Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Count down to Launch…

“We need to fail down here so we don’t fail up there,” ~ quote by Neil Armstrong character in the 2018 feature film, “First Man”.

What a powerful statement that was in the movie. If you’ve seen this one, or any of the films out there that tells the stories of the heroic measures taken by the USA astronauts, you know how important it is to prepare. 

Even for all the preparations they did on the ground, there still have been unseen catastrophic accidents in space. These astronauts train and plan for months and years, and still at times the outcome is not what anyone expects.

I can’t help but remember the devastating reality of watching the Challenger explode in the air shortly after take off. It didn’t seem real. Everyone had done their job. There was an elementary teacher on board. It was special. It was commemorative. It had been incredibly anticipated. But it had not ended well.

No one expected failure. 

Yet, there are so many successful missions that have occurred in our history of space exploration and there are more to come!

So where am I going with all of this you ask? It’s not going to be a history lesson…but one of hope as we launch a different kind of adventurer.

Our kids!

This is the time of year where graduations are upon us. Especially those with students graduating from high school, with the realities of college quickly approaching, we hear the term “launch” a lot!

Just as astronauts have to take classes to learn about space, science, medical procedures, various languages, microgravity (it’s a thing!), public speaking, math, survival training, buoyancy, mechanics, and about a million other things ~ our kids have to through a lot of training too.

We have to trust that when we launch them out into the world as new college Freshman, they will recall all that they have been taught in school, all the things we have instilled in them as they grew up, and all that they learned from God’s Word ~ and pray that the path they walk will be one of celebration and not failure.

I’ll share some great scriptures to pray over your kids in a bit, but I’m just fascinated with the similarities between launching a space craft and launching our kids to leave the proverbial nest.

According to the National Association of Rocketry Launching Requirements**, there are a million little things that go into those few moments of launching something into space. Here are a few of the most important categories.

You need:

  • a Range Safety officer who is in a Senior leadership position and must be in good standing with the NAR and their presence is a MUST for things to happen in a timely manner
  • the Flying Field needs (among other things) to have a definite set of boundaries
  • a Safety Check to make sure the rocket and all its parts are operational and deemed safe
  • the Launching Device is used to keep the rocket level until it has reached a safe speed after take off
  • specific Launch Height (not too close to the ground prior to lift off)
  • Momentum that comes from the rocket itself
  • and last but not least, Ignition ~ this can ONLY be conducted by REMOTE ACCESS a safe distance away from the rocket.

One of the instructions that caught my attention was this:

“All persons in the vicinity of any launching must be advised that a launching is imminent before a [model] rocket may be ignited or launched. A minimum five-second audible countdown must be given before ignition or launching of a [model] rocket.”

Are ya with me here as we transfer the images of a launching a rocket to that of “launching” our kids?

As parents, we are called by God to:

  • be the resident “Safety Officer”, where we can only lead our kids well while we remain in His presence as we venture forth in the raising of our children.
  • have a home-field where there are specific boundaries set up for each age and stage of growth our children encounter. Without boundaries, we don’t know where the kids are off to and our children don’t have any concept that they are expected to operate in the great big world out there with boundaries intact!
  • perform frequent safety checks ~ those might look like family bible study, prayer time, or good old-fashioned conversations. And when safety checks fail, there must be specific consequences to fix the problem…and they usually take longer than we anticipate to correct!
  • be a fixed point of consistency and focus so that when the first attempts at launching take place, we are there to assist at keeping our kids upright before the Lord and themselves.
  • be just close enough to step in should help be required, but far enough away to allow our kids to make mistakes and learn to figure out how to readjust.
  • light the fire in the hearts of each of our kids so they can see what God has created them for. We all have a purpose and you don’t have to wait until after college to figure this out. Each of our kids gifts and talents will grow, change, and mature through the years and we are the best cheerleaders in their lives to pray God’s clarity into their heart for what He has planned for them. {and prayer is the BEST momentum we can give our kids!}
  • LET GO!  The best way to successfully launch our kiddos into the world of college and beyond, is to do it from a distance.

Whew!  That’s a lot to take in but it’s all so worth it! Especially that last part! We do not do any favor to our children by making their path smooth for their entire life. That is NOT reality ~ and who do you think they will come back to blame when life doesn’t “go their way”?  The parents!

To the “lawnmower” or “snowplow” parent ~  STOP!! LET GO!! I say this in love to you…please let go and allow the Lord to help you navigate this crazy adventure called parenting.

It’s okay to let your kids fail…because failing at home while they are young is safe. Home is a safe place to land and a safe spot to figure out how to do better the next go around. And it’s really REALLY okay not to be your kids friend…be confident to BE the parent! That’s your job…the friendship comes later…and it’s oh so sweet!!

Re-read that quote from the first line and think about it in terms of raising your children: “We need to let our kids fail while they are still living at home so they don’t fail in dealing with reality after they leave the nest.”

Watching your children fail is NOT fun! But do you know how I know for sure we can handle, and they will survive it?

God loves us, His children, and we fail on the daily. But through His wise instruction and by us remaining in His presence, we learn how to do life better every day. He doesn’t ever give up on us when we take a misstep (or 1000). He’s always right there waiting to help us get back up on our feet and try again.

We can be that safe space for our kids too!

I didn’t always handle the “misfires” of my children’s youth with the grace and dexterity of spirit as I would have liked, but I know that with the Lord’s guidance {and loads of prayer!} my husband and I have raised three amazing young women who are setting the world on fire with the gifts and talents He has given them!

I still remember one of the hardest and best pieces of advice a mentor-mom gave me when our oldest daughter was just a few months old…and even now that she’s 25 and married, this phrase still makes me tear up…

She said, “You are raising up your children in order to let them go.”

What? I didn’t want to hear that!!! Seriously!!! But she was so very very right!

You don’t blow up a balloon just to watch it deflate. No, you carefully fill up that balloon with just the right amount, and let it go! Even if that little balloon gets tangled up, or loses altitude, or goes side-ways instead of up for a bit of time, it does rise. And it is a beautiful thing to watch.

Be confident as you prepare your littles for that inevitable day!

Be secure as you help your child pack up all the stuff they need and move them into their college dorm in the Fall.

You can do this! Watching your child become an adult is a beautiful kind of launch. And when they need it, they know how to get back to the launching pad to talk to the “resident safety officer” ~ and we can help lead them back to a secure take off once again.

Rockets aren’t meant to remain on the launching field ~ they are meant to soar!!

Blessings,

René

Earth Hour

 

 ~ Here’s a few of verses I told ya about to pray for your kiddos…no matter their age ~ 

Psalm 5:3 AMP “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will prepare [a prayer and a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].”

Psalm 87:1 AMP His foundation is on the holy mountain.

Psalm 21:4-7 AMP He asked life of You, And You gave it to him, Long life forever and evermore. His glory is great because of Your victory; Splendor and majesty You bestow upon him. For You make him most blessed [and a blessing] forever; You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence. For the king [confidently] trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness (faithfulness, goodness) of the Most High he will never be shaken.”

Epehsians 4:1-3 AMP So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior–a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].”

I Corinthians 3:9-11 AMP For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building. According to the [remarkable] grace of God which was given to me [to prepare me for my task], like a skillful master builder I laid a foundation, and now another is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

 

 **{Launching Requirements | National Association of Rocketry}

 

 

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Are You Just a Tour Guide…

Recently, one of my daughters {who is a full time missionary} posted a video in her IG story with a poll question that went something like this…”Should I become a tour guide?”…as she showed people around the place where she works. I sent her a message back that said, “So what was the consensus? Tour guide or missionary?”

And then I got an idea for this blog post!

When we are sharing the Gospel, are we a tour guide? Or are we a missionary?

Think about the last time you went on a trip somewhere and hired a tour guide to show you the sites. Or you visit a friend who lives in a different state and they want to take you to “all the good spots.”

We’ve had this experience a few times and it’s always been amazing! But what do you see on a tour? You see all the special things, the highlights of the location you are visiting, you enjoy a special meal at a local restaurant, you see the places that make you think “you’ll never be here again so take the picture”, and so on. What you usually don’t see are the rough spots in town, the dangerous places, or the “I won’t be writing home about that” kind of places.

No matter where you are in the world, or what kind of tour you are on, where does the tour ALWAYS end? Yep…in the souvenir shop! Literally every tour, or even most rides at Disneyland for that matter, end up in the gift shop. You want a souvenir to remember your trip. You want to bring home a little trinket for your kids and hope they like it even though they would’ve rather been on the trip with you {lol! all time time!}

When you get home, you place your souvenir on a shelf or maybe it’s a piece of jewelry you wear on special occasions. But eventually it becomes a fuzzy memory of good times gone by.

Is this how you share the Gospel?

Do you get excited about something God has shown you in scripture, something that will bless your life, something that “sparks joy”, and you want to share it with someone? So you meet up with a friend for coffee and share all the fantastic details of this newly found joy in your life and how great it makes you feel…only to end the conversation without sharing the hard stuff in your life that makes the joy you have tangible? Do you leave them with just a trinket?

Now, I’m not saying at all that we have to walk around with our proverbial dirty laundry for all to see. That’s not what the Lord wants either.

We’ve got to get rid of the stigma of what we think it means to be a missionary because as followers of Christ, we are ALL called to be missionaries. A missionary isn’t just a job for a few people.

A missionary is literally “a person who is sent on a mission.”** In the New Testament, when Jesus was commissioning the Disciples, we see in Mark 16:15, “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Jesus did not intend for those 12 disciples to be the only ones who would share the good news of His salvation.

While Jesus was still on the earth, and after commissioning the 12, Luke 10:1-3 shares this about Jesus commissioning 70 more saying, “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every city and place where He was about to go. He was saying to them, “The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few. Therefore, [prayerfully] ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Go your way; listen carefully: I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. ” 

Everywhere we go, we are to be missionaries of the gospel ~ as followers of Christ, He calls us to be sent out on a mission to tell people about the freedom that comes with salvation in Christ.

Yes, some our called to be missionaries that will go out into unreached people groups and to far off countries.

But we have ALL been called to share the gospel.

And not just the warm fuzzy parts. 

Did you notice that last verse that I shared from Luke? We are knowingly going out into the world “like lambs among wolves.” That’s why we need to be in community with other believers and why we need to cling to the Word of God to lead us as we go about our day.

If you’re a new momma at home with little ones, you’re thinking, “Oh great. I can barely get through a day without someone spitting up or peeing on me, and now I’m supposed to go preach the gospel to the world!!” Dear momma, you are exactly living in the mission field you are supposed to be in. Your home is the first place you can preach the good news. I can remember those days where I felt like I was the lone survivor simply battling to get everyone fed, bathed, and into bed at a decent hour. {Okay, sometimes baths didn’t always happen…especially in the summer…that’s what sprinklers and pool time is for!}

But trust me, you are right where the Lord wants you to be. New seasons of life will spring up as your children grow and mature and yes, eventually move out. I survived that and you will too. And might I say, it’s actually pretty fun to have adult children!  My daughters and my son-in-law are pretty cool people in my life!

We are all missionaries ~ God calls us to share the truth of the Gospel mixed in with the truth of how He has moved in and through our life. Our life is a testimony of the millions of believers who have gone before us…starting with those 12 disciples who chose to be obedient to the call of preaching the good news.

We are not called to be tour guides who only show the “Highlight Reel” to the people around us. 

I don’t want to sound cliché here, but truly, everywhere we go is our mission field. There are people around you who have only heard the name of Jesus used in a profane way. How awesome it can be to show those in your sphere of influence, who Jesus is to you. Of course, sharing the joys of what it means to be saved and have everlasting life with Jesus is a must! But even more important is to share with others, the joy you choose to have EVEN WHEN life doesn’t seem fair.

Jesus is not a genie in a bottle or a tour guide with the bright orange flag leading you down a delightful path of all the wonders of the world.

Being created in His image…that means we aren’t tour guides either.

We are made to be in relationship with Him and through that we can show other people the way to Jesus; the way of salvation. We have a mission {“an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation” **} to lead people into the knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done for the world and for us personally.

To put it plainly ~ Your story is your mission. Only you can tell your story. God created you to be able to lead others in ways unique only to you. Whether in your family, your neighborhood, your kids’ schools, in third-world countries, or in bustling cities of fortune….you absolutely have something that everyone needs…you have the gift of salvation and you are called to give that away!

Tour guides are hired by the hour to put on a show and lead you to all the pretty places. Missionaries live boldly every minute of every day for the Lord no matter what that means. How do you want to be known?

Live out loud for Him every day…not just on the days where life looks pretty and ready for your Instagram close up.

Be real. Be authentic. Be truthful. 

Choose obedience. Choose joy. Choose to be transformed.

And watch what the Lord can do with a willing heart!

Blessings,

René

tour guide or missionary

 

** https://www.dictionary.com/browse/missionary?s=t

** https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mission?s=t

 

 

 

 

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Do we understand blessings…

What does it really mean to be blessed by God? I’ve been thinking about this a lot since one of our church members taught in our class on Sunday. She had us shout out what we were thankful for…what we felt was a blessing in our life.

You guessed it…no one shouted out any hardships!  So easily we see hardships as an inconvenience, an interruption, something done to us instead of for us, something that is flat out hard to deal with! But there really are blessings in all of that!

I was struck by the Amplified Bible version of the Beattitudes in Matthew 5. I simply love the verbiage of this translation. As I study, it helps me to put new perspective, particularly verses I’ve read many many many times before. Each time the word ‘blessed’ is used, the amplified version describes that blessing in a unique way. I think it’s quite impactful and hope you do too!

So thank you for letting me share my heart with you today through these verses in Matthew 5:3-12…

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

  • When I focus on the Lord, leaning on Him for knowledge and guidance, I will more clearly see the path He has created for us to join in Him in heaven one day.

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

  • Not that I will live a sinless life, but when I admit my sins and ask the Father for forgiveness, He is so good to do that and to blot out any record of it! Even though I’ve known the Lord as my Savior for over 40 years now, this gift still amazes me!

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.

  • Beginning each day with a soft heart toward the things of God, with a clear mind to receive instructions from His Word ~ this is what makes it easier day by day to walk in peace with myself, with the Lord, and with the people around me.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

  • Yes!! I want to live fully satisfied with all God allows in my life ~ the happy times and the struggles….they all happen for a reason. Oh to be “nourished by God’s goodness” ~ who doesn’t want that!  Truth is the best way to satiate the soul!!

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

  • Those moments when I am tempted to withhold grace and mercy from someone, the Holy Spirit is tender to remind me that I wake up with renewed grace and mercy from the Father in Heaven…the God of all Creation. Since He gives me those gifts so freely, how can I not extend the same gifts to others!

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

  • Are you experiencing a time in your life that you don’t feel close to God? You aren’t hearing Him like you used to? The devil will tempt us to believe that God has turned His back on us…oh friend…fight that lie! When we feel distance with the Lord, we are the ones who have walked away. Return to a desire to live with godly character and seek spiritual guidance and you will dwell in a rush of the Father’s love for you…because it never went away!

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

  • Whoa!  Yes!! “Spiritually calm with life-joy” ~ oh a 1000x yes!! When we rest in God’s goodness and have an unshakeable faith that our day, our month, our life for that matter will turn out good for us, that is when we are settled into peace and will be able to exude the character of Christ through our life.

10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

  • Standing firm in your biblical and spiritually sound beliefs against the attitude of the world, is never going to be easy. Being mocked by others because you believe what the Bible says is true, is painful but it serves a purpose. Knowing how to share the truth of God’s Word without compromise, but also with love from God, is a treasure. Those who are truly searching will seek out the spiritual treasure you hold in your heart; those who believe the lies that they are “good enough” won’t.

11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me.

  • These are qualities I desire to have in my life ~ to be morally courageous and spiritually alive! Having those two attributes in my life {and when I remember I have them!} will make the flaming arrows of lies and persecution easier to deal with. It doesn’t mean that the arrows and barbs won’t hit us, or penetrate the flesh of our heart. It means that those wounds won’t last and they won’t determine our identity!  Amen!! The devil absolutely hates our battle scars, but we are fighting already FROM a place of victory because of Jesus!!  Remember that!!

12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

One of the beautiful reminders I received from reading through this translation is that a blessing from the Lord rarely, if ever, refers to something earthly ~ there is nothing temporal or financial referred to here in these verses.

The so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ does not exist. You will never find proof of that in God’s Word and I’m fully convinced of that. Our rewards are in heaven. Our worst day here on earth, as followers of Christ, will not follow us to our Heavenly home. This is why we cannot be jealous or strive after earthly riches like those who do not serve the Lord. Sadly, by choosing to live their life here on earth without Jesus as their Savior, they will live their eternal life separated from Him as well. This concept is harsh to many, but think of what Christ did for us dying on the cross and all that He suffered in the days leading up to His crucifixion. We will never be “good enough” to enter into Heaven on our own…if we were, then the death and resurrection of Christ was for nothing…and I believe in ALL that He did to bring us back into reconciliation with Him!

Being on the receiving end of God’s blessings is all about how we live for Him; how we are growing into His image; how we can bless others with sharing the gospel; and how we can emanate the glory of God and the impact of the Living Word to those around us in our sphere of influence.

Be blessed today ~ filled with all the life-joy that God’s goodness brings!

Blessings,

René

Let the Blessings flow!

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Filling broken places…..

When you feel broken, what do you fill yourself up with?

There are so many ways that we can feel broken…

  • A friendship goes away
  • The family we desire to have isn’t coming to fruition
  • The job we are anticipating doesn’t happen
  • Our life is hit by addiction; from ourself or from others
  • The marriage you have isn’t like the ones you see on social media
  • It seems like the life you have will never include financial freedom of any kind

And the list goes on and on…

What happens when those broken places happen? How do we fill that void?

Have you ever heard of the Japanese method called Kintsugi? It’s super cool!

“Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece.

This repair method celebrates each artifact’s unique history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with new life.

There are 3 predominant styles of Kintsugi: crack, piece method, and joint-call. While, in each case, gold-dusted epoxy is used to fix the broken pottery, the methods themselves vary. Objects mended using the crack approach are touched up with minimal lacquer, while works restored with the piece method feature replacement fragments made entirely of epoxy. Finally, pieces fixed using the joint-call technique employ similarly-shaped pieces from other broken wares, combining 2 aesthetically different works into 1 uniquely unified product.”

{https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/}

I just love this concept. And to me, it translates perfectly as to how God repairs the broken places of our life. We are so precious to Him ~ when we break, His heart breaks for us too. He doesn’t simply open a bottle of super glue, squirt some onto the broken pieces and shove them together hoping that the glue will do the trick. He cares too much for us to be so cavalier with His precious creation.

Since God is the one who put us together, He’s the best one to turn to, to be put back together after a season of brokenness. But there is much patience involved on our part. The Lord uses those moments in our life to refine us; to bring out the shine in our life. The rough parts are softened and the pieces that don’t necessarily fit back into place are removed. That’s when our patient heart needs to be on high alert!

While the Lord is working on the “golden repair”, we must wait.

The. waiting. is. so. hard.

We don’t want to hurt. We don’t want to feel broken. We don’t want to look busted-up in the world’s eyes. We want to give the appearance that we are okay…that we’re “fixed.”

In that impatient effort of so desperately wanting to look “normal” and unbroken, we look to quick fixes. We seek a relationship that we think will fill our aching soul. We turn to food, or sex, or pornography, or drugs, or alchohol…so many things…and we allow the lies of the devil to invade our mind. We begin to believe his lies that those earthly things will fill the void left by brokenness.

All that we’ve done is attempt to fix our own brokenness with something that won’t last…like wax. Wax was created to melt…not to be an agent of repair. Wax is temporary. When our brokenness comes to the surface again, and the heat of life is turned up to full blast, the wax will melt and all that comes out of our heart is hot anger and all the sadness that we’ve been trying to keep hidden.

What was meant to be a lesson in our life, ends up burning the people around us.

When we take a step back and truly wait for God to handle our life-repair the right way, then our brokenness is filled with the goodness and the shining glory of His love and connection. He brings the broken pieces back together and we become an even stronger version of our self. We become a force to be reckoned with {if you will} who had entered a battle and came out victorious!

Ephesians 2: 8-10 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”

Don’t be afraid of the broken or cracked places in your life ~ God is getting ready to fill it with the refined gold and silver of His great and mighty love! And for heaven’s sake, if God fills you with silver and someone else with gold and someone else with a whole new piece ~ don’t compare your gift with someone else’s!  God will absolutely repair you the way that YOU need to be repaired! Your “work order” won’t ever get mixed up with another person’s. You are in great hands with God doing the repair work!!

Blessings,

René

 

 

 

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Are you in Good Hands…

You’re in your living room, half watching a TV show, when a certain insurance commercial comes on. You know the one, the guy with the super deep voice that just draws you in. The kind of voice that is talking about something that you now know you need even though you weren’t looking for it 5 minutes ago. And then he says, “Now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?”

Well, are you?

When I was a child, one of the most safe places I could find was walking side by side with my father while he held my hand. My father seemed bigger than life to me. I mean, he was a fireman…how cool was that! He ran into burning buildings when people were scrambling to get out. In his hands, he directed his team on how to best fight the fire. In his hands, he could guide the tremendous force of water coming through a fire hose to douse a blaze. In his hands, he could analyze the aftermath of a fire and figure out why and how (and who!) the fire started. But his strength didn’t just lie in the power of his job.

In his hands, he held a colicky baby (yeah…that’d be me) while he read the paper, patiently waiting for sleep to arrive. In his hands, he buried his first born son from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In his hands, he comforted other families who had lost children the same way. In his hands, he carried severely burned people out of fiery buildings. In his hands, he carried small children who didn’t make it out of a fire. In his hands, he taught a timid 17 year old how to drive. In his hands, he spent all year growing a cottony-soft white beard all so that he could play Santa to my daughters (which the two year old truly thought he was the real deal and was dumbfounded when “Santa” showed up at her front door on Christmas morning.) In his hands, he cared for our family and for his parents as they aged, with a quiet humility.

In his hands, I was never afraid.

I’m beyond grateful that I have a picture here on earth of how a father loves his child. It’s just a glimpse, because in all truthfulness, for as much as I love my father, he wasn’t perfect. He’d never claim to be. But he’s always been there when I need him. Or when I needed him to teach my children algebra, because math and I have never been friends. I have several friends who did not have a great relationship with their earthly father and in some ways it has made it more difficult to cultivate a deep relationship with Father God. But there is always room for improvement.

Because in God’s Hands, we know the truth and we can know the depth of love and care like we’ve never experienced.

I’m just gonna let the living words of the Psalms speak for themselves here ~

*Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

*Psalm 18:35 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds and sustains me; Your gentleness [Your gracious response when I pray] makes me great.”

*Psalm 31:5 “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth and faithfulness.”

*Psalm 63:8 “My soul [my life, my very self] clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

*Psalm 92:4 “For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; At the works of Your hands I joyfully sing.”

*Psalm 139:5 “You have enclosed me behind and before, And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.”

 

In His hands, I have been created. In His hands, I am secure. In His hands, there is a good path set before me. In His hands, I am made joyful. In His hands, I am protected. In His hands, I am saved. In His hands, I am redeemed. In His hands, I am loved. In His hands, I can choose to love Him back. In His hands, I can show others the truth of His words. In His Hands, I am redeemed. In His Hands, I am qualified. In His hands, I can be a good mother and wife. In His hands, I can be the woman He designed me to be.

In His hands, I have my life.

We are absolutely in good hands. We are in the best hands when we are firmly in the grasp of His Hands.

Now, I want you to picture yourself with the Lord. Hear the booming comfort of His voice. Let Him ask you, “Now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?”

Blessings,

René

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Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women's Ministries, Writers

Weaponized Prayer…

“Weaponized Christianity” ~ This phrase has been spoken about quite a bit in the news lately, because of various outspoken people who also hold public office. There are a ton of Christians coming out against some of these people saying that their public prayers/actions are unbiblical and that they are “offensive to everyone”, Christians and non-Christians alike.
But the statement that pops out to me the most is with the phrase, ‘weaponized prayer’.
But isn’t that what prayer is supposed to be?
Prayer is THE weapon to fight EVERY spiritual battle.
A battle entails weapons and we have to have the right weapons to fight a battle. To fight a spiritual battle we must be fully dressed in the FULL armor of God.
The famous phrase from one of my all time favorite movies, Princess Bride, comes to mind here: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
To weaponize means: to supply or equip with a weapon or weapons; 
to develop for use as a weapon. 
A weapon is: any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat, fighting, or war, as a sword, rifle, or cannon. 
When facing any kind of battle, be it physical or spiritual, there can be a good amount of fear or hesitation. John 14:1 is a beautiful encouragement as we prepare to engage in battle.  “”Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.”
As followers of Christ, we need to stand firm and not be intimidated by how the world says we should act. The world (and even some Christians) says that we shouldn’t be specific in stating our biblical beliefs and spiritual perspectives. That we shouldn’t run the risk of offending people by talking about Jesus. That we need to be inclusive of how everyone chooses to live and keep our ideas to our self.
It is truly not a surprise to me anymore that people simply come undone at the mention of the Name of Jesus! We all should! It has more power than we even have the ability to comprehend.
But let’s get back to the idea of weaponizing prayer!  Come on!!!  This is exactly what we do every time we are obedient to put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6 gives us the tools that we need to be equipped to fight the spiritual battles arounds us and prayer is the supply chain leading us to the One who gives us the ability to attack our enemy, the Devil.
PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ENEMY!!  THE DEVIL IS THE ENEMY!!
There are so many people saying how Christ came to unite and not to divide. And I do not think there is actually anything biblical about that statement. The only unification that Christ came to bring was to unify a fallen world back to Him.
In the verse below, we see how absolute Jesus was about what we need to do to be saved. He does not talk about a variety of divergent paths that all lead to one single destination. His word does not encourage the reader to “find their own truth.” He is extremely clear on the ONE path to salvation ~ John 14:6, in Jesus’ own words make an incredibly strong statement. Just one of the many times He spoke truth in love, “Jesus said to him, “ I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.””
He came and died and rose again so that we would be reconciled back to Him. In doing so, He gave us the freedom to either choose Him and His way of salvation or not to choose Him and end up being eternally separated from Him.
Essentially, we are given the choice to divide ourselves out of His presence by not submitting to His plan of salvation. When Jesus was on the earth, He was absolutely the most divisive figure in history. And I think He still is.
He was divisive because He challenged people to lay down their own desires and their own ideas of how they thought life should be and choose to follow Him. To surrender ourselves to Him is to separate ourselves from the selfishness that a sin-nature brings out in people. In this way, Jesus was so divisive that people of that day, chose to have Barabbas (an extremely violent felon who had committed murder; Mark 15:7-15) saved from death on the cross and instead put Jesus there.
They wanted to crucify Jesus because he told the truth
and people couldn’t handle the truth.
We haven’t come too far from those people, have we?
Back in Ephesians 6, I counted all the words that even remotely have to do with weapons/weaponizing, and found at least 22 (depending on your Bible translation, you might find more):
* be strong  * strength  * be empowered  * power  * boundless might  * armor 
* heavily-armed  * stand up against  * struggle  * successfully resist  * stand your ground  * stand firm  * fully prepared  * immovable  * victorious  * face the enemy  * firm-footed stability  * protective shield  * extinguish flaming arrows  * sword 
* stay alert  * interceding
Here’s the key to all of these action words regarding our battle and the weapons we have ~ they are all found in the Lord. They are not found within us naturally. Ephesians 6:10 says, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.”
Only through our union with Him, our obedience to follow His path for our life, and our determination to fight the spiritual battles that come our way alongside the Lord, will we be able to walk through this life victorious.
{If you have never read through Ephesians 6, especially verses 10-20,
please take a moment to do that today ~ it’s totally worth it!!}
As a follower of Jesus Christ, yes we are called to speak truth in love, and to love our neighbor as our self, to show kindness and grace to those around us. But we are absolutely called to be warriors for the Kingdom. And it is absolutely possible to battle lovingly! Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that the battle is a spiritual one ~ and believe me from my own experience…spiritual battles are real…they are no joke! That’s why we have to be aware!!
Just as we are not to use prayer as a disguise for gossip, we are not to use prayer against others. Ephesians 6: 18 instructs this, “With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.”
Stand firm in the faith of your salvation to speak God’s truth. Use the spiritual weapons we have been given through the Holy Spirit, and He will absolutely lead you into the battles that are yours to fight. And when you are tempted to back-bite against other Christians, check yourself, check scripture, pray about it…and more than likely, you will end up not speaking out. Remember, the battles we fight the most are spiritual. And what better way for the Devil to cause Christians to be divided against each other but to have us go to war with each other.
As Paul states in Ephesians 6:19-20, and it should be the same prayer for all of us, “And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.”
Blessings to you for boldness as you use your spiritual weapons responsibly!
~ René

Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women's Ministries, Writers

Sharing God’s Truth without Compromise…Part 4

Hello there!  Welcome back to this first blog series I’ve posted…day 4! If you haven’t read the first three, I’d love to encourage you to go back and read them too.

Today is the wrap-up of what I believe the Lord gave me to share about having the tenacity, wrapped in love for Him, to share God’s Word – His Living Truth – with the church communities we interact with on a daily basis.

I believe in every single part of the Bible and that it is God-breathed ~ it is truly the Living Word of God. I cannot divide it up by what makes me comfortable and what seems unfair. My feelings do not determine the validity of what the Bible says ~ because my feelings are just that…feelings…not always truth.

I also believe that God is good and what He wants to give us is good. Like any good parent, there are rules to follow and consequences are given when that doesn’t happen.

Bottomline though ~ God is a gracious Father and wants the best for His children!

So, let’s get to the final portion of Part 4…

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Just as the Lord put in scripture to assist us in knowing how to lean on Him and trust His Word, He has given us multiple scriptures to keep in mind how to determine true teachings of the Bible and those that are not.

I John 4 is a great chapter to read on this, and I wanted to highlight the first 6 verses with you here today:

Testing the Spirits ~ I John 4:1-6

 1Beloved, do not believe every spirit [speaking through a self-proclaimed prophet]; instead test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world.  By this you know and recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ has [actually] come in the flesh [as a man] is from God [God is its source];  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus [acknowledging that He has come in the flesh, but would deny any of the Son’s true nature] is not of God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is now already in the world.  Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].  They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories—demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them.  We [who teach God’s word] are from God [energized by the Holy Spirit], and whoever knows God [through personal experience] listens to us [and has a deeper understanding of Him]. Whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know [without any doubt] the spirit of truth [motivated by God] and the spirit of error [motivated by Satan].

{bolded phrases: my emphasis}

If we are truly Christians – honestly seeking to honor the Lord by how we live our lives according to the precepts and commandments He has given us – then we are within the proper scope of teaching the Truth of God’s word.

Read again verse 5 “They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories—demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them.”

Does this sound familiar in the world we live in? And it’s not just the basic world view vs. Biblical view of living. The following statement flows equally between the two and it kinda goes like this:

“You must be tolerant of all beliefs and opinions. Here’s my truth and you are welcome to it. You have to be tolerant because this is my truth. And if you disagree with me, you are then intolerant because you don’t agree with me. And even though I don’t agree with you, I am not being intolerant because my truth tells me that what you believe in is ludicrous.” This is basically the world’s reaction to everyone who doesn’t agree with “their truth”.     {by René A. Bancroft}

Bottom line, we are back to the basics of what we talked about last week in that no one wants to admit they are sinners, have a sin-nature, need saving from their sin, etc., in order to be saved from eternal separation from God.

God Is Light: John 1:5-10

This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection]. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude ourselves and the truth is not in us. [His word does not live in our hearts.] 9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 10 If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His word is not in us.

{bolded phrases: my emphasis}

In doing some of the research for this series, I came across so much information about Christianity, written by people who were NOT Christians. It was heartbreaking as I read one post by someone who said that the way to know someone was a “real Christian” was to find out what people groups or activities they hated. It wouldn’t be as devastating of a statement if there weren’t some truth to it. We have certainly not loved as Jesus in many occasions. But it’s not too late to change!!

That same person went on, in his own estimation, to disprove every one of God’s commandments on what was sin. His “truth” was that as long as you followed the “only two” of God’s laws that “really counted” you were good enough. What laws did he choose for his truth?  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And to follow the Golden Rule (a worldly term), or as stated in Matthew 7:12, “So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets.

But even as this guy let you in on his secret as to tell who a real Christian was, there are those within the church who do the same thing. When disagreements come up between people, they decide, many times based on how they feel about various scripture, that the other person is right or wrong. Usually wrong if they are in disagreement with them and their opinions. That’s how denominations were and are created and that is what causes people to leave one church and join another.

Even in this train of thought, there’s a verse for that…

Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”  ~ If being hurt by the church community, or even just one person within the church, causes you to lose faith in God, then your faith was actually in people and not in God.

The main goal of satan is to distract us and cause confusion and chaos. Why be surprised that the church in America is dying. When we are fighting over what scripture means, if it was meant for people only 2000 years ago, if it applies to us today, and the list goes on and on; then the enemy wins. Remember that we are not fighting a battle against flesh and blood but of spirits and principalities of this world.

God is a God of order and direction.

It is absolutely possible to share the truth of God’s Living Word within the church. The best advice I can give you to help you do that.

Open the Bible.

Read the Bible.

This is the best and ONLY way to not be deceived by the world and be swayed into believing in the “popular opinion” of the day. We are ridiculed daily because the belief we have in the Truth of God’s Word ~ stop being surprised by that! But react to it in love.

As followers of Christ, we are to live in a way that points people to Jesus. We cannot save anyone. We cannot give away the free gift of salvation. Only Jesus can do that.

But we have the beautiful privilege to be present when someone opens their heart to the knocking of the Holy Spirit.

Pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal the Truth of His Word to your heart and mind.  And He will do it.

Blessings,

René