  It's not something anyone looks forward to. 

It's like that famous interview question that is uncomfortable for many.  You know the one...."list your weakness"  It's even worse when they put a number out there....list 4!!!!  You might give a cushy answer because you are afraid your blacklist is just too black.   NO ONE wants to admit their weak areas, but here it is, if we don't, our enemy will.  He will expose every single one and find just the right moment to bring us down with them.  He did this with King David.

I wonder if David surrendered these areas daily to the Lord , making himself accountable to God, he might not have committed adultery, arranged the murder of Uriah, disobeyed God by taking a census of the people, and ignored dealing decisively with the sins of his children.  The strength of David is that he accepted the consequences and learned from his mistakes.  He did not sin repeatedly.  Can we say the same?

If we really mean the scripture "search me, O Lord, and know my heart" then we must take what comes with it....truth.  If WE are the problem at work, then WE need to fix it and quit blaming it on others or making some excuse to lift ourselves up.  If WE are the problem at home, then WE need to fix WE.  If WE are the problem during worship, WE need to not blame it on the music.  If WE are the problem in our spiritual life, WE don't blame it on "not being fed"....feed yourself.  The church is only responsible for setting up an environment of worship, fellowship, teaching, giving, and serving.  The majority of your growth should take place in your own space at home with God's word in your lap.  If WE are the problem, it doesn't mean others don't play some type of role but if I've said it once I've said it a thousand times.  WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES.  The rest is up to God.

God wants to bless his children.  He wants his children to grow daily.  He has plans for good, BUT we play an important role in that plan.  As much as we pray for His blessing, we should pray that He is pleased with us.  In proverbs it talks about the first step of great wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  That is referring to such great respect for His thoughts and ways that is has a great influence on our daily decisions. 

Today's verse to stand on:
" O Sovereign Lord, you are God!" Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.  Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever." 2 Samuel 7:28-29

Check that list.

The Mrs. Pastor