Stay Fly Girls!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Called. The Chosen.

"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14
Acts 17: 26-27 (AMP)
Judas.  We all know that name right?  He was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, during His life he was considered one of the strong men of God, one of the followers of Christ; walking with Him, learning from Him, watching Him perform miracles and transform lives.  Judas was right there - one of the elect - he was in the crew, part of the entourage!  If we were there when Jesus was on earth we could have looked to Judas for guidance and counsel, thinking that because he was so close to Jesus he must have the answers.  You know how our minds work, if we see someone close to the boss we look at them as being in the direct favor of the boss.  Although we now know that Judas was the original sell-out, we wouldn't have known it then.  But Jesus knew. God knew.


You see, God made a choice before the Earth began who were the chosen, who were the select.  Judas walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, he even had a powerful support team.  Imagine if your closest friends and co-workers (yup, them too...) were all Christ following, God believing individuals.  If you were in that position you would do everything right, right?  Clearly not...  And not to mention Judas was the treasurer!  He was the money guy, the accountant for the group.  The person everyone trusted to hold their cash... Seriously Judas?!  How could he cross over to the dark side?  Why did he lose focus and get off track.  He was called, but he was not chosen.

Judas may have been in the clique but his heart wasn't where it should have been.  Had we been there at the time we may not have known this, but God knew.  Jesus made a commitment to God not to lose anyone he had been given.  He keeps that promise - "I have not lost a single one of those you gave me." John 18:9 NLT. Jesus keeps His promises.  He will guide/ love/ motivate/ save those whom God has given to Him. Those whom God has chosen. 
If you have been called to redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior you must search your heart for the source of your existence.  Dig down deep in your heart and soul for the glimmer of light that God has placed in each of His creatures.  Dig down, through the mistakes, the hurt, the bitterness, anger, pride, hatred, envy, and even the shame.  Give all of that up and turn it over to God.  
You may associate with the right crowd of believers but you may also have the heart of Judas.  You may have been called; but have you been chosen?  Do you want the status of being 'with' the Jesus crowd or do you want the salvation of a clean heart?  Dig down deep girls...ask God to do the miraculous work in you that will purify your heart and renew your mind and spirit.  God has big plans for you my dear!

John 17:24
How about that for a promise from God?  Stay fly girls!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stay in Your Lane - Part 1

Romans 12:4-21

I used to work with a girl who was a powerhouse at work.  We were in sales, and I don't know how she did it but everyone she worked with she seemed to get a sale from.  Now I always thought I was good, but she was making me feel pretty inferior.  You see from my perspective, if she was in sales and I was in sales we had to pull the same numbers in order for me to feel valuable.  That makes sense right?  Not so much...

As I was doing my devotions and bible reading I came across Romans 12:6a "God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well."  In the context of this passage, this verse can be such a huge relief to most of us.  One woman who seems to keep her house clean and her life in order (all while in her sleep) may not have the ability to connect and relate to people the way another woman can.  Neither is inferior to the other - they simply have different God given abilities.

Romans12:4-5 "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body.  We are all parts of His one body, and we all belong to each other, each of us has different work to do.  And since we are all one body in Christ, we each belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others."

We all know how disastrous it can be to start comparing ourselves to others!  If your hands start looking at your feet and think "Wow, look at those nice shoes.  And sheesh, she doesn't soak us in those nice baths and get us massaged like that.  She must love them more than us..."  Then the hands are envious; they want to be feet and do footly things.  They don't feel their position is good enough so they stop being good hands because they are trying to be feet!  Now I know this may be an awkward analogy but you get the picture.  The moral of the story is - be a great hand instead of an awkward foot - Stay in your lane!  The kingdom of God needs hands and feet and all the other parts!

As you do all that you can, in the best way that you can, you will begin to see the areas where God has given you a special function to bless others - at work, at school, at church, and in the world.  If you are a great organizer help your local soup kitchen streamline their programs.  If you are a great encourager help motivate the people around you when you see they are down.  If you are a great cook come to my house and put your gifts to good service.  No really... Use your "special function" to benefit the kingdom.  God has a function for you, and your function may be different than those you work with or those in your inner circle or family.  "And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others." Romans 12:5b 

Don't forsake your function; it is your assignment from God.  He has done a great work in you, now its time for you to work for Him with a renewed spirit. Amen.

Stay fly girls!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Truth in the Translation

"And this is what he says to all humanity: 'The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'" 
Job 28:28 NLT

KJV. NIV. NLT. NKJV. The Message.

In my women's discipleship class we would have frequent discussions referencing various scripture (naturally...) and the ladies would quote a passage that meant something to them.  Frequently I would hear two particular ladies say a passage from the bible then say "The Message".  Now me, a bit slow at times, was thinking "What on earth?..." But after hearing it a  few times I got it: The Message was the Bible translation they were reading from.

Now I was always a King James Version kind of girl - enjoying the olde world feel and sound of it.  I would think of the Bible figures with their sandals and robes on, sitting on a big stone in the wilderness and such, holding a tablet of rough hewn rock speaking to the people. (How's that for imagery?)  I was drifting in darkness because I couldn't really follow the meaning of what God had to say to me through His word.  I was not reading my bible daily, nor was I taking classes or going to bible study regularly to gain a better understanding of God's truths.  So in 2000 I bought a People's Parallel Edition Bible in King James Version & New Living Translation.  I still kept reading the KJV though because the NLT seemed watered-down and not quite 'holy' enough for me.  Well, one day I was reading and praying and came across Galatians 2:20 and I was so moved by what God was saying to me that I cried. 

"I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live my life in the earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." NLT

To me this passage so awesomely details the walk that we face daily.  Having life and having it more abundantly is God's gift to us as believers through Christ Jesus.  I promise you that I have read that passage before, but it had not resonated with me the same way.  Then I understood why: it's all in the translation!  I read the same scripture in KJV - a little heart prick.  Then in the NKJV - eh, maybe a pinch that time.  Then again in NLT - there it is! Light bulb moment!

Each of us has to find a Bible translation that works best for us.  The Bible can't show you the path that God has for your life if you can't clearly understand it.  You may have an electronic device or other item at home that you don't use to the fullest potential because you haven't figured out how to work it properly.  God forbid you read the manual, right? (no pun intended)  If you don't already have a Bible that you can read and understand, go out and get one.  Plenty of Christian book stores and churches in the area that sell a number of options.  Take it from me girls, read the Lord's manual for your life.  It will make your walk as a Christian so much stronger.  Amen!

Friday, May 18, 2012

So you've given your life to Christ... Now what?

John 15:5-8 NLT "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce much fruit.  This brings great glory to my Father."


Here is the Sunday morning routine:  Wake up.  Turn on the radio or TV to a gospel or preached word station.  Turn on the coffee pot or tea kettle.  Stand in the closet thinking about what to wear to church.  Take a shower, coif the hair, get dressed.  Start heading out the door.  "Ooops!" you think, "What do I need to bring with me so I can do the "other stuff" I want to do after church?"  Bring a change of clothes/ shoes/ etc. so that I won't go through the mall/ brunch/ dinner/ movies looking like I just left church... Could this be you? (*me: hand raised, looking at the floor in shame)

You've given your life to Christ, but are you living for Him?

Many of us shuttle through life desiring to put a check in each box:
  • good job - check
  • degree - check
  • more degrees - check, check
  • nice house - check
  • nice car - check
  • find a man - check (another topic for another time)
  • go to church - check

We have a perceived sense of security in knowing that we have given our lives to Christ by being saved, going to church, maybe even going to bible study during the week.  We really feel secure if we are tithing, let me tell you!  Paying your weekly installment to get on the list, huh?  Not quite ladies.  Having things to do AC (after church) is not the problem; but living for all of the other things and not for God is.  You must ask yourself "Am I living for Christ?"  Do you live and breathe the fire God has placed in your heart or are you on auto-pilot?  Have you recognized yet that God has planted in you a seed that he wants to cultivate, till, and prune so that you will bear much fruit?  We are reminded of this in John 15:5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing."

Let's be clear and honest here, "remaining" in God can be a struggle.  Everyday it is work - staying in touch with God and keeping the lines of communication open so that he stays in touch with you - not always easy.  But is gets easier every day.  You pray to God, you listen to what He is saying to you, and you look out for what He is showing you.  He will show you how to live your life better by living for Him.  As you accomplish your goals and set out through life you will begin to take advantage of the opportunities God gives you to witness for Him; whether it's at work, at school, in your social circles, or with your family.  Be joyous and helpful in God's army!  Smile at the lady in your office that is snippy to you.  Wave every day to your neighbor who pretends not to see you.  Forgive. Open your hand to give.  Reach out to others.  Allow the power of God's grace to work in you so that others will see and experience His goodness.

God, through Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us assurance and purpose.  Profess your faith ladies, you have nothing to be ashamed of!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Wellspring of Life

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23

Going through adolescence in the 80's was major!  Coming of age during this era, I was exposed to all types of visual and mental influences by way of television and radio. (no Internet back then, can you imagine...)  One song that I remember clearly was by our dear old friend Madonna: "Open your heart to me, baby. I'll give you love if you hold the key.  Open your heart to me, darling. I'll give you love if you, you turn the key."  Now, besides the fact that Madonna is wrong on so many levels, I enjoyed her music back then.  This one song in particular speaks volumes about the culture and mindset that was dominant at the time and still is today - an open heart.

Many times we see women who are love sick, or love crazy, because they have let a man into their heart and he didn't know what to do with the prize he had been given.  We have all been there!  Thinking that if we open our heart and show a man how great we are inside that he will fall madly in love, stay in love, and put us on the queens' throne in his life.  Then we wake up from our dream with swollen eyes, a heavy heart, tear soaked pillows and soggy tissues all over the bed.  God built us to love and to be loved.  The issue is not whether to love, it is rather who we receive love from and who we give our love to. 

I was reading the book "Every Woman's Battle" by Shannon Ethridge, and in it she gives such a clear understanding of the magnitude of our heart's capacity to love and what that means is God's eyes.
"I believe the answer is in he word wellspring, which can also be interpreted as 'source'.  The heart is the source of life.  When God created us, He made our hearts central to our being - physically, spiritually, and emotionally." 
Would you give someone your power source?  Especially if they haven't proven worthy to have it?  Many of us would need several sets of hands to count the men we have had a physical connection with.  Maybe only one hand to count those with whom we had an emotional connection.  But when is comes to a spiritual connection...silence, crickets, no comment. (If you can't say Amen, just say ouch. Ouch!)  Why then would we open our heart to a man who is not our husband, or one who is not hearing from God as the focus and center of his life?

Your ability to guard your heart is paramount to preserving the precious, life giving gift that God has blessed you with.  God knows your need and desire to be brought to the throne of grace.  He is ready to give you the desires of your heart!  But He wants you to guard your heart, leaving it open and accessible to Him first.  When we guard our hearts against the tricks and schemes of the devil we allow access to our Saviour Jesus Christ.  He loves us without conditions.  He loves us eternally.

Don't use this as a rationale for blocking any and all interest or advance from a man - you are too fly to become a bitter spinster!  But be discerning, be vigilant, be wise in your decisions regarding who to spend your precious time and interest with.  A spring is eternal, ever bubbling and refreshing; a well is purposed to make the bounty from the spring accessible.  Protect your eternal refreshment ladies, keep it accessible to God.  Guard your heart girls, above all else!  Amen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Struggle Continues...

Romans 14:4 "Who are you to condemn God's servants?  They are responsible to the Lord, so let Him tell them whether they are right or wrong.  The Lords power will help them do as they should."

Now is the time of year when many of us have either forgotten our New Year Resolutions or are acting as though we have forgotten them. As the Lenten season is upon us, we may have taken on a whole new task, or thing, to stay away from as we draw closer to God at this time. Raise your hand if you are struggling right now... OK, hands down. That was a lot of you! (yes, my hand was up too.)

As we roll along in our day-to-day lives many of us struggle in the area of criticism/ judgement/ condemnation. This struggle is often masked in different ways...
It could be a thought: "What is the world is he doing?"
It could be what is said: "I don't know what in the world she was thinking when she did that."
Or it could be an action: "I'm just going to move these over here because he doesn't know what in the world he is doing and I can't have him ruining my stuff!"

Truth be told, if we could count the times we think, say , or do something in a judgmental manner we would be ashamed of the number. During a recent trip I found myself judging everything from how long the person in front of me took to move out of the fast lane, to the tone of voice one of my lunch mates took with our waitress. It seemed like the only time I wasn't being critical was when I looked outside at the pretty sky and marveled at God's handy work.  I am ashamed of myself.  We should be ashamed of ourselves. 

Romans 14: 10 reads "Why do you condemn your brother?  Why do you look down on your brother?  Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgement seat of God."  Verse 12 continues, "Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God."  These verses are profound because they confirm our personal testimony to God.  Trust and believe, you will not be called to the witness stand to testify against your friend' flaws and faults.  Nor will I be called upon to give my personal account of all the errors I think others have made in their lives.  God is not interested in my take on the behaviors/ words/ deeds of everyone else .  But on the flip side, no one will be called to testify against me either.  My life, my words, and definitely my actions, will be my testimony.  The impact I have made on others, both positive and negative, will bear witness for me.  The people who we may have condemned in our mind will not be called to the stand.  Those who we have talked about or looked down upon will not be called to the stand.  God has not put us here to be the sideline commentators for the missteps of others.  Instead, He graciously convicts us to do better and be better towards our fellow man.

"So don't condemn each other anymore.  Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another brothers path."  Romans 14:13

Now go ahead and pull out your list of New Year's Resolutions and write down one more: No Condemnation!  If there is one resolution that we should keep it should be this one.  Now the one about not eating have permission to cross that one off your list ;-)

Stay fly girls!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inner Substance vs. Exterior Materialism

Many of us know this girl, the one who greets you with a big smile and hug then proceeds to say "That top/ dress/ bag/ shoe is so cute! Where did you get it?". No evil eye. No hateful stare. Just a determined and transfixed plan to find out the details of the particular item she is focused on today. In the hierarchy of materialism, labels are worth more than fabrics, and status is based on material possessions. Now in the name of full disclosure, I do like myself a sassy bag/ shoe/ bauble on my person or in my possession. We all do, right? But I have to quell my natural desire to purchase too much material finery, lest I shift my focus on my stuff instead of my Savior.

The trap of materialism takes on many forms with each lady. One girl may not want anything that doesn't have a designer label. One girl may constantly acquire new things, any thing, just to have more. Another may not accept small or mid-sized anything, but instead desire to have the biggest everything - house on the block, car amongst her friends, diamond amongst her co-workers. Do any of these descriptions sound familiar?

Recently I was tasked to complete a project on a sin I have been delivered from and I choose Idolatry. Now my ole' time Christian understanding of idolatry was worshiping other god's above the Lord Jesus. Well, of course I didn't do that! But in gaining a deeper understanding of the term, I learned that craving the things that our conventional society tells us we should have is idolatry. Working extra hard just to get more stuff is idolatry. Focusing on material possessions to mask your internal character flaws is idolatry. Elevating people based on what they have or how they look is idolatry. Materialism is idolatry.

So, ladies scoop up your receipts and return your designer handbags, shred your department store credit cards, and trade in your luxury car for a modest economy car. Not so much, huh... Well let's at least make a commitment to God to honor Him in our outward appearance and our inward thoughts. God's focus is on your heart; your heart is the soil for your thoughts, your thoughts grow your outward actions and appearance. Ask yourself if a spot in your heart is filled when you acquire something that has external value. Then listen to how your inner self answers the question - is it a "yes, but with explanation"? Examine your explanation. As Christian girls we know who God is and His power to fill every void in our life and heart, but as human girls we have to put that knowledge in to action. That's the hard part.

God does not care where your suit was purchased or which season your handbag is from. God wants your whole heart - and if part of your heart is taken up by the things you have or want He can't get into your heart like He really wants to! You may not have to look in your closet and start giving things away, but hey, if the shoe fits...give it to me. (just kidding) If material possessions are driving a wedge between you and your walk with God, decide how to overcome this challenge. Whether by renewing your mind, changing your thought life, or changing your heart, shift your focus from the possessions to God. Remember "Seek ye first he Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33. That which you seek you can only find in God.

Stay fly girls!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Great Transformation

"And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

One of the first CD series I ordered from a radio ministry was by Dr. R.C. Sproul.  Great teacher; although he can be more descriptive than my little pea brain can handle.  His radio ministry is called "Renewing Your Mind", which I thought was a nice program title - short and accurate according to the focus of his ministry.  But how interesting it was for me to find this title in Romans 12:2.  "Hmmm, that guy is pretty clever."  I thought.  Little did I know! As I started to grow closer in my walk with Christ I gained a level of understanding for this passage of scripture that was indescribable.  So was the beginning of my great transformation...

As women in the world today, we are faced with continuous images and reminders of what "the world" finds acceptable.  Mainstream media and culture is just that, the main-stream that everyone follows and measures themselves against.  But the first part of this verse makes everything clear: "And be not conformed to this world," (People try to make it confusing, but the word of God is so crystal clear sometimes, isn't it?)  The New Living Translation says, "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world".  Easier said than done, right?.

TV shows, music on the radio, movies, magazines, computer and cell phone apps, they all promote and encourage the conformity of society to the world view and image.  We have to go out of our way not to be overly exposed to the mainstream view of normal.  I cut off my cable TV subscription and haven't turned a television in my house in 12 months.  Extreme?  Yup; to some of you it may be.  But that's what I had to do to start the transformation process.  For some of you it may mean ending your subscriptions to certain magazines.  For others it may mean not watching certain shows or TV channels.  God convicts the heart of those who love Him and search for His truth.

"But be transformed by the renewing of your mind," - Now we get down to the nuts and bolts!  Transformation by the renewing of your mind.  This is where God gives us the foot print of how to navigate this journey that is the Christian life.  You are not the same as you were before salvation.  Although you may do some of the same things, and have some of the same problems, you are not the same.  Sin is bondage, and we were born into sin, therefore we were born into bondage.  Think of your redemption through Christ as your breakout from bondage.  Like in the movie Shawshank Redemption - you are breaking out of jail.  Chipping away slowly at the rock wall built around your heart and wading through sewer lines to climb to your freedom!  This is the best visual I can paint for your mind renewal.  Not a pretty picture, I know, but work with me.

Ephesians 5:22-23 says "Throw off your evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.  Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes."  We have to think differently ladies.  When we think differently we act differently.  This leads to the third and last point of the passage..."that you prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Wow!  Did you feel that?  The power of God living and breathing in His word?!

When you think differently - not being conformed to this world...
You act differently - being transformed by the renewing of your mind...
Then you prove God's perfect will to yourself and to others - a testimony that God's plan is good and acceptable and perfect...How awesome is that! (I think I just wrote a sermon.  Look out Billy Graham!)

God gives us the outline all in one verse.  Don't get me wrong, God summed it up in a nice little package but this is not going to be an easy journey. (cue Shawshank visual)  But believe me, the tools you need to dig yourself out of the bondage of sin and this world are all in His word.  This verse is your little spoon, and the bible is the big poster protecting the big hole you have dug out to break free of your bondage. 

Renew your mind.  Change your thought life.  Free yourself from the world's mainstream view and practices.  Pull out your little spoon girls and get to work.  I'm rooting for you!