Hold Fast. Stay True.

standard November 13, 2018 Leave a response

Do you have what it takes to be an “elite achiever?”

Last month I was in Austin, Texas, celebrating my husband as his financial planning practice was recognized as one of the best in the country. While there we had the pleasure of hearing former US Navy Seal Clint Bruce speak on how to be an elite achiever in our everyday lives.

Bruce said that he had written the phrases “HOLD FAST” and “STAY TRUE” on his knuckles so that he would remember what to do in the middle of combat.

HOLD FAST was so that he could brace himself against the onslaught of his enemies, knowing that they were coming for him hot and fast so he needed to be ready to hold his ground. Hold Fast.

STAY TRUE helped him remember the principles that he had been taught while training to be a Seal, knowing that if he deviated from the truth, it could result in death. It also served as a reminder to protect and assist his fellow Seals while in the heat of the battle. Stay True.

These are life-changing principles for us to live by as well.

1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stay true in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

In this verse Paul is teaching us the same thing that this Navy Seal was taught in his training. There is an enemy that seeks to kill us. It is imperative that we be on our guard and hold fast against his attacks. Paul also instructs us to stay true to our faith, even when it’s hard, even when we’re beyond ready to give up, even when we feel lost.

It’s in those moments that the elite achiever takes hold of the Light and stays on course.

So I ask you the same question that Bruce asked me: do you have what it takes to be an elite achiever? I believe you do.

Be courageous. Be strong. HOLD FAST and STAY TRUE.

Falling into Step

standard November 6, 2018 1 response

Well, we thought fall would never come, but here we are in November and it finally arrived!

This is my absolute favorite time of year and I love to take long walks and let the leaves crunch under my shoes as I move my feet. Most of the time I’ve got a sermon playing in my headphones as I’m clipping along at a good pace, but sometimes I’ll slow down, put on some praise and worship, and attempt to take in the beauty of the trees with their changing color.

The other day I was doing just that when a new song came on that I had never heard before called “Come Holy Spirit” by Vertical Worship. It brought me into such a state of worship as the artist sang “fall afresh on me…Holy Spirit come…Holy Spirit move…do what only You can do.” And in that moment I was truly desperate for His presence.

It was as if I was walking in perfect step with the Spirit of the Living God and it was breathtaking.

Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

I’m the first to admit that I don’t always get this verse right in my walk with the Lord, but when I do allow myself to live by the Spirit, oh what a difference it makes!

Holy Spirit come. Help me keep in step with You. Fall afresh on me.

Dressing Up as Queen Esther

standard October 30, 2018 1 response

As a little girl I grew up in a wonderful, yet conservative Christian home. We did not celebrate Halloween, but rather we would have a “Fall Festival” on the church grounds in which candy was passed out, but never enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

We were allowed to dress up but it had to meet Biblical guidelines. So, my choices were automatically limited as a girl.

Should I choose Ruth? Nah, all that grain gleaning isn’t glamorous enough for a 10-year-old.
What about Mary? Ehhh, nobody wants to see child pretending to be preggers.
I thought about Mary Magdalene, but I wasn’t that strong of a runner, so there goes that.

Which left me with the only obvious choice for the third year in a row: I would dress up as Queen Esther.

Esther was a Jewish girl who received the favor of the king’s attendant and because of that favor she was elevated above the competition to be the next queen. Scripture also tells us that Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her and when she was introduced to the king, he favored her over all the other virgins. Because of this divine favor, a simple girl becomes royalty and is crowned Queen of Susa.

With all that favor, who wouldn’t want to dress up as Esther?!

But what we find if we keep reading the book of Esther is that she was given that favor so that she could save the Jews from a genocide. However, she had to be willing to risk her life in order to save others. Esther was willing to use her influence to approach the king (an unthinkable and unprecedented thing!), and because she did a favorable outcome was given to the Jews and Esther’s family and the Jewish people were saved.

If I could go back in time to the days of Fall Festivals, I would tell my 10-year-old self, “Self, don’t be dismayed that you find yourself dressing up as Queen Esther for the third year straight. Instead, see it as an opportunity to not only be royalty for a night, but also as a chance to learn what it means to be willing to stand up for what is right, even when it’s difficult…even when it could cost you dearly. That’s what it means to live a life of favor.”

Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? ~ Esther 4:14

No Darkness at All

standard October 22, 2018 2 responses

Have you ever been in an unfamiliar place while it was pitch black dark?

Think about how you felt in that moment. Maybe you were scared, nervous, insecure.

Now think about how it made you feel as soon as light flooded your eyes and you could see your surroundings. Did you exhale a big sigh of relief?  

Now let’s take a moment to link that physical experience to the spiritual side of our lives. Think of a time when you were in a dark place emotionally and spiritually in your life.  Did you feel as if the light had left you?

Were you able to experience the light overcoming the darkness?  How did it feel to have that flicker of light return to your life?  

If you have not yet felt the light in your current situation, offer up a prayer right now for Jesus’ light to enter into your situation.  

1 John 1:5 says,

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

Believe it, dear friend! Where God is, there is no darkness.  Your situation may seem dark and gray at the moment, but you serve a God who defeated the grave and He will do the same for you.

Where there is light, there is also hope.

And in that place, there is no darkness at all.

Praising Through the Pain

standard October 9, 2018 4 responses

There are few things that move me to tears on a regular basis, but worship is definitely one of them.  I love to come together with other believers and offer the Lord my praise and worship with hands held high, singing with all my might.  When I think about God’s faithful love toward me, grateful tears automatically spring up inside me.

But there have also been times in my life when the tears have come from a place of pain.  I can distinctly remember standing in a worship service just months after my younger brother had died in a tragic car accident with my hands hiding my face as I uncontrollably sobbed into them.  The sanctuary was filled with beautiful voices singing “It Is Well with My Soul,” and I could not physically open my mouth to sing in that moment. I wondered if I would ever feel like praising again.

But as a faithful Savior so sweetly does, He wrapped His arms around me and began to heal my broken heart. Week by week I kept returning to worship and before long I was able to sing a little bit more, yet still with hot tears flowing down my cheeks. As the weeks turned into months, my desire to praise my Creator had returned and even though I was still grieving, I knew that my hope would always be in Him.  

Psalm 42 gives voice to this so perfectly by asking these very raw and real questions, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” But then answering with, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

Life can be cruel sometimes. It threatens to leave us in a great state of turmoil and utterly depressed, believing that we’ll never be able to sing praise again. But if we allow ourselves to grieve properly and hold fast to our Savior, before long we’ll find that we are able to praise Him even through the pain.

It has been over fifteen years since I lost my brother and I can tell you that I am once again exuberantly worshiping my God.  The tears still fall from time to time, but they’re mostly due to my gratitude for all that He’s done for me. I will forever put my hope in the One who saved me, my faithful God. 

Voice of Truth

standard October 2, 2018 2 responses

One of the most important things that we can do as a believer in Christ is to reject the lies of the enemy and replace it with the Voice of Truth.

Satan will do whatever it takes to render God’s children as ineffective for the Kingdom. So, if he can convince us that we are too broken, too fat, too dumb, too far gone to be used by God, then he considers it a win.

But that’s simply not true!

God’s Word says that long before he laid down earth’s foundations, He had you in mind; He had settled on you as the focus of his love. He chose you, my darling!!

The Voice of truth never lies and it says that you are CHOSEN, you are accepted, you are whole, you are clean because of what Jesus Christ did for you.

It is important that we know that God’s Word is a mirror that reflects only the truth. And when we hold up that mirror we see that we are truly loved and chosen!

Every day that we wake up to begin another day, we have an opportunity to be effective for the Kingdom of God. The question is: will we listen to the lies of Satan or will we stand on God’s Word and listen to the Voice of Truth?

Always Be Ready

standard September 24, 2018 2 responses

If someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?” Do you feel like you could give a good answer?

Sometimes these Christian words such as grace, salvation, and gospel are so familiar to us that we lose the significance of their meaning, or we never had a good working definition of them rooted in our mind.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us that if

       Someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

But how can we effectively communicate the hope that we have as a Christ-follower if we’re not exactly sure what it is that we believe? Good question!

The answer is that we must always go back to the Word as our ultimate source of truth. It’s as simple as opening our Bible app and typing in the word “gospel.” When we do, we find that this beautiful word actually means “Good News!” and the good news is that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth so that He could die for our sins (which is salvation), even though we didn’t deserve it (which is grace) and that He didn’t stay dead, but that He was resurrected and is coming back again (which is our HOPE as a believer!)

So you see, it’s not so hard to share your faith with others. And the world so desperately needs you to. You just have to always be ready!

Are You Ready For Some Football?

standard September 18, 2018 5 responses

Fall is finally here, which means that the helmets are bright and shiny underneath the stadium lights. The question is: Are you ready for some football?

One of our favorite family activities is to meet up with other families at the local university football games. The air is mixed with Louisiana meat pies, cut grass, and of course, leather footballs.

As I watch the players take their positions on the field, I am in awe of how they hold their stance until the ball is snapped. It takes focus and discipline.

However, there are those occasions when a player will move off the line of scrimmage too soon and an offside penalty will be given. I always feel sorry for that player as the ref throws his flag and the offending number is called over the loud-speaker.

Maybe he “thought” he heard the snap. Or maybe there was bee in his helmet. But none of that matters to the referee who is there to make sure that the rules are followed.

Sometimes we jump off the line of scrimmage too soon in our spiritual life. Maybe we thought we heard the Lord say move, but we really were following our own desires. That’s why God’s Word tells us continually to “wait upon the Lord.” When we wait on Him our faith is built so that when we do hear Him say “move,” we can run the play with confidence.

Yes, it takes focus and discipline to wait, but it’s the best way to win the game!

Arise to the Battle

standard September 12, 2018 2 responses

This past weekend, God most certainly was present at The Battle Conference hosted by Heartfelt Ministries. It was a wonderful time to dig into God’s Word as we learned how to surrender, arise, and equip ourselves for spiritual battle.

Attached is a recap of my call to mothers to ARISE to the Battle!

Visit my YouTube Channel for more video clips!

Practical Tools for Battle

Below are links to the books I mentioned at the Battle Conference. Congratulations to Melissa Allen who was the winner of the gift basket!

  • For young children, start to teach them that Jesus is THE truth.

Click here to purchase.

  • For middle age children, help them learn about the Armor of God.

Click here to purchase.

  • For teenagers and above, remember that wrestling with their faith leads to an authentic faith.

Click here to purchase.

  • And last, but not least, PRAY for your child!

Click here to purchase.

 

 

The Name of Jesus

standard August 28, 2018 2 responses

On a scale of 1 to 10 how comfortable are you saying the name of Jesus?

Imagine you are talking with a new acquaintance, perhaps even a co-worker, and the topic of religion comes up, are you more comfortable saying that you have a relationship with God or are you willing to say that you have a relationship with Jesus?

I ask this question because of a recent conversation I had with a very good friend of mine who is totally sold out for the gospel and is not afraid to share her faith. However, she told me that up until a few years ago she was timid when it came to saying the name of Jesus out loud. She would refer to her faith in God, but didn’t want to be offensive by mentioning Jesus. However, the Holy Spirit convicted her to start bringing the most powerful of names into her conversations and it changed everything for this beautiful Christ-follower.

Philippians 2:10-11 tells us,

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

It’s not just any name. It is the name that is exalted above every name. There is no other name that can save the lives of mankind.

May we be so bold as my wise friend and bring the name of Jesus into our conversations.