Thou shalt…

Thou Shalt….
-Not compromise femininity or ethnicity for sake of leadership role
-Not be intimidated by those who question your ability to lead
-Be wise in establishing personal relationships
-Not to a superwoman
-Be a stista to your sister in ministry
-Welcome blessed alliances
-Be assertive, firm and fair
-Not oppress others
-Be a role model
-Not take yourself too seriously.

Advertisements

Have you recognized your own inner pharisee?

I’m a lover of the future. Some live for tradition; my heart beats for the what-ifs and what’s-to-comes in life. So when I found myself using all my mental strength to analyze my future status of my current positions of leadership, I thought it was just part of my personality. Then God interrupted, via Nancy Ortberg.

Ortberg’s book, Looking for God, closes with a chapter on recognizing the sins we consider minor, that God certainly does not:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:25.

Ortberg says, “At least [Jesus] could have accused them of some A-list sins. You know, the ones I could never commit…I could convince myself that Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees had absolutely nothing to do with me.” I nod my head along as I read, my inner Pharisee taking over, preferring to look away—or at others—whenever a verse starts with “woe.” Yet when Ortberg points out how close to home this verse should hit, how well acquainted she is with greed and self-indulgence, I was taken. Perhaps the landscape of my heart needed a good scrubbing.

Here are three questions I asked myself about the relevance of this “Woe”:

1. Am I playing the actress in any sphere of my life?
The Greek word for hypocrite comes from the same word we use for actor. The nature of acting requires manipulating emotions, wearing masks, and playing roles. It is difficult for me to know when I am actually putting myself aside to get the job done, or when I’m putting on my prettiest spiritual mask to go and lead. Oftentimes, the proof is in the stability of my attitude over time. When I flip from saint to storm cloud as I walk through my front door, I pause. This is not leading like Jesus, because I’m not living with integrity.

2. What am I greedy about?
Well, says my inner Miss Pharisee, here’s one I can easily check off the list. Greed has never been a problem for me…if this verse is referring to material things. But another look at the definition for greed gives me pause. The synonyms of greed include grasping, selfish, insatiable, covetous, and anxious. With an expanded understanding of Jesus’ words, I’m convicted of my grasping and insatiable need for praise or promoting my own agenda for selfish gain. I recognize that I covet the success of others or mask my anxiety about the future by calling it “self-analysis.”

3. Am I self-indulgent?
Perhaps my mental gymnastics about the future are better termed self-indulgence—an interior playground that lacks restraint. My thought life often skews in this direction, a little place in my mind reserved for my private pity parties and hissy fits, places where I allow myself to remain childish in all the wrong ways.

I spoke with a mother from my son’s school yesterday. We had never met, but needed to pull together some plans for an upcoming event. I was grumpy and complained to her about “children hanging all over me all day.” When I hung up, I found myself pausing. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit who admonished me: What if this woman, this stranger, struggled with infertility, desired a house full of children, and only had one. How do you think she would feel in this conversation? I realized what an incredible lack of self-restraint I exhibit. Yes, authenticity is a good thing. But so is a humble awareness of my own influence upon others. There are times for airing one’s heart and receiving encouragement. But there are also times to show restraint.

Reversing The Woe
Ortberg concludes her thoughts on Jesus’ words: “whenever I sense the inside and outside don’t match, I know it’s time to dive deep into my heart and line up its darkness with the glorious nature of God.” Like a sword through the soul, God’s correction kills off my inner Pharisee and creates room for real change.

The opposite of greed is generosity. The opposite of self-indulgence is self-control, that all-important fruit of the Spirit’s work. In words and in thoughts, I want to be one who “cleans the inside of the cup,” invites God into my private moments, and allows him to bring the correction I need.

So, how about you: Have you recognized your own inner Pharisee?

God still does miracles!

God Still Performs Miracles
John 11:40
40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

God, who parted the Red Sea, rained manna from heaven, caused the walls of Jericho to fall, shut the lions’ mouths, healed the sick, raised the dead and calmed the sea, still performs miracles today.

However, some Christians doubt that God wants to work a miracle for them today. They believe that there were miracles when Jesus walked the earth, but they think that the day of miracles is over. And they talk about how everything will be perfect one day in the sweet by and by. But God wants us to know that He is still the God of miracles today.

Martha was like one of those Christians. She wondered if Jesus could perform a miracle when her brother Lazarus died. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. So she thought that Jesus was four days too late. That is why she said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) And even when Jesus said that Lazarus would rise again, she said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24 )

Martha believed that Jesus could perform miracles in the past and would do the same in the future, but she did not believe that He could give her a miracle when she needed it right then. You see, Martha was someone who lived wishing that the past could be changed and believing that the future would be better. But she did not believe that the “I Am” was there to meet her present need.

Today, God stands at the point of your need. What miracle do you need from Him? Believe that He is still the same miracle-working God today. Believe that you will see the glory of God. Believe and you will see your miracle!

God’s Love for us!

Today, we are no longer under the law but under grace. And grace tells us that God loves us, not that we love God. Yet, we will love Him when we see how much He loves us. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) That’s how much He loves us!

What is the true definition of love? Let the Bible define it for us: “… this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” Yes, it is not about our love for Him, but His love for us!

Beloved, God has seen you trying your best to love Him. And because He loves you, He wants you to sit down and be still, and let Him love you instead. He wants to love you with all that He is and all that He has. He loves you unconditionally regardless of who you are or what you have done because His love is not dependent on you but on Himself. He will never stop loving you.

So let God love you today. Don’t worry about loving Him. The more of His love you receive, the more you will fall in love with Him!

Phenominal Woman

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Aspirations!

Aspirations, along with attainments, play an important role in shaping well-being. Early
in adult life women are more likely than men to fulfill their goods and family life
aspirations; their satisfaction in these domains is correspondingly higher; and so too is
their overall happiness. In later life these gender differences turn around. Men come
closer than women to fulfilling their goods and family life aspirations, are more satisfied
with their financial situation and family life, and are the happier of the two genders. An
important factor underlying the turn around in fulfillment of aspirations for goods and
family life is probably the shift over the course of the life cycle in the relative proportion
of women and men in unions.

Strong Life!

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to bring fulfillment, peace, and control into a woman’s life.

Modern women have it all. In the past four decades, women have secured better job prospects, greater acknowledgement for achievement, wider influence, more free time, and higher salaries. And yet, recent studies reveal that women have gradually become less happy than they were 40 years ago, and less happy than men—and unlike men, they grow sadder as they get older. Does this mean that women should return to a world of fewer choices and opportunities? On the contrary, what we have learned provides an opportunity to answer some key questions about the needs of women now. What is the future for women in America? At work, at home, and in life, how can they find deeper fulfillment and joy? And how do we empower our young daughters and today’s 25- and 30-year-olds to make certain they don’t face the same dilemma?

Find Your Strongest Life was born out of a need to respond to questions such as these. The book challenges ingrained myths about women, tackles the paradox of declining female happiness, and demonstrates that the happiest and most successful women:

Don’t agonize over who they aren’t—they accept and act on who they are. They have discovered the role they were born to play and they play it.
Don’t juggle—they catch-and-cradle. They don’t keep things at bay, but select a few things and draw them in close.
Don’t strive for balance—they strive for fullness. They intentionally imbalance their lives toward those moments that make them feel strong.
Always sweat the small stuff—They know and act on the specific details of what invigorates them (and they let go of what doesn’t strengthen them).
Find Your Strongest Life also introduces Marcus Buckingham’s Strong Life Test, a unique profile-builder that measures individuals against nine distinct roles—Advisor, Caretaker, Creator, Equalizer, Influencer, Motivator, Pioneer, Teacher, Weaver—and reveals each woman’s Lead Role, the role she was born to play—the role that she and her closest friends and family will recognize as her core self. Used in conjunction with the book, the Strong Life Test can be a powerful tool enabling women to tap into their best selves and find their strongest lives.

The Strong Life Test For Women

Discover the role you were born to play
The Strong Life Test presents you with a number of scenarios and then challenges you to identify which decision you would make. Be sure to go with your top-of-mind response; your immediate, unfiltered reaction is always the most revealing.

Of course, your test results will not define you completely–there’s a good deal more fine-tuning you’ll want to do on your own to add detail and specificity. But what the test will do is show you where to start your search for a strong life.

Find Your Strongest Life
What the Happiest & Most Successful Women Do Differently
by Marcus Buckingham

Thanks to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
1 Thessalonians 3:9 – “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 2:7 – “Rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Deuteronomy 8:10 – “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”
Philippians 1:3-4 – “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.”

Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”

Psalm 18:49 – “Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O Lord; I will sing praises to your name.”

Psalm 30:12 – “That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.”

Psalm 75:1 – “We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.”

Psalm 100:4-5 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 105:1-2 – “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”

Psalm 106:1; 107:1 – “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.”

Psalm 107:8 – “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.”
Psalm 147:7-9 – “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.”

Revelation 11:17 – “We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”