All posts filed under: Women

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 …

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God Sings Over Us

The Greatest Singer/Songwriter “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Like many of his prophetic counterparts, Zephaniah uncovered the great truth that our great LORD is a God who rejoices over His people. Not only is this a God who sings over His people but He is also a songwriter. Isaiah, the prophet who’s writings are literary wonders also recognized that our beloved Bridegroom has a song which He makes known to His bride. “Now will I sing to my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard”(Isaiah 5:1a). “…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5b) In Psalm 42:8b, the Psalmist tells us, “…and in the night his song shall be with me…” Scripture based Songs In my early years as a Christian, most churches sang scripture songs which I discovered was an easy way …

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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Don’t Crash and Burn

One could think, “It’s only a dream,” but why does it remain in my mind and spirit days later? I was standing with a few other people when a low-flying plane passed overhead and took a nose-dive into a nearby hill. Its nose broke off from the rest of the plane and caught fire. Our initial reaction was one of fear – if we run toward the plane will we be caught in a blazing inferno that is certain to follow? Our fear is soon overcome by concern for the well-being of those who might still be alive. We rush toward the plane and climb into the passenger section which has remained intact. We don’t know how many people are killed but it doesn’t appear that anyone in the front burning section could have survived. And since the two broken sections are so close, we know it is just a matter of time, minutes or maybe only seconds, that the passenger section will also catch fire and be reduced to a heap of ashes. As …

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Sound – The prerequisite to Music

While music is a huge industry, very few singers and musicians take the time to learn about sound, the prerequisite to music.  While the term “sounds of heaven” is often quoted in Churches, most Christians are clueless as to the true meaning of that phrase. If music ministers don’t understand God’s purpose for sound, they will not be adequately prepared for the battle. As the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Corinth, when discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”(I Cor. 14:7-8) Sound and Light Vibrations In the beginning God spoke (sound) and said, “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). This sound and light was the release of the Creator’s Glory since it was another three days before He created the sun …

Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Birds teach us about songs

Birds Sing at Certain Times It is recognized that there is a time for the singing of birds and their songs communicate different messages.  King Solomon recognized this truth and even sang about it. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…” (Song of Solomon 2:12). It appears that the Psalmist realized the power in song when he wrote; “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Singing at Dawn The best time to hear bird songs is at dawn when birds all over the world demonstrate their greatest amount of singing activity.  With little wind and less disturbances, sound travels the best in the early morning.  Songs which are broadcast at dawn can be twenty times as effective as those broadcast at midday. However, with so many variety of birds competing for the same audience, they have a remarkable knack of sharing the stage. Mankind also is encouraged to worship …

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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 …

Queen Esther's feast where she exposes Haman by Johannes Spilberg the Younger (1619-1690) Credit: Rauantiques/Wikipedia

Artists and craftsmen point the way

Since the early stages of mankind, artists of the day have used imagery in their drawings to relate and preserve stories of their era.  In countries where Cave Drawings have been discovered they have served as confirmation to other historical documentation. Drawings of floods, famines, as well as animals fleeing from fires are just some of the images explorers have uncovered over the centuries. Since mankind has long recognized that artistic talents could draw images to record actual events, it is not surprising that Art would be created to depict the Heavenly Creator.  Dedicated hands can take stones and create works that glorify God. In Biblical times, the people of Israel were highly advanced in Literature, Music and Science, but were surpassed by other nations in the area of Arts.  This is likely due to God’s commandment not to “make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;” (Leviticus 26:1). …

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‘Poiema’

Sometimes I like to write poetry or prose. It is my way of expressing myself and connecting to God. It’s often easier for me to write down what I’m feeling than to speak about it. I suppose one could say this is how God made me, and so writing has remained a fairly constant thread throughout my life. Interestingly, I found out last week the Greek word for poem is ‘poiema’. Well this was new to me! Upon further digging, I also discovered this is the exact word Paul chose to use in Ephesians 2:10 when he said: “For we are His workmanship (poiema), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (NKJV) To think that we are God’s poem, His work of creativity, really highlights this scripture for me. The New Living Translation says, ‘we are His masterpiece’, which brings across how unique He made us all. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) and we are His work of art. All we are …

Crystal Bassette and her husband Credit: YouTube capture -- This Morning show

From porn star to Christian to pastor

It’s a story that is sure to turn some heads. When she was 21 years old, Crystal Bassette performed in her first porn video. According to the British Newspaper, The Sun, after the shoot she sat in her shower and cried for two hours. She was supporting a son after becoming pregnant at age 16 and was working in a California bar with dreams of becoming an actress. And though initially uncertain about continuing, the draw of a monthly salary of $25,000 proved too much and a month later she did her second porn shoot. Over the next several years, she would make over 100 porn movies. With the money the lifestyle provided, she lived in a mansion complete with a maid, a gardener and seven cars, but to cope Bassette turned to alcohol and drugs. But that all changed in 2014 when she had a serious car accident where police charged her with impaired driving. After the crash, Bassette attended her sister’s church on Easter Sunday and became a Christian after the pastor preached …

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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 …

Brazilian Amazon Credit: Guto de Lima/Flickr/Creative Commons

From Debutante balls to the Brazilian jungle

The National Post ran a fascinating article on Canadian Ruth Thomson who 50 years ago left her high-class life as a Toronto debutante to serve in the jungles of Brazil as a Wycliffe missionary. Her father was a highly successful Toronto lawyer, and Ruth grew up in a mansion and attended private school. She became so proficient at horse riding that another wealthy family — Pittsburgh’s Mellon family — asked Ruth to ride their horses competitively. As she came of age, her parents expected Ruth to attend Downton Abbey debutante balls where parents signaled to Toronto society their young daughters were ready for dating and marriage. It featured flowing gowns and elbow-length gloves. She recalls having disagreements with her parents in 1959 who wanted her to attend a number of  balls held at private clubs and the major event on that year’s social calendar  — the Governor General’s Ball. She said “I had no patience for any of it. It all seemed so artificial. It wasn’t the life for me.” But despite their wealth, she …

Vickie Williams-Tillman (right) Credit: Baton Rouge Police Department

Vickie Williams-Tillman — a 21st century Good Samaritan in more than one way

Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, a black Christian woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana was on her way to the store when she saw a white police officer, Billy Aime, being assaulted by another man. She was also doing what she normally does when driving, Vickie was listening to Gospel music. The police officer had come upon the man sleeping in his vehicle. When Aime saw drug paraphernalia in the car he woke Thomas Bennett, 28. However, after getting out of his car, Bennett quickly gained the advantage. He grabbed Aime’s baton and began beating the police officer on the head. Bennett was also after the police officer’s gun. When Vickie saw the confrontation, she immediately called the police for help. But she did more than that. She got out of her car and jumped on Bennett’s back. This caught Bennett totally off guard, confusing him and hindering him from grabbing the gun. When another police officer showed up a few minutes later, he subdued Bennett with a stun gun. The police charged Bennett with assaulting a police …

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Dance of the Two Armies

A Dance Company After years of sojourning in a strange land and acquiring a large family with many goods, the Jewish patriarch Jacob set out for his homeland. Scriptures tell us that when he was on the way, he encountered the Hosts of Heaven. “So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp. And he called the name of that place Mahanaim” (Genesis 32:1-2) The english word Mahanaim is taken from the Hebrew word ‘Machanayim’ which means ‘double camp’(#4266 – Strong’s Concordance) and refers to #4264 – Machaneh (Makh-aneh) which is translated: “An encampment (of travellers of troops, hence an army, whether lit. (of soldiers) or figurative (of dancers, angels, cattle, locusts, stars or even sacred courts) army; band, battle, camp, company, hosts, tent.” It has been suggested that this double camp of the angels of God were as a ‘dance company’. Antichoric Dance Alfred Sendrey in his book, “Music in Ancient Israel” interprets Genesis 32:1-3 as, “What Jacob saw in …

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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 …

Reba McEntire in concert Credit: Alisha Morgan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Country superstar Reba McEntire produces first gospel album

After divorcing her husband of 25 years, Narvel Blackstock, in 2015, country singer Reba McEntire, 61, turned to God and her faith to keep her through this difficult time. Referred to as the “Queen of Country,” Reba is one of America’s great country singers. She is a member of the Country Hall of Fame. In a career that has spanned 42 years, she has released 32 albums and sold over 85 million records world-wide and has 35 chart-topping singles. After seeking God during this dark period of her life, Reba sensed that she needed to release what would be her first Gospel album. Entitled, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope,” the two album set features 22 Gospel recordings. Reba wants this album to encourage people to return to God. During the recording of one of the songs, How Great Thou Art, Reba felt the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the music: “When I got through with singing the song, I would go in there with Doug Sisemore, my co-producer, and Todd Tidwell. We would …

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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: …

The Bell tower of the Sand covered church sticking out of the ground near Skagen, Denmark Credit: Myrna Petersen

The Buried Church

On a recent trip to my ancestor’s homeland, a visitation to an old church buried in the sand gave some insight as to the way we build our faith, will have a lasting impression in how future generations view the church. The Sand-Covered Church (Danish: Den Tilsandede Kirke, also translated as The Buried Church) is the name of a late 14th-century Danish church dedicated to Saint Lawrence of Rome. Built between 1355 and 1387, the red brick church was 45 meters long and the tower was 22 meters tall. Between 1600 and 1800, desertification or sanding-over of land occurred in the North Jutland coastal areas near the now artistic tourist town of Skagen, Denmark. Desertification destroyed the fields and buried a village near Skagen. By the close of the 18th century the drafting sands had reached the Saint Lawrence of Rome Church. Each time before a service was held, the parishioners had to dig out the entrance. The struggle to keep the church free of sand lasted until 1795, when it was abandoned and front …

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But the Lord directs our steps

Twenty years ago, my husband Dean and I were pastoring a satellite church plant in Hong Kong on an island called Discovery Bay. We had gathered a diverse group of people in one of our house churches — a good mix of new and established believers. People were coming to the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit. But within this group, there were also some very established missionaries. They had ministered in Hong Kong for several years, and were without a house church so they joined our small group. They were faithful servants of the Lord, but did not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. They saw the Holy Spirit as only “the Comforter,” and they often disagreed with the way Dean and I ministered. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that warns evil times can suddenly fall upon us: 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil …

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The day God schooled me

I was at a Tim Horton’s drive thru, a popular coffee and doughnut shop in Canada. Our coffee maker died (may it RIP) and I needed my caffeine fix. That’s when I saw a person in a white car in the drive-thru lane beside me. He had his window rolled down and was smoking a cigarette. As a Cystic Fibrosis mama, that is a trigger for me. My daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at 23 days old. The disease affects the body’s ability to produce sodium chloride, as a result a person’s mucous is very thick. This causes many problems, most seriously lung failure and the struggle to keep a healthy weight as it affects a person’s ability to absorb nutrients. This means hours spent each day ensuring my daughter takes her many medications including the ones given by mask and her nightly tube feedings. I also need to perform physiotherapy on her multiple times in a day to loosen the mucous in her lungs to delay the progression of this terminal disease. In …

Daily Bread

We all need our daily food to function well in life. But sometimes I think I need my spiritual food even more.  No wonder we pray, ‘give us this day our daily bread’ in the Lord’s Prayer. I really need to pray this often, especially during this busy Christmas season. Interestingly the city named Bethlehem also reminds me of spiritual food.  This is because Bethlehem in Hebrew literally means ‘House of Bread.’ I find it fascinating that Jesus was born in the ‘house of bread’ and he referred to himself as the bread of life: Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger and he who believes in me will not thirst. (John 6:35 NASB) As I take the time to read and meditate on God’s word, I know it will help me keep my focus . He truly is the bread of life and my daily bread. It is really Him I hunger for this Christmas. May He fill all of us to the …

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 …

A scene near Hampshire England. Credit: Neil Howard/Flickr/Creative Commons

Encourage Yourself?

I recall someone saying there are times when you can encourage yourself in the Lord. Well, maybe I remembered that, but I sure didn’t feel like doing it. After being sick for a few weeks, I was more into the ‘please pray for me’ mode. Now there is nothing wrong with asking for prayer or talking to someone when going through a hard time. But I know there are also times when I just need to go to God. The Bible says this is what David did when he went through a very discouraging event. At one time David and his men had returned home to Ziglag, where they found it burned, looted and their wives and children taken away by the Amalekites. Because of this David’s men became embittered against their leader: And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 …

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 …

How ‘Back to the Future’ actress Claudia Wells became a Christian

I was recently reading an article on Claudia Wells, 50, at News.com.au. For those not familiar with Claudia, she played the role of Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend, in one of my favorite movies — Back to the Future. Starring Michael J. Fox, it was a blockbuster release in 1985. Fox played the role of Marty McFly who traveled back to his family’s past in a time machine cleverly disguised as a DeLorean sports car. Towards the end of the article, Claudia answered the question on what she would do if she could really travel back in time in a DeLorean. Claudia said: “I would go back in time to hangout with Jesus. I’d just hold his hand, look  in His eyes and just take Him in and have a good chat.” Claudia Wells is a Christian and if you go to her Facebook page you will see her feed filled with inspirational Biblical quotes. It took a bit of digging but I discovered an interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine on how Claudia became a Christian. She …