Don’t Panic

standard February 27, 2019 6 responses

I don’t consider myself to be an anxious person, but every now and then I’ll get that flutter of fear in my heart and panic starts to set in. Have you ever had that feeling?

It’s totally normal to have feelings of worry and fear. After all, there are 365 Scriptures in the Bible relating to fear and how to combat it, one for each day of the year.  God knew that because we live in a fallen world, we will have to battle our fears along the way. The question is: will we overcome our fears or will we allow them to rule our lives? 

Isaiah 41:10 says, 

Don’t panic. I’m with you.

There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.

I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.            

I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Oh, how these words speak to me! I immediately feel my spirit start to calm down knowing that God is right there with me, helping me, keeping me steady, giving me His supernatural strength. 

That doesn’t mean that all my fears are erased forever. It just means that I know that my God is greater than my worries and there is no need to fear. So next time I feel that anxiety start to creep in, I’ll remember His words: Don’t panic! 

Renewed Strength

standard March 19, 2018 4 responses

Can you believe that we are already nearing the end of March?

The newness of the year has definitely worn off, but we’re not quite ready for the summer yet either. There is still much work that needs to be done and I don’t know about you, but I could use some renewed strength up in here.

Isaiah 40:31 gives us some good news with these comforting words:

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint

The first thing that we need to do is to put our hope in the Lord, not ourselves. I can always tell when I’m trying to do things in my own strength because I will start to feel overwhelmed and little things will begin to irritate me.  But when I hand those reins back over to the Lord, my strength is renewed.

And it’s no ordinary strength either. It’s the kind of strength that an eagle has. I can run my kids all over town, encourage and pray for my husband, write my articles, prepare for women’s events, make several trips to the grocery store, exercise, plan a party for my mother’s birthday, maybe even babysit my nephew, and still not grow weary. How amazing is that?

God, I pray that You will infuse me with Your strength today so that I can be obedient to do the things that You have called me to do. Because without You I grow faint, but with You I can go the distance. Renew me, Lord.

Serving Up YOUR Gift

standard February 1, 2017 6 responses

If anyone serves, she should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

This past week I was blessed to use my gift of speaking seven individual times and it was truly one of the most fun weeks of my life. I woke up Monday thinking I would be exhausted, but instead I was invigorated.  It felt so good knowing that I had used my gift to glorify God.

One of my presentations was a devotional for the leadership team of the retreat where I was speaking. Prior to the event we walked through the verses of 1 Peter 4:7-11, establishing our purpose to “Feed His Sheep” because the “end of all things is near.”  When we serve with the gospel in mind, it creates a sense of urgency that Peter intended for us to have. It’s all for the sake of the Gospel!

However, the BEAUTY of serving lies in the various gifts that each of us possesses.  

Peter makes the point that we all have our own unique gift. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” And aren’t we so thankful for that? Because who would really want to attend a retreat where the same thing was being done over and over again? No thank you.

But here’s where the trap comes into play.  Sometimes we start comparing our gift against our sister’s gift and we believe the enemy’s lies when he tells us, “Your gift isn’t special. It’s not nearly as good as hers is. You don’t have anything to offer so you might as well stay home.”  Don’t believe that for a single second! Without you faithfully administering YOUR gift, the blessing for those present will never be as great as it could be.  Remember that Comparison is the Thief of Joy.  Step up to the plate and play your position.  You are essential to the successful administration of God’s grace!

I witnessed true beauty this past weekend. Each woman came with her own gift and she served it up faithfully.  One had the gift of leadership.  Another brought her gift of painting.  There was an interpretive dance to “King of My Heart” that brought tears to my eyes.  The women on the cook team brought their A-game (talk about “feeding the sheep”)! And so many more gifts contributed to this wonderful day of worship.

The women also accepted the challenge to take their gift of service to the next level when they resolved to do it in the “strength that God provides.”  I think that’s the biggest difference maker in how a Christian woman serves. No matter what the venue (a Christian event or not), we always have the opportunity to serve in His strength and not our own.  I can always tell when I’m trying to serve in my own strength because I will start to feel overwhelmed and little things will begin to irritate me.  But when I hand those reigns back over to the Lord, my strength is renewed.

Lastly, in order to serve effectively, we must be willing to give the glory to God.  When the retreat is over and the last of the decorations are put away, offer your praise to the One who made it all happen.  Scripture says, “so that in ALL THINGS God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” I am not suggesting that every single thing will go smoothly (it won’t!), but praise Him anyway and ask Him to reveal any necessary changes that need to be made for next time. He deserves our praise in ALL THINGS.  Praise is always the appropriate response!

And that’s how you serve up your gift, my friend.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s not elementary either. Service requires preparation, but the cost is always worth it. Bring your unique gift and serve it up in the strength that He provides so that His saving grace may be administered to others and then give Him all the glory.

To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.