Thursday, September 19, 2013

patience is a virtue

Ladies, have you ever considered the impact that a faithful and godly life carries? Did you ever consider the power that God has granted you as a Christian woman in your home, within your church, throughout your community? Last week, the Lord reminded me how very important my understanding and level of patience displayed toward others really is... How my own tone/temper and choice of words can greatly affect those I know, and especially how they see Jesus at work in me.

I am certain that how we choose to react to difficult circumstances in our daily walk displays a direct reflection of our heart attitude toward Christ and thus offers the most transparent and truest testimony available to others as to what we really believe about God.

Let's face it, when everything is going our way, patience and kindness toward others is easy to produce. But when things rub us wrong... when we are treated unfairly... when we feel taken advantage of, unheard, disregarded, or worse... then it is most difficult to be kind to others and to maintain a patience that mirrors our Savior's love.

Rather, our natural response is usually about justifying our own actions, rights and boundaries. In such circumstances, our instincts default into impatience... causing us to mistrust and become irritable. Then, some of us respond by attacking others merely for the sake of pointing out how right we surely are. Some of us fall into pity parties and question God's protection and plan for our lives by crying out, "Why Me?" Many of us forget that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that should actively be pursued and prayed for as we seek to live like Jesus. Instead we forget His Holy LOVE altogether and focus on what we feel is FAIR for our SELF. We then fall victim to the snares of the devil and accept our own prison of depression, stress, anger, frustration, and pride... all things that are clearly NOT of our Lord. So, how can we maintain and display patience that is characteristic of Christ? How do we harness this fruit that the Spirit wishes to give us?

Let's look in the Bible at the many examples of those whose patience characterized how close their walk was with God. James points us to the prophets “as an example of patience in the face of suffering” (James 5:10). He also refers to Job, whose perseverance was rewarded by what the “Lord finally brought about” (James 5:11). Also, Abraham waited patiently and “received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:15). But above all... Jesus remains our best role model as He always demonstrated a patient endurance: “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

It is such a relief to know that with Jesus as our King, we don't have to be under the bondage of impatience because we are new creatures in Christ! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) Instead, we can depend upon the Lord’s strength and choose to follow His example - responding kindly, obediently and with a loving heart. Patience reveals our faith in God’s timing and sovereignty over our lives. Colossians 1:11 tells us that we are strengthened by Him to “great endurance and patience,” while James 1:3-4 encourages us to know that trials are His way of perfecting our patience... Yes, trials! Because of this, we should look at difficult circumstances as blessings and opportunities to further strengthen our patience by resting in God’s perfect will and timing... even in the face of evil men who “succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7). In the end, our patience will be rewarded because the Lord's coming is near (James 5:7-8). “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25).

Ladies, sometimes God allows difficult situations to occur in our lives so that we can be a witness for Him through our actions and temperaments. Other times, He allows trials for the sanctification of our character. Irrespective of God's reason, it is crucial for us to think beyond our own selfish expectations of how things should be and remember God's promise - that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (See Romans 8:28) We must trust that the Creator of the universe has a plan for allowing the most trying of times to occur in our lives. We must give Him our glory no matter what and remember that we are living testimonies of His grace.

DW's, whether you are single or married, working, in school, moms, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandmothers... whatever... each woman represents the "heart" of her family and thus holds a tremendous power and responsibility in this world to set a godly tone of encouragement and love while motivating others to seek and glorify Jesus. Because of this, let's make that daily decision together to live in Christ - loving God and loving others with everything we've got! Let's pray for Him to guide us and give us His spiritual fruit so that no circumstance derails us from living like Jesus. We are His people... His daughters... so, let's remember to seek Him and allow His love to shine through us no matter what comes our way.

Let us respond always in kindness and with patience... trusting our Holy King always and forever.



Monday, September 16, 2013

advance God's kingdom

May we never do what is right in our own sight, but rather live according to God's commands. May we be instruments of hope and spread the encouragement of deliverance through the mighty Name of Jesus Christ. May we be fearless in our devotion to the emancipation of God's people. May we live determined to stand firm against the enemy by remaining submersed in the divine wisdom of the gospel and choosing to live holy like our Savior. May we be good stewards of the gifts and resources our Father has provided. May we live in triumphant humility as we sacrifice ourselves each day to the Master of all Creation. May we love. Yes, may we love like He loves us. And while we love, may our hearts be steadfast and fixated solely on God's glory and nothing less.

This is the day to rejoice and be glad as we worship the One Most High.
This is the day to advance God's kingdom!
Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty!
He was. He is. He is to come!
His kingdom come!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

drop your dross

All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. (Psalm 119:119)

OK, I'm just gonna say it... there is nothing like a good poop! (Classy, right?)

Seriously though, nothing makes us feel more physically cleansed, more unpolluted, more footloose and fancy free, more satisfied and ready to get moving and grooving than when we have successfully dropped a plop. (I apologize this isn't a very ladylike conversation, but stay with me a little longer as I do have a point...) With this in mind, read the verse from Psalms again and consider what it is saying:

"All the wicked of the earth you drop like dross..."

What is "dross" you might ask? Well, dross is a common term used in metallurgy. It refers to the scum that forms on the surface of molten metal. So basically, it's the icky waste that is discarded through the process of smelting (the removal of impurities from metal), so that all that remains is pure, unadulterated ore, such as in purely refined gold or silver.

"... therefore I love your statutes."

This dross... this yuck of sin, this weight of corruption, this disappointment of unholy contamination... this is what God has promised to discard from our lives when we love and follow His proven laws. Where can we find God's statutes? Of course, in His holy, flawless Word.

And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. (Psalm 12:6)

This verse came to mind as a result of a conversation I recently had with Momba. We were discussing different areas of growth that have occurred (by the grace of God) over many years in both our lives. Then, we were discussing how aggressively the enemy keeps so many people imprisoned in individual forms of denial and contaminated belief systems. So much so, that many Christians still fall into the trap of accepting ourselves as a people who will always be broken and impure. But that concept is definitely not of the Lord. You see, Jesus came not only to save us from death, but to refine and restore us into His holy purity. He wishes for us to "drop our dross" so that with His authority we might release all the scum and impurity of sin within us... so that we can actually become increasingly more and more holy. Why? Because Jesus' Spirit of holiness now resides in our hearts!

The ultimate challenge in our Christian life is to continuously trust and glorify God while believing His promises through every forge and test presented on this earth. You see, trying circumstances are where our Master will touch and change us most - through His holy refining process! It is in the difficult times of hardship and loss that we are actually more prone to seek Him and thus lose our impurities as He hammers us into new creatures... creatures renewed by the pure love and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All the wickedness of this earth will indeed be dropped like dross... and we will enter God's kingdom as a fully cleansed, open, and obedient people... unpolluted, footloose and fancy free, and completely satisfied in the statutes of our King while ready to get moving and grooving in our new Heavenly citizenship! I can't wait, can you?

But while we still remain in this sinful economy, let me point out one last truth. The most interesting thing about how God removes our sinful waste and denial, is that He is a God who recycles what Satan intended to use for evil and instead uses it for His ultimate good! Just as manure can fertilize the earth for new crop growth or produce valuable fuel, God can use the experience of our "dropped dross" to nourish and revive others in need of His hope! When He restores us through His loving abundance, we are given the honor to praise and share His glorious Way! We become sweetly cleansed and fragrant examples of redemption - free from sin and death! How cool is that?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. (Psalm 66:8-12;16)

Ladies, are you intimately in love with God's law and wisely following His Way so that He may discard all wickedness from your life? Or are you still choosing to hang onto old, sinful habits and false belief systems, allowing Satan the opportunity to constipate the progress of your new life? If your answer is the latter, why keep sitting in denial? Why not follow your King's proven plan so that you can lose the sin and get up, get out, and get living your new life in Christ? Jesus came to remove every burden and free us from every prison so that we might live in His abundance! So, let's trust and glorify Him through every discomfort and fire and lose our loads! With His peace, we can live victoriously and share His good news to all who need hear. Our great Creator does not intend for us to remain broken and impure. No! He wishes to restore us and use us for His eternal good! WOO HOO! So, let's get pooping, peeps! Drop your dross!!!

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson