Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jehovah Jireh

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a scripture that I committed to memorizing (or at least meditating on often). It was:
Genesis 22:14 NIV: So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide (Jehovahjireh). And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

My 'theme' this year is God's Provision, and I am wanting to hide several scriptures in my heart that fit this theme. The one I picked next is Isaiah 33:6, because of its emphasis on God's provision as our SOURCE of peace and security. That fits for any kind of need - physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, everything.

Isaiah 33:6, NIV: He will be the sure foundation for your times,a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Here's a little commentary on this verse from The Bible Knowledge Commentary:
33:5-6. Speaking now to the remnant, Isaiah said that the exalted Lord (cf. 6:1) will eventually fill Zion with justice and righteousness (cf. 9:7; 11:4; 16:5; 32:16) when the kingdom is established. But in order to have these things, including salvation . . . wisdom, and knowledge they must fear . . . the Lord (cf. Prov. 1:7; 15:33). Fearing God does not mean being terrified of Him (except for those who are being or will be judged). It means to recognize and respect Him and His authority and righteous demands, which in turn results in godly living, worshiping, trusting, serving, and obeying Him. Those who fear Him find Him to be their sure Foundation, their Source of inner security and peace (cf. ”Rock, “ Isa. 26:4).

Lord, help us to be women who fear you and praise you for being our SOURCE!! Amen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

waking up

Today brought a little wake up call for me. Well, not so little, really. I want to use it to remind any woman who reads this blog to go get regular checkups. If you are past due for your regular female-checkup, or if it has been awhile since you have had any thorough checkup, DO IT.
One of the pitfalls of my personality is that I far prefer to talk about YOUR problems than to deal with my own! I will answer your call for help at any time without giving it a second thought, and I will be there for you in a heartbeat, sincerely desiring to serve you. My ministry calls for that, and I am wired for it. I can't NOT do it.
However, it is evident to me today that I sometimes neglect ME. That sounds self-centered, but it isn't, so hear me out.
I have had weight issues my entire adult life. It is a stronghold, and I have worked on this issue for years. I have periods of victory, and periods of defeat. Lately, I have just ignored it and I know better. I knew some things with my health would definitely be impacted over time, and the time has come. I decided it was time to come out of denial (!) and take my own advice and get a checkup. I am in the midst of lots of tests and dr. visits right now. Today brought some mixed news, and it has served as a wake up call. I will spare the details on a public blog, but suffice it to say that I know the Lord will use whatever it takes to get our attention at times. He's got mine (some scary words said by the dr. today!), and He will get yours, too, if you don't take care of yourself.
It is a stronghold, an issue of stewardship of the body (God's temple!!), and turning to food for comfort instead of to God, the Source of ALL comfort. I know this, and yet I struggle. I counsel other women on this issue, and yet I struggle.
God has spoken clearly today (not literally, you know what I mean) through some bad test results that say that I cannot deny or ignore this any longer, unless I want to die young.
I remember Beth Moore saying once at a conference that God ordains all of our days....that He can't add another day, but that WE can shorten those days. Ouch. How ridiculous to think that I would knowingly shorten my days.
So the journey towards true FREEDOM in this area of my life has to kick in to high gear. I know that it is for freedom that Christ died. I say I believe it, but I have not lived as if I believe it. Forgive me, Lord for my unbelief. Help me, Lord with my unbelief!
Go get your checkup. And if there is a wakeup call there for you, pay attention and we will walk the path of freedom together!
Galatians 5:1!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Day in the Life....

So what's up in Women's Ministry and Counseling Ministry you may ask??? Well, maybe you aren't asking, but I am feeling the need to kick up my blogging a notch or two, and post more often from my own heart and not just other people's stuff. I've said that before, I know. ;) But I do want to blog more, so here goes!

I have been asked to describe what I do on a typical day, so here goes.....

A Day in the Life of Ministry to Women and Family:

6:00 a.m....down the stairs to have a quiet time and dedicate my day to The Lord. If I fail to do that, I am destined for a selfish day!
then it's the whirlwind of getting my girls up and ready for school. Off we go at 8:20. my office at the church. Most days the first task is to turn on the heater!! Brr, it is a cold building! Then I settle in to my desk for the tasks ahead of me. First task: go through my list of women at my church and Bible study, and pray for them as God leads. If I fail to do that, I am again destined to a selfish day!
Second task: complete my own Bible Study homework!

The rest of my office time consists of: counseling or mentoring sessions (anywhere from 2-4 daily); study time to prepare for upcoming counseling sessions; computer time to write notes from counseling sessions; various Women's Ministry tasks that need to be done - depending what is on the calendar currently (ie, retreat, fellowship events, showers, etc); fielding many emails and phone calls daily from women with various needs, questions, asking for help, wanting input, etc! And then there are meetings to go to; resources to research and preview; visits with women who stop by the office; plans to work on for upcoming events and studies; Bible study sessions to prepare for; coffee and lunch dates with women I try to squeeze in frequently; oversight of the various women's ministries to stay on top of things we are currently doing; meetings with the team leaders; speaking and writing to study and prepare for; visits to those in need - ill, housebound, etc; networking with local counselors or women's leaders; research current counseling and ministry trends; raise up other leaders for various ministries by assessing women's gifts; follow-up with prior counselees; and MORE that I can't think of at the moment. OH, and office tasks like ordering resources, computer maintenance, making copies, and basically being my own secretary!! Tired just from reading all that?? Me, too. But it is in my weakness that He is strong, thankfully! To say that I keep busy is an understatement, and perhaps you can see why I say that I am in FULL TIME ministry. I never have enough hours in a day to get it all done, but my priority is ALWAYS people, so those needs come first. The rest gets done as I am able, and the Lord always plans my schedule in such a way that I honestly do not feel overwhelmed. Busy, but not overwhelmed. His burden is light, and I am so thankful for that.

at 2:30, off I go to pick up my girls and spend the rest of my day as wife and mom and all that entails. Some evenings, if we have 'down' time, out comes some ministry work - I just can't help it!! - usually on my computer or some reading or studying....typically after the girls are in bed or while they are doing homework. The rest of the time I purpose to give the family undivided attention! They are, after all, my first and priority ministry!

I have also been asked what are the positives, and negatives of being in this ministry. Here goes:
**some lonliness at times. I am often now seen as a 'position', not just a woman in a church family. I have been left out of invitations, some friendships have changed, and sometimes I am criticized and complained about. Not often, but when it happens - ouch.
**time is sacrificed. There is no doing this thing part-time. I've tried, but you can't dictate when a crisis comes, or when a woman can meet due to work schedules, or when the phone rings! I may be at the office regular hours, but ministry is a full-time lifestyle, 24/7.
**insecurities. I struggle with this from time to time, and it is where the enemy shoots his darts whenever I am fully engaged in fruitful ministry. It comes in many forms, never pretty.
**ENDLESS positives! I can't even put them all here! They FAR outweigh the negatives, so much so that I rarely dwell on those negatives, praise God.
**to be a witness to the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of one of my sisters in Christ is hard to describe. To be in a counseling session and KNOW it is the Holy Spirit truly being the counselor, and to feel that I am just sitting back as a witness to it - WOW! I have been privileged to see many transformed lives, and it doesn't get any better than that.
**to have a venue for reaching women who also don't need counseling, but need ministering to through Women's Ministries activities is also a huge privilege to be a part of.
** to KNOW that I am called to this is a comfort. I could not do it otherwise - it's too hard! To know that I am not on my own, WHEW!! It is Christ IN me, not me. It is a fearsome thing to have this responsibility with the wellbeing of women, and if it weren't for the Lord, I'd never do it because I'd botch it up badly! Thank you, Lord, for making me your vessel and nothing more.

It's not your average life. I don't earn a paycheck, but instead I am paid in blessings.... and I don't get to share the specifics of the work of God in lives I am a part of (because it is confidential). Much of it is behind-the-scenes, and I wouldn't want it otherwise. All I want is to do the will of the Father, period. And for now, that means I draw strength from Him daily to minsiter to women and family!!!!

The best part of all of it is this: not a day goes by that I don't absolutely NEED to draw on wisdom and strength from God's Word, and to point others to do the same. It has given me a love for His Word that is I will let it speak for itself: "For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12. Amen.

I am editing this post lest I mislead you in to thinking it is ok to be too busy! God has not called me, or you, to that. I really am not 'too busy', just busy doing His work!, although reading the above could lead you to think I am out of balance! I pace myself, and always put my family first. I ask them to partner with me in ministry by allowing me out for an evening Bible Study or rare evening counseling appointment, and they bless me by supporting that from time to time. Typical days, after school hours, I am a homemaker first and formost and we have many laid-back hours together (I am not a high energy person and am content to snuggle on a couch many hours while we read, talk, watch movies, etc!).
God only gives us what we can carry - if we are overwhelmed, then likely something on our plate is NOT from Him. I have learned to discern what to say 'yes' to, and what to say 'no' to for the most part. I urge you to check your plate and see if it is full of things given to you by Him, or by you. Remind ME of that now and then, too, ok??!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Theme

This year I am opting for a "New Year's Theme" instead of "New Year's Resolution". God has been speaking to me lately regarding His PROVISION. That is probably partly because of the needs I have in my family for provision - needs that seem impossible due to lack of resources. But I also think it has to do with the fact that I need to learn more about His provision in other parts of life, aside from just finances.
What about God's provision for us emotionally? His provision for us mentally? His provision for us physically? His provision for us spirtually? He provides everything we need, in every part of our lives.
I am participating in a scripture-memorization challenge/accountability this year on another blog. I decided to focus on verses that relate to God's provision. We are to memorize two verses per month. At the end of the year, I will have memorized 24 verses about God's provision! I think that will be life-changing, don't you?? I need to trust Him more and believe Him more - so, here's my first memory verse to kick start this year of focusing on Jehovahjireh (God will provide!).....

Genesis 22:14 NIV: So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide (Jehovahjireh). And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Not only do I want to memorize these verses, but I want to understand them! This explanation by Warren Wiersbe, in his book "Be Obedient" explains this passage:

God did provide the sacrifice that was needed, and a ram took Isaac’s place on the altar (Gen. 22:13). Abraham discovered a new name for God—“Jehovah-jireh”—which can be translated “The Lord will see to it” or “The Lord will be seen.” The statement “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” helps us understand some truths about the provision of the Lord.
Where does the Lord provide our needs? In the place of His assignment. Abraham was at the right place, so God could meet his needs. We have no right to expect the provision of God if we are not in the will of God.
When does God meet our needs? Just when we have the need and not a minute before. When you bring your requests to the throne of grace, God answers with mercy and grace “in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Sometimes it looks like God waits until the last minute to send help, but that is only from our human point of view. God is never late.
How does God provide for us? In ways that are usually quite natural. God did not send an angel with a sacrifice; He simply allowed a ram to get caught in a bush at a time when Abraham needed it and in a place where Abraham could get his hands on it. All Abraham needed was one animal, so God did not send a whole flock of sheep.
To whom does God give His provision? To those who trust Him and obey His instructions. When we are doing the will of God, we have the right to expect the provision of God. A deacon in the first church I pastored used to remind us, “When God’s work is done in God’s way, it will not lack God’s support.” God is not obligated to bless my ideas or projects, but He is obligated to support His work if it is done in His way.
Why does God provide our every need? For the great glory of His name! “Hallowed be Thy name” is the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9–13), and it governs all the other requests. God was glorified on Mount Moriah because Abraham and Isaac did the will of the Lord and glorified Jesus Christ. We must pause to consider this important truth.


I challenge you to also memorize scripture this year. It is vital to your walk with God!!