Kelly Elders

A Woman Who Builds

In Proverbs 14:1, it says that a wise woman builds her house and a foolish woman tears it down. So many times we can do both. When we are good then we speak good things but when things are bad we struggle to say good things. We build by our words which begin with our thoughts and turn into actions. There is a builder inside all of us but we need to get rid of the demolisher within us. We are born to build a home, a vision, a dream, a child, a marriage or a ministry. We need to be women who build themselves, others and the kingdom!

Women Who Build Themselves

Jude 20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

When you know you are accepted and loved then you will be able to love and be accepting of others. So many times when we are rejected or mistreated we think its about us but the truth is, its more about the other person. We need to resolve that we are loved and accepted by the One who really matters! Build yourselves strong in His Holy Spirit and no one will be able to tear it down.

Colossians 3:12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

There are some things we never leave home without like our underwear! I can only hope. He is telling us to make Love the “must have” in our wardrobe. The Love hat is the first thing we put on in the morning before we put on mom hat, business hat, work hat, ministry hat or anything other hat. Put on love and wear it well!

Women Who Build One Another

When I think of success in ministry, it is when others find success. Ministry is about others not ourselves. If you aren’t lifting others and moving them forward are you really doing ministry? We need to be cheering others on and forward. We don’t have time to compete, compare or criticize. Understand, your destiny has your name written on it and no one else can replace you. It was created and designed with you in mind. What God gives you, no one can take from you and what God takes from you, let it go. Insecurities will keep you from propelling others forward and in turn limits God’s ability to use you.

Women Who Build The Kingdom 

There are two types of builders. First, you have the Demo Builder. She has a hammer in one hand and a sledge hammer in the other. She designs and builds and it looks like its coming along very well but soon she is frustrated and begins using the sledge hammer to tear down all she has built. Sometimes it’s because what she has began to build doesn’t seem enough, she second guesses herself, or someone begins to criticize what she is building. If that person was building they wouldn’t have time to criticize what you are building. So its a constant starting over to either please others or impress others. God isn’t looking for cookie cutter homes but for a custom built home that no one else can build.

1 Chronicles 7:20-27 Descendants of Ephraim

20 The descendants of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath,21 Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. These two were killed trying to steal livestock from the local farmers near Gath. 22 Their father, Ephraim, mourned for them a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him. 23 Afterward Ephraim slept with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Ephraim named him Beriah because of the tragedy his family had suffered. 24 He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah.

Next, you have the Bold Builder, Sheerah. When her father, who was Joseph’s son, lost his sons he was so defeated. His sons were thieves and taking what didn’t belong to them. They were trying to succeed by taking from others and they lost their lives in the process.

Through all the grief of Ephraim you never read that he clung to his daughter or even looked to her ability but the chronicler mentions her name in the middle of a genealogy in which most of the women are never recorded. It contains fathers and sons yet we get this small and brief mention of a woman who dared to build! God will always make your story read by someone.

She was the granddaughter of Joseph who knew something about overseeing a city. Building was in her DNA! Sheerah had a vision and a dream and was able to build 3 cities. Can you imagine, during the time when women were not empowered and she builds not one but 3 cities! What could we build if we had a vision? She may have not had the cheering from her family but apparently she had a vision others believed and helped her bring to pass. She must have orchestrated contractors, mason workers and others to do the work. They trusted her ability to see a city that did not yet exist.

It says she built in the low and high place. No matter what situation you find yourself today high or low, choose to build. She built a city in the Lower Beth-Horon, a low place. You can build in a low place. Candice Lightner who lost her daughter due to a drunk driver chose to build in a low place. She developed MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, which helped bring awareness and change laws. She knew how to build in the low place.

Maybe today you are in a high place of position and influence, build! Use your place to build. Sheerah built Upper Beth-Horon, a high place. Every First Lady of the U.S. use their position to make a difference whether in human rights, education or equal rights. Many have paved the way women enjoy today. If you are in a high place do as Esther did, use your influence to build. She saved the people of God just by using her influence with the king. She was born for this cause to save much people alive. You were born to build!

All you need is a vision, a will to do and love and nothing can stop you from building that dream, that child, that marriage or the kingdom! There is a Builder within us all.

Don’t Cry!

Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother. Luke 7:11-15 Message Bible

This woman was a widow and now she was burying her only son. I can’t imagine the walk of pain she was enduring that day. All of her hopes, dreams and future were now being carried away in a coffin. Have you ever been on a walk when you feel as if the most treasured thing in your life or dream feels dead?

Have you ever had something in your life look dead? Maybe your relationship with God or your  marriage, your dream, your job or your finances? Well, Jesus says “Don’t cry.” He is the only one who can breathe life back into what is dead. Sometimes what you are willing to let die in your life can He step in and now revive.

HE NOTICES OUR PAIN

Even though we feel no one can understand the weight of what we carry or how overwhelming it can be there is always one who can, Jesus. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke and in other translations it says “he was moved with compassion”. Compassion means more than to pity or feel empathy for someone but this word “compassion” means to “suffer with”. Come along side of someone and take action. It’s one thing to see someone and feel bad for them and another thing to notice and do something about it. Jesus wasn’t feeling sorry for her but took action to change her situation. You are not alone. He notices your pain and wants to touch what is dead and bring life back to you.

HE SAYS “DON’T CRY”

Jesus tells the widow not to cry. He wasn’t saying she couldn’t show emotion but that the story wasn’t over yet. She is in the moment while Jesus knows the outcome. He wants us to surrender it to Him and believe He can resurrect anything He wants to live again. We must know that if God gave it to you then no one can take it from you.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

HE TOUCHES THE DEAD THING

Until you are willing to surrender everything it will be your responsibility to keep it alive. Once you are willing to let it die can God can step in and revive. I am sure this mother wasn’t a terrible mom who caused the death of her son but yet he is dead. Sometimes things in our life come to a horrible end and not because we did anything wrong but He wants to be the one responsible for making it happen. Everything we have belongs to Him and He allows us to manage and enjoy those things in this life. Our children belong to God first and He has only entrusted them to us to train and enjoy. Our marriages are for our enjoyment and teach us relationship, perseverance and experience the joy of loving one another yet both individuals belong to Him first. Your promise is for your good yet to accomplish His purpose in our lives and in this earth. Your job is your livelihood but also to help further the kingdom of God. If you are struggling then you cannot add to His purpose the way He desires. He wants you to succeed more than you want to succeed. Determine to surrender today everything which looks dead and allow Him to speak life to it.

HE COMMANDS PALLBEARERS TO STOP

We must allow God to call some things in our life to stop. The attitudes, perceptions or ways of doing things that are causing us to bury our hope and our dream. We need to stop and assess the situation especially in the darkest moments and look at it as an opportunity to trust God, stand strong and look to Him. For some, this is the only time we reach out to Him when we are in desperate need of Him. Allow God to speak to the things that are causing areas in our life to die and let him do the rest. Are there things in our life carrying away the dead thing that God wants to stop the precession?

HE RAISES THE DEAD

Think about the thing in your life that looks dead or is barely breathing. Is it a ministry, a relationship or something you had wrapped in possibility and now it’s laying there as nothing. It’s in that moment when we have done everything we know to do and yet we see no growth, no acceleration or potential. You start to question everything, was it God? Did I miss it? What was I thinking? Nothing ever works out! We have to resolve that if God wants it to live, it will. Let Him touch the dead thing and decide whether it lives. It’s not a give-up attitude but a surrender attitude. Acknowledging Him to be the life giver and the only way it will happen is because of God!

THE DEAD SPEAKS

When Jesus touched the young man he sat up and spoke. What happens when the dead thing begins to speak? What will it say? When God does awake that which was dead be sure it speaks of God’s power, grace and truth. It is a testament to the God we serve and it displays His everlasting love towards us. People don’t need to see perfection in our lives. Not everyone can identify with a Christian who hides trouble or failure but someone who can go through and yet come out better can definitely give hope to the person struggling. Let your life speak to someone who feels dead and is in search for someone who can bring life.

JESUS GIVES IT BACK

We must be confident of God that He is not trying to rob us of a good life. He isn’t trying to take our joy. It is the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Once He breathes back into what is dead He presents it back to us to maintain and do again. That is what is so beautiful about God is that He wants us to have life and have it more abundantly. Stay surrendered, put all of your dependency on Him and He will always guide and navigate you through in victory! Surrender the dead thing and watch God breathe life into the dead marriage, the dead finances, the dead relationship, the dead heart and whatever else seems over in your life and watch Him resurrect!

Crippled At The Table

 

Have you ever felt so inadequate? You have all these dreams and goals yet there is this inadequacy that you struggle to develop? You’ve read, listened and tried your best to develop this area yet it’s still a struggle. What if you weren’t meant to be great at everything but at one thing? Would you need God if you were great in everything? Would you need others if you could do it all?

Maybe it’s your heart that seems so crippled with fear, worry, stress or depression? Does your heart struggle to forgive, move forward or love those who wrong you? You find yourself trying yet struggling with insecurities and every time you are inspired you can only see all of your flaws.

God invites all of us to the table, the weary, the hurting, the gifted, the inadequate, the fearful, the depressed, wherever you find yourself today. He invites us to sit and to be covered at his table. When we sit at His table He covers all of our faults, fears and yes even sin. We come imperfect before a perfect God because Jesus is our covering.

2 Samuel 9:7-10

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”

HE WAS INVITED WITH NO COVER CHARGE

Just as Mephibosheth never earned his place at the table. He only humbly bowed before David. He shouldn’t even have been left alive according to tradition but he remained. Most wouldn’t have considered him a threat, courageous or even worthy yet David the king invited him to eat with him every day. No matter your area of struggle you are invited by the King to take part in all He has to offer. It’s not a matter of accepting sin or weaknesses but to know that we are no longer defined by them. Where we are weak He is strong.

The table is a place of freedom, provision and acceptance. We need to make time to sit with Him and there He will give us all we need. He has prepared a place for each of us to sit but it is our responsibility to come to His table.

The Parable of the Banquet Luke 14:21

21The servant returned and reported all this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’

WHERE YOU LACK GOD LINKS

Where do you feel crippled? What area in your life makes you feel inadequate? Maybe you are really creative and have an idea to sell your items but have no business skills and you never move forward with the possibilities. Ask God to link you to the right people. We are connected for a reason and purpose. Some of the best pastors and leaders lead well not because they can do everything but are connected with people who can. The leader doesn’t have to be the most gifted or even the most talented as long as they connect themselves with those who are gifted in the areas they lack. It was God himself that said it was not good for man to be alone. We are better together than any one of us alone.

Mephibosheth didn’t have the ability to work the field or even the capacity but David connected him to those who did. He enjoyed the benefits while someone else had the ability. I believe we are being connected to the right people which will bring us into our purpose and rightful position.

Your name is on the invite but will you take time to sit with Him today? Ask God to link you to those you need and those who need you!

 

Dirty to Daughter

My dad loves to grow hot chili peppers and jar them for the winter. If you’ve ever worked with hot peppers before you understand how important it is to use gloves. The oils from the peppers seep deeply into the skin and can cause burning and tingling. Yes, I am telling you from a bitter experience. Once you have these oils on your hands everything you touch becomes subject to its potency.

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It can be the same with our mistakes. If we don’t know how to walk forgiven and in freedom we can continue to allow it to taint every goal and dream for our lives. It’s that one moment that should have cancelled our call, stopped the gift or removed the position but thank God for Jesus! I’m not talking about living in B.C. (before Christ) but while you have lived this Christian life. I look back at times when I taught things out of ignorance, when I gave up on the inside and made horrible decisions or when I was full of anger and strife all the while attending church every Sunday. I had to learn to clean up and continue learning even when everyone was watching. Don’t ever assume a person should be beyond sin. No one is ever too holy, too godly or too Christian to not make a mistake or sin. We are only too empowered to live in it. We sometimes only see what others want us to see and may not know the hidden struggles of people that we see every Sunday. When a person can’t tell a trusted person their weakness or themselves then they too have only blinded or chained themselves to it. Part of conquering sin is confronting sin. Every person should be able to identify their own strength and weakness in order to conquer what needs to be confronted in their life.

We can not allow these moments of failure, set back or sin to seep so deeply that we live a limited life with a limited view of our future. 

The Woman with the issue of blood takes us on a journey from Dirty to Daughter.

And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:24-34 ESV)

The only thing standing between her and Jesus, were people.

Are your decisions are based on People or Purpose?

Is it because of where God is taking you or because you don’t want others to think less of you?

Religion serves to please people, Purpose serves to please God.

The People who stand in between:

The people who think you don’t deserve the call or position.

The people who don’t mind pushing you down so they can rise.

The people who only see your issue not your call.

The people who gave up on you along the way.

She was a woman who understood disconnection and loss. By law she was to stay separated from people and considered unclean (Leviticus 15:25). She was defined by her issue. Have you ever been defined by your issue? Jesus took away that label on the cross and we need to leave it there. There is not one issue in your life that you are not empowered to loosen from your life.

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When Faith is the connection to reaching Jesus

In one moment of faith she went from dirty to daughter. She had only “heard” of Jesus and believed even before He arrived. She knew she could trust Him to heal if she could just touch Him. Jesus had never called a woman daughter anywhere else in the bible but here. He chooses the woman who was an outcast, who was separated and unclean. Reminding us that there is no sin or failure that can keep us from reaching out to Christ in faith and Him not respond.

Understand her life was at risk. It was not legally allowed for an unclean woman to touch anyone especially Jesus. She had to have touched many others in her quest to touch Jesus. The law says that anyone who touches an unclean woman is now considered unclean. Thank God, you are never too dirty to become His daughter. There is nothing too dirty that God can’t wash away completely.

This story is a reminder of His great compassion to stop, listen and respond to our hearts. He responds to faith not our issue. So instead of telling him your issue, which He already knows, reach out to Him in faith. Take what He has made available to you which is freedom. He is waiting for someone to reach out to Him and know that He is the only answer.

Because of her faith she went from Dirty to Daughter. It’s what you believe about yourself as to how you think God views you. The freedom is in your faith! Jesus has already conquered the issue in your life.

You are a Daughter or Son not the issue, not the struggle and not the label.  Reach out to Him in faith and He will respond with freedom and wholeness.

I’m Included!

GOD IS INCLUSIVE!

 

photo-1455215540020-876b3233799f One of the many reasons I love God is that He is inclusive. He is always including us into His story. We sometimes believe that God needs us to carry out His plan and purpose. The truth is God is God all by Himself. If He wanted, He could call forth an army of angels and clothe them with skin and they could save, deliver and heal as they spread the Word of God all over earth, yet He included us. He doesn’t even have to subject Himself to our economy, He is a creative God and could just make things appear, but He included us.

God is not limited to us but His desire is to move through us!

He includes us in His vision and invites us to take part. His hope is we will grab ahold of every opportunity set before us and run.

It’s time to partner with Him and carry out His purpose. We need to Change our way of giving to get and instead start giving to further His vision. He wants to share heaven, power, provision, favor and so much with us and all we need to do is link up with His plan. We bring our obedience and God brings everything else! For our own lives, we need to link up with Him and step out into whatever He has for us. I no longer have to be focused on the outcome just focused on my obedience. The outcome is up to God. He says one plants, one waters but He brings the increase or growth (1 Corinthians 3:7). We just obey by being available, willing and doing all that He says. Sometimes God isn’t so concerned with the outcome as much as He wants to see if you will do what He asks, when He asks. Don’t get me wrong God is all about increase but wants us to obey and trust in Him no matter the outcome.

I have decided to change my focus from the outcome to obedience. I don’t need to look at the outcome to decide if I have succeeded. I succeed when I am obedient to Him. How freeing is that? Don’t measure your success by your outcome but by your obedience. We tend to measure victory by how many people showed up, by how many people responded, by how much money did it produce but what if it was just about you being obedient?

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In Ezekiel 3:11 God instructed Ezekiel to go and say no matter the outcome.

“And go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel’s obedience wasn’t based on the outcome but on his obedience to God. God wants us to be included through our obedience. He wants to fulfill His purpose on this earth and He has invited us to take part!

Choose today, to be determined to just obey and let God be responsible for the outcome!

3 Things About Marriage

Recently, we celebrated 29 years of marriage and it’s been eventful! We have had the opportunity to grow through some hard times whether it was financial hardship or staying committed we came through stronger and much wiser. I thought I would share some things I tell my daughter about marriage and things I wish someoe would have told me when I got married.

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Never Marry Someone’s Potential

So many times I may hear a person talk about how much potential someone has and though I believe everyone has potential I wouldn’t recommend you marry their potential. The problem is that not everyone will fulfill their potential. When you choose to spend forever with someone you have to accept them for who they are in that moment. It’s funny how men will marry a woman and never want her to change and a woman will marry a man hoping they will change. Ask yourself, if they never changed for the better would that be okay? Do you love them without trying to fix or repair them? You cannot always be the hero of their story. I married at the young age of 18 (which I don’t recommend) and thank God we were able to grow up together and accept the changes and the unchanged. Neither of us had any idea what our changes would look like or what areas would stay unchanged but one thing both of us had was commitment even though it was shaky at times. Our commitment first to God helped us never give up and here we are  29 years later and I am grateful for the good and even the worst of times. It’s made us stronger and much more appreciative and it helped me to learn to be a protector of our marriage. You will protect what you value.

Love & Forgiveness

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I had this understanding that marriage was all about staying in love and if you had love you would always be together. Every romance movie gave the impression it just works out in the end with no morning breath and a beautiful sunset into happy ever after. No one mentioned the many opportunities to forgive and the perseverance marriage takes. There is no greater relationship to learn to forgive than marriage. It’s not only because of the love you are able to forgive but the choice to forgive. If you can’t forgive the one you should trust the most in this world then you need more understanding of the fullness of God’s love. Things will be said that you can never take back, you will be disappointed at times and even wonder if it’s worth it but if both people can keep a servant’s heart, I guarantee it will be worth it. I wish I would have been free to love and be loved without holding back. Always testing the boundaries, not believing I could be loved forever and believing something bad was just around the corner seemed to hurt our relationship. It took many years to believe he would never leave or that he really could love me with all my flaws. So many of us go into relationship with abandonment and rejection issues that we begin to sabotage our relationships and then when they don’t work out we use it as proof that we are not worthy of love. You are worth being loved so much so that God even told husbands how they treat you is important.  

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 NLT

God loves you so much that He cares how you are treated! Can you believe He says this? He won’t even answer some prayers if you are not treated well by your spouse. I believe this goes both ways. In this time and culture women were not revered by men so He highlights it for the men but I am sure God would also tell the women that our prayers can be hindered if we mistreat our husbands. So be vulnerable to love knowing God cares about how you are loved.

Same Love, Same Team

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“Let love make you serve one another” Galatians 5:13 (TEV)

Sometimes we can forget that we are on the same team. There’s no winner unless both win. If you are so set on always winning then you truly love yourself more than anyone else in the relationship. Marriage is all about serving one another and meeting each other’s needs. You can be the best volunteer in church and serve every Sunday but if you don’t serve your spouse you might not understand servanthood. Serving starts in the home. If both husband and wife lived meeting the other’s needs you will have found the secret to a happy marriage. It has to start with someone so why not you? Remember, you are fighting for the same thing, a healthy marriage. Somehow we need to get rid of the feeling that we are going to get misused or it’s never going to work in our favor. That would be manipulation if you are only loving for something in return. The scripture says, “Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18. If you still carry some fear to freely love your spouse then you need to grow in God’s love. No one is keeping count on who loves who more and shows it more often. Sometimes we just need to realize we love each other differently and accept love differently. The best way we learned to understand our love languages was when we read the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I was loving the way I wanted to be loved instead of loving the way my husband needed to be loved. He was showing me love the way he desired to be shown love. When we have a heart to serve we will go to great lengths to learn to love in their language.

Whether you are single, married or starting over it’s never too late to improve your relationships or future relationships. Be Loved & Love Freely!

What Is Your Tree?

When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. Genesis 2:6 Message Bible

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Eve woke up every morning in total bliss. She was with the man that God had custom designed for her, surrounded by beauty with so many choices of fruits and smells and then visited by God daily. Who could ask for more?  Who wouldn’t love to wake up every morning surrounded by a beautiful garden, with the perfect man and walks with God? Yet, it would only take one conversation to change her world.

Sometimes you don’t know you are missing something until someone tells you. Growing up our dad worked for General Motors and made a decent salary but with 8 kids it didn’t always show. We all had chores, shared clothes, bedrooms and one bathroom. One day I went to a friend’s house and it was beautiful and grand. She had two closets full of clothes, a dishwasher, her own bathroom and no chores! That was it, I knew I was missing out on something better. I had never felt poor in all my life until that day. When I returned home nothing was the same. I now hated to wait for the bathroom, resented the fact I had nothing new, and hated washing the dishes. It changed my entire perspective from content to discontent in one moment. Just as Eve had access to so many trees all she could focus on was the one tree she couldn’t experience.

The Enemy tries to convince us of two things; to focus on what you don’t have and to believe that God is holding back His best.

STAY FOCUSED

Eve was surrounded by trees and the enemy came in to change her focus on the one tree she wasn’t to eat from. The enemy is using the same tricks on us and trying to convince us that we are poor. At first, Eve could see God in everything around her and with one conversation she changed her perspective. In order for the enemy to gain access to her life he had to get her to buy into a lie. The lie?

That you are poor in some area of your life and you must leave what you have and search for what is missing.

I hear so many people who break up with someone and say “What was I thinking?”, “What did I ever see in them?”. At first, everything they did was cute. You only focused on the good things and never even noticed the big nose, the crooked teeth, the little belly or the flaws and you married it. Now the things that attracted you now repel you. Now you are convinced you deserve a better husband/wife instead of working on the relationship you currently have you begin to change your focus on someone or something new. The tree that is off limits starts to look better than your own tree.

What if your tree represents your church? First you were so happy to connect and run with the vision but now you are convinced there’s a better tree out there. The enemy will try to convince us to leave the church where we are planted in order to stop our growth process. We encounter a offensive situation in church with people and think that by leaving it will keep us from ever experiencing hurt again. Instead of allowing the situation to mature us we choose to uproot and slow down the growth process. Church is full of imperfect people and it’s possible you could experience offenses, hurts and disappointments but you also experience those things on the job, in families and at school but we don’t easily walk away. Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that growth is suppose to be easy. It stretches you beyond your limits. You must forgive when your feelings are slow to catch up and persevere when you can’t see clearly ahead. Maturity requires a stretching. The only way your roots will become strong is to stay long enough for them to spread out. Before checking out ask God where you can grow though instead of just going through.

2. BELIEVE THAT GOD IS FOR YOU

The enemy challenged Eve to change her view of God. She knew God, walked with Him in the cool of the day and had conversations with God. The enemy convinced her she was not only missing something better but that God was holding back His very best.

Have you ever believed that God could answer your desire or need but wondered if He would? You know He has the capacity but not sure if He will. The enemy has no new tricks he is still trying to convince us that God is holding out on us. We start to doubt that He has our best interest at heart and we begin to move out into our own efforts as Sarah did with Abraham. We think God needs our help when He really needs our surrender. He created us and knows us through and through and he has designed a plan to grow us and to bless us! Be convinced that you are not forgotten, overlooked or dismissed by God. He wants you to walk in His blessings more than you do but He is also wanting both our soul (mind, will & emotions) and spirit to prosper. The trees that God has provided are everything that you have need of and it’s enough to prosper you in every area of your life. Be convinced that God wants the very best for you and His best is better that we could ever ask, think or imagine.

The Power of a Woman’s Influence

Never in history has the world embraced women the way it has in the last twenty years. They have risen to business and political positions and arenas that only men have obtained. Though the wage gap is still an issue we have come a long way since the 50’s. Sometimes the church seems to be behind in this area of women leading. Very few women lead or are allowed to lead in main roles in the church. We see this predominately in denominational churches due to misinterpreting of the scriptures. Sadly, women have allowed what people say to keep them from operating in their gifts and influence. Many women didn’t allow this belief system to stop them but they found an avenue to give even while it was prohibited.

“If we look at the history of revival movements, it is clear that whenever there has been a deepening of spiritual passion and holiness in the church, and a corresponding call to evangelism, women have responded to the call to ministry even when it was culturally unacceptable for them to do so. This was true during the Second Great Awakening in the United States, which unleashed an army of women to fund missionary movements and to lead the abolitionist cause. It was also obvious in the early days of the Pentecostal revival, which mobilized women preachers to blaze trails in foreign and domestic mission fields. These women, including healing evangelist Lilian Yeomans, Carrie Judd Montgomery, Minnie Draper, Ida Robinson, Aimee Semple McPherson and Florence Crawford, started churches that still flourish today.” Ministry Today

From the very beginning of mankind we (man and woman) were given influence to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue and have dominion. The serpent described as the most cunning and crafty creature used by Satan to come after mankind to stop the purpose of God. Lucifer understood the power of influence especially because while he was in heaven he was able to convince a third of the angels to leave a perfect God in a perfect environment towards rebellion. Now that’s influence!

He used this same influence to deceive Eve and used her influence to lead Adam into sin. So why didn’t he approach Adam instead of Eve? Not because she was easier to deceive but I believe he was not only out to destroy our intimate relationship and the purpose of God but to rob women of their influence. After Eve was deceived she then used her influence towards Adam to take part and then sets into motion in society and culture that women can no longer but trusted or given the responsibility of influence.

Thank God for Jesus who came back to give women their rightful place and influence! We have a responsibility to use our influence wisely and as He directs. Jesus demonstrates over and over again in the new testament of how important we are as daughters to Him. He revealed himself as Messiah for the first time to the woman at the well and used her influence to draw a city to Christ. The first ones he sent to tell of His Resurrection were two women, Mary of Magdalene and Mary. He came to liberate us, not over men but along side of one another to be the church that God always intended us to be. When we fully understand our influence and use it responsibly we will see the Church like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).

If you want to increase your influence let’s look to see if these are a part of your character and identify where you can grow.

TRAITS OF AN INFLUENCER: By Dr. Karen Keller

Confidence You have to know who you are and whose you are!

“The FIRST requirement for being an influential person is knowing yourself” Dr. Karen Keller

When people see how confident you are in His Word, confident in His acceptance and in the Gift He gives you and confident in your Purpose the right people will connect and follow.

2. Commitment is the underlying force behind achievement. The more determined you are to reach a specific goal, especially in the face of adversity, the more likely you will succeed.

No one likes a quitter nor will follow one.

3. Courage is your strength to face difficult circumstances (or even difficult people) head on.

When things get tough you get stronger

When things get tough you show God greater

When things get tough you shine brighter

4. Passion is the fire in your spirit for what you do. It is the expression of your enthusiasm and your eagerness, and starts the engine for your success.

Passion is like a torch, it’s meant to see, lead and light others.

5. Empowering is your ability to support peers and share knowledge with them. It also includes how you reward people who make a contribution.

Not afraid to give power away

Surround yourself with those who maybe more gifted and have more wisdom or more knowledge

Propel people forward even if they pass you

6. Trustworthiness is a high virtue and is fairly self-explanatory. It is worth noting though that of all the influence traits, this is usually the most crucial. Lose trust, and you instantly lose influence.

Can God trust you and can others trust you?

7. Likability is more than being friendly. It’s your capacity to create positive attitudes in the people around you, and focus those attitudes towards a common goal. It is how positive people feel about themselves when with you.

I love being around people who make you feel better when you leave their presence. We should all desire to be that person.

We are called to be Influencers and to influence the world around us towards Christ!

Let the Church be the Church!

In the day we are living in the church needs to stay the Church! Today, Christians are trying to take sides of two parties whether it’s the political parties, Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter but what did God say about taking sides? We need to take the side of Christ and see where we can bring hope to a world that is crying out for answers and not get swept away with the world in its anger and frustration.

hand-1482801_128019 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, 20 worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, 21 being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now as I warned you before: The people who do these things will not have a part in God’s kingdom. ~Galatians 5:20

The enemy wants to take our focus from who God has called us to be and use our voice for a group or party. Our voices are reserved for God and to speak about His love and true equality in Christ. We need to stop looking for the answers when the answer lives in us. This could be the greatest time for the Church if we stay the light in a dark time. When people are afraid, confused and angry we then need to be equipped to spread the Word & Love of Christ. We are not called to take to the streets to protest we are called to be peacemakers and promote Christ! Some people are more passionate about the cause of this world than they ever have been about the message of Christ.

We shouldn’t be walking in fear for our sons when we serve a God who promises to watch over what belongs to us. Help other mothers and fathers how to reach out to a God who will watch over their children. The Church can’t be arguing on social media and try to determine who is right. We are to stay on religion-1139050_1280the side of Christ! Don’t allow the world to force you to choose. Don’t let this opportunity move you to act as the world when you are a child of God. God is on the side of love and we need to separate from anything that would bring us into any kind of division and strife. God is not in division and he warns us that it will keep us from enjoying the kingdom of God.

So what does a Christian do in these times? PRAY for the nation, the sons, the legal system, the officers and know that God can use this time to elevate the church to greatness and the place of unity. PRAY for opportunities to speak into people’s lives who are dealing with fear, frustration and confusion. Get focused on the mission of Christ and make a difference. We can have every different race and still worship together and love one another while the world is living in chaos. They will take notice and know that God is love & life.

You are not Democrat, Republican, Black, Brown, White or polka dot, YOU are a child of God and He sees no gender, race or age but He does see your heart and hears your prayers so pray on!

Haters

gorilla-1416459_1920I’ve never met a person who hasn’t been disappointed, betrayed, rejected or hurt by someone or something. We will never be able to avoid these moments. So instead of living separated from people, in a constant prison of loneliness or avoidance we can learn some of the best lessons even through pain.

Be Resilient

I bought a pair of Ugg boots when I came to California and took them back home to Michigan during the winter. Even though they are furry and very warm on the inside the outside couldn’t handle the rain or snow. They had no traction for walking on ice which I learned the hard way, and the water from the snow seeped right in and ruined them. They “look” like they are made for the elements but as I discovered they are best used in sunny California when the temperature is a mere 65 degrees!

The same is true with our hearts, we can’t just look like a Christian on good days. We need to keep the elements of this world from seeping in and that includes when people intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. The enemy knows if he can get you to walk offended, rejected and unforgiving that he stops you from moving forward. If you have been dealing with the same hurt for months or even years it’s time to get moving and start forgiving. What happens to you doesn’t have to happen in you.

God is your resilience and He will protect your heart like Rain-X!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

Be Forgiving

Many Christians believe God should go after the person harshly for the hurt they have caused. They want the God of Mercy when they’ve caused the hurt but the God of Judgement to those who have hurt them. Forgiveness is leaving God as the Judge and trusting Him to know what is best. When we sit back and wait for God to cause their destruction it’s silent revenge.

“Do not be happy when your enemy falls, and do not feel glad when he stumbles. The Lord will see it, he won’t like it, and he will turn his anger away from that person.” Proverbs 24: 17-19

 God did promise us this:

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“You make ready a table for me in front of my haters: you put oil on my head; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5

We can trust God because regardless of who doesn’t like us or who doesn’t think we deserve promotion, position or blessings we know that God is the one who promotes or sets down another. He will make sure all your haters will see how merciful God is towards those He loves and restores. He will bless you in front of your haters. All you have to do is come to God’s table and allow Him to feed you, cover you and take care of all the rest.

Don’t be your own hater. You may not think you deserve to be used or blessed by God but go to the table anyways and all those wrong thoughts will be cast down when you allow God to be your Host with the Most!

Be Oily

olive-850336_1920It was in the presence of enemies that God prepared a table. That means you can sit at the table and He will cover you with oil like a welcomed guest of honor while your enemies look through the window and see all that God has done! He is actually protecting you from your enemies while you are eating in peace. Oil is used on sheep and other animals to keep flies away and in the same way God protects us from those things that pester us and cause us frustration. Our enemies are not always other people, sometimes its ourselves and sometimes it’s just life at it’s worst but notice God prepared a table during difficult times. In difficult times it’s important to sit at the table and allow His fresh oil to cover you and protect you.

You can’t hold on to much with oily hands! Disappointment, unforgiveness and bitterness will all slip out from you so stay oily!

Continue to sit at the table and enjoy His blessings.

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