Saturday, December 10, 2016

I Want Something Easy....

Picture this:
Teacher puts students in small groups and each group is working on a different skill.  They are with partners of all skill levels to allow for help, communication, and most of all growth.  One student, working quickly to match definitions with words , gets very frustrated when the teacher passes by the group to check on their progress and points out some errors.  The student pops up and says, "I want to go to another group....I want something easy!"

You can imagine my mind spinning......that will preach!!!!

I'm not the only one that recognized this to use as an example.  Mark Batterson in his book The Circle Maker  (Chpt. 8) writes of a study done between American and Japanese children in first grade.  Each of the groups were given a difficult puzzle to solve.  The researchers weren't interested in who could solve the puzzle but rather how long they would try before giving up.  The American children lasted on average, 9.47 minutes and the Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes.  This lead the researchers to conclude that the Japanese children weren't necessarily more intelligent but simply tried harder. 

I can't help but think this is a common response of our human want something focus and have hope for 9.47 minutes.  I'm certainly not one to throw stones because I naturally want to gravitate toward easy and comfy.  That is until about two years ago....

We were at a ministers meeting and the Lord did what He does best.....SHAKE ME!   In the most loving and gentle way of course.  I was at war with myself.  I knew what He had called me to do, I understood my gifts and talents, I recognized my role but the problem was.... I wanted easy. 

I knew my calling to preach but I hesitated being side by side with Steve because I was overwhelmed in the preparation time it took,  I made excuses with my lack of ability with technology, and lastly I didn't want to cripple Steve's teaching ministry.  If I were to preach, it would need to compliment him and I wasn't confident I was up to the task.   Then the Lord spoke very clear to me and asked for my obedience and promised He would take care of the "time"....since He created time in the first place. :) He also would be patient to teach me how to feel comfortable on the Mac computer but to keep my focus on the message and the anointing.   He also gently reminded me that He called both Steve and I and that the ministry is not "performance based" but faith based. 

That has revolutionized my preaching ministry.  I honestly don't look for any praise or words of affirmation from anyone.  I study, prepare, pray, deliver the message, and leave the rest in God's hands.  I walk away from the pulpit and praise the Lord for the opportunity to be used by Him and ask Him to continue to grow me for His Kingdom.  I'm not saying it's "easy" now but definitely more natural.

But if only ALL things would be as natural with obedience.  I have an area that I long for the day to be "easy".  It's the one thing that is at the top of a resume for all ministers wives..... being relational.

This is where I'm like the student in my class and ask the Lord, "Can you put me somewhere know where I don't have to make conversation with everyone?"  "Lord, I'm just not good at it." 
I can relate to Moses in Exodus 4 when  he told the Lord  "I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now. I am slow of speech and tongue." AND the Lord has a reply as He always does, "Who made your mouth?"

Now don't get me wrong....if someone comes up to me and makes conversation....I can do it!  And when I am having conversation with someone....I'm genuine.  I really am invested in what they are saying.  I care.  But to go beyond that in a big group I literally tense up.  Which is crazy because I can get up in front of a large crowd and preach my guts out but can't work a crowd.  If people knew how difficult this was for me they would be shocked....but I push myself past "easy" and know that the Lord  will patiently grow me and honor my obedience if my heart and attitude are in the right place.  If I'm doing it grudgingly because I "have to" will be wasted efforts and painful to perform and even watch. 

What are you demanding of the Lord to be "easy"? 
 Your marriage?
Your children?
Your job?
Your dreams?
Your health?
Your finances?
Your ministry?
Your prayer life?
Your weekly schedule?
Your confrontations?
Your spiritual growth?
Hard hearted people?
Your gifts and talents?

We need to stand on His promise in Hebrews 10:36
"Patient endurance is what you need now,  so that you will continue to do God's willThen you will receive all that he has promised."

and Philippians 1:6
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

 You might not be able to relate to me and my difficulties but you have something. We all do.  Are you running and hiding from something because it will require much of you?  Are you putting something off? Are you focusing on the outcome rather than the present-tense of doing.  Does it seem like too big of a sacrifice...not easy enough for you?  Go ahead and challenge yourself to push past the 9.47 go beyond....way beyond.  To not give in to "easy" but to strive for obedience and faithful endurance.  Even though the scripture in Luke 21:19, when seen in context,  is referring to persecution, I believe all scripture is applicable to our lives.  " By your endurance you will gain your lives."
Our enemy, the devil, is using "easy" to stop us from being in God's will and being used in powerful ways.

Push against easy,
Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Will You Be Silenced?

Yes, today is an important day in history. However, this post isn't only about what will be taking place at the poles from 7a.m. til 7p.m., it is about your voice every day, ever minute, 365 days a year. 

Since the beginning of time, the world has tried to silence us. 2000 years ago, they killed people for having faith.  They put people in prison. They placed their bodies on stakes and used them as lanterns in their garden.  They cut off heads and put them on platters to shut them up and even hung them on a cross, naked for the world to see.  Today, in some countries, those extreme things still may take place.  Here in America, they call us names, they write nasty things about us on social media (with the wide range of expanded, intelligent vocabulary they have), they create laws that take away our freedoms, they use media and entertainment to paint a picture of believers as hateful, close-minded, ignorant people.  They want to silence you......and for some it's working!  They believe the louder they speak...the more we will be shut down and that very thing could happen if CHRISTIANS DON'T WAKE UP AND BE HEARD! We don't have to be loud and belligerent to be heard. 

Apparently, 1/3 of America has already chosen to be silenced by not registering to vote.  The next 1/3 are registered but choose not to vote.  They say, "it doesn't make a difference."  They say, "this won't fix the problem."

Do we only use our voice when we see the immediate fruits? 

Is this how we view prayer?  "I can't see anything changing, so why do it?"

There was a man named Daniel who was threatened with his life to be silenced.  They wanted to shut him they created a law (see, nothing new under the sun).  If anyone was caught praying to anyone other than their king, they would be killed.  Did Daniel have to be loud and make a scene? No, he stayed true to who he was and what his loyalty was to his God. 

"When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house .........He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously."  Daniel 6:10

He was not silenced.  He was not moved by the outcome. He did not say "it doesn't matter anyway, it's a law now".  HE CONTINUED on and gave thanks.   And what happened?  The entire situation turned around!  It took ONE MAN people!  We should not allow it to be said anymore that "my voice doesn't matter anyway"  !!!!

That isn't the only example.  There were two men named Paul and Silas.  They were in prison (for their faith).  They used their voice and began to sing hymns to God....

"suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison shaken.  And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened." Acts 16:25-26

AND THE JAILER GOT SAVED!  Two men, with a voice!  In what looked like an impossible situation. 

I could give many more examples, but I try to keep these blogs short and to the point yet powerful. 

God is going to have his way regardless. 
Psalm 46:10
"I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

You get to make the decision to be a part of His plan by using your voice,  your actions, your prayers, your living out loud for Him.  And we don't choose to look at the outcome as our deciding factor.  Whatever happens in this election.....whatever happens with the state questions....whatever happens in education....We will remain faithful.  We will not be silent. We will stand on 1 Peter 2:15
"put to silence the ignorance of foolish people."

AND 2 Corinthians 11:10
"As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced...."

I close today with the words of Elijah, who was not going to be silenced.....

"Let it be known this day that you are God" the United States of America,
The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Seasons

We understand the changing seasons.  Even though you may have a favorite and a not so favorite, it's inevitable they will still happen.  We can find something good and not so good about each one.

Summer with it's late sunsets and bright sunshine smiling down on bright flowers and fresh cut grass. Sunscreen for protection but welcoming a sweet kiss of sunshine.    It also, depending on where you live, brings high humidity, mosquitoes, extreme heat, and sunburns. 

Fall has a smell that just screams FOOTBALL!!!! The beautiful changing colors of all the trees just make you feel like you are in a Hallmark movie. It just feels so cozy!   The only negative I can think of is you might feel bi-polar with your it summer? is it fall? cold in the morning? warm in the afternoon? (I'm sure that's just Oklahoma!)

Winter brings hot cocoa, soups in the crockpot, Christmas decorations, sometimes snow, and my favorite....A FIRE in the fireplace!  As much as I love this season, I HATE TO BE COLD!  The chapped skin, crusty lips, layers of clothes to put on (and to keep up with), and cold feet.  (Why doesn't my husband like my cold feet on him?)

Spring is a sign of life again.  After what seems like a long winter, we find hope in the rain and flowers that pop up around.  However, this season  (for many in middle America and southern states)brings more apprehension than the others with deadly and destructive tornadoes and flooding.  The constant rain can also impact people's mood and it feels like you're surrounded by gloomy people.  At this point, I am praying for sunshine! 

I did not share anything that you did not know already, but you probably didn't realize each season can also be just as real in our spiritual lives.  Just as God created the world and everything in it, He also created the seasons.  He sees good in each one, even if you don't!  Season's represent a time for something:

2 Timothy 4: 2
"preach the word; be ready in season and out of season"
Here Paul is teaching us that there will be a season that people will receive the teaching and a season that people will only receive what feels good....But regardless PREACH.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"
Celebrating, mourning, abundance, very tight, mountains high, valley low, birth, death, planting and harvest are all words we will experience in our lives at the right time (and yet we welcome some and question others)

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
This just confirms that God knows they'll be seasons we won't He tells us to do good.

I wanted to sum up your spiritual seasons in comparison to our earthly seasons:

A Season of Pleasure: This is your summer of abundance.  The sun is smiling all over you.  Things aren't just growing but are beautiful.  Breathtaking sunrises and peaceful sunsets, which are all the things that make you smile, feel proud, and even at peace, are bringing you closer to your maker.  Who wouldn't want to stay in this season forever?  God knows that it would not be healthy to remain here, never to be taught, stretched, and challenged. 

A Season of Pushing/Prompting: This is your Autumn.  You are feeling cozy, enjoying the smells, watching the beauty of nature around you and the Lord starts pushing you out of your comfort zone.  He understands that all the beauty that you are looking at, took a lot of hard work to get to that point.  He sees potential inside of you.  He knows that you'll have to rely on Him and He will reward your obedience.  When He pushes...don't push back.

A Season of Preparation: This is your winter where everything feels dead but it's very much alive.  Things may seem dormant in your life but God is preparing you.  Preparation is overlooked.  Without preparation, there can be no victory, no celebration, no relying on God and only relying on our self. We can not grow and mature without preparation.....we only complain and remain until He sees that we are ready to move forward.  In this season don't overlook the mentors and opportunities in your path.  They are there for a reason. 

A Season of Planting and Pruning: This is your spring.  Both planting and pruning require your time, hard work, and don't always feel good.  I see this season when God is asking much from you.  He is cutting things back.  None of it feels good and He is keeping your focus on the work rather than on yourself.  It can get messy.  It can feel gloomy if we let it (remember this is the season I am praying for sunshine). 

The seasons will come and will go so don't fight it.  Just as we find something good in each of our earthly seasons, we need to embrace our spiritual seasons. 

I can boldly say that I appreciate and look forward to each season.  I hope that means I'm maturing.  At one point in my life, I was a whiner, for every season except "pleasure".  If things weren't showering me with abundance.....It must be a spiritual battle....or so I thought.

Yes, our enemy, would like nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy us.... BUT GOD has the ultimate plan and say.  Give Him more credit than that!  Trust Him. Obey Him. Listen to Him. Serve Him. Look to Him. Honor Him. Thank Him.

Embrace the Season,
Mrs. Pastor 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Driving a Parked Car?

Think back with me when you couldn't wait to drive.  Go ahead......think way back.  You'd get in the drivers seat and imagine how great it would be.  If you were lucky, you lived in the country and got to drive the old pick-up in the field.  When my girls got their permit, they always wanted to go get the car right after church and drive around the church parking that's desperate to drive!

Finally, the day arrives and you are driving.  Time moves on and you are living life and you get in an accident.  You become a reluctant driver and would rather someone else drive.  The problem is that you can't stay that way forever.  You eventually need to move forward.  You can't drive a parked car!  Unfortunately, there are many who want to move forward but are just sittin'.....sittin' while time is passing and purposes need to be fulfilled. 

There are things at this very moment that the Lord has in mind for you but there are certain things holding you back.  I've made a quick list of some things that put a person in a parked car:

1. Pride:
 Probably the number one killer of any success in relationships, careers, ministry, family, parenting, and leadership.  Pride is a form of self-preservation.  You think you are protecting yourself but in actuality you are hurting yourself.  It might feel very comfortable in that parked car but you are getting no where.  The enemy is winning on this one....and we are letting him! 

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes shame;"

Proverbs 13:10
"By pride comes nothing but strife,"

Proverbs 15:25
"The Lord will destroy the house of the proud"

Proverbs 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction"

2. Teachable:
This one is closely related to pride.  In fact, they are probably brothers.  We were created to have a teachable spirit, an obedient spirit.  The problem is that we get a little momentum, a little successful, find our voice in a leadership position and BAM we are listening to the wrong voice.....our own.  We have made "experience" or "age" or even "time" our god.  This will park you faster than you know.  It may look like on the outside that you are busy making things happening but in reality you are just sittin' in a parked car.  God can not use people who are not teachable.  Being teachable is not only receiving instruction (whether from God's word or people He places in our path) but also correction (from the Holy Spirit or people).

Psalm 32:8-9
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come."

Proverbs 4: 3
"Don't be wise in your own eyes."

Proverbs 5:12
"How I hated instruction, and my heart despised correction!  I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers , nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin..."

Proverbs 5:23
"He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."

Proverbs 13:18
"Poverty and shame will come to him who disdain correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored. "

3. Fearful:
When we take a step forward, anything and everything could go wrong. YES, it could.  But it also could go very right.  This is where pride and not being teachable come into play.  WE ARE GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES.  If we have a growth mindset, we are learning from them and making them less often.  We are being humbled and used and molded at every moment.  There is no shame in that.  There is shame when "pride" is your best friend and you think more of people's opinions than God's.  When you can't forgive or apologize and move on.  God honors obedience and if you believe His word you have nothing to be afraid of!

Hebrews 13:5
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind."

Proverbs 14: 26
"In the fear (respect) of the Lord there is strong confidence."

Psalm 32:7
"....You shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance."

and last, but certainly not least is....

4. Contentment:
What???? What's wrong with a state of peace and happiness? Nothing is wrong with this.  As a matter of fact, we pray for this in all of our lives.  The problem is that we get so cozy that we don't move.  We can't "drive the car" to a place we've never been before!  We might get lost, we feel uneasy, there might be a lot of traffic or.....PEOPLE!  We might have to interact with PEOPLE that we don't know or even like.  We might have to sacrifice our time to do good.  NAH.....I think I'd rather just stay here in my parked car and take a big whiff of "new car" smell. 

Proverbs 3:27
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so."

James 2:26
"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." [you gotta get out there and DO SOMETHING .....possibly for SOMEONE ELSE.....not about YOU].

Go ahead, start the car and start moving forward.  You can not go wrong if your heart and steps are being obedient to God.  Don't over-think it.  Just look to His word and be obedient. The promise will follow if you are letting wisdom, understanding, and knowledge guide your steps:

Proverbs 3:21-26 [YOUR PROMISE]
As I keep sound wisdom and discretion, they will be life to my soul and grace to my neck. I will walk safely in His way and my foot will not stumble. When I lie down, I will not be afraid; yes, I will lie down and my sleep will be sweet.  I will not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from  the wicked when it comes; The Lord will be my confidence, and will keep my foot from being caught."

See ya on the Highway,
The Mrs. Pastor

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Laughing Place

Have you ever walked into a really nice restaurant or a really nice home and something is missing?  You can't put your finger on it, but it just isn't complete.

This is how I've felt lately.  As I evaluate myself during my quiet time, meditating on God's Word, I find something missing.  I pray and seek His face, because I know He already knows the answer, and He is faithful to reveal it to me.....The Laughing Place.  The laughing place is missing. 

The laughing place is that part of your soul,when it hears or sees something funny, you laugh where it just feels so good.  Sometimes even to the point of crying and that REALLY feels good.  This is not man made but orchestrated by God.  He says in His Word:

Proverbs 17:22
" A cheerful heart is good medicine..."

Psalm 126: 2
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy..."

I think we all can agree that life can seem heavy:

controversy of the police and race.....HEAVY
the upcoming election.....HEAVY
the weather on the east coast ......HEAVY
the people we know who are hurting and having problems......HEAVY
Health problems......HEAVY
Financial struggle....HEAVY

For me, I have caught myself trying so hard being "excellent in all things" that I've forgotten the most important piece....laughter.  I've made being excellent.....HEAVY.  Laughter was the quality that drew me to my husband when we started dating (besides his charm and good looks).  He was naturally funny and quick witted.  He is that guy they write Hallmark cards after.  So this got me thinking about things that have made me really laugh.

Like the time my husband was a youth pastor.  He came home for lunch and one of the girls put a sticker on his forehead and he forgot about it.  He then went straight to a meeting with the football coaches.  He sat in that entire meeting, with that sticker on his head, and not one coach said anything.  He got in his truck and saw that sticker still on his head.  Seriously....that's funny!

Or even a very recent happening that "my friend" had at her work.  What makes this so funny is that she would be the first to tell you she was last in line to have the funny gene.  Her toilet at her job doesn't have strong flushing power.  On a regular day, the toilet requires two flushes and still will not flush the economy toilet paper.  This bathroom is only used by a few people, so on this particular day she had too much flax seed and chia seed in her yogurt.  She KNEW it would be more than a two flusher.  But to her horror......after flush #4.......#5.....#6......#7.........#8......#9 (at this point she is praying and sweating thinking about the humiliation because remember she doesn't have the funny gene).....#10.......#11.......#12  "SERIOUSLY", she was thinking! ......#14........#15 and she finally gave up.  She had to own up to her colleagues.  She took a situation and just had to laugh, not ignore the elephant in the room, but just laugh.  (for those of you who are wondering, she came to work the next morning and it was a nice shiny, clean toilet with nothing in it) It was a teaching opportunity to teach my friend to lighten up and just laugh!

God wants you to be hard working and purposeful people but He also wants you to laugh.  Laugh at yourself and any opportunity you can to make someone else laugh. A scripture to stand on for the believer, when you are letting things get too heavy:

Isaiah 35: 10
"they will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing (heavy things) will flee away."

It might take the next morning to flee away....but it will!

Go Ahead and Laugh,
The Mrs. Pastor  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What I Know vs. What I Feel

The one thing that all mankind have in common is relationships and conflict.
1. your relationship with God (or lack of one)
2. your relationship with others (or lack of one)
3. your relationship with yourself (or lack of one)

This really is the center of all that we do.  It determines the success of our environment; our homes, our churches, our work places, our business transactions, our get-togethers, and more. We are a people of strong emotions, opinions, and passions.  The problem is that we allow these "feelings" to rule and dictate our day to day interacting with people.

This is the one area we are allowing satan (the ruler of this world for the time being) to have victory. This can change if we start focusing on the difference of what we KNOW vs. what we FEEL.  Our feelings are not a bad thing.  Remember that we were created in His image.  He made us with a soul (a unique personality) that have real emotions.  His word affirms this in Ecclesiastes 3:4
"a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." 
But these "feelings" cannot have control of our spirit man.  Our "feelings" and our "personality" is what the word refers to as our flesh.  We cannot live by, react, or be controlled by our feelings.  We must stay focused and true to what we KNOW:
Romans 8:8
"Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."

Galatians 5:17
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want."

Galatians 6:8
"Whoever sows to please their flesh, from flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life."

Romans 8:13
"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live"

John 3:6
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit."
My way brings toxins and destruction and God's way brings life and peace. 

HOW? HOW? HOW............IS THIS POSSIBLE? (this is me talking louder) Doesn't the Word even give us a way out on this one and tell us it may not be possible?
Romans 12:18
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Did you catch that? It says, "as far as it depends on you."  So, that tells me you need to be responsible for you and your spirit man and leave the rest up to God.  You have to really empty your flesh everyday before God and fill yourself up with His nature.  You have to daily be intentional to apply His greatest commandments:
1. LOVE GOD (with heart, soul, and mind)

No where in that commandment does it say focus on yourself, but that is the problem.  WE DO.  We become offended, we disagree, we do things differently, we have little understanding of another's point of view or position. 

You have to know that we all have different personalities with strengths and weaknesses.  You cannot change other people.....that is God's job.  And this might be a BIG NEWSFLASH for some of you....all personalities were not created the same.  Let's not overlook that God needs all kinds of personalities to get the jobs done.  He is giving us opportunities to love and serve people of all kinds, in all places, in all ways.

 I have a naturally quiet spirit and I shouldn't try to change to be like anyone else.  Has God challenged and stretched me over the years? Yes!  My husband, on the other hand, just naturally draws people to him.  He makes it all look so easy.....grrrr! With that being said, our job is to just be the greatest influence we can try to be, while remaining in His likeness.   I love what John Maxwell said in his book Be a People Person, "What's the key to relating to others? It's putting yourself in someone else's place instead of putting them in their place."

We make the most elementary teaching in Christianity the most difficult to apply.  When you spend time in God's word (not a devotional....that's just a bonus), in prayer, in worship, and meditation you are taking on the likeness of Him.  Your spirit is giving birth to His spirit.  But when we spend time in front of the T.V, on our phone, on social media, at our kids games, with our hobbies, at the gym, with our friends....and no or little time with God, then you give birth to the flesh.  Everything is dictated by what you feel.

When I look at God's word and how relationships looked for Christ and his disciples, I don't read about conflict.  I see many things that showed that there could have been (authority, positions, disloyalty,) but the bible keeps our focus on the mission at hand.....on what we know.....verses what we feel.

Standing on what I know,
The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What can be shaken....will be

No one can prepare anyone for the rug to be pulled from under you.  When sudden impact happens, when death comes, divorce, disease, broken friendship, adultery, unexpected financial hardship, lies, cultural based decisions that affect your family, the result is that it shakes you!

When you are shaken, the symptoms in your body are operating at a dangerous level.  Your heart is racing, you are shaking, you are crying, you are speechless, you are angry, you are sad, you are numb. 

Most look to God.  Some question God.  Some get made at God. Some get mad at themselves.  Some pull inward and get depressed while others pull upward for strength but no matter how you decide to deal with doesn't change the fact that it happened and now things are different. 

No matter why it happened....God allowed it.  Trust me, this is one that no human being can understand but I can tell you this, even when I don't understand, I still trust God and His love for me. 
When I think about my childhood, and the things that happened to me as a nine year old, I used to get so mad.  I held that inside for so long that it messed me up and I couldn't understand how an innocent child (who had no voice) could become a victim to dirty old men.  But then, I found God and now I know how much He loves me and how that had to hurt him.  I understand that sin happens in this world but God promises in His word that "He will work all things according to His good to those who love Him". (Romans 8:28)

His word talks about being shaken.  It refers to this in two areas: removal of worldly views and thinking and being rooted and grounded in Him.

I would highly encourage you to read Hebrews 12 and 13. It's all so relevant, but for this post I will refer to chapter 12: 26-28
" At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more, I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words, 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is created things- so that what cannot be shaken may remain."

Our circumstances, our tragedy, and even our human body can be altered....BUT OUR FAITH? Our faith is the one thing that should and must remain.  But how is that possible when we just described the physical and emotional levels that your body demonstrates?

It's possible friend when you let the dust settle, take a breath, and look to the Holy Spirit within you for peace.  That peace is already in you if you have accepted Christ, it's just you taking ownership to put it in working order. Is that natural? Well, absolutely not! If it was natural we wouldn't look to Him.  We are a selfish people who naturally look to ourselves first.  We have to train ourselves to die to ourselves and let Him be our Lord.....we are not the Lord of our lives (and if you are, I can probably guess how that's working for you). 

So is this even possible to not be shaken?  Let's answer that with His word:
Psalm 16:8 "I keep my eyes always on the Lord, With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 62:6 " Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 125:1 "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever."

Now let's not forget that being shaken isn't always a bad may feel like a bad thing but the Lord may be doing some serious teaching and life-changing in your soul.  He may wake up those who have been asleep , He may be strengthening your faith where it hasn't been in working order, or He may be allowing you to rely on the Holy Spirit to give peace and comfort where the things and people of this world cannot offer.  Who knows? You may never know OR you may learn through the process of being shaken.  Either way....HE IS LORD. He loves us, has plans and purposes for us, and most importantly wants to spend eternity with those who believe in Him. 

Let's not let this world "shake" us but allow God's word and prayer to be the one thing that moves us:
"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

We will not be people who are devastated by being shaken! We will take a breath, look up for His strength, peace, and guidance.....and move forward. 

The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Object Lesson

We live in a world that has so much goodness but also selfishness.  We serve a God that is so loving that He guides our steps but does not dictate them.

I shouldn't let it frustrate me, but I do, that people want to live with no expectation from God (the one who created them) and yet get mad at Him that he is not "controlling or taking care" of their issue.

In Mark chapter 11, the week before He was to be crucified on a cross for all mankind, He was still thinking of us and not himself.  Let's remember He was still flesh. He was hungry, He was tired, and He carried a huge responsibility to teach the people all that He could before leaving this earth in human form. 

He saw a fig tree that was producing no fruit.... and He cursed it.  He saw that it wasn't doing what it was created to do and went as far to say it was just taking up soil. (Luke 13:6-8)  He also saw the greed, deceit, and injustice of what people were doing to distract people in prayer in his temple. He showed great anger and spoke straight, bold, and even turned some tables.  A side note.... He had already addressed this same issue months before with these people and here we are again.  This anger was toward sin not over a personal insult or petty issue (that's a message in itself).

These two objects were His way to teach the people they were outwardly fruitless (the tree with no fruit).  There life was created with purpose to produce fruit for others.  They were inwardly corrupt (the temple that had merchants taking advantage of people and distracting the people that came to pray).   They were allowing things inside that brought greed, deceit, and darkness.

The final object lesson was about prayer and faith.  He used objects that seem "impossible" to man's eyes.  The idea of bringing a dead tree back to life and moving a mountain.(Mark 11: 20-25)

The lesson in all three of these is that GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS for our lives. He wasn't saying, "Hey, live like you want, be your own God, and then come to me and get whatever you want".  I mean, even the biggest idiot on the planet could see that would be destructive. Would we parent that way? NO!
" Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11: 22-24

But lets be educated here.  God has expectations.
1. You need to believe in Him
2. Your heart needs to be aligned with his (not praying with selfish motives)
 3. your request should be for the good of the Kingdom.

These are very difficult for the seasoned believer let alone for someone new in Christ.  Let me use this simple example that you might understand:

If you were struggling with your weight.....and at some point in your life you lost a lot of weight and you became a different person.  You were consumed with YOU.  Everything revolved around YOUR workout, what YOU were going to eat, and all your thoughts were on food, exercise, and YOU.  Is that for the good of the Kingdom?  Is that aligned with His heart?  BUT if you cry out to the Lord and ask for his help, guidance, and self-discipline to be healthier so that you might have more energy to do things for His purpose......Now we are aligned with His heart and for the good of His Kingdom.

Let's be good students and learn from these object lessons!

For the good of the Kingdom,
The Mrs. Pastor  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trapped vs. Trust

"The fear of man brings a snare (trap), But whoever trusts in the Lord will be safe." Proverbs 29:25

Two things I want to point out:
1. I'm not sure we can honestly admit when we are "fearful" of something
2. We "trust" the Lord when the present circumstance or outcome is to our satisfaction

I write these words with deep conviction, ashamed to admit that my spiritual mindset has been the likeness of those words. Am I there at the moment? no, but have I mastered it either? no.  Am I at a stronger place than I was five years ago? very much so. 

Today I want you to see this verse in a way that you've never thought about before.  That the fear our enemy plants inside of us (whether great or small) is a TRAP and a trap is crippling.  The Lord doesn't want one single area of your spirit man to be crippled.  Let me remind you that YOU are created in the likeness of Him.  God has nothing but goodness for you.  The problem is that the enemy lies to your mind.  He manipulates our mind that if we aren't worrying about the circumstance.....we must not care.  Lies....Lies....Lies!

What are some fears that could trap us?
1. our children's present or future spiritual state
2. the choices of our children
3. our finances
4. our relationships
4. what people say about us
5. the people that don't like us
6. your marriage
7. the "what if's".....
8. the lack of a job
9. the misery of a job
10. your health
11. your imperfections
12. being put in challenging or uncomfortable situations
13. being alone
14. disappointing others

We've all seen or done a trust fall.  Not an easy task at all!  But the first step is admitting that your spirit man really isn't trusting God.....OUCH!  We just don't want to say that out loud.  That makes us feel like "less" of a Christian.  No my friend!  That is the first step in kicking your enemy in the face.  Trust is a word, like the trust fall.....easy to watch someone else do it but difficult to complete the task yourself. 

How do we train ourselves to really Trust the Lord?  It may sound simple....but isn't that how God works?  Salvation, though not simple for Him, made it simple for us. Just believe.  That's it? Believe?  But I'm looking at a situation....I'm feeling the pain....I'm hurting badly....and you expect me to trust?   Yes!  As you really draw closer to God, convinced of who He is and what He can and will do, you begin to have incredible peace.  I love the verses that follow in the next chapter

Proverbs 30:4,5
"Who has ascended into heaven or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and His sons name, if you know? Every word of God is pure, He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him."

If I was preaching right now, I would drop the mike.....LOL!  

How do you do it? draw close to Him. everyday read who He is, what He has done.  Write down daily what He has done for you and when you are hurting I want you to think of this example;

when Lauren was a baby she would pull her arms out of socket.  she would not be able to move her arms at all (hard to watch when she was an infant and couldn't speak but even more when she could speak and would cry out to me for help)  Each time we would have to take her to the doctor to get it put back in place (staying away from the emergency room because they could never get it right). This happened for six years. Was it painful? VERY. Did she cry her brains out? YES! Did she look to me for help? yes. Could I fix it? no.  Lauren had to just look into my eyes and trust the love I had for her and that even though painful, she would be ok!

Don't let the enemy trap you.  Read His word every day and become more convinced of who He is and His love for you.

Falling in His arms,
The Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Environment

Two important and rather fragile gifts that God has given us is the ability to feel and control ( both physically and emotionally).  It really is a massive responsibility but we get to decide how we will handle that role.

You are either functioning as a thermostat or a thermometer.  A thermostat sets the tone of the environment where as a thermometer is reflecting what state the environment is in. 

Problems are real. Conflicts are real. Change is real. Offended spirits are real. Challenges are real.  Life is happening at this very moment and all of these elements are a part of the puzzle.  However,  we decide how that looks for us and the people around us. 

This is not a new concept (really nothing is).  If we will look back at the beginning of time, we will see these same challenges.  We serve a God that is that thoughtful to allow us to learn so many life lessons from those recorded in His word:

When Moses went up to receive and hear from the Lord in creating the Ten commandments, the environment below became toxic.  It represented that of a thermometer gauging the spiritual level and hearts of the people.  Can we find one that changed that tone in the environment? No.

At another time, we see that Moses sent 12 men to do a job.  They were to go to the promised land and report the conditions of the land.  Ten men came back with a report that showed no promise ( and added a little extra opinions) while two of the men saw something very differently.  The Thermostat trumped the thermometer in this case.

God has given us the tools and knowledge to set the tone in an environment.  He recognizes the environmental state is to our daily routine as oxygen is to our body.  We can not separate ourselves from home, at work, at church, in relationships.  Wherever you are, environment is right there with you. 

Three signals that will be the deciding factor in the role you play in your environment:

1. Refreshed or Tired ? (both physically and spiritually)
2. Nourished or Hungry ? (both physically and spiritually)
3. Strength/Stamina or weak/limited ? (both physically and spiritually)

Set the tone,
The Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What is Missing?

When a meal is prepared, one of the important ingredients is salt (or seasoning).  We know what it tastes like without flavor....really taking away the "enjoyment" and pleasure of eating.  I know that we were created to enjoy food because our tongue is separated into sections of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.  God is creative like that. 

We also understand what it feels like to walk into a room with no light.  The room feels cold and dead but add light to a room (even a small dim light) and it changes the atmosphere. 

Matthew 5:6 says,
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can not be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven."

The world is lost and hurting and God has given the believers an awesome privilege and responsibility to spread the Gospel.  Everyone has the right to hear and accept Jesus and live with Him for eternity.  BUT ALSO to live this short time on earth with abundance, joy, laughter, and fulfillment. 

The problem is that we can not give away what we do not have.  So many Christians are walking in their day to day duties with no joy, no fulfillment, no light, and no salt. 

One of my heroes said it best:
"Where a real Christian goes, he brings joy."  - Mother Teressa

We are good people, that do good things.  We work hard, we have good days and bad days.  We experience seasons in our lives.  All of which describe believers AND non believers alike. We have the knowledge that happiness is based on circumstance and Joy is based on what we know to be true but sometimes we need reminding to let that understanding be evident in our own lives.   

Are you contagious?  Do you bring flavor to a conversation?  Are you living to the full potential that God created for you or are you "no longer good for anything and being trampled by men"? This means are you worthless to what you are supposed to be doing, which is connecting and affecting the world around you. 

 Do you light up a room, whether energetically as a bright light or a sweet dim light that brings peace, or do you cover it up with a bowl making little connection with anyone?  We hide our lights in many ways: by being quiet when we should speak, by living, acting, and reacting just like the world, by letting sin snuff out the brightness, and not serving others or sharing yourself. 

If not you, who will tell them?

Salt and Light,
The Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pure Stamina

Anything in life that we put our hands and heart to do requires stamina.  Stamina is something you must work up to BUT an emphasis on the word "work". 

You start off small and the small becomes doable.  Then you push yourself past doable and take on a new level. That level then becomes comfortable until you realize you are ready for much more.  You have built stamina! 

Without stamina we tire out way too soon, we have the focus of a five year old, and our spiritual capacity can accomplish only at the level we are at. 

All good things worth having require physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional energy.....and I'm afraid many just don't want to put the effort out to do so.  Some are operating at the same level they have for months or years and getting the same results.  We find it easier to blame it on our circumstances or the people we are surrounded with than to have courage to make some BOLD moves to another level (ourselves).

Joyce Meyer says, " new levels mean new devils" and I agree.   This new level would require strength and stamina but the good news is YOU COULD GO THERE IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO!  God (and you) know the level you are at and He doesn't expect anything more....until you've built stamina and are ready for the next level.  It's really not that hard but we make it hard because we want to start off as a spiritual superman and if we can't then there is no point in making any effort. Your prayer life should look different today than it did 6 months ago.  Your parenting and marriage should be at a stronger level than it was 3 months ago.  Your conversations  should sound way different today than they did a year ago.....are you getting this?

I want to be like that of the African Dog.  This animal goes after its prey by sheer stamina.  It can run and run until its prey just tires out AND THAT'S HOW he goes for the kill.....Pure Stamina!

The same could be said of you.  You could pray and study and love and encourage and forgive and build up and pray and study and love and encourage and forgive and build up until the enemy just tires out and you get the victory!!!!! The victory is already yours but you have to take's not just going to fall in your lap.

Proverbs 21:22 says,
"A wise man scales the city of the mighty and BRINGS DOWN the trusted stronghold."

It's in you....start today!

Building Stamina,
The Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Up, Up, and AWAY......

You have got to know that you were created with purpose, for purpose, and with abundance in mind.

Why does it not always feel that way?  First, you don't live by your feelings....yes,  those feelings were given to us by God but not meant to be our foundation.  Secondly, There are things that are in our control and things out of our control. 

" The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:10

The enemy has his mission: kill people physically, spiritually, emotionally.  Steal every God appointed opportunity, and destroy all relationships, dreams, goals, and efforts to further God's kingdom. 
The Lord has his mission: that people would have a relationship with him and live abundantly here on earth and in eternity in heaven.
We should have a mission: to have the mind of Christ and do His will. 

How can we make that happen?

1. Be like Him.  As life happens....focus on responding to life through His eyes.  Focus on your spirit man and what it can control.  There are plenty of things that are in your control: how you respond, how you interact, how you pray, how you prepare, how you work, how you give, how you serve, how you love, how you forgive, how you inspire,  how you get up after a fall.......

2. Get rid of sin and your human (flesh) nature.  The bible says to "strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up, and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us" (Heb. 12:1). 
Did you catch that?  It's slowing you down!  God wants you to move Up, Up, and AWAY for HIM. He wants you to live in abundance!   He's given you the tools, the resources, the people, the places....IT'S YOU MY FRIEND that needs to do your part!

I declare that I was created in His image.  I was created for purpose to do powerful things for Christ.  The gifts and talents He has given me, I will use with the greatest responsibility.  I will not take for granted the people, the resources, the opportunities, the day to day activities that He has put before me.  I will be a thankful, grateful, encouraging person.  I will surround my self with good and have courage and discernment to know when to walk away from unhealthy situations.  I will know my mission and live that mission!

Up, Up, and Away,
The Mrs. Pastor

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Better Version of You

I would think most people can relate to technology getting an updated version.  Some people like it....having the latest and greatest...... and some people get frustrated because they just got comfortable with the last version and NOW they have to adjust to something new.  UUGGGHHH! 

We serve a God that is constantly pushing His children to an uncomfortable place,  a better version if you will, only to rely on HIM.  He knows what's best;  the best plan, the best path, the best strategy, the best timing, the best words to use, the best place to be, the best opportunity, the best scripture we need to guide us.  His word does say that "His ways are higher than our ways" (Isaiah 55:9)

  • He pushed Joshua to be the lead man when he was ok and comfortable being under one of the greatest leaders in history and couldn't imagine filling those shoes (or sandals ;)
  • He challenged Esther's courage and boldness in an environment that was rigid and hostile. 
  •  He convicted (not condemned) Peter to recognize his fears and disobedience and equipped him with the Holy Spirit to get the job done.....NO EXCUSES.
  •  He spoke to a women with a colorful past to think differently and see that there is a better way.
  •  He patiently spoke to new followers of Christ and taught them a different way of thinking....a better way.  It was challenging not to live by the law when that's all they've ever known. 
  • He asked some to leave everything and go far away to teach people.
  • He told some to stay but to teach the people to put themselves unpopular message still today.


This eliminates excuses of what you are comfortable with, what your personality is, what your strengths are, what feels good and what is a struggle.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  If He doesn't like what He sees, He has every right to change it.  If He wants to add or take away, He can do this. 
And Yet, the beautiful and challenging thing is, that most of the time He gives free will.  Of coarse, He ultimately has the final say if He chooses, but He lovingly speaks and hopes for His children to do it themselves.  Similar to us as parents, we have the ultimate say, but how much more beautiful and fulfilling when we see  our children grab ahold themselves and take ownership?

This upgrade can only happen with daily intimacy in the Word of God.  Not reading a devotion, a scripture, or even a spiritual blog post....BUT digging in the word of God and letting it speak to you, taking notes, praying those words, and actually applying that to your daily activity!

Hebrews 4:12
"For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit (this means your personality versus your spiritual man) and of joints and marrow, and is a discernment of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

 *did you catch the words that conflict our flesh man (soul...aka personality) versus our spirit man.  We can not make any more excuses regarding people's "personality".  God loves His children.  He created them in HIS image with all types of personalities.  It takes all kinds to make the world go round.  The problem is that people don't want to grow and change more into HIS likeness.  They want to claim and grab ahold of "their personality" and not move. 

If God wanted people to just stay in one state their entire life He wouldn't have given us creation, in front of our very eyes, to see the seasons change and plant life growing and dying and flourishing and struggling.  He has given mankind the knowledge how to make things healthier, better, safer, and even more productive. 

Don't over-think this.....just take on His likeness and He will use you where He sees fit!

In His Word,
The Mrs. Pastor

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Experience

Q:  What does an experience do for you?

For me, I can think of several things.  It can inspire you, it can move you to strong emotion, it can be a deep memory that stays with you for a life time.  All those things are good....but this experience did more than that....MUCH MORE!

So much more than me "telling you stories or showing you pictures".  This experience will only be able to be understood over time.....hopefully by watching my life. 

Are we doing incredible things here in the USA? here in Coweta? Absolutely!  Are there things that need to change? Absolutely! 

After returning from our missions trip to El Salvador, I can only sum up my feelings with one word....DESPERATION.  We are not desperate enough. 

Q: What do you mean "desperate enough"?

I mean desperate in prayer, in being a servant, in putting others first, in being focused on a task that is ultimately about reaching, teaching, and training others in the word.  We have skipped over that verse in the bible that says " do everything without complaining or arguing" and we have actually mastered that skill. 

I could not be more proud of our team that ministered through construction, medical, and evangelism.  The way they worked their tails off from 7:30 in the morning until late in the evening. No complaining, no dragging their feet, no easily offended.....just focused in spirit on the task at hand.  Loving each other, building relationships, getting to know each other's stories were the perfect model of how it should happen here at home. 

My prayer is that those 44 people will come home and make this their El Salvador.  They will be so contagious....again, not by their stories (even though there are some powerful ones) but by their life.  May our life be CONTAGIOUS!  It won't be easy.  The American culture is spoiled and all about self (sorry to be such a downer.....just being real).  We will have to fight off being dipped in self and dried off with what feels good.  We drink what is only satisfying and eat what we can digest easily. 

The only way to make this our El Salvador is by bathing our self in the Word of God scrubbing off the influence of the world and drying ourselves off in prayer.  Not a casual....when it's convenient for us....and our short attention, but intentional and focused prayer. 

We make the Christian walk way more difficult than it needs to be.
1. ask Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sins (believe & confess)
2. read and study His word (grow)
3. pray
4. serve

If those things are are representing Christ.  You are growing, loving, and reaching others.  That's not an EXPERIENCE.....that's TRANSFORMATION my friend! 

More than an experience,
The Mrs. Pastor