Author: Barb Smith

Mirror glasses at a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary Credit: Elekes Andor/Wikipedia

Judgements: A mirror into your heart

What your think about others reveals a lot about yourself.  Catching yourself in judgement is a first step to bringing wholeness into your life. There is a message behind our complaints, judgements and frustrations with others. Judgement is almost always a projection. Often it’s not about them, it’s all about you. We end up projecting our brokenness or an unhealed part of our lives upon someone else. Catching yourself judging others is the first step to healing your emotional wounds. Notice every time you react to what someone has said or done because this is really a message to you, about you. On the surface scenarios that bother you seem to have nothing to do with you.  But if you are having a reaction to what someone has said or done, know this, it’s about you! This is tough stuff! Our personal criticisms and frustrations about others many times mirror exactly how we secretly feel about ourselves. But it is so much easier to point the finger at someone else and not own up to the fact …

Credit: Arjan Olsder/Flickr/Creative Commons

Letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others

For three days I battled with the expectations I had put on a particular person in our church. I would relinquish the expectation and then take it back. I fought with this expectation for three days and equally long nights. I was practically foaming at the mouth. By the end I was frazzled and worn out. My expectations were a weight on my mind and I was unable to release them.  A heaviness fell on me making it almost impossible to relinquish them. It was a tug-a-war of letting go and then pulling back, over and over in my mind. I had to put an end to this struggle and the hopes, fears and expectations that had become tangled up in my mind. I had become a prisoner of the expectations I had put on someone else. Selena C. Snow, a Clinical psychologist in Rockvileed, MD, says expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure. She adds that “unrealistic expectations assume a level of control, that we don’t actually have …

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Are you a people-pleaser?

Giving and pleasing look exactly the same on the outside but they both come from a different place or motivation of the heart. They even feel different because giving comes from a positive space and people-pleasing comes from a negative one. Stacey Martino, a relationship expert, refers to people-pleasing as ‘the kiss of death’ because we are giving from a place of insecurity (our need for approval and to be valued).  We are doing it for the wrong reasons and this creates resentment. People-pleasing drains you emotionally because you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. You just did it to please someone. And if we experience rejection it magnifies our resentment. An internal explosion is not to far away. Giving comes from a positive place of optimism hopefulness, passion, gratitude, joy and desire to bless. People-pleasing comes from a place of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy, disappointment, blame or boredom. Ultimately, people-pleasing stems from our need to be loved and valued. It is rooted in insecurity.  We don’t know our true worth …

Eye of the hurricane Isabel as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Living in the eye of the storm

In the midst of a raging hurricane that can have winds upwards of 250 kms an hour (Category 5) it has an eye that is typically between 30 km to 50 km wide. It is a place of calm. There are often no clouds allowing you to see the sun and blues skies. The wind is light. A person would never know there is a brutal storm raging beyond the horizon. This is the ‘eye of the storm.’ The world is in utter chaos today and as Christians we must live in the eye of the hurricane. So how do we do this? In Matthew, Jesus talks about having a single eye and this is the key to living in the ‘eye of the storm:’ “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22) In this verse Jesus says if we have a single eye, our whole body will be full of light. It can have blue skies in the …

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cada paso que doy

English version: Crédito: Michael Mazzamuto / Flickr / Creative Commons 31 Entonces, ¿qué diremos a esto? Si Dios está por nosotros, ¿quién estará contra nosotros? (Romanos 8:31 NBLH) Es tan importante recordarme a mí mismo que Dios está siempre de mi lado y conmigo en todo lo que hago en todo lo que enfrento. Dios lleva el peso más grande y la autoridad en todo lo referente a mi vida. Cuando la balanza de mi vida se desiguala, sé que Dios esta justo a mi lado. Cuento con su presencia y su autoridad para inclinar la balanza a mi favor y resolver todo por mi bien. El rey David entendió esto y toda su vida lavivió por la creencia de lo que Dios era para él. El Señor está a mi favor; no temeré. ¿Qué puede hacerme el hombre? (Salmo 118: 6 NBLH) Estoy aprendiendo a armarme de la misma manera que Josué lo hizo. Consciente de la presencia y la autoridad de Dios que llevaba en cada paso que daba en la tierra que Dios …

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Are You living in the present?

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34) It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered. With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that. Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.” Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today. I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish. But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind. When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to …

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El río de la vida

English version: River of Life Recuerdo que hace cinco años, elegi de una vez por todas perdonar a los que me había herido a lo largo de los años. Se trataba de personas con las que regularmente comparti en la iglesia y de perronas en el trabajo. Me deshice quemando mis heridas como un montón de basura. Cuando miré hacia atrás ya no quedaba nada más que humo. Cada vez, que recordaba estos incidentes tenia la tentación de mirar hacia atrás, sólo veia la tierra ennegrecida. No había nada que recordar. En mis últimos años, he aprendido que la ofensa me lanza por completo fuera de curso y lejos del propósito y los planes que Dios tiene para mi vida. La falta de perdón, la ira y el resentimiento, crean una corriente en mi vida que me tira hacia atrás y esta corriente va en contra del movimiento del Espíritu Santo. Este era un peso extra en mi barco mientras navegaba por el río de la vida. No estaba ganando terreno espiritual y mi barco …

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La Roca Eterna

English version: Rock of Ages Estas últimas dos semanas, mi esposo y yo pasamos tiempo con mi suegro que estaba a punto de morir de cáncer en cuidados intensivor. Junto con otros miembros de la familia, nos turnamos para pasar la noche con él. No queríamos que estuviera solo. Durante años había sido la roca de nuesta familia y ahora el nos necesitaba. Cuando fue mi turno de cuidaple, oraba por él durante la noche, y cuando me despertaba, no dejaba de hacerlo. Durante el día, a menudo me inclinaba sobre él mientras yacía en la cama del hospital y le decia que estaba a salvo bajo la protección de Cristo. Sur Roca y el agua viva para su vida eterna. Muchas veces, ponia mi mano firmemente sobre sus hombros, y le apretaba y el parpadeaba, y yo le decia: “Jesús tiene un poder sobre ti y no lo dejes ir. El es tu Roca y el ancla de tu alma. Él te está llevando a la eternidad con Él. Él te tiene!” Sentí que …

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Rock of Ages

These past two weeks, my husband and I spent time with his dad who was in a hospice dying of cancer. Along with other family members, we took turns spending the night with him. We didn’t want him to be alone. For years he had been the rock of his  family and now he needed us. When it was my turn, I prayed for him during the night when I got up to check on him. During the day, I often bent over him as he lay in his hospital bed and told him that he was safe under the shelter of Christ the rock and that living water was springing up in him to eternal life. Many times, I would put my hand firmly on his shoulders, squeeze them and say to him, do you you feel the grip I have on your shoulders?  Then he would nod or blink and I would tell him: “Jesus has a hold on you and He’s not letting go. He is  your rock and the  anchor of …

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How strong is God’s love for you?

What picture would help us grasp the magnitude of this love? There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that describes the love between the bride and bridegroom — a picture of the love relationship between Jesus and His Church, the people of God. “Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame (the very flame of the Lord)! (Song of Solomon 8:6) It provides several metaphors revealing God’s unquenchable love for us: the seal, death, fire and jealousy. The Seal In Biblical times, the seal was a stamp of ownership and authenticity put on an object. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is asking her lover to put this stamp of ownership on her heart so she can be completely and only his. Brown’s Bible Commentary describes it this way: “She was ‘leaning’ on Him, that is, her …

Guatemala City Credit: Carlos Reis/Flickr/Creative Commons

The elevator ride

We were on an elevator at the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala City heading up to the fifth floor to pick up the visa that would allow us to bring our adopted son home to Canada. We were passing the fourth floor when the elevator lurched and began to jerk downward. Our one year old son, who was in my arms, began to cry. Then it stopped. We were stranded halfway between the 3rd and 4th floor. The frantic pressing of buttons did not produce any movement. Our lawyer, a Christian woman, began to confidently and loudly pray in tongues.  We waited holding our breath. After what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes, the elevator began to inch upwards to the fourth floor. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then there was another lurch. The elevator stopped and we began rapidly descending down. We watched the numbers flickering by as we passed the main floor to the basement. It seemed we were descending much faster than we should be. Just before we hit …

A prayer walk

A month ago a few ladies from our Church gathered at Government House Gardens here in Regina, Saskatchewan for a prayer walk. We usually gather once a month at a park, historical site or Government building to pray for our city, country and nation. This year we decided to produce a video about our walk to show you what we do. It is our first video and it is not perfect. It is dark in spots and at other points our videoing could be better, but we hope to improve as we create more videos for our YouTube channel — Bashful & Bold. It was a bright, sunny day. The flowers and bushes were just beginning to bloom. We started to walk when we noticed a fragrance in the air and were drawn to the Cherry Blossom trees with their full pink blooms at the end of the lane. We were reminded of the verse in  2 Corinthians about the aroma of Christ and prayed into this verse that the fragrance of Christ in us …

The Peruvian desert, one of the driest places in the world. Credit: Mariano Mantel/Flickr/Creative Commons

A rose in the desert

We were in shock. We had just been pulled off a bus by two armed soldiers.  I thought it was the last time I would see my husband. Terrified, we stood as they searched our passports and found what they were looking for.  A small piece of paper stuck in our passports stamped with our entry date to Peru. We had no idea how important that inch-sized paper was. It was all that stood between us returning to the bus or jail. The soldiers motioned for us to return to the bus and we sat in unbelief about what had just happened. The terrain around us was all desert. Tall, barren mountains hung over us as we traveled on to our destination. Two hours later we entered a valley. Suddenly there was vegetation as the landscape turned green. This valley had been irrigated and the small town in its midst survived because of it. The desert in Southern Peru is one of the driest places in the world. We learned later it hadn’t rained there …

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My open heart

Some days, I have to work hard to keep my heart open to people around me. I am reminded of a butterfly opening itself up as it pushes its beautiful wings back and exposing its fragile center and the warmth of its colorful wings. Somedays, I am the butterfly, pushing  back my comparisons, criticisms and expectations of those around me to keep my heart open despite how vulnerable I feel.  These decisions propel me forward and enable me to embrace those around me with more kindness and tolerance. I am learning not to take things so personally. It seems the more sure and secure I become of my identity and value in Christ, the less I need to judge or define others as arrogant, insensitive or rude. I am at peace with myself. I am good with me. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18) It is my own insecurities, fears and sometimes victim mentality that creates …

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The river of life

I remember five years ago, when I deliberately chose once and for all to forgive those who had wounded me over the years. It involved people I regularly interacted with at church and work. In my mind’s eye, I dumped it all on a garbage heap and burned it. When I looked back there was nothing left but smoke. Every time, I was reminded of the incident and was tempted to look back, I only saw blackened earth. There was nothing left to remember or react to. On my journey to wholeness over the past few years, I have learned that offense throws me completely off course and away from the purpose and plans God has for my life. Unforgiveness, and its children anger and resentment, created a current in my life that pulled me backwards and worked against the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was an extra weight in my boat as I navigated up the river of life.  I was not gaining ground spiritually and my boat was sinking. Unforgiveness attracted the …

What is your story? Credit: rafaelsoares/Flickr/Creative Commons

Changing your story

We all have a story to tell and often people read our story before we actually get to tell it. I have learned that we often give people evidence about ourselves by our words and actions. My insecurities have spoken for themselves and my perception of myself and life has shone through. Literally, I have handed over my story to others by the way I talk about myself, present myself and perceive life. In a matter of moments, people will take what I present and form an opinion of me. We are an open book to this world. So the question is what story am I telling? Is it one of hardship, struggle and pain, a perpetual victim-hood that never ends or is it one of a victor — a person who is overcoming each and everyday? And if it isn’t the latter, do I want to change my story? Our struggles, our pain, our disharmony with life, circumstances and people are opportunities for growth. They provide the platform to dive into the depths of …

How is your oil supply? Credit: Ranil Amarasurilya/Flickr/Creative Commons

Do you have enough oil?

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1-2) Women are like oil lamps, when the oil runs dry, you can’t get fire. For years I resigned myself to ‘life by default’ where I went through the motions of dealing with whatever life handed me that day. There was never enough time to just rest, relax or enjoy a good book. Over the years, people-pleasing burned a lot of oil from my personal lamp. And, although it looked nice on the outside, I learned that it really was a way to avoid dealing with unresolved issues in my life. I ignored my emotions and what was going on inside and tried to make myself feel better by giving my attention and energy to things …

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Reigning it in

Smoke billowed upstairs and I ran down to see what was going on.  Something was left to slowly cook on a stove burner and no one was paying attention to the build up of smoke until it filled our nostrils and we couldn’t see through the haze. When I am angry my emotions build up in the same way until I am filled with its fumes and can’t see what is really happening. I want to blame someone, anyone except myself. At these moments, there is so much unleashed power at my fingertips and what happens next is up to me. I find it challenging to bring my anger to an immediate full stop. It’s like reigning in a team of runaway horses and slowly bringing them under control. You can’t bring them to an immediate full stop. It takes time and I am learning to slowly lead my anger away from a destructive end where a loved takes the brunt of my pent-up frustration. The Apostle Paul talks about taking our thoughts captive and …

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The soil of my heart

It’s that time of year when I want to get outside and start cleaning up our yard, pull my pots out of the shed and get ready for gardening. But, I can’t just yet because it snowed last night — six inches of snow at the end of April. It was disheartening! There have been frustrating times and seasons when I have not understood the reasons for delays and waiting for the fulfillment of my hopes and dreams. But God is not in a hurry and doesn’t mind if I have to wait because He understands the process. The Bible talks about these seasons of life: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) He has ordained seasons in the physical realm and similarly in the spiritual. Fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives is a process, just like the development of a …

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He makes my feet secure like hind’s feet

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet (able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble; He sets me securely upon my high places.” (Psalm 18:33 AMP) Events beyond my control left me numb from the inside out and feeling like I was the worst person on earth. I took it all so personally. I shouldn’t have but I did. This traumatic event was a trigger revealing that the perception I had of myself (my identity and self-worth) was pretty much reliant on the approval and opinions of my peers. The fear of man ruled my life. All kinds of unresolved issues surfaced during this  time.  It was all out on the table and not a pretty sight. I was desperate to be free of these insecurities and their wounding effect on me emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was open and surrendered myself to the process of inner emotional healing. Over these past years, wise counsel, God’s word and sound principles brought me to a place of confidence and …

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Fill my cup

‘’Chronically depleted’ is a term I have been running across lately describing the way women are functioning these days. It was a wake up call for me. I use a sleep machine at night.  I was not getting enough oxygen while sleeping and as a result I woke up many times during the night and  wasn’t even aware of it.  I would wake up in the morning fatigued.  It’s called ‘Sleep Apnea.’ My husband and I were traveling recently and I got out of the habit of using my machine. When we returned home, I continued the practice of not using it, even though it was within my reach on the dresser right beside my bed.  I just had to apply the mask to my face, place the strap around my head and press the button. Instead, I ignored it and even though it seemed that I was sleeping, I really wasn’t. The last few weeks without the machine slowly brought me to a place of fatigue and exhaustion. I was barely functioning. It was …

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The dance of the butterfly

As much as I struggled and fought with winter this year, I have learned that it is just as important as all the other seasons. To be honest, I felt trapped this winter. It’s been hard and I found the days long and the shortage of sun emotionally draining. One day my mood was up (the sun was out) and the next day it would be down (cloudy skies). I missed my flowers and the sunshine. Through this I was reminded of the butterfly and its various stage of cocooning. Some refer to the butterfly’s incubation time as a “holding space” where it completes its remarkable transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The Bible talks about a similar “holding space” for Christians: “Cease striving and know that I am God. ” (Psalm 46:10) I can picture the caterpillar becoming frustrated by the lack of light as the layers slowly envelope its tiny form.  But, it needs to surrender to the cocooning and its time of incubation. I am beginning to understand that this cocooning …

Storm clouds over Corsica, France Credit: hippolyte/Flickr/Creative Commons

For such a time as this

Recently, world events overwhelmed me. I became weak,  unbelieving and fearful. It seemed that I lost hope and my  desire to move forward and attempt things for God. What can God accomplish and do in times such as these. Can I be used to bring healing and change to this world? During these tumultuous days, I am reminded of a request Mordecai made of Queen Esther concerning the fate of their nation in captivity in Persia: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your Father’s house will perish” (Esther 4:14a) We must not remain silent. Esther chose to use her voice and to speak into a dangerous situation facing her nation. God has a plan and during times of duress we need to listen to His voice. Mordecai continued to exhort Esther: “And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b) We are needed. Esther did not want to rock the …

Coniston, England Credit: Rich Bambford/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘new’ normal

The stun gun effect that I have been feeling these past few months had a lot  to do with the lack of sunshine this winter and not being able to get outside as much.  I miss my flowers and sun! Feeling uncomfortable in my body, sluggish and unmotivated forced me to stretch myself outside my comfort zone physically. I signed up for a couple of exercise classes and started walking in the malls with my husband because walking outside in the cold, snow and ice wasn’t an option. Movement became key and the more I stretched and moved my body beyond its limitations the better I felt. It has also felt like an incubation time where thoughts and feelings, unpleasant and pleasant, have rolled around inside me allowing the real root of the emotions and thoughts to surface. Even Jesus learned through times of struggle. “Although He was a Son, He learned (active, special) obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) I exercised my mind and dove deep into my thoughts and emotions. They were …

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Every step I take

“What then shall we say to this?  If God is for us, who (can be) against us? Who can be our foe if God is on our side? (Romans 8:31) It is so important to remind myself that God is always on my side and with me in everything I do. Whatever I face, God is for me and carries the heavier weight and authority in everything concerning my life. When the teeter totter of life bounces me around, I know God is right beside me. He has the presence and authority to tip the scales in my favour and work everything out for my good. King David understood this and his whole life was governed by a belief God was for him. “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6) I am learning to arm myself with the same attitude as Joshua who was aware of the presence and authority of God that he carried in every step he took into the land God …

Songs of deliverance

“The Lord God is my strength – he will make my feet like those of a deer, equipping me to tread on my mountain heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19) Beautiful worship songs have brought God’s voice and presence to me these past few days. The Holy Spirit has entered into these songs and lifted my spirit and carried me to places of deep comfort and peace. I don’t understand why I had a need for assurance this past while, but my restlessness in the night has reflected inner stirrings. Through the lilting and uplifting notes of these songs God spoke, “I love you, you are mine, everything is as it should be, you are enough, you are more than enough” For the past three days, I have woken  in the middle of the night and played these songs over and over.  I have danced in our living room, worshiped and prayed. One night as I danced, I picked up my worship flags and as the flute played, I skipped, danced and floated over mountains, valleys and streams. …

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My Courageous Heart

This year, 2017, I choose to embrace my courageous heart. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1;9 NIV) I must admit, though, many times, ‘my courageous heart’ just wants to run and hide. Often, when I start doubting myself and my abilities, I reach for my little book of affirmations — my brightly, colored Peacock book — where I have written statements and declarations that I want to make my own. At times, when I find myself battling self-doubt, I have woken up in the middle of the night, sat down on the couch  and opened this little book of truth to reaffirm God’s love,  intentions and perceptions of me. Every time I do this, I come out on the other side with a clarity and deep knowing that God is with me and has not changed His mind on anything concerning my life. My favourite affirmation at the moment is: …

What voices are you hearing? Credit: Robert Gourley/Flickr/Creative Commons

Whose voice are you listening to?

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT) These wonderful words speak of God’s very personal and deep love for each one of us. As I read them, I realize how often I have not translated these verses and made them personal in my everyday experience. There are times I find myself stepping on the slippery slope of chastisement when I make a simple mistake such as drop an egg on the floor or spill water all over the counter. Statements like I am never going to get it right. I’m so stupid. What’s wrong with me? Such remarks are way over the top for such minor things. Most importantly, this is not how our heavenly Father speaks to us. He would not chastise us for such simple, common errors. But, we do! Hammering ourselves with harsh words breaks the heart …

Every morning you must decide how you will walk your road that day. Credit: Julie Falk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Out of sorts?

My husband had just taken three days off work so we could paint our family room.  We accomplished a lot the first two days and by the third day had the job done. So I thought, now let’s go out for coffee and do a little Christmas shopping. I knew that in the long-term we would  both be better off by letting him have some time to himself.  So, I caught myself before I put on a little performance and a few sighs, to let him know  I  really wanted him to go out with me. I released him from the expectation of joining me that afternoon.  I knew he needed a break. Lately, I have been  purposely releasing myself, family  and friends from  unnecessary and sometimes unrealistic expectations.  It has, in the long run, created better communication and released tension in my relationships. But, recently,  I started feeling out of sorts.   I was  angry most of the time.  It didn’t seem to matter what anyone said or did, it still elicited an angry response …

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Intercessors: Engaging the enemy

I consider myself an intercessor and it has taken the full length and breadth of 30 years to understand what intercession is and who I am in this gifting and calling. Intercessors, in their various roles, stand in the gap for people in prayer and worship to enhance God’s presence, draw people in and bring them into a more intimate experience and connection with God. Not everyone is called to intercede in this way.  There are many roles that intercessors play and one person does not do it all. I am a dancer and along with other women, I dance in church during worship with ribbons, scarves and flags. As intercessors we need to be sensitive to shifts in the spiritual realm.  We often find ourselves pressing into these shifts to enhance the worship and/or step into warfare to exercise authority over the enemy and his strongholds. There are moments in worship on Sunday mornings when I grab a flag and begin to intercede with the flag during the height of worship. At other times, …

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Has your church offended you?

As I look back over the past 30 years of our Church life, I realize how much happier my husband and I could have been, if we had only known then what we know now. But like many, we learned the hard way. One of the keys is learning not to be offended by your church. So, how does one protect and guard themselves from getting hurt in church? Reflecting on our spiritual journey this one truth comes back to me over and over again.  Avoid developing unreasonable expectations of the church and its leaders. I am reminded of a time years ago when my husband struggled with personal identity issues in his life.  So much of it was wrapped up in how well he performed at work and he became a workaholic of sorts. I was not perfect during this period and kept heaping unrealistic expectations on him — what he should be doing around the house and even at church. He just couldn’t handle it! These unreasonable expectations were putting distance between him …

Carl Lentz during his interview with Oprah. Credit: Youtube capture/Own Channel

Carl Lentz tells Oprah faith is a journey

Recently Oprah Winfrey interviewed Carl Lentz, the popular and well-known pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City. Lentz is often referred to as the ‘rock star pastor’ with a ‘come as you are’ approach. He sometimes preaches in night clubs and theaters. New York’s Hillsong Church is known for its passionate worship that draws people from all genres, particularly the younger generation. Speaking of his church Lentz states, “we’re a cool church preaching an ancient message” and his mission is to transform the way people experience God. His message is about God being interested in us as a work in progress. He firmly believes our faith involves a journey. Justin Bieber’s baptism s a great example of what Lentz is talking about. Lentz along with Judah Smith, Justin’s pastor, baptized the pop star late one night in a friend’s seven-foot bathtub. Lentz is proud of Justin Bieber wanting to be baptized in the middle of everything he was going through at the time. Baptism showed his desire to start fresh and begin pulling himself …

The trap of offense

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Michael Hyatt from ‘Why leaders can’t afford to be offended’’ The other day I did it again and took offense at a comment on Facebook. I chose to make it personal and kept going over it in my mind until my emotions got the better of me. I quickly typed in a comment to straighten that person out. Thankfully, before I hit the send button, I called my husband and shared my offense with him. He calmly advised me to let it go because it would not accomplish any great purpose and probably create more misunderstanding. Not what I wanted to hear! But, I did take his advice because I knew it was wisdom even though I was itching to press the send button. After calming down, I decided I really wanted to get on top of my emotional response to the offense. I was reminded of this verse in the Bible; “It is necessary that temptation come, but woe …

Credit: Jonathan Chen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does God Dance?

A Bible verse recently caught my attention: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NASV) The Hebrew word, ‘rejoice,’  means to “spin around under violent emotion.” The phrase “rejoice over you” literally means to “dance, skip, leap, and spin in joy.” So, the latter part of this verse is more accurately translated, “He will dance over you with singing.” I love the visualization that comes to my mind when I read this.  God is portrayed as a mighty warrior, singing and dancing over me with shouts of joy. It describes how a warrior must have felt in the Old Testament after winning a hard-fought battle and realizing the victory was his. I can envision power, authority and strength exuding from him as he steps into a victory dance. I imagine whooping, hollering, leaping, dancing and victory shouts. We see it today, as well. It’s not much …

Do you love yourself? Credit: chandrika221/Flickr/Creative Commons

Do we need to love ourselves?

“The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.” (Mark 12:3) According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, loving yourself from a biblical perspective refers to loving the image of God in you and the way He created you. This is not referring to a conceited, prideful, self-worship type of love. Loving yourself and embracing your significance as a Christian is vital. We need to love and value ourselves in the same way God does. Low self-esteem, beating ourselves up emotionally and physically (body image), defining ourselves through past mistakes and failures are all signs that we are not loving ourselves in the same way God loves us. We can be bitter and unforgiving towards others. But we can also be bitter and unforgiving towards ourselves and God because of the way we perceive ourselves  through our body image or  the way things turned out for us in life. I am learning that it  is just as important to forgive myself  as it is to forgive others. Understanding …