Are You Desiring More?

I am on a spiritual journey right now with the goal of falling deeper in love with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am excited, and can physically, spiritually, and emotionally see the changes going on in my life and in my surroundings. I know that it is a lifelong journey, but like any trip I am happy for it to finally be underway! It kind of reminds me of when my family and I take a Cruise. We count down the days till the trip, are so excited to finally get on the boat and enjoy the moment. the only difference between the journey I am on now, is that unlike a cruise vacation, this one will never end!

A few weeks ago in my small group that I am leading we talked about the difference of having knowledge and having wisdom. Wisdom allows you to view things from the same perspective of Christ. You model to see all people, and situations through the eyes of Christ.  Most importantly, you initiate your response to be one that Christ too would have done. As a result of praying for wisdom,  I am starting to see things in a completely different way, and study Scripture that I never knew existed.  I have an appetite for learning more about His Word, and desiring a closer relationship with  Jesus, it feels like such a high (natural). The warm physical feeling you have inside your body that makes you look and feel like you are glowing!

I have been really diving into Scripture on the Holy Spirit! I have learned so much, and all kinds of doors of opportunities have been opening in my life, a direct result of the Word and the Work of the Holy Spirit. It is my deepest desire to positively affect other people, and by example, bring others who are lost to Christ. In Church today it was said that to draw people to Christ, you must be a good encourage. Jesus had an amazing ability to encourage other people for He was so full of compassion and love. They say to be a good leader, you must be a good delegater. I think if we changed the focus from delegation to building and encouraging one another, there really would be no need to delegate things to others, for the sheer desire to please one another in love, this  would almost eliminate this need. We as a society need to get to the concepts of what true service is to one another, using Jesus as an ideal role model.

 

How about you? What do you want in your life? How will you reach your goal? I encourage you to reach and put your own plan of action into place. Write out your Godly goals and objectives and see what you come up with.

 

 

 

A Gift from God~ The Book of Matthew.

The more I read the Bible and listen to God’s Word, the more that is revealed to me. I watched Pastor Rick Warrens new sermon which is part two to the series Jesus Makes Headlines, titled “The God of Second Chances.” I knew that I was going to like this sermon just based on the title, I am so thankful for second chances. (okay who are we kidding, third and fourth chances are pretty awesome too!).

It starts in the book of Matthew  9:9-13 ” Jesus Calls Matthew”. I always liked the name Matthew, it’s a Biblical name that I named my oldest son after. It means a gift from God.” I always perceived that to mean, that Matthew the name, meaning my own son was a “gift from God.” Looking back now, I realize of course that it probably meant the same thing even before I named my child that, but after today’s reading I realized it was much more. (smile).

Starting in chapter nine, verse nine through thirteen, it talks about how Jesus called Matthew.

Matthew 9:9, ” As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.” (NLT).

When you read it like that, it seems so simple, so black and white, but to fully understand the Grace and Mercy of Christ, you must dive deeper into the passage.   In the passage above, it says that Jesus “saw a man named Matthew.” In order for Jesus to physically see and call Matthew, ( or take note of Matthew), he must have had knowledge of who Matthew was, and what his character was about. We know this because we know that God is all-knowing,  (omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscience). It is safe to say that he would not have called Matthew over had he not had prior knowledge of what Matthew about, so we know that He made a conscious decision to use a lowly, sinful, tax collector .That is the one of several really cool things about Jesus, He uses ordinary, imperfect, sinful people to do the will of God. He takes the ugliness and turns it around for His Glory. It is safe to assume that we see story after story of Jesus using people to do His will, so that means knowing he uses imperfection and turns it around, He can surely use either you or I today. I will list below things that we have discovered about Christ. (I will use the emphasis of  I or me).I love that if He did it for others, He will also do it for you and I.

1. Jesus see’s me as I am.

2. Jesus loves me for who I am, a sinner.

3. Jesus will call me and use me in the state that I am now.

4. Jesus loves me so much that He will not leave me like I am.

5. When Jesus says “Follow Me” He is inviting those he calls  to a whole new life.

I love this statement the most, “Forgiveness and Salvation is God’s greatest gift to you. How will you respond to God’s calling ? Will you do like Matthew did, get up and leave everything, stepping out on Faith to serve God?

I love that Jesus saw past Matthew’s imperfections and sins, He saw what Matthew could become for God. Everyone else in Matthew’s life looked at his past failures (taken from the sermon notes).

My question to you is this, “Knowing that God loves us, looks past all our shortcomings and failures and still loves us unconditionally, will you be willing and waiting to serve God? How can you personally with your talent, desires, and gift’s further the Kingdom of God to bring Him Glory?

To see the sermon go to http://www.saddleback.com and click the watch icon.

 

A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter Book Review

I absolutely love reading good quality books! I enjoy reading all kinds of genres, but reading about Prayer is one of my favorite topics. I recently reviewed Rob and Joanna Teigens book, “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter” and absolutely loved it!  I learned a long time ago that it is important when praying, especially for your children to be specific, and pray with boldness over every area of their lives! I learned to use Scripture, to use God’s truth in the daily conversations with God. If you want something for your child, ask for it, pray in Faith that God’s Will is done in the life of your child.  The author’s address this  in their book,  diving deeper into the importance of praying for every part of her life! I love that, I love the connection that a father has with his daughter, it is such an important relationship. A father is a daughter’s first glimpse of what a relationship with the opposite sex will be like. A Daddy set’s the example and tempo of expectations that a little girl will have in her future husband, it must be Godly!

The book is broken down into short segments, eighty-eight to be exact, usually a page or two long of specific things that a father should be praying over his daughter, in between the segments, the author writes short real life stories, sharing his expectations, thoughts in an open, honest transparent way. The author is honest, bold, loving, and brave with his dreams, thoughts, and expectation of parenthood.  I love that with each prayer topic, it is backed with Scripture!

I recommend this book to every father, especially expecting fathers to ensure that they are off to a positive, Godly start with their child, but deeper than that, not just fathers, but all parents, guardians, or anyone else that has a powerful role in the life of any child. Praying is the key to everything in life! There is more power in prayer than anything else!

I am honored to receive a complimentary issue of this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have done.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Starting a Christian Women’s Ministry Online.

I was just thinking about a conversation I had with a friend about two years ago, she told me out  of the blue that i was going to have  a ministry for God. I listened to her that day, but had no real desire in my heart to have any ministry other than teaching Bible Study classes here and there. I have always loved learning about  God’s Word, and sharing with other woman what I had learned, but never thought about having a Christian Ministry.  I think of what was said back then, It makes me smile. It is amazing to look back over time and see the fullness of God, watching His plans become realities and using normal, ordinary, everyday people to do his Will. I always have known that when God has a purpose for you, or plans for his people, He will make a way, opening doors for opportunity, and using all circumstances for His Glory,  lifting and using any willing person as His vessel that is open and obedient to hearing His Will.  I love this, and most importantly,  I love that He does what He says He will do, and He is who He says He is!

I started teaching Bible Study online a few years ago. I was in another Christian Women’s Group leading Bible Studies, and had done so for about a year or so. I was very happy there, and was excited to see the ministry grow. I was able to use creative ways to create more study groups for different genres of Bible Study. We had just created a Prayer group, that was growing and flourishing. I was very content there, but looking back now i realize God had other idea’s for his Kingdom. All of a sudden, for unknown reasons, there was a misunderstanding with the founder of the group, and I was asked to leave. To quickly fast forward the story for understanding on where I am today, I will quickly say that I was hurt, felt rejected, because I was comfortable, and at home with “friends”, but was not reaching out for God’s people, the one’s who needed it the most, the lost. We often get comfortable with our clique of other Christian friends, but to be a true Disciple of Christ, it is not to just fellowship with other Christians, but to reach the one’s who do not know Jesus. I used the social media Facebook to start a group so that I could finish the study that I was doing with the ladies in my group from the other ministry.

I am in awe of the ability to take social media and use for God’s glory! Social media is the wave of the future, it is how almost everyone communicates and stays in touch with other people. It is also amazing to see how it is being used for the Kingdom of God! I am in awe of how people from around the world, at any hour of the day, can come together to communicate, chat, study, and share about God and His Word. There are thousands of groups being used today on Facebook alone: prayer groups, fellowship, Bible Study, small groups, and even online churches.

We are reaching those that are home-bound, disabled, lonely, hurting and in need of God’s Word. I am in awe of what churches are doing online as well. I belong to Saddleback Church, and Pastor Rick Warren from way back, has always believed that the Kingdom of God will grow using small groups of people connecting daily, weekly to share the love of God and learn His Word. I see the connections as an Online Small Group host and Associate Community Leader with Saddleback. I urge you, get involved with a Christian ministry, whether it be with your own home church,  a church that is using the internet for God’s Glory, such as Saddleback, or social media to fellowship and study with other Christian Believers.   My ministry is WAWL  Women’s Ministry, and I use the social media Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/WAWLMAINGROUP/.

Saddleback Church has thousands of small groups online at http://www.mysaddleback.com . You can find us there as well under WAWL Ministry.

The Business of You

I love to share other author’s writings when I find articles of such quality! I am sharing this with you because I love the thoughts and heart of this. I hope that you enjoy his  words as well as I did, and that this will link back to his blog. I have never “re-blogged” an article before so I have no idea where it will go. If it does not credit the author for some reason, please let me know and I will send you her link. Jeff Calloway, you are an awesome writer!

WordServe Water Cooler

me-myself-and-i-021Social media is full of the white noise of people promoting themselves. Writers promoting books, ministry leaders promoting tools for church growth, singers promoting new releases, churches promoting their church, and on and on it goes. Tweets for how to lead your church, how to get more followers, how to make money off your blog. The list is endless. Social media has become a clogged highway of everyone promoting themselves and their newest content that will help you _____________ (fill in the blank). The problem is, I have been pulled into this white noise that seems to get lost on the people who are seeing constant media feeds in Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and the other social media sites.

What is a Christian to do when it comes to self-promotion in a me-driven world? As writers and artists, we produce content we believe others would benefit from consuming…

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Keeping Jesus in Public Schools

 

I remember when I was a little girl going to school, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and opening up the school day with a Prayer. Times have changed so drastically since then, and not for the better. We have successfully kicked Jesus out of so many institutions, but the scariest is taking him out of the schools! If you want to be honest, school has changed so much since I was a kid, the Principal when we got in trouble had a wooden paddle, and you could expect if need be, that you would get a lick or two and your parents called. Not today, we have successfully taken discipline, and Jesus out of the Public schools, and we wonder why the kids are blowing up the schools and shooting one another. Long ago, the worst thing you had to worry about was getting beat up after school on the way home, a fight one on one.

As a Public School Teacher, we are no longer allowed to talk about Jesus in class. We must respect various religions, and gods that are worshipped other than GOD! Personally, I do not shy away from talking about Jesus with my kids. There have been numerous times that He was in our conversations. I remember one time I was sitting at the table cutting out patterns, and a little five-year old girl came up to me and asked me, “Do you believe in God?” I answered her, “Yes I do, do you?” she happily replied that she did too, and ran off.

Recently in class another student came up to me and said that she was sad because her Grandfather had passed away. Having experienced grief before, I told her that I was very sorry to hear about him not being her with her, but that He was with Jesus. She replied that she knew that, and that it made her feel better.

It may come back to me later, in some words or letter format, but I do not care. I am who I am, because of a living, loving God. He has carried me through so much, and It is with honor and happiness in my heart that I share about Him!

I look forward to my “God moments” in school, how about you?

New Online Bible Study Classes at Saddleback Small Groups!

I am so excited to begin new Bible Study classes in my online small groups at Saddleback Church. I have been a host and Associate Community Leader for a while now, but I still get so excited when it is time to begin a new study! WAWL Ministry has five small groups with Saddleback now.

The current schedule and class is as follows:
March 23:   The brand new study “Son of God”  Study led by Traci Pollard on Sunday 730 AM Eastern time.
Synopsis: Take your church on a powerful 4-week journey to learn more about the life and death of Jesus. Based on the movie Son of God and designed as a 4-week sermon series, the Son of God church kit uses a combination of scripture and video clips to show the scarlet thread of God’s redemption through Jesus Christ.” (Saddleback Church website)
March 25: God’s Design for your Life , Tuesday nights at 9:00PM Eastern time with Sheila Edens Brown.
Synopsis:

God’s Design for Your Life is a small group study designed to help you and your small group overcome the challenges that you are facing as you seek to discover and live out God’s calling and design for your life. It is an experiential small group series focused on practicing the lessons that we can learn from King David’s life. Prepare to build deeper relationships, jump-start your spiritual growth, discover how God has designed you to succeed in life, connect with God in fresh ways and share the stories of how God has transformed your life. God’s Design for Your Life will transform your group whether it’s been meeting for years or just started during the Transformed study. (taken from Saddleback Church).

March 30: “Choose Joy’ written by Kay Warren, led by Cynthia Sullivan on Sunday night 7 pm Eastern time,  and Thursday 9PM Eastern time.
Synopsis:
Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives–even in the tough times–and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible?

The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be. In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in the good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows readers–even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression–that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joy will empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp–every day. (taken from Saddleback Church/Amazon).

If you would like to join any of these studies, please email at wawlministry@gmail.com

What Are You Doing with Your Life?

 

It is amazing to me that I have had to re-write this beginning sentence three times just to get this article going, something I do not usually have to do, must be important for me to get this message across. The deeper my walk with Christ reveals to me, the need for me to become more transparent and vulnerable for those around me. It can be uncomfortable to reveal all your thoughts, weaknesses, and anxieties to others, but I feel like this is something I need to do to be used by God. I always thought that the Mega Church Pastors had a special blessing over them for doing the work of God, but in my own smaller, simpler ministry I have learned the opposite, leaders have more warfare to deal with! I can only imagine what others go through when leading people to Christ, if I receive a lot of spiritual warfare right before leading a new study.

I was talking with a good friend this morning, and she send me a link to Beth Moore’s teaching on “God’s Purpose for You.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5AVmmH8v00 . It really touched my heart and I wanted to share with you.

The thought that God has an individualized plan for our lives is amazing, each life comes with his own personal blueprint or “business plan” of living. It is not a generalized plan that we all share with one another, but written just for our purpose.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV).

Beth goes on to define the Greek word boule for Purpose, ” will, project, deliberation and reflection.” Our Purpose is God’s will that He intentionally, individually designed as a result of his intentions and reflection.”

I told you earlier I was speaking with my friend and she sent me this quote from Beth Moore’s “Believing God ” and she said this, “throttle blessing, abiding and bearing fruit are not.” I believe that we are given free will in our lives, what you do with it is up to you. I decided long ago after God had brought me out of my trials, that I would use each time of darkness to bring light to the world, and show that God will always get the glory, no matter what, even when it seems all hope is lost. My addiction, my grief over losing my brother, will not go in vain. I will share my heart, my experiences, my hope, my faith to anyone else that I can possibly help another person. Life is full of triumphs and trials, and you we are all given a set amount of time here on Earth, you can decide what you are going to do with that time.

In closing, I want to share this verse

Acts 13:36

36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. (NIV)

Take David’s name out of the Scripture above and put your name there, what does it say? What will you do?

 

 

A Shifting in My Focus

This week in my Bible Study,  “Transformed” by Rick Warren we covered a topic that I always seem to avoid, “Finances.”  In the past, even in reading Scripture, I would always seem to “skip over”  the Scriptures that talked about money, and I wondered why I had so many issues in this area! I know that I am a very giving person with money, I will give it all away, but the problem you see was that I wasn’t being obedient in giving it to God for Him to decide where it needed to go.  I tithed today for the first time in a long time, and it was a really great experience.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and “see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”  Malachi 3:10. (NIV)

This is the only place in the Bible where God tells us to put him to the test. He knows that as he shows himself to be faithful, our heart for giving will only increase.” (Rick Warren).

Aligning my thinking to God’s in this area is critical as well. What is important to me, may not be important to God. I need to be content with what I have, and I  stay still and quiet long enough for God to reveal to me, His plans for me.

“A Blessing is not a purchase, it is a gift. If you only give to God in order to get exactly what you want, you are thinking too small.” (Rick Warren).

I have come to discover that blessings in life, are not always money. The ability to help one another,  healing from sickness, God’s Grace and Mercy that we receive daily, minute by minute, those are the true blessings in life!

The biggest blessing in all is Spiritual, helping others to see the love of Christ, allowing them to receive God’s greatest gift of all our Salvation. I have learned that when I pray for others needs, I pray for their spiritual needs to be met first, to know Christ, all the other requests are secondary to this one.

World Wide Health Epidemics (Mainly North America).

This is agreat reference when doing your research. In research not only are you getting to know names and dates, but you are re-creating that person to find out who they were, how they lived, and what they were like. Line up your death dates and chances are you will find out if there was any correlation to an epidemic.

1657 Boston Measles
1687 Boston Measles
1690 New York Yellow Fever
1713 Boston Measles
 1729 Boston Measles
1732-3 Worldwide Influenza
1738 South Carolina Smallpox
1739-40 Boston Measles
1747 CT,NY,PA,SC  Measles
1759 N. America [areas inhabited by white people] Measles
1761 North America and West Indies Influenza
1772 North America Measles
1775 N. America [especially hard in NE] epidemic Unknown
1775-6 Worldwide [one of the worst epidemics] Influenza
1783 Dover, DE [“extremely fatal”] Bilious Disorder
1788 Philadelphia and New York Measles
1793 Vermont [a “putrid” fever] and Influenza
1793 VA [killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks] Influenza
1793 Philadelphia [one of the worst epidemics] Yellow Fever
1793 Harrisburg, PA [many unexplained deaths] Unknown
1793 Middletown, PA [many mysterious deaths] Unknown
 1794 Philadelphia, PA Yellow Fever
1796-7 Philadelphia, PA Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia, PA [one of the worst] Yellow Fever
 1803 New York Yellow Fever
1820-3 Nationwide [starts Schuylkill River and spreads] “Fever”
1831-2 Nationwide [brought by English emigrants] Asiatic Cholera
1832 NY City and other major cities Cholera
 1837 Philadelphia Typhus
1841 Nationwide [especially severe in the south] Yellow Fever
1847 New Orleans Yellow Fever
1847-8 Worldwide Influenza
1848-9 North America Cholera
1850 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1850-1 North America Influenza
1852 Nationwide [New Orleans-8,000 die in summer] Yellow Fever
1855 Nationwide [many parts] Yellow Fever
1857-9 Worldwide [one of the greatest epidemics]
Influenza 1860-1 Pennsylvania Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, NY, Boston, and New Orleans} {Smallpox- Baltimore, Memphis, Washington DC} Cholera and a series of recurring epidemics of: Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever
1873-5 North America and Europe Influenza
1878 New Orleans [last great epidemic] Yellow Fever
1885 Plymouth, PA Typhoid
1886 Jacksonville, FL Yellow Fever
1918 (high point year) Influenza Worldwide more people hospitalized in WWI from this epidemic than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps, with 80% death rate in some camps.
Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:
1833 Columbus, OH
1834 New York City
1849 New York
1851 Coles Co., IL, the Great Plains, and Missouri